Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has helped a community initiative set up in the northern Hawke's Bay town of Wairoa, where the meat company AFFCO has locked out just over 100 workers from its sheep and beef plant.
Mr Sharples took part in a hui in the the town on 11 April to talk about the effects of the dispute, which he says is taking a heavy toll on workers and their families.
Because of the local initiative, workers and their families who need help can make inquiries at Te Puni Kokiri's office in Wairoa, and be put in touch with the appropriate staff who will work with them, individually, in private.
Dr Sharples says the workers are proud people, and many have been at the plant for 30 years or more.
They are not used to going cap-in-hand to a bank, the council or WINZ for financial assistance and relief, he says.