29 Jun 2011

Waipukurau lamb boning plant to be closed

1:18 pm on 29 June 2011

Ovation New Zealand has confirmed it will close its boning plant in central Hawke's Bay and relocate operations to an existing facility in Feilding.

The move comes after two weeks of consultation with meat workers and unions. About 200 staff will lose their jobs at the Waipukurau plant.

The plant opened in 1985 and was originally a joint venture between the former Meat Board and English company Bernard Mathews, producing lamb roasts for export.

Ovation managing director Willem Sandberg says a sharp decline in the number of lamb carcases the company can buy means the plant is no longer competitive.

Mr Sandberg says the facility is in seasonal shutdown and will not reopen for lamb boning.

Redundancy entitlements will be paid to all affected employees in early July and there may be opportunities to relocate some staff to the company's other plants, he says.

A resource centre will open shortly in Waipukurau to help workers find other jobs.