Wednesday, 10 August 2022 08:55

Fonterra closing Brightwater plant

Written by  Staff Reporters
Fraser Whineray Fraser Whineray

Fonterra is closing its Brightwater site in Nelson in April next year, with 30 staff set to lose their jobs.

However, Fonterra chief operating officer Fraser Whineray says the workers are highly skilled and is confident they’ll be able to secure new roles.

Whineray says the priority right now is supporting them.

“It’s no doubt tough news for some of the Brightwater team and we’ll be working with them in the coming months on their future options, including redeployment opportunities within the co-op.”

The small aging plant at Brightwater will continue as a milk collection site as Fonterra moves its milk transfer activities there from Tuamarina.

Brightwater processes only about 0.25% of the co-operative’s overall milk supply into whole milk powder. Whineray says the move to close the milk processing plant, which will instead see the milk being processed at Fonterra’s Darfield site, is in line with Fonterra’s long-term strategy.

“We know milk supply is declining over time, flat at best, so we need to make sure we’re getting the most out of every drop of milk and optimising our plants to match both consumer demand and available milk supply.

“This, along with forecast capital and maintenance costs, means we’ve made the tough decision to close our milk powder plant at Brightwater.

“We’re continually working to ensure our assets across the country are as efficient as they can be, changing product mixes, and moving more milk into value-add products.”

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