All Blacks gear made in China

By James Ihaka

All Blacks' fan-wear is now acrylic. Photo / Christine Cornege
All Blacks' fan-wear is now acrylic. Photo / Christine Cornege

They are as recognisably Kiwi as Skellerup gumboots, Swanndris and Kathmandu clothing.

But the scarves and beanies sported by All Blacks supporters are being made of acrylic - not New Zealand wool - now their manufacture has been shifted overseas.

And supporters of the local wool industry say they are dismayed at adidas's actions before the Rugby World Cup.

Margaret Tenet, chief executive of Textiles New Zealand, said she believed the All Blacks should be backing New Zealand industries.

"We have a fabulous fibre sector in New Zealand known as the wool industry that is producing beautiful, high-quality woollen products that are exported and coveted around the world - so how come our own people aren't using or buying them?"

Nick Nicholson of the Council of Wool Exporters said Chinese manufacturers, who were among the main producers for adidas, had "developed an awful lot" but he was also concerned wool was not being used.

"I would be surprised if [the items] were not produced overseas but the fact is it's not wool [which is] a far superior product."

But New Zealand Rugby Union commercial manager Paul Dalton said the days of local clothing suppliers producing specialist items for a global market were probably long gone.

He said adidas had made much of the All Blacks' line of clothing overseas since 1999.

The price tags of $50 for scarves and $40 for beanies would probably be twice as much if they were made locally and with wool.

- NZ Herald

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