Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
12 MAY 2017
Eight Months After Denials is Silver Fern Farms to Close Fairton?
Following accusations of closure and just eight months after Rob Hewett, the chairman of Chinese-controlled Silver Fern
Farmssaid there was no plan for close of any of its plants
, Ashburton’s Fairton plant looks likely to be the first to be axed with a staff meeting called for Wednesday.
“Last September and just before the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) green-lighted this Chinese takeover of New
Zealand’s largest meat exporter, Silver Fern Farms had already earmarked Fairton to close,” says New Zealand First
Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Rt Hon Winston Peters.
“Less than a year ago the Chinese buyers of Silver Fern Farms were briefing their shareholders about Fairton and
Waitane’s closure. Where did the Chinese buyers of Silver Fern Farms get that information? No less than Silver Fern
“Eleven months on and a staff meeting has been called at Fairton. Optimists might say this is about expansion but
realists will see this for what it is; either major retrenchment or outright closure.
“The problem for Silver Fern Farms is that you cannot trust what they say.
“Last June, the company’s CEO Dean Hamilton said
: ‘All of our 19 plants have been operational this year, other than the announced decision to relocate venison
processing from Islington to Pareora due to our lease expiry, there has been no decision taken by the company to do
anything differently next year at any plant.’
“Silver Fern Farms Fairton has been subject to death by a thousand cuts. Last June its bobby calf operations were
transferred to SFF’s Pareora plant near Timaru. Then last November, Fairton’s No 2 chain was shut as Pareora’s expanded.
“They should not be allowing workers and Mid-Canterbury to go through such long drawn out agony,” says Mr Peters.