Job losses blamed on high NZ dollar: more forecast

A slew of job losses announced around the country yesterday is being blamed on New Zealand's high dollar.

Labour Party finance spokesman David Parker said Kiwis should brace themselves for more job losses as the dollar started to rise in value again.

New Zealand exporters were being punished by the high dollar and having to cut jobs throughout the country.

"Now the dollar is back over US80c, more job losses will be on the way," he said.

Whiteware manufacturer Fisher and Paykel Appliances, the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and FIRST Union are at odds over whether the company has shut down a production line and moved 29 jobs to Thailand.

The unions claimed they were told at a meeting on Wednesday one of F&P Appliances' fridge production lines in Auckland was being discontinued and being relocated to the company's Thailand factory.

EPMU national secretary Bill Newson said the announcement was more bad news for manufacturing workers, a sector which was being left in limbo by inadequate Government support.

"These are good-quality Kiwi jobs and unless the Government takes practical steps to better support manufacturing, then we will see more skilled workers heading overseas," he said.

F&P Appliances chief executive Stuart Broadhurst said the release was factually incorrect.

When asked if 29 workers had lost their jobs, Mr Broadhurst said: "No, there's not been a production line shut down; there's been no changes to our staff in the last six weeks, so all of this, and particularly the comments around Thailand, are just a work in progress."

However, the company later confirmed to Newstalk ZB radio it was moving some production overseas.

Contacted late yesterday, a union spokesman said the meeting had been held with human resources representatives from F&P Appliances and the line being discontinued was T-Line refrigerators.

"The company had signalled earlier in the year that redundancies might be on the cards. What happened yesterday was that the numbers of redundancies being sought were confirmed as 29," the spokesman said.

Mr Parker said the list of job losses at exporters was growing by the week and no part of the country was unaffected. Cavalier was cutting 70 jobs in Onehunga, Oamaru was losing 50 jobs from Summit Wool Spinners and 55 jobs had been lost at Gould's Fine Foods, in Lower Hutt.

Gould Bros, based in Lower Hutt, would remain closed as liquidators KPMG Restructuring tried to sell the business.

Up to 140 Waikato workers would lose their jobs when a multinational producer of paper products closed its Te Rapa plant, Stuff reported.

SCA Hygiene Australasia, which makes tissues, nappies and personal-care hygiene products, told its workforce, understood to number about 190, that most would be out of work when the plant closed in early 2014.



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