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Webstar Proposes Changes To Its Masterton Printing Facilities

Webstar New Zealand is considering an option to optimise its New Zealand business by increasing production capabilities in Auckland while at the same time reducing printing capacity at its Masterton plant.

The Company today began consultation with its team members on a proposal to invest in a new press in Auckland and decommission three printing presses in its Masterton plant. If this proposal goes ahead, it could affect up to 44 jobs in the Masterton plant and create 32 jobs in Auckland.

Webstar Chief Executive Bernie Roberts said, “The intention of this shift and investment in our Auckland plant is to remain competitive in an already challenging printing market. If the proposal goes ahead, we will retain a profitable printing business in Masterton and will increase our production capacity and staff numbers in Auckland.”

The key drivers of the proposal are rising shipping and distribution costs, as well as the location of Webstar’s major customers, which are primarily located in Auckland and are increasingly requesting locally-based printing. Other cost considerations include higher operational costs in Masterton and the extra cost of shipping paper to Masterton from Wellington.

Another significant factor is Webstar’s commitment to the continuous improvement of its environmental impact. Printed products in Masterton needs to be transported greater distances to upper North Island customers and distribution centers than it would if it were produced in Auckland. Moving production to Auckland would reduce Webstar’s carbon footprint by approximately 236 tonnes CO2-e per year.

Affected employees will be advised in March if the proposal goes ahead. There would be an opportunity to apply for one of three new roles created in Masterton or one of the new roles in Auckland. Employee assistance counselling and outplacement services would also be available.

If the proposal goes ahead, Webstar would install a late model 32-page commercial printing press into its Auckland facility with the intention of the press being fully commissioned by the end of August 2020. The transfer of work from Masterton to Auckland would transition over the next six months.

Mr Roberts said, if implemented, these changes would significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Webstar and enable it to meet its customers’ current and future printing needs.

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