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Leadership could save mill and industry

9th April 2008

Leadership could save mill and industry

The anticipated closure of the Carter Holt Harvey timber mill in Kopu near Thames is a tragedy that might have been avoided with industry leadership and planning, Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"This is yet another community about to be devastated by the effects of unfettered market competition which, through short term thinking and long term inefficiencies, has proven to be ruinous for industry, profits and workers.

"Coordination in the timber industry amounts to nothing but a feel good 'NZ Wood' campaign, and this façade is revealed when individual companies are obsessed by short term profits at the expense of the viability of the industry as a whole.

"It is imperative that the timber industry in New Zealand starts coordinating itself, rather than competitively overproducing, hauling logs huge distances when local mills are available to do the work, and expending energy for the sake of short lived gains.

"Last year logs were coming to Thames from Northland despite there being plenty of forests in the Coromandel. It is a common sight to see full logging trucks crossing paths, heading in opposite directions.

"Where is the long-term planning and Government leadership that could not only have saved 145 jobs in Thames but could yet save the entire timber industry?

"There has been a softening of the timber market, but only last year Carter Holt Harvey increased production. Oversupply is weakening the industry, as are cheap and often illegal imports from forests overseas.

"Both the industry and the Government must start working more intelligently on solutions such as industry leadership and better protection of New Zealand's sustainable forests from imports of unsustainable and illegally logged timber."


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