Looks like Labour’s forestry crisis is over


David Cunliffe averts another crisis, this time in Forestry

There will be other industries, like manufacturing and now forestry, that will be hoping that Labour declares a crisis in their industry. Because every time they do so things improve dramatically.

David Cunliffe and the former weatherman Tamati Coffey have been talking down forestry for a couple of months, saying it is in crisis and they are the ones who can fix it.

Seems like the industry is fixing itself without the need for interference from photo op seeking politicians.

Employment is on the rise in the region as one of Rotorua’s biggest industries enjoys what could be its best period in 20 years.

Rotorua’s booming forestry industry is experiencing its strongest growth since 1994, which is helping fuel a jump in regional employment, a local forestry leader says.

Bay of Plenty joblessness is down as national employment hits its highest rate since before the global financial crisis.

The latest Statistics NZ household labour force survey shows the Bay’s employment rate rose 2.3 per cent to 61.7 per cent in the three months to March – up 4.3 per year-on-year. It represents the percentage of the working-age population that’s employed.

The number of people employed in the Bay of Plenty rose 7800 to 123,600 in the quarter, and was up 13,600 from the corresponding time the previous year.

Meanwhile, the region’s unemployment dropped to 7.1 per cent from 9.3 per cent in the previous quarter, compared with 8 per cent a year ago.

Ministry of Social Development figures show 7178 Rotorua residents received benefits in the March quarter – close to 500 fewer than a year earlier.

Mike Bryant, Bay of Plenty regional commissioner for social development, said the Rotorua labour market was steady.

“As well as the general job search support available to all clients through Work and Income, we are providing more intensive support to targeted groups – particularly those who are at risk of being on a benefit for a long period of time.”

Forest Industry Contractors Association chief executive John Stulen said booming exports to China were giving Rotorua’s forestry industry a boost.

“The production has been maintained throughout the Chinese New Year and that’s unprecedented.”

A combination of “more jobs and more hours” had helped contribute to employment growth in the sector, while wood volumes and prices were peaking, he said.

“It’s the best it’s been since October 1994.”