Our jurisdiction

The Advertising Standards Authority will consider complaints about any advertisement in any medium.  Advertising in New Zealand is regulated by the ASA Codes and its complaints process, working within the legal framework provided by a number of Acts and Regulations that restrict advertising.

Acts that restrict advertising include:

  • Fair Trading Act
  • Medicines Act
  • Gambling Act
  • Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act
  • Smokefree Environments Act
  • Prostitution Reform Act
  • Electoral Act
  • Financial Markets Act

The self-regulation administered by the ASA is a cost effective and efficient way of dealing with a range of complaints about advertising. Government regulation provides a legal back-stop to deal with more serious advertising breaches.

What is an advertisement?

Advertising and advertisement(s) are any message, the content of which is controlled directly or indirectly by the advertiser, expressed in any language and communicated in any medium with the intent to influence the choice, opinion or behaviour of those to whom it is addressed

Television and Radio Programme Promotions

Under the Broadcasting Act, programme promotions, which advertise upcoming programmes or the channel’s brand, are under the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority.


The ASA process deals with advertising. However, for pre-packaged and bulk alcoholic drinks with an alcoholic strength above 1.15% it also covers naming, labelling, packaging and promotion, including sponsorship.

Packaging of other products is outside the ASA’s jurisdiction. Packaging is covered by some government agencies and these include:

  • Food: Food Standards Code – Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Medicines: Medicines Act – Medsafe
  • Consumer products: Fair Trading Act – Commerce Commission

Product / Company Names

The ASA does not deal with complaints about product / company names, in isolation. There may be circumstances when the name of a product or company creates an issue when used in advertising, however, the ASA does not have jurisdiction to require a company to change the name of its product or brand (with the exception of alcohol products, see the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol).