16 Mar 2011

Closed factory hopes for eventual return to Canterbury

8:45 am on 16 March 2011

A quake-hit wool plant that is closing its doors and making almost 200 staff redundant is hopeful it will rebuild in Canterbury one day.

The closure of the Canterbury Spinners Plant on Maces Road in Bromley has cost 195 jobs.

The company is a subsidiary of carpet maker Godfrey Hirst.

Godfrey Hirst New Zealand general manager Tania Pauling says the plant suffered extensive and irreparable damage in last month's quake and the company was left with no choice but to close.

She says the company has increased production at its two North Island plants in the meantime, but it is looking at all options to stay in Christchurch.

However, she says it is not easy to find a suitable site to rebuild on, and the rebuilding would take up to two years.

Tania Pauling says it will cost tens of millions of dollars to rebuild the plant and insurance is unlikely to cover the total bill.

Blow for exporters

Wool exporters says the closure of the plant is a big blow to the wool sector, but they are confident it won't leave the industry in the lurch.

Wool Exporters Council president John Dawson says Godfrey Hirst is a very big user of New Zealand wool and the closure of the plant is a devastating loss to the industry.

However, he says the company is likely to have spare capacity at its North Island and Australian-based spinning plants to pick up the Christchurch load.