Date: 12 March 2013
The Department of Conservation rejects media reports that it is moving to drop New Zealand-made products from its visitor centres in favour of items made offshore.
Some recent media stories have claimed that DOC has “axed” products from a New Zealand-owned souvenir operator “in favour of products sourced from Asia".
The manager of DOC’s nationwide network of 23 visitor centres, Jake Downing, says this claim is not correct.
Jake Downing says DOC has recently reduced the number of suppliers it deals with from over 350 to less than 80 to improve the consistency of products and simplify the visitor centre supply chain.
“However we have have not brought on any new product suppliers for our visitor centre network. And we are certainly not “axing” locally made products in favour of foreign made products.
"Apart from one exception based in Australia, all our national suppliers are New Zealand businesses. While some of them source products from offshore, more than two thirds of our visitor centre stock is New Zealand-made - some made in the regions where the visitor centres are sited."
Jake Downing says DOC fully acknowledges that some products sold in its stores are made overseas. These sorts of products include Cancer Society sun cream or Onya Bags, produced from recycled plastic bottles.
“Our product mix is designed to cater for all our customers and it is based on a range of criteria including quality, price and match with DOC’s brand.
"We are working hard to deliver what our customers are looking for. Last year our visitor centres generated more $1.5 million dollars in retail sales – money that can be directed back into conservation."
Jake Downing says contrary to some media reports, DOC’s visitor centres also continue to stock a range of items made from possum fur including scarves, gloves, hats, and also locally-sourced possum skins.
Rory Newsam, DOC Media Advice Manager, +64 4 471 3104 or +64 27 295 3809.