NZ sawmill cutting production

Friday 21 Feb 2020

Dozens more Waikato sawmill workers have lost their jobs, as the forestry industry grapples with closures and job losses across the country. Spectrum Group Ltd, which owns RH Tregoweth, has confirmed 35 of the 48 staff at the Te Kuiti plant had been made redundant.

The losses would hurt the rural town, the Waitomo Mayor says, which has a population of about 4200. It comes as the forestry industry deals with nationwide disruption, exacerbated by the coronavirus affecting Kiwi exporters.

But Spectrum Group's Managing Director Wade Glass said the main problem was the price of a pruned log has steadily increased since the company bought the mill about two-and-a-half years ago. The average cost has risen from about $152 per cubic metre to $195 per cubic metre, Glass said.

Domestic sawmills were paying more for pruned logs than exporters, he said. Wade said in some cases local forest owners were pitting sawmills against each other to try to get the lowest price. "Within the forestry industry there should be more understanding of each other's position.

Wade said making staff redundant was the last resort. The Te Kuiti plant is the second Waikato sawmill to see significant job losses in less than a month, after a Putaruru sawmill shut down in January.

Source: Stuff

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