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Trouble at Mill

Southern Cross Mills have gone into receivership - Korda Mentha took over early today and the outlook is not good - there are 6 mills involved - four in Otago/Southland and two here in Thames.

This is devastating news, but it appears that neither out Mayor or anyone else has been prepared to make soothing noises, and provide reassurance that they are doing everything in their power to prevent the loss of what I believe to 187 jobs here in Thames. There was plenty on the 5pm RNZ News - particularly about how devastating it will be for Milton and other centres in Southland, but not a word about what is happening here.

I believe that there is substantial US investment in this enterprise, and that the mills here in Thames have produced extremely high quality lumber for the American market for a number of years - I have actually seen Thames product in a Home Depot in New Jersey, but clearly the  marketing strategy has fallen over with log prices from the East soaring - anyone selling into the US market will know just how hard it is to rachet up prices in that market to match those being paid elsewhere.

This is truly bad news for Thames and the country as a whole - a huge amount has been invested in equipment and and facilities here in Thames, but all to no avail. Korda Mentha have made reassuring noises about the possibility of finder a buyer for the Company, but 187 workers will not be setting too much store by that based on their previous performance - Korda Mentha are the toughest of the tough in the receivership stakes - they  are controlled from Australia, and I have experienced their approach in the past - ruthless. 

I hope that local people are not too far off making a statement like their Otago/Southland colleagues, and that it promises full support for our local people - they should at least be assuring Korda Mentha that they will offer every assistance to a buyer to attract them here. There will be great deal of anxiety tonight in many Thames and Plains households. My sympathies go out to all of you.

See how long the HH and Coro FM take to get a hold of the story.




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