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Hughes on Feltex

Darren Hughes
MP for Otaki
Junior Government Whip

3 September 2006

Hughes on Feltex

Otaki MP Darren Hughes hopes that Monday’s meeting of the Shareholders Association will highlight the options that are in New Zealand’s best interests when they discuss the future of Feltex.

Mr Hughes represents Foxton where the tufting plant is the town’s largest employer and a significant player in the Manawatu and Horowhenua-Kapiti economy.

“I welcome the meeting as a positive opportunity to discuss how we can save jobs and offer some longer term hope to the shareholders than has been the case to do date,” he said.

Mr Hughes said that he was keeping a watchful eye on New Zealand’s national interests in this process and had started that by writing to the Minister of Finance about potential land sales associated with the foreign bid from Godfrey Hirst.

“I am very concerned about the sensitive land involved at the Foxon tufting plant and there may well be issues with the Kakariki wool scouring plant as well.”

“These issues have to be fully explored before we start selling prime industrial land to off-shore companies if there is a New Zealand option. The OIO must look into this very carefully”

Mr Hughes said that although Feltex was currently operating in crisis mode all the ownership options had to be considered with future viability of the business in mind.

“With hundreds of local families in Foxton relying on jobs at the Feltex plant either directly or indirectly, I’m looking to be convinced by an offer that protects local jobs, grows export markets and is genuinely committed to the economic transformation of the kiwi economy.”

Mr Hughes said the he would await the result of the Shareholders Association Meeting with great interest.


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