Timber Industry Acc Levies Up 50%
"Despite being assured that there would be little if any increase in premiums under the new A.C.C. regime we are now facing, as from 1 July, increases of between 30% and 50%.
"The government has misled a very major export industry.
"As with the Employment Relations Bill it is imperative that the government swallows its pride and reviews its decision on A.C.C.
"More than half of our production is exported. Cost increases of 30% - 50% (especially when they are so unnecessary) are completely unacceptable.
"This bad news on A.C.C. rates comes on top of the prospects of enormous costs and disruptions foreshadowed by the Employment Relations Bill.
"Taken together these measures are destroying business confidence in the timber industry. "And this is seriously `anti-worker' which is ironic for a Labour Government as the major repercussions will be in terms of employment prospects.
"As an industry we are really wondering what we have done to deserve this.
"Since the Employment Contracts Act was introduced in 1991 the timber industry has grown its work force by 31% and delivered wage increases, on average 20% above the rate of inflation.
"Days lost through stoppages have been decimated, there have been huge improvements in worker accident rates (especially during the last year) and the number of staff in formal training has increased from 4 to 1555.
"And through all of this we have lifted production by 60% and exports by 77%.
"We are at a total loss as to why any government would want to undermine these achievements.
"The government must now start thinking about the livelihood of ordinary people. Families need to be fed through honest work.
"Anti-worker and anti-business legislation will do just the opposite.