16 Apr 2015

New jobs for Harvestpro workers

8:04 am on 16 April 2015

Almost 50 Northland forestry workers who lost their jobs when one of the country's largest forestry contractors collapsed last month have found new jobs in the industry.

Eastland Port Gisborne.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Harvestpro employed more than 200 workers in Northland and Gisborne, but had millions of dollars worth of equipment seized in late March, forcing its operations to stop.

The company has not commented publicly. However, a spokesperson said yesterday the company was not yet in receivership or liquidation.

The Northland crews' manager, Blokie Sorenson, said staff had no idea they were losing their jobs and only discovered what was happening when they turned up for work and were locked out of the sites.

He said workers had heard virtually nothing from the company, but they eventually received a final pay cheque.

"The boys have all been paid out, that's the first thing we tried - getting them to pay, and after that the big concentration was on getting them back into work.

"Some of them were lucky enough to get work more or less straight away as soon as it went down, within the next two or three days ... but most of them are in work now.

"Some of the people that were logging up here weren't from here, they came up into the logging industry up here from other places and they chose to go home and that was it."

Mr Sorenson said if Harvestpro were to open its doors again, he doesn't doubt workers would flock back, but he says most are focused on moving forward now.

GE Finance and Insurance repossessed the gear and said it was now being marketed for sale.

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