Electronic signatures are common in New Zealand and are generally well accepted in the business community. They are regularly used to sign general business contracts, employment contracts, leasing agreements, and other common types of contracts. The key legislation governing the use of electronic signatures is the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017(CCLA). CCLA Part 4 defines “electronic signature” broadly and does not distinguish between different types of electronic signatures.
CCLA Part 4 states that an electronic signature has the same level of enforceability and admissibility as a “wet signature” so long as the electronic signature meets the following requirements:
The threshold for satisfying the reliability requirement above is reasonably low and it is presumed that an electronic signature is “as reliable as appropriate” if:
New Zealand law does not require electronic signature data to be stored only within New Zealand. However, if electronic signature data collected in New Zealand contains any personal information, then the Privacy Act will apply, even if that data has been transferred outside New Zealand.
Transacting with public sector entities
There are no special requirements or restrictions for using electronic signatures with government entities, although government departments may have their own policies.
Use cases that generally require a traditional signature
In New Zealand there are certain use cases that require a traditional ‘wet” signature. The CCLA Part 4 expressly excludes the use of electronic signatures, if:
In terms of documents, the relevant exclusions are:
In terms of statutes, the relevant exclusions include statutes relating to elections and referenda; particular provisions of statutes and regulations explicitly named by the CCLA Part 4; and particular provisions of enactments relating to the practice or procedure of courts, tribunals and other forums (such as the Plumbers, Gasfitters, and Drainlayers Board).
Disclaimer: Information on this page is intended to help businesses understand the legal framework of electronic signatures. However, Adobe cannot provide legal advice. You should consult an attorney regarding your specific legal questions. Laws and regulations change frequently, and this information may not be current or accurate. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Adobe provides this material on an "as-is" basis. Adobe disclaims and makes no representation or warranty of any kind with respect to this material, express, implied or statutory, including representations, guarantees or warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or accuracy.