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Sixty-five jobs could go as Sanford announces closure of Tauranga fish processing plant

Sanford has announced it is closing its Tauranga fish processing plant with 65 jobs potentially being cut.

The New Zealand seafood company made the announcement today, and says it is working with affected staff to try to minimise the number of people impacted.

There are currently 77 people employed at the Bay of Plenty site.

The proposed decision was based on a number of factors, Sanford says, including the impact of Covid-19 and the buildings at the Tauranga plant not meeting new seismic strength requirements.

The company says because of the pandemic it has been processing less fish caught by other companies, which has seen processing volumes for its North Island sites drop significantly.

Volker Kuntzsch, chief executive says the intention is for some operations in Tauranga to continue.

“We would continue to unload seafood at the Tauranga site under the proposed arrangements and we plan to retain a number of staff in that area.

“We are entering a period of consultation with our team and we will not know the final configurations until that process is complete.”

Sanford has operations at eleven sites around New Zealand and says it has no intention of closing any of its other New Zealand processing bases.

Clement Chia, chief operating officer says even if processing volumes eventually return to pre-Covid levels, the seismic issues with the buildings and surrounding area mean it is not viable to continue at the Tauranga site.

“We are very sorry to have to take this path. Until very recently we had been planning a strong future for our Tauranga team.”