General quantity labelling requirements
Goods sold by weight, measure or number must have their quantity marked or labelled using one of the units of the metric system.
All packaged goods sold by quantity must comply with the following labelling/marking requirements:
- Units of the metric system must be used, as follows:
- Net weight: Kilograms, grams or milligrams.
- Liquid measure: Litres, decilitres, centilitres or millilitres.
- Measures of length: Metres, centimetres or millimetres.
- Only one unit of weight or measure must be used.
- Decimals must be used for part units — that is, 1.5L not 1½L.
- The marking of net weight or measure must be:
- in a prominent position
- in close proximity to the name or description of the goods (if applicable)
- clearly written or printed in letters and figures at least 2 mm in height, and in a colour that contrasts distinctly with the background.
However, if — due to the size of the goods or package — it's not possible to use letters and figures of at least 2 mm, the marking may be in smaller letters and figures. These should still be large enough to be clear and legible.
The marking must be in the form of one of the following examples:
|NET WEIGHT 1.5 kg
NET 1.5 kg
|NET MEASURE 1.5 L
NET 1.5 L
There are specific requirements and exemptions for food items.
See Food quantity labelling requirements and exemptions for more information.
Permitted units and abbreviations
Permitted units and their accepted abbreviations are shown below.
|Litre||l or L|
|Decilitre||dl or dL|
|Centilitre||cl or cL|
|Millilitre||ml or mL|
Imperial units of measure
You can only use an imperial unit of weight or measure on a mark or label if:
- it's additional to, and not given greater prominence than, the metric marking, AND
- the goods have been imported into New Zealand, or
- the goods are part of a line that is intended for retail sale in NZ and other countries, and the law within that other country requires them to be marked with a non-metric unit.
Unlabelled/unmarked goods that are delivered
If goods that are not marked with a statement of quantity are delivered to a purchaser who is not on the seller’s premises, they must be accompanied by an invoice or delivery note. Goods that are weighed in front of the purchaser at the purchaser’s premises are exempted from this requirement.
The invoice or delivery note must:
- be sent as soon as possible to the purchaser, and
- detail the net quantity delivered, along with the seller's address, telephone number and email address.
Goods delivered loose in bulk
When goods are delivered loose in bulk, the invoice or delivery note should also include:
- the date
- the name and address of the customer, and
- a description of the goods delivered.
This includes goods such as:
- loose coal
- home-heating fuel, such as example diesel or kerosene
- garden or landscape supplies, such as compost, stones and pebbles and mulch.
It's not permitted to use the following terms in the statement of quantity:
- 'approximately' — or to otherwise imply that the purchaser will receive an estimated quantity of goods
- 'when packed' — the purchaser must receive the stated net quantity.
Using these terms won't give you a defence if your goods are found to be short quantity.
Other examples of unacceptable quantity statements are shown below.
|Common marking faults||Non-compliant example||Compliant example|
|Including a period (full stop) or the letter ‘s’ after the symbol||2kg. or 2kgs or 330mls||2kg|
|Using confusing or conflicting statements||Net weight inclusive of packaging||Net Weight|
|Using the incorrect case or abbreviation||200G NET.WT.||Net Weight 200g|
Using the term ‘approximate’ in quantity statement
|Contains approximately 3kg||3kg|
Using the term ‘when packed’ in a Net quantity statement
|Net Weight 3kg when packed||Net Weight 3kg|
Using a size range
|Contains between 150g - 200g||Net Weight 150g|