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Alliance calls for public ownership for LWR

Alliance calls for public ownership to deal with LWR jobs threat

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday 29 April 2009

The Alliance Party says the Government should take ownership of the Lane Walker Rudkin (LWR) Factory in Christchurch to prevent a disastrous loss of hundreds of jobs.

Alliance Economic Development Spokesperson Quentin Findlay says it is vital that jobs and incomes are preserved to prevent mass unemployment in New Zealand.

He says the Government should take control of failing enterprises and investigate options such as public ownership, employee shareholdings and worker ownership.

"The cost of positive action is far less than the human misery, financial burden and economic stagnation of mass unemployment."

Mr Findlay says the cause of the LWR factory’s closure was both National and Labour led Governments supporting free trade deals and free market policies.

He says while the National Government was good at talking the talk on jobs, but when it came to walking the walk, it had no serious plan.

"This is a Government that is sailing on auto pilot, the captain is not on the bridge and we are heading fast towards the reef of mass unemployment."

Mr Findlay says the use of tariffs, a regulated economy and an expansionary monetary policy could have saved this factory and 470 jobs.

"However, the Government has continued to sign free trade deals and continued to listen to the self-interested squawking coming from private interests and as a result, hundreds of families were now facing a bleak future."

The Government has no real strategy to prevent job losses and business failures aside from listening to the failed mantras of so called 'market' and business leaders, he says.

“The fact is that this ‘advice’ has led to domestic factory failures and layoffs. The Clothing industry, in particular has been put to the sword by the free market and in return New Zealand is flooded with clothing made by virtual ‘slave’ labour from overseas.”

Mr Findlay says that despite the best intentions of those involved, he had little faith in the receivers BDO Spicers resurrecting the LWR factory.

"BDO Spicers and Westpac will be mainly concerned at getting their pound of flesh for stockholders and investors. Unfortunately, workers concerns will be placed at the bottom of the pile."

Mr Findlay challenged the Government to start aggressive action to protect jobs and keep up income levels by keeping open factories such as LWR.

"If such actions can be taken by the so-called home of free enterprise in the USA, then New Zealand should get serious about saving jobs, and building up the level of public investment and worker ownership in the economy."

"It's about time that the Government started to see economic sense in the face of the global recession and pressed the eject button on the failed policies of extreme capitalism."


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