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.”