MFAT decision ‘cost 127 Kiwi jobs’
The decision by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to commission a US$ 6.6 million ($ 8 million) ferry to be built in Bangladesh rather than by a New Zealand boat builder has disappointed the 450-plus members of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association (NZ Marine).
The 43-metre vessel is a replacement ferry for the New Zealand territory of Tokelau and capable of carrying 60 passengers and 50 tonnes of freight.
Twelve shipyards from Australia, Bangladesh, China, New Zealand, Poland and Singapore submitted tenders with the Bangladesh firm Western Marine Shipyard selected. Not only will it be built offshore, it was designed by Danish firm Knude E Hansen.
During 18 months of talks between NZ Marine and MFAT, the department confirmed there are no instructions to consider any economic gain to New Zealand from having this vessel built here versus by an overseas yard.
Peter Busfield, executive director of NZ Marine, says: “We have sought the advice of highly-respected economic advisors Market Economics, which advised that the government procuring a vessel from New Zealand for the sum of NZ$14 million would generate an additional $ 9 million in GDP and sustain the equivalent of 127 employees for one year.
“We believe the government’s procurement requirements are fundamentally f lawed as the process does not factor in the economic gain to the country of buying ‘New Zealand made’ versus importing.”