Make it our Right to Repair
Are you frustrated that products aren’t made to last and when they break, they are not repairable? You are not alone!
A 2020/2021 Consumer NZ survey of 5000 New Zealanders found that 76% of participants would rather get products repaired than throw them out and buy a new one
By reducing product quality, and making products hard to repair, companies can sell stuff more cheaply. This fuels trends like ‘fast fashion, ‘fast furniture’ and ‘fast electronics’.
As a result, our landfills are filling up, our climate is heating up, and every day we are wasting money replacing broken items that should be lasting far longer.
Recycling alone isn’t enough to reduce the mountain of discarded stuff that ends up clogging our landfills.
It doesn’t have to be this way! In the past, stuff was built to last, and there were skilled people throughout Aotearoa New Zealand who could repair your appliances, computer or furniture for a fraction of the cost of replacing them.
Join us in calling on the Minister for the Environment to consider the following measures to make it easier and cheaper for people to get items repaired in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to turn the tide on the waste we create:
1. Pass laws that require products to last longer and be easier to repair
Aotearoa New Zealand is behind many countries in the world when it comes to protecting the Right-to-Repair in law. We call on the Government to look to the best overseas examples of Right-to-Repair laws and pass our own laws in a short space of time, to ensure that products put on the market in New Zealand meet basic standards of durability and repairability.
Laws need to ensure that spare parts are made available, and that independent repairers have access to the tools and information they need to fix broken items. Achieving good outcomes for repair requires changes to education, to consumer law, copyright law and waste minimisation law.
We ask that the Government also promote circular product design and repair across the education sector, to ensure students are learning skills and mindsets to create sustainable technologies.
2. Take action to make repair services accessible and affordable for everyone
We call on both central and local government to ensure equitable access and availability of repair services in communities across Aotearoa. In particular, actively supporting the growth of both for-profit and community-based repair services, and introducing reliable funding mechanisms for these businesses and organisations.
Good tools for this job could include: targeted waste levy funding,
subsidies for repair, providing free or low-cost physical spaces in cities and towns for repair hubs, and making sure that product stewardship schemes cover the costs of repair, as well as recycling.
3. Ensure consumers have access to information on product repairability and durability
When purchasing products in Aotearoa, it can be difficult to tell whether a product is good quality or easily repairable, due to a lack of information.
We call on the Government to support Consumer NZ in developing a labelling or certification scheme to be displayed on key products, such as electronics, furniture and textiles, so consumers know how long a particular product is expected to last.
We would like to see Aotearoa adopt a ‘repairability index” (similar to the French one) so that people can see how easy it is to get an item repaired before they buy it.
4. Require producers to offer spare parts and repair services
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act manufacturers need to provide spare parts and access to repair services for their products. However, if they let the consumer know at the point of sale that there are no spare parts or repair services then they can opt out of this provision. We urge you to amend the Consumer Guarantees Act so that no manufacturer can opt out of this.
It's time to reclaim our right to buy durable products that are easy to repair. We want Government to hold producers and retailers responsible for the whole life-cycle costs of the products they put into the market.