Your legal rights
In New Zealand, you have a range of legal rights as an employee, consumer or user of services such as health services.
If something happens that you feel is against your legal rights, you can complain. The Complaint line website has a list of agencies you can contact to help solve your problem.
Everyone who works in New Zealand has the same basic rights in the workplace, no matter what work you do or what position you hold.
For more information and where to get help, visit our Employment Rights page.
New Zealand has laws to protect you when you buy any goods. If the goods are faulty or are different from how they were advertised , you can ask for a refund, repair or replacement. You can find out more about your rights as a consumer on the Consumer Protection website.
The Commerce Commission also has information in different languages including Māori, Samoan, Tongan, Chinese and Korean.
Keep the paperwork
When you buy any major goods and services, keep receipts, quotes and estimates, copies of agreements and similar documents. They can help if you have a problem later on.
Your rights in the health system
When you use New Zealand’s health and disability services, you are protected by the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights.
You have a right to:
- receive the information you need to make decisions about your health and treatments
- have information given to you in a way that you understand it
- make a choice based on the information and give your consent before you undergo a test or treatment
- be treated with respect and dignity, taking into account your cultural needs and values
- have a support person with you in most situations
- services being provided with reasonable care and skill
- complain about a provider, in a way that is appropriate for you.
If English is not your first language, the Health and Disability Commissioner website has information in over 40 other languages.
Police and legal rights
For an overview of your rights when dealing with the police, check our New Zealand Police page.
Rights to privacy and personal information
You have the right to understand who holds your information and why, and the right to review and correct that information.
There are restrictions on how government and private organisations can store and use your information.
You can complain if an organisation reveals your personal information without your agreement or if they refuse to let you see information about yourself.
Broadcasting and advertising standards
New Zealand has a Broadcasting Act with Codes and standards that outline what is required of broadcasters when they broadcast programmes in New Zealand. The standards differ slightly depending on the format, eg radio, free-to-air TV, or election programme.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) checks that advertising is not misleading, and is socially responsible. You can complain to the ASA if you think an advertisement breaks any of the advertising codes.
You can complain if you think a TV or radio programme or advertisement has not followed the standards, for example if you think it goes against good taste and decency.