2020 02 05 WC Roadshows

Interactive farming seminars.

Property Brokers, with support from DWC, are presenting interactive seminars this month in Ashburton, Waimate and Pahiatua to promote living and farming on the West Coast.

Gareth Cox from Property Brokers says the roadshows will feature case studies of different West Coast farming systems, question and answer sessions with Coast farmers and an overview of investment opportunities in the region.

“The seminars are aimed at attracting investment through farm sales. This will help enhance the dairy industry by overcoming some of the succession issues we are seeing on the Coast,” says Mr Cox.

"The unique West Coast way of life has always captured those with the courage to make the shift and farm here. The opportunity today given the capital structure of Westland Milk is now a game changer in terms of attracting new investment to the Coast.

"Property Brokers is looking forward to playing its part in representing the opportunities on the Coast in partnership with the broader local business community."

Chair Renee Rooney says DWC is proud to support this initiative showcasing living and farming on the West Coast.

Mrs Rooney runs a dairy farm with her husband at Inchbonnie, near Lake Brunner, and stresses the importance of maintaining a robust farming sector across the region.

According to Infometrics data, Dairy and other livestock farming contributed $255.6m (14%) towards the West Coast’s Gross Domestic Product. It also provided 1,306 filled jobs on the West Coast.

“This key industry contributes far more than just on-farm jobs. The benefits spill-over to the West Coast as a whole. There are a range of industries and professions reliant on farming, including engineering firms, retailers, lawyers, accountants and builders, who all benefit either directly or indirectly from farming money flowing through the local economy,” says Mrs Rooney.

“Farming is not only an intrinsic part of our economy but is a part of the fabric of the West Coast. It has helped shape the character of the region and who we are as Coasters.”

2020 02 05 Kotuku Life Saving

Assistance from DWC has enabled the Kotuku Surf Life Saving Club to replace a damaged motor on their inflatable rescue boat (IRB) allowing them to continue their vital work across the region.

The club’s mission is to prevent drowning on West Coast beaches and to support local communities. Volunteers in the club provide beach patrols, develop our kids' water safety and rescue skills and respond to calls for assistance from West Coast Police for water-based search and rescue events.

Kotuku chairperson, Mark Bolland, says their IRB search and rescue team often find themselves in extreme environments and sometimes the challenging environments win. This was demonstrated last year when a rogue wave dumped their IRB onto the rocky Rapahoe shore damaging a motor.

DWC assistance has enabled the club to replace the damaged motor.

Mr Bolland says their IRB team recently responded to the Hokitika Gorge incident where the new motor was used for two days; initially to search for a missing swimmer and then to support the police dive team on the second day.

“Whilst the result was not what anyone would have wished for, the fact is that we directly contributed to locating and bringing back a family’s loved member.

“Knowing that what we do makes a difference to lives, and that organisations such as DWC see the value in what we do, gives us the confidence that the volunteer time we give to prevent drowning on West Coast beaches and supporting local communities with water safety and search & rescue is headed in the right direction.”

2020 Asher Lambert Kotuku Life Saving

Congratulations to Asher Lambert who recently completed his Advanced Lifeguard Award.

West Coast Cycle Trail Review

Cycle Trail: Current status & strategic direction

Development West Coast, with PGF co-funding, conducted a review looking at the current status and strategic direction for West Coast cycle trails.

Given the rapid rise in the number of high quality cycle ways on the Coast and their increasing popularity, this review was timely to ensure the opportunity is maximised.

Key stakeholders were engaged during the review process, all of whom have now received the strategy document.  The task now is to deliver on the outcomes and DWC will play a key role in coordinating this across the region.

The strategy goes into some detail but the key theme really is to ensure we finish the great work already underway and maintain what we have in a sustainable way.

Download document (4.9MB).

Cycle trail strategy document thumbnail


Recently released economic indicators show growth on the West Coast for the second year in a row.

DWC Chief Executive Heath Milne says it is pleasing to see positive trends in Infometric’s latest economic update for the West Coast for the year ended March 2019.

“The Coast had been in a major economic downturn since 2012, due to the closures of the Holcim NZ Westport plant and OceanaGold, and changes in the coal mining industry. Given this context, it is great to see many of our key economic indicators showing sustained growth,” says Mr Milne.

Based on the latest data, the West Coast’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by $30m (1.6%).

There was an increase in jobs of 277 (1.4%).

Mean annual earnings grew by $3,178 to $56,758. The increase in mean annual earnings of 5.9% outpaced the national growth rate of 3.8%.

The West Coast’s population also increased by 100 to 32,600.

“It is important to note, the time period for this data doesn’t include some major events that have had a serious impact on our economy, such as the Waiho (Waiau) Bridge washout, the Omoto slip and the closure of State Highway 6 south of Hari Hari during December,” says Mr Milne.

“The impact of these extreme weather events will no doubt be reflected in next year’s regional update. Nevertheless, it is pleasing to see our economy showing growth on many fronts. This is a testament to our innovative and resilient business community and the many opportunities available on the Coast.

“At DWC, we are working hard to keep this positive momentum going by enabling the development of business and industry on the West Coast,” says Mr Milne.

The latest Infometrics data can be viewed online at www.dwc.org.nz


Media release: 3 February 2020

2020 01 28 Community Comment

Happy New Year to all Coasters! I’m pleased to see the back of the rain-filled 2019, which caused all sorts of trouble for our Region, and to be welcoming in 2020 and the sunshine.

The beginning of a new decade. One that will be filled with many opportunities, and no doubt challenges, that will affect our Region. Looking back over the last decade, it’s been a real mixed bag of good times and bad on the Coast.

Tempus fugit – time flies – and before we know it 2030 will be around the corner. What can we achieve in the next ten years? What will our Region look like? What sectors will be our major employers? What industry will be returning the biggest benefit to our Region? We’ve got so much on offer, and I’m hopeful we will be strongly leveraging our Untamed Natural Wilderness branding and utilising our many natural resources to generate real economic benefits to the Coast.

Some of you will remember a TV campaign from the 80’s – “Don’t leave town till you’ve seen the country”. Here on the Coast we have an enormous number of activities for locals and visitors to enjoy. Over the holiday period, the DWC Tourism Team travelled the length of the Coast, along with local West Coast film and photography talent, producing a new marketing campaign due to be launched.

This DWC-led campaign, supported by special funding from central government, and in conjunction with Tourism NZ, will showcase “West Coast Must Do”. Because we’re more than just scenery - there is so much to do here. As a region we need to capitalise on this and capture the economic benefits available.

For DWC, we begin the decade with a new CEO at the helm. Welcome to Heath Milne, a Coaster returning to his hometown. Starting his career locally and after several years working overseas, Heath returns bringing with him commercial experience, business acumen and, just as important, a real understanding of the Coast. We are kicking off the new decade with much energy and excitement and are looking forward to getting to work on new and existing projects, and hunting out new opportunities, to bring economic benefit to the region.

DWC is committed to working hard to grow business to grow the Coast, however we can’t do this alone, and it’s important we continue to work closely with our regional leaders, councils, business and community groups, and central government.

Established in 2001 with an initial fund of $92m, DWC has directly invested close to $160m into the West Coast economy, while maintaining the fund at $135m to ensure we can continue investing in the region. $160m investment into the West Coast economy – not bad at all! What will our report card look like come 2030?

(DWC Chair - Renee Rooney)