3 Mar 2009

Lower dividend urged to prevent cuts at fishing company

10:28 am on 3 March 2009

The Maori Party says shareholders in Sealord should take a smaller dividend this year to avoid job losses at New Zealand's biggest fishing company.

Sealord is to cut up to 180 positions at a processing plant at Nelson.

It says its land-based costs have escalated and will instead process fish at sea on a new factory freezer trawler.

Te Tai Tonga MP Rahui Katene told Morning Report she believes Sealord could afford to save the jobs.

She said the lay-offs will maintain Sealord's profit margins and plans to raise the issue with the Maori Party caucus.

Aotearoa Fisheries Limited, a company formed by all iwi involved in the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries settlement, owns 50% of Sealord. It says it supports the cuts.