Figures confirm union concerns about wood processing industry

A union representing wood processing workers says concerns it expressed last week about the state of the wood industry have been confirmed by manufacturing figures out today.

Statistics New Zealand’s manufacturing survey reports a 0.8 per cent decline in the volume of wood and paper product manufacturing sales in the June 2011 quarter.  The sector has declined three out of the past four quarters.

Unemployment kept high by government inaction on currency

The government’s refusal to implement plans to tackle the high NZ dollar is stopping unemployment from coming down as quickly as it could, a union for workers in the productive sector said today.

Unemployment remains high, at 6.5 per cent, in today’s Household Labour Force Survey.

Wood Workers Jobs Shaved


New Zealand’s wood processing workers have been losing their jobs in
droves due to the exceptionally high international prices for raw logs
and there’s no end in sight says the National Distribution Union.

General Secretary Robert Reid says the record global prices makes
logs too expensive for New Zealand’s value-added wood processing
industry and more than 1100 workers have lost their jobs since 2008.

The high prices make it more attractive for wood producers to export
internationally and means domestic value-added processors lose money on
their final products. 

Robert Reid says it might be time for the government to consider
copying New Zealand’s international competitors who operate dubiously
legal two-tier pricing systems for logs – a domestic price separate and
lower than the global price which allows local processors to secure

“All of our competing countries have that. We’re not necessarily in
the end an advocate of that except by saying if we’re not doing that,
and we’re not doing the same, then the people who lose out in new
Zealand are our wood manufacturers and the workers, who lose their jobs
because their mills are closing.”

Mixed sales data


Hundreds of jobs are feared to be at risk in the wood processing industry.

New Zealand's manufacturing survey shows a 3.3 percent increase in the
volume of manufacturing sales in the December quarter. But bucking that
trend is a 4.2 percent drop in volume of sales in the wood and paper
products industry.

Output was also down in the previous two quarters.

National Distribution Union says while exporters of raw logs are making
money, value-added wood processors are being put out of business. The
union says more than a thousand jobs have been lost since 2008, and
it's worried more could go.

Manufacturing survey confirms more jobs at risk in wood industry

A union for wood processing workers believes several hundreds more jobs in the industry are at risk, following a further drop in wood manufacturing reported this morning.