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    The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will officially open the NZ $19 million upgrade to McCain Foods plant Friday, February 18, at 2.30 pm at 1440 Omahu Road, Hastings.

    The Prime Minister will be accompanied by the Minister of Agriculture David Carter, Chris Tremain, Member for Napier and Craig Foss, Member for Tukituki. Also attending will be the Mayor of Hastings Lawrence Yule.

    McCain Foods chief operating officer Mr. Dirk Van de Put and Australia/New Zealand managing director Mr Steve Yung will also speak at the opening.

    The upgrade included enhanced processing equipment, new freezers and additional packing configuration, and a new bean processing capability that was completed in eight months.

    McCain Foods Australia/New Zealand managing director, Mr Steve Yung said the upgrade boosts production capability at the plant of peas, beans, corn and carrots to over 50,000 tonnes a year, and creates more permanent and casual jobs.

    Mr. Yung said that when McCain Foods acquired the Hastings site in 1996 from Grower Foods, the staff totals were 60 permanent and 100 seasonal. Now permanent staff has grown to 151, and around 200 seasonal workers will be required when all the new vegetable lines are operational.

    “The new bean line will produce over 5,000 tonnes and create 72 of the casual jobs during the processing”.

    “We have invested around NZ $70 million in this plant since acquisition to make it a world-class facility and now we will be adding close to a hundred permanent and casual new jobs,” he said.

    “New Zealand vegetable growers are producing high quality vegetables, and if these continue to be competitively-priced, the future of the plant and the Hawkes Bay community is assured”.

    Mr Yung said increases in vegetable processing at the Hastings site will continue to service the domestic New Zealand market with the major focus being exports to Australia, Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.
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