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Labour Threatens Jobs

Labour's employment and forestry policies threaten thousands of jobs created in the top half of the South Island since 1991, Associate Forestry Minister David Carter said today.

"From June 1991, to June 1999, 55,000 new jobs were created in Canterbury and 19,000 in the West Coast/Nelson area," Mr Carter said.

"Labour's plan to abolish the Employment Contracts Act and immediately stop sustainable management of all indigenous forestry puts many of these jobs at risk.

"The stakes are extremely high," Mr Carter said.

"Under Labour the first sacrificial lambs lined up for slaughter would be West Coasters employed directly or indirectly in the sustainable management of indigenous forests.

"Today Labour's deputy Michael Cullen learnt what West Coasters think of his party's ill-begotten plans.

"Dr Cullen's hostile reception on the West Coast and the succession of party defections there, are just the beginning, as people wake up to the extreme green and the union voices running Labour with their anti-success, anti-job agendas.

"Labour's employment policies would mean going back to the days of higher unemployment, strikes and stoppages," Mr Carter said.

"For Canterbury, the Household Labour Force Survey shows unemployment has dropped from 8.9 % to 7% from June 1991 to June 1999. In the same period unemployment also fell in the Nelson, West Coast area from 8% to 5.7 %.

"In Christchurch in 1988, $2.12 million was lost in wages and salaries and 26,576 days, due to strikes and stoppages, according to the Statistics NZ Quarterly Employment Survey.

"Ten years later, under a National Government and with the Employment Contracts Act, these losses have been massively reduced. For Canterbury, in 1998 lost wages and salaries were down to $113,000 and lost days cut to 818 days," Mr Carter said.

Ends

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