9 Aug 2010

Company fined $48,000 over misleading labelling

8:05 pm on 9 August 2010

A Christchurch company has been fined $48,000 for misrepresenting Chinese-made skincare products as being made in New Zealand.

Prokiwi International supplied soap, lip balms and skin lotions to stores, which sold mainly to tourists and pleaded guilty to 17 charges under the Fair Trading Act.

The packaging included the words New Zealand, Aotearoa and images of Aoraki-Mt Cook, a merino ram and kiwifruit, but the products were made in China from Asian ingredients.

Judge Phil Moran told Christchurch District Court on Monday the packaging was a blatant misrepresentation of the products as New Zealand-made and was intended to dupe overseas tourists.

A lawyer for the Commerce Commission, James Donkin, told the court Prokiwi was cynical and had taken minimal steps to label the products correctly after it was warned by the commission.

The commission says some of the company's products are still in stores and it will take further action if they are not removed from sale.