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Call to Set New Zealand Log Price

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First Leader
4 March 2014

Call to Set New Zealand Log Price

New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters is calling for a log price to be set to end the regional devastation that is occurring as sawmills close.

“The jobs of another group of 400 workers are hanging in the balance with the announcement that Southern Forest Products has gone into receivership leaving workers, including 120 at Thames, nervously awaiting the outcome of a sale.

“In the past decade more than 20 big sawmills, and many smaller ones, have closed with the loss of more than 1700 jobs. Meanwhile, the value of log exports has tripled in the same period.

“It is the export log price that is killing local industry, with Kiwi sawmills unable to buy logs for processing.

“A set log price for Kiwi firms will arrest the decline of sawmills.

“The domino effect from sawmills continuing to operate is huge. It is estimated that between 2.2 and 5.8 jobs are created outside the industry for every one fulltime forestry or timber processing worker.

“The set price on logs will also allow New Zealand to keep its capacity as a log processor, which has been built up over many decades.

“At present New Zealand relies on a few countries to buy logs. If these markets dry up, and we have saved our sawmilling industry, we still have the ability to turn logs into products for use domestically and for export.

“Towns around New Zealand have been hit with sledgehammers as sawmills have closed, it’s time to come up with a measure that will give the local economies a chance to thrive,” says Mr Peters.

ENDS

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