Trust & Safety Blog

Selling Firearms on Trade Me

The purchase of guns has become very topical this week so we thought it would be helpful to clarify how guns may be bought and sold on Trade Me.

Note that as of 23 October 2015, new rules have been put in place. Those buying guns online will be required to supply the seller’s name, email address, firearm’s licence and address in addition to the buyer’s details to the NZ Police. Full details on this process can be found here

License required

If you want to bid, buy or ask a question on a firearms listing, you will need to supply us with your firearms licence. As a seller you are legally required to either:

  • sight the buyer’s firearms licence at the point of purchase; or
  • if the firearm is being sent to the buyer, sight a form signed by a police officer stating that the buyer has presented their firearms licence at a police station and that the licence holder is a fit and proper person to purchase a firearm.

We take the requirement to sight licences extremely seriously and will take action against any members who attempt to circumvent these requirements.

Category A firearms sales only

Trade Me only allows the sale of ‘A’ category (also known as sporting) firearms, as defined by the Arms Act 1983. Members are allowed to sell their trusty old bolt, break or pump action firearms on the site.

While we allow the sale of some semi-automatic firearms, there are a few features that can turn a standard ‘A’ category semi-automatic into a military style semi-automatic (MSSA).

Military Style Semi-automatic (MSSA)

The following features, when attached to a semi-automatic rifle, will class the firearm as an MSSA which means it no longer falls under the 'A' category firearm umbrella and cannot be sold on Trade Me:

  • high capacity magazine
  • free standing pistol grip
  • folding or telescopic butt
  • flash suppressor

High-capacity magazines

What does 'high capacity' mean?

The law deems a firearm as an MSSA when it has any magazine designed to hold more than 15 .22-inch rimfire cartridges, or more than 7 cartridges of any other size. Trade Me has made the decision to put a blanket ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines that meet that definition. These cannot be sold on the site regardless of whether you're looking to attach it to a bolt, break, pump action or semi-automatic firearm. 

What if it only looks like it holds more than 15 or 7 cartridges? 

In the case of non-rimfire magazines, they may have the appearance of holding up to 10 rounds but must not hold more than 7.  In short, if your magazine holds more than 7 rounds or appears to hold more than 10 rounds it cannot be sold on our site. In the case of .22 rimfire cartridges, it must not hold or appear to hold more than 15 rounds.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, after careful consideration and feedback from the Trade Me community, the only high-capacity magazine we allow to be sold on site is the 10-shot .303 magazine when it's sold alongside its brother-in-arms, the Lee Enfield rifle. While technically it is a high capacity magazine, it can only be attached to a Lee Enfield bolt action .303 which is not at risk of being classed as an MSSA.  

Free standing pistol grips 

To make our firearms policy consistent with a December 2013 law change , we do not allow the sale of free standing pistol grips or other stocks (such as folding or telescopic), that, when fitted to a semi-automatic rifle, would result in the firearm being classified as a MSSA. 

What if it only looks like it is freestanding? 

Due to the way the law is written, even if it has the appearance of being freestanding, it is classed as an MSSA, and therefore can't be sold on Trade Me. 

Pistol grips that are OK to list on Trade Me

 Pistol Grips

Pistol grips that are not OK to list on Trade Me

The following types of grips are considered under the law to be free standing pistol grips and can't be sold on Trade Me. 

 Free Standing Pistol Grips

Flash suppressors 

These are a no-go and can't be sold on the site. To own firearms with these attached, you need to hold an ‘E’ (endorsement) licence, and Trade Me only allows the sale of ‘A’ category firearms/parts. 

What about ammunition? 

We allow the sale of ammunition on the site, however it can't be re-loaded ammunition. We understand that re-loading ammunition is legal, and a great way to cut down the cost of owning a firearm, but if done incorrectly it can do more harm than good.

Rather than run the risk of harming potential buyers in a dangerous and explosive way, we've made the decision to place a blanket ban on the sale of re-loaded ammo on the site.  

One per listing

You may only list one firearm per listing on Trade Me. 

I have an antique firearm, can I sell it on Trade Me?

The short version: yes, but it’s got to be in the right place.

The longer version: If it can't fire rimfire, or centrefire cartridge ammunition (e.g. like a musket) then it is okay to sell in the Antiques & collectables category on the site because the Arms Act 1983 exempts certain antique firearms from licensing.

