The news that a further $1.4 million investment in Alliance Group's Dannevirke plant and the creation of 35 additional jobs is seen as a huge boost for the town.

Alliance Group is making improvements to its Dannevirke plant as it seeks greater efficiencies in processing.

The 100 per cent farmer-owned co-operative is reconfiguring processing operations and investing in additional technology at the plant in southern Hawke's Bay, bringing total investment at Dannevirke to $12 million in the past year.

Tararua mayor Tracey Collis yesterday said 35 additional jobs for Dannevirke didn't come along every day and was a major boost for the town.


"To hear that there will be 35 jobs is fantastic following the shock the town experienced with the sale and subsequent closure of the RCR Energy's Dannevirke plant."

Around 30 RCR Energy employed in Dannevirke were told in March that they were to be made redundant. This followed the loss of 18 jobs at Christmas.

At the time Collis said news of the job losses was devastating for the community as RCR was one of the larger employers in Dannevirke.

"So to hear the news from Alliance is absolutely exciting. When there was automation carried out at the plant there were fears that there would be job losses, but this show that the automation has increased job opportunities in Dannevirke."

Collis said there were a lot of positive things happening in Tararua so hear of these job opportunities was even more exciting.

"Imagine what those 35 jobs will mean to Tararua families."

The improvements to the plant's lamb and sheep processing capabilities will increase the plant's capacity by 20 per cent. The company will re-configure product flows, install additional vacuum packaging capacity and introduce additional downstream labelling and strapping equipment.

Alliance invested $10.6 million in the latest robotic primal and middle cutting machinery at Dannevirke last year.


Alliance chief executive David Surveyor said the investment was part of the co-operative's Manufacturing Excellence Programme and is designed to meet the needs of North Island farmers.

"The investment will significantly improve the product flow through our further processing facilities and result in greater efficiencies at the plant. It reflects Alliance's commitment to maximising the operational performance of our plant network for the benefit of our farmer shareholders and people.

"Strengthening our processing capabilities at Dannevirke enables us to respond to the needs of our farmers in the lower North Island. Increasing capacity, driving efficiencies and lower costs means we can pass these gains on to our farmer shareholders. As a co-operative, we are focused on maximising the value created for New Zealand farmers.

"This is all part of our goal to lift the performance and productivity of all our plants and ensure we remain the leader in New Zealand red meat processing."

The investment also represents a vote of confidence in the local communities and the region, said Surveyor.

"This is a major boost to the Dannevirke community. We're a major employer in regional New Zealand. Nearly 5000 people work for Alliance all over the country and we also provide work and income for a significant number of local contractors and service providers.

"Investments in technology and innovation are important drivers in Alliance's Manufacturing Excellence Programme to further build on improving performance within the co-operative."