New Zealand needs a clear, easily understood, and legal definition of the term ‘Made in New Zealand’, Green Party Consumer Affairs spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.
The Green Party carried out a survey of 60 New Zealanders from across the country, and found that most have little understanding of what the term ‘Made in New Zealand’ means.
“The majority of consumers surveyed assumed the statement ‘Made in New Zealand’ meant the ingredients had come from New Zealand and that the product was manufactured in New Zealand,” Ms Kedgley said.
“This shows that consumers are being misled. There is actually no requirement that all the ingredients come from New Zealand.”
Ms Kedgley said many consumers want to buy New Zealand food, and in the absence of mandatory country of origin labelling, relied on terms like ‘Made in New Zealand'.
“Many look upon it as a guarantee the product is actually made from New Zealand ingredients.
“However, it does not mean this. Our researcher found a number of products stating they are ‘Made in New Zealand’ when many of their ingredients are sourced overseas.”
Ms Kedgley said countries like Australia and Canada have clear, legal definitions for the term.
Australian regulations specify that ‘Made in Australia’ can be used where the product has been substantially transformed in Australia, and where 50% or more of production costs have been incurred in Australia.
“The Commerce Commission advised a Green Party researcher to hire a lawyer to interpret the legislation, or seek guidance from a Commerce Commission document entitled Country of Origin Representation,” said Ms Kedgley.
“However this document concludes ‘it is not possible to set out a precise formula which will prescribe exactly which products can be called 'New Zealand Made'.
“New Zealand needs a clear, legal definition to ensure consumers are not being misled and deceived by the term ‘Made in New Zealand’, and that manufacturers are not using the term incorrectly,” said Ms Kedgley.