25 Jan 2011

Minister meets with union over wood sector concerns

6:18 pm on 25 January 2011

Forestry Minister David Carter says he recognises the wood processing sector is under pressure but work is going on that he hopes will help.

Mr Carter on Tuesday met with representatives of the National Distribution Union which says the sector is in crisis from having to pay high international prices for raw timber but getting very low returns.

Nearly 150 jobs have been lost in a wave of redundancies over the past two months.

Mr Carter says there is a lot of work going on that the union was not aware of, including the industry-led WoodCo study.

The study, assisted and funded to some extent by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, is looking at issues facing the sector.

The minister says the results of the study should be available by the middle of the year.

The union says the meeting was constructive, but it remains concerned that more jobs could be lost.

It asked Mr Carter to introduce a lower domestic price for lumber and to intervene in the currency market - both of which he rejected.