If your firearm can fire rimfire or centrefire ammunition, regardless of its age, it needs to be listed in the Rifles category, and your buyer will need to hold a current firearms licence to purchase it.

Air Gun

People over the age of 18 do not need a firearms licence to own an airgun. However those aged 16 and 17 years who wish to own an airgun must hold a firearms licence. While we have a specific category for sellers to list their air rifles, in the interest of safety we ask that sellers don't assume that just because someone has a Trade Me membership that they are 18 or over must and seek verification of age.

Those trading air guns face-to-face should ensure that they sight the firearms licence or proof of age identification of the person they are trading with. Those trading air guns remotely should ensure that they sight the purchaser’s proof of age identification or a written order, signed by a police officer, stating that they have inspected the purchaser's firearms licence.

A standard letter for this purpose is available by presenting your firearms licence at any police station. 

Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air weapons

PCP air rifles (excluding airguns used in air soft and paintball sports) are defined under the Arms Act 1983 as a class of especially dangerous airguns.  

This means we need to treat them in the same way that we treat firearms. Our members’ safety is something we take very seriously so we require PCP air rifles, pistols and associated ammunition to be listed in the "rifles" and "ammunition" categories on the site. 

Where can I get more information?

Having a NAP? How the No Asset Procedure works on Trade Me

Society often finds debtors in tricky positions – with many people spending more money than they earn. While most who owe money may eventually pay it off, a few may find themselves unable to meet all of their repayment obligations.

Those who find themselves in financial trouble may apply for a No Asset Procedure (NAP) under the Insolvency Act 2006. A NAP is an alternate process to bankruptcy that will wipe all of the debtor’s debts.

NAP – not just a quick snooze on the weekend

Entry into a NAP isn’t limited to weekend shut-eye. If a debtor has no realisable assets, has never been admitted to a NAP or adjudged bankrupt, has between $1,000 and $40,000 in total debt and cannot repay their debt, they may be accepted by the Official Assignee into a NAP.

NAP is similar to bankruptcy. Once a debtor has entered into a NAP, debts owed up until the point of entry can no longer be enforced against the debtor. This leaves creditors out of luck, as they are barred from claiming debt incurred before the NAP.

If the debtor is able to reduce their spending and credit, their debt will be wiped a year after they’ve entered into and been discharged from the NAP.

I’m currently NAPping. What happens with my Trade Me trades?

A NAP does not mean you’re automatically free of debt. For instance, if a debtor has hidden their assets and admitted into the NAP incorrectly, or if the debtor’s circumstances have changed and they may be able to meet some of their debt – the NAP may be terminated early. In this case, debts that were previously unenforceable on entry in to the NAP may become enforceable again.

Any debts or obligations incurred after entry are still enforceable and all Trade Me trades incurred after entry will still need to be completed. Any Trade Me account debt you have accrued may also be enforced.

This means that if you continue trading after entry into a NAP, you must complete your trades as per normal – the NAP is not a barrier to this, nor does it relieve you from any incurred Trade Me debt.

For more information about NAPs you can get in touch with the insolvency office.

Are you an aspiring beekeeper?


A guest post by Janice Murphy

There’s a lot of buzz around bees these days. More and more people are wanting a hive or two in their garden, especially since the Varroa mite  has virtually wiped out the wild hives in New Zealand.

There are loads of ways to help the bees – you can plant bee-friendly flowering plants and trees, avoid spraying toxins and pesticides when bees are around, get rid of wasp nests, or even partake in the noble art of beekeeping.

If you’re looking to get started with beekeeping, here’s a few quick pointers:

  • Do your research and pick up a copy of Practical Beekeeping in New Zealand by Andrew Matheson and Murray Reid. No amount of advice on the internet will prepare you for New Zealand conditions as well as this book.
  • Check out your local bee club. Bee clubs give you the chance to look in on a hive, handle some bees and find out if beekeeping is right for you. Here, you can also meet some experienced beekeepers and mentors to help you on your journey.
  • Head on over to the NZ Bees website  where beekeepers from commercial to hobbyist share information, ask questions and tell stories.
  • Book a beekeeping course. These courses can range from basic to advanced courses and will often include hive building and, in some of the longer courses, a full season of hands-on beekeeping.
  • Get yourself some good, protective gear. Bee stings hurt and even mild-mannered hives can get a wee bit grumpy. A veil and strong leather gloves are a must for a beginner, but a full bee suit  is always better.
  • Have an experienced beekeeper check any hives you buy for disease and general condition.
  • When buying hives, consider using a sale and purchase agreement that covers the disease status of your hives.

