Not hearing much applause for the latest closure in Southern Hawkes Bay.

Ovation New Zealand has today confirmed the closure of its Waipukurau boning facility and redundancy of 304 staff.

The 26-year-old plant was the second largest employer in the Hawke’s Bay town.

When the company announced its proposal to shut the plant down earlier this month Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Peter Butler described it as “another kick in the guts for rural New Zealand” and would result in a loss of $7.5 million to $10m in wages.

The decision came after a period of consultation with the affected employees and their Unions.

Closure had been on the cards since Ovation added a boning plant to its Feilding slaughter plant last year.

Managing Director of Ovation NZ Willem Sandberg said redundancy entitlements would be paid to all affected employees on July 6.

The operation is currently in seasonal shutdown and will not reopen.

”It has been an incredibly tough decision, and I’m satisfied that we have thoroughly examined all options,” Mr Sandberg said.

”We are indebted to employees and their Unions for their contributions to the process which has confirmed the location, size and layout of this boning facility have made it uncompetitive when lamb numbers have declined so dramatically,” he said.

Ovation will continue to operate its portion control facility (for retail and catering) on the Waipukurau site, together with storage and logistic activities.

”As a business that operates in regional centres we know the impact of job losses, especially on this scale. While there are potential placements for some people at our other plants (and others in the region), we will continue to be part of the working group established by Central Hawke’s Bay District Council to accelerate the search for new enterprises for the region that will boost employment opportunities,” he said.