Cavalier to bring 39 new jobs to the Bay

By Victoria White

2 comments
Cavalier chief executive Paul Alston. Photo / Stuart Munro
Cavalier chief executive Paul Alston. Photo / Stuart Munro

The confirmation of a Cavalier Corporation manufacturing consolidation is "good news" for Hawke's Bay - with the creation of 39 new jobs.

Earlier this month, the company announced a restructure of manufacturing operations which will consolidate its woollen yarn-spinning operations into a single hub at its Napier plant.

The restructure was confirmed yesterday following a period of consultation with staff across the country. In total, 104 jobs will be lost but 39 new spinning positions will be created at the Napier plant.

Cavalier chief executive Paul Alston said "from a Napier perspective it's probably a good news story".

He had been at the Napier plant a couple of weeks ago to speak about the consolidation, and from his visit thought "staff were probably relieved ... and more happy that the site will be expanding".

"In Christchurch and Whanganui that was a much more difficult conversation to have," he said.

As part of the restructure the company's Christchurch plant will be closed, and its felted yarn operations will be shifted to Whanganui.

This would impact 36 people in Christchurch either via relocation or redundancy.

In Whanganui, 108 people will be impacted but will have the opportunity to apply for 40 new felting positions being created there. The total number of roles at the Whanganui plant will reduce by 68.

Staff from these plants had been invited to apply for the new Napier positions.

Mr Alston said: "We are hoping we can get as many [staff] as we can to move to Napier."

So far the take-up "hasn't been much, if at all".

Napier mayor Bill Dalton said the new jobs "could only be a positive for Napier".

"It would be great if it brought new people to Napier," he said. "We're aware that new people would bring their families and become part of the Napier economy."

When asked what impact 40 families would have on the economy, Mr Dalton said he thought it would be significant. If the jobs were filled by locals getting back into the workforce, this would also be beneficial.

Business Hawke's Bay chief executive officer Susan White said Cavalier had to make the hard decisions to streamline its business operations to remain competitive.

"Given the company had options, their decision to consolidate their woollen yarn-spinning operations in Napier is good news for Hawke's Bay," she said.

"We welcome the jobs and the people who relocate with Cavalier to our region."

Cavalier was planning for the restructure to be finished by mid-October.

Mr Alston said the company would now actively start working with the unions and staff on relocation opportunities.

"We have also been approached by a number Christchurch businesses who are keen to speak to our staff about potential employment opportunities, which is really positive."

He said Cavalier remained committed to manufacturing in New Zealand.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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