Keeping everyone sweet

Social workers are warning of a spike in family violence when Dunedin’s Cadbury factory closes its doors.

Mike Tonks.
Mike Tonks.

A fortnight ago, Mondelez International, the owner of Cadbury, told its 350 staff the Dunedin factory would be closed by early next year. Two hundred employees will be made redundant by the end of this year and the remainder early in 2018.

Cinnamon Boreham, who is manager of Stopping Violence Dunedin, says the city can expect the closure to trigger an increase in family violence.

"What we saw in Christchurch after the earthquakes was that family violence peaked. You disrupt the base and the family is no longer secure ... You’re going to get fallout," Mrs Boreham says.

Mike Tonks, who is director of Catholic Social Services, in Dunedin, says the city needs to prepare a response.

"We need to be smart about this," Mr Tonks says.

"When people lose their jobs through the closure of big factories, for the want of multinational products and profits ... we know there is going to be an effect because of the fears and struggles families will face. When people are going through that, they don’t make the best choices."

Mrs Boreham says Cadbury has brought in some therapists to work with factory staff. But she believes a bigger response is needed.

"What else is required? And how do we, as a community, call a meeting to say, OK, this is what’s going on, what else can we offer, and create a package deal?

"That kind of collaboration would be stunning."


Having the greatest respect for CSS, I suggest this warning is alarmist verging on irresponsible. Did Shacklock and Hillside workers laid off express frustration by violence toward family? No. Being fatalist or determinist about the embattled workers of Dunedin is, to be frank, a non Catholic position.