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Alliance underwhelmed by Fisher and Paykel's token

Alliance underwhelmed by Fisher and Paykel's token call centre

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday 13 June 2008

Alliance co-leader and candidate for Dunedin South Kay Murray says she is “underwhelmed” by Fisher and Paykel’s announcement that they will be setting up a 40 person global call centre in Dunedin in April next year.

“It smacks of tokenism and some sort of pathetic attempt to retain the goodwill of New Zealanders, and Dunedinites in particular, so that we will continue to buy their products. I certainly hope the support reportedly offered by the Dunedin City Council did not extend to funding courtesy of the Dunedin ratepayers.”

Ms Murray says it needs to be remembered that Fisher and Paykel does not need to close its Mosgiel plant.

"This is not a company that is in danger of going broke."

It made a net profit of $54,212,000 in the last financial year, despite spending $18,263,000 on restructuring its business, in other words relocating to Thailand and Mexico. In addition it increased its dividend to shareholders from 3.86 cents per share to 9 cents per share.

Fisher and Paykel simply chooses to close their Mosgiel plant so that they can make even more money for their shareholders and directors by going to countries where labour is cheaper, she says.

Ms Murray says this is especially disappointing given the reputation that the company has had in New Zealand for being a good employer who pays liveable wages and offers decent working conditions.

She says it is ironic that Fisher and Paykel began manufacturing in New Zealand in 1938 after the First Labour government introduced tariffs, which made it more cost effective than simply importing appliances.

"Now the fifth Labour Government has removed tariffs and Fisher and Paykel has, almost immediately, stopped manufacturing in New Zealand and gone back to importing."

Ms Murray says people should think carefully about whether or not they wish to continue to support the “new” Fisher and Paykel by buying their products and, if they want to keep industries in New Zealand, make it plain to the Government that they want fair trade not free trade.

ENDS

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