19 May 2012

Iwi leaders to discuss possible AFFCO action

9:19 am on 19 May 2012

The chair of the Waikato-Tainui executive says there's agreement among iwi leaders to put pressure on the AFFCO meat company to settle an industrial dispute he says is having a devastating impact on local communities.

Hundreds of workers at eight North Island AFFCO plants have been locked out for over two months.

Earlier this month, Ngapuhi leader Sonny Tau suggested farmers from his and other tribes should stop supplying animals to AFFCO unless the dispute is settled.

The chairman of Waikato-Tainui executive Te Arataura, Tom Roa, says there's a consensus among iwi leaders to put pressure on AFFCO and its owners, the Talley family.

He says this is likely to take the form of commercial pressure, particularly from iwi with farming interests, and the issue will be on the agenda at an iwi leaders' forum being held in Hastings on Thursday.

Tom Roa says he has yet to receive a reply to a letter he's written to the Talley family calling on them to recognise the impact the dispute is having on the social fabric of communities such as Ngaruawahia.

He says the letter was an invitation to sit down and talk about the issue, and it asked them to recognise the responsibilities businesses have in the region.

Mr Roa says the indirect social costs are being felt by the wider whanau, community groups and businesses throughout the area.