16 Jun 2009

Jobs axed in manufacturing sector as sales dive

3:45 pm on 16 June 2009

Hundreds of jobs are being axed as a slump in sales of manufactured goods continues.

New figures from Statistics New Zealand show manufacturing sales rose by 0.2% over the March quarter. But when dairy and meat sales are excluded, sales fell by 6.5% - the biggest drop in 15 years.

Neil Wylie, who manages a Rotorua transport equipment firm, says his business is in good shape, but sales are falling as buyers defer the purchase of big-ticket transport items. He says as demand falls, firms are quietly shedding staff.

Fletcher Building Products chief executive Chris Ellis says the company has shed 200 jobs, or 20% of its workforce, as stalled building activity affects sales of Gibb board, roofing tiles and other building products.

Mr Ellis says the insulation package in the Government's Budget in May has maintained sales of Pink Batts, which is a bright spot in the market.