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19 April 2024

Right to repair bill: a step towards reducing landfill waste from faulty products

New Zealand could be getting closer towards repairable products after Hon Marama Davidson's Consumer Guarantees (Right to Repair) Amendment Bill was drawn from the Member’s Bill ballot last week.

This is exciting given our advocacy work in the right to repair space. Recently, we've been calling for a product repairability label but the response from the government has been tepid.

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If we can shop based on how long products will last and how repairable they are, manufacturers and retailers will be forced to lift their game. In New Zealand, millions of appliances and electronic products are needlessly being dumped because they can't be repaired, making our country a magnet for poorly designed and cheaply made products.

Davidson's bill looks to amend the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), allowing for the independent repair of goods and making it mandatory for products to be repairable, including the supply of repair information, tools and parts. It also requires a manufacturer to, for a reasonable time, take reasonable action to ensure a supply of parts for goods and the availability of repair facilities. It must also provide consumers with information, software and tools for diagnosing, maintaining and repairing goods.

The right to repair bill would mean manufacturers cannot:

-Make repair too expensive – digital information must be free, and all other charges reasonable.

-Drag the chain on repair – manufacturers must comply with a request for repair information as soon as is reasonably practical and within no more than 20 days.

Setting these provisions in place would make a huge difference to the quality of products in stores and for a consumer's ability to have their product repaired when it breaks. Too often we see retailers toss barely used products to landfill, opting to provide shoppers with a replacement (which will again, likely break in time).

Consumer NZ belongs to the Right to Repair Coalition alongside Repair Café Aotearoa NZ (RCANZ), WasteMINZ, Para Kore, the Zero Waste Network, and lawyers and academics at Auckland and Waikato Universities, which provided advice and support to the Green Party in the creation of this members bill.

If you want to repairable products that go the distance, add your voice to the call for the right to repair. Contact your MP and those representing environmental and consumer portfolios in government and let them know this is a bill you support. There's power in numbers.

Right to repair petition

Sick of wasting money on products you can’t repair? 

Show manufacturers you want products you can repair and help us demand a mandatory repairability label. 

Learn more

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