NZ Army caught up in leaky uniform saga
The New Zealand Defence Force says it needs more time to answer questions about leaky rain jackets that were allegedly supplied to soldiers a few years ago.
Australian socks and jocks maker Pacific Brands sold a shipment of leaking rain jackets to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and then left Perth-based company Wesfarmers to cover the A$2.5 million (NZ$2.6m) cost of replacing them.
That’s according to a statement of claim Wesfarmers has filed in the New South Wales Federal Court in Australia, in an attempt by the retail conglomerate to claw some of that money back.
Wesfarmers said the NZDF bought the dodgy raincoats sometime between 2012 and 2014 from the Workwear Group, a division of Pacific Brands – company behind Bonds underwear and Sheridan homewares.
The NZDF initially said it would not comment how long the rain jackets were in use, the problems they caused, whether they were used during combat missions.
A spokesman later said it would treat those questions as an Official Information Act request and respond ’’as soon as possible’’.
In June 2014 the NZDF contacted Pacific Brands three times to make ‘‘corrective action reports’’, complaining that the jackets were ‘‘leaking’’ and that defence personnel wearing them were getting wet, the Australian legal claim said.
Those complaints prompted Pacific Brands to test the jackets, which revealed they had leak points on the seams at the right hand chest, right hip and at the armpits, and were not fit for purpose.
Pacific Brands, which has since been acquired by American apparel giant Hanesbrands, sold the Workwear business to Wesfarmers in 2014 for A$180m.
Wesfarmers said Pacific Brands did not disclose the problem with the NZDF’s wet weather gear, which breached an agreement they signed before the sale that there were ‘‘no material claims or material potential claims by a customer in relation to a safety or product issue’’.
Wesfarmers was left to appease the NZDF by replacing their jackets with waterproof ones and disposing the faulty garments, which cost the company A$2.5m.
Wesfarmers and Hanesbrands would not comment on the case.
The NZDF contacted Pacific Brands three times to complain jackets were leaking.