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Judith Bell Extends Sponsorship Offer

September 5th 2006

"Judith Bell Extends Sponsorship Offer"

In an open letter to Mr Rick Harriss - who waded into the current "Buy Kiwi Made" versus "Buy Kiwi" debate by submitting an opinion piece on Scoop titled "A Kiwi in China Chimes In Re: Icebreaker and China" - Judith Bell has extended the same sponsorship offer she made to Mr Jeremy Moon of Icebreaker to Mr Harriss following his claim that "free speech is greater in China than in New Zealand."

Judith Bell, whose recently released book "I See Red" (published by Awa Press) explores at length the hidden and not so hidden subsidies existing for manufacturers in China with whom New Zealand manufacturers must unfairly compete, also asks Mr Harriss to expand on China's "enormous tax breaks and handouts from local government" he believes will interest New Zealand companies such as Icebreaker.

The open letter is as follows:

"Dear Mr Harriss

1. I note you describe how a Chinese restaurant worker has made her way in China. I would be very interested to learn if you know of any garment sweatshop factory worker who has done the same and if so, are you able to give me their contact address in China so my friend over there can locate them?

2. Are the apartments you describe as costing NZ$10.00 per month, part of a sweatshop factory compound? Are you able to give me the physical address of the particular apartments you describe and are you able to give me the contact details of several people who live there?

3. You state in your opinion piece "Chongqing is a centre for garments production in China, and tax breaks and handouts from local government are enormous, and the costs are half that of eastern China.". I would be very interested to learn exactly what tax breaks are given and exactly how enormous the hand outs are from local government for New Zealand companies such as Icebreaker.

4. You state "Free speech is something often mention{ed} in connection with China. The fact is that free speech is greater in China than in New Zealand."

a) I hereby offer the same sponsorship to you which I have offered to Mr Moon of Icebreaker - two printed New Zealand made tee shirts for you to wear on your next trip to China. One tee shirt will have the words "Free Tibet" written on it with Chinese characters and the other will read "Support Falun Gong". There is a condition attached. You must wear these publicly on two consecutive days in Tianamen Square. Are you willing to accept my offer to substantiate your opinion that free speech is greater in China than in New Zealand?

b) With reference to the above - as a writer, why do you live in Hong Kong and not in the Peoples Republic of China?

c) Are you able to send me any opinion pieces you have written which have criticised the state and have been published in the Peoples Republic of China in spite of it?

5. In your opinion, if a New Zealand designer of woks used Chinese workers in a Chinese factory to cut, press and assemble these woks (and received subsidies and tax incentives for the production of these woks from the local Chinese government), used steel for these woks smelted in China from iron sand that was sourced in New Zealand, do you think those woks should be part of a New Zealand taxpayer funded "Buy Kiwi Made" campaign? If so, why?


© Scoop Media

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