Wednesday, 06 May 2020 11:54

Milking it?

Written by  Staff Reporters
Miraka chief executive Richard Wyeth. Miraka chief executive Richard Wyeth.

Taupo-based dairy processor Miraka says it used Government funding to pay workers forced to stay home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to Ministry of Social Development’s website, Miraka was paid nearly $900,000 for 128 staff under the wage subsidy scheme announced for COVID-19 affected companies.

Miraka chief executive Richard Wyeth told Rural News that while the factory processed milk during the lockdown, its UHT lines were forced to close due to sluggish demand from China.

“While we kept the factory running, some aspects of our production were shut and staff remained home,” he says. “So, we applied to the scheme and used the money to pay those staff.”

Two other dairy companies – both Chinese-owned – also claimed the wage subsidy. Yashili NZ, which operates an infant formula plant at Pokeno, claimed $970,000 for 138 staff.  Auckland-based GMP Dairy, majority-owned by China’s Evergrande Group, claimed $570,000 for 74 staff.

New Zealand’s largest dairy companies – Fonterra and Open Country Dairy- did not apply for the wage subsidy.

Meanwhile, in the meat sector Silver Fern Farms claimed $43m, Alliance $34m and Anzco $2.6m. However, neither Affco nor Progressive Meats have claimed any wage subsidy.

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