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Cadburys Dunedin to close with hundreds of jobs lost

Written By: - Date published: 10:49 am, February 16th, 2017 - 121 comments
Categories: jobs, unemployment - Tags: , , ,

Another blow to Dunedin:

350 jobs to go as Cadbury closes

Cadbury is to close its plant in Dunedin with the loss of 350 jobs.

More than 250 workers will lose their jobs by the end of the year, with the remaining 100 or so being kept on for a few months into next year before the factory closes its manufacturing site in the city.

Mondelez International announced to its workers in Dunedin this morning and said while the business had absorbed the additional costs associated with Dunedin production for several years, there was existing capacity in the Australian sites which could deliver production volumes at the same quality as consumers expected. …

121 comments on “Cadburys Dunedin to close with hundreds of jobs lost”

  1. Ovid 1

    Kraft/Mondalez have run Cadbury into the ground in this country. In 2010 it fell off the most trusted brand list with its palm-oil and package size fiasco. The overall quality of their chocolate has dropped significantly.

    I have a great deal of sympathy for the people affected by this, but this comes from shortsighted corporate managerialism rather than producing a product of acceptable quality for consumers.

    • HDCAFriendlyTroll 1.1

      Yep. Businesses fail because of bad management not bad workers. This is why we have (or should have) things like redundancy and other compensation payouts, and why workers should be at the head of the queue when it comes to getting paid.

      • Richard McGrath 1.1.1

        Industrial action (strikes) can damage a firm’s bottom line, and lead to business closure or relocation if carried on for long enough.

        • McFlock 1.1.1.1

          Your complaint reminds me of the Cambodian general who was informed that a particularly fearsome unit had remained unpaid for so long that they’d killed and eaten their own paymaster. The general’s response was “well, I guess we’d better pay them then”.

          ISTR it from the Neil Davis biography “One Crowded Hour”.

          Strikers don’t want their employer to go under. They want their employer’s profits to be shared in the form of better wages and safer conditions. If the employer doesn’t want to go under, well, I guess we’d better pay them then.

          • Richard McGrath 1.1.1.1.1

            I have no objection to workers wanting to share in a company’s profits, but for this to happen they should also be shareholders, either by purchasing shares or being paid in the form of share issues.

            • McFlock 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, if you’re faced with a strike, make that offer to your employees then.
              I don’t give a shit what you object to. Neither do they. I don’t even think many of them would give much of a hoot about whether they get share in the company or an hourly pay bump. If you want workers to work and your workforce is organised, I guess you’d better pay them then.

              • Richard McGrath

                The subject was sharing in a company’s profits, that’s completely different to being paid an hourly rate for labour.

                • McFlock

                  A difference which is immaterial to workers who feel they deserve more for contributing to all that profit in the first place.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1.2

              The problem being that it’s the bludging shareholders that are the problem. The people who expect an income from not working.

              • Richard McGrath

                FFS, shareholders are the people who provide the capital that pays for plant and machinery; that’s called investing, the opposite of bludging.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  No, they provide money. It’s the nation that actually provides the capital (resources and labour to produce the factory and products).

                  And all that they’re really entitled to is their money back. They should not be entitled to more. It’s that more that they get that makes them bludgers.

                  That more that is usury and is banned by every major religion because it destroys societies.

                  We learned that capitalism is bad several thousand years ago and actually got round to banning it but the psychopathic bludgers keep getting back into power and reinstituting it and thus bringing about the inevitable collapse of society yet again.

        • Michael 1.1.1.2

          And how many strikes have there been at Cadburys’ Dunedin plant in recent years then? Fuck all, or Kraft/Mondeley wouldn’t have been able to keep making so much money out of its operations (they’d have closed the doors long before now if they weren’t making money out of it). The plant owners may be correct that it its located too far from the mouths into which they want to shovel chocolate, but the plant certainly allowed plenty of New Zealanders to shovel chocolate into their mouths for over a century and did so profitably (at least judging from the mansions in Dunedin constructed for the Hudson family and others like it). So what changed? Global capitalism, the nature of which modern governments are unable or (more likely) unwilling to challenge, in spite of all the damage those operations do to our communities and the people who live in them. Not that the opposition, the so-called “Labour” Party, which currently holds the two Dunedin seats (just), are concerned. If they took this closure seriously, the two local MPs would have done more than grind out a pro forma media statement (in which, I suspect, the word “Hillside” was deleted and replaced with the word “Cadburys”), weeping buckets of crocodile tears, and carefully avoiding any suggestion that their Party might have alternative policies that might stop their city from being run into the ground by the neoliberal commercial elite.

