New Zealand Light Leathers is to make 48 workers redundant in an effort to ensure the company’s long-term survival. Managing director Neil Dickson blamed the decision on changing fashion trends, an unfavourable exchange rate and aggressive competition from the Far East over the past five years. Light Leather also plans to significantly reduce production of lambskin and concentrate on deerskin and other raw material streams. Dickson said lamb leather had not been fashionable and retail conditions in the United States, Light Leather’s main market, had been depressed for a while.

The company, which employs up to 160 workers, is a long-established tanner and exporter of finished lamb and deerskin leathers for the fashion industry.