Buying overseas or online

Electrical, electronics and radio/wireless products can cause interference to the radio spectrum in New Zealand. To minimise this, all products — including those bought overseas or online — must comply with standards and have compliance labels.

Why these products need to comply

The effects of interference from electrical, electronic and radio/wireless products can be:

  • Annoying disruption to radio services — that is, radio noise, affecting aural, video and data reception.
  • Costly disruption to commercial radio services — such as cellphone services.
  • Disruptions to the safety of life radio services — for example, maritime, aeronautical, police and ambulance.

Electrical and electronic products

These products have the potential to cause radio interference (pollution) to radio services. Devices with microprocessors, switched mode power supplies, electronic transformers, motor speed controllers or commutator motors are likely to cause radio interference unless they have been tested and found to comply with the required standards.

Examples of electrical and electronic products that may be bought overseas or online are:

  • Computers and other IT equipment.
  • Satellite, radio and TV receivers.
  • Home appliances.

To comply with New Zealand’s Act and regulations, electrical and electronic products must meet standards and display a compliance label.

Radiocommunications Act 1989(external link)

Radiocommunications Regulations 2001(external link)

Technical standards

The technical standards these devices are required to comply with are listed in the Radiocommunications (EMC Standards) Notice.

Radiocommunications (EMC Standards) Notice 2015(external link)

Labelling requirements

The labelling requirements are listed in the Radiocommunications (Compliance) Notice.

Radiocommunications (Compliance) Notice 2013 No. 2(external link)

Radio and wireless products

Radio and wireless products are intentional radiators, and can interfere with other radio services.

To comply with the New Zealand’s Radiocommunications Act 1989(external link) and Radiocommunciations Regulations 2001(external link), radio and wireless products must:

  • meet standards
  • display a compliance label, and
  • comply with a radio or spectrum licence.

Technical standards

The technical standards these products are required to comply with are listed in the Radiocommunications (Radio Standards) Notice.

Radiocommunications (Radio Standards) Notice 2016(external link)

Labelling requirements

The labelling requirements are listed in the Radiocommunications (Compliance) Notice.

Radiocommunications (Compliance) Notice 2013 No. 2

Licence requirements

In addition to meeting standards and showing compliance labels, all radio products must comply with a radio or spectrum licence. This sets the available frequencies, transmitter power and other operating conditions.

Examples include:

Product type Licence required
Cordless phones Cordless Telephones General User Radio Licence
CB radio (HF & UHF) Citizens Band Radio General User Radio Licence
Model control Short Range Device General User Radio Licence
Wi-Fi transmitters Short Range Device General User Radio Licence
Baby monitors Short Range Device General User Radio Licence
Marine radio Maritime Purposes General User Radio Licence
Land mobile Individual licences
Radio/wireless microphones UHF Radio Microphone LicencesShort Range Device General User Radio Licence
Amateur radio* Amateur Radio Operators General User Radio Licence

*No standards apply to amateur radio equipment, but only suitably qualified and licensed amateur radio operators can use radio equipment.

UHF CB radios

UHF (ultra high frequency) Citizen Band (CB) radios from the USA, UK and Europe are on frequencies that will cause interference in New Zealand, so you can’t use them here. However, UHF CB radios that are acceptable for use in Australia can be used here.

Prohibited devices

The importation, sale or use of some radio devices is prohibited in New Zealand.

Products and equipment you can't use in NZ

If you buy a prohibited product and use it in New Zealand, it's likely that the:

  • item will be confiscated, and
  • the owner or operator will be prosecuted.

Examples of prohibited radio/wireless products include:

  • Cellphone jammers.
  • Dog trackers operating in the USA MURS (150MHz) band.
  • Unrestricted two way radios.
  • Some radio microphones.

Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment - Radio Jammer Equipment) Notice 2011(external link)

Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment - Animal Tracking and Training Devices) Notice 2014(external link)

Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment – Unrestricted Two Way Radio) Notice 2018(external link)

Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment) Notice 2002(external link)

On-selling products

Persons or organisations importing electronic, electrical or radio transmitting equipment for on-selling in New Zealand must comply with the applicable documentation and labelling requirements set out in the following notices:

Radiocommunications (Compliance) Notice 2013 No.2(external link)

Radiocommunications (EMC Standards) Notice 2015(external link)

Radiocommunications (Radio Standards) Notice 2016(external link)

In addition, suppliers of radio transmitting products must hold a Licence to Supply.

See Get a licence to supply radio equipment for more information.

What to do before you buy

Stop, think and question. Follow our tips for overseas and online purchases below.

Research the product

Can the product be legally used in New Zealand?

Look for information beyond that provided by the seller, as this may alert you to potential issues with the product. In addition to your online searches, check the information on our website about prohibited devices, including high-risk items like radio jammers.

Products and equipment you can't use in NZ

Is the deal too good to be true?

If the product is far cheaper than known reputable brands, it may not operate as intended.

Check out the seller

Suppliers in New Zealand must meet a range of technical and compliance requirements before selling a radiocommunications device — but not all sellers comply.

Can you identify where the seller is located?

Devices made for overseas markets may use the incorrect frequency in New Zealand, and interfere with important services.

Does the seller look reputable?

Only buy from websites that you know and trust. Check recommendations and feedback from other customers.

Question the seller

If you’re unsure whether the device can be legally used, ask the seller if it meets regulatory requirements and is allowed to be used in New Zealand. If the seller can't answer your questions or concerns properly, we recommend you shop somewhere else.

Our role

We're responsible for administering the Radiocommunications Act and Regulations. These laws aim to ensure that radiocommunications products supplied in New Zealand operate on the correct frequencies, and meet electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements, so that other devices are not unintentionally interfered with.