Tourism and Destination Management Restructure

Development West Coast (DWC) has recently undertaken a review of its new destination management function and tourism function to ensure they are best placed to take the region forward in the post COVID-19 landscape.

“The review looked at the current and future requirements of destination management and tourism and how we can best set our region up for success. As a result, there will be a new structure in place at the end of June,” said Jo Birnie, DWC Economic Development Manager.

Patrick Dault (current Destination Development Manager) will become DWC’s Destination and Tourism Manager; Louise Woodburn will have a change of title from MICE Executive to Business Events Executive to align with the sector, however the position will not change.

There will be two new positions:

Consumer Insights Executive - Responsible for marketing and advertising. To lead in attracting consumers from New Zealand and all over the world. Engaging with existing visitors in the market and after they depart. Responsible for driving content development, joint venture campaigns with operators and partners.

Commercial Tourism Executive - Responsible for enabling trade and distribution. Helping businesses understand what domestic, wholesale and international markets are looking for. This person’s ultimate role will be to ensure market readiness and that operators are up to scratch with expectations from distribution.

The current Regional Tourism Manager position will be disestablished when Jim Little moves on at the end of July.

“Jim has represented the West Coast since January 2012 which has resulted in the West Coast being recognised for its contribution to tourism. Jim’s achievements include the creation and implementation of the Untamed Natural Wilderness brand, working with NZTA and TNZ gazetting the Great Coast Road and Glacier Highway as recognised touring routes, and representing the Regional Tourism Organisation as a finalist in the TIA awards three years in a row and winning twice,” said Ms. Birnie.

“We would like to thank Jim for his contribution to tourism on the West Coast and wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Media release: 1 April 2021

DWC approves $5m Glacier Country Business Support Fund

Development West Coast (DWC) trustees have approved a $5 million Glacier Country Business Support Fund (GCBSF) in response to the current crisis in Franz Josef, Fox Glacier and the surrounding settlements.

“Glacier Country has been one of the hardest hit areas in New Zealand from the pandemic, with many businesses in desperate need of cashflow support to survive,” DWC chief executive Heath Milne said.

Following a meeting between the co-chairs of Glacier Country Tourism Group (GCTG), Westland District Council and DWC a survey was undertaken to better understand the impact COVID-19 is having on the area.

The survey revealed: 62 percent of jobs had been lost in Glacier Country, 16 percent of businesses had closed, at least 23 percent of people had left, and the area had experienced significant losses of volunteers in key community services.

Based on the survey responses it is forecast that in the next six months, if there is no additional support, 84% of jobs will be lost, 67% of businesses will be closed, and at least 31% of people will leave the community.

“The survey results made very sober reading,” Mr Milne said. “The situation has gone far beyond just businesses hurting - this is about the social fabric of the area. The community down there will not survive unless there is urgent support.”

“We understand there are businesses across the West Coast that have been hard hit by COVID-19. What makes the situation in Glacier Country unique and in urgent need of targeted support is the impact it is having on the wider community, not just on businesses.”

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash recently stated the Government is working on a support package targeted at areas such as Glacier Country which have traditionally been heavily reliant on international visitors. However, details on what that support will look like and when it will be available have yet to be announced.

Mr Milne welcomes news of a potential Government support package and acknowledges the various forms of assistance that have been provided to businesses to date.

“We are now a year into the pandemic and many businesses, through no fault of their own, are on a knife-edge. Glacier Country businesses have been loud and clear, they need cashflow support now to be able to survive until the trans-Tasman bubble opens,” said Mr Milne.

The Glacier Country Tourism Group has consulted with the wider community to get input on the best way to utilise DWC’s funding to the benefit of the whole Glacier Country area. Based on this consultation, DWC trustees have approved a $5 million fund for West Coast enterprises located between Whataroa and Lake Moeraki.

Under the GCBSF a maximum of $50,000 will be offered to eligible businesses through cashflow support. Applications for the assistance will open on 1 April and close at 10am on 12 April 2021.
“The $5m Glacier Country Business Support Fund is a significant initiative that will help many businesses in our region to access additional funds to help them to survive,” said Rob Jewell and Richard Benton, co-chairs of Glacier Country Tourism Group.

“We urgently need our borders to safely re-open to overseas visitors and we are all looking forward to the time when the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on our local business community has diminished.”

Media Release: 29 March 2021

DWC commits $5m towards Glacier Country

Development West Coast (DWC) has committed $5 million towards a package to help protect the social and economic fabric of the Glacier Country.

A recent survey conducted by DWC and the Glacier Country Tourism Group has revealed the devastating impact COVID-19 is having on Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, and the surrounding settlements.

According to survey results: 62% of jobs have been lost in the Glacier Country, 16% of businesses have closed, at least 23% of people have left, and the area has experienced significant losses of volunteers in key community services.

It is forecast that in the next six months, if there is no additional support, 84% of jobs will be lost, 67% of businesses closed, and at least 31% of people will leave the community.

