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Rakon workers another victim of high NZ dollar

November 6, 2012
Media Release

Rakon workers another victim of high NZ dollar

Rakon’s announcement that it plans to shift part of its production offshore at a cost of 60 redundancies is a sign the crisis in manufacturing is deepening, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The iconic electronics manufacturer has warned repeatedly that the strength of the New Zealand dollar and its extreme volatility were significantly impacting its business.

As recently as September this year Chairman Bryan Mogridge told shareholders that “markets have been tough and the New Zealand dollar remains persistently high against Rakon’s trading currency the US Dollar”. He went on to comment that “New Zealand with its high valued Dollar becomes less and less favourable as a place to manufacture.”

EPMU manufacturing industry organiser Louisa Jones says the redundancies at Rakon are a sign the manufacturing sector is in crisis and urgent Government action is needed.

“These redundancies are deeply concerning, not just for our members but for the entire New Zealand manufacturing sector. If even a high value, specialised manufacturer such as Rakon feels it can’t make a go of manufacturing in New Zealand then the sector is in real trouble.

“Our Government says it wants high value manufacturing, it says it wants to increase exports and it says it wants to create good, skilled jobs, yet it refuses to do anything in the face of factory closures and mass redundancies.

“What’s worse, the Government refuses to even recognise there’s a crisis.

“There are a number of simple steps the Government can take to support manufacturing if it would only recognise there’s a problem and begin to address it, starting with the high New Zealand dollar.

“New Zealanders want a strong economy that lifts our wages and gives young people a reason to build a future here. This will never happen until the Government gets serious about supporting manufacturing.”

Statistics NZ figures show the manufacturing sector has 40,000 fewer jobs than it did in 2008.

The EPMU is supporting the Parliamentary Inquiry into the crisis in manufacturing and is urging businesses, workers and anyone with an interest in the issue to take part.

ENDS

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