Lower Hutt: Contact Energy 70 jobs to possibly go.

The news was released yesterday that Contact Energy is looking at outsourcing its retail processing positions based in Lower Hutt with the possible lose of 70 jobs.

Contact Energy is in talks with staff over the potential outsourcing of around 70 jobs to India.

Consultation began yesterday over plans to outsource the work to India-based technology company Wipro Technologies as Contact sought to upgrade its retail processing software, corporate communications manager Jonathan Hill said.

Mr Hill said the proposed outsourcing was part of “a significant transformation of its business processes”, including changes to Contact’s retail billing systems. 

The jobs in question were retail processing positions at its Lower Hutt branch, where around 200 people were employed.

Consultation began yesterday and they had put a proposal to staff. No decisions had been made, he said.

via Stuff

It appears that the cost of business in becoming harder and harder for NZ busineses service industries to compete against significantly lower labour costs in other parts of the world. Being a listed company, shareholders expect maximum returns, and in the current environment that generally means a cost reduction model, versus a growth strategy.

The impact is where these jobs are based, and unfortunately that is the Hutt Valley. Recent examples in the Hutt have been more about manufactors with Unilever, Formway  and Mountain Buggy making approximately 120 people between the three companies redundant earlier this year.

The ongoing significance of these job losses or changes in operations have significant impacts on local communities and the people involved. The Hutt Valley has experienced significant changes in the businesses that exist here over the years, but it seems that increasingly we, that is New Zealand, cannot compete in areas where labour costs offshore are what we expect to earn in a day what others earn in a month


Upper Hutt: Farmers Market (Video)

Well after last weeks effort I promised myself that this week I would get there earlier.

Attendance was good as another pleasant day had occurred, purchased a Cup Cake from the Cup Cake stall, and got a huge sugar overload. Bit of competition from the alternative market in the Mall, but to not put it to nicely had the tack that I generally avoid. It is a craft /tinkers market.

No doubt both have a place and will feed off one another, but it is early days yet, they need to become established to survive and given the rigorous conditions to become a Farmers Market, they will need support to outlast several wet Sundays, being outside. The word on the street is that an organic vegetable supplier is coming, which will hopefully boost numbers. I also have the feel that an organic market as part of a larger market akin to something like the Lower Hutts Riverbank Market would help, but it’s not my project and I do wish them all the best especially the suppliers. (see here for more details and links from last week)

Upper Hutt Farmers Market

Well I was late, told myself I would have to be early but didn’ t time my arrival till about 11.30.

Seems I missed all the activity which occurred after 9am, so ably I’m handing the review over to TheInquiringMind, who did arrive early and posted a comprehensive review on his blog.

I did have the opportunity to catch up with Chris who is responsible for the web presence of the market and Helen part of Upper Hutt Experience. They were extremely pleased with the inaugural result and received a lot of encouraging feedback from both suppliers and visitors, so I am sure that this will develop into a great asset for the city.

Enjoy the photos courtesy of Chris and if you are up that way early Sunday enjoy!

Check them out at Upper Hutt Farmers Market Website and Twitter account

Lower Hutt: Mediterranean Food Warehouse opens

We went to One Red Dog in Wellington on Saturday night, so we didn’t have pizza in mind when we visited the new Mediterranean Food Warehouse in the Hutt on Sunday afternoon.  We were just happy to have a look around the shop and have a coffee.  We’ve been fans of Gino and  Joe Cuccurullo’s Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown for a while, often making the pilgrimage out there to buy a  big tin of olive oil and have a calzone. 

The layout of the new Hutt store is great – there’s heaps of space – and it’s very family friendly.  As well as the shop, there’s the caffe area with a pizzeria and gelato stand.  Our flat whites were spot on – and the lemon tart was divine.  So we left happy, thinking that when the weather improves, we must remember to pop in for gelato.  (I think we’ll be back for calzone before then!)

That’s the great thing about the Mediterranean Food Warehouse – there are so many reasons to visit.  For coffee, for shopping, for a pizza and a beer or for gelato.  All I can say is, I’m one very happy Hutt Valley Chick now that we have our own Med Food Warehouse in the Hutt.  Congratulations to Michele and Joe Elenio – we wish them all the best with their new business.  We’ll be definite regulars!  See the video below for a taste of the Med!

Mediterranean Food Warehouse, 337 High Street, Lower Hutt (opposite McDonalds).  Phone: 566 8232.

Cadillac Diner – Worth a Family Visit

Well I didn’t write it, but I paid the bill. So here’s the review from http://twitter.com/HuttValleyChick, who felt it was necessary to say something about this new dining experience in Lower Hutt.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic 

Looking for a fun place to eat in The Hutt?  Then look no further than Cadillac Diner and Café on High Street.  This new 1950s themed diner is worth a visit.  The décor itself is magnificent – we loved the opportunity to check out a pink Cadillac up close!  
The food?  Well, if you’re planning on going – make sure you’re hungry!  The burgers are HUGE.  And they average at $12 each (fries are separate).  We dropped in for a light lunch last Saturday and were a bit disappointed they didn’t have a smaller burger option, like a cheeseburger, priced around $8 to $10.  We reckon the good test of a burger is that you can pick it up!  These burgers are just too big and eating them with a knife and fork seems weird. 
But – you gotta hand it to them – it’s a good spot for families.  Your kids will love it.  And with kids’ meals priced from just $5, your wallet will love it too!

Cadillac Diner and Café, 112 High Street, Lower Hutt.

Looks like a school holiday wet weather idea!

Upper Hutt: Farmers Market to open on November 1st

An authentic farmers’ market in Upper Hutt, operating on Sundays in Russell St, is set for a November 1 opening.

Organised by the Experience Upper Hutt promotion group, the market will operate for four hours from 8.30am every Sunday, north of Thomson Ln, in a street area closed to traffic, Experience director Hellen Swales says.

“It has been organised and will run as an authentic farmers’ market, one of about 40 in the country,” Ms Swales says.

“Upper Hutt Farmers’ Market  A Fresh Xperience,” is already approved as a member of the Farmers’ Market Association New Zealand, she says.

The association describes the venture as “a food market where local growers, farmers and artisan food producers sell their wares directly to consumers”.

“Vendors may only sell what they grow, farm, pickle, preserve, bake, smoke or catch themselves from within a defined local area.”

“We’re hoping the market will act as an incubator for small businesses that need to grow,” Ms Swales says. By COLIN WILLIAMS – Upper Hutt Leader

Location of Thomson Lane beside Russell Street,  Farmers Market will be next door to Carpark.

This is great news, if you are a foodie (who isn’t) it really does need the support of people who live in the Hutt Valley, as the initial stages are always tough going for these ventures.

Having visited the Farmers Market in Hawkes Bay, you have to be early, so I guess November the 1st will be an early rise to arrive at 8.30am.

There are other Farmers Markets around like the Wairarapa Farmers Market  at Solway Showgrounds which I haven’t attended, but as a side note is hosting the NZ premier of the Movie “Food, Inc” (see trailer) on Wednesday 1st Oct at the Regent Cinema in Masterton, if interested see their website for details.