Green Party refines 'Buy Kiwi Made' scheme

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Friday, August 11, 2006

The New Zealand Government has asked the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand to start refining its taxpayer funded 'Buy Kiwi Made' scheme to also include products designed in New Zealand but manufactured elsewhere.

The Buy Kiwi Made scheme was a NZ$11 million post-election deal between the Labour Party and the Green Party.

Political experts say the reason for Labour to ask the Green party to refine the scheme was because it was afraid that companies, like clothes maker Icebreaker which manufactures its clothes outside of New Zealand would not be included.

Robert Linterman, Norsewear New Zealand CEO, said "The decision to include companies which manufacture overseas undermines the credibility of the entire campaign. We were assured that the purpose of Buy Kiwi Made was to encourage the production in New Zealand, help build up our manufacturing capability and create employment. It’s hard to see how classing Icebreaker – a company which does much of its processing and manufacturing in China – as Kiwi Made will help those achieve those aims. The Buy Kiwi Made campaign should support products which are actually Kiwi made – not just Kiwi designed."

Sue Bradford, Green MP (Member of Parliament) who is responsible for Buy Kiwi Made scheme, said she is making her proposal clearer so such companies can be associated with it and that she is confident all sides will be pleased with the final proposal. "It is good to clarify the details because there is a lot of taxpayer's money at stake," Bradford said.

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions does not want the scheme to be extended to the changes. Ross Wilson, President of the Council of Trade Unions, said "It would not be in the interests of many ordinary companies and their staff. I plan to raise union concerns with government ministers."

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This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2006-08-11 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. (audio help)

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