WELLINGTON: Kiwi e-marketers face a tougher time getting their messages across to consumers and businesses following this week's introduction of new anti-spam laws.

The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 goes beyond sex, drugs and bank scams to regulate the sending of legitimate business emails as well as other forms of electronic messages such as SMS.

It is now illegal for New Zealand companies to send out promotional emails or texts unless they have prior consent.

The key points of the new laws ...

  • prohibit any person (individual, company or organisation) from sending one or more "commercial electronic messages" (as described below) to anyone who has not consented to receiving them;

  • require each "commercial electronic message" to clearly and accurately identify the person who has authorised the sending of the message, and include accurate information about how the recipient can readily contact that person;

  • require each "commercial electronic message" to include a working "unsubscribe opt out" option, clearly and conspicuously displayed in each message;

  • prohibit the use of address harvesting software in connection with the sending of "unsolicited commercial electronic messages";

  • allow people to file complaints with the new anti-spam enforcement unit of the Department of Internal Affairs, or issue proceedings in the High Court against the perpetrator;

  • enable financial penalties of up to NZ$200,000 ($138.5k; €101k; £68k) for individuals and NZ$500,000 for companies.
Marketing Association executive director Keith Norris said the law was a good idea in principle, but would not stop spam because more than 97% of the electronic messages dropping into New Zealand inboxes came from overseas.

Data sourced from nzherald.co.nz; additional content by WARC staff