Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Zealand closing down?

Today's news that "hundreds more South Island jobs in the meat and seafood industries are hanging in the balance" (The Dominion Post) coincides with the news that "the net outflow of New Zealanders going to Australia on a permanent or long-term (PLT) basis is at its highest level in nearly seven years" (New Zealand Press Association).

Yesterday, New Zealand's largest meat company, PPCS, axed 136 jobs at the Burnside venison-processing and skins plant near Dunedin. Meanwhile, in Nelson, fishing company Sealord said as many as 320 mussel factory jobs could be scrapped.

The cuts by PPCS, which closed the Oringi sheepmeat plant near Dannevirke in the North Island last week and sent 460 workers down the road, are not expected to be the last. Meatworkers Union general secretary Dave Eastlake says the company, which suffered a $40-million loss last year, is expected to wield the axe again.

Perhaps it's not surprising that people are leaving the country in such large numbers to seek a better life in Australia.

Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) show that the net PLT outflow to Australia in the year to the end of April was 30,600. It was the highest annual net outflow to Australia since the June 2001 year, and compared with 24,000 in the April 2007 year.

Last month, the net PLT outflow to Australia was 3200, up from 2500 in April 2007.

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