DWC chief executive Heath Milne said Glacier Country has been a key contributor to the economy of the wider West Coast region and New Zealand. Pre-COVID, it was responsible for 21% of inbound tourists to NZ and contributed around $120m per annum to New Zealand’s GDP.

“When we come out of this situation, and international tourists return, if that community isn’t there to host them it is going to have an impact on the whole country.”

“The true value of Glacier Country goes far beyond its significant economic contribution. Over 1,170 West Coasters have built lives and families in the area, with many contributing to the wellbeing of their small communities through volunteer services.

“The conversation is not just about tourism - it is about the community. It is about the teachers, builders, electricians, and the volunteers providing fire and emergency, ambulance and search and rescue services. This is about the social fabric of the area. The community down there will not survive unless there is some form of support.”

In response to the current crisis, DWC has committed $5m towards an assistance package.

“The focus of the assistance will be decided after consulting with the community facilitated through the Glacier Country Tourism group. The group will liaise with the wider community over the coming week to get input as to the best way to utilise the funding to the benefit of the whole Glacier Country area.

“Given the gravity of the situation in the Glacier Country, we believe there is still a good opportunity for Government to work with local communities to help protect their social and economic fabric, and ensure they are ready and able to significantly contribute to the national economy once again when it rebounds.”

Media Release: 4 March 2021

 

 

Monteith's Brewery

Following the news late last year of the closure of the Monteith’s brewing operation in Greymouth, the Grey District Mayor and Development West Coast (DWC) have been engaging with DB/Heineken to come up with a sound commercial outcome.

DWC Chief Executive Heath Milne said: “while it’s disappointing to see the end of the iconic brand being brewed in its original home, we have reached a good outcome through positive engagement with DB/Heineken.”



“In recognition of the West Coast brand they have successfully leveraged off, and the loyalty of Coasters who have helped build their brand, DB/Heineken have offered to hand over their bottling plant.”


Mayor Tania Gibson said: “DB/Heineken are also working on a community support initiative that is being finalised and will go live in the next few weeks. It is sad to see the brewing operation leaving Greymouth, but from a commercial perspective the viability for DB/Heineken is not there. By working together we can create a new outcome for our community and help support the 25 positions still at the gastropub.”


Mr Milne said: “Potentially, a commercial enterprise will be set up with the bottling plant, which may create new opportunities for our region. We are already working closely with our local craft brewers to see how we can best utilise this resource. It’s very sad to see the brewing staff lose their jobs, some after more than 30 years at the site. Hopefully their expertise may also play a part in any new venture.”


Mr Milne and Mayor Gibson both stressed that the West Coast community should continue to support the Monteith’s Brewery gastropub in Greymouth, which is an important source of local employment.

Media Release: 18 January 2021

Governance internship with Development West Coast

The Institute of Directors New Zealand (IoD) are currently receiving applications for their “First Steps in Governance Award’.

The award provides the opportunity for a West Coast young professional to gain governance experience in the not-for-profit sector with an internship on the Development West Coast board.

The recipient of the award will also receive:

  • one year’s complimentary membership with IoD.
  • one year’s complimentary attendance at all Canterbury branch members’ events.
  • $850 towards an IoD director development course.
  • mentoring from an experienced director. 


Applications are sought from individuals who:

  • reside in the West Coast region.
  • are able to demonstrate leadership, integrity and enterprise in their careers.
  • have a range of experience and skills (commercial, community, public service).
  • are able to commit the time to prepare for and attend meetings and associated events.

have not held a significant governance role to date (this does not include a role in a local sports, school or community organisation or club).

Development West Coast chair Renee Rooney says DWC are excited to be partnering with IoD on this initiative.

“It provides a fantastic opportunity for a young professional on the Coast to further their business experience, gain insight into good governance practice and learn about the dynamics of sitting on a board.”

Since 2001, DWC has provided development opportunities to aspiring leaders in the region through the West Coast Leadership and Governance programme. Renee views the First Steps in Governance Award as another great opportunity to build capabilities.

“Having more people in our communities with strong governance capabilities is of immense importance to our region for its growth, success and sustainability into the future.”

View more information or contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Release: 6 October 2020

Budget Response

Yesterday’s Budget announcement by Minister of Finance Hon Grant Robertson is largely positive for the West Coast business community, but it will not solve all of the current and pending economic issues we face.

On the Coast, we are already experiencing a significant impact from the COVID-19 crisis with businesses closing and our unemployment rate rising to 7.5 percent. The full extent of the economic fall-out is yet to come, so against this backdrop the 2020 ‘Rebuilding Together’ Budget can be seen as a positive ‘first’ step towards recovery for the Country and our region.

The shift to Level 2 yesterday has been great news for the Coast. It has meant more of our businesses are open again, but we must acknowledge that it will be quite some time before business returns to normal.

We will require support from central Government to see us through this challenging time, so we are pleased to see an emphasis on business recovery in the Budget through targeted expenditure.

$3.2 billion extension of the wage subsidy scheme.

One of the most significant announcements in the Budget was the $3.2b extension of the wage subsidy scheme.

