4 Mar 2009

Industry concerned about offshore Defence contracts

6:05 pm on 4 March 2009

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says he will follow up on concerns held by the apparel industry about the manufacture of Defence Force apparel heading offshore.

Five clothing companies, employing about 200 people, have written to the Government urging that 60% of Defence Force apparel be manufactured in New Zealand.

Dr Mapp says a fixed percentage would probably be in breach of international trade laws, but he will talk with the Minister of Economic Development about Government procurement rules.

He also plans to meet the Australian-owned company Yakka which subcontracts Defence Force work to New Zealand companies.

Levin clothing manufacturer Swazi was told last week that most of the wet weather gear it makes for the Defence Force would now be made in China.

Another company, Academy Apparel in Palmerston North, says it has been left only with top-up orders, which the company says makes it hard to be competitive.