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Jobs lost to Australia

Press Release August 22

Jobs lost to Australia as Defence Force contracts out Clothing

The Defence Force plans to axe its Defence Clothing Agency and give the work to Australian firm Yakka, the Green Party has revealed.

Green Party Defence spokesperson Keith Locke said this will produce significant job losses, both in the agency and in the companies which supply uniforms and other apparel.

"Inevitably, Kiwi clothing workers will be displaced. Yakka will tend to produce the uniforms in its Australian factories, or bring in cheap Asian garments.

"It's another blow to our clothing industry - a shocking decision," Mr Locke said.

Many of the present contracts with Kiwi clothing companies will not be renewed.

"Yakka will definitely be in charge. It's been appointed 'prime vendor' for the procurement, research and development, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution of clothing," said Mr Locke.

Information about the contracting out was revealed by Defence Minister Max Bradford in a written reply this week to Green MP Rod Donald. Mr Bradford said the move would result in "cost saving and efficiency gains".

"It makes you wonder which country our Defence Force is defending," said Mr Locke.

"First we took ANZAC frigates under Aussie pressure. Then we decided to base a squadron of RNZAF Skyhawks in Nowra, New South Wales. Now Australia is given the exclusive right to provide our military uniforms.

"Yakka might as well sew little Aussie flags on the shoulders of the uniforms, and teach our troops to sing Advance Australia Fair.

"The new contractor, Yakka, is unashamed about where its loyalties lie. It promotes itself as 'an Australian legend' which employs Australian workers.

"Its web-site is called Hard Yakka. It's certainly going to be 'hard yakka' for Kiwi firms deprived of work by this latest move," said Mr Locke.

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