Alloy Yachts has cut more than 70 jobs since September. The Henderson-based shipyard has seen its workforce shrink from 330 to 225. According to the New Zealand Herald, it could face more redundancies.
Linda Berry, marketing manager, told the paper that global superyacht orders have dropped considerably. She also blamed a strong New Zealand dollar, which has made boatbuilders less competitive compared to foreign competitors.
“With a very high New Zealand dollar, its continued rise and a government that is doing nothing to alleviate the situation we are finding it very challenging to compete against European and American shipyards,” Berry told the paper.
Alloy is building a 44.1m motoryacht which is scheduled for completion near the end of the year. She said staffing levels reflected production needs. “It would not be prudent for us to continue to pay our skilled craftsmen when we have no work,” Berry told the paper. If Alloy does not gain more contracts by September, she added, the company would have to consider more redundancies.
Fitzroy Yachts in New Plymouth recently closed its operations after it failed to gain new contracts. Berry questioned why tax breaks were provided to New Zealand’s film industry and not the superyacht sector.
Steve Joyce, New Zealand’s Minister for Economic Development, said the government could not subsidise individual companies. “The Australians have tried doing some of that with their car industry for example and it has become a real problem for their economy which they are now having to deal with,” Joyce said.
Joyce admitted that the high dollar is challenging for some exporters, but said it reflected the strength of New Zealand’s economy.