Dangerous Products and the Consumer in New Zealand
New Zealand Law Journal, p. 366, 1975
31 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2013 Last revised: 23 Feb 2015
Date Written: 1975
The consumer movement aims to prevent monopoly and encourage competition. The movement encourages the development of standards to eliminate physical hazards from products which endanger safety. The most perplexing problem is to decide when the market left to itself provides the appropriate means of increasing people’s welfare and when intervention in the market will provide a better solution. A gap exists in New Zealand law relating to defective and dangerous products. The great attraction of focusing attention on product safety lies in the realisation that, while we have devoted great efforts to the prevention of road accidents and occupational injury, we have done hardly anything to encourage safety in the home. Different views exist as to whether negligence, strict liability, or caveat emptor provides the best rules of civil liability to allocate accident costs. With the passage of the Accident Compensation Act 1972 all use of these methods for allocating personal injury costs were rejected.
For the following reasons, New Zealand should enact legislation to minimise the losses caused by dangerous and defective products: as a community which shares the costs of compensation and rehabilitation, we are entitled to minimise the accident costs caused by dangerous and defective products; unsafe products are a danger to the consuming public; a competitive market needs informed consumers. This paper makes suggestion for a Products Safety Act and discusses the features it should include, such as a Products Safety Commission which formulates product safety standards to be prescribed by regulation.
Keywords: tort reform, dangerous products, consumer rights, accident compensation
JEL Classification: K13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation