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New fisheries factory to boost Chatham Islands economy

News release from Aotearoa Fisheries

New fisheries factory to boost Chatham Islands economy and community in the long term

The brand new Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd factory was opened on the Chatham Islands yesterday by the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy, in a celebratory ceremony that recognised the boost it would give the local economy.

With the new factory’s export capability, it will provide ongoing and increased employment in the long term, have a positive spin off for other industries such as shipping and aviation, and enable premium seafood such as blue cod, lobster and pāua to be showcased in global markets.

The construction phase of the new factory has already provided extra employment locally, and Aotearoa Fisheries Chatham Islands Manager, George Day, says existing staff are very excited about having a more efficient and safer place to work.

“The new facility has been designed with the future in mind, with lower maintenance materials, and increased capacity on a smaller foot print. Staff have been working at another plant over the construction period, and they’re very much looking forward to coming back to our new state-of-the-art factory,” says Mr Day.

Aotearoa Fisheries Chief Executive Carl Carrington says this is the company’s first major investment on the Chatham Islands since the lobster plant 15 years ago, and cements its long term commitment not only to the economy, but to the fishery, community and the local Hokotehi Moriori Trust and Ngati Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi.

“This is built on an entirely different business model. We see this as a true partnership between Aotearoa Fisheries and the people of the Chatham Islands. It’s a long-standing relationship and one that we value. We are delighted to be strengthening our ties with all our stakeholders there,” he says.

The $3m commitment by Aotearoa Fisheries to rebuilding its factory in the Chatham Islands goes hand in hand with the pledge from Government to invest $52m upgrading Waitangi Wharf.

Not only is a new wharf to withstand the weather essential to fishing operations, but it is also the only cargo-handling facility on the Chatham Islands for supplies such as diesel for the electricity grid and fuel for air services.

Labour Deputy Leader and Chatham Islands MP, Annette King, says the factory opening is hugely positive for the close-knit, rural community of 650 people.

“Aotearoa Fisheries is to be congratulated for its initiative and foresight in continuing to invest in the Chathams. It is wonderful to see local businesses expanding and creating new employment opportunities. The boost to the economy and the effect of that on the community and on the rest of New Zealand can only be positive, with the Chatham Islands a major contributor to the country as a whole,” she says.

“Be in no doubt, there is a different game in town. It has been a few years in the making but today marks an important milestone. It is a game that is focused on delivering social outcomes, sustainability outcomes, equitable economic outcomes that recognise the effort and risk everyone takes in this industry. It is a business that to be sustainable and successful must be anchored in the community” says Carl.

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