November 21, 2003
Jobs on line as dollar rises
News that sawmills may close because of New Zealand’s high exchange rate has stunned workers, says the union that represents them.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that today’s announcement by forestry giant Carter Holt Harvey that it may close the Tokoroa sawmill and partially close the Tokoroa Remanufacturing plant because they are uneconomic is a blow for the town and the industry.
“The New Zealand dollar is now worth 0.64 US dollars, a rise of 19 per cent over the past year,” Mr Little said.
“The timber industry is vitally important for New Zealand’s future, to provide jobs for our people. We can’t afford to have mills closing because our exchange rate is too high.”
The EPMU has 90 members at the sawmill and 71 members at the remanufacturing plant. Mr Little said that the union would be working closely with its members and the company over the coming weeks to do all it could to prevent the closures.