Kāpiti Coast Mayor K Gurunathan says Fonterra’s decision to close its Te Roto factory is a blow for the region but Kāpiti’s local economy is strong and growing, and can absorb the loss.
Fonterra today announced plans to consolidate its specialty cheese making facilities, resulting in the closure of the Te Roto factory in Paraparaumu. 65 roles at the factory are affected.
Mayor Gurunathan says our first priority is ensuring our people are supported.
“Where there are redundancies, we have confidence that Fonterra’s priority is looking after its people and, where possible we will support them in that.
He says he’s already spoken to Fonterra about working together to explore options for ensuring that the Kāpiti Coast continues to benefit from the brand that borrows its name and inspiration from our home.
“We are a small provincial district within the Wellington Region, but our economy is in good health and our push to diversify has strengthened our resilience in managing challenges like this that are outside of our control.
Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton has also slammed Fonterra’s decision to close its Te Roto Drive site in Paraparaumu with the loss of 65 jobs, calling on the cooperative to reverse the decision and not make hard working locals pay the price for issues elsewhere in the cooperative.
“The hardworking team at Fonterra’s Te Roto Drive factory are paying the price for incompetence elsewhere in the cooperative. This short-sighted decision to close Te Roto Drive means that after 35 years, there will be no cheese carrying the iconic Kāpiti brand that will have been produced on the Kāpiti Coast,” says Mr Compton.
“What’s more, announcing the closure of the Te Roto Drive factory only hours after CEO Miles Hurrell claimed Fonterra would focus on being a national champion for ‘Aotearoa New Zealand’ makes a complete mockery of his remarks. How can Fonterra be a national champion for our country if they won’t even produce one of its most internationally recognised and awarded cheeses in the very community that features on its logo?”
To combat the closure, Gwynn Compton has launched a petition calling on Fonterra to reverse their decision, and is encouraging people around New Zealand to sign it: https://www.change.org/p/fonterra-save-kāpiti-cheese
“Fonterra has already sold off one iconic New Zealand brand in Tip Top to offset their disasters overseas, now they’re selling out the community behind one of their last remaining internationally recognised brands. It’s simply not good enough for an organisation that purports to be a champion of provincial New Zealand.
“When the provenance of the food we eat - the authentic gate-to-plate story - is becoming one of the most powerful marketing tools around, then Fonterra should be investing in facilities like their Te Roto Drive factory, not closing them down. If Fonterra is to remain true to their claim of being a true New Zealand brand, then ensuring that Kāpiti cheese continues to be made in Kāpiti is the only option available to them.”