The job losses of 80 includes 40 permanent production workers and 40 other temporary staff, management and contractors, at WPI International’s Tangiwai Mill, near Ohakune.
It follows Tuesday’s announcement of the mothballing of Prime Sawmill in Gisborne, and 26 job losses at Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts Kawerau Sawmill.
“Today’s news confirms our view that the wood processing industry is now at crisis point,” said Robert Reid, General Secretary of the National Distribution Union, which represents workers at Tangiwai.
“The price of raw logs is going up and up, but the price at which New Zealand can sell processed timber is going down. In effect, the closer a wood company is to a raw log, the more money they will make in exporting.”
“The (high) dollar is a major part, but there is a real structural problem in the industry. When value-added ends up being completely uneconomic, there is something wrong here.”
For the year ended December 2009, the value of exports of forestry products was 8.1% of New Zealand's total merchandise exports - $3,250 million
The major devaluation of competitor countries currencies is exposed here as the major imperialists nations export unemployment to our shores and this is the opening salvo of a world trade war. On the basis of capitalism this means the potential destruction of the New Zealand wood process industry. Capitalism is destroying industry, workers lives and a future.
The only way of guaranteeing a future for the industry is through nationalisation of the country's sawmills as part of a planned economy here in New Zealand and internationally.