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Save Our Sawmills And Jobs by Setting Log Price

Richard Prosser MP
Spokesperson for Forestry
24 April 2014

Save Our Sawmills And Jobs by Setting Log Price

The blame for the closure of yet another timber mill can be laid squarely at the feet of the National Government and its refusal to intervene in the New Zealand log market, says New Zealand First.

Forestry Spokesperson Richard Prosser says National's blind adherence to "dumb, unworkable, and disproven" free-market ideology is costing New Zealand jobs and foreign exchange, as Kiwi sawmills struggle to source logs in the face of demand from overseas processors.

"Seventy-nine jobs will go as Southern Cross Forest Products mill in Balclutha closes and cuts are made at its other South Island mills in the face of competition from foreign log buyers and their bottomless chequebooks," says Mr Prosser.

"New Zealand First wants a set domestic price for logs to ensure local sawmills can maintain their supply of logs, providing jobs for New Zealanders and value-added products for export," says Mr Prosser.

"Foreign buyers aren't grabbing shiploads of logs from New Zealand because they’re buildings lots of log cabins," says Mr Prosser. "They want logs to turn them into sawn timber, plywood, and MDF, keeping their people employed and earning the value-added foreign exchange which New Zealand should be earning.

"This continued refusal to intervene for fear of upsetting the supposed sanctity of ‘the market’ is putting New Zealanders on the dole scrapheap and closing our businesses. It is stupidity bordering on the criminal.

“The National Government should understand that it has a duty to be loyal to New Zealand and New Zealanders, not to foreign businesses and bizarre ACT-Party-style monetary ideology," he says.

“New Zealand First in a position of influence over the Government will put New Zealand's interests first, where they are supposed to be," says Mr Prosser.

ENDS

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