Our role in the ICT sector
We are responsible for maintaining a robust regulatory environment for the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
The legislation we manage
We manage the following legislation:
- Telecommunications Act 2001(external link) and its associated regulations which together comprise the New Zealand telecommunications regulatory regime. The Telecommunications Act 2001 regulates the supply of some telecommunication services for promoting competition in telecommunication markets to bring long-term benefits to its users in New Zealand.
- Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013(external link) which establishes obligations for New Zealand’s telecommunications providers in 2 main areas – interception capability and network security.
- All telecommunications providers must help fulfil interception warrants (or use ongoing statutory authority). In addition, a smaller group of network operators must pre-invest in the necessary equipment and technical resources to carry out interceptions over their networks.
- The Act sets out a path to identify, and if necessary, address network security risks which may arise from network operators' proposed investments in network equipment. Network operators must engage with the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) about changes to their network equipment where such changes could have an impact on national security.
- Radiocommunications Act 1989(external link) and its associated regulations.
- Postal Services Act 1998(external link) and its associated regulations.
- Part 4 of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017 (formerly the Electronic Transactions Act 2002)(external link)
- Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007.(external link)
Our role is also to administer, advise, monitor, enforce and represent as follows:
- the register of telecommunications network operators
- New Zealand Post's information disclosure requirements
- telecommunications service obligations instruments.
- the Radiocommunications Act 1989, including assigning licences, and compliance, enforcement, and registration.
- policy advice on regulation of the ICT sector, and the social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts of new technology
- advice to the the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications on the recommendations made by the Telecommunications Commissioner
- policy and technical planning advice on the allocation of the radio and broadcasting spectrums, and issues related to commercial broadcasting.
- the telecommunications functions of the Commerce Commission.
- New Zealand in international ICT fora and trade negotiations.
We also co-ordinate the development of electronic commerce policy across government to ensure the regulations facilitate use of electronic commerce and don't create barriers and cost to business.
E-commerce means online trading, that is, buying and selling goods and services over electronic networks. Although e-commerce refers to all electronic transactions over any electronic network, today we tend to think of it as transactions carried out on the internet.
The governing legislation is Part 4 of the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017(external link). Its purpose is to:
- facilitate the use of electronic technology by reducing uncertainty regarding the legal effect of information in electronic form or communicated electronically
- allow some paper-based legal requirements to be met with electronic technology that is functionally equivalent to legal requirements.
Note that the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017(external link) repealed and replaced the Electronic Transactions Act 2002 (in addition to other legislation), but only made non-consequential amendments.
As the government agency responsible for telecommunications policy, we have a focus on developing efficient, reliable and responsive infrastructure, productive and competitive businesses, and a world-class business environment.
This includes ensuring internet resources are managed in a way that supports the interests of New Zealand end-users of telecommunications services.
InternetNZ is the trustee of the .nz domain name for New Zealand. It is an open membership organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet for New Zealand.
InternetNZ signed a Memorandum of Understanding with us in May 2016 for the management of the name. Under this MOU, InternetNZ has a duty to manage the domain name in service to the local internet community.
In this section
The Telecommunications Act 2001 includes a regulatory framework for fibre connection.
The Telecommunications (Regulated Fibre Services) Regulations 2021 were initially made on 13 September 2021 and took effect from 1 January 2022. The Regulations specify anchor broadband and voice services and one direct fibre access service (DFAS) that Chorus must provide to retail service providers (RSPs).
Telecommunications and broadcasting network operators in New Zealand by month of registration.
The telecommunications service obligations (TSO) regulatory framework enables specific telecommunications services to be available and affordable.
The NZ Relay range of services is provided by the Crown for people with communications disabilities. MBIE funds NZ Relay to provide equal work and lifestyle opportunities for those with speech, hearing and vision disabilities. These services assist people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, speech-impaired and deafblind to communicate with others over the phone, with the help of a relay assistant.
We advise government on aspects of the emergency call services in New Zealand, working with the New Zealand Police and other agencies.
The Telecommunications Development Levy subsidises telecommunications capabilities in the public interest.