March 19, 2021
Transit lounge set up for Whakatane Mill kaimahi
Waiariki MP Rawiri Waititi says a whānau ora approach needs to be taken for workers laid off when the Whakatāne Mill closes in June.
He’s pulled together a group including Whakatāne Council, the site unions, financial services company Deloitte, other help services and the Ministry for Social Development.
He says some of the 200 plus workers have been there a long time, and they’ll need support with their redundancy.
"So I put what we call a transit lounge together where we bring all of those services into one room and these services have been determined by the unions and the kaimahi themselves. So I've use a whānau ora approach to dealing with this situation where they go to the transit lounge, they choose who they want to, they choose the services they require. Our job is to make sure they are there and supported all the way through that particular process," Mr Waititi says
Once the immediate needs of the workers are dealt with, there also needs to be work on whether anything can be done with the remaining mill infrastructure, what can be done to add value to the huge volumes of wood being produced in Waiariki, and how to fill the gap in the job market for Whakatāne.
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