The Commerce Commission has officially opened an investigation into clothing brand World about its "Made in New Zealand" claims.

This comes after a series of complaints launched last week into the brand, following a report on the company's use of swing tags saying "Fabriqué en Nouvelle Zélande" on clothing that had actually been manufactured abroad.

Read more: Commerce Commission receives five complaints following World "Made in NZ" report

After a preliminary assessment of these complaints, the Commission has now decided to open an official investigation into the matter.


The initial reporting on this story sparked a wider discussion across media about "Made in New Zealand" claims being made by other local brands.

Read more: Where your favourite NZ brands are really made

Alongside this announcement, the Commerce Commission has also given a stern warning to New Zealand brands not to make claims about local provenance unless they can be backed up with evidence.

"Any labelling must be clear and truthful," said Commissioner Anna Rawlings.

"For example, if a manufacturing process includes steps taken within New Zealand and overseas, some brands choose to explain this with labelling such as 'Packaged in New Zealand using imported ingredients'. For clothing, an accurate claim might say 'Designed in NZ and manufactured in China.'"

Read more: Comment: Is it time to ditch "made in New Zealand" for "designed in New Zealand"?

Rawlings also reminded businesses that consumers rely on the disclosures they get from retailers and often make ethical decisions on the basis of that information.

"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," Rawlings said.


"Country of origin claims are also important for local manufacturers that want to protect the value placed on a genuinely New Zealand made product."