    • Sanctuary 1.2

      “…Kraft/Mondalez have run Cadbury into the ground in this country…”

      100% to this! I have a friend who worked in the advertising company that had the NZ contract for Cadbury’s, and they repeatedly warned the Australian based owners of the brand that making multiple simultaneous changes to the product was a very bad idea, since unlike Australia in NZ they faced a significant and agile market competitor (Whittakers). They were told to shut up, Sydney knew best, and the resulting fiasco is almost a text book example of how to collapse your brand and lose market share.

      • tc 1.2.1

        Text book indeed.

        Now they can import it into a market with reduced capital and overhead. Higher returns aided by lower product landed cost.

        Cerebos in east tamaki had the same suggestions made some years back. Havent kept up how that worked out.

    • smilin 1.3

      So true they just cant screw the workers any further down so they close the factory and pop the history they never will own .ie the people who really made that business what it was before they took it over

      • gsays 1.3.1

        whittakers from now on.

        • red-blooded 1.3.1.1

          “whittakers from now on”

          What about Trade Aid? They’ve got a great range of chocolate bars, plus give their chocolate almonds and chocolate raisins a try – great taste, purer chocolate and – best of all – ethically produced and traded.

          • gsays 1.3.1.1.1

            good point red blooded,
            i have eaten a fair bit of the trade aid range of choclate.

            the coffee is fine too.

      • red-blooded 1.3.2

        And these guys gave the people of Dunedin a “100% guarantee” that they would keep the Dunedin plant going. I seem to remember that was just last year. So much for guarantees.

    • Richard McGrath 1.4

      The owners of the company have that prerogative – to run the company as they see fit. If they want to run it into the ground, they will lose money and eventually if the losses continue they will close down. If, on the other hand, they want to make money, they will – as you rightly point out – have to produce something that consumers want to buy.

      • AB 1.4.1

        “The owners of the company have that prerogative – to run the company as they see fit.”
        That has never been an absolute, right so stop speaking in ways that make it sound like it is. Employers can’t for instance shoot workers who turn up 5 minutes late for work. Employers rights over their employees is always a negotiated agreement with society at large. Where these lines are drawn are always and everywhere up for debate and argument – and the lines are always moving.
        So to be frank and quite rude – stop talking absolutist bullshit!

        • Michael 1.4.1.1

          Concur with AB above. As for Richard McGrath: “Prerogative” – sounds like something from Henry VIII – he had the prerogative to lop the heads of wives he’d grown tired of. Do bosses still have that power too? Perhaps they do. In any event, the people have the prerogative to overthrow despotic and corrupt leaders when they become oppressive. I don’t know what your head looks like but I reckon it would probably look better on a stick than on your shoulders.

          • Richard McGrath 1.4.1.1.1

            Michael, you advertise your ignorance of words in the English language with more than two syllables with your first comment. Your question doesn’t deserve the dignity of a response. Your final comment suggests a propensity for violence on your part, and perhaps some sympathy on your part for ISIS, as they love to behead infidels and put their heads on poles.

        • Richard McGrath 1.4.1.2

          I would have thought the context of my statement was obvious – however, for AB and others who choose to take it the wrong way, I should have added: subject to conditions in the contract between employer and employee, and to common-law prohibition of assault, theft, fraud, etc., between employer and employee.

          • greywarshark 1.4.1.2.1

            Richard McGrath
            Everyone knows what you mean. The employer these days has the right to close things down with the minimum of warning and the workers have little say about their precarious working conditions.

            You state things factually as to what the law states, we are concerned that these conditions exist and it just rubs our noses in the dirt by quoting in a high-handed manner the way that workers are exposed to risk of losing their jobs with little to go on with, while the business will work them right up to the point of insolvency, and try to wiggle out of paying suppliers and other debtors.

            And you are hypocrtical. You condemn Michael for strongly stated feelings and hyperbole then do the same yourself in a sneering, superior way.

  2. HDCAFriendlyTroll 2

    Trump wouldn’t have let it happen.

  3. AB 3

    Sympathy and best wishes to all affected. No doubt for some it will open up new opportunities and life will be better – for others it won’t be like that.
    Given this type of corporate behaviour we need a UBI more than ever.

  4. adam 4

    Ah corporate scum – they come, they buy, they strip, then they leave. This is what 40 years of liberal economics has done to this country.

    I say bugger them, it is time that the workers, take over the factory. Their labour built the damn thing, and the corporate come lately has done nothing but wreak it.

    Stop buy craft products people. It’s the second largest food company in the world, and it really does not like YOU.

    • Andre 4.1

      Surely it’s Kraft products we should avoid. In favour of craft products produced locally by small local organisations.

      • Pasupial 4.1.1

        I would, but marmite is just too sickly sweet – so I stick with vegemite for my umami fix. It is the only thing I’m aware I support them with, but as Kraft is “the second largest food company in the world”, I’m sure that there are others not written on the packet.

