After being dogged by claims about its entitlement to the wage subsidy, the country’s largest meat processor will now fully pay it back.
The second-largest dairy enterprise in New Zealand says domestic demand for its product range is also remaining consistent.
To keep up with demand in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company this morning announced that it is issuing measures to keep staff well and the factory running.
Westland says it has stopped all non-critical travel for staff and is trialling working from home measures where possible following recent developments in the spread of Covid-19.
Chief executive Toni Brendish says the company is aware of its importance to the West Coast community at such an unprecedented and stressful time.
“As the largest employer on the West Coast, directly employing more than 500 people, we’re also well aware of how many more hundreds of people are contracted or employed in areas which rely on the factory and the 374 farms supplying milk to the plant every day,’’ says Brendish.
“The economic benefits the dairy sector and the Westland Milk Products facilities in Hokitika bring to the region and beyond are significant so it’s important that we do everything we can to keep everyone safe, well and the factory able to meet with demand.’’
Westland staff are also being asked to restrict travel in their own time to avoid spread of the infection and to advise the company if they have, while non-essential visits to the Hokitika site have also been halted.
The company has introduced a range of measures which will be reviewed daily subject to Ministry of Health advice.
“I can also reassure our valued customers that our quality control measures in the factory ensure that our food safety protocols adhere to the highest global standards,’’ says Brendish.
She says Westland’s product safety and quality control measures are being continually reviewed to ensure they meet global best practice and quality control standards.