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180 South Otago families join the regional jobs scrapheap

180 South Otago families join the National Govt’s regional jobs scrapheap

National has turned its back on regional New Zealand and allowed an important South Otago wood processing industry to collapse, costing two mills, a processing facility and 180 jobs in the process, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins and Dunedin South Clare Curran said today.

“Under a Labour Government, Southern Cross Forest Products would not have to close, with our Forestry Upgrade policies ensuring raw logs would be processed here rather than sent overseas,” said Chris Hipkins.

“Meanwhile Oji is seeking the okay from the Commerce Commission to buy Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper, leading to yet more of our industry sold overseas.

“Our pro-wood government procurement policy, tax deferrals to encourage new technology investment and loans to encourage more forest planting will put the industry in a much stronger position.

“Forestry and wood processing are critical industries for the economic upgrade New Zealand desperately needs, especially in the regions. This Government doesn’t get that,” said Chris Hipkins.

“This is a body blow to the towns of Milton, Milburn, Balclutha and Mosgiel where 101 Southern Cross Forest Products jobs losses were announced yesterday, hard on the heels of 79 jobs axed last month from the Rosebank Mill in Balclutha,” said Clare Curran.

“Nearly 200 families have been left with no income. Meanwhile the National Government is sitting on its hands and letting our regions wither while raw unprocessed logs are sent offshore for higher prices.

“The Dunedin City Council has also turned a blind eye and has allowed higher prices for unprocessed logs from its forestry companies to cloud its judgement about regional economic development.

“Only Labour’s Economic Upgrade plan can turn things around for the forestry and wood processing industry,” said Clare Curran.

Ends

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