        • Siobhan 4.1.1.1

          Marmite is produced by Sanitarium…so given their dodgy ‘Charity’ status don’t feel too bad about not buying their products.

        • Andre 4.1.1.2

          Urrrgh. Both Marmite and Vegemite are only edible to those unfortunates who were fed it when they were still too young to realise their parents would sometimes play cruel jokes on them.

          • D'Esterre 4.1.1.2.1

            Andre: “Both Marmite and Vegemite are only edible to those unfortunates who were fed it when they were still too young to realise their parents would sometimes play cruel jokes on them.”
            Wash your mouth out, man! Have you no taste at all??

            • Andre 4.1.1.2.1.1

              I used to have taste. Until it was burned out of my mouth at the age of 10. When the first friend I made at the first school I went to in NZ invited me home. And his mum fed me a marmite and cheese toastie. I really wondered what I’d done to deserve that punishment.

        • Ovid 4.1.1.3

          Vegemite is no longer owned by Kraft. It was sold to an Australian company, Bega Cheese, in January.

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11785128

        • greywarshark 4.1.1.4

          Pasupial
          Kraft thinking of combining with UniLever with billions of dollars changing hands, for why? Because we can do it? The top managers there must be feeling their trousers having a tight feeling.

          Being the biggest, that’s what it’s all about. Competition is just something to overcome, not a golden rule to encourage efficiency and loyalty to brand.

      • adam 4.1.2

        Teehee true, thanks Andre.

  5. Tough times ahead. Still remember being very young and dad coming home with a bag of scrap at the end of his shift there – a nice memory.

    • McFlock 5.1

      Those brown paper bags were always fun 🙂

    • Paul Campbell 5.2

      Used to go on the factory tour as a kid long before it became a thing that you didn’t have to be in the know to go … used to return laden with goodies

  6. Ad 6

    Would be a helluva lot more useful if Mr David Clark had something to say other than “my heart goes out to…”

    The closure was predictable.

    Dr David Clark is the Labour spokesperson on Economic Development and Regional Development.

    This dork for Dunedin North can do better than send a Hallmark card to 350 people down the road.

    He could have an actual plan. That after all is is job.

    • r0b 6.1

      Labour has good plans for Dunedin. Clark and Curran have been great on Dunedin issues. Hillside closure, Dunedin hospital, Invermay, they have worked hard on them all. I don’t understand your criticism at all.

      • Heather Grimwood 6.1.1

        To Rob at 66.1: neither do I understand Ad’s quick criticism. The Dunedin M.P.s will have been as shocked by the sudden announcement as anybody else. Plans can’t be made in a split second or ithat n advance!
        I have no doubt that Ad will know regional development after all is one of Labour’s major policy platforms for this year’s election, and only the party/government in power has ability to dispose government funds.

      • Ad 6.1.2

        The digital plan will be good.
        So that’s what he should have led with.
        Clark just looks trite.

        • red-blooded 6.1.2.1

          Ad, the people who worked in Cadbury’s are not the same people that will be benefited by the digital Dunedin plans. It would be misleading and insensitive to push that plan in response to this closure. I think David Clark has got it right in expressing his sympathies without pushing himself into the frame too much.

      • Michael 6.1.3

        What? They must be keeping those plans Top Secret then because they certainly haven’t disclosed anything publicly that contains any positive ideas for either preserving or creating viable economic activity in Dunedin. I suspect it is more likely they don’t have any such plans and can’t be arsed making any. Why bother, when they get paid 170K (plus) a year (and massive, backdated pay rises every six months or so) regardless of whether they’re in government or not?

        • red-blooded 6.1.3.1

          Those plans were announced in Dunedin a few weeks ago, when Little visited. It was headline news in the ODT.

          • Michael 6.1.3.1.1

            I read those “plans” – $10m for computer games. All the Cadburys workers are, of course, highly qualified and experienced in IT; they will all score jobs in the new sector immediately, without any need for retraining or an adequate income while they get up to speed. Labour’s “plan” for Dunedin is a sick joke.

            • red-blooded 6.1.3.1.1.1

              “I read those “plans” ”

              Oh really, so presumably you were bullshitting when you said “They must be keeping those plans Top Secret then because they certainly haven’t disclosed anything publicly that contains any positive ideas for either preserving or creating viable economic activity in Dunedin.”

              “All the Cadburys workers are, of course, highly qualified and experienced in IT; they will all score jobs in the new sector immediately, without any need for retraining or an adequate income while they get up to speed.”

