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BusinessMay 14, 2018

Commerce Commission launches investigation into WORLD Made in NZ labelling


Nine complaints made to regulator following Spinoff investigation published last week.

The Commerce Commission has opened an investigation into the accuracy of the labelling of some WORLD garments after it received nine complaints. The inquiry follows the Spinoff’s publication last week of an investigation revealing that t-shirts manufactured in Bangladesh had WORLD labels attached saying Fabrique En Nouvelle Zelande, ‘Made in NZ’.

The Commerce Commission issued a statement today reminding all businesses that claims of ‘Made in New Zealand’ must be carefully addressed and accurate so as not to mislead consumers.

“Consumers will often be influenced by the origin of goods when they are considering whether to buy something and are likely to – and are entitled to – rely on the information provided by the retailer about origin,” said Commissioner Anna Rawlings.

“Some consumers are happy to pay a higher price for goods which they believe are made in New Zealand, and for some, this represents an important ethical decision. Country of origin claims are also important for local manufacturers that want to protect the value placed on a genuinely New Zealand made product.”

The Commission noted that this is not the first time the Commission has adjudicated a country of origin case. Others include bee pollen sourced from China labelled as New Zealand. The health supplement company and its owner were fined more than $500,000.

Dame Denise L’Estrange-Corbet, co-founder of WORLD, disputed The Spinoff’s reporting, insisting that WORLD had not misled consumers and the clothing’s place of manufacture was presented clearly enough. Her tactics in response were addressed by the Spinoff editor here, and in a report yesterday by RNZ’s Mediawatch here.

At the Voyager Media Awards on Friday evening, Sinead Boucher, Chief Executive of Stuff and a board member of the Newspaper Publishers’ Association, pointed to WORLD’s response to the Spinoff reporting as an example of the “fake news” style attacks faced by media.

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