Quake-prone New World Naenae to close

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 13:39 08/04/2014
NewWorldweb
NICHOLAS BOYACK

Seismic-risk: Foodstuffs has decided not to earthquake-strengthen the Naenae New World supermarket. It will close on April 30.

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New World Naenae will close at the end of the month with the loss of about 25 jobs.

Foodstuffs North Island announced today that the Vogel St supermarket was found to be earthquake prone and would close for good on April 30.

Foodstuffs North Island general manager property development Angela Bull said the closure will affect a total of 25 full-time and some part-time positions, though the numbers fluctuated depending on the time of year.

The company is helping staff find roles at nearby stores but it is too early to say how many staff would be offered jobs.

Foodstuffs is offering affected staff career, curriculum vitae and counselling support through the process.

The company is ''always considering opportunities'' but does not have another site in mind in Naenae.

The final trading day for the store is April 30, and it will be business as usual until then.

''We have made the difficult decision to close the supermarket after recent [seismic] investigations revealed that while the store is currently safe to work and shop in today, the store is a category E building, which is in the highest risk earthquake prone category. None of our other stores have been found to be in this category. 

''We are of course sad to see the store close, but believe it is the right thing to do to protect the long term safety of our staff and customers.''

Foodstuff's assessed carrying out strengthening work but it was not a viable option due to the age of the building and the costs involved.

The 60-year-old store is one of the oldest New World stores in the country and it is with sadness that the business has reached the decision to close, she said.

''The team at New World Naenae have enjoyed getting to know members of the community and hope to see them at one of our other local stores.''

There are two Four Square stores in Naenae, and New World Stokes Valley is approximately 7.5 kilometres away.

Foodstuff's other supermarkets in the area include New World Hutt City in Hutt City CBD and PAK 'n SAVE Lower Hutt at Brunswick St, which are approximately five kilometres away.

Hutt City Councillor for the Eastern Ward Barbara Branch was a regular customer of the store and felt its closing would be a ''huge loss'' to the community.

The supermarket was important to Naenae people and the wider community - she knew people who travelled to the store from Taita.

''It's shocking, absolutely shocking.

''Local employment is hard enough to get, and I would imagine there's families that relied on that.''

Fellow committee member Michael Ellis was also a New World Naenae customer and said it was a great disappointment to hear it was closing.

The supermarket provided a vital service to the community and would leave a ''huge gap''.

''The staff in there are always really friendly and helpful so I would hope other employers will be keen to take them on.''

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