The union for textile workers is supporting a debate about government procurement brought about by Clare Curran's Kiwi Jobs Bill.
National Distribution Union Assistant General Secretary Karl Andersen said that many local clothing and textiles firms have been let down by successive governments' approach to procurement.
"Whereas every other country takes a pragmatic approach to applying international trade rules and balances the risks of sailing close to the wind with the benefits of keeping the work local, New Zealand has pursued an ideological approach to government procurement that has let down local industries and local jobs," Karl Andersen said.
The issue of Government Procurement dominated the beginning of the Government's Job Summit last February, when the owner of Swazi Apparel, Davey Hughes, exposed the fact that he was losing a $2 million defence force contract to China on the eve of the summit.
"Swazi Apparel is one example among many, where there is local capability and expertise ready to fulfil government contracts, but the government's laissez-faire approach to procurement sees this work go overseas. Government is the only organisation of any size that's big enough to even-up the contest for domestic manufacturers."
"The NDU wants a stronger response to government procurement than that set out in Clare Curran's Bill. We want government to take back responsibility for large procurement contracts such as the one affecting Swazi, rather than leaving it to departments themselves."
"But Clare Curran's bill has prompted a much needed debate on this issue," Karl Andersen said.
The National Distribution Union is one of the biggest private sector unions in New Zealand with a membership of over 20,000. We are made up of four sectors, and have members in many different industries. Most of our membership is concentrated in the North Island, which is reflected in our branch office locations. We are affiliated to the NZ Council of Trade Unions and we are also affiliated to international organisations through our sectors.
National Distribution Union