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Articles from INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS (263 Articles)

Continued upheaval within the NZ jewellery industry has led to Mark Beckett's resignation as Chairman of the JANZ
Continued upheaval within the NZ jewellery industry has led to Mark Beckett's resignation as Chairman of the JANZ

JANZ chairman resigns over industry discontent

Mark Beckett has stepped down as the chairman of JANZ following  ongoing turmoil in the New Zealand jewellery industry.
At the Jewellers Association New Zealand (JANZ) annual general meeting last Wednesday, Beckett announced his resignation, citing what he described as “complete frustration” at the association’s poor decision-making processes and lack of professionalism.

As chairman for the last six years, Beckett said the past 12 months had been the most frustrating and contentious. He pointed to problems with the New Zealand Retailers Association (NZRA) of which JANZ is a specialist trade sector.

As reported by Jeweller on September 27, Beckett discovered NZRA trade executive Brenda Chalmers had thrown the organisation’s support behind Jewellers Trade magazine without consultation, and despite the existence of its quarterly publication, Jewellery Post.

“The last straw came when I discovered that a decision was made to endorse and contribute to an industry magazine and that decision had been made without consultation with the members or even the JANZ executive,” Beckett explained.

The decision caused embarrassment because it contradicted an earlier announcement by JANZ executive director Russell Sinclair who was quoted in a JWNZ president’s report as saying JANZ would support only one industry trade magazine, Jewellery Time.

According to Beckett the topic had never been discussed at a JANZ meeting and Sinclair, an employee of NZRA, was not authorised to give such a commitment to JWNZ but there was further embarrassment for Beckett and JANZ when it was discovered that Chalmers’ email was untrue.

She wrote to all JANZ members saying, “On a recent visit to Sydney I met with the Editor of the Jewellers Trade magazine which is available as a free subscription in Australia and has no affiliations to any buying group, trade association or lobby group providing news without fear or favour.”

Chalmers was never in Sydney to meet with the magazine and there has been no explanation why an industry trade organisation would knowingly allow a fabricated email to be circulated to its members.

While JANZ describes itself as the collective voice for its New Zealand jewellery retailing and wholesaling members, Beckett believes the organisation isn’t representative at all.

“Decisions are being made by JANZ and NZRA without any consultation with jewellers or the jewellery industry,” he said.  “In effect, you have non-jewellers making decisions that benefit themselves rather than the jewellery industry.”

His growing disillusionment with the organisation also stems from recent attempts to unify the New Zealand jewellery industry under a single peak industry body. To that end, he criticised JANZ and NZRA for developing “self-centred natures”.

“At the beginning of February the goal was to have one unified industry body working for the entire NZ jewellery industry, but I’ve now come to the conclusion that that was not going to happen under the current JANZ structure," Beckett said.

He said that in order for the industry to improve and grow, it requires one unified body rather than a forum that comes together on occasion.

In Beckett’s opinion, it’s obvious that JANZ, and industry associations in general, needed to keep up with the times and that more attention needed to paid to creating member benefits.

“I am also concerned that as an association that’s meant to represent jewellers, all the fees being paid to JANZ by jewellers seem to be disappearing into the NZRA coffers with little or no benefit to the jewellery industry,” Beckett said.

Although his final chairman’s report described the last 12 months as the most contentious he had encountered, he told Jeweller that after six years at the helm, it was time to concentrate on his jewellery business.

“I’d rather do something positive like mentoring young kids on fine jewellery manufacturing rather than seeing our funds go into the NZRA to fulfill their ‘salary cap’,” he concluded.

Jeweller contacted Sinclair for comment about Brenda Chalmers’ fabricated email and Beckett’s criticisms of JANZ and NZRA but at the time of publication he had not responded.

More reading:
New furor in Kiwi jewellery industry
Jewellers revolt at industry agreement

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