Trust & Safety Blog

Advertising sawn indigenous timber and indigenous logs on Trade Me

A guest post by the Ministry for Primary Industries

The harvesting, milling, and export of indigenous timber is managed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Forests Act 1949. The purpose of the Act is to promote the sustainable forest management of New Zealand’s indigenous forest land. To mill indigenous timber your sawmill must be registered with MPI, and the timber must have a valid Forests Act approval, such as a milling statement.

MPI monitors the sale of indigenous timber, including Trade Me listings, as part of our normal regulatory activity. We have recently noticed a number of listings for sawn indigenous timber that do not mention a Forests Act approval, and listings for logs that do not inform buyers of their requirements under the Forests Act.

We believe it is in the interests of all those buying and selling indigenous timber to understand the legal requirements for milling indigenous timber, and to have this information provided in the listing description.

Milling indigenous timber in contravention of the Act is liable upon conviction to a fine of up to $200,000 and to a further fine not exceeding $10,000 for every day during which the offence continues.

If you’re intending to sell sawn indigenous timber, we would appreciate it if you included the following in your listing description:

  • A statement to the effect that the timber was harvested and milled in accordance with the Forests Act.
  • Your approval number (e.g. 7-01-0XXXX).

If you’re intending to sell indigenous logs, and you think people might want to mill them for timber, we would appreciate it if you included the following sentence in your listing description:

“The milling of native timber is regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries under the Forests Act 1949. If you intend to mill this timber, you will need to register your sawmill with MPI and apply for a milling statement.”

If your listing is for recycled or demolition timber, simply state as such in your listing (you do not need an approval for this timber).

If you have any questions or are unsure what to include in your listing description, please get in touch with us (MPI) on 0800 00 83 33, or email

MPI will be following up with any sellers that do not take the appropriate action. For further information on indigenous Forestry and the Forests Act, including how to register a sawmill or apply for milling approval, head over to our website.


Trade Me thanks MPI for this post and notes that while the wording is voluntary, we strongly recommend members use it in their listings. 

As an ‘in trade’ seller, what are your delivery obligations?

It can be exciting when you’ve made another sale and your business is thriving. However, your job isn’t done just yet – you need to make sure the item arrives safely with your buyer. The Consumer Guarantee Act provides some guidance around what’s expected – read on for more info.indy-kev-square

What happens if an item gets damaged in the post?

Any goods that a seller delivers or organises to be delivered, must arrive to the buyer in an acceptable condition. If an item is described in a listing as being 10/10 perfect condition, this is what the buyer is expecting to receive. If the seller sends an item and it gets damaged in the post, it’s the seller’s responsibility to remedy the situation.

Does an item need to arrive quickly?

Sellers need to make sure the item arrives within the agreed time period. If a time period hasn’t been agreed upon, the item needs to be delivered within a reasonable time frame. For example, you wouldn’t expect a life-sized sculpture of Gandalf to be delivered the same day as the purchase, although that would be awesome. On the other hand, you wouldn’t expect a new pair of socks to take three weeks to arrive. In these situations, good old common sense prevails.

If an item does not arrive, it is the seller's responsibilty to resolve the matter - either by replacement at no cost or by full refund. 

What happens if ‘in trade’ sellers don’t meet the requirements under the Consumer Guarantees Act?

If a buyer receives an item and there’s significant damage, it’s reasonable to expect a seller to do one of the following things:

  1. repair the damage within a reasonable time frame
  2. or replace the damaged goods
  3. or refund the buyer in full.

If a seller is required to remedy the damage but doesn’t, the buyer has the following options:

  • have the damage repaired elsewhere and the seller covers the cost
  • or reject the goods and have them returned to the seller.

Please note that sellers are responsible for any return shipping costs.

What if an item is damaged by the postal company?

If this happens, a seller’s first responsibility is to remedy the situation for the buyer. A claim can then be filed with the postal company to recover any losses. However, a seller needs to resolve the situation with the buyer, no matter the result of the claim with the postal company (i.e. resolve the problem without regard to any dealings with the postal company).

If you find yourself in a similar situation and don’t know what to do…

We all understand that things can sometimes go wrong. If you ever find yourself in a bit of a pickle and don’t know what to do, our awesome Customer Support team is available 24/7 and are happy to help.

Keep safe from Phishing

Some of our members have reported receiving emails that look like they’ve come from Trade Me, and are asking them for personal information. We thought it was a good time to let you know how to spot them, and what to do if you receive one.

Here are two examples of emails that were not sent by us. This scam is called phishing, where scammers mimic a legitimate company, in this case Trade Me emails and the Trade Me website, in an attempt to trick you into giving away your personal information including credit card details.

If you’ve received one, don’t click on the links in the email, and delete it. 


Here's another example of a phishing attempt:


Steps for you to take:

  • If you have received a suspicious email please forward it to
  • If you have entered your credit card details into one of these fraudulent websites, call your bank now and explain the situation.
  • If you have entered your Trade Me login details into a phishing website, you will need to reset your Trade Me password immediately, please call us immediately on 0800 334 332 for assistance.
  • As a security precaution we recommend you run a full virus scan on your computer immediately, you can find out more here.
  • If you use the same password elsewhere, it’s possible that your other online accounts may also be accessed, so be sure to update your password and any security questions there too.
  • If you'd like to know more about phishing, feel free to check out our guide on how to protect yourself online from scams.

