Chinese-made poppies to go on sale

21:06, Apr 16 2012

Chinese-made poppies will make their first appearance at this week's annual poppy appeal.

The move by the Returned and Services Association to buy poppies made in China and assembled in Australia is expected to save the organisation up to $250,000, which will go towards providing services for returned and former servicemen.

But the decision to award the contract to Australian company Cash's continues to be opposed by Canterbury branches, which will sell only New Zealand-made poppies during Friday's street collection.

Before the tender was won by Cash's, the RSA poppies were assembled by Kilmarnock Enterprises in Christchurch, which employs 71 intellectually disabled workers.

Christchurch RSA president Russ Barron said the national executive's decision in 2010 to change the contract took away work from disadvantaged New Zealanders.

He believed the RSA's ethos of people helping people meant there was an obligation to support New Zealand workers, especially disadvantaged ones.

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The Canterbury RSA will continue to manufacture its own poppies next year and will put in a bid when the contract next comes up for tender, in the hopes that the poppies will once again be New Zealand-made.

Mr Barron advised people outside Canterbury who opposed the move to make a donation during Friday's street appeal, but to refuse the foreign-made poppy.

RSA national president Don McIver said the drive behind the national executive's decision was to maximise the collection to provide better support services.

Initial calculations put the saving at $150,000, but it was now thought to be about $250,000.

The Dominion Post