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“The Government has pushed Solid Energy to the brink with constant, unrealistic demands for returns, turning a blind eye to appalling management mishaps and governance failures,” says Ged O’Connell, EPMU assistant national secretary.

“Now they’re hinting that they’ll just make the problem go away, with the endorsement of the rightwing shell lobby group, the Taxpayers’ Union.

“That’s not what’s best for New Zealand.

“This isn’t just about miners. Many jobs rely on New Zealand coal mining. With our current technology, we need coal to smelt steel. Our railways and construction industry rely on coal mining.

“Closing down Solid Energy will not mean our industries stop using coal – it just means importing it from countries like China and Indonesia instead of here.

“New Zealand taxpayers would much rather see their money spent on real jobs supporting our communities, rather than shady casino deals and big payrises for Cabinet ministers.”

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