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 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 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.