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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Made In New Zealand, Not


It could be the ‘world cup effect,’ or just a coincidence, but there has been a lot in the media recently about New Zealand promotional goods not actually being made in New Zealand.

Two different stories have cropped up in the last few says  which makes us wonder if there are moves afoot to clean-up the industry before next year, or whether it’s the country of origin (China) of some of these product that’s causing patriotic Kiwis some embarrassment.

In the first story Prokiwi International Limited, a company based in Christchurch that supplies souvenir and gift shops at airports and major tourist destinations, were fined $48,000 for breaches of the Fair Trading Act.

Apparently the company pleaded guilty to 17 representative charges for providing products that were “packaged in a way likely to mislead customers that the products were New Zealand made when this was not true.” The products in question were a range of soaps and skin products, manufactured in China made from ingredients sourced from Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

The Commerce Commission’s media release said:
“Prokiwi International’s company logo is a graphic of a kiwi together with the words Aotearoa New Zealand. This, combined with the names of the products, such as New Zealand Honey Hand Lotion, New Zealand Kiwifruit Lip Balm and New Zealand Lanolin Soap, and the use of iconic New Zealand images such as a bee on a manuka flower, kiwifruit and a merino ram in front of Mount Cook on the packaging, would give consumers the strong impression that they were purchasing New Zealand made products,” said Graham Gill Commerce Commission Enforcement Manager, Auckland.”
Cheeky, naughty even for misusing the carefully cultivated  brand image , but here’s the rub – honest Kiwi businesses were loosing out because overseas products were undercutting them:
“Many consumers are influenced by the country of origin of goods and this is particularly so in the case of prospective purchasers in tourist or souvenir shops where buyers are looking for a memento of their visit to New Zealand that is New Zealand made. The packaging used by Prokiwi International not only misled consumers who believed that they were buying New Zealand made souvenirs, but disadvantaged other businesses who were selling genuine New Zealand sourced and made products. The Prokiwi International products were sold at significantly lower prices alongside nearly identical competing products that were genuine New Zealand made products, unfairly giving Prokiwi International a competitive advantage,” said Mr Gill.” Read the full statement here
How can locally made products be more expensive than imported Chinese made goods that are subject to shipping charges, import charges, customs and MAF fees etc. ? is everything “made” in New Zealand charged at a premium because of the strong image ‘brand New Zealand’ has?

Our second story appeared in the NZ Herald and involved a subject a lot closer to New Zealand’s heart  – rugby, surely the last bastion of New Zealand patriotism.

It seems that All Blacks scarves and beanies aren’t made from New Zealand wool, shocking! but what’s far worse is – they’re not even made in New Zealand.

The scarves and beanies sported by All Blacks supporters are being made of acrylic – not New Zealand wool – after their manufacture was shifted overseas, where they have been made since, well, ages ago!… 1999 if the Herald’s article is anything to go by.
The Herald said that
“supporters of the local wool industry say they are dismayed at adidas’s actions before the Rugby World Cup.”
Margaret Tenet, chief executive of Textiles New Zealand, said she believed the All Blacks should be backing New Zealand industries.”
And rightly so. Besides which, many visiting fans may want to buy these products because they are looking for a ‘memento of their visit to New Zealand that is New Zealand made’
“Nick Nicholson of the Council of Wool Exporters said Chinese manufacturers, who were among the main producers for adidas, had “developed an awful lot” but he was also concerned wool was not being used. “I would be surprised if [the items] were not produced overseas but the fact is it’s not wool [which is] a far superior product.”
But New Zealand Rugby Union commercial manager Paul Dalton said the days of local clothing suppliers producing specialist items for a global market were probably long gone. He said adidas had made much of the All Blacks’ line of clothing overseas since 1999.
The price tags of $50 for scarves and $40 for beanies would probably be twice as much if they were made locally and with wool.” read the full article on the Herald
$50, for an acrylic souvenir scarf. How much would a British fan have to part with to collect rugby supporter scarves from different nations? we did a quick straw poll, comparing New Zealand with two other countries based on today’s exchange rates on xe.com

All Blacks scarf $50 =£22.58
Wallabies scarf $30 = £15.17
England scarf = £4.99

Should fans be paying such a high price for an item that’s not even made in New Zealand and if they wanted to buy a genuine ‘Made in NZ’ piece of Kiwiana  to treasure for always would they be able to find one?

