E-sign Laws: New Zealand

By Will Elton, Updated: 2021-09-23 (published on 2020-08-04)

Learn all about the e-sign laws in New Zealand to make the ease of doing business a cinch. 

Part 11: Signing in to the digital age

E-sign Laws New Zealand

Named the world’s easiest country to conduct business in 2016, New Zealand is not just a pretty face. The beautiful country boasts legal business structures that facilitate the smooth incorporation of companies. 

Adding on to this, New Zealand introduced its Electronic Transactions Act in 2002 to help make international business activities even more convenient especially on the go. It adopts an open legal model.

New Zealand welcomes foreign investors, implementing many business incentives that entices people to start a business in the land of the long white cloud.

As an example of how simple and convenient New Zealand’s procedures have become, have a look at their electronic signature regulations. 

Read on to learn more about the legal compliance for electronic signatures in New Zealand specifically and watch out for more in this series on Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Cayman Islands, and BVI.


The Rules and laws for e-sign in New Zealand

(22) Legal requirement for signature:

(1) Subject to subsection (2), a legal requirement for a signature other than a witness’ signature is met by means of an electronic signature if the electronic signature—

  1. adequately identifies the signatory and adequately indicates the signatory’s approval of the information to which the signature relates; and

  2. is as reliable as is appropriate given the purpose for which, and the circumstances in which, the signature is required.

(2) A legal requirement for a signature that relates to information legally required to be given to a person is met by means of an electronic signature only if that person consents to receiving the electronic signature.

Applicability of an Electronic Signature 

(24) Presumption about reliability of electronic signatures:

(1) For the purposes of sections 22 and 23, it is presumed that an electronic signature is as reliable as is appropriate if—

  1. the means of creating the electronic signature is linked to the signatory and to no other person; and
  2. the means of creating the electronic signature was under the control of the signatory and of no other person; and
  3. any alteration to the electronic signature made after the time of signing is detectable; and
  4. where the purpose of the legal requirement for a signature is to provide assurance as to the integrity of the information to which it relates, any alteration made to that information after the time of signing is detectable.

(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent any person from proving on other grounds or by other means that an electronic signature—

  1. is as reliable as is appropriate; or
  2. is not as reliable as is appropriate.


Read more from the E-Signature Series:

Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, China, MacauIndonesia, VietnamTaiwan

This article does not constitute legal advice.

The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.

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READ MORE: Is e-signing legally binding? 

EBOOK: E-signatures

Tags: e-sign | electronic signature | electronic transactions act | new zealand | z-sign | z-syndicate | zegal

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