Loss of work hits hard

Last updated 07:40 09/11/2012

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OPINION: Last week John Key waltzed into Dunedin to deliver the message that there was no manufacturing crisis, that no-one should be expecting the Government to provide any stimulus and that if businesses failed . . . well, it was their own fault, writes Clare Curran (Labour) in From the Beehive.

He insulted the Hillside Workshops workers and those from other manufacturing shops who have been laid off during the past year through no fault of their own.

He didn't have the gall to venture further south to confront the people of Southland, where the future of Mataura's meatworks and the Tiwai aluminium smelter are forefront in people's minds.

The figures look pretty bad for National, who claim they are fostering a successful environment for businesses to grow. More than half of the manufacturing businesses that began in 2008 have disappeared in the past four years and the rate of new manufacturing businesses starting up has declined by a third in four years, from more than 2000 a year in 2008 to 1300 a year this year. More than 8000 manufacturing businesses have closed and more than 40,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since this Government took office. Factories are shutting down.

Whole communities are being hollowed out.

The Government needs to start taking action, rather than ignoring what is a growing problem. But it won't.

Because of the Government's continued ignorance and neglect, the four opposition parties are now holding a parliamentary inquiry into manufacturing, and are accepting submissions.

We want to hear from export businesses that are being stifled by the high dollar, from workers who are at the coalface, and who are seeing the Government's neglect first, and anyone else who would like to share their views. Written submissions and requests to present oral submissions can be sent by email to manufacturinginquiry@parliament.govt.nz.

The deadline for written submissions is November 30.

When manufacturing businesses are failing to stay in production, what is happening to the workers?

There have been more than 330 jobs lost in Southland alone since June 2011, including the mining, meatwork, forestry and smelter industries - that's 330 skilled jobs.

In Otago, 116 jobs have gone since June last year within KiwiRail, Port Otago, and Wool Spinners. And it doesn't stop down this end of the country.

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» Clare Curran is the MP for Dunedin South.

- The Southland Times

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