26 Aug 2022

'You don't need to hoard toilet paper' - Consumer NZ

5:44 pm on 26 August 2022

By Krystal Gibbens

Consumer New Zealand says there is no need for people to panic buy toilet paper.

Rolls of toilet paper

File photo. Photo: 123rf

Around 150 staff have been locked out of Essity mill in Kawerau for the last two weeks, since calling for an inflation adjustment in their collective agreement.

The mill - which produces Purex, Sorbent, Libra and Handee - has been shut since 9 August.

It is New Zealand's only domestic toilet paper producer,

The Pulp and Paper Union Kawerau union secretary, Tane Phillips, said he believed New Zealanders would soon experience a toilet paper shortage.

He said the only way this may not occur is if more toilet paper is imported from overseas or other suppliers take over the manufacturing.

Caitlin Cherry from Consumer NZ said New Zealand imported a lot of toilet paper.

While there was a bit of a shortage, supermarkets had assured people "that there is enough supply".

Supermarkets had been experiencing Covid-related shortages for some time, leading to toilet paper not being on special recently, she said.

But at this stage there was enough toilet paper in the country and people did not need to hoard it.

A Countdown spokesperson confirmed Essity had been in contact with them regarding the industrial action at its Kawerau manufacturing site.

"We're working closely with them and our other supply partners to ensure we have enough toilet paper supply for everyone to get what they need. At this stage, we don't have any concerns about a possible shortage," the spokesperson said.

Foodstuffs did not reply to enquiries.

In a statement Essity said it was doing all it could to minimise disruption to customers and was committed to reaching an agreement that provided a fair and reasonable wage increase for employees and protected the future of its manufacturing operations in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Phillips said the union was trying to progress to facilitated bargaining, and although he believed that would happen he said he didn't know when.

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