The Commerce Commission has launched an investigation into New Zealand clothing brand WORLD after receiving nine complaints about the accuracy of the "Made in NZ" labels on the brand's t-shirts.
The fashion label, headed by Dame Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, has been under fire with accusations they have misled consumers about the origins of their clothing.
A Spinoff investigation on May 7 revealed the WORLD store in Auckland was found to be carrying tags saying "Fabrique En Nouvelle-Zelande" - French for "Made in New Zealand" - while actually being made up of elements manufactured in Bangladesh and China.
"After a preliminary assessment of these complaints, the Commission has opened an investigation," the Commerce Commission said in a statement.
The Commission also reminded all business that "Made In New Zealand" claims must be accurate, able to be substantiated and must not mislead consumers.
"The Fair Trading Act (FTA) prohibits businesses from making false or misleading claims about the country of origin of their products," the commission said in a release.
"Symbols such as kiwis or the New Zealand flag can also convey a misleading impression about the origin of the product if, in fact, it is not manufactured or produced in New Zealand."
The commission also offered an explanation on what constituted a product that was "made in New Zealand".
For clothing, where is it changed from fabric into a garment? For food, where were the ingredients grown? For manufacturing, was it substantially manufactured in NZ, where was the primary componentry made and did any substantial stages of manufacture occur overseas?
"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,'" Commissioner Anna Rawlings said.
"For clothing, an accurate claim might say 'Designed in NZ and manufactured in China.'"