24 Jun 2014

Cement plant confirms job cuts

10:14 pm on 24 June 2014

It's been confirmed 120 jobs will go when a Westport cement plant closes in 2016.

Holcim, an international producer, announced last year that it would close the West Coast plant when new import terminals in Timaru and Auckland are complete. Staff were told on Tuesday that these should be ready in 2016.

Holcim chief executive Jeremy Smith said his job would also be axed at the end of the year.

Instead, the role of country manager will be created and tasked with reporting to the company's Australia and New Zealand chief executive.

Mr Smith said the New Zealand and Australia businesses would effectively become one and the scale and scope of work in New Zealand would eventually be reduced.

In recent weeks 225 other job cuts have been made in the local mining industry.

Buller District mayor Garry Howard said there is a sense of anxiety about the community's future.

Mr Howard said he has written to Cabinet ministers Paula Bennett and Steven Joyce to ask for help with employment opportunities in the region.

He said there is hard work being put in to find fresh job opportunities in the horticulture, tourism and technology sectors to replace the jobs that have been lost.