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JNL’s Matawhero mill back running at full capacity

The 350 employees of Juken New Zealand are back at work after the forestry and wood processing company put safety practices in place to reopen in Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions.

JNL's East Coast forests general manager Dylan Foster said with around 250 staff working full-time for JNL in the forests, plus around 100 staff in the mills, there were a lot of local families who relied on the company to operate.

“JNL has worked closely with local contractors to ensure the new health and safety standards are met, and following site visits on Tuesday, I am impressed with the commitment workers had given to following these standards.”

Mr Foster said Juken's East Coast mill at Matawhero was back at full capacity.

The mill's general manager Kazuhiro Keiunji said he was relieved to have everyone back at work and ready to meet customer needs.

“Ahead of everyone coming back to work at the mill, we made adjustments to the work environment and processes to protect our team members' health and safety, which is always paramount.

“We are strictly following the New Zealand Government's requirements to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by making changes to how our workplaces are set up, used and sanitised.”

While JNL staff who could work from home would continue to do so, staff who must come on to the work site would be inducted into new ways of doing things, said Mr Keiunji.

The mill has five employees over 70 and there were specific plans for them and those with underlying health conditions.

The company was also offering options for mental health support and financial advice to anyone struggling, he said.

“We fully appreciate the need to take these extra steps. The measures we take at JNL are about keeping us all safe, including our families/whanau, friends and the wider community.

“Normal life may be some months away yet but we are grateful to get back to work.

“Our JNL team is ready to once again meet the needs of our customers,” Mr Keiunji said.