SMRANZ Scrap Metal Recycling Association of New Zealand, INC

I have had metals stolen from my property.  What should I do?

As quickly as you can, report the theft to the NZ Police.  They will give you a file reference number.  Then, report the theft to us, including your police file number, via our stolen metals reporting page  We’ll get the word out to scrap metal operators in your region so if your items are presented for sale, they can intercept them.  It is always helpful to provide photographs (of the actual items or items that are similar) to help with identification.

It’s also very important that you report thefts promptly.

How are scrap metal operators regulated?

Scrap metal operators must be licensed under the Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 2004.  To ensure you are dealing with a reputable business, we recommend that you ask to see a copy of the dealer’s licence if it is not already displayed at the operator’s premises.  This is particularly important when dealing with a mobile operator who collects materials directly from sellers.

I sold scrap metal to an operator and had to produce my driver’s licence as identification.  I think this is a breach of the Privacy Act because there is no need for someone to know my age.

The Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act  requires a dealer to keep a record of all purchases which includes the seller’s full name, address, contact telephone number and date of birth and to verify the seller’s identity.   It is common practice to ask sellers to produce their driver’s licence for this purpose.

What’s the difference between an auto dismantler and a scrap metal operator?

An auto dismantler will buy a vehicle so it can be disassembled and the parts harvested for re-sale.  Any leftover metal is then usually sold to a scrap metal operator.  Scrap metal operators, on the other hand, will purchase a vehicle simply for the metal value alone and do not salvage parts for re-sale.  Typically, a car is worth more for its parts than for its scrap metal value.

I had something stolen but I don’t want to involve the NZ Police.  If your members recover my items, I’d like them to contact me with the details of the person who sold them the goods.  Will you do this?

No.  Under the provisions of the Privacy Act, scrap metal dealers are not able to disclose the personal details of a seller to anyone.  The NZ Police have enforcement powers that enable them to ask for identification from scrap metal operators, to investigate thefts and to lay charges, where appropriate.  Our Association works collaboratively with the NZ Police to help reduce metal theft.  We want all victims of metal theft to file reports with the NZ Police to ensure investigations can be undertaken.