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AGRICULTURE

Oringi meat plant closure

Tuesday 13 May 2008, 4:41PM
By Hon Jim Anderton
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DANNEVIRKE

The closure and decommissioning of PPCS’ Oringi plant was upsetting and extremely disruptive for workers, their families, and the wider Dannevirke community, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said today.

“While I understand what the company was hoping to achieve with its rationalisation programme, dropping such announcements like thunderbolts from the sky was not a good way to deal with workers,” he said.

“There are labour shortages within the meat industry and generally, so I’m hopeful that workers will be able to find new jobs quickly, but this process is still a terrible one for people to go through.”

The meat industry has excess capacity, and this would become worse as the number of sheep was forecast to drop during the next few years, he said.

“Ad hoc closures and rationalisations are not the best way forward for the meat industry, workers, and New Zealand as a whole. To my mind, this latest closure reinforces the need for a strategic plan for the industry as a whole.”

Jim Anderton said he supported the concept of a meat industry mega-merger.

“There are caveats on that support, of course – one being that it needs the support of the majority of industry participants. Unfortunately, the industry doesn’t have a plan that has that support. I hope it is still possible that one could be developed in the future.”