Closer Economic Relations with Australia and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement
Australia is one of our most important economic partners. New Zealand and Australia have made good progress to remove trade barriers.
MBIE is building on this to reduce differences in:
- regulatory institutions
- the regulation of business activities.
We collaborate with New Zealand and Australian agencies to create a seamless trans-Tasman market with one set of rules for businesses to follow.
We also work to create a combined trans-Tasman approach to trade with the rest of the world.
Closer Economic Relations
Closer Economic Relations (CER) creates a common market with Australia through co-operation on:
- regulatory regimes.
It is New Zealand's oldest trade agreement which is still in force.
Following the success of CER, the New Zealand and Australian governments committed to the long-term goal of establishing a seamless trans-Tasman business environment — the single economic market.
More information about CER
Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement
The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) is a non-treaty arrangement between New Zealand and Australia’s Commonwealth, state and territory governments.
The TTMRA is a cornerstone of the single economic market. It is a powerful driver of regulatory co-ordination and integration. It is central to developing an integrated trans-Tasman economy and a seamless market place, as envisioned by the Australia and New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement.
The main principles of the TTMRA are that:
- people who are registered to practise an occupation in New Zealand can register to practise an equivalent occupation in Australia, and vice versa
- goods that can legally be sold in New Zealand can be sold in Australia, and vice versa.
The TTMRA aims to provide:
- lower business costs
- greater consumer choice
- greater co-operation between regulatory authorities.
All laws are subject to the TTMRA unless specifically excluded or exempt. The arrangement took effect on 1 May 1998. It is supported by The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.
User guide to the TTMRA
A user guide is available to help exporters and manufacturers, people in registered occupations, policy makers and regulators understand the arrangement and gain its full benefits.
If you have further questions about the TTMRA you can email TTMRA@mbie.govt.nz
Review of the TTMRA
The operation of the TTMRA is regularly reviewed. The Australian Productivity Commission completed the most recent review in 2015.
The Council of Australian Governments and the New Zealand Government have established a Cross-Jurisdictional Review Forum. They monitor the operation of the mutual recognition schemes and implement the findings.
How occupations work under the TTMRA
A person who is registered to practise an occupation in New Zealand can register to practise an equivalent occupation in Australia and vice versa without the need to undergo further testing or examination. They must notify the local registration authority.
For information on how to apply for registration under the TTMRA, please see the TTMRA user guide above.
The TTMRA covers any occupation that has registration required by legislation in both New Zealand and Australia. Doctors with primary medical qualifications obtained in New Zealand are automatically granted general registration in Australia and vice-versa under separate arrangements. Only overseas trained doctors are not mutually recognised.
- Plumbers, with a current practising licence
- Lawyers, with a current practising certificate
- Registered Nurses, with a current practising certificate
- Electricians, with a current practising licence.
The TTMRA does not affect laws regarding how an occupation is carried out once registration is recognised. These laws include, for example, continuing education, fees and trust accounts.
You can apply if your occupation is considered an equivalent
An occupation is considered ‘equivalent’ if the activities carried out under each registration are substantially the same. Occupations can be considered equivalent even if the person who is registered does not have the exact same qualifications as locally trained practitioners.
In some cases, conditions can be applied to a person’s registration, but only to achieve equivalence.
How goods work under the TTMRA
Goods that can be legally sold in New Zealand can be sold in Australia and vice-versa. This means goods that comply with either Australian or New Zealand regulations can be sold in both countries. The TTMRA overrides any laws regulating to the manufacture or sale of goods.
All goods are covered by the TTMRA, but a small number of goods are not appropriate for mutual recognition and are permanently exempt (including endangered species, firearms, hazardous substances and fireworks). The full list of permanent exemptions is listed in Schedule 2 of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.
For governments, permanently exempting goods from the TTMRA is considered a last option and is used to protect public health, safety, the environment or the benefits of mutual recognition. An exemption does not generally refer to a product by name in the legislation.
For a permanent exemption to come into force, it must be added to the schedule in the relevant TTMRA Act, which requires agreement from all Australian and New Zealand Governments. A party can remove or reduce the extent of a permanent exemption in their jurisdiction at any time.
Any Australian or New Zealand Government can unilaterally exempt regulations temporarily on a certain good if they think it could be a threat to public health, safety or the environment in their jurisdiction. Temporary exemptions can last up to 12 months and applies only to the area the invoking party governs.
Before the temporary exemption expires, Australian and New Zealand Governments can decide whether the exemption needs to be permanent or not.
Exclusions ensure that laws which are indirectly related to the sale of goods are not impacted by the TTMRA. A party can reduce or remove exclusions of particular laws in their jurisdiction at any time. The categories of laws excluded from the scheme can only be amended through consensus of all parties.
Laws excluded include:
- customs controls and tariffs
- intellectual property
- international obligations
- tax laws.
The full list of exclusions is listed in Schedule 1 of the Trams-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.