Nothing ‘inevitable’ about mass redundancies

Published: Wed 12 Sep 2012 05:15 PM
September 12, 2012
Media Release
Nothing ‘inevitable’ about mass redundancies
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union says the Government’s claim that mass redundancies are ‘inevitable’ is a sign their ‘hands-off’ approach to the economy has failed.
The call follows comments from Finance Minister Bill English and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce that large scale redundancies are ‘unavoidable’, ‘inevitable’ and a result of ‘declining industries’.
EPMU national secretary Bill Newson says the comments are a cop-out.
“There’s nothing ‘inevitable’ about mass redundancies. With comments like that you have to wonder whether this Government has simply given up on New Zealand manufacturing.
“While other countries are taking an active role in their economies to protect jobs and promote manufacturing, our Government has chosen to cling to a job-killing economic model that’s failing Kiwi businesses and Kiwi workers.
“Steven Joyce says the Norske Skog paper mill in Kawerau is a declining industry, yet the same company is upgrading and expanding its business across the Tasman because it’s getting support from the Australian government.
“Unlike in Australia, our Government refuses to support manufacturing by taking an active role in the economy, even to support firms through hard times or to transition to new technologies.
“It also refuses to act on a New Zealand dollar that’s highly overvalued and which fluctuates wildly because it’s one of the most highly traded currencies in the world.
“The fact is we can’t build our economy based on cheap imports and a declining manufacturing sector. Real economic growth comes from high skill, high value manufacturing firms that drive innovation and keep people in jobs.
“The current model has failed, and we see this failure in the 40,000 manufacturing jobs lost since National came to power, the growing dole queues and the record 54,000 Kiwis leaving for Australia in the last 12 months.
“There are alternatives, and as a country we need to discuss them. Thankfully there is a growing consensus among businesses, unions, economists and political parties that things have to change.”

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