The removal of agricultural subsidies and trade tariffs by the Labour government in the 1980s hit Hawke’s Bay hard because the region relied on the pastoral farming sector for revenue and employment. When the Whakatū freezing works near Hastings closed in 1986, around 2,000 full-time and seasonal employees lost their jobs. This was followed by the closure of freezing works at Tōmoana in 1994 and Ōringi (near Dannevirke) in 2008.
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