A Right to Repair in New Zealand?
Competition and Consumer Law Journal
25 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2023
Date Written: October 16, 2023
A range of legal issues, practical barriers and business models makes it difficult for consumers to repair goods they own. Manufacturers play a significant role in preventing and obstructing repair including by designing products with short lives (planned obsolescence) and making them difficult to repair. In addition, manufacturers routinely fail to make spare parts available or make them available at exorbitant prices; prevent the release of information or tools necessary for repairs; and attempt to prevent unauthorised repairers from repairing goods. The issues related to developing a right to repair are broad and require more than simply strengthening consumer law. Reform of intellectual property laws and other measures, including a point-of-sale labelling regime providing information on durability and repairability are also required. Many jurisdictions, including the UK, France, Australia and some states in the US, have recognised action is necessary and are actively working toward or have passed right to repair legislation. In New Zealand the Ministry of the Environment is formulating right to repair legislation, yet such legislation is unlikely to address the majority of the issues. This article makes the case for why a right to repair law is required in New Zealand, which includes being necessary for the move to a circular economy. The article identifies the barriers and gaps in existing laws in New Zealand, including consumer law, explores New Zealand and international developments on the right to repair and makes recommendations for an effective right to repair in New Zealand.
Keywords: right to repair, consumer law, software, copyright, trade mark, tpm, circular economy, planned obsolescence
JEL Classification: K29, D18, O30, O31, O33, O34, O38, Q55,
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation