Wairoa Meatworks Lockout – a Nightmare

Press Release – Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc

1,000 workers at six Affco freezing works in the North Island are indefinitely locked out from their plants. This includes the Affco freezing works in Wairoa, one of the most impoverished communities in the country.Media Release – Friday 16 March 2012 ‘Wairoa Meatworks Lockout – a Nightmare’ 1,000 workers at six Affco freezing works in the North Island are indefinitely locked out from their plants. This includes the Affco freezing works in Wairoa, one of the most impoverished communities in the country.

On Tuesday 12th March, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated (NKII) called a public hui for all people in Wairoa affected by Affco’s Wairoa meat works lockout The hui led by NKII Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana, was attended by over 200 people who filled Takitimu Marae to capacity. Whānau vented their frustration and concern about the lockout and the affect it’s had on their family’s wellbeing. Some shared stories of family stress in their relationships with no income in the house and no food on the table. Others shared their concerns for their children’s health and wellbeing. “Ngāti Kahungunu is standing beside its whānau”, said Ngahiwi. “We plan to give immediate support in Wairoa for our people. We call Kahungunu whānau everywhere to provide support in any way you can”. PHASE ONE

Establish a ‘Resource Centre’.

The Resource Centre will be a place for the wider Kahungunu community to send their contributions of food, goods and services. Volunteer help is also required to provide meals and support to our affected whānau. Plans are underway for the Resource Centre to be set up next to the Wairoa Taiwhenua Office on Marine Parade, Wairoa. The Resource Centre will be opened by Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples on Monday 19th March 2012 11.00am. PHASE TWO

Our Communications Strategy

To inform our iwi and wider community of the issues at hand:

1. We will write to Affco informing them of the lockdown effect on the families of workers involved and invite them to review their status;

2. We will ask offshore buyers to not purchase any product associated with ‘Affco’;

3. We will ask other iwi to support our Wairoa whānau in any way they can;

4. We will ask Maori Farmers to not send their livestock to ‘Affco’ meat works;

5. We will write to all Wairoa businesses to support our whānau affected by the lockout;

6. We will ask our local MPs to support our whānau;

7. We will provide ongoing information to all iwi networks, all local/national media networks, Iwi Radio, Facebook & other social networks;

“In the 1980’s and 1990’s many Kahungunu whānau were affected by the sudden closure of the Hawkes Bay Farmers Meat Company at Whakatu and Weddel Tomoana Freezing Works in Hastings. Extensive research on ex workers health revealed devastating statistics. Loss of employment led to no money in the house for food, heat, medical expenses and day to day living. The ripple effect on workers and their families has included poverty, mental illness, low esteem, violence, family break up and suicide.

“We don’t want the Affco freezing works lockout to become a nightmare like the Whakatu/Tomoana experience. It took whānau 20 years to recover from that experience and we can’t allow this to happen to our families again”.

Mr Tomoana said, “Talleys is the major shareholder in Affco and Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated has had a good working relationship with them in the past. We hope to share with them our concerns for our whānau and the whole Wairoa community and a speedy return to work”.

ENDS

All contributions gratefully received

Contact:

Wairoa Taiwhenua – Pita Robinson

Phone: 06 838-4746

Email: wairoa.tai.whenua@xtra.co.nz

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