2 Oct 2014

High dollar blamed for plant closures

8:39 pm on 2 October 2014

Nearly 50 workers at two manufacturing companies have been told their jobs may go as their employers propose to have their products made overseas, blaming the high NZ dollar.

Thirty jobs could be cut from the farm products manufacturing plant, Donaghys in Dunedin, while 18 jobs at the wire rope production company, Bridon Cookes, in Auckland are also at risk.

Donaghys says its proposal to staff and unions would affect the manufacture and export of twines, ropes and braids.

Managing director Jeremy Silva said today that an out-of-control exchange rate had forced the company's hand and it was also moving towards more hi-tech business.

Mr Silva said it was no longer possible to turn a profit exporting to the United States and Australia, and it was entirely due to the high dollar.

"Exporting those commodity products to the USA was below cost," he said.

"Then the straw that broke the camel's back was movement of the Australian dollar from around the 70 cents up to the 90 cents, which meant there was a 20 percent drop in what we were getting for our Australian exports for those commodities."

Bridon Cookes, which runs the country's only wire rope manufacturing plant in East Tamaki, is looking at closing it down at the end of this month, also blaming the high New Zealand dollar.

The Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) is asking the Government, once again, to help manufacturers invest in adding value and creating skilled, secure jobs.

EPMU organiser Steve Westoby said the ongoing job crisis in the manufacturing sector is also to blame, with more and more companies claiming that it is not possible to keep the work in New Zealand.

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