Milton's second wind is little solace to Mosgiel workers, a
union spokesman says.
Amalgamated Workers' Union spokesman Calvin Fisher said while
the purchase of Southern Cross Forest Products' Milton-based
sites was ''great for the people of Milton'', it was cold
comfort for the workers laid off from Southern Cross' Mosgiel
wood mouldings plant.
''It's great news for Milton and it's great for the region
... but for the people in Mosgiel, which is a flagship
operation, sadly it's a different story,'' Mr Fisher said.
Milburn sawmill and Millstream's drymill assets will be sold
by receivers KordaMentha to Pan Pac Forest Products, if the
sale gains the approval of the Overseas Investment Office
(OIO), creating 30 jobs at the sites.
''The opportunities for the same good-news story in Dunedin
are sadly lacking,'' Mr Fisher said.
A hundred and one Otago-based Southern Cross staff were laid
off progressively from mid-June after receivers KordaMentha
failed to sell Southern Cross' four Otago sites as a going
About 400 people were employed by the company, most of them
in Otago, when it went into receivership in March.
''The workers have a right to feel let down,'' Mr Fisher
He still placed the blame for the company's demise at the
feet of the Dunedin City Council and City Forests, which
could have saved the company by negotiating long-term supply
contracts at ''sustainable'' prices, he said.
However, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull rejected the criticism when
the closure of Southern Cross' Otago sites was flagged in
May, saying: ''What the union is suggesting is that City
Forests should take a lower price, make a lower profit, and
pay a lower dividend to the ratepayers - so essentially, they
are suggesting the ratepayers of Dunedin subsidise the jobs
of the wider Otago sawmilling community.''
Mr Fisher said the specialist Mosgiel factory and skilled
staff working at it were now lost to Otago's economy.
''It's absolutely gone,'' he said.
''The staff have gone - they have been made redundant. The
machinery, the large majority ... has already gone. It's just
way beyond reality [to believe the site had a future].
''This is a high-end finishing-of-product factory in Mosgiel
and it's gone from our town.''
Receiver Brendon Gibson, of KordaMentha, said the assets of
Southern Cross' Balclutha and Mosgiel factories, as well as
the sawmilling aspect of the Millstream site, were being
tendered. The land and buildings would be sold separately
from the machinery. He was pleased a buyer was found for the
Milton sites but ''we unfortunately haven't been able to do
that for the others'', he said.
''It's been a difficult process... If we can sell these sites
[Mosgiel and Balclutha], ultimately, they might offer some
employment as well.''
Pan Pac Forest Products lumber general manager Michael
Reaburn said the process to get the OIO's approval of the
sale had begun.
OIO manager Annelies McClure said the office had not yet
received an application for the sale.
The sale would probably be classified as a category 2 or
category 3 application and could take up 70 working days to
process, she said.
OIO approval was needed because Pan Pac Forest Products was
owned by Japanese corporation Oji Holdings Corporation.