The company that has taken over failed printing firm Geon says it retained as many workers as possible but had no choice but to let 185 people go.
Geon was put into receivership after it went into voluntary administration last month.
The receiver sold Geon's assets to rival printing business Blue Star Group last week.
When the sale was finalised on Friday, Blue Star announced it would keep 50 jobs in Auckland and 26 in Napier.
But spokesperson Tom Sturgess says due to the current financial climate in the print industry, Blue Star could not keep everyone.
He says he told the workers he would hire any or all of them back as soon as sales at the plant increase.
Mr Sturgess says Blue Star also took over Geon's Christchurch-based label company Kiwi Labels earlier this month and all employees there kept their jobs.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union organiser Joe Gallagher says workers are extremely distressed and concerned about their future.
He says while the news was anticipated, it still came as a shock.
Mr Gallagher says the union will work with Blue Star to make sure those who have retained their jobs are looked after.