John Key inconsistent over Swazi Apparel
Barely a week ago our PM was making noises about bailing out Fisher & Paykel because “they are iconic”.
If it was bad enough that somehow being “iconic” entitled a business to Government largess, F&P manufactures a large portion of their product overseas mainly in China, re-branded their “cheaper lines for New Zealand” ‘Elba’ – presumably we’re too poor here now for the ‘upmarket’ F&P products – and by their own admission, they are really an international company.
Swazi Apparel isn’t an international company, it’s a local company making wet weather gear for the NZ Military. They now have lost their contract because it’s going to be done in China presumably cheaper than they could do it for.
Swazi make gear popular with hunters and people enjoying the outdoors, activities that you could argue are ‘iconic’ of a way of life we enjoy in NZ.
Key claims that preference can’t be given to NZ companies because of Free Trade agreement commitments.
I have no idea what the hell this means. I don’t suppose the Chinese regime would take that attitude with manufacturing for it’s defence force. And in any case the Free Trade agreement with China is so full of holes that they exploit, why the hell should we be any more pliant than they are?
Most of the jobs in China for this kind of thing are in effect subsidised by local or central government in China, so naturally the prices are irresistibly cheap.
I would have thought when it come to the military that with something as basic as clothing, having it made in NZ would make a lot of sense for fairly obvious reasons. Having our defense forces reliant on a potential adversary makes little sense.
Maybe the Defense Forces could save some money dealing direct with Swazi instead of through Yakka which is an Australian company? It seems idiotic in the least to be paying what must be additional cost to Yakka who are sub contracting to Swazi. This makes no business sense at all, obviously Yakka can’t make the gear in Australia, got it done here, but figure they can do it cheaper and retain their cut by doing it in China. Countries like Australia are notorious for being hard nosed about these sort of business dealings when it comes to ‘national interest’ it’s about time we were a little less idealistic about it here, especially in the current environment.
I’d rather my taxes went on a contract with Swazi maintaining the capability of making our defense forces clothing here, that see my taxes given to some bank who was willfully negligent in their lending. The few million were are talking about is chicken feed compared to what been handed out to banks (who have been making huge profits for the last few years).
If John Key is willing to shoot off at the mouth about F&P, he should be consistent. Lame excuses about Free Trade agreements don’t wash, the same could be said for F&P. Like I said a while back, the F&P statement was a slippery slope which Key should have avoided, it leaves him open to accusation of double standards.