[3 August/Radio NZ]

Regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones, suggested government funds could be used to safeguard Kaitaia’s biggest employer. The plant was run by Juken New Zealand which was a subsidiary of Juken Nissho. It employs 300 people and makes a timber product, Triboard. The company has said it is running short of raw material to supply its factory. Mr Jones was worried the plant may be subject to downsizing or closure as had happened to the company’s plant on the East Coast and was waiting to hear what they would do with it. He added it would be a bad day for Kaitaia and hurt the area if it did close. He was planning a trip to Japan and would raise the matter with company managers there. He planned to tell them that the Provincial Growth Fund might still play a part in the Kaitaia firm’s future. Juken New Zealand said its Kaitaia plant was not about to shut down but General Manager, Dave Hilliard, said too many trees had been cut too soon, making it hard to find raw materials.