Pet food company Ziwipeak has announced it is leaving Tauranga.

The company is set to build a new $70 million factory in Napier.

Ziwipeak, which makes air-dried cat and dog food, started in Mount Maunganui in 2004.

It has attracted controversy in recent years, with complaints about foul odours emitting from its premises.

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Ziwi managing director Richard Lawrence said in a media statement on Friday afternoon the company had tried to find a new location in Tauranga.

"Ziwi has spent the past three years working with parties in evaluating a number of potential locations in the Tauranga region but has been unsuccessful in finding a site of sufficient size, and with the necessary infrastructure available in meeting the timeframe required."

The company's three Tauranga sites will continue to operate until late 2021, when production from these sites shifts to Napier and the three Tauranga sites will close.

All employees at the Tauranga sites will be offered jobs at the new Napier kitchen, which will employ 125 workers once open.

Ziwipeak currently employs 100 people in Tauranga, a spokesman told the Bay of Plenty Times.

Ziwipeak CEO Richard Lawrence in 2015. Photo / File
Ziwipeak CEO Richard Lawrence in 2015. Photo / File

"We realise that a transition of this nature will create some uncertainty for the Ziwi family and the wellbeing of our people remains of paramount importance," Lawrence said in a statement.

Work on the new build is expected to start in August, and be finished by September or October 2021.

The new 12,000sq m state-of-the-art production kitchen would be capable of doubling the company's current kitchen output in Tauranga.

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Based in Awatoto, the factory will be fitted out with the latest processing technology, including new air-dried technology, which will allow the development of new product lines.

Lawrence said the site is necessary to ensure the company continues to meet strong global demand for products.

The company distributed its products to more than 30 companies, including China, the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.

"We're committed to continuing to offer pets - and their human companions - foods prepared in our new kitchens, right here in our home of New Zealand," he said.

Ziwi's processing kitchen in Christchurch and Auckland-based sales team will be unaffected.

The managing director said the company's ambition is to double its annual revenue from its current base over the next 3-5 years, and the new Napier kitchen will be fundamental to achieving this goal.

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Last year the Bay of Plenty Regional Council brought charges against Ziwipeak Ltd under the Resource Management Act. Both parties confirmed yesterday the matter was still before the courts and next due to be heard in September.