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How Many Jobs Have To Go, Jim?

Brian Connell, MP For Rakaia
Spokesperson for Forestry & Commerce

21 November 2003

How many jobs have to go, Jim?

"How many jobs have to go before the Government will reduce compliance costs?" asks Brian Connell, National's spokesman for Commerce and Forestry.

His comments followed news that Carter Holt Harvey may be forced to close their Tokoroa Sawmill and reduce operations at the Tokoroa Remanufacturing Plant. The company is seeking employee input on the proposals.

"Carter Holt Harvey should be commended for giving employees a chance to study the facts and have input into the decision-making process. This is not being treated lightly. If there is another viable course, they will seize it."

"We should not point the finger at the company over this. Labour ignored clear warnings on the radar screen for years over the problems behind this."

"Carter Holt Harvey have struggled to avoid reaching this point. As their CEO, Peter Springford, observed however 'We don't see any indication of the cost of doing business in New Zealand reducing in the foreseeable future.'"

"Businesses are under enormous pressure from high freight rates, a strong dollar, irregular electricity supply and growing compliance costs. Jim Anderton has ignored these problems, doing nothing to reduce the compliance burden."

"Compliance costs for Kiwi companies are so high you'd need to be Hillary to tackle them," added Mr Connell.

"The dreadful decision forced on Carter Holt Harvey can be laid directly at the feet of this Government. If action is not taken soon, other companies may have to follow suit."

"Labour needs to learn that businesses don't have bottomless bank accounts. They need to manage their expenses and costs like normal people."

"Cutting compliance costs would be the best Christmas present for the workers, Jim. You'd be giving them back their jobs as well!"


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