24 Jan 2013

Paper mill should shut - iwi member

6:34 am on 24 January 2013

A Ngati Rangitihi iwi member wants the Kawerau paper mill to pack up and leave the eastern Bay of Plenty - saying it employs few if any tribal members.

Norske Skog cut 110 jobs at its the site earlier this month due to falling demand for newsprint and a high dollar making exports uneconomic. About 170 employees remain.

Maanu Paul, who's also head of the Mataatua District Maori Council, is against the mill being allowed to release waste into the Tarawera River.

Mr Paul said the loss of local employment wouldn't affect tangata whenua.

He said that when the workforce was 400-strong, only six people were from Ngati Rangitihi - and he imagines they have now been made redundant.

Mr Paul said he thinks the plant is better off closed down so the Tarawera River can be retuned to a pristine condition.