              You’re conflating two entirely unrelated matters, Michael. The digital plan (which you now agree exists, at least – good progress!) predates the announcement re Cadbury’s and doesn’t target this group of workers. That doesn’t make it a bad plan and it doesn’t make the Labour MPs somehow culpable for the pain and loss created by the closure of this factory (which, as I seem to recall, was your starting point).

              “Labour’s “plan” for Dunedin is a sick joke.”
              Michael, your use of quote marks is starting to become Trumplike (matching your twisted logic and contradictory statements).

    • Bearded Git 6.2

      @ Ad
      Maybe you should read the full non-twitter quote before attacking. Here it is:

      “I have visited the factory many times and appreciated the warm welcome, kind hospitality, and good cheer of the staff,” Clark said.

      “These people have been proud to work at this iconic Dunedin institution, and proud to supply products for export with a global recognition. My heart goes out to them

      • adam 6.2.1

        To be fair I thought the same thing as Ad, becasue the tweet looks a bad. I know the limitations of twitter. But would it not be better, to not sound like a hallmark card?

        • tc 6.2.1.1

          would a national mp be so nice or use the news to tangent into the hatchet job done at hillside etc and grab the narrative over dunedin….just saying

      • Ad 6.2.2

        I read what was quoted on the post.

        If an MP of any party responded in Auckland with that same hackneyed emotional tripe like this I would have kicked them all over the park.

        Labour has ideas for a digitally-inclined handful, rather than the 350 announced down the road in lower-skill food processing. I’ve seen that kind of cherry-picking from Labour many times and over many decades, and always it’s the working class that gets the kicking.

        This is not the moment for Labour to come out and say how they will support sustained Moro Bar production or whatever, but it’s got to be a broader and more integrated vision for recovery than video games for the few.

        After all, this is the dairy industry in Otago we are really talking about. The dairy ingredients industry, of which we are about number 3 in the world. The point is not to throw more money after the most globally mobile of industries – digital game production.

        The point is to sustain and improve the wage and salary productivity of the dairy ingredients industry. That’s a massive chunk of our entire GDP, and always will be.

        Clark can shove his sentiments until there’s an economic plan that faces that reality.

        • red-blooded 6.2.2.1

          And you can do the same with that sentiment, Ad.

          We in Dunedin are very keen to have a future for our digitally gifted kids and graduates from our university and polytech. And, BTW, those young people come from all walks of life. Speaking as a teacher I can tell you that there’s nothing “middle class” about an interest in computing now-days. Almost every kid has access to a computer at home and they all interact with computers at school. Even cheap phones can get them hooked on gaming. Why not give people a chance to work in an area of interest and expertise?

          As for the dairy ingredient industry, frankly I’d like us relying a lot less on the land and water inefficient, dirty and darnright cruel dairy industry.

          • Paul Campbell 6.2.2.1.1

            red-blooded: I’m giving away Arduinos to any Dunedin kids who will do something interesting with them – if you have any kids in your school who you think will benefit from one please get in touch with me at the Dunedin Makerspace http://www.dspace.org.nz

            • red-blooded 6.2.2.1.1.1

              That sounds really interesting, Paul. It’s not my area of expertise, but I can certainly put the word out to the kids at my school. Thanks for your generosity.

          • Ad 6.2.2.1.2

            I fully expected anti-dairy sentiment. A typical fool who can only see agriculture as a ‘sunset’ industry, like teaching waves a wand. Dairy will continue to dominate our exports for decades to come.

            You want to pop down to WINZ and get those 350 people jobs coding computer games, go for your life.

            Mayor Cull has a far better response than Labour’s Clark to this.

            • Paul Campbell 6.2.2.1.2.1

              you do understand that the computer games industry is roughly the same size (in $$ terms) as the movie industry right?

              • Michael

                Does the computer games industry receive the same corporate welfare as the movie industry too then?

                • Sometimes, but it’s actually pretty rare. A “cheap” indie game is still likely to have a budget in the thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, (anything less than that and you’re counting labour as free, which it isn’t) and more complicated games can easily run into the hundreds of thousands to millions. There are very few grants or incentives aimed specifically at the computer games industry, although sometimes games do get cultural grants, which is not really the same thing, as usually movies go somewhere where they can get ridiculous tax exemptions in order to film, have investors who essentially make a profit so long as the movie is either a big loss or a big win, (if it’s a big loss it’s essentially worth more to them as a tax write-off than the seed cash was)

                  The largest arts grants I’ve heard of for video games were about $150,000, and this one was awarded to an independent studio looking at a $1-$2m budget, so I would find it very surprising if any game developer manages more than 10-20% of their budget through any kind of “corporate welfare,” whether we’re talking arts grants or tax incentives.

