Mike's Minute: Industrial New Zealand is in trouble

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Jun 2021, 9:27AM

Mike's Minute: Industrial New Zealand is in trouble

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 3 Jun 2021, 9:27AM

It's a good news, bad news story for industrial New Zealand this week.

The good news is, the Whakatane Mill has been saved. European investors have bought it, jobs have been kept, and work will continue.

It always leads to the question, if it was on the verge of closure and the regional carnage that sort of move creates, just what was it that the new buyers see the old owners couldn’t?

How close are we to all sorts of jobs being lost and facilities being closed, just because the owners aren't up to much? Or aren't interested in the specific operation? Or keen to move onto greener pastures?

The Bauer media debacle of last year was a good example. They couldn't care less about New Zealand. They bought up a whole stack full of magazines, but the moment Covid hit, couldn't bail fast enough.

And yet, out of the rubble, comes a whole slew of magazines that have been on-sold or re-launched, and hopefully under an ownership structure that doesn’t see a repeat.

Anyway, the bad news, sadly, is Marsden Point, who are moving out of processing oil and into importing it. MBIE have, not surprisingly, done a report that shows such a move puts our fuel security at risk. The irony, of course, is this comes at a time when our exposure to goods from the wider world has never been in sharper contrast.

You can't get cat food, you can't get a car, ships are an issue, and container costings are through the roof. The more stuff we don't make, the more vulnerable we are.

Here's the further danger, despite MBIE's report pretty much stating the obvious, the Minister, well known petrol and oil expert Megan Woods, says the risks aren't that high.

That's despite the report saying exactly the opposite.

So, a couple of questions, do you believe Megan Woods has the slightest idea of what she is talking about? And if the answer happens to be yes, why do we need MBIE with its various experts and writing reports, given Woods clearly has the matter well in hand?

But back to the real world. Not only is fuel security at stake, but there is also the question of land usage, clean up, costs, and jobs.

The problem, if you haven't joined the dots yet, is this suits the government's agenda. Having scuppered oil and gas exploration, and not replaced any of the lost work with their famed green initiatives, it now suits them to watch Marsden close or shrink, given they don't produce EVs, hemp, social housing, or any of the other government favourites.

That's before you get to the fact this is all happening in Northland. It's one of the most socially troubled parts of the country, a part that the government is funnelling billions into by way of welfare.

So, no jobs, security at risk, a report with the warnings, and a Minister yet again away with the fairies.