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Green’s Reject Bradford’s Reply On Defence Yakka

August 23, 1999.

MEDIA STATEMENT

GREEN’S REJECT BRADFORD’S REPLY ON DEFENCE CLOTHING CONTRACT

The Green Party has rejected Max Bradford’s response over the letting of the Defence clothing contract to an Australian firm Yakka. [See Mr Bradord’s statement today headed “Green Contract Claim ‘Arrant Nonsense’”]

“Mr Bradford makes several errors,” said Green Defence spokesperson Keith Locke.

“He claims ‘a June 16 announcement that confirmed the continued employment of Auckland-based Yakka NZ Ltd as the New Zealand armed forces’ prime clothing vendor’.

“Firstly, if he did make a June 16 announcement it was not very public. The Parliamentary Library can find no record of it, and no media references to it.

“Secondly, Defence Force material clearly states that the ‘NZDF Tendors Board has recently selected Yakka Apparel Solutions Ltd as the prime vendor for the procurement, research and development, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution of NZDF’s clothing function’. This was a new arrangement, which displaced the Defence Clothing Agency, and affects clothing personnel across the Defence Force. It was not simply ‘continued employment’ of Yakka.

“It is wrong to say Yakka ‘employs over 120 clothing suppliers’. More correctly, existing contracts, made before Yakka became ‘prime vendor’, continue. The point we are making is that Yakka is now in a position to phase in its own manufactures, as contracts expire or are bought out.

“The Australian clothing industry has a cost advantage over its Kiwi counterpart because it is more heavily subsidised and is protected by higher tariffs. On July 22 the Apparel and Textile Federation of New Zealand complained that Australia will be subsidising its clothing and footwear industries to the tune of $772 million beginning July 2000, and holding its tariffs to 25% (as contrasted to New Zealand’s 15% that year). Mr Bradford is wrong in saying that ‘Australia and New Zealand are one competitive marketplace’.

“The fact is that our clothing industry has been in dramatic decline. This move to put an Australian manufacturer in charge of Defence Force clothing will tend to accelerate that decline,” said Mr Locke.

ENDS

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