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Irwin closure shows need for currency controls

November 13, 2009
Media Release

Irwin closure shows need for currency controls

The closure of Irwin Industrial Tools due to the fluctuating New Zealand dollar shows the desperate need for a major overhaul of New Zealand’s financial system, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The union, which represents workers at the Wellsford tool company, says the government needs to take a serious look at measures to control the New Zealand dollar including indexing it against our trading partners’ currencies and reforming the Reserve Bank Act.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says more focus is needed on providing the right conditions for the real economy to grow.

“Over the last two and a half decades we have left too much of our economy to the whims of the market with the result of huge damage to our productive real economy.

“Irwin shutting down is just the latest in a long line of company closures and job losses due to our volatile dollar and until moves are taken to stabilise it we will continue to see Kiwi workers laid off and Kiwi businesses go under through no fault of their own.

“It’s absurd to have our economy geared to advantage financial speculators at the cost of productive business and it’s time the government made changes to bring the system back into balance.

“New Zealand companies should be focused on growing their core business but too often our major exporters are finding that core business has come second to the hedging, speculation and financial voodoo they need to do to remain viable.

“It needs to be made clear that Irwin isn’t closing because there’s anything wrong with its business model but because our economic levers are so inadequate.

“That’s cold comfort for these workers and for the community of Wellsford but it is something the government can and should change.”

The EPMU represents 45,000 working New Zealanders across eleven industries.


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