All Blacks jersey website access restored

Last updated 10:03 12/08/2011

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New Zealanders again have access to two overseas websites selling cheap All Blacks jerseys that were temporarily blocked by adidas this week.

The global sporting giant has been at the centre of a jersey-pricing storm since it was revealed the replica tops could be bought much cheaper overseas.

The jersey, which retails in New Zealand for $220, had been listed for sale at US$79.99 (NZ$92.68) on the US website and could also be found cheaper on British websites.

Following discussions with adidas, some global websites removed New Zealand as a delivery option on Monday. New Zealand retailers then dropped the retail price by about $50 as the debate raged.

Adidas has refused to drop the wholesale price.

Its Asia-Pacific managing director Greg Kerr told TVNZ he believed the wholesale pricing was "fair and reasonable" and the strong New Zealand dollar had a "major impact as far as our pricing is concerned".

Adidas claims that the difference in prices between New Zealand and those offshore is because of its involvement into grass roots rugby and the retail landscape with its stores, as they invest "significant amounts here that isn't invested in other parts of the world".

According to Adidas' sustainability and corporate responsibility website, there are more than 1120 factories around the world that are part of the supply chain making products for Adidas. Six countries account for a large portion of the factories: China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

The Rugby World Cup-branded jerseys are made in Thailand, and the non-tournament All Blacks jerseys are made in China.

Local manufacturers have estimated it cost about $8 to make the jerseys.

Oxfam New Zealand executive director Barry Coates agreed.

"We know about how the jerseys are made in Thailand and China. From our understanding of the labour costs side of it, that sounds about right, but we don't have any primary information on it.

"However, we've heard nothing to say that there's any extremely expensive materials to justify a $220 selling price."

Coates said workers were typically paid around $1 an hour in factories in Asia. He said companies needed to calculate and pay its workers a living wage, as the minimum wage in developing countries was often much less.

Meanwhile, nearly 5000 people have joined the Facebook group "Boycott adidas" as public anger over the PR disaster has yet to abate.

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- Stuff

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