INDEPENDENT NEWS

Greens Return Sweat Shop 'Spots' To Telecom

Published: Wed 20 Sep 2000 12:51 AM
Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald is returning seven 'Spot' soft toys to Telecom because he is concerned they were probably made by young girls in Chinese sweat shops.
Last week Telecom gave all MPs a soft toy to mark the death of the Jack Russell terrier known as Spot which featured in Telecom advertisements for many years. The toys were made in China.
"We are sad Spot has died and we don't want to come across as a bunch of kill joys but the sad reality is that these soft toys were probably made in sweat shop conditions by very poorly paid young girls," said Mr Donald.
"It's great that Telecom is supporting worthy organisations like Victim Support but if it genuinely wants to be a good corporate citizen it has to change its own employment and buying practices," he said.
It is estimated that at least five million children under the age of 15 work in Chinese factories. Workers are forced to work 10 to 15 hour shifts, six or seven days a week for below subsistence wages of US13 to 28 cents an hour.
There have been numerous examples of children being killed in Chinese factories. For example a 15 year old girl was one of 87 workers who died in the Hong Kong owned Zhili toy factory fire in Shenzhen (China's first special economic zone) in 1993. A 14 year old girl was one of 160 children working at a foreign-invested textile enterprise in Zhongshan. Exhausted by 18 hour days she was killed after fainting and being pulled into a machine by her hair.
"By purchasing imported toys instead of a New Zealand made product Telecom is also denying Kiwis jobs, which contributes to the very social breakdown and crime that Victim Support has to grapple with," said Mr Donald.
In an open letter to Telecom Rod Donald has encouraged the company to make commitments to Buy New Zealand Made, environmental sustainability and social justice in any future campaigns.
Ends
Rod Donald MP: 04 470 6660, 025 507 183

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