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Nelson MP Nick Smith is worried that strike action at Port Nelson this weekend and planned for next week will hurt the region’s economy and further undermine falling business confidence.

“Port Nelson is the heart of our exporting economy and this sort of disruption is very damaging to economic confidence in the region. The damage of the strike is compounded in being timed when apple and kiwifruit exports are at their peak.

“I urge the eight tug masters and engineers to reconsider their strike action this weekend as well as that proposed for another whole week next Thursday. They need to reflect on the impact this strike will have on Nelson’s orcharding families and other port workers. They also need to reflect that the strike will hurt Port Nelson financially and that this affects every ratepayer through the ownership of the Nelson and Tasman Councils.

“This is the first industrial action by Port Nelson staff in 30 years and the new Labour-led Government must accept some responsibility. We have seen more industrial action in the last nine months involving trains, buses, printers and other ports than in the last nine years. The unions expect pay back for their support of Labour at the election and are now flexing their muscles at the expense of other New Zealanders.     

“This industrial disruption at the Port is the last thing Nelson needs. We were rated a year ago as the top performing regional economy in the country out of 16, but have already dropped to 12th. This dispute needs to be resolved quickly or we risk further declines in our region’s economic rating.”

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