It hasn’t been a week for good news in provincial New Zealand.
Solid Energy has suspended workers at its Spring Creek mine on the West Coast, threatening the jobs of 250 staff and 130 contractors which will have a flow on impacts on the wider community.
Then New Zealand Aluminium Smelters announced it’s accelerating plans to axe 100 jobs from its Bluff smelter as depressed global metal prices continue to challenge the aluminium sector worldwide.
And yesterday tests confirmed that the kiwifruit vine killing disease Psa has been found in a Coromandel orchard.
It’s only a single orchard but the ease with which the disease spreads will be causing justifiable concern in the area and the industry.
The disease has devastated orchards further north and that in turn has hit packing houses, job opportunities and the wider community.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is making good progress in implementing the recommendations of the recent independent review of imports of kiwifruit plant material.
This will go a long way to ensuring a similar incursion doesn’t happen again.
But that will be of little if any comfort to the people whose jobs, livelihoods, businesses and retirement plans have been affected so badly by the disease.
All in all provincial New Zealand could be excused for feeling a bit gloomy and it’s all due to circumstances beyond local control. The GFC is not over and won’t be for some time.
Thank goodness the milk price increased in yesterday’s GlobalDairyTrade auction.
The country – in both the rural and national senses of the word – really needs something to give us some optimism.