$20m UPGRADING PROGRAMME
W. & R. Fletcher (N.Z.) Ltd, are pushing ahead with their $20 million upgrading programme at Tomoana, Patea, Westﬁeld and Kaiti freezing works.
Announcing the programme late last year, the General Manager, Mr Mark Hinchliff, said the investment would involve the construction of new slaughtering and processing facilities as well as new amenities at the works.
The biggest outlay will be at Tomoana (where the ﬁrst stage has aready [already] started) and Patea where virtually new works are being built alongside the old. The planned rebuilding. programme is expected to be completed in time for the 1976 season.
Conﬂicting regulations in overseas importing countries which could have made some of the original planning obsolete had held the company back from completing the design for the works.
“Now that Britain has made a positive move to join the EEC,” said Mr Hinchliff, “the position has become much clearer and in collaboration with New Zealand authorities the company can now plan its works to meet the overall interests of all the countries with whom we expect to trade.
“This expenditure is an expression of conﬁdence by my company in the meat industry.
“Contrary to some opinions about the entry of Britain into the EEC, we have no fear. Indeed, the world demand for meat is growing and New Zealand will participate in this growth.
“With our own offices in leading importing countries, we are in a position to ensure that the best market returns are made to the producers.
“At these works we anticipate a greater degree of processing which will provide more job opportunities such as cutting and packaging.”
Patea will have a new mutton and lamb killing complex, freezers, cutting rooms and amenities. The new buildings will be constructed adjacent to the existing buildings, some of which will be demolished when the new plant is commissioned.
The new buildings at the Tomoana freezing works will cover more than 1 ½ million square feet. They will comprise a mutton and lamb killing ﬂoor, freezing chambers, cool store and staff block.
The killing ﬂoor will have the same capacity as the existing one – 19,200 head a day – but it will be larger.
Fresher Meat Wanted
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“This is one major ﬁnding I came home with,” Mr Hinchliff said. “The world wants fresher and still fresher meat. New Zealand should be exporting more and more chilled meat. We as a company realise this.
“We pioneered the shipment of chilled lamb cuts to Japan and I was assured that they arrived in excellent condition and were well received,” Mr Hinchliff said. “Chilled beef in Japan also offers considerable potential for New Zealand exporters but we must have better and more frequent shipping services to get it there in order to compete with Australian exporters.
“There is a deﬁnite future for grain-fed beef in Japan but the Japanese are reluctant to pay a premium to cover extra costs,” Mr Hinchliff says.
“Because of this, I feel New Zealand producers should proceed slowly in developing this side of the meat industry. At present the principal advantage in running a feed lot operation is to provide continuity of good quality cattle for regular customers when normal pasture conditions are adverse.
“The Weddel set-up in Japan is a strong one and has been operating for many years,” Mr Hinchliff says. “In Hong Kong and Singapore, which I visited, our officers are doing a ﬁrst-class job with our Weddel brand meat and the future is a bright one – but here again we must improve our shipping services.
“New Zealand farmers and others with whom we are associated can rest assured that we are keeping in the closest possible touch with all our people overseas, who know their market requirements and keep us fully informed. We on our part try at all times to meet those requirements.”
The attractive new works retail shop opened recently by Tomoana features plenty of counter and display space. Ample parking space has also been provided, allowing shoppers to drive right up to the doors.
Photo caption – Sparkling white, fibreglassed walls and ceilings and a new tough waterproof non-skid ﬂoor – this is the Westﬁeld Freezing Company’s offal department recently renovated. Seen here is the lamb liver processing area.