Loss of Fonterra Blow to Kāpiti
Kāpiti, 26 September 2019- The loss of 65 jobs from Kāpiti’s food manufacturing sector, and the potential for another vacant building in the heart of Paraparaumu needs to be urgently addressed to minimise the impact on the local economy.
Fonterra announced today the closure of its Paraparaumu Cheese factory, to recoup some of the $605 million in losses the company is facing. Heather Hutchings, Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce says the closure will be felt across the community.
“Manufacturing is a sector which has always performed well for Kāpiti. With 65 jobs going, and the potential to lose skilled workers, and their families, to Taranaki, our manufacturing sector is at risk. The latest statistics from Infometrics show in the year to June 2019 Kāpiti’s unemployment rate was 3.4%, compared to the higher national rate of 4.1% - today’s announcement will impact it.
“I am also concerned about potentially having another vacant building in the heart of Paraparaumu. While Fonterra describes the plant as small, it is significant to Kāpiti and with the empty Whitireia and Placemakers buildings just around the corner we don’t need another vacant commercial space of this size”.
Angela Buswell, a current Kāpiti Coast Districtwide Councillor currently standing for re-election, says Kāpiti Cheese has been going for 35 years and is an integral part of the region’s identity.
“Kāpiti is being penalised for something outside of its control; the brand was born and bred here. We’ve already had Air New Zealand withdraw from Kāpiti, and now Fonterra is doing the same. It’s incredibly disappointing,” says Angela Buswell,
Mayor Guru, Kāpiti’s Mayor, has talked with the Dairy Worker’s Union to understand better what skill sets they are seeking to try and retain workers in the district. Heather Hutchings says while Kāpiti is resilient, and there are new opportunities for the region to take up, Fonterra needs to work closely with the community.
“Given the importance of Kāpiti to the Fonterra brand - particularly its international reputation - we are looking for them to engage with workers, businesses and the community to minimise impact and disruption to our economy”, says Heather Hutchings.
The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce exists to advance the economy by creating wealth and employment and solve local business issues by providing a collective voice for business in Kāpiti. Over 300 members in Kāpiti belong to the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce to stay connected, network and gain knowledge and support from our local membership.