Porirua faces loss of 150 jobs
Porirua will lose 150 jobs when the New Zealand Defence Force leaves the city this year.
The move was harshly criticised on Friday by Mana MP Kris Faafoi and Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett.
Two days earlier, a scathing report on Defence Force cost- cutting was released by AuditorGeneral Lyn Provost.
About 150 communication and information systems staff would relocate from Porirua to other locations in Wellington later this year, a defence spokesperson told Kapi- Mana News.
They now work at 1 Walton Leigh Ave, the Cityfitness gym building.
‘‘The Porirua lease is expiring and Defence is taking the opportunity to consolidate its Wellington staff, and make better use of its existing buildings,’’ the spokesperson said.
‘‘Nobody is losing their job as a result, and Porirua staff have been aware of this move for two years.’’
Improving the Defence Force’s IT infrastructure was another reason for the move, the spokesperson said.
Mr Faafoi and Mr Leggett said they were appalled by the move.
‘‘The Defence Force has had a presence in Porirua for 30 years in a building well equipped for its needs.
‘‘News of the departure certainly feels like an assault on Porirua,’’ Mr Faafoi said.
He doubted the department would save money by leaving a low-rent building, especially considering the move would be likely to incur millions of dollars in relocation costs.
Mr Leggett said many businesses were moving into Porirua because of its low commercial rents and good regional location.
‘‘The Government seems to be going in the other direction.’’
Porirua could not afford to lose such a significant workforce, he said.
‘‘These are skilled jobs and really I feel for the staff concerned. We need them.’’ Mr Leggett said.
The mayor and MP are seeking a meeting at the highest level where they hope to persuade Defence to stay in Porirua. Porirua kids not yet back at school could be found at the beach last week, enjoying the best January weather for years. Two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine and mid-20s temperatures drove hundreds of families to Porirua’s shoreline, many visiting from out of town. Johnsonville girl Flora Houet, 5, spent most of January at Plimmerton Beach with her Plimmerton friend Clarice Galle, 5. The pair both have Brazilian mothers and French fathers, but experienced a true-blue Kiwi summer paddling in the surf and playing in their miniature teepee tent. Plimmerton School pupils Allie Falconer, 8, and her brother Jack, 7, were getting wheelbarrow rides on the sand with their babysitter Amy Gault. The pair live in a house right next to the beach, and are there every day. Jack was ‘‘kind of’’ looking forward to going back to school this week because he missed his friends, but would miss his beach holiday just as much, he said.
Holiday fun: Johnsonville girl Flora Houet, 5, visited Plimmerton Beach nearly every day in January, keeping shady in her teepee.