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Govt fails Southern Cross Forest workers

24 April 2014

Govt fails Southern Cross Forest workers

The Government’s failure to deal with problems in the wood processing industry has resulted in more needless job losses, Green Party forestry spokesperson Steffan Browning said today.

Southern Cross Forest Products announcement of another sawmill closure brings the tally of closures to about 40 for the last ten years, yet forestry harvests and log exports are running at an all-time high with a 106% increase in forestry harvest over 20 years to 2012.

“Strong procurement policies and a commitment to a wood based Canterbury rebuild could have saved the latest 79 jobs from being lost,” Mr Browning said.

“Another 79 workers and their families are feeling the pain of job losses through a failure to implement policies that could save jobs and strengthen our wood processing sector.

“Record amounts of wood are being harvested but the increased production is being sent overseas as raw logs without value being added in New Zealand.

"This is not a smart way to run our economy.”

Rather than sending increasing amounts of low value-added raw logs overseas, the Green Party earlier this year released a policy pointing to the benefits of structural timber.

“Structural timber has the ability to lower carbon emissions and to add value to our log exports,” Mr Browning said.

"Widespread adoption of structural timber in the building industry has the potential to substantially reduce the climate change impact of our building industry.

"Forestry can play a central part of a smarter, greener, more resilient economy."

Structural timber award one-pager [PDF]

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