The number of major employers announcing job cuts in rural towns is causing concern.
Just in the last few days Bluff's Tiwai Point aluminium smelter has announced it's cutting 100 jobs, and 120 positions around the Coromandel Peninsula and Tauranga are affected by the receivership of North Island Mussel Processors.
That's on top of more than 120 jobs going from Solid Energy's Huntly operations and a cloud hanging over the future of Spring Creek Mine near Greymouth.
Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway says if this trend continues, people will be driven away from provincial New Zealand.
"It does look pretty bleak I must say when you get a number of announcements all in the same week or two, on top of the very high rate of unemployment we've got. It's tough for those workers and their families."
He says it remains to be seen if it will create ghost towns in provincial New Zealand.
"If we keep seeing these major employers going from these small towns, that will drive people towards the cities and it will drive people offshore to Australia."
Mr Conway says we need those people to stay here.
Bill Newson from the EPMU says the government needs to look at the underlying problems.
"There's not one single thing, or reason, for these job losses. The common denominator does seem to be the high value of the dollar."
Mr Newson says action is urgently needed.
"There are a variety of options, there are some very good thinking people who have put some options up. And it's not good enough just to say there's nothing we can do about it."
Photo: NZ Herald