• Wyatt Creech

A resource centre could be set up in Gisborne to help people affected by the partial closure of Cedenco, Minister of Employment, Wyatt Creech, said today.

I have asked the Community Employment Group to talk with Cedenco management and local contractors to find out the size of the problem, and recommend appropriate responses. Its unclear at this stage how many people may lose jobs, and when. If necessary, CEG can set up a Resource Centre to co-ordinate any support activities that may be needed.

Cedenco currently has about 50 full-time staff (down from 100 at the beginning of the year); and approximately 300 people are employed for 9 to 12 weeks a year during the tomato season.

Its not all bad news however. Although Cedenco is shifting tomato-processing to Australia, their squash, sweet corn and plant nursery and are staying in Gisborne, so we expect some full-time staff will remain.

Other employment opportunities are also opening up in Gisborne - forestry, woodchips and tourism for instance are growing rapidly. And Im told theres a possibility Cedenco could re-open a smaller tomato processing plant within 2 years.

A Resource Centre would carry out an initial needs assessment, and bring together community groups and support agencies to provide information, advice, income support and employment assistance for affected workers.

For further information contact Jacqueline Owen (04) 471 9714 or Anna Hughes (04) 471 9819 or 025 477 0139.


  • Dismantling their tomato processing equipment to shift to Australia. Citing economic reasons - exchange rate, climate affecting crops, contract with Cerebos, closer to major markets, subsidy from Victorian Govt.
  • Other activities remain in Gisborne, so not all permanent staff will lose jobs. Company is talking to staff Monday or Tuesday and confirming how many job losses. Lastestinformation on staff numbers if that the company started the year with 100 permanent staff; 50 have progressively been made redundant throughout the year (including the HR manager!!) so current levels are now 50.
  • Between 250 - 400 seasonal workers are employed over the tomato season: 9 - 12 weeks per year. (They presumably have other work the rest of the year.) Some may be students. Others affected will be farm workers and staff of firms who contract to Cedenco - trucking firms, packaging suppliers etc.
  • Cedenco buys 90,000 tonnes of tomatoes from local growers. They will have to either find another buyer or change crops.
  • Local Chamber of Commerce reported as saying its not a disaster - other employment opportunities opening up in Gisborne. Forestry, woodchips, tourism.
  • CEG is already talking to management and local firms to scope the size of the problem and will make recommendations soon.

Points you mentioned re Janet Mackeys statements:

  • Petty party politics. Is she saying that under Labor there would never be any more closures?Trying to blame the Cedenco closure on Govt economic policies ignores some fundamental facts.
  • Alternatives to current policies would put inflation back nto the economy, which would leadto further unemployment, and make things worse for exporters.
  • Cedencos move is obviously a long-term business decision - based on a number of factors including climate and closeness to major markets.
  • Will Government be blamed for the weather next?

Don McKinnon has also issued a response - blaming the Govt is blatently political and totally predictable. Unavoidable fact of commercial life that companies move, make new contracts or fall over, in even the most buoyant economy. NZ is an open, internationally competitive economy Re-iterated your comments about positive outlook for Gisborne.