Action on NZD called for after job losses
Fri, 01 Feb 2013 8:58a.m.
By 3 News online staff
Oamaru residents are reeling after being told the town's second largest employer is shutting down.
Nearly 200 workers at the Summit Wool Spinners plant in Oamaru were yesterday told their jobs were gone. The plant's being closed after being sold to Australia’s Godfrey Hirst.
Speaking on Firstline this morning, Waitaki District Mayor Alex Familton says the impact of the job losses will be widely felt.
“This will have a far reaching impact on the community, because Summit had a particularly strong economic and social place in our community. They were tremendous supporters of our community – for example, sponsoring sports teams – and their economic benefits flowed right across the community,” says Mr Familton.
He hopes that Godfrey Hirst will eventually be able to return jobs to the community, but in the meantime he’s optimistic about those who have lost their jobs being able to find work.
“We just hope that Godfrey Hirst can pick up the challenge and run with it,” he says.
“There will be other employment opportunities because ironically we have a community that has prospered, relatively speaking. It’s difficult economic times for everybody but we’ve come through them, apart from this, reasonably well.”
Mr Familton says the key factor driving the job losses was probably wool carpet’s failure to sell well on the market, but he has also called upon the Government to address the high New Zealand dollar.
“I would hope the politicians, the Reserve Bank and the exporters would get together and I would hope some pressure could be taken off there.”
Unions for the Oamaru workers who've lost their jobs are blaming their redundancies on the Government's failure to address the issues facing the manufacturing sector.
First Union textile secretary Paul Watson says while the Summit company has been struggling for a number of years, the high New Zealand dollar has been the catalyst for the plant’s closure.
“The problem has been, of course, that when you’ve got a high New Zealand dollar [and] you’re exporting off to the US and Asia, your margins of profitability are incredibly tight,” says Mr Watson.
“There’s been some [domestic] competition from synthetic dyed nylon products, but at the same time there’s a reasonable export market going out there,” he says, “but [there’s also] the high New Zealand dollar and the lack of this Government addressing that question.”
Mr Watson says the unions involved will be meeting management at the plant today to discuss what support can be offered to help the redundant workers find new employment.
“There will be some employment under the new owner – the nature of that employment, the numbers, we’re not sure yet. The union’s having discussions with the new company today.”
Godfrey Hirst is promising the creation of a least a few jobs when the plant re-opens under new management at the end of the month.
Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Godfrey Hirst general manager Tania Pauling said between 20 and 30 positions were likely to be created – and as many as 50 could end up employed.
Watch the video for the full interviews.
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23/02/2013 11:20:05 p.m.
Katubaldy. Stating high unemployment figures for only one world sector without including NZ to compare with is not looking at the bigger picture. Compared to the countries you mention, NZ unemployment which is 6.9% compares very favourably. Even UK and US are both around 7.9% although Aussi is doing better at 5.4%.
19/02/2013 8:00:10 p.m.
What I said was, the global oil crisis had more to do with the rising cost of living in NZ than anything Muldoon did at the time. The present day oil prices have been up and down for the last decade like a yoyo and don't stay at the same level long. And the right's insistence that record inflation is just around the corner waiting to reek havoc on the economy is pathetic fear mongering and hyperbole. When you say the 'big picture' you mean the usual garbage the right put out there to try and keep the currency over valued for the speculators. Which gets us back to the original issue. Seems like the financial ministers of England, Japan and the US all agree, inflation-centric policies are not working, as do the people running the European Central Bank. Focusing on one factor when dealing with the economic problems of the world has caused devastating impacts on the general public. Record unemployment levels, (Ireland 14.7%,Portugal 16.9%,Spain 26% and Greece 27%) and soaring costs of living in most of the major countries, where the ill-fated 'austerity measures' have been introduced. It looks to have swayed their stance on their own currency rates and the narrow focus on inflation control.... Contracting an economy in the middle of a recession/depression is mindless listless governance and gutless leadership. Injecting money into the system stimulates economic activity, gets people working and creates demand...its demand that drives a healthy economy whether the right want to hear it or not. Appears to me that its you Dave that hasn't quite got a grasp on the 'big picture' unless you know something the govts of England, Japan,the US and the European Central Bank have missed?
18/02/2013 3:18:26 p.m.
Katubaldy. High oil prices caused the high inflation when Muldoon devalued the dollar you say? Seems current oil prices have never been higher so to devalue the dollar as well would obviously cause record inflation. Or maybe you are not able to look at the bigger picture and/or incapable of learning from history?
17/02/2013 11:57:06 p.m.
Iman Olive wrote:
Katu. 9 years surpluses? Oh yes, guess what? Labour not only spent the surpluses they inherited from national but also the continuing surpluses derived from Nationals ground-work before them and when National got back into Government, SURPRISE! there was no money left. As usual, Labour had spent the lot and bankrupt the country yet again.
17/02/2013 2:57:22 p.m.