If you you’re not sure about keeping bees, many places will allow you to hire a hive for your property. The hive owner does all the beekeeping and you get to keep some of the honey!

Rules and regulations

Bees leaving the hive can sometimes make a mess of the washing, the windows or a lovely, clean car. To ensure the neighbours are happy, make sure you’re aware of your bees’ flight path and the placement of their hives

Check in with your local council to make sure you are allowed a hive in the site you want. Most councils are fine with residential use barring a few exceptions.

In New Zealand, it’s a legal requirement for beekeepers to register themselves and their apiaries .

For further information on beekeeping, check out the National Beekeepers’ Association of New Zealand website and their guidelines on ‘Starting with Bees’.

Trade Me would like to add that once you've sucessfully made some honey - you might want to sell it on Trade Me, here's how!

A big thanks to Janice for this post!

Creative Commons image used courtesy Umberto Salvagnin on Flickr. 

Drones - know the rules before you buy and fly

Red -drone -flying

At Trade Me we don’t like to hover over your shoulder and drone on about rules and regulations, but you may want to have a look at the new regulations for operating drones if you’re considering making a purchase. 

What’s changed?

On 1 August 2015, new regulations came into force surrounding the operation of drones, also known as remotely-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and model aircraft. The rules also cover most other things you may want to launch into the air including rockets, balloons, kites, gyrogliders, parasails etc.

Before you purchase and operate a drone, please ensure you familiarise yourself with general aviation safety rules and applicable radiocummuications regulations

Once you’re sorted, you’ll also want to check out a couple of specific provisions regarding the operation of drones, located in Rule Part 101  and Rule Part 102  of the Civil Aviation Rules. To save you some time, we’ve grabbed the important bits for you below.

Rule Part 101

This part sets out key rules beyond the typical air safety requirements to follow when operating your drone:

  • You must always operate your drone safely, and take practicable steps to minimise hazards against people or property. You should know the airspace restrictions where you plan to fly your drone.
  • You must gain the consent of people you are flying over, as well as the consent of any property owners of the area. Though not explicitly in the CAA rules, you should keep an eye out for privacy expectations of people who may also be affected by your flight operation.
  • You can only fly during the daytime unless the flight is indoors or a shielded operation.
  • You need to be able to see your drone with your own eyes, in so you can avoid obstructions and bad weather conditions.
  • Always give way to crewed aircraft.
  • The maximum height you can fly is 120m above ground level.
  • You must keep your drone at least 4km away from any aerodrome and obtain permission from the controlling authority over any controlled airspace, special use airspace, or airspace that may be temporarily classified as one of these areas for a particular operation or event.
  • Your drone must be under 25kg, otherwise you’ll need permission as per Rule Part 102.
  • If your drone is between 15–25 kg, there’s an additional requirement that it is constructed or inspected by a person or body approved by the Director of Civil Aviation.
  • The drone must be approved and operated under approved authority.

There are exceptions to a few of these rules, which you can check out on the CAA links below.

Rule Part 102

This rule applies to you if you plan to operate outside the regulations of Rule Part 101. You can request special certification to operate your RPAS with approval from the CAA.

If you’d like more in-depth details on the new RPAS rules, please check out the CAA’s report. You can also download a PDF of the rules: Rule Part 101 and Rule Part 102.

Creative Commons image used courtesy Ted Eytan on Flickr. 

Trade Me’s Car Market Operator policy

There’s been a fair bit of discussion lately on whether car market operators (CMOs) are allowed or should be allowed to trade on Trade Me. We thought we would pen a post to cover off Trade Me’s position.

It’s Trade Me’s policy to not allow car market operators to create listings on behalf of, or for, private traders. This is to protect consumers from confusion about the nature of the sale and from potential fraud opportunities.

Here’s a bit of background information about our reasons for this policy.


When a CMO makes a listing to sell a privately owned vehicle, mixed messages can be sent to potential buyers.