                  Basically, games get a little assistance and aren’t taken seriously for funding the way movies are, despite the industry being a bigger revenue source and large devs often employing big-name voice actors from hollywood. (Hell, even some of the larger independent studios do this. There was a $2m crowdfunded game that pulled in Jack Black and Elijah Wood as voice actors)

                  I don’t personally think we need much corporate welfare for games development in New Zealand, mostly just assistance with starting up businesses, and for immigration law to be sensible, (often needing to bring in employees from overseas becomes an obstactle to growth for studios that start out small and make themselves a success) and good ways for new graduates in the appropriate fields to connect with companies that want their skills.

                  It’s a good idea to help set these things up in Dunedin, and it’s not nothing. But there will need to be factory jobs, and other things driving the regional economy. Not every small town can be a tech hub entirely, even if those tech companies will in fact provide purchase a fair amount of local goods and services and thereby support other businesses in the area, you still need enough other things nearby to keep the area afloat and resilient.

                  • Michael

                    I see: making money out of computer games requires importing workers, rather than training our own, while I cannot see any mention of tax breaks as a component of the corporate welfare you say you don’t need. Somehow I don’t think Labour’s “plan” for Dunedin will benefit most of the people who live there. Perhaps Labour has given up on them as well as everyone else outside the metropolitan areas?

                    • Paul Campbell

                      The thing is that any economic development that brings wealth into a local economy creates downstream jobs. Pushing IT/tech development in Dunedin has more to do with retaining smart graduates from the Uni and Polytech and bringing new people in from outside than it does with retraining ex-Cadbury’s workers as game developers.

                      Dunedin has a bunch of games studios already, mostly pretty small, there’s a team who make a living selling virtual butterflies, and one larger games studio.

                      There’s also lots of people in Dunedin contracting overseas, last time I counted i think I found 40+, some, like me, have moved back home with their kids – if you’re moving back to NZ but keeping your job in the US or UK, Dunedin is a great choice, small but not too small, it has a Uni, culture, a beautiful harbour, beaches, cheap houses, good schools, safe streets for the kids, close to Central Otago – many of those of us who’ve done this have brought more jobs with us, I’ve hired two more, one guy has made probably 8+ jobs, all working overseas from home, we all bring money into the local economy – just like the dairy industry we’re exporters, except we’re far more efficient and don’t pollute – the chamber of commerce and the city council don’t know we exist

                    • The games industry doesn’t require importing workers in larger numbers than any other industry, in fact it’s probably similar to manufacturing in how labour-intensive it is, and how practical it is to in-source that knowledge at a small-to-medium enterprise level. It’s just that when you need a very qualified person in a very specific area, or lots of people in a less glamorous specialisation, (as can happen when a product is unexpectedly successful, for instance) it can be a bit of an obstacle for growth dealing with immigration hassles.

                      Most New Zealand studios I know of are really keen to hire and nurture local talent whenever they can, and we can absolutely do a lot within New Zealand. The industry has been unquestionably good for jobs in New Zealand and it’s probably part of what’s arrested net migration, no thanks to the current government.

                      But if we come to the point where we’re actually becoming big players in the industry, we may need to be thinking about how immigration processes will contribute to that and whether it’s easy enough for skilled migrants to get situated in New Zealand.

                      Bolstering the games industry in Dunedin is a smart move, but it’s not a cure-all and Labour will need more than that for the regions.

  7. McFlock 7

    Fuck.

    Fuckfuckfuck.

    Fuckityfuck.

  8. Pasupial 8

    Today seems to have been the day chosen to dump many negative PR stories in the hope that the public will be distracted: This, Grady Cameron’s resignation (head of lines companies during the crumbling power poles fiasco that is still dragging on), cyanide in the water (according to a review received by the DCC in December, but not made public until now). And that’s just this mornings ODT (and not mentioning the admission of the seriousness of leaky hospital surgical theatres which was coaxed out of the SDHB at the annual review by David Clark – so would have been in the paper anyway). You have to wonder what announcements have managed to avoid even this level of scrutiny.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/delta-aurora-ceo-cameron-will-not-seek-new-role
    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/dcc/cyanide-water-plant
    https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/health/hospital-leaks-worse-stated

    A good crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

    • greywarshark 8.1

      I have the feeling that once the new flash stadium was built certain councillors thought ‘Now my job is done’ and went back to sleep relying on money from high parking fines. Without the uni Dunedin would be Dinneydun living entirely on past glories. I hope they do something about raising levels of accommodation, and long-standing boils like that.

      Once was: in sport, Overton House is it and Glenfalloch Gardens. That’s what I remember it for and the parking fine – totally officious and unnecessary. I hope they pay a kilted Scot to parade with bagpipes in the Octagon every noontime. I found it a dull city.

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        We seem to be getting a bit more of a lifeline
        from cruise ships, but with the Dunedin School of Medicine under threat it’s all been a bit shit, over the last several years.

