A recent Sunday Star Times article 'What's up DOC: Kiwis dumped for Chinese toys' inaccurately claimed the Department of Conservation had "axed" products from a New Zealand-owned souvenir operator "in favour of products sourced from Asia".
The claim is both incorrect and very misleading.
DOC has recently reduced the number of suppliers to its visitors centres. Previously, more than 350 suppliers provided stock to DOC's 23 visitor centres. The department has reduced this number to 80 suppliers to streamline the visitor centre supply chain and provide more consistent products to its customers.
Some suppliers have been discontinued through this process but DOC has not replaced any of its suppliers with new ones, nor has it replaced New Zealand made products with overseas ones.
The following points may help clarify the situation at DOC's network of 23 visitor centres throughout the country.
- DOC has not replaced New Zealand made products with overseas ones.
- DOC has not brought on any new product suppliers or overseas suppliers to our visitor centre network.
- With the exception of one Australian based company, all of DOC's national suppliers are New Zealand businesses.
- Many of our visitor centres stock local products from suppliers within their communities.
- DOC has, for many years, stocked products manufactured off-shore in its visitor centres. For example, DOC visitor centres sell Cancer Society sunscreen which is manufactured overseas.
- Possum fur is a component in a variety of products currently sold in visitor centres (scarves, gloves, hats, and also locally sourced possum skins).