The New Zealand Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) is designed to provide consumers with clear information on the water consumption and water efficiency of new water-using products. The WELS provides standardised labelling at the point of sale.
The WELS will help consumers identify products that use less water and perform satisfactorily. For consumers, reduced water use has a number of benefits, particularly reduced hot water use and associated energy costs.
Purpose of this guide
This guide is designed to supplement the Consumer Information Standard (Water Efficiency) Regulations 2010 (the Regulations) under the Fair Trading Act 1986 and specific standards with information on what importers, manufacturers, and retailers need to do in order to comply. The Regulations refer to a number of technical standards, and it is essential that these are read in conjunction with the Regulations and this guide for compliance purposes. This guide does not provide a legal interpretation of the Regulations. You are advised to seek your own legal advice if required.
Supplier and retailer responsibilities
New Zealand importers and manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that any products they import or manufacture are tested and meet the information disclosure (labelling) requirements.
Retailers also have a role to play in ensuring products they display and supply comply with the labelling requirements. This includes WELS products for sale online. Anyone supplying or offering to supply a product covered by the Regulations must ensure products clearly display the label, that the label is legible, and that it is clear which product the label applies to.
Plumbers who supply and/or install a WELS product after 1 April 2011 should ensure that the product has been WELS rated and labelled (old stock does not have to comply until 1 April 2013), and provide the WELS information (ie, the label or text) to the customer.
The Regulations are based on parts of the Australia/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 6400, Water efficient products – Rating and labelling, which in turn references parts of other Australian and New Zealand standards. Refer to Appendix A for a list of referenced standards.
To access and purchase copies of the standards please go to <www.standards.co.nz/services/default.htm>. These standards are not included in this guide as there is a fee to obtain them to cover the cost in preparing and updating them.