Keeping your Trade Me account secure

We’ve all seen the (sometimes kevin-cool-shadeembarrassing) results of leaving a Facebook account unattended.

While the outcomes can be a little different, and whether it's on purpose or not, letting other people use your Trade Me account can be just as problematic. 

Even when it comes to your nearest and dearest, we need to know it's only the account holder using the Trade Me account. In clause 3.4 of our terms and conditions, we say that “you are responsible for keeping your login information, including your email address and password, secret and secure”.

This is especially important if your partner/family/friend (or anyone else that could access your account) has been banned from Trade Me. 

If you have concerns about someone else accessing your account, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep your account password safe – rather than writing it down, try and create a password that’s easy for you to remember, but difficult for someone else to guess.
  • Create a password that has a mix of capital letters, numbers and other characters.
  • Opt to not let your browser automatically save your password.
  • If you want to be super careful and you’re not using your normal computer, you could also clear your cookies when you’re done.
  • If you’re logging in on someone else’s computer, it’s a good idea to leave the ‘Remember me’ box unticked. 

For some more tips on staying ‘cyber safe’ on Trade Me, check out this blog post.

Disclosure of Australian Statutory motor vehicle 'write offs' now required


We’re concerned that there is an unquantified number of vehicles in the New Zealand fleet that have been through the statutory write-off process in Australia* and then on-sold to New Zealand buyers and dealers, who are not aware of the history of the vehicle. So we’re doing something about it.

We’ve made a new policy around the information that must be disclosed by Motor Vehicle Traders listing these vehicles.

All motor vehicle traders listing vehicles on Trade Me must disclose in the listing body if a vehicle imported from Australia was a statutory write off.

This applies to vehicles imported from 1 January 2011

We’ve outlined this requirement in our banned and restricted list, and this policy comes into effect on 1 July 2016.

Why is this an issue?

Vehicles which have been written off in Australia may have suffered significant damage, including flood or fire.

Although they may have been cleaned, the damage may only have been repaired cosmetically to get the vehicle past border compliance, and there could be underlying safety issues (particularly with regards to electrical componentry).

We‘re concerned about the safety of our members and we believe consumers need to know the accurate history of a vehicle so they have the opportunity to have the vehicle inspected for specific types of damage or repair.

We understand that vehicles are meant to entry certification before vehicles are able to be driven on NZ roads, but there are ways to ‘work around’ this regulatory requirement.

We’re aware of cases where consumers have paid the same price for vehicles that have been through the statutory write-off process as they would for vehicles that have not suffered significant damage. This means consumers are paying an inflated price for these vehicles based on a misleading impression of the vehicle’s history. And that’s just not cool.

Trade Me is not protesting against vehicles being appropriately repaired and then on-sold in New Zealand, but we believe consumers need to have an accurate picture of the true state of the vehicle to assess the vehicle’s worth with full information.

We believe that motor vehicle dealers who fail to disclose this information are making a misrepresentation by omission and this could amount to a breach of the Fair Trading Act. We are aware the Commerce Commission is  investigating this issue. 

How can motor vehicle traders comply with this policy?

New Zealand importers will be fully aware of the history of vehicles they import from Australia. This is always recorded on the documentation accompanying the vehicle as it enters New Zealand. Other motor vehicle traders may use NZTA or MotorWeb to check the status of the vehicle.

We recognise that the NZTA’s database is a starting point and not a comprehensive data set.

If there is any doubt as to a vehicle’s status, traders may wish to consider exploring the vehicle’s repair certification status as a lead. 

We expect traders to make best endeavours to determine the vehicle’s status and disclose if the vehicle was a statutory write-off, particularly if the vehicle was imported into NZ on or after 1 January 2011.

Why is Trade Me taking this action and not the Government?

We look out for our members and where the Government has not yet taken action, we often get stuck in because it is the right thing to do.

While we are making this change for the benefit of Trade Me’s members, it is our view that this information should be a regulatory requirement for all vehicles statutorily written off for both Australian and the rest of the world.

Trade Me believes this information should be a mandatory requirement on the Consumer Information Notice. Further, to ensure the greater provision of information to consumers, we believe the CIN should be displayed on all online classified advertising. 

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith responds:

“It is important that consumers have easy access to key information when making purchasing decisions. If you buy a second-hand car from a dealer, consumers do have rights under the Fair Trading Act.

“Under this Act, it’s unlawful for these businesses to mislead or deceive you, or to give you false information about vehicles they’re selling.

“I wholeheartedly agree with Trade Me’s sentiment that taking steps to mislead or deceive a purchaser at the point of sale about a motor vehicle’s history is unacceptable.

“I understand information regarding statutory write-offs from Australia has been available on the NZ Transport Agency website for some time. The Government recognises that this information needs to be more readily accessible to consumers, and is making changes. I am actively considering whether regulatory change to the current Consumer Information Notice (CIN) requirements is necessary or whether consumers can be provided with this information through other mechanisms.

“I will be watching the developments closely and have asked officials to report back to me on progress.”

* Statutory write offs are vehicles that are written off for insurance purposes because they’ve suffered significant damage. This damage could be from a crash, flood, fire or other accident. Once a vehicle is written off in Australia, it's never allowed back on the road - hence the export market to NZ.

Image credit courtesy Creative Commons licence by The NMRA