One of the two paper machines at the Tasman Mill in Kawerau will permanently close today, resulting in 110 workers being made redundant.
The decision to shut a machine was announced on September 9, 2012 following a review of newsprint capacity in Australasia. The remaining Tasman machine will continue to produce newsprint predominantly for the New Zealand and Australian markets.
Over the last four months, mill management has worked closely with employees, unions and other stakeholders on the detailed closure arrangements, including a mill-wide restructuring program. As a result of these discussions and significant redeployment within the mill, the final number of redundancies will be around 110, compared to the previous media reports of 130. These redundancies will occur over the next three to four months.
General manager Peter McCarty thanked all concerned for their input and understanding of the situation and the need to make difficult decisions in the long term interests of the business. He said the constructive approach shown by all parties had contributed to a successful final outcome and had helped set the mill up for a positive future.
"On behalf of the company and also on a personal level I would like to thank all concerned for the professional and constructive way in which they have conducted themselves during what has been a very difficult and trying time. Decisions such as this, involving job losses, are never easy, particularly when you have such a high quality team as we do at Tasman.
"As is widely understood, this decision has been brought about by global market forces within our industry and no-one is to blame. Indeed we can all feel very proud that PM2 has operated successfully providing employment and wealth to our region for over 50 years.
"The challenge for our mill and our remaining machine is to be a low cost producer of quality newsprint and we are well positioned to meet this challenge. We will also be looking to successfully leverage off this base to seize new opportunities that will invariably come along in the future.
"As a team, we are committed to continuing the mill's proud contribution both locally and nationally and to helping to lead the company's diversification into renewable energy and biofuels. While there is still much work to do to meet our strategic goals, we are making good progress and receiving strong encouragement and support from all quarters. We look forward to making further announcements in due course," Mr McCarty said.