9 Jun 2021

Kawerau paper mill to close, 160 people to lose jobs

6:46 pm on 9 June 2021

The foreign-owned Tasman Mill in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is set to close.

The paper mill in Kawerau.

Tasman Mill. Photo: Flickr/Kimberley Howell

Norwegian company Norske Skog announced the paper mill would be closed and its assets sold off, with production wrapping up by 30 June 2021.

The mill employs 160 people and has been operating for 66 years.

The company said in a statement the decline of the publication paper industry and the Covid-19 pandemic had prompted a strategic review of the mill's viability last year.

It said the mill had produced "only very limited volumes" this year.

The company said it would honour all redundancy and contractual obligations to the mills' employees as the workforce was progressively reduced until it closed.

Norske Skog chief executive Sven Ombudstvedt said the decision to close the Tasman Mill followed a detailed review over the past eight months.

"It will address the substantial imbalance between newsprint production capacity and customer demand in the Australasian region. The Tasman Mill has been an important contributor to the regional economy in New Zealand for the past 66 years, producing more than 15 million tonnes of publication paper over its lifetime.

"I would like to thank everyone who has worked at the mill for their outstanding contribution throughout the years, and their significant efforts to ensure a long and good life for the mill."