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‘Toothpick’ pistol crossbows illegal in New Zealand

3 July 2017

The Commerce Commission is advising those selling ‘mini’ or ‘toothpick’ pistol crossbows that these products are likely to be covered by an unsafe goods notice and cannot be sold in New Zealand.

Unsafe goods notices are effectively a product ban put in place by the Government to address product-related safety issues. There are currently seven unsafe goods notices in effect and the Commission is responsible for enforcing these in New Zealand.

Pistol crossbows without safety catches on the firing mechanism were declared unsafe goods under the Fair Trading Act in October 1989. It is an offence under the Fair Trading Act to supply, offer to supply, advertise to supply or import pistol crossbows without safety catches.

The Commission first became aware of the mini pistol crossbows for sale on Trade Me last week. When contacted by the Commission Trade Me took immediate action to remove the listings.  

Anyone currently selling the crossbows in New Zealand should immediately remove them from sale.

Anyone who has purchased one of these crossbows from a New Zealand trader should return it to the trader for a refund.


The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs may declare any goods (or class of goods) to be unsafe if it appears to the Minister that:

•    the goods will or may cause injury to any person
•    a reasonably foreseeable use (including misuse) of the goods will or may cause injury to any person.

When they are first made, Unsafe Goods Notices last for up to 18 months. After this, Unsafe Goods Notices lapse unless they are renewed, reworked and reissued, or made permanent. In making an Unsafe Goods Notice permanent the Minister must consult with those people who will be substantially affected and consider their feedback.

There are currently seven Unsafe Goods Notices (external link), six of which are permanent:

•    Pistol Crossbows (permanent)
•    Candles and Candlewicks (permanent)
•    Hot Water Bottles
•    Lead in Children’s Toys (permanent)
•    Chainsaws Without a Chain Brake (permanent)
•    Small High Powered Magnets (permanent)
•    Multipurpose Ladders (permanent)