Media release: FIRST Union
Wednesday 19 March 2014
Forestry union welcomes Labour’s wood sector policy
FIRST Union, the union representing forestry and wood sector workers, welcomes the release of the Labour Party’s Forestry and Wood Products Economic Upgrade today.
The policy includes creative proposals to shift the industry’s focus from ‘volume to value’, such as tax deferrals for investment, a focus on research and development, a “Pro-Wood” procurement strategy, new regulations to protect forestry workers and corporate manslaughter charges to discourage unsafe work practices.
“Finally we have a consistent and coherent policy that looks at big picture issues like raw commodity exports, the exchange rate and investment, while not losing sight of the workers on the ground”, said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.
“Our forestry industry is increasingly embedded in the global economy, and domestic processing has all but stalled. These policies provide investors with the incentive to process wood before it’s exported.”
“However changing the tax system and boosting investment will crash into the economic headwind of the high NZ dollar until monetary policy is addressed and the dollar returns to a sustainable level”, warned Reid.
“New Zealand needs to take note of some of our largest competitors – Russia, Canada and Chile – that all have a lower price for logs for domestic production. The Labour Party needs to consider either a domestic pricing structure or other measures to ensure NZ manufactures are not undercut by unfair competition.”