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Job losses confirmed at Kawerau mill

Wednesday 9 Jan 2013 3:31 p.m.

The Norwegian owner of the Tasman pulp and paper mill at Kawerau has confirmed the number of job losses at the plant after closing one of its newsprint machines.

Norske Skog said in September it would halve production and cut jobs and today confirmed the machine's shutdown would result in about 110 redundancies.

It said in a statement that the jobs would be lost over the next three to four months, reducing the number employed at the mill to 169.

"As is widely understood, this decision has been brought about by global market forces within our industry and no one is to blame," mill general manager Peter McCarty said.

The remaining machine at the mill would continue to produce newsprint for customers in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Announcing the closure last year, Norske Skog chief executive Sven Ombudstvedt said there was an over supply of newsprint in the Australasian region.

Mr McCarty said today the company was looking to diversify into renewable energy and biofuels.

Norske Skog announced in September it would invest $A84 million ($NZ105m) to convert a machine at its Boyer mill in Tasmania to coated grade paper with financial help from the federal and state governments.

Prime Minister John Key said at the time the Government would not step in to help keep the Kawerau mill going and said it was a sign of the challenging times the newspaper industry was facing.

NZN

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