60 workers are set to lose their jobs before Christmas in Gisborne with the closure of a Japanese-owned forestry company. Juken NZs wood processing mill in Gisborne processes radiata pine from its East Coast and Wairarapa forests to make wood products for the Japanese housing market. The plant Managing director Hiroyuki Kawado told staff this morning it had decided to close the nearly 30-year-old mill due to ongoing financial difficulties and falling demand. He says they made the decision after consultation with staff as the company couldn’t continue with ongoing losses and could not find an alternative solution to turn the situation around. Mr Kawado says demand for its products has continued to decline over the past five years and is not expected to improve – and the aging mill would need significant investment to operate effectively and safely. Production will stop on 22 December, affecting 60 employees – but a transitional crew of 20 will stay on till March 2024.
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