Saturday, August 14, 2010

Made In New Zealand, Not

It could be the ‘world cup effect,’ or just a coincidence, but there has been a lot in the media recently about New Zealand promotional goods not actually being made in New Zealand.

Two different stories have cropped up in the last few says  which makes us wonder if there are moves afoot to clean-up the industry before next year, or whether it’s the country of origin (China) of some of these product that’s causing patriotic Kiwis some embarrassment.

In the first story Prokiwi International Limited, a company based in Christchurch that supplies souvenir and gift shops at airports and major tourist destinations, were fined $48,000 for breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

Apparently the company pleaded guilty to 17 representative charges for providing products that were “packaged in a way likely to mislead customers that the products were New Zealand made when this was not true.” The products in question were a range of soaps and skin products, manufactured in China made from ingredients sourced from Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

The Commerce Commission’s media release said:
“Prokiwi International’s company logo is a graphic of a kiwi together with the words Aotearoa New Zealand. This, combined with the names of the products, such as New Zealand Honey Hand Lotion, New Zealand Kiwifruit Lip Balm and New Zealand Lanolin Soap, and the use of iconic New Zealand images such as a bee on a manuka flower, kiwifruit and a merino ram in front of Mount Cook on the packaging, would give consumers the strong impression that they were purchasing New Zealand made products,” said Graham Gill Commerce Commission Enforcement Manager, Auckland.”
Cheeky, naughty even for misusing the carefully cultivated  brand image , but here’s the rub – honest Kiwi businesses were loosing out because overseas products were undercutting them:
“Many consumers are influenced by the country of origin of goods and this is particularly so in the case of prospective purchasers in tourist or souvenir shops where buyers are looking for a memento of their visit to New Zealand that is New Zealand made. The packaging used by Prokiwi International not only misled consumers who believed that they were buying New Zealand made souvenirs, but disadvantaged other businesses who were selling genuine New Zealand sourced and made products. The Prokiwi International products were sold at significantly lower prices alongside nearly identical competing products that were genuine New Zealand made products, unfairly giving Prokiwi International a competitive advantage,” said Mr Gill.” Read the full statement here
How can locally made products be more expensive than imported Chinese made goods that are subject to shipping charges, import charges, customs and MAF fees etc. ? is everything “made” in New Zealand charged at a premium because of the strong image ‘brand New Zealand’ has?

Our second story appeared in the NZ Herald and involved a subject a lot closer to New Zealand’s heart  – rugby, surely the last bastion of New Zealand patriotism.

It seems that All Blacks scarves and beanies aren’t made from New Zealand wool, shocking! but what’s far worse is – they’re not even made in New Zealand.

The scarves and beanies sported by All Blacks supporters are being made of acrylic – not New Zealand wool – after their manufacture was shifted overseas, where they have been made since, well, ages ago!… 1999 if the Herald’s article is anything to go by.
The Herald said that
“supporters of the local wool industry say they are dismayed at adidas’s actions before the Rugby World Cup.”
Margaret Tenet, chief executive of Textiles New Zealand, said she believed the All Blacks should be backing New Zealand industries.”
And rightly so. Besides which, many visiting fans may want to buy these products because they are looking for a ‘memento of their visit to New Zealand that is New Zealand made’
“Nick Nicholson of the Council of Wool Exporters said Chinese manufacturers, who were among the main producers for adidas, had “developed an awful lot” but he was also concerned wool was not being used. “I would be surprised if [the items] were not produced overseas but the fact is it’s not wool [which is] a far superior product.”
But New Zealand Rugby Union commercial manager Paul Dalton said the days of local clothing suppliers producing specialist items for a global market were probably long gone. He said adidas had made much of the All Blacks’ line of clothing overseas since 1999.
The price tags of $50 for scarves and $40 for beanies would probably be twice as much if they were made locally and with wool.” read the full article on the Herald
$50, for an acrylic souvenir scarf. How much would a British fan have to part with to collect rugby supporter scarves from different nations? we did a quick straw poll, comparing New Zealand with two other countries based on today’s exchange rates on

All Blacks scarf $50 =£22.58
Wallabies scarf $30 = £15.17
England scarf = £4.99

Should fans be paying such a high price for an item that’s not even made in New Zealand and if they wanted to buy a genuine ‘Made in NZ’ piece of Kiwiana  to treasure for always would they be able to find one?

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Today's posts - click here


  1. For cheap stuff like keychains, they outsource that. For more upmarket things like possum fur neckscarves, those are very expensive.

    Btw your text overwrites your images on the page and your site also prompts for some old dial up connection to be established, for no reason (other pages do not do this). If this helps you figure out what is technically wrong. Java?

  2. Hi anon, thanks for the feedback. This template is buggy and there are known issues with Internet Explorer, eventually the pages do load properly but perhaps only on broadband. In the short term you could try using another browser until we sort it out.



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