New Zealand's electrical trade organisation is calling on the government to change regulations so imported electrical cabling would be tested when it arrived in the country.

This comes after the New Zealand Herald revealed a number of buildings had been fitted with faulty cabling, which WorkSafe said posed a "significant" electric shock and fire risk to households.

Under current regulations, electrical cabling is deemed a medium risk import product, which meant it was required to be tested but was not necessarily checked when it arrived in New Zealand.

As long as it had documentation to show it had been tested as safe for New Zealand, it could be imported.


However New Zealand Master Electricians chief executive Neville Simpson said the documentation was not always correct and should be double-checked.

"In light of the current issue we are suggesting cable be moved up into the high risk category, in which case it would require approval by WorkSafe before it was imported which would marginally alleviate the issue," Simpson said.

"We have the same issue with lighting products imported into NZ, often they're in the same situation where the documentation supporting them is dodgier than the product."

The issues come a year after more than 1600 tonnes of imported steel from China was found to be below standard and had to be scrapped.

When asked whether the government would look to change import regulations, Prime Minister Bill English said the government "would want to take the steps that ensured the products going to our buildings are quality products".

"[The steel issues] that were uncovered...consequences have flown from that and we would expect the same to occur here if the product is of inferior quality."

Simpson said he had been encouraging members to only use cabling sourced from trusted wholesalers rather than importing from unknown sources.

He said the old adage applied: "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is".