Things are getting interesting in Rotorua.
The Labour Party candidate there, Tamati Coffey, has been busy over the last week getting ready to jump to the Waiariki Electorate (a Maori seat). First he announced he had become an accredited living wage employer, now he is flinging mud at local MP, Todd McClay.
It all started with a major Rotorua employer announcing it was closing. Lumbercube employs approximately 80 people and says the closure is “due to challenges in becoming commercially operational”. Fairly vanilla stuff. Lumbercube is a private company and has faced some difficulties since opening last year.
Nevertheless it is a major employer so there has been political point scoring. This was in the Daily Post yesterday:
Labour spokesman Tamati Coffey has condemned the “rather relaxed” approach he believes Rotorua MP Todd McClay has taken over the Lumbercube mill closure.
This is funny. Todd McClay has spent a lot of time with mill management over the last four months. For Tamati this is the next passing car to bark at. He hasn’t even been to the mill before.
Mr Coffey has since told the Rotorua Daily Post losing so many jobs was devastating for Rotorua families, the community and the economy.
Mr Coffey said in his opinion Mr McClay seemed “rather relaxed” about it and this rubbed “salt into the wound”.
“Offering up Work and Income as a solution isn’t aspirational and certainly isn’t the brighter future National promised when they were elected,” he said.
“The workers have to be priority number one. Saying Work and Income is the sole solution is just not good enough. If we can’t make primary processing work in Rotorua with vast forests on our doorstep, then forestry is in real trouble,” Mr Coffey said.