        Uni itself seems to be doing fine, but living on the whims of P&O is a bit precarious. A few more IT cluster successes could be coming soon, so that’s something.

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          Cruise ships whose passengers have pre-booked tours with a very small handful of tourist attractions. They come. They see. A select few pocket the proceeds. They leave (by 6 PM).

          Is Port Chalmers booming off cruise ship visits? No. Apart from a ‘bumped’ afternoon drinking clientele at one or two pubs, is Dunedin in general booming off of cruise ship visits? No.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1

            George st does a lot of business. I know my local coffee place definitely sees a big boost in walk-ins.

            I agree to a certain level – I mean, southD and mosgiel would see fuckall direct or even indirect income.

            But I wouldn’t be surprised if it was equivalent to a small factory over the year. I never knew anyone who worked at hillside workshops AFAIK, doesn’t mean I didn’t feel bad when it shut.

  9. idiana 9

    Damn you Sugar Tax!

  10. Ovid 10

    I see they’re keeping Cadbury World open. Perhaps they can do the factory tour along with the Clayton’s bottling plant.

  11. Adrian Thornton 11

    Well as long as we have government representation (National & Labour) that have free market economics as their principle ideological driving force, then what else does anyone expect? this is just an expression of that model functioning as it is designed to, chasing profit for shareholders by any means, and most certainly before any consideration to any other social motive, that is of course, if a modern corporation would ever have such a consideration, which is very doubtful.

  12. Keith 12

    Blame Free Trade. That lie, the one dream’t up by the Corporates to enable them to relocate their production to another country to maximise return to investors without import penalties knocking them out of the game.

    Even more ironic is this is going to Aussie but haven’t we told the lie for years that we are far more competitive than Australia. Well all our years of putting up with a low wage, anti worker economy and business friendly governments have gone up in smoke on this one!

    30 plus years of the lie that is Free Trade has given us yet another company, like Cadbury’s who can dump NZ and walk away and simply import their products with impunity. Those workers can now find a job, if they are lucky that pays minimum wage part time maybe.

    It is about now Cadbury should be told, do so and the NZ government will tax your products off the shelves. But we won’t, the sniveling out of date National Party is still chasing those “Free Trade” pipe dreams with all the negatives that accompany them.

    • McFlock 12.1

      I suspect that the main issue isn’t how competitive we are, but economies of scale.

      Once they standardised the recipe to that palm oil dross, the Aussie factory is bigger and they really don’t need Dunedin. The NZ market is a drop in the bucket to them, which is why they’re not hugely worried about their loss of NZ market share. They don’t give a shit if they can sell more globally.

      It really, really sucks that we’re losing another big employer from Dunedin, but there are NZ companies that make much better chocolates.

      • weka 12.1.1

        In a functional world, the workers, that building space, the infrastructure, and the social capital from that workplace would be repurposed for the good of the community and the people involved. I’m less bothered by the loss of the chocolate as I am by the blatancy of how disposable people and communities are in this economic system.

        Politically the challenge here is that it just looks like more of what’s been happening under successive govts since the mid 80s. I really hope Little and Labour step up this year if only to once and for all get us past our past.

        • McFlock 12.1.1.1

          I think chocolate is always important 🙂

          At least this time the business isn’t shutting up shop because the government hates dunedin.

          • weka 12.1.1.1.1

            Heh, indeed, chocolate is vital, just not that choc. It is a cultural loss for Dndn too I guess. Did it close once before?

      • greywarshark 12.1.2

        Think of me as a big wet sentimental fool, but I have kept the last cakes of soap that I bought made by McLeod in Dunedin before it was sold off, closed down or something. Now I am buying some handmade soap from someone in Dunedin, who states its made without without palm oil too.
        http://www.trademe.co.nz/health-beauty/bath-shower/soaps/auction-1263747966.htm

    • KJT 12.2

      Aussies can still afford chocolate!

  13. Michael 13

    Labour should score a few votes out of this, although I never understimate the capacity of its two MP’s to lose them by the thousand (as they have in recent elections). As for credible policies to assist the new crop of “welfare dependents” or to sustain economic activity in the provinces, forget it. For Labour the game’s all about house prices in Auckland. That’s where the next election will be won or lost, nothing else matters. And win or lose, Labour MPs get to keep their 170K a year pay and perks (plus lavish back-dated increases every six months or so).

    • red-blooded 13.1

      Michael, the two Dunedin electorates held pretty bloody well for Labour last time given the terrible election result nationally. I hardly think you can blame the unfocused noise and frenzy of Kit DotCom, Internet-Mana, TMOT, Dirty Politics (bad title), indecisive and inexperienced leader Cunliffe (also – for whatever reason – unpopular with his colleagues) vs Teflon John..etc etc etc all at the feet of Claire Curran and David Clark. Yes, they each lost ground, but nothing like as much as most electorates did.

