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Greens see red over imported socks

The Green Party is urging Kiwis to boycott the red socks Team New Zealand has imported from Korea for its Americas Cup fundraising campaign.

Team New Zealand's Sir Peter Blake announced yesterday that 300,000 pairs of socks had been imported to raise funds for a new mast. He admitted the socks were imported because they were cheaper than the local product.

Last time the socks were made in New Zealand.

"We are extremely disappointed in Team New Zealand for importing socks from Korea rather than supporting New Zealand businesses," said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald. "Their decision is an insult to local manufacturers and their staff, especially as they worked through the night to produce socks the last time Team New Zealand had such a promotion.

"Team New Zealand should have had the courage to promote a local product and explain that the price reflects their commitment to supporting New Zealand businesses and their staff.

"How can we take pride in Team New Zealand when they have put saving a few cents ahead of supporting the local economy?

"These socks symbolise everything that's wrong with free trade. Goods from low wage economies like Korea may be cheaper but New Zealand as a whole is paying a high price in terms of increasing unemployment and our deepening trade crisis."

For the year to October, New Zealand's trade deficit topped $2.247 billion, the fifth successive year New Zealand imported more goods than it exported.

"In the last decade imports of apparel goods such as socks have increased from just over $100 million to over $650 million because of the outgoing National government's tariff reduction policies. Over 11,000 New Zealand jobs have disappeared as a result," Mr Donald said.

"Team New Zealand should be showcasing local products to help turn that around. Unfortunately, their message to the world is that we may be good on the water but we don't back our own people on the land."

Rod Donald: 025 507 183

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