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Noodles of trouble for NZTE Focus Store

Mark Blumsky MP
National Party Associate Economic Development Spokesman

12 December 2006

Noodles of trouble for NZTE Focus Store

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's Hong Kong Focus Store, designed to showcase quality Kiwi products, is in noodles of trouble, says National's Associate Economic Development spokesman, Mark Blumsky.

"The multimillion-dollar store was established a year ago to help create trade opportunities in Asia, but the only thing that is growing is the long list of errors.

"Extra Rations Ltd was originally appointed to run the store, despite ranking last in NZTE's evaluation of retail experience. Twelve months on they've quit, saying they didn't have enough time to run it.

"New Zealand Products (Hong Kong) Ltd is now the operator, despite not being considered last time around and without a competitive tender.

"Now they want to grow the concept, but seem to be at cross-purposes with the Economic Development Minister, who has said there are no plans for expansion.

"As if this wasn't enough, the store is in a poor location and sales have been so sluggish that several suppliers have pulled out.

"And it's no surprise sales are slow when a whole shelf is dedicated to noodles, selling for about $HK30. What's innovative about selling noodles in Hong Kong, especially when you can pick them up for $HK5 down the road?

"Clearly, the Labour Government has lost its noodle if it thinks NZTE can effectively oversee the operation.

"Labour doesn't have the skills to run a retail venture and should stick to cooking something it knows."

ENDS

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