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The Nelson Photo News



Forum and Aginum

The decision of J. Wattie Canneries to close their subsidiary, Kirkpatricks, in Nelson, is disappointing. The plant here has provided employment for about 60 full-time staff and 100 seasonal workers, and an outlet for produce grown in the district. But, unlike the Mayor (Mr Horne) and some others, we are not "astonished". In fact, after reviewing the facts, we are hardly surprised.

When Watties took over the K. company, the factory, buildings and plant were in an extremely run-down condition. Some alterations to the buildings have been carried out and more modern machinery has been installed, but by and large, no major improvements have been made. Very recently the City Council sought from the firm its plans to upgrade the factory to the standards required by the food and hygiene regulations. These standards are such that major reconstruction of the factory would be required. The firm, faced with the building of a new processing factory in Christchurch, decided that large capital expenditure on the K. factory was unwarranted.