Green Contract Claims "Arrant Nonsense"Defence
"The Green Party's ‘fortress New Zealand mentality', distortion of the truth and ignorance of commercial reality should be a warning to the public," Defence Minister Max Bradford said today.
He was responding to incorrect Green Party claims that the letting of a Defence Force clothing supply contact would result in the loss of New Zealand clothing industry jobs.
"The Greens appear to have only just noticed a June 16 announcement that confirmed the continued employment of Auckland-based Yakka NZ Ltd as the New Zealand armed forces' prime clothing vendor.
"The Greens neglected to mention that Yakka actually employs over 120 clothing suppliers, the vast majority of which are New Zealand firms, such as Hills, and Albion clothing.
"No jobs have been lost whatsoever, in fact Yakka expects to employ more New Zealand staff," Mr Bradford said.
"Secondly, the Green Party's researchers have missed the fact that under CER New Zealand and Australia are one competitive marketplace. They conveniently ignore the fact that efficient New Zealand companies have gained defence contracts worth tens of millions of dollars from Australia.
"Recent examples include Air New Zealand's overhaul of Australian Air Force Hercules aircraft and Hornet engines, plus the11 million man-hours of ANZAC frigate work throughout New Zealand.
"In just the first six months of this year over $15 million worth of work was placed with New Zealand companies by the Australian Department of Defence," Mr Bradford said.
"I am sure that if our Defence Force required an inflated budget to pay subsidies to keep any New Zealand firm artificially afloat, then the Greens would be the first to complain.
"The fact is, the Greens should be applauding when the Ministry of Defence seeks the best use of taxpayer funds.
"I am pleased to see that Yakka New Zealand Ltd has written to Green Party co-leader Rod Donald to express its disappointment that a Green spokesman has made statements of "arrant nonsense," without making any effort to obtain the facts," Mr Bradford said.