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

Authors: Ball, R. & Quirke, S.
Published in National Security Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2019

37 Zespri are involved in proactively gathering data from surveillance and raids, as well as enforcement teams working with analysts to identify patterns and themes. Local regional staff and distributors also provide timely market information. Email, industry representatives (names withheld) to authors, 3 July 2017.

38 World Customs Organisation (2014). Illicit Trade Report: 2013, pp.61-73, and OECD (2016). Op. Cit., p.11.

39 Interview transcript, industry representative (name withheld) with authors, 20 June 2017.

40 Ministry for Primary Industries (2019), Op. Cit., p.38.

41 Pollard, A. (2017), New Zealand Apples and Pears, News, 17 February 2017. Available at: (accessed 20 April 2019).

42 Interview transcript, industry representative with authors, 26 July 2017.

43 Ibid.

44 According to the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS), a PLU Code is four or five-digit numbers that appear on small stickers applied to fruit, or any other fresh produce. The number identifies produce based upon various attributes, including “commodity, variety, growing methodology (e.g. organic), and size.” Available at: (accessed 23 January 2019).

45 Vietnam and other new emerging markets is where New Zealand Apples and Pears expect increased counterfeiting activity to take place in the near future. Interview transcript, industry representative with authors, 26 July 2017.

46 One other novel form of counterfeiting is to produce “half branded boxes – one side of the box with one brand and the other side with a different brand.” Ibid.

47 Ibid.

48 Ibid.

49 Ibid.

50 The industry has developed relationships with government agencies, particularly MPI, MFAT and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) who can provide direct support if a potential bio-risk or market access crisis were to evolve. Ibid.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid.

53 See The True Honey Company (2017). Mānuka Honey Science Definition, 20 Aril 2017. Available at: (accessed 29 April 2019); Huka Honey Hive (2014). The Wonderful World of Bees, New Zealand Honey. Available at: (accessed 1 September 2018);
and MPI (2017). Criteria for identifying Manuka Honey: A summary of the Manuka honey science programme, MPI Technical Paper No: 2017/28. Wellington: MPI, pp.7-8.

54 IEC and ISO (2018). Op. Cit., p.17, and Email, industry representative (name withheld) with
authors, 11 August 2017.

55 Usborne, S. (2014). “The Manuka Honey Scandal,” The Independent, 1 July 2014. Available at: (accessed 27 April 2019); and Morrison, T. (2016). “New Zealand Honey Exports Soar 41% in 2015 to New Record,” National Business Review, 1 February 2016. Available at: (accessed 27 April 2019).

56 Stock, R. (2017). “Queen’s grocer pulls New Zealand Manuka from shelves,” Stuff, 5 February 2017. Available at: (accessed 25 May 2019).

57 Flahive, B. & Rosenberg, M. (2019). “Manuka honey fraud: Evergreen Life Ltd handed $260,000 fine for adding synthetics to its product,” Stuff, 28 June 2019. Available at: (accessed 28 June 2019).

58 Interview transcript, industry representative (name withheld) with authors, 21 June 2017.

59 Ministry for Primary Industries (2019), Op. Cit., p.60.