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Pacific Pine shuts mill in Putaruru

The sudden announcement of the closure of New Zealand’s Pacific Pine Industries, a timber processing and sawmill in Putaruru, has left its 60+ employees reeling. Staff were called in from their annual leave this week to a meeting where they were informed that the company was entering voluntary administration. Source: Timberbiz

Pacific Pine supplied the housing and furniture markets and it was thought that the company was continuing to make losses and its management requested receivers be appointed. It has been struggling financially for a few years.

Locks were being changed at the site as the meeting was taking place, and not a day’s more work is available for the many long-serving employees at the sawmill. It has been reported that Kiwi Lumber has indicated it may have some positions available.

The receivers have said that the company has met its obligations to staff in terms of wages and entitlements.

FIRST Union is calling on the government to meet with industry stakeholders to intervene and coordinate the supply industry, from forest to construction, to ensure that sawmills are able to survive and provide the wood that is needed.

“This is becoming a pattern,” said Robert Reid, FIRST Union president. “It was just November last year that Claymark went into receivership. It highly counterintuitive that, at a time where we have lots of wood and the need for an unprecedented number of homes, our sawmills are closing down.”

FIRST Union is working with the receiver and the Ministry of Social Development to ensure that the workers are supported. The town has around 4000 people and it has had a number of mill closures over the years. In 2008 Carter Holt Harvey closed the Putaruru sawmill with 300 job losses.