Home' Hastings Mail : June 21st 2011 Contents 9
HASTINGS MAIL, JUNE 22, 2011
Sensational pan fried scallops with bacon strips
on a bed of crisp green leaves, drizzled with our
secret sauce. Served with golden fries.
311 Marine Parade
Ph: 06 835 6567
Visit www.cobb.co.nz for a taste
of what we have to offer.
Hawke's Bay Hunt Race Day
Saturday 2nd July
Hawke's Bay Steeple Chase
Hawke's Bay Hurdle
First Race 11.10am
Gates open 10am
Entry $10 @ gate
Get along to Hastings Racecourse
Prospect Road, Hastings
Phone 06 873 4545 or visit
Hot Spot under
Slippery slope to tomorrow
Tough times: Andrew Smith, one of 300 laid off in Waipukurau last week, taking stock of his next move.
By VIVIENNE HALDANE
On a Friday afternoon, Andrew
Smith is standing in his driveway,
looking a little at a loose end.
Usually at this time, he d be
finishing his shift at Ovation
boning plant in Waipukurau.
I ask: How are you? But I
don t expect him to say how he
truly feels. I imagine it s not his
The 45-year-old maintenance
and diagnostics engineer was told
the previous day that his job of 26
years had gone west.
Today I decided to take the day
off, he says by way of expla-
A day off in which to contem-
plate his next step perhaps, or
just to let soak in what s
happened, or maybe he thinks:
He d just taken his wife,
Joanne, to work. Last year when
jobs were being cut at the meat
processing plant, she fortunately
opted to find something else.
It would have been a double
blow for their household if she
Their daughter, Stacey-Lee,
used to work at Ovation and son,
Aaron, currently works there, so
there s a question mark over his
Without doubt, the impact of
the loss of 300 jobs on the Central
Hawke s Bay business community
will begin to sting sometime soon.
It has already felt the the loss of
175 jobs at the same facility last
Actually, to be quite honest, I
feel a bit like the long term pris-
oner who has been let out, he
says, trying cheerfully to see an
We had an inkling it was going
to happen, so it s a bit of a relief.
But it s very scary as well.
He s sitting in his favourite spot
in the lounge in a comfortable La-
Z-Boy chair. On the wall behind
there s a display of framed sports
awards and family photos. Across
the room, a massive home theatre
screen flicks colour distractingly
across the room.
It s scary to be cut loose from
a well-paying job and doubly so
because it s the only work place
he s ever known.
In 1985 Mr Smith (then 19
years old) started work at Bern-
ard Matthews, as it was formerly
known. Back then, the purpose-
built facility was in full swing.
Those were good years, with a
national lamb kill of 40 million a
year. Now it is less than half that.
For the young married father
with a wife and a family to sup-
port, a steady income was peace of
mind. They could relax, knowing
that they had a good future ahead.
Joanne worked there for 20
years. It was hard raising a family
and us both doing shift work, he
says, but the family-oriented
couple buckled down and made it
In 1995 he moved from the
boning room to the workshop. His
skill with machinery was noticed
and in 2000, the company offered
him an adult apprenticeship. It
was a chance he grabbed with
both hands. I woke up to the fact
that I was getting older and
needed a qualification, just
in case this sort of thing
happened, he says, with a
tinge of irony. It was a chal-
lenge though. It s a lot
harder to do an apprentice-
ship as an adult.
While holding down his job
he filled all his spare hours
studying through correspon-
dence. Gaining his qualifi-
cation was a good move financially
and gave him a permanent job,
which had previously been
seasonal. But yesterday it didn t
matter which department you
were in. If there s nothing there,
there s nothing there, he says
with a shrug.
I feel sorry for the younger
ones and those with young famil-
ies. I know what it s like when
you ve got a family. It s hard.
The company has been good to
him though, he says, and recent
events have simply spelled out
what many knew was on the
I think they went about it in a
good way -- it put a lot of people s
mind at ease. There s been a lot of
whispers over the last couple of
years about what was happening.
It s a shock for me, after being
there for all that time.
At work we ve had good times
and bad. I ve seen people leave
and come back again, in some
cases, three times.
For now he s going to sit down
with Joanne and talk about what
the future holds for them. I m not
going to make any hasty
decisions, he says. Fortunately
he s got a marketable skill.
The inevitable question is
would they go to Australia as so
many others have done? We ve
discussed Australia, but as we are
now grandparents -- if we go, they
are going to have to go too. I can t
see Joanne leaving them behind.
I wish him well and good week-
end: I think I might go fishing,
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