Is why, when we face a huge economic downturn, and our trading partners moves towards more protectionist measures, here in New Zealand we go in entirely the opposite direction and farm more stuff overseas. From the DomPost this morning;
A small-town clothing manufacturer has been dealt a blow on the eve of the Government’s jobs summit after being told a $2 million contract to supply the army is shifting to China.
Levin’s Swazi Apparel has made wet-weather gear for troops for the past three years, but the Defence Force says his contact will be cut by 93 per cent – more than $1.9 million – this year.
Swazi owner Davey Hughes said he had been told the work was going to China. He was "saddened and deeply disillusioned".
"For a small town like Levin, that is a big chunk of work to lose. As a New Zealander, I feel deeply betrayed. As an employer, I am lost for words to deliver to my staff."
"I am aghast the Government can commit such an act with one hand, while on the other hold a job summit.
"Promising infrastructure spending is terrific, but the ladies who work here have long forgotten how to push wheelbarrows and pour hotmix."
News of the contract cut comes a day before the much-heralded summit called by Prime Minister John Key to find ways to protect jobs as the recession deepens.
Mr Key said, through a spokesman, Kiwi companies should always get a "full and fair opportunity" to compete for government contracts, but departments were also bound by longstanding procurement policies.
He employs 70 people and is hoping to avoid staff cuts by taking innovative measures, including selling directly to the public from his factory.
Mr Hughes said the Government should follow the lead of the United States, where Congress this week required the US Defence Department to buy 100 per cent US-made products deemed essential to military readiness.
Does anyone else sense something of an irony in all of this?