Juken NZ's announcement that agreement had been reached with its employees' unions, allowing plans for the refurbishing of its triboard mill in Kaitaia to proceed, was described by Mayor John Carter as the best news ever for the town.
"I am delighted. Absolutely stoked," he said from Beijing (where he is currently meeting potential investors in the Far North).
"This goes a very long way to securing the future of Kaitaia, and I can't tell you how glad I am about that."
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Northland MP Matt King congratulated the company and the unions for working together to achieve the best outcome.
"The result is one that everyone can accept, and I'm delighted about that," he said. "I'm sorry that some jobs will be lost, but the important thing is that the mill's future is guaranteed long-term, and that's great news for Kaitaia."
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones also welcomed "a good outcome for Kaitaia," with about 10 workers, fewer than originally feared, to lose their jobs. He had been told that about 30 workers had opted to retire, with entitlements, which meant fewer than 10 would be left without work.
"So the figure is nowhere as intimidating as it was ... It's still not perfect, but given that they are going to continue operating the mill, modernise it, and spend tens of millions of dollars, it's a good outcome for Kaitaia," Mr Jones said, adding that it was "tremendously positive" that union leaders, stakeholders and management had been able to agree.
Continued manufacturing capacity in the Far North meant an alternative to unfinished logs "disappearing holus-bolus overseas." It was also positive for Maori, given that a lot of trees came from tribal-owned land.
Mr Jones said he had met the owners of Juken NZ in Japan two weeks ago. They had assured him of their commitment to Kaitaia, but had concerns about future timber supplies. He was working with government colleagues, in particular Trade and Economic Development Minister David Parker, on what could be done to ensure security of supply for local manufacturers.