Home » The new NZ Sunscreen Bill cut-off is approaching – here’s what you need to know

The new NZ Sunscreen Bill cut-off is approaching – here’s what you need to know

The new NZ Sunscreen Bill cut-off is approaching – here’s what you need to know

Early last year, the government announced a new bill, the Sunscreen (Product Safety Standard) Bill, which requires all sunscreens above SPF 15 and insect repellents above SPF 4 to meet new sunscreen safety standards in order to be sold in New Zealand. While it came into effect in September 2022, the Bill allowed for a transition period. Due to expire next week, any sunscreen products manufactured or imported into New Zealand before 8 March 2022 were allowed to supply up to 8 September 2023.

Before the law change, sunscreens being sold in New Zealand had not needed independent testing of SPF claims. It was a voluntary, self-regulating code of conduct, which had long been criticised by Consumer NZ. New Zealand has the world’s highest incidence of melanoma, accounting for more than 6,000 diagnoses each year and nearly 80 percent of all skin cancer deaths. These alarming statistics were the catalyst for tighter regulations.

The key changes

As of 8 September 2022, it is mandatory for all manufacturers and importers of sunscreen products in New Zealand to comply with the Safety Standard. The new law has put in place tighter rules to ensure sunscreen products go through consistent and internationally recognised testing of the product performance. For manufacturers and importers, this means any sunscreen product should be independently tested to ensure they comply with the Safety Standard before being supplied in New Zealand.

Brands risk receiving hefty fines if it is discovered that they have misrepresented a product’s properties on the label. The Fair Trading Act will be used to enforce the regulations.

For sunscreen brands already stocked in Australia, where the standards have been mandatory for almost three decades, the new legislation means little change.

The new Sunscreen Safety Standard

Sunscreen products must provide the protection advertised on the label and must label products clearly with:

  • The SPF in durable and legible characters,
  • Clear instructions for product use such as how to apply the product, and
  • Other additional information depending on the product type as required in the AS/NZ 2604:2021(external link) standard.

What products does the Standard apply to?

  • Products where their primary purpose is to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation.
  • Insect repellents with a labelled SPF of 4 or more.
  • Skincare products as defined under the Safety Standard (which includes moisturisers, oils creams and gels, but does not include products intended for application to the lips or products represented primarily as a tinted base or foundation) with a labelled SPF greater than 15.

Who needs to comply?

Everyone! From manufacturers to distributors to clinics, every business is obligated to comply with the new Safety Standard.

For more information about the Safety Standard call 0800 782 632 or visit www.standards.govt.nz.