The Government’s wage subsidy scheme has been a lifesaver for many businesses on the Coast. The shift to Level 2 has seen more businesses reopen their doors, but there are various new challenges - changes in demand and consumer behaviour, and new social distancing regulations. As a result, an extension to the wage subsidy was needed.

The additional $3.2b will be more tightly targeted, with only businesses that have experienced or are forecasting a 50 percent drop in revenue eligible for the eight-week extension.

This will provide much needed relief for many businesses across our diverse sectors – particularly those linked to the tourism industry.

More than half of all tourist spending on the Coast comes from international visitors, so with the collapse of that market segment it is likely that most of our tourism operators as well as those in the retail and food services sectors will meet the new criteria for the wage subsidy extension.

But again, it is limited and will end in September unless further extensions are given. To remain viable in the foreseeable future, tourism businesses will have to use the breathing space the subsidy provides to try to reposition themselves and pivot towards the domestic market where possible.

$400 million targeted tourism support fund.

The closure of New Zealand’s borders to international visitors has hit the Coast hard. Tourists inject half a billion dollars a year into our region - $271m of that comes from international visitors.

In that respect, the $400m allocated by the Government for targeted tourism support for the whole country is just a drop in the bucket. However, Minister of Tourism Hon Kelvin Davis has stated that this fund is just the start, and additional support will be rolled out over the coming months.

At the moment, details of how the $400m will be spent are quite vague. Some will be allocated to a ‘Transitions programme’ to provide advice and guidance for businesses on how to hibernate or redesign their business for the domestic or Australasian market. DWC has already been working in this space, including hosting a webinar on how to hibernate your business. We have been advised that tourism businesses can ‘register their interest’ for the Transitions programme via the MBIE or TNZ websites.

A ‘Strategic Tourism Asset programme” will provide bespoke support for businesses that have a positive flow on effect to the wider community. The example given by Minister Davis was Whalewatch Kaikoura. How these businesses will be assessed and what the bespoke support will look like is not clear. Again, businesses can register their interest via the MBIE or TNZ websites.

Other parts of the package include setting up a Ministerial Tourism Recovery Group made up of Minister Davis, Eugenie Sage and Fletcher Tabuteau along with a taskforce to look at the future of tourism.

Tourism NZ will now focus on domestic marketing; however, details of the campaign are again difficult to obtain at the moment.

Next week we will be hosting Minister Davis for a webinar on ‘restarting regional tourism’. It will present a great opportunity for our tourism operators to ask questions so we can gain a better insight on how this package may help the West Coast.

$1.6 billion trades and training scheme.

The Government has announced that apprenticeships and vocational courses in ‘critical industries’ will be made free over the next two years for everyone.

This is particularly good news for the West Coast, as our region has one of the highest rates of 15-24 year olds ‘not employed or engaged in education or training’ (NEET). Our NEET rate is 15 percent, compared to the national average of 12 percent.

To build a robust economy for the future we need an educated and skilled workforce, so any additional funding for apprenticeships and vocational courses made available to the Coast will help our region going forward and will help overcome our existing staff shortages in the trades.

$19.3 million to place 10,000 people into primary sector jobs.

The Government has also allocated $19.3 million over four years to help recently unemployed people retrain and find jobs in the primary industries. The aim is to place at least 10,000 people nationally in jobs in the intermediate term.

The West Coast economy has traditionally relied on the backbone of a strong primary sector. The primary sector contributes 23.4% of our GDP and provides 14.2% of our jobs.

Many farmers on the Coast struggle to find workers, so this initiative has the potential to support growth for our region by attracting workers to this highly productive sector. On the West Coast Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing jobs add an average of around $164,000 to our GDP – so any growth here will benefit the whole region.

$1.1 billion for restoring the environment.

Almost $1.1 billion from the Budget will be put towards restoring the environment with the Government expecting to create about 11,000 jobs nationally. Given how big the Department of Conservation estate is on the Coast, we are expecting significant benefits here.

Ideally, this package will allow businesses considering redundancies and downscaling to redeploy their staff on environmentally focused activities. Given the news of some of the recent big closures in the Glacier Country, there is a great opportunity for the Coast to get behind this major initiative.

It will support retraining and retaining workers in the region by engaging them in meaningful work before they can move back into the tourism sector as demand returns.

Infrastructure and transport investments.

The Government has also allocated significant funds to an infrastructure investment package ($3.2 billion) and a railway package ($1.2 billion). Our region’s Mayors and our Economic Recovery Steering Group have already put forward a number of shovel ready projects to the Government for the West Coast, so we are expecting some significant job creating projects to come from this.

Further business support.

The Budget has also outlined various other packages that should benefit Coast businesses, including increased support for R&D and e-commerce support. We are still awaiting specific details on these packages and how West Coast businesses will be able to access them.

Overall, the Budget will go some way towards helping the West Coast recover, but it certainly will not solve all of the economic and social issues we are facing. There is still $20 billion in unallocated funds and as one of the hardest hit regions we should rightly expect more governmental support.

DWC is about to send out another Coast-wide survey to our business community to help better gauge the impact of COVID-19. We would greatly appreciate your participation in this, so we can provide an evidence-based overview to inform Government and provide support.