      • Michael 13.1.1

        Labour lost the Party Vote in both electorates in 2014. IIRC, only Curran lost it in 2011. Whatever, it’s disgraceful result when previous MP’s, including one given the arse after Curran intrigued against him, held the seats with massive majorities. Looking ahead to this year’s election, I confidently predict Dunedin’s dynamic duo to lose the Party Vote again. No matter though: they will retain their seats and 170K a year pay packets (hiked up, retrospectively, every six months). Ain’t life grand?

        • red-blooded 13.1.1.1

          Let’s be reasonable, Michael. Labour did a lot better in Dunedin than in most places. Admittedly I’ve only looked closely at my electorate – Dunedin North. In 2014, Labour’s list vote went down 1.98% in this electorate, but it was down 2.35% throughout NZ. The difference between the two parties in Dunedin North was less than 0.6%. It’s hard to see how you can blame the local MP for that result – it held up better than other places. The party vote was still 27% greater in Dunedin North than the NZ-wide vote (6.75 percentage points higher in raw terms). Similarly, while the National vote went up in 2011, it was still much lower in Dunedin North than throughout the country – 32.39% vs 47.31%. And in Dunedin North many people who switched their vote from Labour gave it to the Greens. The National vote only went up 3.04% and the Greens went up 10.58%.

          You can bitch and moan and criticise. I’m going to get on with trying to get the parties I want running things elected and here in Dunedin North that means winning back the party vote as well as the electorate vote.

          • Michael 13.1.1.1.1

            Good luck with that. I worked my guts out for Labour in Dunedin, and elsewhere, for many years, only to see it crap all over the people who put it into office. Like most active members of the Party, I walked away during the Clark government years when it became clear to me that Labour had no interest in social justice, or progressive politics, or even standing up to rampant capitalist excess for the sake of the poor and vulnerable (its original raison d’etre). I would dearly love to see Labour rediscover its principles and resume its historic role in our politics (God knows we need someone to do it), and I would be with it in a heartbeat if it did. But I know it will never do that again; its flaccid response to the Cadburys closure is just further evidence of Labour’s moral and political bankruptcy.

            • red-blooded 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Michael, I work with Labour in Dunedin and know for a fact that “most people” did not walk away during the Clark years. We have a very solid base of party members and activists here, and many of them have been at the heart of the local party for decades.

              What do you honestly think David Clark should have said about this closure? What would you have seen as less “flaccid”? He has no power to force the factory to stay open and he would be lying if he said he could guarantee the workers new employment. What would satisfy you – compulsory acquisition of the factory, under government decree? Is that what you would see as “standing up to rampant capitalist excess”?

              David Clark isn’t bullshitting or pretending to be able to do something he can’t. He’s simply expressed sympathy. That’s a decent, human response.

  14. opium 14

    Remember when Nestle was a big brand in NZ chocolate?They did much the same thing & pretty much completely disappeared from the market.They really are stupid these corporates.The agreement with Aussie allowing fat other than cocoa fat didn’t help though,same with icecream.NZ had great icecream & chocolate once only because the makers couldn’t cheat on the ingredients.It was all good.

  15. mary_a 15

    Thoughts are with the workers concerned who will be losing their jobs. Not as if there is abundant employment out there for them to pick up.

    Another band of workers tipped on to the ever growing scrapheap of life! Many will have mortgages to pay. So what happens to them?

    WINZ no doubt in all its vicious, venomous wisdom, will make life even more difficult for these folk and their families as they approach the department for assistance! Will be told to go and look for work …. !!!!!!

  16. KJT 16

    Buy Whittakers.

  17. slumbergod 17

    I stopped buying Cadburys when they were taken over. I always knew they were going to shut up shop in Dunedin. It just took longer than I expected. Vote with your wallet. Don’t buy their products

    • McFlock 17.1

      yeah ISTR labour bought it a lifeline a few years ago that involved cutting some sort of deal.

    • Red 17.2

      What about the 100s of blue collar jobs storing and shipping Cadbury products around nz, they are still here, as are the white collar and admin jobs at head office, you wanna kill these to That’s a good plan, a firm is more than just manufacturing

      • McFlock 17.2.1

        They can ship whittackers just as well.

        • Richard McGrath 17.2.1.1

          So putting people people out of work by boycotting their products is OK, but when it happens via company restructuring that’s bad?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 17.2.1.1.1

            1. The jobs have already gone. But you knew that.
            2. A consumer boycott of my competitor looks like a gap in the market to me. But you failed to grasp that.
            3. Whittakers are hiring.

