Postcard to save smelter delivered

3110 postcards signed to save smelter

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 12:27 10/12/2012
Southland Times photo
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
EMPU Southland organiser Trevor Hobbs of the Save Tiwai Aluminium Smelter postcard campaign, left, presenting them to National MP Eric Roy at his Invercargill office.

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Invercargill MP Eric Roy was preparing to pay for extra luggage when he flew out of Invercargill back to Wellington today.

The National Party member was taking 3110 signed and personalised ''Save Our Smelter'' postcards with him back to Parliament.

The postcards, endorsed by the EPMU were addressed to Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Mr Roy said he would act as the mailman.

''I will certainly pass these onto Bill English,'' Mr Roy told EPMU Southland organiser Trevor Hobbs in his Invercargill office

Mr Roy said he would be taking the postcard campaign seriously.

''A significant amount of people have taken the time and out a bit of effort into filling out the postcards,'' he said.

''There is no doubt there is genuine concern in the province and if the smelter were to close let alone downsize it would be a train wreck for this province.''

Nearly 650 people worked and were directly dependent on the smelter, with nearly three times that number in service industry and trades also dependent on the smelter, Mr Roy said.

The price of power was a factor for the smelter's struggles but a world recession and an oversupply of aluminium on the market were the biggest challenges faced by the Tiwai smelter, he said.

''These are not New Zealand problems but New Zealand gets the brunt of the problem.''

He would carry the message of the Southland people to Parliament but the power price negotiations between Meridian and Rio Tinto was something the Government did not feel it should intervene in.

''This is a matter between Meridian and the smelter,'' he said.

''I'd have to say there are a number of businesses in Southland who aren't the smelter who have said if there is a concession for the smelter we need one as well.''

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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