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Power price shock for tissue firm

Power price shock for tissue firm

Another big employer is joining the growing list of Kiwi companies suffering fall-out as the inept Labour Government continues to mismanage the looming power crisis.

"Carter Holt Harvey's Consumer Brands plant in Kawerau is now having to cut production to manage its electricity load," says National Party Commerce spokesman Tony Ryall.

The plant makes tissue products for New Zealand and export markets.

"Manufacturing manager Murray Lucas has described the situation as 'absolutely disastrous' while a Bay of Plenty Electricity boss is saying the crisis is worse than in 2001," notes Mr Ryall.

The Carter Holt Harvey Mill's been cutting back production from time to time since February with wholesale power prices spiking from $55 a megawatt hour to as much as $600 a megawatt hour.

"Only yesterday we learned that Nelson's biggest employer Sealord, is having to shut down tomorrow because of excessive power prices.

"There's four hundred jobs and now there are hundreds more in other industries that are being put at risk," Mr Ryall says.

"The Government promised action after the 2001 electricity crisis but nothing's changed. "Instead the Government has become a bigger and bigger player in the energy industry and things have not improved.

"If the Government is serious about fixing the crisis it would be fixing the RMA and letting private enterprise get on with building new generation capacity.

"Loose talk about changing the rules every five minutes is undermining investor confidence," Mr Ryall says.

"Businesses will recall that Energy Minister Pete Hodgson said last crisis that he was never going to let it happen again.

"Now he owes us all an explanation," says Mr Ryall.

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