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Tourists should not be hoodwinked by labelling

Sue Bradford
Government Spokesperson for Buy Kiwi Made

4 December 2007 Media Statement

Tourists should not be hoodwinked by labelling

Tourism retailers have been urged to check the adequacy of souvenir labels that suggest items manufactured offshore are Kiwi made.

“Recently I have seen several shirts for sale in the tourism retail sector that I would consider to have inadequate and potentially misleading labelling,” says Sue Bradford, Government Spokesperson for Buy Kiwi Made.

Research shows most domestic consumers are prepared to pay a price premium for New Zealand made goods. It is likely that tourists are similarly prepared to pay a price premium for items they believe are genuinely made in New Zealand. For the tourism industry to retain its credibility it needs to ensure that all souvenirs are clearly labelled, Ms Bradford says.

The Fair Trading Act and case law together set out requirements for country of origin labelling: an average consumer should be able to work out a country of origin without being misled through use of symbols such as flags, kiwis, national emblems or hidden and obscured country of origin labels.

The Commerce Commission successfully prosecuted two souvenir retailers for breaching the Act in 2002 and has reached out of court settlements with other retailers to accurately label their garments.

“Retailers should check their stocks now for any labelling that suggests, to the consumer, that a product is made in New Zealand when it isn’t,” she says.

Ms Bradford says that practices such as stitching through the country of origin on a label, or prominent use of the kiwi or silver fern to represent New Zealand would be referred to the Commerce Commission where they occurred. “Buy Kiwi Made is not anti-importer, but we don’t want a situation where imported goods are mistaken for New Zealand made goods and unfairly disadvantage New Zealand manufacturers.”

ENDS

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