16 Dec 2010

More jobs chopped from wood industry

7:53 pm on 16 December 2010

The National Distribution Union is calling on the Government to rescue the wood industry, saying another 80 job losses shows the sector is in crisis.

Forty permanent production workers and 40 temporary staff, management and contractors lost their jobs at WPI International's Tangiwai Mill near Ohakune on Thursday.

It follows Tuesday's announcements that 27 workers will lose their jobs at the Carter Holt Harvey Wood Products sawmill in Kawerau and a further 30 would be lost from the Prime Sawmill in Gisborne.

The union's general secretary, Robert Reid, says the Government is presiding over the collapse of New Zealand's third biggest export industry.

Mr Reid says it needs to call a meeting and develop a strategic plan.

"We're in an absolute Catch-22 where the prices of logs are very high, so the prices that the New Zealand wood processors have to buy the logs for is high, but the price of processed goods on the international market is very low.

Mr Reid says that means the more value added to wood products, the higher the losses for the companies making them.