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Fonterra’s exit a blow but Kāpiti’s future still bright

Kāpiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan says Fonterra’s decision to close its Te Roto factory is a blow for the region but Kāpiti’s local economy is strong and growing, and can absorb the loss.

Fonterra has today announced plans to consolidate its specialty cheese making facilities, resulting in the closure of the Te Roto factory in Paraparaumu. 65 roles at the factory are affected.

“Our first priority is ensuring our people are supported. Fonterra has advised that 34 new roles will be created at its Eltham plant in Taranaki and it will be supporting staff to explore other opportunities at its sites,” says Mayor Gurunathan.

“Where there are redundancies, we have confidence that Fonterra’s priority is looking after its people and, where possible we will support them in that.

“Food manufacturing has a long, successful history in Kāpiti. Since 1984, Kapiti cheese and ice-cream have become a staple in the fridges of Kiwis up and down New Zealand, and while production is moving on, there is opportunity to leverage this legacy.

“I’ve already spoken this morning to Fonterra about working together to explore options for ensuring that the Kāpiti Coast continues to benefit from the brand that borrows its name and inspiration from our home.

“We are a small provincial district within the Wellington Region, but our economy is in good health and our push to diversify has strengthened our resilience in managing challenges like this that are outside of our control.

“Kapiti’s employment growth was 3.2% for the year ending March 2018 compared to growth of 2.6% regionally. Our number of new businesses grew 1.3% in the same period compared to the national average of 0.7%.

“More and more businesses and people want to call Kāpiti home and we are benefiting through the likes of the NZ Police Digital Communications Centre establishing a base in Paraparaumu, providing 300 new jobs, and we expect this trend to continue, particularly in professional and technical services and health care.

“We have the available land, we have transport links through rail, road and air, and we have a highly skilled - and growing - workforce. With the extension of the Expressway north of Ōtaki and the Transmission Gully motorway nearing completion, our connection to the lower North Island and the capital will only improve.

“Yes, Fonterra’s exit is a blow for us, but we have never been in a better position to absorb change.”

ENDS

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