Ex-Fletcher Building boss wants compensation for insulation scheme

Jonathan Ling, the former CEO and managing director of Fletcher Building, has criticised the federal government for not compensating the insulation industry after the Home Insulation Program finished.

“The industry will recover, but it will take a long time,” Ling told The Australian.

"It will cost Fletcher Building $NZ180 m ($144m) in writedowns and restructuring and closing factories and lost stock, for what was one half-year of a $10m boost in profitability.”

The scheme was part of the federal government’s stimulus plan in response to the Global Financial Crisis. Fletcher Insulation and CSR’s Bradford have 1000-plus people on their combined payrolls, according to The Australian.. The insulation industry employs 5000-plus workers all up.

"The government has spent $2.5 billion,” pointed out Ling.

“If you count the losses in industry, it is losses of over $3bn, for no gain. It is just outrageous. And that they are not willing to compensate the companies for what they did is also outrageous."

Auckland-based Fletcher is the biggest company on New Zealand’s stock exchange. It replaced Ling this month with Paul Zuckerman as its CEO.