Media Release: 15 May 2020

New Advisory Body member for DWC

Development West Coast (DWC) has appointed a new Advisory Body member, Chris Milne.

Chris is currently a Managing Director at Murray & Co a leading New Zealand investment banking firm providing expert financial, strategic and transactional advice to companies and other commercial entities. He joined Murray & Co in 2006 following a successful career in senior finance roles with large corporates both offshore and in New Zealand.

His previous roles have included seven years at Ngāi Tahu as CFO and COO and four years in senior finance positions offshore with Inchcape plc in the UK, Singapore, and Japan.

“I look forward to making a contribution to support DWC’s role in promoting activity to underpin sustainable economic development for the West Coast community,” he says.

Chris is also a Trustee of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra Foundation, and a member of the Management and Finance Board of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch.

He will replace Keith Rushbrook who has been on the Advisory Body since 2007.

DWC Chief Executive Heath Milne says Mr Rushbook has made a significant contribution to the West Coast over the past 13 years, and his professionalism and insights will be missed.

“We welcome Chris to the Advisory Body. With his impressive 30-year career in finance, he will bring a lot of experience and business acumen to the role,” says Heath Milne.

“As we begin the economic recovery process from COVID-19 the Advisory Body will play a key role in ensuring the right investment decisions are made to support West Coast businesses.”

Chris Milne joins David Steele and Jenn Bestwick on DWC’s Advisory Body.

Media Release: 12 May 2020

What Alert Level 3 will look like for business

Yesterday the Government provided some more clarity on what a shift to Alert Level 3 will look like for our business community. We are still waiting to hear on Monday whether the country will be moving down to Alert Level 3 at midnight on Wednesday, April 22 or if the lockdown will be extended.

This morning Finance Minister Grant Robertson indicated that when we do shift to Alert Level 3 it would last for at least two weeks.

It’s good that we now have more detail on what Level 3 will look like. This will help businesses who are able to start operating again to prepare so they can hit the ground running when the alert levels are dropped.

The key message from PM Jacinda Ardern was that under Level 3 ‘Safe Businesses’ will also be able to operate along with ‘Essential Businesses’.

If people can work from home, they should continue to do so.

If they NEED to return to work, the workplace will need to apply clear and documented Health and Safety practices – more information on what will be required for specific sectors will be available in the coming days.

Businesses that are only accessed by the staff, and aren’t customer facing, such as those in building and construction or forestry, will be able to operate again under strict health and safety and physical distancing rules.

According to the PM, businesses that are accessed by the public or customers such as retail, hardware stores and restaurants will be able to operate but only for online or phone purchases and contactless delivery or click and collect.

This may require some innovation from businesses to continue operating. Already we are seeing some of our cafes and restaurants looking into utilising apps and other innovative systems to allow them to operate in a contactless manner.

We urge Coasters to support our local businesses that are going online and starting to operate in a click and collect manner. Order locally rather than from off the Coast if you can help it.

Under Level 3, businesses cannot offer services which involve face-to-face contact or sustained close contact (e.g. hairdressing, massages, house cleaning, etc).

While it is great news that under Level 3 more businesses will be able to operate again in some capacity, we still recognise how difficult this is for those who have longer to wait before they can get working again.

Again, we encourage any business going through this crisis to reach out for assistance. At DWC, we are here to help you.

Media Release: 17 April 2020

Government announces new business support measures

This morning the Government announced a range of new support measures for small and medium sized businesses, including a $3.1b tax relief package.

With many local businesses looking down the barrel of a loss this year, the proposed ‘tax loss carry-back scheme’ would allow businesses to access their previous tax payments as cash refunds.
This could make a significant difference for small businesses. Freeing up cashflow may help some of those that are currently vulnerable, but still viable, get through the current crisis.

The Government has also allocated $25m towards business consultancy support, part of which will go towards supporting businesses through the national Regional Business Partner Network (RBP).

As the West Coast partner for the RBP network, DWC is busy helping businesses access tailored specialist support related to things like business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, HR and staffing issues, and health and wellness.

Since the lockdown started, we have been working directly with over 240 local businesses to make sure they are accessing the different forms of support available. Our staff are still busy reaching out to help more businesses.

As we prepare to enter our fourth week in lockdown, we are also thinking ahead to what a recovery from the COVID-19 crisis might look like for the West Coast.

With border restrictions and controls likely to be in place for some time to come, the impact of COVID-19 could, in some respects, reshape our regional economy.

We are working closely with key stakeholders on a number of initiatives (some are outlined below) to help the West Coast economy prepare for its eventual rebound.

The Prime Minister has stated that we won’t be moving out of Alert Level 4 early. Cabinet will make its decision on 20 April on what the next steps will be.

A shift down to Alert Level 3 will still present significant restrictions though. On Thursday, the PM will provide more details on what this will look like for businesses.

Businesses should be using this time to prepare for a possible reopening under different scenarios. This could include looking at whether you can work with social distancing, can the Ministry of Health contact trace all your employees and customers and will you need any PPE.

