McCain Plant Closure

Published online: May 08, 2006
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Food producer McCain Foods is closing one of its potato processing plants in New Zealand with the loss of some 140 jobs.

McCain Foods Australia New Zealand  managing director Steve Yung said upgrading the 20-yearl-old plant in Fielding, about 100 miles north of Wellington, would require significant investment and it had become too costly to continue. The company would instead focus on upgrading and investing in its plant at Timaru on New Zealand's South Island.

The move has angered the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national. Union Secretary Andrew Little said when McCain bought the plant from Heinz Wattie in 2001 it promised to spend NZ$9 million upgrading it.

"It hasn't spent a cent, and is now saying that the plant is too old to be viable and must close," he said. The plant -- Fieldings biggest employer -- will close in December.