Hutt News, March 29, 2016
The Prime Minister is used to being chewed over by critics. On Wednesday he was face to face with a Key that suffers real bites.
John Key was presented with a rubber chew toy in his likeness when he opened the new $8 million headquarters and distribution centre of award-winning business Masterpet in Gracefield, Lower Hutt.
The Prime Minister remembered an earlier Masterpet pet chew toy in the likeness of former PM Helen Clark, which he enjoyed watching being demolished by a dog.
He also joked about the pecking order in his household, with his wife Bronagh at the top, followed by the cat Moon beam Smokey Fluffy Key, then the rest of the family. He said he came last.
Masterpet moved into their 7245 square metre warehouse, with 762sqm of office space more than 12 months ago but chief executive Sean Duggan said the management team really wanted Key to be part of the official opening.
“It is a safer workplace than we have ever had,” Duggan said.
“It is fully earthquake rated but also stronger from an OSH perspective.
“The premises have allowed us to invest in a lot of really smart technology and smart efficiencies, like efficient lighting systems and motion detectors.”
The company has a long commitment to the Wellington and Hutt Valley area.
It was set up in 1954 by a Polish immigrant who at the time boasted offering 100 everyday products for furry, feathery and finny creatures.
For more than 35 years it was in the hands of the Wootton family, who grew it into a trans-Tasman enterprise with more than 3,300 vet clinic, supermarket and pet supply company clients and 2000-plus pet accessory stock lines. Ebos group bought Masterpet in 2011 for $105 million.
The firm employs 120 people in Lower Hutt.