The impact of the lockdown has caused significant issues for many in our business community. So now is also the time for businesses to make sure they are utilising all available support.

There are various forms of assistance available to help Coast businesses – whether through DWC itself, our partner organisations, the banks and the Government.

Thank-you to all who have contacted us, and we encourage you to continue reaching out for support and to keep us updated on your situation, so we can continue advocating for you.

Media Release: 15 April 2020

Unprecedented times for our economy

The last few weeks have been unprecedented. The impact of the lockdown has turned our economy upside down, causing significant cashflow issues for many in our business community.

At DWC we are looking at what we can do to help support businesses through this difficult time. If your business is experiencing cashflow issues at present, but will be viable post-lockdown, get in touch with us so we can discuss your specific situation.

With the lockdown, we estimate that around 50 percent of our workforce are still able to work in some capacity - whether remotely or as ‘essential workers’. However, this leaves 8,114 Coasters who under current circumstances can’t work at all.

The inability to operate and uncertainty of when business will return to normal is obviously very challenging. And this is coming on the back of an already difficult financial year for many businesses, which saw disruptions from the Waiho Bridge washout, the Omoto slip and the partial closure of SH6 in December.

We are working closely with businesses to make sure they are accessing all the available forms of support.

The Ministry of Social Development is doing a great job with the Wage Subsidy scheme, which many Coast businesses have already accessed. These subsidies provide some much-needed breathing room, but we recognise for some businesses this isn’t enough to see them through the immediate situation.

Some of the businesses we are talking with are already seeking professional advice from accountants and lawyers, and looking at cashflow forecasting to determine how long they can last with no income and whether their business will be viable in the future or whether they will have to close shop permanently.

Others are beginning to think ahead on how they can rebuild and relaunch once the lockdown is removed.

We strongly encourage businesses experiencing immediate cashflow issues to contact us to discuss their circumstances. Our staff are also busy reaching out to local businesses to offer support. We are here to help.

Media Release: 8 April 2020

COVID-19 business update

As we enter our second week of lockdown, many of us are adjusting to the new normal of working remotely, while others have been unable to work in any capacity.

Based on insights from Infometrics and Stats NZ, we are speculating that out of our 16,263 strong workforce, 8,149 Coasters are still working in some form - either working remotely or as ‘essential workers’.

This means under lockdown around half of our workforce is currently unable to work in any capacity. The worst hit sectors are Accommodation and Food services with a possible 1,767 people currently unable to work, Construction: 1,452, Manufacturing: 925 and Retail trade: 769.

For many Coast businesses this inability to operate is having a dramatic toll - not just on their business but on their wellbeing.

At DWC, our staff are busy working with local businesses through their current needs and exploring how we can more directly support businesses through this difficult time. We are also working on strategies and projects to get the Coast economy back on its feet once the lockdown is lifted.

In other news, the West Coast will be receiving Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support of $2.08m to run a Te Ara Mahi project - ‘The West Coast Regional Employment Scheme’ which will be run with support from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). The government recognises the need for continued support for the region and the Provincial Development Unit has been instrumental in getting this project across the line.

This will be an employment and training programme targeted at skill shortage areas across the Coast. The programme will fit West Coast businesses seeking to create new positions with specific training tailored to jobs, as well as the upskilling of existing employees to new positions. Under the scheme businesses will be able to apply for subsidies to help create new jobs and take on additional workers.

Another project we are working on, in conjunction with MSD and other regional development agencies, is setting up a regional employment hub to facilitate getting available workers into much-needed employment once the lockdown is lifted.

Our tourism team is also hard at work formulating a domestic tourism campaign for when travel restrictions are lifted. There is also a large piece of work to be carried out looking at the future of tourism on the West Coast and how we can adjust to a very different visitor profile in the future.

We need to ensure our economy is in the best possible position to get up and running once the lockdown is removed.

As the COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving, so too is the Government’s response to businesses. There are a number of Government support packages aimed at addressing short-term cashflow needs, with further support packages potentially in the pipeline.

Applications are now open for the Government’s Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses. And a new leave scheme for essential workers will be available from Monday.

Please let us know what you are experiencing so we can continue to advocate to Government on your behalf.

This is a very challenging time for many in our business community, but I want to reassure you the team at DWC is here to support you and advocate for you. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Our contact details remain the same: Ph: 0800 768 0140 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Release: 2 April 2020

$2.08 in PGF funding for West Coast Regional Employment Scheme

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the woman who lost her life on the West Coast yesterday.

This sad news really highlights the importance of the lockdown and drives home the message that people need to stay home and stick to their bubble to help break the chain of transmission.

The lockdown is already having a major financial impact on our business community who have been forced to close shop. But at the end of the day, this is all about saving lives. Economies can recover - lives cannot.

We need to be thinking about short- and medium-term strategies to get the West Coast economy back on its feet once the lockdown is lifted.

Towards these ends, we are working closely with Government agencies and local stakeholders on a range of potential strategies going forward.

We have just received confirmation that the West Coast will be receiving Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support of $2.08m to run a Te Ara Mahi (pathways to work) project - ‘The West Coast Regional Employment Scheme’.