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Today's posts - click here

Thursday, August 12, 2010

problems with comments form

We've had some people try to post comments recently but due to technical problems with blogspot we haven't received them. If you've left a comment in the past 2 days and it hasn't appeared yet please can you re-post it.

Alternatively, comments may be left on our Wordpress blog

Thanks, E2NZ


Lifestyle Used To Lure Investors But Net Full Of Holes


Lincoln Tan, the immigration affairs journalist at the NZ Herald, has again written an excellent series of feature articles for the paper. This time concentrating on a potential growth area for the New Zealand Immigration Service – the Business Investor.

In the first article he writes about a recent study to investigate the major draws for investor migrants.

Although the study’s results are  a reaffirmation of what was already known, i.e.  that the NZ lifestyle is more important than pragmatic business and tax issues to migrants, the report demonstrates how the marketing of  NZ can be manipulated to sidestep facts and rationality and appeal directly to emotion and ideals. It’s interesting to see how this na├»ve approach is failing because of bureaucratic shortcomings and a lack of joined-up thinking.

The study was commissioned by Immigration New Zealand and Investment New Zealand and was aimed at “finding messages to lure potential investor migrants.” Migrants were asked to chose the messages that appealed most strongly to them:

“Lifestyle No 1 reason for investor migrants – study”

“…The top two messages were “New Zealand is a great place to bring up a family” and “New Zealand is a small country with a strong sense of community”.
A message that strongly did not find favour at all was “Investing in New Zealand isn’t about just relocating – it’s about regenerating your business.” Any references made to “government” – such as one that said “The New Zealand Government understands it takes time to get your offshore tax affairs in order” – also didn’t go down well.
Some said it was difficult to establish business networks. “I’ve been here for one and a half years and am just finding my way in. It’s a much smaller market and difficult to get established,” one said.
“Children are a critical element in the migration decision,” the report said. “When young they are clearly an important motivating factor but by the time they hit the teen years they can become a barrier.”
A senior marketing lecturer at Massey University, Dr Henry Chung, said the study confirmed what many already knew. “The wealthy see the investor migrant category as a pathway to come to New Zealand, usually for the lifestyle or for their children, and not necessarily to do business or make money. “New Zealand is such a small economy, and usually, a would-be business migrant would be better off staying put in their country of origin.” you can find the whole article here – NZ Herald
With all this research going on into luring wealthy investors you’d think that scores, if not hundreds, of business people would be flooding into New Zealand,  keen to contribute to the NZ economy in exchange for a piece of the lifestyle?

Well yes, but they’re not getting in. According to another piece of investigative journalism and the judicious use of the Official information act by Mr Tan, the recently introduced Entrepreneur Plus immigration category has  netted only one successful applicant, yes one, out of the 12,000 people that registered their interest.

The new category, set-up to attract people who would create at least three full time jobs and invest a modest $500,000, only offered applicants conditional residency upon approval. Mr Tan writes that the Labour party immigration spokesman, Peter Hodgson, branded the scheme “a complete and utter failure.” Progress can be a backward process in New Zealand and whilst it fumbles other countries run with the ball and place it in the back of the net.

Scheme nets one rich investor

“…The Association for Migration and Investment, which supported the Entrepreneur Plus scheme, said the agency had not been totally upfront with information when the scheme was first announced.
“We thought it was a one-step policy for business migrants to get residency but it has now been explained that you still have to go through two steps – a long-term business visa and Entrepreneur Pluswhich makes it even more difficult than the old scheme,” said association chairwoman Coral Wong.
Ms Wong, who is also a licensed immigration adviser, said she had been advising potential investor migrants to look to other countries such as Australia, which had “more pragmatic policy requirements”. read the full article here
Another example of how bureaucracy and ‘small town thinking’ has stood in the way of progress in New Zealand was highlighted in the third article written by Mr Tan.

