How the Major Events Management Act protects events

The Major Events Management Act provides protection to organisers and sponsors of major events from ambush marketing, and applies to any event that meets its criteria.

About the Act

The Major Events Management Act (the Act) recognises that major events rely on sponsors making very large financial commitments. Clearly those sponsors don’t want others to free-ride on their investments and trade off the goodwill and publicity surrounding an event.

The Act protects the rights of event organisers and official sponsors so they can benefit from their investment in a major event — primarily by preventing businesses that aren’t sponsors from claiming an association with a major event.

Major Event Management Act 2007(external link)

What protections the Act provides

The Act protects the rights of event organisers and sponsors, primarily by preventing businesses that aren’t sponsors from claiming an association with the event.

The main protections in the the Act for events that have been declared to be major events, are prohibitions against:

  • representations that create an unauthorised association between the event and a brand, good or service
  • unauthorised advertising and street trading within declared 'clean' areas around major event venues and transport routes to venues.

The Act also:

  • allows the declaration of key event emblems and words, which can’t be used unless authorised by the event organisers
  • provides for a prohibition on:
    • the on-selling of tickets to major events for more than their original sale price
    • unauthorised persons going onto the playing surface of a major sporting event, or propelling any object onto that playing surface.

Businesses can still benefit from major events

Even though there are some restrictions on what they can and can’t do, businesses can still benefit from a major event. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to attend each major event, which is likely to have a positive impact on retail and other sectors. Major events like these are likely to increase retail sales because of more tourism, and boost trade as a result of the country’s high profile from these events.

Protections like these were in place for the Rugby World Cup 2011 and had little impact on businesses trading as usual.

Commercial protections

Commercial protections under the Act include those for event words and symbols, clean zones, and clean transport routes.

Event words and emblems

In addition to the declaration of an event as a 'major event', the Act makes provision for the declaration of emblems and words to be 'major event' emblems and words. This is to provide protection for the main event logos, trademarks and names.

If you are considering applying for major event status you should also consider what event emblems and words should be protected.

Before recommending the declaration of emblems and words to be 'major event' emblems and words, the minister must also take into account the extent to which, in relation to the major event, emblems and words require protection to:

  • obtain maximum benefits for New Zealanders
  • prevent unauthorised commercial exploitation at the expense of either a major event organiser or a major event sponsor.

Clean zones and transport routes

The Act also gives the Minister for Economic Development the ability to declare:

  • 'clean zones' around major event venues
  • 'clean transport routes' leading to the venues.

Within these areas, there are restrictions on unauthorised advertising and street trading.

Before declaring clean zones or clean transport routes, the Minister must take into account the extent to which — in relation to the major event — clean zones and clean transport routes are required to:

  • obtain maximum benefits for New Zealanders
  • prevent unauthorised commercial exploitation at the expense of either a major event organiser or sponsor.

You should consider whether it's necessary for clean zones and clean transport routes to be declared in relation to your event, and if so the possible location and extent of these zones.

Enforcement for protections

The Act includes civil and criminal enforcement measures to ensure the efficient and effective enforcement of ambush marketing protections. It also makes provision for government-appointed enforcement officers to police the declared clean zones and address immediate incidents of ambush marketing as they occur.

Enforcement officers are empowered under the Act to:

  • issue formal warnings to ambush marketers
  • seize offending material, eg scalped tickets, or material such as flags or t-shirts being sold in the clean zone without authorisation
  • obscure offending material, eg billboards or signs in the clean zone or visible from the clean zone.

During a clean period, unauthorised advertising — unless it is by an existing business honestly carrying out its ordinary activities — is prohibited within the clean zones and anywhere clearly visible from within the clean zone.

Guide to the Act

For business wanting to know how to comply with the Act, there is practical advice in our Guide to the Major Events Management Act 2007.

A Guide to the Major Events Management Act 2007 [PDF, 3.4 MB]

The guide is intended to provide an overview of the purpose of the Act, and to provide clarity on how to avoid breaching the Act.

The Guide includes useful illustrations — such as the examples below — showing practices that meet or don’t meet the requirements of the Act.

More information

It’s not possible to address every situation in the Guide — the examples are intended to provide general guidance only. If you have any concerns about the application of the Act in a particular situation, we recommend you seek legal advice.