This will be an employment and training programme targeted at skill shortage areas across the Coast. The programme will fit people seeking employment and training to jobs, as well as the upskilling of existing employees to new jobs. Under the scheme businesses will be able to apply for subsidies to help create new positions and take on additional workers.

These would be new positions with the employer and employees committing to jobs lasting a minimum of 18 months.

DWC will be working alongside the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) to run the programme across the region to help stimulate our economy.
The programme is based on a successful pilot scheme that was run in the Buller Region in 2016, which was jointly funded by DWC and MSD and delivered with the assistance of the Buller District Council.

More details about the West Coast Regional Employment Scheme will released at a later date. This is just one example of some of the work going on behind the scenes to ensure our economy is best placed to recover after the lockdown ends.

For short-term cashflow assistance, look into applying to the Government’s Wage Subsidy Scheme, or talk to your bank about the Mortgage Holiday and Business Finance Guarantee Schemes. These are Government initiatives set up to help business get through the immediate challenges they are facing.

If you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at DWC. Stay safe.

Media Release: 30 March 2020

COVID-19 regional employment hub being set up

As the country goes into lockdown, the team at DWC continues to operate remotely and have good systems in place to manage inquiries from our business contacts.

There are a number of resources available for Coast businesses to tap into for support during this unprecedented time. If you haven’t looked into the Government’s Employer Wage Subsidy package, do so. This is a great resource that can help relieve immediate cashflow issues and protect employment on the Coast.

Our staff have been busy talking local businesses through the application process, and there have been some questions arising regarding eligibility for these schemes. We are working closely with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), and other Government agencies, and have been passing on your questions for greater clarification.

MSD, while under extreme pressure, are doing a great job. As they iron out the kinks in the system, they have been providing greater clarification on many of the issues being raised. If you have any questions or queries about the Wage Subsidy scheme get in touch with DWC and we’ll do our best to help you.

In conjunction with MSD and other regional development agencies, a regional employment hub dubbed a “war room” is currently being set up that will be a resource for both businesses and affected workers.

The hub will facilitate getting available workers into much-needed employment once the lockdown is removed. The details of this will be made available to all our business contacts shortly.

We have also had a number of businesses and private individuals contact us with the offer of accommodation for those struggling to self-isolate. It’s great to see this kind of community spirit. This information has been passed on to local civil defence who are liaising with local police to ensure those in need are taken care of.

It is heartening to see our community uniting and staying strong during this unprecedented time.

If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at DWC. We are here to help you. This will also enable us to better understand the needs of our business community, so we can provide Government agencies with regular updates to ensure they can continue developing responses that are appropriate to our changing landscape.

Media Release: 26 March 2020

Government's business support packages offer some relief

New Zealand is heading into unchartered territory with the country shifting to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and going into lockdown at 11:59pm tonight.

This will mean all ‘non-essential’ businesses must close for the next four weeks – at a minimum. To see the current list of essential businesses that are allowed to remain open visit www.covid-19.govt.nz, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for clarification about your specific business.

The staff at Development West Coast, like many others, are adjusting to the new normal of working remotely. Most of our team have been reassigned to assist West Coast businesses deal with the current economic impacts of COVID-19, and to prepare for the recovery stage – to get our economy back on its feet once the shutdown ends.

After spending hours every day talking with local businesses, the consistent message coming through is that, while as resilient as ever, many in our business community are hurting financially and are concerned about the long-term impact this situation may have for them.

Given all this uncertainty, it is encouraging to see the Government willing to pump money into the economy with the announcement of some bold relief packages.
The recently expanded $9.3b Wage Subsidy scheme provides much-needed breathing space for some businesses, and work security for many of our 16,263 strong workforce. If your business hasn’t already, look into applying for these wage subsidies.

On the Coast we have around 50 businesses with over 21 employees who previously weren’t eligible for wage subsidies for all of their staff. The recent changes mean the subsidies should now cover their entire workforce.

With many businesses out of operation for at least four weeks, cash flow issues are one of the key concerns we are hearing. Yesterday’s announcement that the Government, in partnership with retail banks, will be implementing a $6.25 billion Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses provides some reassurance here.

This scheme will provide short-term credit to cushion the financial distress for our business community and hopefully help protect further jobs during this unprecedented time.

The package is proposed to include a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19.

According to Finance Minister Grant Robertson, the scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to businesses with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years and expected to be provided by the banks at competitive, transparent rates.

The banks will be announcing the finer details about what support they can offer over the coming days.

While these measures don’t take away all the pain, they do provide some reassurance and will help see some of our businesses through this crisis.

If your business is being impacted by COVID-19, remember there are a number of people, organisations and resources you can tap into for support. If you need any business assistance during these challenging times, don’t hesitate to contact the team at DWC – we are here to help.

Media Release: 25 March 2020

Mortgage holiday and $6.25b Business Finance Guarantee Scheme announced 

We are all scrambling to keep up with the evolving COVID-19 developments and the ramifications they will have for our businesses.

