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Nelson MP Nick Smith is gutted at the confirmation that Air New Zealand will close its heavy aviation maintenances workshop in Nelson.

“Nelson should not be the fall guy for Air NZ’s post Covid 19 problems. This heavy engineering workshop is efficient and well located for Air New Zealand’s regional fleet and should be retained for when aviation recovers. Air New Zealand has not given alternative plans for retaining the specialist turbo prop base here in Nelson proper consideration.”

Staff were notified of the decision this morning. Voluntary redundancies start next week and forced redundancies on 2 June. The heavy maintenance of the ATR fleet is due to shift in July and the Q300 fleet next January.

“I am disappointed at the Government’s silence on the loss of this industry to Nelson and the 100 jobs. The Government cannot say its top priority is job retention but then ignore the pleas for its $900m of support to Air NZ to be tagged to the retention of jobs and services to the regions. The petition of over 16,000 signatures presented to Parliament on Wednesday is a way to get the Government to reconsider. I have no doubt that if these job losses were in Northland and not Nelson the Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones would not be ignoring the problem.

I am not giving up the fight for this important Nelson industry that has taken two decades to build. It is inevitable there will be some job losses with the downturn in aviation but I am determined that we leave the door open for this Nelson industry to recover in the longer term” Dr Smith concluded.


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