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Jobs lost, doors stay open

Farm machinery retailer Norwood’s Masterton store has survived closure, but up to 11 staff will lose their jobs.

What had been a team of 16 staff in Masterton will now be reduced to about five, Norwood chief executive Tim Myers announced yesterday afternoon.

The change comes as four other Norwood stores – in Dargaville, Stratford, Westport, and Cromwell – across the country close their doors.

Myers confirmed to the Times-Age that the company had planned to close the Masterton store too, but after consultation with staff, a decision was made to keep it open.

“We have arrived at our decision because we believe that we have an obligation to our customers and our staff in that region.”

Myers said the Masterton staff who would lose their jobs had not been advised yet, but some roles would be contestable, and the process could take a few weeks.

He said Norwood Masterton would scale down its presence and become a “spoke” of the company’s Manawatu hub.

“It will maintain service, parts, and sales capability in Masterton with a team of five staff and support from Norwood Manawatu when necessary. Masterton operations will stay at the current site until a smaller location can be found.”

Myers said the Masterton store was not expected to close entirely in the foreseeable future.

The announcement from Norwood came two weeks after the company said it was proposing to close or consolidate a small number of dealerships and instead use the “hub and spoke model” that is already operating at other Norwood sites. The nationwide consolidation process came seven weeks after the farm machinery retailer lost distribution rights for New Holland products, which include tractors, bailers, and harvesters.

This change came into effect late last month, with CNH Industrial’s Case IH dealerships serving as caretaker dealers for New Holland machinery until a new dealer structure is finalised.

Myers noted Norwood had sold and serviced New Holland products for 17 years.

He told the Times-Age the closure of stores and reduction in the size of the Masterton outlet was “exclusively related” to the loss of the New Holland distribution rights and not because of economic conditions.

He said the decision had been “forced upon” the company.

“Making the decision to close sites has not been an easy one, and it’s a decision we wouldn’t make if we doubted our ability to provide excellent service to customers or represent the brands we sell in those regions,” Myers said.

He said the announcement completed a consultation process that began on Wednesday, 1 March, during which staff were invited to make submissions on an initial realignment proposal.

Before the announcement yesterday, the company employed a total of 470 staff nationwide.

Myers said people wanting their New Holland machines serviced could still go to Norwood.

Norwood continues to sell and supply a range of agricultural, horticultural, and construction equipment from brands that include Kubota, Breviglieri, Horsch, KUHN, Pichon, Vaderstad, and Vredo.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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