What unemployment?

This letter has been a long time in coming, but what really motivated me to put pen to paper was the article headed 'Fires inspire a waka project' (Northland Age April 17), where they could not begin to build the waka as to date no suitable kauri or totara log could be sourced.

I do not know about totara, but I see on a daily basis kauri logs being trucked on our roads bound (so rumour has it) for China, where they are to be manufactured into coffins (no less) for the Chinese influential.

How absurd is this? We must have a wealth of carvers, wood turners etc who can be gainfully employed teaching our unemployed locals so many crafts. We could create a wondrous work shop (old Pak'n Save springs to mind), actually make crafts here and not export kauri to China, where they make items which are then imported back here and sold at local outlets. Just how ridiculous is that?

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To have a workshop here would be a tremendous tourist attraction, plus, as forementioned, provide employment. This could put a stop to the so-called Far North poverty (sic) which is bandied about in all the newspapers and television.

Why have our local Members of Parliament not called a halt to this sad export of our treasured wood?

The only reason we have unemployment here is people just do not want to work, or know that if they do get a job they are likely to be drug-tested - need I say more? There is no real poverty, it is self-inflicted, ie drugs, gambling and/or alcohol.

Why do so many of our local orchardists prefer to hire backpackers rather than locals? At least they know the backpackers will turn up! Orchardists in Kerikeri import Tongans for Gods sake, as they cannot get locals. What does that say about the adage of no employment here?

I ask, what unemployment up here? But if there is, let's do something constructive with these kauri logs that are being shipped out.

DIANNE DAWSON

Waiharara