          • McFlock 17.2.1.1.2

            Where did I say that putting people out of work for any reason was good?
            Do I favour local jobs over australian jobs that substitute quantity for quality in their product? Hell yeah. Every time a company goes under or lays off staff, that’s bad. It harms the workers and their communities.

            But that’s not an excuse for illegal or objectionable behaviour.

            A boycott only puts people out of work if the business continues the behaviour that provoked the boycott. In which case the business’s competitors should be rewarded for not doing that behaviour, which is the flipside of “boycott”.

            In the case of logistics staff, if cadburys shipments decrease in favour of whittackers, there’s no change in numbers and no need for displaced workers to reskill, and if the logistics is outsourced by both companies then there’s no change in the employment level whatsoever.

            Even a boycott against specific broadcasters would be called off if the broadcaster had actually dmeonstrated change. Paul Henry, for example. He didn’t change and got fired from TV1. WJ didn’t repeat the massively objectionable comments he made, so he stayed with his employer.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.3

      I always knew they were going to shut up shop in Dunedin. It just took longer than I expected.

      I believe that they got a good bribe by the government to stay open.

  18. Pete 18

    If there were a strong National seats in the town dramatic things would’ve been done in attempts to save it. Or if there were paper thin majorities and they thought they had a show.

    Think Eric Roy, Bill English a little bit south of there.

    • greywarshark 18.1

      Michael Woodhouse in his explanation to the media seemed to be doing the apology for the company. Strange. Why not speak to Cadburys themselves and let them front up. Hope Michael lokes chocolate!

    • Sanctuary 18.2

      I tell you what, Southland’s National held rural seats have the best roads and their farmers the most stonking internet speeds I’ve ever seen.

      of course, NZ is completely uncorrupt and our resources are always rationally and wisely spent.

  19. DS 19

    Dunedin: New Zealand’s rust belt.

  20. Ian 20

    Very tough for the workers. But totally predictable. Plenty of jobs in Temuka at the new Mozzarella factory .

  21. mauī 21

    Whittakers employs about 80 people in Porirua, and being in the centre of the country find it a good distribution hub according to their blurb. I think i’ll do my best to support them, since the other company is completely offshore now.

  22. Sanctuary 22

    I hear the plant is making money, just not the amount it’s rapacious corporate owner wants. So here is what a socialist government would do – it would take over the factory and it’s brands, using legislation if the owners don’t want to play, and then turn it into a worker run co-operative. Fucking Aussie based corporations. Power to the local people!

  23. Delia 23

    Rainbow Confectionery, Richfields, both New Zealand made employing New Zealanders and in our supermarkets. You need never buy overseas again.

  24. Brutus Iscariot 24

    Presuming the demand for chocolate stays constant, Whittakers and other local manufacturers will have to increase their own chocolate production to keep up – thereby maintaining demand for jobs in the sector.

    If demand for chocolate is decreasing, that may be due to public health messaging and decreased consumption of junk foods.

    Far from being an example of NZ being pillaged by offshore companies, isn’t this a win?

  25. Bill 25

    A CEO might have said – .””I have visited the factory many times and appreciated the warm welcome, kind hospitality, and good cheer of the staff. These people have been proud to work at this iconic Dunedin institution, and proud to supply products for export with a global recognition. My heart goes out to them”

    But those aren’t the words of some insincere CEO.

    They are the words of the N. Dunedin Labour MP, Dr David Clark, as quoted in the ODT. He thinks the factory was run by some Holywood portrayal of a tribe of ever so grateful fucking Oompa Loompas? (Oh my! No chocolate! What ever will they do now I wonder?)

    Vote left.

  26. Michael 26

    Clark’s words (did he write them himself, or just sign off a draft from one of his spin doctors?) remind me of those attributed to a Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII, briefly, then the Duke of Windsor for far too long) during a tour of the coalfields in Southern Wales during the 1930s (another economic depression caused by unrestrained capitalist greed, BTW). Upon seeing horrific sights of economic deprivation, the Royal one declared: “Something must be done”. He got a bollocking from his Dad (George V) when he got home that night, for displaying even an atom of sympathy with the proletariat. Did Clark get a similar response from his leader too?

    • red-blooded 26.1

      So, you now agree that Clark was displaying sympathy for the people? Surely that’s good?

      And why would you assume that Andrew Little (a man who’s spent his life committed to preserving jobs and bettering employment conditions) would be upset by one of the members of Labour (a left-wing party) showing empathy for working people? Your thinking is all over the place on this one, Michael. Get over it.

    • McFlock 26.2

      Shit, Michael, don’t hold back. I’m getting a massive case of deja vu.

      Now tell us your opinions on vaccination lol

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