8 July 2004
Job losses raise questions about NZ commitment
News that a group of workers are to lose their jobs at the Kawerau pulp and paper mill shows that one of New Zealand’s largest companies has little commitment to New Zealand says the country’s largest union.
Engineering, Printing & Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that today’s announcement was consistent with a worrying trend developing in Carter Holt Harvey.
“It’s just more cost-cutting and even with the hefty proceeds from the sale of CHH Tissue, there is no new investment in New Zealand manufacturing,” he said.
When CHH bought the Kawerau pulp operation from mill owner Norske Skog, it agreed to contract certain services from the Norwegian company. It today announced that it was going back on that deal, forcing Norske Skog to lay off maintenance and other workers in its wood preparation operation (fibre co) and garage.
The garage workers will leave on August 6 and the wood prep workers on August 16.
This comes on top of CHH’s announcement last week that $480 million of the money CHH received from the sale of its New Zealand tissue operation would go to shareholders – half of it to the American company International Paper.
“Another $240 million has gone to buy a paper mill in China” Mr Little said.
“We think that at least the loose change should be invested in New Zealand to add to the much needed timber processing capacity in this country”.