Porirua faces loss of 150 jobs

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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