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Chair case sends strong signal on 'buy Kiwi made'

16 July 2008

Chair case sends strong signal on 'buy Kiwi made' integrity

The outcome of a case where a New Plymouth furniture company was convicted under the Fair Trading Act of falsely declaring products 'New Zealand made' underlines the importance of maintaining the integrity of the brand, the Green Party says.

The Commerce Commission deserves to be congratulated for its decision to prosecute a New Plymouth company promoting chairs that were mostly constructed overseas - but assembled here - as made in New Zealand, Regional Economic Development Spokesperson Sue Bradford says.

"The case - taken against Knights Business Furniture under the Fair Trading Act - is good for manufacturers and workers who are making a living here in New Zealand.

"'New Zealand made' is an important brand. Workers' jobs and business viability rely on it.

"It needs to be well protected so when people make the choice to buy New Zealand made, they know what they are getting, and that they are supporting their fellow Kiwi workers and businesses with their decision.

"Some manufacturers have expressed concerns to me in the past about the actions of those who attempt to mislead consumers with images and labels that imply that they are selling a New Zealand product, when in fact the item comes from overseas.

"Products which are genuinely Kiwi-made rightly command a price premium in the market.

"Manufacturers and retailers need that premium to help them compete against the lower wages and working conditions that often exist in countries with whom they contend for business.

"I commend the Commerce Commission for its work on this case, and the Court for its decision.

"Cases like this are critical as they help set a benchmark so that other companies can avoid making the same mistake in future."


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