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Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Oracle cup firm cuts workers

Core Builders Composite, wholly owned by Oracle, this week told 19 staff they were no longer needed. Photo / Oracle
Core Builders Composite, wholly owned by Oracle, this week told 19 staff they were no longer needed. Photo / Oracle

The Kiwi company that built American billionaire Larry Ellison's America's Cup winning boat has laid off 19 boatbuilders.

Core Builders Composite, wholly owned by Oracle, this week told the staff they were no longer needed, general manager Tim Smyth said.

He said work at the Warkworth operation had dried up since the Cup finished.

He said foreign boatbuilders were able to offer the same work for 30 per cent cheaper than New Zealand companies.

"It's pretty tough out there right now," he said. "The marine industry is pretty depressed, there's massive over-capacity in New Zealand and the dollar's killed it."

At its peak, Core Boatbuilders employed 80 people.

Smyth said shrinking staff was "pretty typical" in boatbuilding.

"You shrink and expand to meet the workflow and we expect to expand again in the first quarter of next year."

He said a couple of projects are in the pipeline but they were still under wraps.

"There's no God-given right we'll get to build the next race cup boats either. There's a tremendous push to keep the cost down."

Core Builders helped Ellison defeat Team New Zealand in the America's Cup in September.

- Herald on Sunday

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