Fishing company Sealord is refusing to let Labour leader Phil Goff on to its Nelson fish processing factory today.

The company is in the process of laying off 130 staff at the factory and Mr Goff had hoped to visit today with Service and Food Workers Union representatives.

However, there was a "high level of sensitivity on the part of Sealord management" and access had been denied.

"...some of the workers had been keen to speak to me so it's disappointing that the company feels that sensitivities are such that we can't go on the job site today," Mr Goff said.

"Essentially we wanted to be there to address any questions asked by workers, to express our sympathy and support for people who have been laid off through no fault of their own, and not having the opportunity to do that is regrettable but that is a call that the company has made."

Mr Goff would visit other factories in the area, including Nelson Pine, which is laying off 58 workers from its 265-strong workforce as a result of reduced international demand.

The planned redundancies were announced on March 5, and will take effect today.

Managing director Murray Sturgeon said 22 of the redundancies were voluntary and at least 10 of those made redundant had found other jobs.

"They were very willing to have us on site," Mr Goff said.

"So that's a different attitude from a different company."

Sealord chief executive Graham Stuart told the Nelson Mail it did not want MPs on site as restructuring was in its final stages and it was a "sensitive time".

"We've had enough disruption to the workplace," he told the newspaper.

"They've (MPs) got enough mileage out of this political football."