Media Release: National Distribution Union
Thursday August 4, 2011
Unemployment kept high by government inaction on currency
The government’s refusal to implement plans to tackle the high NZ dollar is stopping unemployment from coming down as
quickly as it could, a union for workers in the productive sector said today.
Unemployment remains high, at 6.5 per cent, in today’s Household Labour Force Survey
National Distribution Union General Secretary Robert Reid said that the government could not rely on the Canterbury
rebuild alone to boost employment.
Government needed to front up to the debate on monetary policy, otherwise industries such as wood processing would
continue to lose jobs, he said.
“Although wood processors now have more favourable prices for processed logs over raw logs, the high dollar is a
“Last month another North Island sawmill laid off 20 staff
, saying the high dollar was ‘killing them’, and a major player in the industry continues to make redundancies in the
Bay of Plenty.
“A high dollar is not a natural phenomenon over which we have no control, as it is often painted. The currency is
affected by decisions made or not made by policy makers.”
"Governments do have options available to them. A Financial Transactions Tax or other measures would slow speculative
cash washing in and out of New Zealand. These need to be investigated.”
“The Labour Party’s break with bipartisan consensus
around monetary policy 18 months ago was a welcome move, although we will need to see clear policy direction from them
before the election.”
“If John Key and Bill English care at all about workers in the productive sector, they need to come to the party with
fresh ideas on monetary policy also.”
Robert Reid said that jobs policies should be a central focus of the November election.
National Distribution Union
Putting Workers First
FIRST Union is New Zealand's second-largest private sector trade union.
Formed in 2011 after the merger between the National Distribution Union and Finsec, FIRST Union represents 27,000
workers in the Finance, Industrial (Textile and Wood), Retail, Stores, Transport and Logistics sectors.
FIRST Union is also affiliated to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and runs several networks including the Union
Network of Migrants, the Runanga, Fono and Womens' Committee. In 2015 FIRST Union launched Samoa First Union, Samoa's
only private sector union.
Join FIRST Union today for higher pay, better conditions and more say at work.