Monday, December 13, 2010

Commercial Reality or Emotional Betrayal?

We will remember them.
Poppy Day is the Royal NZ Returned and Services' Assn's (RSA) major fundraiser - on the Friday closest to April 25th., Anzac Day, volunteers accept public donations in exchange for a red poppy.
The poppies themselves are no works of art - just flat red paper, green plastic stem and small RSA label - but they represent the sacrifices of thousands of Armed Services veterans over the years. They also represent income for the makers, Kilmarnock Enterprises which provides work for intellectually disabled people.
Last week the RSA announced that Oz company Cash's had won the tender to make the 1.2 million poppies annually from 2012: parts sourced from China and assembled in Oz. Sad news for Christchurch RSA, which has made the national supply since 1931. But the writing was on the wall: this year the Auckland region also contracted a separate poppy supplier.
The Chch Press had a field day, yelling "Revolt over poppies" [Kiwis threatening to boycott poppy sales...oh really? Are we??] and "Battle lines drawn over poppies".
Personally I've heard no-one who's overly concerned. This is after all the 21st.century, and the RSA has every right to maximise its returns, to gain most benefit for its members. Outsourcing the manufacturing will have as little impact on public support for the RSA, as the change years ago from the more realistic twirled poppy with wire stem, to the current flat plastic-stemmed model.
The indignant few should remember their donation to the RSA helps elderly veterans and their widows: a withdrawal of financial support merely hurts the welfare efforts. If people feel that strongly about the impact on Kilmarnock's intellectually disabled employees, perhaps a donation to them may be in order too.
[PS: see also last April's post about the Peace Movement trying to cash in on RSA Poppy Day...that's far worse!]


Mack said...

The word xenophobic comes to mind. That "we fought the war against THOSE people" mentality is all too prevalent in NZ. Aren't we here to support the RSA and what they do? We have to forget WHO we fought against in the past, and remember WHAT we fought for.
I support the RSA's decision.

samantha said...

But Mack, you're overlooking the IHC workers who might be out of a job, menial though it is, if their company can't find replacement work for them.
I can the RSA can't be blamed for the loss of work as the company should be able to find more, but it's sad nonetheless that people are hurt or at least inconvenience, in search of more money.