Waimate upbeat despite closures

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 01/02/2014

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Waimate people remain confident, despite two well-known local firms announcing plans to close, as the Oceania Dairy factory development continues.

Award-winning pork producer Havoc Pork closed its processing operations yesterday and moved to Dunedin, while the Waimate Knitwear factory is also scheduled to close within the next couple of months, resulting in more than a dozen job losses.

Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley said it was unfortunate. "It's bad for the town that two employers are pulling out at the same time.

"I don't think it is anything to do with a sign of the times, as Havoc Pork were always going to move their operation as their plan was to consolidate the business.

"I understand that Waimate Knitwear is closing down because they have been struggling to get yarn. On the positive side, we have the dairy factory down the road, which will employ 60 people," Mr Rowley said.

Waimate Business Association chairwoman Beverley Knowles said she will meet Mr Rowley, council chief executive Tony Alden, and Deputy Mayor Sharyn Cain on Monday to discuss the matter.

The meeting was organised before the announcements, but the matter would be a priority during discussions, she said. "It's something that I don't have a full comprehension of until we have a full meeting with council.

"The meeting is to establish how we can work together; I think a collective is very good and only good things can come out of it," she said.

Representatives from Oceania had been in discussions with the association, she said. "Oceania is going to come on board with us. We've had a meeting with them about being a member; there are some positive things happening."

Waimate promotions co-ordinator Donette Fargher said it was a devastating blow to the community because of the loss of jobs and people moving away from the community.

"Any loss of business is bad news to the community.

"There's always ebbs and flows; one door closes and another one opens.

"Havoc Pork and Waimate Knitwear were attractions."

Waimate District councillor Tom O'Connor said: "A business or two closing down or relocating from a large centre has little impact, but when we lose two from a small, closeknit town like Waimate, we also lose friends and neighbours and that's always a matter of regret.

"Havoc has worked hard at innovative marketing and I hope the move goes well for them.

"The closure of Waimate Knitwear means the loss of more jobs, but we have new opportunities coming with the new dairy factory at Glenavy, so I guess it's just the swings and roundabouts of industry."

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- The Timaru Herald

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