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Coverage of the Regulations

The Regulations apply to the supply, or offers to supply – both in shops and online – of six classes of water-using equipment(WELS products):

  • clothes washing machines
  • dishwashers
  • lavatory equipment
  • showers
  • tap equipment
  • urinal equipment (except waterless urinals).

The scheme does not apply to second-hand goods, or products that are for export and that will not be sold in New Zealand or Australia.

Implementation

The WELS came into effect on 1 April 2010. It was created by the introduction of the Consumer Information Standard (Water Efficiency) Regulations 20101 (the Regulations) under the Fair Trading Act 1986.

The Regulations allow for a transition period before the labelling of products is mandatory. All products manufactured in New Zealand or imported into New Zealand on or after 1 April 2011 must comply with the Regulations from that date. A further period of two years is given to allow for the clearance of stock in existence before 1 April 2011 or for it to be tested and labelled (ie, deadline of 1 April 2013).

Use of Australian labels

Products carrying Australian WELS labels are already on the New Zealand market. The New Zealand Regulations allow this to continue because the testing, rating and information provided by the labels is essentially the same.

Under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) products that are physically and legally able to be sold in New Zealand can be sold in Australia regardless of any sales-related requirements, and vice versa. This means that products with the New Zealand WELS label being sent from New Zealand to Australia can legally be sold there.

New Zealand’s Regulations enable products that fully comply with AS/NZS 6400 to be sold in New Zealand regardless of their origin. For example, a dishwasher made in Thailand that has Australian WELS registration and displays the Australian WELS label can be shipped directly from Thailand to New Zealand and legally sold in New Zealand. This is not provided for under the Australian WELS.

Registration

For the Australian WELS system, products must be registered to comply and suppliers are charged a fee. Registered products are listed in an online comparative database.

In the New Zealand WELS system there is no registration, either for products or suppliers. An online comparative database of registered products is not part of the New Zealand WELS system. To download the free New Zealand WELS label artwork suppliers simply need to go to http://wels.brandfm.com/home/welcome and create a free account online. The account information provided is for monitoring label usage and not “registration”. Therefore, it should not be stated or implied that products or suppliers are “registered” under the New Zealand WELS system.

Product classes

Each of the six product classes covered by the Regulations is defined in AS/NZS 6400. Each class is further defined by reference to one or more of the additional class-specific standards. The product classes are outlined below.

Clothes washing machines and dishwashers

Essentially, all washing machines and dishwashers that require or have an energy-rating label will also need a WELS label.

Clothes washing machines intended for household or similar use, as specified in AS/NZS 2040.2, and dishwashers intended for household or similar use, as specified in AS/NZS 2007.2, are covered by the Regulations.

Showers

Only showers intended for ‘personal bathing’ as specified in AS/NZS 3662 are covered by the Regulations. Safety showers, for example, are specifically excluded. A shower normally consists of a shower head (or shower rose) plus any associated components sold with it, such as hoses and a flow controller.

If two or more conventional shower heads are intended to be installed together in one shower cabinet they should be rated for their total flow and labelled accordingly.

Tap equipment

Taps are defined by their intended uses. Any tap or tap outlet that is for use over a basin, ablution trough, kitchen sink, or laundry tub is covered by the Regulations. Items that might be described as mixers, or using other terminology but which have the function of a tap, are covered by the Regulations if they are intended for possible use in these four types of application.  Taps that are solely for use over a bath are not covered by the Regulations because the flow rate of a bath tap does not affect the amount of water used.

Lavatory equipment

Lavatory equipment comprises toilet (WC) pans and flushing devices (flushing valve or cistern). These are specified in AS 1172.1, AS 1172.2, ATS 5200.020, ATS 5200.021 and ATS 5200.030. Lavatory equipment may be supplied as a set (‘toilet suite’) or as individual components that can be installed in various combinations. For the purposes of the Regulations, lavatory equipment may relate to individual components or complete toilet suites.

Urinal equipment

Urinal equipment includes the urinal and flushing mechanism (being a flushing valve or a cistern) as specified in AS 3982 or ATS 5200.004.

The urinal may be a continuous wall, individual stall, or individual wall-hung type. The flushing mechanism may also be controlled in various ways. Urinal equipment may be supplied as a urinal suite, or as components that can be installed in various combinations. Waterless urinals are not covered by the Regulations.