More troubled waters for Sealord

By Maiki Sherman

A former board member of Te Ohu Kaimoana says there should be job cuts at Sealord's management levels, rather than its factory level.  Around 60 job losses have been forecast for its Nelson factory, which Ngahiwi Tomoana says is not right.

With job losses expected at Sealord, some are also calling for cuts at management level.   

Tomoana says, "There's a lot of fat at the management and middle-management levels, but job cuts are only happening on the floor level."

The Chairman disagrees.

Matanuku Mahuika says, "I don't know the reasons behind what Ngahiwi is saying, but at Sealord we are always looking at what we do and our management."
50% of Sealord is owned by Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd, which is overseen by Te Ohu Kaimoana, the iwi-owned Māori fisheries body.

Ngahiwi Tomoana, former Chairman of TOKM, says job cuts are becoming too frequent.

"The year before last there were more job cuts in Nelson, and about five years ago there were around 300 job cuts from Sealord," he says.

The reason for the possible job cuts is because of financial losses with its product Kirimi sold in Japan. 

Mahuika says, "At the moment we only have one customer with our Kirimi product and every year the revenue we get from it has decreased."

Add to that the near $47million loss through a Sealord venture in Argentina three years ago. 

The question now is what's the strategy going forward?

"We need to focus on resolving the issues that are proving challenging for Sealord so that we are on the right path," says Mahuika.

Although the company didn't reach last year's target, Matanuku Mahuika says they still made a profit and dividends would be made to iwi.