By 3 News online staff
The Government is "turning a blind eye" to the realities of the country's economy, New Zealand First says.
Goodman Fielder announced today it will close its Hamilton meat processing plant with the loss of around 125 jobs.
Party labour and industrial relations spokeswoman, Barbara Stewart says the Prime Minister's assertions the economy is on the right track "rubs salt into the wounds" of those who have lost their jobs.
"Jobs losses cause suffering right across a community. Families tighten spending, local businesses suffer and kids and their schools are affected," she says.
The Labour Party also says the closure is the result of the Government's "hands-off" approach to the economy.
Leader and regional development spokesman David Cunliffe says the closure of the factory will be a "crushing blow" to the Waikato economy".
"These workers will join 14,000 others in Waikato who are already on the dole queue. Unemployment in the region is among the highest in the country and has grown by 2100 in the past year," Mr Cunliffe says.
He believes the loss of those 125 jobs will take $100,000 a week out of the local economy.
Mr Cunliffe says Labour will invest in regions, support research and development and take the necessary steps to create a value-added economy.