Occupation at Kaeo factory

Members of the Kaeo community have occupied what used to be the town's Sanford oyster plant, in the hope of instigating discussions with the company that will benefit the community.

The occupation began on Sunday night, spokesman Bryce Smith saying yesterday that a contingent from Kaikohe was expected later in the day.

There were two issues, he added - the fact that the factory site was subject to a Treaty claim, and the proposal to build a massive marine farm off Stevenson Island, which was now under appeal.

The major aim, however, was simply to get Sanford talking with a community that had taken some hard knocks over recent times.

"We wanted discussions when the plant was closed," Mr Smith said.

"They're struggling to sell it - now it's going out to tender - and we, Maori and Pakeha, want to sit down at look at what might be done to achieve something positive for the community. They weren't interested in talking though."

A community meeting had been called for 5pm tomorrow, at the factory, with a welcome for anyone who had any suggestions to make.

- Northland Age

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