Footwear company Bata is making its biggest investment into its New Zealand operations in 30 years with a $1 million gumboot machine.
The machine was launched yesterday by Prime Minister John Key, who clearly remembers as a youngster his mother buying him the well-known Bata Bullet shoes, which are no longer produced.
The machine will be used to make more than 150,000 gumboots a year specially designed for the broad Kiwi foot.
"Manufacturing is always difficult when you are up against markets where labour rates are low, but good technology and innovation like we see at Bata proves New Zealand can compete on a world stage," Key told BusinessDay.
Bata has been making footwear at its Owhiro Bay, Wellington, base since 1951. The Swiss-based shoemaker employs 30,000 worldwide but its New Zealand staff numbers have dropped from more than 360 in the early 1980s when it had factories and workshops in Wainuiomata, Carterton, Masterton, Whanganui and Nelson. These days it has only 24 employees at Owhiro Bay. Fairfax NZ
- © Fairfax NZ News
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