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A guide to the Radiocommunications Regulations 2001

The Radiocommunications Regulations 2001 (the Regulations ) set out:

  • the requirement that all licence information is publicly available

  • the mechanics to manage the radio licensing regime

  • the issuing of licences to supply radio transmitters

  • the issuing of certificates of competency to operate certain radio apparatuses

  • the standards for electromagnetic compatibility

  • infringement offences and fines

  • the fees charged for radio and spectrum licences, and

  • the prescribed forms for providing information to the Registrar.


Note: During 2013, the Regulations were reviewed and a number of changes are anticipated to be made to the Regulations during 2014/15.


Availability of licensing database for public search

The Register of Radio Frequencies is an online searchable database. The Regulations specify the ways in which the Register may be searched; however the search functionality of the Register exceeds that specified in the Regulations. The main limitation on public disclosure of information relates to radiocommunications affecting the security or defence of New Zealand.


Radio licensing regime

The radio licensing regime covers all types of licences to use radio spectrum except for licences relating to radio frequencies covered by a management right (these licences are called spectrum licences and are managed under the Act). The Regulations set out the circumstances under which a radio licence may be issued, modified, transferred, suspended, or revoked.


Supply of radio transmitters

Provision for compulsory recall of equipment under the Regulations is intended to manage situations where equipment that does not comply with an applicable standard or code of practice, or has been declared prohibited equipment, has been installed, used, sold, distributed, or manufactured. The product recall provision may only be invoked by the Minister for Communications.


Certificates of competency

The International Radio Regulations specify that an operator of radio equipment for specified purposes must hold a certificate of competency. These are intended to ensure international consistency in radio communications. The Regulations set out the types of operator's certificates and the exams people must pass to obtain these. The types of certificate are a general operator’s certificate, general radiotelephone operator's certificate, restricted radiotelephone operator's certificate, and general amateur operator's certificate.


Electromagnetic compatibility

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) describes the ability of all electrical, electronic, and radio devices to operate satisfactorily in their electromagnetic environment. This means that such equipment will neither cause interference to radio reception, nor be susceptible to malfunction in the presence of radiocommunications transmissions. Requirements for electromagnetic compatibility are notified to industry and the public through the Gazette.


Infringement offences and fines

The Regulations set out the actions that constitute infringement offences, any one of which could compromise the integrity of licensed radiocommunication services to some extent. These offences include:

  • installing, using, selling, distributing, or manufacturing radio equipment that does not comply with the Act

  • knowingly falsely labelling equipment as complying with the Act

  • transmitting radiocommunications without, or outside the terms and conditions of, a licence.




Schedule 5 specifies the form of infringement notice and levels of the infringement fees.



Schedule 7 of the Regulations sets out a range of prescribed forms required by the Registrar (of Radio Frequencies) in order to administer the Act. These include forms to register spectrum and radio licences, amend conditions on licences, add, modify, or remove caveats or mortgages over spectrum licences, and request arbitration of disputes.


Licence fees

The licence fees are set out in schedule 6 of the Regulations. Fees are paid on an annual basis and are set at a level to ensure full recovery of the costs incurred by the Crown in administering the Act. All fees, until paid in full, constitute a debt to the Crown and may be recovered by civil action.

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Last updated 8 December 2014