NZ is now at Alert Level 3 (Restrict) and will be shifting to Alert Level 4 (Eliminate) at midnight on Wednesday. Now that community transmission has been confirmed, the country will be in lockdown to contain the spread. Alert Level 4 is expected to continue for a minimum of four weeks at this stage.

Under Alert Level 4 all non-essential businesses must close. This includes bars, restaurants, cinemas, playgrounds.

Essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand. This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.

Visit COVID-19.govt.nz for the list of essential businesses (Note: this list will evolve over time).

If you haven’t already talked to your bank, we encourage you to open lines of communication with your bank and have a plan in place.

To help our business clients through this time we are reducing our commercial finance interest rates by 1% for those on a fixed rate. We are also getting in contact with all our commercial finance clients over the next few days to assess their situation and see what assistance we can provide.

Yesterday the Government also announced they will be increasing the reach of the employer subsidy package – making many more businesses eligible. The overall employer subsidy package has been raised from $5.1b to $9.3b. If you haven’t applied for this yet, we encourage you to look into it, as the shift in alert levels will likely impact all West Coast businesses.

Today further announcements were made regarding a mortgage holiday scheme offered by retail banks. There will be a "six-month mortgage repayment holiday to homeowners whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19". The exact criteria will be announced by the banks in the coming days.

The Government and the banks will also implement a $6.25b Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy.

The package is proposed to include a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been affected by COVID-19.

The scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum. The loans will be for a maximum of three years and expected to be provided by the banks at competitive, transparent rates.

We are waiting to hear further details about these new developments but will keep you updated.

DWC’s physical office may now be closed, but our staff are working remotely and are only a phone call or email away. If you need any assistance don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 768 0140 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Release: 24 March 2020

 

COVID-19 DWC business update

Things are changing by the day. The country is moving into unprecedented territory in response to COVID-19. 

New Zealand now has 102 confirmed cases. While there are no confirmed cases on the Coast yet, many of our businesses have already been hit hard financially. Things are only going to become more difficult with new restrictions and the cancellation of the TranzAlpine service and closure of DOC huts.

The Government has announced a four-stage alert system for Covid-19, with New Zealand moving up to alert level 2 – ‘Reduce Contact’.

This means COVID-19 is contained but the risk of community transmission is growing, and human contact must be further reduced. People over-70 have been told to stay at home, everyone needs to limit domestic travel, and workplaces should implement plans to reduce person-to-person contact.

Looking at what is unfolding across the world, these are prudent steps that are necessary to help limit the spread. To reduce our person-to-person contact, DWC will be closing its Greymouth office from today.

Our team will be working remotely and are fully committed to supporting our clients and business community through this challenging period. We remain only a phone call, video call or email away. 

To help our business clients through this time we are reducing our commercial finance interest rates by 1% for those on a fixed rate.  We are also getting in contact with all our commercial finance clients to assess their situation and offer support where it’s needed. 

If your business is being impacted by COVID-19, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you.

It’s also important you talk to your bank, landlord, suppliers and accountant to get in front of cashflow issues early. And contact your insurance provider to see if you are eligible to receive any business interruption insurance. 

After taking these steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, you will be eligible to apply for Covid-19 wage subsidies or leave payments through Work and Income.

We are hearing from local businesses that the application process has been relatively simple, with some already receiving payment. 

However, there are some questions and grey areas that are coming up. Let us know if you experience any hurdles while applying. We are advocating for Coast businesses and working closely with the Ministry of Social Development to get greater clarification on any issues that arise.

At the end of the day, these support packages are there to help impacted businesses. Read the criteria and declaration information carefully, answer the form genuinely, and remember there are many people and organisations here to help.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has indicated there will likely be more announcements soon about economic support for medium and large businesses who are not adequately covered in the current support packages.

In order to protect confidence in our banking system the Reserve Bank have announced a program to purchase $30B of NZ Government Bonds over the next year, a process known as quantitative easing. This follows similar moves around the world by other central banks.  ANZ Bank have commented that the size of this program exceeded expectations and will go a long way in ensuring confidence in our banking system is retained and ensuring that financial markets retain their liquidity.   

We will also be reaching out to local businesses who are able to supply products and services in support of the West Coast’s response to Covid-19. We’ve identified that there are local businesses who are manufacturing products and services that will be in increased demand nationally or even globally, as well as products and services that can assist Coasters who are physically isolating. Watch this space.

Media Release: 23 March 2020

DWC encorauges impacted businesses to tap into COVID-19 support

Development West Coast (DWC) recommends local businesses affected by the wider impact of COVID-19 to tap into the various forms of support available.

“We are hearing loud and clear from our business community about the financial and emotional impact COVID-19 is having on their businesses,” says DWC chief executive Heath Milne.

“Many are already struggling with cashflow issues and the challenge of paying staff.”

“It’s important you talk to your bank, landlord and suppliers to see what options are available to get in front of cash flow issues early before they worsen. Another option is financial support available from the Government.”

The Government’s recent $12.1b COVID-19 relief package includes $5.1b set aside for a wage subsidy scheme.

“We encourage businesses who have been impacted to approach DWC for any assistance or clarification on how to tap into this support.

