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29 Jul 2020

Nikki Mandow, Newsroom

Are your disposable gloves made using forced labour?


[...] [I]nternational human rights advocates, lawyers and journalists have warned about slave-like conditions for migrant workers in some of Top Glove’s Malaysian factories.


Newsroom has seen evidence that Top Glove is making gloves for the New Zealand market, and although it is hard to trace what’s happening to these gloves, it is almost certain some are ending up in our hospitals and medical centres, our supermarkets, our food factories, and our health and beauty salons. 


But Newsroom has seen Top Glove production documents that show that over the last two years, at least three New Zealand medical supply wholesalers have imported gloves from the Malaysian company and at least one - Wellington-based Protec Solutions - is still doing so.

Protec’s website describes it as “a NZ-owned importer/wholesaler which has been distributing a range of internationally recognised branded products and other healthcare consumables into hospitals and other medical markets, retail chains and local medical distributors for 10 years.”


Edward Miller, a Kiwi-born lawyer working in human rights and the trade union movement in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, says he wrote to the New Zealand Government on April 4 telling them Pharmac-preferred supplier Ebos buys from Australian manufacturer/wholesaler Ansell, which has regularly bought from Top Glove.