Is the scheme too expensive for carvers and will it put them out of business through the 7.5% Cost Recovery Levy it takes on sales?
- Ngāi Tahu has established an entire certification system which enables carvers to guarantee to their customers that the stone that they have is genuine. This is a service that benefits carvers and their customers and costs Ngāi Tahu money. Consequently a cost-recovery levy is needed to run the certification system and other protection activities.
- Over a number of years Ngāi Tahu has invested heavily (a number of millions of dollars) in protecting the pounamu resource from the illicit trade. Further Ngāi Tahu wants to combat the misleading practice of selling imported jade in New Zealand as pounamu.
- Protecting the pounamu resource and operating a certification system is expensive. Currently certifying pounamu as genuine incurs the following costs:
- Operating and administering the web-based tracing system - this includes registering artisans, allocating/printing barcodes, continually improving site design, marketing the system through various media, building video and photographic histories of the stone, and profiling artisans;
- Managing and operating inventories that comply with the system, as well as storage harvest and distribution systems;
- Combating the illicit trade through investigations; and
- Working with customs and other government agencies to enforce export prohibition orders.
- The current cost-recovery levy of 7.5% does not cover the costs of certifying pounamu and protecting the pounamu resource for future generations.
- Our trials show that artisans using the scheme get to sell their items at a significantly increased premium to those that do not. This is because customers want to be guaranteed that they are getting the real thing.
- In addition, artisans licensed to Ngāi Tahu Pounamu have the opportunity to profiled on the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu webpage. We are also happy to work with artisans on their profiling.
- Finally customers buying a piece of certified pounamu are not only getting a the piece, they are also getting an entire story behind the piece. This is in reality an additional product, and in time these customers will be given not only the location from which a stone was harvested when they go onto the internet but also video of locations and pounamu mythology.
Isn't Ngāi Tahu a big corporate player that is only interested in making money out of the certification scheme?
- The goal to put in place a scheme was actually established in 2002 in the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu Resource Management Plan. The idea behind the scheme was the same as it is today – to protect the resource and was not linked to a profit motive.
- The primary goal of Ngāi Tahu is to ensure that the certification scheme and other protection activities can be paid for by those that benefit from obtaining pounamu that can be guaranteed as authentic.
- Should the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu scheme at a time in the future generate a profit, much of this profit will be directed back into building the Ngāi Tahu Pounamu brand, which will in turn benefit those licensed to Ngāi Tahu pounamu. Other portions of the profit will be used to run important social and cultural revitalization programs for the Ngāi Tahu people.