Government intervention is the only way to save the timber industry according to New Zealand political party NZ First. Sources: NZ News Wire, Yahoo 7 News
Foreign log buyers with “bottomless cheque books” are starving local sawmills and forcing them to close down, said forestry spokesman Richard Prosser.
Southern Cross Forest Products announced that it was cutting 79 jobs in its South Island sawmills because it couldn’t secure log supplies.
Mr Prosser said his party wants a set domestic price for logs to ensure local sawmills can get enough of them to keep going.
“National’s blind adherence to dumb, unworkable and disproven free-market ideology is costing New Zealand jobs and foreign exchange,” he said.
“This continued refusal to intervene for fear of upsetting the supposed sanctity of `the market’ is putting New Zealanders on the dole scrapheap and closing our businesses – it’s stupidity bordering on the criminal.”
Mr Prosser said that foreign buyers aren’t grabbing shiploads of New Zealand timber because they want to build log cabins.
“They want logs to turn into sawn timber, plywood and MDF, keeping their people employed and earning the value-added foreign exchange which New Zealand should be earning.”