Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say.
“I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be acutely felt by communities up and down the Bay,” Meka Whaitiri said.
“Lost jobs affect not just the workers – many of whom are the family breadwinners – they also hit the local economy. Unfortunately, there just aren’t the jobs in Hawke’s Bay to soak up dozens of redundant workers. I really feel for the workers and their whanau at this time.”
Stuart Nash said that he had heard a rumour before the election that jobs were going to be lost at the plant, so sought further information.
“I was told it wasn’t true and no jobs were going. Now it feels as if I was lied to. This is a hugely important issue for our local communities, and this is not the way that we do business in New Zealand. And it is hardly the way that an iconic New Zealand brand builds relationships with key stakeholders.”
The MPs said while the rationale behind Wattie’s decision to axe so many jobs wasn’t widely understood, such losses highlight the need for an economic development strategy for the regions.
“A continued hollowing out of the provinces has to stop,” Meka Whaitiri said.
“Creating jobs and opportunities for Hawke’s Bay people must be a priority for all elected officials at every level of the community,” said Stuart Nash.
“It is something that Meka and I will be working on and will underpin everything we do. The best way to alleviate the ills of poverty is work. We must put aside our political differences and work together; National and Labour members, local and central government officials, because only then will we optimise our chances of success.”