Mill troubles reflection of international trend

Date published: September 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Comments

The MP for Kawerau thinks people need to realise the demand for newsprint is down globally, not just for New Zealand.

Todd McClay’s comment comes as Norske Skog Tasman confirms the shutting of a print machine, meaning more than 100 jobs face the axe.

He says there isn’t much Government can do as there’s an international decline for the manufacturing of newsprint.

He explains Norske Skog has said New Zealand’s competitive and they’ve been happy to date with the business model.

With the inclusion of local workers, Mr McClay knows they’ve gone from being a less well-performing paper mill to being a much better performing one.

He says the reality is the international demand for newsprint has decreased, also shown in Australia and New Zealand.

He says employment opportunities with other mills in Kawerau could be on the cards.

Mr McClay says there are three mills in Kawerau, and one has recently announced they’re quite optimistic about investing more in New Zealand and attracting more jobs.

He thinks Kawerau, with its geothermal resources and experienced workforce is well placed to attract this investment.

Meanwhile, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says Government is considering a primary growth partnership with Norske to create employment opportunities in Kawerau.

Mr Joyce says the mill is keen to retain its base in the town, especially as it’s sitting on a geothermal reservoir.

He believes subsidies from the Australian government, which has pledged around $24 million in their Boyer Norske plant, has nothing to do with cutbacks here.

And the managing director of an Eastern Bay forestry company thinks his sector will feel the effects of cut backs.

Kajavala Forestry’s head is concerned about the capacity being halved, but thinks the districts geothermal and biofuel assets should now be expanded.

Jacob Kajavala says thankfully, some other companies in the town are doing well.

He calls change at Norske incredibly unfortunate, but there are other growth areas.

He says on the balance the forest industry should weather this ok.

Source: 1XX FM