(o) Iconic Kiwi Biscuit Made in Fiji; Negative Blog Report

STOP PRESS. Click here for the Fiji reaction.

Griffin, NZ-biscuit makers since 1864, is "outsourcing" some of its production to Fiji.   

The NZ reactions?
  • Manufacturer: "did not believe the political situation in Fiji would affect the company."
  • Union (looking after its members):"It's a surprise to me – I thought it was all made here."
  • Green Party  MP Keith Locke:  Griffins could be exploiting poor worker conditions in Fiji. "There is effectively a dictatorship in Fiji [which] has undermined the ability of unions to operate freely and to maintain or improve the conditions of the workers." 
The facts? 
  • The NZ Union was unable to prevent Griffin closed its Lower Hutt factory a year ago with a loss of 228 jobs.  The outsourcing is not directly related to the closure although both, of course, are to do with costs and profits. 
  • Wages are lower in Fiji (hence the move) but isn't providing on-going jobs, helping Fiji exports and restoring a little of the massive NZ-Fiji trade imbalance, less patronising than giving aid?  
  • The Fiji Government has introduced minimum wages in a raft of industries. This is something no previous government has done and something unions had little to nothing to do with.The initiative, Keith, came from the "dictatorship."
The DominionPost went to the trouble of interviewing the manufacturer, the union, an MP, and conducted a street survey comparing samples of NZ- and Fiji-made biscuits. One person preferred the Fiji biscuit, but wanted to buy Kiwi-made, and was quite dumbfounded to learn Fiji was producing the new biscuits. "Wasn't there a coup happening, and they're making biscuits there?" (She now knows two things about Fiji!)

The ultimate irony: Griffin is owned by Australian-based Pacific Equity Partners, and is no longer a Kiwi firm at all.  Pity the paper doesn't spend as much energy researching Fiji -- and educating the public that countries can have coups and still make biscuits! Full story.

What's in a Word? A Lot

Coupfourpointfive reports the Government-EU meeting under the banner "Regime Begs EU for Sugar Funding". Begs? Asks? Explains? The posting was otherwise informative but the heading led readers towards the interpretations intended: the loss of EU help due to the Coup, the "contradiction" between Kubuabola's "plea" and  Bainimarama's stance and "change of tune", and, of course, the downturn in sugar production caused by you-who-know. Journalists are, of course, entitled to their own opinions but opininons and polemics should not be presented as news. Things are bad. The sugar industry is in crisis, as it has been for several years. And the EU and Government, as reported earlier in this blog, "will now follow-up on the major outcomes of the discussion with the aim of ultimately resuming formal consultations."   

Oppose the Government by all means, Coupfourpointfive, but less negative reporting would not detract from your cause -- it may even help it.


Anonymous said…
Croz, I know that in your perpetual state of indulgence and grace, you fervently believe that the likes of Coup 4.5 will suddenly have a Damascene conversion and start reporting events in Fiji objectively. Poor fellow, your confidence is pathetically misplaced, though I say this not in anger but with gentle admonition, as one would with an idealistic teenager campaigning for world peace or an end to global poverty. That cyber rag ain't worthy of your trust.
Anonymous said…
New Griffins TV commercial.

Vision: Pan from armed troops on parade ground at QE barracks to Frank Bainimarama on the officers mess terrace, tea cup in hand, eyes popping with delight, munching on a Fiji-made Griffins.

Voice over: Griffins Cream Crackers. Mmm, so good the dictator took revenge on the Kiwis by ordering the whole lot for himself!
Anonymous said…
Closing vision to above: Frank with beatific countenance bordering on the orgasmic.

Turns to camera: " In fact, these are so good I'm thinking of restoring democracy!" (winks) " in 2014!

Frank laughs hysterically and camera fades to black.
joe said…
Hi Croz, please delete 4.5 from your links page. It is a menace, like RAW. These people are nothing more than recipients of spades, shovels and knives under the qarase affirmative action plan, ie, vote buying.
Croz Walsh said…
Joe, I don't know C4.5 contacted the Australian. I only surmise. I agree most of its posts are anti-Government but, compared with the really wacko anti-blogs, most times it uses reasoned arguments. We may disagree with the reasons but in the spirit of dialogue, I need to keep the channels open. Ultimately, Government will have to talanoa with people as "bad" or worse.