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A Landmark Case in NZ - Foreign Spammer Slammed by Judge

In August this year the High Court slammed an Australian business man in penalties and costs for his spam emails. Heralded a landmark case, the decision confirms that the sending of spam emails from other countries into New Zealand is a breach of the Unsolicited Electronics Messages Act 2007.

Perth man Wayne Mansfield ran business seminars in New Zealand. The penalty imposed by the High Court were for spam emails promoting the seminars which were sent to more than 80,000 email addresses.

The Department of Internal Affairs received 53 complaints. When a department investigator contacted Mansfield he was confident that the emails complied with the legislation, yet he was unable to provide that he had the consent of the email recipients. One complainant said she continued to receive the emails after asking to be unsubscribed.

The High Court said Mansfield's conduct was clearly either deliberate or reckless. It was clear that Mansfield knew about the Act and by sending the emails he was "chancing his arm."

The High Court fined Mansfield $95,000 and imposed court costs of over $10,000. Mansfield is the third person to be prosecuted in New Zealand for sending spam.