Jobs face axe at Rotorua firms

By abbey.hartevelt@dailypost.co.nz, Abigail Hartevelt

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About 30 jobs will be axed in Rotorua if the proposed closure of wood processing plant Carter Holt Harvey Rotorua Profiles goes ahead.

And seven people are to lose their jobs with the closure of Rotorua garden centre Oderings Nurseries.

Staff at Carter Holt Harvey Rotorua Profiles on Geddes Rd were told on Thursday the company proposed to close the plant on December 20.

Daniel Mathew, who has worked for the company for about 17 years, and is the company's safety supervisor, said there were at least 20 staff on site and nine contractors.

The company makes mouldings for home interiors and weatherboard for home exteriors.

Mr Mathew said they were each given a form and asked for feedback on how staff thought the business could stay open. Staff were expected to give their feedback by Tuesday with the company making its final decision on Wednesday.

"It was a bit gut-wrenching. There was a lot of anger."

He said many of the workers had been there for many years. He said there had been times when it had been slow but they had always managed to make it through.

"We had been waiting for Christchurch [rebuild] to kick in. They pretty much said due to other mills around Rotorua and the country expanding their operations and getting more efficient at what they do, it made it hard for us," Mr Mathews said.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) national industry organiser - infrastructure Ron Angel said a union organiser was to meet with its members and delegate on Monday afternoon to work through the options and discuss other work options.

Carter Holt Harvey human resources director Kim Lee, who is based in Australia, said it was the company's policy not to comment.

Meanwhile, Oderings Nurseries in Rotorua is to close its doors by December 9.

One of the owners, Aaron Odering, said the seven staff at the Fairy Springs Rd garden centre were told last week the store would definitely close. However, he said staff had been made aware for the past two years that the store had not been doing well.

The manager had been offered the opportunity to transfer to another Oderings store in New Zealand but that had not been taken up.

Mr Odering said with "high rates", the economic recession and competition from the bigger garden centres like Bunnings and Mitre 10, it was no longer financially viable to stay open.

"We are very sad to be closing. It's not very pleasant for the staff. It's not a decision we made lightly."

A business had leased the cafe on site but they closed several weeks ago, Mr Odering said.

The garden centre was selling its stock at half price.

The Rotorua store was one of 11 in New Zealand and Mr Odering said there were no plans to close any of the other stores.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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