Providing this information to consumers means consumers can make an informed decision when thinking about whether to buy clothing and footwear.

What is the consumer information standard for country of origin labelling?

Consumer Information Standard (Country of Origin (Clothing and Footwear) Labelling) Regulations 1992 set out the country of origin labelling requirements for new clothing and footwear that suppliers must comply with.

What goods do the rules apply to?

Most new clothing and footwear must carry country of origin labelling.

Footwear includes shoes, athletic shoes and boots, sandals, jandals, boots, slippers, work boots, gumboots and children's shoes.

Some goods are excluded, including:

  • second-hand clothing and footwear
  • jewellery
  • handkerchiefs
  • handbags
  • wigs and hairpieces
  • component parts of footwear or clothing, eg, fabric and insoles
  • kneecap and ankle supports
  • parts of bras, corselets, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles.

Who do the rules apply to?

If you supply, offer to supply or advertise the supply of new clothing or footwear, you must comply with the regulations.

This includes goods for sale:

  • in a shop
  • on online auction sites
  • at markets or stalls.

What are the rules?

All new clothing and footwear you sell must have a label that tells consumers where the product was made. The label or marking must be in English. The lettering must be clear and no individual letter shall be less than 1.5 mm high.

Clothing labels

The label for clothing must be a permanent label which can be seen when examining the clothing. It must be on the item, or if it is not able to be seen because of the way the item is packaged, displayed or folded, it should also be on a removable label or the packaging.

Footwear labels

Every individual item of footwear should have its country of origin printed, stencilled, branded or marked so you can see it. If this is not practical because of the footwear's design, composition or construction, it should be on a removable label or the packaging.

What other labels are required?

Complying with the regulations

It is your responsibility to ensure the goods you supply have the correct country of origin labels. You cannot assume that goods comply with the regulations because they have been offered for sale to you by a manufacturer or wholesaler.

If you sell an item with no country of origin label or an incorrect one, you will have breached the Fair Trading Act. It is an offence under section 28 of the Act to supply, offer to supply or advertise to supply clothing and footwear without a country of origin label. We enforce the Fair Trading Act, and may issue you with an infringement notice requiring you to pay a fine of up to $1,000. Alternatively we may take a prosecution against you in Court if you breach the Act. Companies can be fined up to $30,000 for each breach of the Act. Individuals can be fined up to $10,000.

It is also an offence to mislead consumers about which country the product was made in. For example, you will breach the Fair Trading Act if you advertise a jersey labelled as "NZ made" when it was manufactured overseas.

These offences have higher maximum fines. Companies can be fined up to $600,000 for each breach of the Act. Individuals can be fined up to $200,000.

Who sets the consumer information standards?

The consumer information standards are set by Standards NZ or equivalent overseas agencies. You can purchase a copy of any of the standards from Standards New Zealand by calling 0800 782 632 or visit www.standards.govt.nz. You can access the Regulations and the Fair Trading Act online at the government’s legislation website www.legislation.govt.nz. The information on this website is free.

Read more about country of origin labelling, or go to the Standards New Zealand website to buy the standard.