The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has banned the import and sale of chainsaws not fitted with chain brakes on safety grounds.

The New Zealand Customs Service would police the border, with the Commerce Commission enforcing the ban inside New Zealand, ministry spokesman Martin Rushton said.

The ban, which came into effect yesterday, also includes second-hand chainsaws.

Mr Rushton said those breaching the ban faced fines of up to $60,000 for an individual and up to $200,000 for a company.

"Consumers should dispose of any chainsaws they have that do not have a chain brake. The ministry also encourages consumers to report to the Commerce Commission instances where they see retailers selling chainsaws without a chain brake," Mr Rushton said.

"Retailers stocking this type of product should remove them immediately from sale and dispose of them in a responsible manner."

- NZPA