On 21 July he wrote of how wealthy Chinese investors were being prevented from becoming investor migrants because of strict rules governing the transfer of money into the country. Apparently, in New Zealand this can only be done through the banking system, whereas in China strict foreign exchange controls mean that finance companies are used.

You have to wonder which is the better financially regulated country and from that perhaps base a decision on which may be the better location in which to invest? Nevertheless Chinese people have been applying for investor visas in New Zealand, not doubt attracted by those lifestyle stories.

Out of the two applications from Chinese business people wanting to invest $10 million under the Investor 1 category, and 21 with $1.5 million to invest under Investor 2, you’ve guessed it, none have been approved.

Chinese investors claim they are blocked from NZ

“…New Zealand is like a village, and still cannot accept that wealth is accumulated differently by people living in big cities,” said a failed Chinese Investor 2 applicant in Mandarin.
His application was declined after he used a finance company to transfer $2.5 million to New Zealand…
…Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working with the Chinese Government at “the highest levels” to find a solution.” read the full article here
All style but no substance? Using the lifestyle to attract wealthy migrants can only get a country so far, sooner or later it has to come up with the goods.

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Today's posts - click here

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Zealand Is The "Gunna Country"

"Kiwis must make room for improvement at World Cup"

We came across another article raising concerns about New Zealand's ability to successfully host the Rugby World Cup, this time in the Sydney Morning Herald, where Greg Gowden spoke in less than glowing terms about the way spectators and fellow colleagues were treated as little more than just sheep at the recent Christchurch test - widely viewed as a dry-run for next year's tournament.

In his article Gowden talked about how the Christchurch test was good opportunity to see how the facilities would cope with a major international event. The Wallabies flew into Auckland to check out how efficient the customs facilities were for visiting teams.

Here are a few of his observations, firstly the Auckland arrivals hall that :
"...can be a debacle. Sure, New Zealanders are proud they are a wool nation, but it doesn't mean tourists have to be herded into a sheep pen. If you can get through the baggage area in less than half an hour, think yourself lucky. And then you have to confront the nightmare of travelling into Auckland where a highway suddenly dissolves into a one-lane suburban street, prompting delays and further frustration."
Both are major inconveniences - international travellers are well advised to allow for 60 minutes to clear baggage reclaim, get sniffed-out by a beagle and undergo customs and immigration formalities during busy periods at Auckland airport.

Once out of the terminal the Southwestern motorway abruptly discharges into the suburban streets of Epsom and nearby Mount Eden, before travellers jet-lagged and weary  eventually find their way onto the Southern Motorway and into the haven of the CBD.

Talking of Mount Eden, Gowden dryly comments that the locals tell him that getting to and from Eden Park (venue for the final) is like escaping Alcatraz. Take a quick look at the google map for the area and you'll see why:


View Larger Map
Surely in a country with a little over 4 million inhabitants it's not unreasonable to find a little bit of space in which to move?

After writing about the not inconsiderable problems getting to the AMI stadium in Christchurch and being herded into cramped conditions in a press box with limited visibility (again there is that sheep anaology) Gowden delivered the now customary  "great scenery, friendly locals" salve before the "Gunna Country" coup de gras:
"But a constant irritant is that New Zealand is the ''gunna'' country. They're gunna do this. They're gunna do that. They were doing it straight after being granted the World Cup. Politicians and officials were promising they would dramatically improve facilities, particularly accommodation, so visitors wouldn't have to sleep on park benches. What has happened? Not much.
Now they're saying fans will be berthed on ships, anchored offshore. Are they kidding? No wonder, when confronted by the exorbitant prices asked by the few hotels that have any rooms left, so many Australians believe it will be wiser to just travel over on game day, and take a flight home that night. New Zealand is better than this. We can only hope those who can make something change over the next 13 months get off their butts and sort it out."
13 months out from the tournament things should be a lot better organised by now, isn't it long past the time to pull out the proverbial finger - before Gunna turns into Shudda.

If you have time it's well worth reading the whole article at the SMH, you can find it here "Kiwis must make room for improvement at world cup"


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