Counterfeiting in the Primary Industry Sector and the Threat to New Zealand’s Economy

Authors: Ball, R. & Quirke, S.1

Published in National Security Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2019

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Counterfeiting in its various iterations presents a potentially significant threat to our international reputation as a premium exporter of primary products. Taking existing international scholarly research in the area of food fraud, this article presents a typology of counterfeit activity as it pertains to the New Zealand primary industry sector. Through selected case studies, we explain how counterfeiting is a far more nuanced and complex problem than generally considered, and conclude that there should be a much stronger appetite for an integrated public-private identification framework that understands these variations in order to effectively pre-empt and mitigate the impact of primary product counterfeiting in this country.

Keywords: Counterfeiting, Intellectual Property Theft, Deception, Adulteration, Tampering, Simulation, Misrepresentation, Product Fraud, Private Sector, Partnership, Primary Industry, New Zealand, Economic Motivation


. . . International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defines a counterfeit as a “material good imitating or copying an authentic material good.” Definitions vary, but there is a distinction between trademark misuse and pure product fraud, even if counterfeiting is understood to cover both cases.1

The New Zealand primary export sector is forecast to earn NZ$46 billion of revenue, or 80% of all merchandise exports and 11% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019.2

1 Stephen Quirke is a New Zealand-based international security consultant and graduate of the Massey University Masters of International Security Programme, and has a Certificate in Horticulture (Fruit production) from the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT). Email Rhys Ball is a Lecturer at Massey University’s Centre for Defence and Security Studies, and currently teaches into the Intelligence Studies programme. Email