An example of this confusion is when a Trade Me member selling cars appears to be ‘in trade’ or a registered Motor Vehicle Trader (MVT) by displaying a ‘dealer’ badge, but their listing uses wording like “this is a private sale” or “the seller is not in trade" or “the seller is not a Motor Vehicle Trader”. That wording is potentially confusing to buyers as the Fair Trading Act requires traders to identify themselves as ‘in trade’ or a ‘dealer’ if they are either or both of these things.

Offers by a CMO to pay cash for ‘trade ins’, or offers to arrange mechanical inspections, vehicle grooming, and insurance may also create an impression that the member advertising the vehicle is in the business of motor vehicle trading, potentially confusing prospective buyers.

This potential confusion can be increased by listings that feature Consumer Information Notices (CINs) that have been converted into a ‘Private Sale Notice’. Examples we’ve seen can look pretty much the same to the official CINs. CINs are designed to give important information to buyers, like whether there is a security interest  registered over the vehicle. This is an important area to avoid potential confusion, especially in case issues occur after the sale.

CMO legal definition

A CMO is defined in the Motor Vehicle Sales Act as a person or entity that carries on the business of providing premises, or a place for a market for the sale by other people of used motor vehicles. A CMO includes a person commonly referred to as a car fair operator or a display for sale operator. CMOs fitting the definition in the Act have an exemption from meeting the registration requirements of MVTs.

Where a CMO goes beyond the simple model of a CMO (such as by offering services in addition to providing a place, or venue, for the sale of the vehicle) then, arguably, the entity or person is no longer a CMO. The CMO may need to consider registering as a MVT, if they aren’t already.

The circumstances may vary for everyone, so we suggest any CMOs in this position take legal advice on this point.

Consumer protection

Identity of seller

Trade Me operates on the basis that the identity of the person selling the vehicle is disclosed to potential buyers (via their Trade Me username). This is to ensure both buyers and sellers meet their obligations and so that Trade Me can help with member disputes.

Where CMOs sell on behalf of clients (whether professional traders or private sellers), the trading identity of the seller is hidden from buyers and Trade Me, leaving the potential for trades to go wrong with no ability for buyers to contact the seller for a remedy.

A further risk is that third party MVTs (registered or off the grid) could use the service to hide behind a CMO’s identity, and by doing so avoid detection by Trade Me (this behaviour does occur on other memberships from time to time when the MVT is banned from using the site or it wants to appear as a private seller).

A MVT could also use the CMO mechanism to avoid their Motor Vehicle Sales Act obligation to register as a MVT and attempt to hide from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment’s enforcement teams.

Auction feedback

While CMOs provide a service to both buyers and sellers, the transaction is between the buyer and the seller. If a CMO were to list vehicles on behalf of private sellers, Trade Me is concerned that any Trade Me feedback on a transaction could only be placed on the CMO’s membership and will not accurately represent who has participated in a trade. Prospective buyers may also get a misinformed view of the character of the CMO account if the feedback is not a genuine reflection of transactions conducted by that member.

Contract risk

Where private sales are completed via auction, the contract is formed between the seller and buyer. If a successful auction was to occur between the CMO and the buyer, the actual owner of the vehicle is not formally a part of the transaction. This isn’t an ideal situation and leaves the buyer in a vulnerable position if something goes wrong.

Final points

Private sellers may create their own listings, even if the vehicle is available for inspection with a CMO

Trade Me members who use the services of CMOs are welcome to list their own vehicle and explain where the vehicle is displayed for inspection.

Motor Vehicle Traders and ‘on behalf’ sales

Registered MVTs may sell vehicles ‘on behalf’ of consumers but these should not be advertised as a ‘private sale’. This is because the MVT is effectively an agent of the seller and the Consumer Guarantees Act applies to the sale. In law, the sale is not by a ‘private’ seller as it is undertaken by an MVT.

For clarity, CMOs who are registered as MVTs may not sell vehicles in this manner, unless they’re selling the vehicle as a MVT. 

Where a MVT lists a vehicle on Trade Me on behalf of a private seller, no contracting out of the Consumer Guarantees Act can occur. This means statements such as “private sale, no warranty applies” or “private sale, as is where is” may not be made in the listing body.

If you’re keen to read more, Consumer Protection, MBIE has more on the responsibilities of MVT in this situation.