Just off the record Iman...I don't think I've reminded anyone of 'also like to use inflated figures plucked from the ethos to make things seem very blah blah blah' ....what did that even mean? But I think you might have forgotten to mention that the 'global oil crisis' that had enveloped the world at the time which might have had more to do with the cost of living going up than Muldoon, when you talk about inflating numbers...40K jobs lost, data forwarded by the manufacturing sector is the same number whatever lens you want to put it through. Then you don't come up with the other side of the ledger to balance it up...where are the corresponding 40K jobs that have been created in the same timeframe? I mean they promised 177K jobs,...oops! Any number even close in the same time period...make with your facts before you start denying info that doesn't agree with your 'opinion'? Give us the huge balancing totals of newly employed kiwis, (remember NZers now working in Aussie don't count) and then I'd tend to agree with you. You're stuck in attack the messenger mode, blame the Labour party and rewrite a little bit of history while you're at it,..whatever. Then you don't talk about the 9 years of surpluses under a Labour govt and the last time we had such bad unemployment numbers was 13 years ago under another National admin...?? That's some pretty selective memories you have so feel free to criticise but have some data man and leave the cheap shots for some other time huh?...
16/02/2013 2:45:32 p.m.
Iman OLive wrote:
Katu. People you remind me of also like to use inflated figures plucked from the ethos to make things seem very different to what they really are. Take your frequent use of 40,000 lost jobs for example. Even ignoring the fact this is a grossly inflated total, it does not take into account the thousands of jobs on the other side of the equation either created or saved by the current government that changes the overall picture to a completely different one to what you like to paint.
The statistics department unemployed numbers as a percentage is a much reliable figure to use even though Labour used Empire building of Govt department expansion as a tool to disguise the true figure.
Then there is the issue of interfering in the natural value of the NZ Dollar. The last time the NZ dollar was falsely devalued (by Robert Muldoon) prices for all imports increased exponentially and as a result, everything increased in price with oil and transport costs leading the way, which in turn caused export and local production costs to rise followed by all other farming, food and retail prices. Then the unions sought increased wages to offset this and prices spiraled up yet again. The ones that always suffer the worst effects of devaluation and the ensuing price increases are the superannuants, the lower paid and those on benefits.
10/02/2013 6:52:33 p.m.
Sounds like you're doing just fine with the dollar through the roof but not many other kiwis are Cathy. You refer to the lost (40 000) jobs in the manufacturing/export sector as 'part of the process' and try to pass that off as good politics. The dollar is perfect for currency speculators just like it was in Muldoon's day and the whole inflation-centric argument is fear mongering mixed in with a touch of hyperbole. NZ won't descend into economic chaos if the dollar is devalued just like it didn't before this govt jacked it up to suit the financial markets. Those 'red herrings' you allude to are more like reality on the ground for a growing number of NZers who are out of work, leaving to get work overseas or not sure if they'll get paid for their work even when they are employed. Pretty much all as a result of this inept govt's policies which suit a few but not the majority. The NZD being overvalued is another one of these policies. Unless you think losing 40K jobs is an ideal scenario for NZ?
9/02/2013 10:38:44 a.m.
Katubaldy. It would be nice as other people say if you could stick to the topic which is the value of the NZ dollar instead of waffling all over the place throwing out red herrings. Clearly with exports at record heights as they have been for the last 3 years most exporters have been doing very well and it's only those who have not achieved as much who are complaining and expect everyone else to suffer from an inflationary lower dollar rather than modernise and upgrade their companies themselves so regretfully they only have themselves to blame for their employees losing their jobs. The dollar is obviously low enough and best not tampered with as when Muldoon did it and inflation went through the roof with the lowest paid suffering the most.
8/02/2013 7:55:39 a.m.
I think its you that haven't mentioned the issue at all Iman. Again you choose to dismiss any opposition as delusional or on the wrong path..? Hey attack the messenger, that's just avoiding the realities. More jobs down the drain at Mainzeal and subcontractors waiting for their tools and the receivers news, not their fault but not a good look for the govt, when you back a horse to run in the 'rebuild race' and the horse won't even be there....if you think that National's popularity is peaking at the moment, good on you. Like I said you're welcome to comfort yourself clinging to your poll but the reality is this govt is getting increasingly unpopular with a growing number of kiwis who are being adversely affected by their arrogant policies. If you're too misguided to see that obvious trend in the country, you'll probably be in for more surprises in the next year or so. Talk about the depleted defence forces staff, the needlessly stressed out teachers,parents,the laid off workers in Oamaru, the recently dismissed Mainzeal staff, the low income tenants facing eviction, those workers in CHCH there to help on the rebuild and struggling to find affordable housing, the broken house owners in CHCH waiting more than two years for action, Aucklanders struggling to find affordable housing? Talk about all those issues and then tell me National are doing just fine and continue to impress the general public at large....the issues mate,the issues. The Republicans thought they had the polls on their side going into the presidential election last year...they were positive they had the numbers right...hmmm. WRONG!!! Feel free to continue throwing your cheap shots,I'd rather debate the issues.
7/02/2013 11:44:13 a.m.
No joke Katu. Just some hard facts you seem to have overlooked, either intentionally or from ignorance. I have only mentioned one example as you seem to have a difficulty grasping more than one point at a time before diving off in a multitude of other directions which have nothing to do with the discussion in hand.
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