We've gained traction on several major consumer issues this year. The most important is the Consumer Law Reform Bill, which will mitigate long-running sources of consumer detriment such as high-pressure door-to-door selling, the exclusion of the Consumer Guarantees Act protections from online auction sales, and unfair terms in standard consumer contracts … amongst many other improvements.
We were so concerned at the progress of the Bill, which has cross-party support, that we initiated a write-in campaign to the Minister of Consumer Affairs. Based on the minister’s recent comments, we’re quietly confident the Bill will become law soon.
Front-of-pack nutrition labelling has also seen some movement. The government is at least looking at a voluntary scheme put forward in Australia, which is backing a five-star rating system (the higher the stars the healthier the food). We don’t think this is as good as the UK’s traffic-lights system – but it’s better than the current confusing labelling.
The proposed age restriction on under 18-year-olds taking a sunbed was a major gain – we’ve been consistently lobbying for greater regulation of this industry. We also had our complaint upheld about whether Blue Earth Sun Protection sunscreen’s SPF 30 and water-resistance claims were misleading. But did it have to take eight months to get a decision? The delay meant the product was on sale right through summer.
We’ve just received the news that the “copper tax” is dead because there’s not enough minor party support for it. We’ve been part of the coalition which has been opposed to the government’s attempt to remove the Commerce Commission from the price-setting process for broadband services.
These activities benefit all consumers and are made possible by the support of our members, who benefit directly from our research and testing. During the year we wrote major articles on sum-insured house insurance, supermarket power, anti-oxidant supplements, the marketing of food to kids, and salmon farming. We also published over 80 tests in the magazine and online.
We thank our members for their continuing support and wish you all the best for Christmas and the holiday season.
About the author:
David Naulls is Consumer's deputy CEO and the editor of Consumer magazine.
David works closely with the research and testing team to ensure the quality of all articles published by Consumer NZ. He has previously been a research writer and contract books writer at Consumer. Before returning as Content Editor, he was a freelance writer and editor for 25 years. David has post-graduate qualifications in journalism and political philosophy.