Jobs at risk after Armourguard land contract

By Alexandra Newlove

9 comments
Parking wardens for Environmental Northland Ltd (ENL). ENL employs 18 full-time staff and four part-time.
Parking wardens for Environmental Northland Ltd (ENL). ENL employs 18 full-time staff and four part-time.

The firm soon to enforce rules around parking, animals and noise across Whangarei and Kaipara cannot confirm whether the 22 people currently carrying out the work will keep their jobs.

Whangarei District Council issued its regulatory services contract, worth about $1.1 million a year, to American-owned company Armourguard, ousting the locally-owned Environmental Northland (ENL) which has held the contract for 20 years.

ENL employed 18 full-time staff, four part-time, and two casuals in summer.

Armourguard regional manager Warwick Taylor said "many" of these staff would be retained, but could not yet confirm whether any would lose their jobs.

"This is still being worked through with individual employees. We have no fixed timeframe at this stage," he added.

" ... We value [ENL staff] experience and knowledge, and the relationships they have developed over the years."

The contract was a joint procurement by Whangarei and Kaipara district councils and involved parking and bylaw enforcement, dog control, noise control and swimming pool inspections. Armourguard would take over in September.

Mr Taylor said no work would move to his company's Auckland head office as a result of the handover.

Pay rates, rumoured to be lower than ENL, were a private matter between Armourguard, its staff and the council, he said.

Armourguard had security contracts in Whangarei with Ministry for Social Development, Refining New Zealand and Northland District Health Board. It employed about 120 Northland staff and 2000 across New Zealand.

Mr Taylor said the company would use its experience to introduce new "structures, systems, reporting and knowledge".

Despite being bought by a New York-based multinational in 2013, Mr Taylor described Armourguard as a "New Zealand company" that was established in 1939.

"Over the past 77 years it has continued to be a New Zealand-based company," he said.

ENL lost to its competitor despite being the cheaper choice, with its bid of $1,167,493 about $20,000 less than the $1,188,987 price put forth by Armourguard.

- Northern Advocate

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