Trust & Safety Blog

Public Records are a matter of Public Record

Public -records

Unauthorised sale of public records and local authority protected records

A guest post by Archives New Zealand. 

Under the Public Records Act 2005, it’s an offence to sell a public record or local authority protected record without authorisation from the Chief Archivist.

A record could be a document or other information in any form including (without limitation) a signature, seal, image, plan, map, recording, data, and computer file. 

What are public or local authority records?

The Public Records Act defines a record as “information, whether in its original form or otherwise, including  (without limitation) a document, a signature, a seal, text, images, sound, speech or data compiled, recorded or stored… in written form… on film or other medium” (section 4).

A public record or local authority record is any record, in any form, created or received by a public office or local authority in the conduct of its affairs.

Broadly speaking, a record is any documentation or evidence of activity.

The problem

Government records are paid for by public funds and managed under the Public Records Act 2005.

These records contain a wealth of information of historical interest and enable the government to be held accountable.

When records are sold without authorisation, the public can be deprived of their right to access this information.

Buyers and sellers should ensure that all government records have left government control lawfully, and may then be lawfully bought and sold.

How you can help

To ensure that New Zealand’s documentary heritage is preserved and publicly accessible, Archives New Zealand needs your help to safely and securely return any government records that are lost, stolen or have been disposed of without authorisation.

They should be returned to Archives New Zealand’s public office or archival holdings – or to the local authority of origin.

What if the government threw the records away?

Public offices and local authorities are required to follow strict procedures when disposing of records.

The Public Records Act and standards issued under it require that the destruction, sale, archiving or other disposal of records happens in line with schedules approved by the Chief Archivist.

The lawful disposal of records is therefore documented and any undocumented claim of disposal for sale may be considered suspect.

What do I do if I find a government document being offered for sale?

We ask dealers and collectors to cooperate with us so that all the historical materials belonging to Archives New Zealand are returned.

Avoid buying, selling, or trading in historical New Zealand Government records that have been lost, stolen or otherwise not authorised for disposal.

If you’ve got any questions or concerns about documents you have or come across, pleaseemail or phone on 04 499 5595 and Archives New Zealand  will be able to help.


Trade Me's thoughts: 

We support the efforts of Archives NZ and work with them to remove from the site any listings that are confirmed as being public records. 

Image used courtesy Archives NZ.

Electric scooter hoverboards now have strict safety compliance requirements


Even though they have wheels, the so-called ‘hoverboards’ have been the must-have item over the Christmas period.

They’ve already proven notoriously tricky to ride and can be even more difficult to use when they catch fire. You might have come across this video where a hoverboard rider suddenly discovered his board had caught fire.

This spontaneous combustion has occurred several times around the world and led to some pretty serious concerns around the safety of these contraptions.

We understand that two traders have been issued fines by Energy Safety for failing to comply with the law. 

What is NZ doing about hoverboard safety?

Energy Safety, NZ’s regulator for ensuring the safe supply and use of electricity and gas in New Zealand, has investigated the issue and thinks there is sufficient concern for new rules to be made for the sale of hoverboards.

A Gazette notice has also been published and changed the status of the following items to a ‘medium-risk’ article:

  • a self-balancing personal transport device (commonly called a hover board)
  • a charger used for the charging of a battery powered self-balancing personal transport device.

These rules come into effect from 15 February 2016.

What does this mean for selling hoverboards on Trade Me?

Quite a few legal terms are about to follow, but for Trade Me members selling hoverboards, the requirements for the compliance documentation of these devices has changed.

Any ‘self-balancing personal transport device’ will require a Supplier Declaration of Conformity to be completed by the manufacturer (if manufactured in New Zealand) or the New Zealand importer.

This will involve reliance on a test report to the relevant standard for the item.

Any device used for charging a battery-powered self-balancing personal transport device will also need to have a Supplier Declaration of Conformity and a test report that this document relies on.

Energy Safety will be actively auditing sellers of the above items and asking for:

  • a Supplier Declaration of Conformity for both items
  • a test report on electrical safety for the self-balancing personal transport device
  • a test report on electrical safety for the charger that proves that the charger is safe to use with the self-balancing personal transport device.

All Trade Me ‘in trade’ sellers listing these items must have both the required SDOC and test reports prior to listing on Trade Me.

Please note that this is four separate pieces of documentation.

If you do not have this documentation, do not list your electric scooters.

For further advice regarding the standards and to ensure your product is compliant, please contact an electrical test lab such as Spectrum Labs.

The standards Energy Safety is looking for are:

Hover BoardsAS/NZS 60335.2.82 including 60335.1.1 Edition 5.1

Chargers:         AS/NZS 61558.2.16 or

                        AS/NZS 61558.2.6

After 15 February, Trade Me will also be monitoring hoverboard listings.

Members unable to provide the correct documentation will have their listings removed. 

Creative Commons image used courtesy Automobile Italia on Flickr.