Employees ‘shattered’ as factories close in Waimate

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The closure of one Waimate business and the relocation of part of another have resulted in job losses for the town.

Waimate Knitwear has announced that they will close, with the loss of 11 jobs.

Owner Steve Mulqueen said a number factors were involved in making the decision but the main reasons were a shortage of work and insufficient funds to buy rare material.

“It’s just too hard,” he said and he added that most of the employees were “shattered” by the news.

The business has shops in Waimate and Milton and they sell to 50 tourist shops around the country.

Some sales are also made online.

Mr Mulqueen said they rented their Studholme St premises in Waimate and there was no formal closure date.

He did not discount the possibility that a smaller business could be re-established.

“But I’ll probably retire.

“I’m 75 in the next month or two and haven’t thought too far down the track.

“The closure has only just been announced.”

Mr McQueen and his wife Marlene have worked in the Studholme St factory since 1997 and took over the business from Postie Plus in 2010.

Meanwhile, award winning pork producer Havoc Pork is closing its farm factory shop in Belt St, Waimate.

A total of seven employees have been offered positions in Dunedin. Three staff have taken up this option.

Linda McCallum-Jackson, who runs the business with her husband Ian, said they had secured new processing premises in Kaikorai Valley Rd which will be run by son Cain.

“It’s sort of going home really; we’ve been at the Dunedin Farmers’ Market since it started.”

Havoc Pork runs 800 free-range pigs at a Hunters Hills property.

Mrs McCallum-Jackson said the Waimate factory shop had operated for 11 years.

By CHRIS TOBIN