Chinese poppies cause rift

By Andre Hueber

The one on the left is made in China, the one on the right is made in New Zealand. Photo / Jason Dorday
The one on the left is made in China, the one on the right is made in New Zealand. Photo / Jason Dorday

An Anzac Day row has broken out after an RSA broke ranks and ordered in a million cheap poppies from China.

The Auckland RSA poppy order comes a year before the production of all poppies sold in New Zealand moves to Australia.

The decision to switch suppliers was an early snub for the Christchurch RSA, which last year lost the contract to make them to an Australian company with parts coming from China.

President of Christchurch RSA Russ Barron said Auckland was supposed to continue getting its poppies from Christchurch until next year but "jumped the gun". "Now we're stuck with in excess of 200,000 poppies."

He said Chinese-made poppies were cheaper because workers earned "around 1c per poppy".

Barron said many veterans didn't want anything to do with a Chinese poppy. "If the public don't support it, veterans suffer."

Auckland RSA president Graham Gibson said Kiwi-made poppies were too expensive and reducing costs maximised assistance to veterans and their families.

Gibson said the issue had been a "bone of contention" for years.

Auckland RSA imported a one-off shipment of a million poppies from China.

Gibson said Auckland RSA planned to give 20 per cent of its poppy profits to RSA vets in Christchurch.

Barron said: "That's the first I've heard of it. If Auckland is prepared to do that, that's excellent".

- Herald on Sunday

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