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Norske Skog Kawerau mill's proposed closure 'a real blow'

NEW ZEALAND (From news reports) -- Norske Skog met with employees this past weekto tell them it is considering closing down its Tasman Mill.

The mill employs 160 people.

"The mill is a large employer in Kawerau, and many of the community have links past and present to the people that have worked there over the last 65 years and the land underneath it, has a significance to Ngāti Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau," Coffey said.

"I was out there recently and spoke to the management about their situation and was made aware of the many issues that they are going through. I will be seeking urgent meetings with ministers to see what can be done. I'll be heading out there again next week to offer support."

Local Democracy Reporting understands Norske Skog is seeking feedback on the proposal until 10 June and will cease operations by 30 June.

Coffey said he wanted to acknowledge the tough times that the workers, management, and whānau would be going through as the future of the mill becomes headline news.

"I've been in close communications with Tane Phillips, the Pulp and Paper Workers Union on-site representative and will continue to work alongside him to make sure that the workers and their whānau are being looked after through this process," he said.

"Many workers come from the smaller towns outside of Kawerau where the job opportunities are incredibly limited, so this will be devastating news.

"It's a real blow, after the good news this week that the Whakatāne Board Mill is in final discussions with a new owner and the workforce jobs may well be saved," Coffey said.

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