The new Firth plant will bring 24 new jobs to the Papakura and Franklin regions, some staff having transferred from the East Tamaki plant with a number of new staff being employed from among those involved in its construction.
Fletcher Building’s Building Products Chief Executive, Matt Crockett, says the $30 million investment was a significant commitment.
“This is the first major investment in masonry manufacturing in New Zealand for many years. We have installed world-class automated systems that mix aggregates from our nearby Winstone quarry with cement from our Golden Bay Cement plant, producing a range of high quality blocks, bricks, pavers and retaining wall products.”
Using high-tech moulding equipment and curing kilns sourced from the United States, UK and Europe, the Hunua Masonry Block plant can produce 50,000 blocks per day – four times the capacity of the previous East Tamaki plant.
Part of this productivity gain is from faster turnaround on changing moulds and products – what once took 4½ hours to change, now takes less than 30 minutes.
After a property search, Firth decided to build the new 4,900m2 plant on a former quarry site adjacent to a working quarry, operated by Winstone Aggregates, west of Papakura. Both companies are within the Building Products division of Fletcher Building.