Buying local from far away

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh seemed to be doing so well, and then this happens.

THE Bligh Government has made a complete mockery of its “Buy Local” flood recovery campaign after buying cheap imported T-shirts from overseas to promote the program.

Ooops. So obviously the government’s response was to man up and admit that it was a cock up and… oh, wait, no it wasn’t. Well, to be fair it did, but it seems another approach was to try to hide it.

The Sunday Mail can reveal public servants even tried to cover up the embarrassing bungle by cutting off the shirts’ tags displaying the country of origin.

A furious State Development Minister Andrew Fraser yesterday confirmed public servants discovered the error, then cut tags off the US shirts to hide the true origin of the clothing.
However, the public servants were unable to conceal the origin of the Bangladesh shirts one of which was obtained by The Sunday Mail as the labels were instead printed on the inside neck.

Again, to be fair here it sounds rather like it wasn’t the elected part of the government that chose to import shirts promoting a buy local to help support struggling Queensland business (ones that make and print tee shirts, for example) but one of the bits that’s supposed to answer to them.

Mr Fraser hauled Department of Employment and Economic Development director-general Ian Fletcher over the coals when he discovered the matter on March 22 and ordered the shirts not be worn at the launch event later that night.
“It was completely inappropriate to have sourced the shirts from outside Queensland, and even worse to remove the tags,” Mr Fraser said.

I feel a little sorry for him because it was actually cheaper to import than buy local and with all the other costs the Queensland government is in for every penny counts, but surely someone might have thought about it and wondered firstly if the tees would have the country of origin on and secondly how that might go down with Queensland businesses that would have loved to have had the work. Now the cat’s out of the bag the end result is that the tees weren’t even used, thus not only not saving the money at all but costing Queensland the entire amount of the order for absolutely fuck all benefit.

And this is why governments should avoid doing this kind of thing. It’s not just that they’re bad at picking winners but that when presented with two options with clear downsides they often look forge ahead with one of them without considering that there is always a third option – do neither. The hardest thing for a government to do is nothing, but it’s what we should be demanding they do vastly more of.

Posted on April 18, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Buying local from far away.

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