“The Government’s wage subsidy package will give businesses much needed breathing space and the ability to retain staff as the broader financial impact of the virus is felt.”

“The scheme also covers the self-employed, which is very important for the West Coast as 18.4% of our businesses are self-employed,” says Mr Milne.

The wage subsidies are available for business in all sectors and regions that can show a 30% decline in revenue for any SINGLE month between January and June 2020 compared to the year before (including projected revenue). This could include any month between January and June - for example, March 2020 compared to February 2019.

 “Many local businesses experienced significant revenue disruptions in 2019 due to abnormal events - like the Waiho Bridge washout. We are in conversation with the Ministry of Social Development to ensure those who experienced these revenue anomalies in 2019 won’t be adversely affected when comparing months while applying for wage subsidies.

“Officials have acknowledged these issues and have reassured us that the genuine intent of the application is what is important. We await further clarification around this.”

If eligible for wage subsidies, employers would be paid $585.80 per week for full-time staff and $350 for part-time. Payments are capped at $150,000 per business. They will be paid in a lump sum. The support will be available for 12 weeks.

Businesses must have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. These steps could include activating their business continuity plan and seeking advice and support from DWC as the West Coast’s Regional Business Partner or other professional service providers such as banks or accountants.

The businesses must also make their best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period.

“If you need any assistance applying for the wage subsidy scheme, DWC is here to help you,” says Mr Milne.

Apply online for the wage subsidy: www.workandincome.govt.nz

Contact DWC for any assistance or advice: 0800 768 0140 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Release: 19 March 2020

DWC welcomes Government relief package

Development West Coast Chief Executive Heath Milne welcomes the Government’s $12.1 billion relief package for the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The COVID-19 travel restrictions to Aotearoa New Zealand are already hurting tourist operators on the Coast, with more and more cancellations coming through. This is all on the back of recent major events like the Waiho Bridge washout, Omoto slip and the closure of SH6 in December,” Mr Milne says.

Tourism is one of the West Coast’s main economic drivers, contributing around 15% to Gross Domestic Product and employing 3,657 West Coasters – around 23% of our workforce.

“Tourism operators have been some of the first to be impacted by COVID-19, but it is also important to remember they are not the only businesses to be affected,” Mr Milne says.

“The Government has acted decisively with the $12.1b COVID-19 relief package. It’s great to see an initial support package that will quickly get funds where they are needed to protect jobs. The 12 week’s support will provide businesses with some much-needed breathing space.”

The $5.1b wage subsidy scheme will pay employers up to $150,000 per business over the next 12 weeks to keep employees on, if they can demonstrate a 30% decline in revenue for any month between January and June when compared to 2019.

“We are working closely with the Ministry of Social Development and local businesses who have been affected by extreme events in 2019, like the Waiho Bridge washout. We need to ensure they are not adversely affected by any of the current criteria. We hope to have further clarification around this soon.

“The outbreak is having a significant impact on our local economy – we are in for a long hard road. Once the immediate public health issues are over, we need to be prepared for the recovery. DWC and West Coast businesses will start to plan for this as soon as the immediate threat passes.

“We recommend any business looking for advice on what support is available to contact DWC. We are here to help you during this challenging time. We are also here to advocate for West Coast businesses.

“To ensure we are well-informed on how the COVID-19 situation is impacting West Coast businesses we are also conducting a short survey. The survey will take less than 5 minutes to complete and will enable us to provide an evidence-based view to Government so that appropriate responses can be organised and delivered.

Complete the survey online at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID-19WC

Contact DWC on 0800 768 0140 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Release: 18 March 2020

COVID-19

Following the evolving situation over the weekend Development West Coast had a strategy meeting this morning on COVID-19.

As the regional economic development agency, DWC is taking a lead role in liaising with central government and their relevant agencies about assistance that will be available to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

We await further details of government support packages and how to access them. We anticipate this will be confirmed over the coming days.

We are here to help our businesses get through this challenging time with resources to support you and advise about multi-agency responses. DWC will be the point of contact for all local businesses and industry.

Signup with us via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can keep you up to date with the latest information and potential support as it becomes available.

Latest news about government support is available at: www.business.govt.nz/news/coronavirus-information-for-businesses/

Media Release: 16 March 2020

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

 

Development West Coast Announces Appointment of New CEO

The Chairman of Development West Coast John Sturgeon announced today that Joseph Thomas has been appointed to the role of CEO commencing 10 March 2014.

Joseph Thomas is currently the Christchurch based CEO of New Zealand Institute of Management Southern Incorporated. Previous roles have included working as a Business Consultant for Polson Higgs, CEO of the Chatham Island Enterprise Trust and, prior to tertiary studies, Skipper of a cray fishing vessel based in the Chatham Islands.

Joseph holds a Bachelor of Management Studies from Waikato University, is a Chartered Accountant, an Associate Fellow of The New Zealand Institute of Management, and holds several governance roles including his recent Ministerial appointment as a member of the West Coast District Health Board.

"I am confident that Joseph has the skills, energy and experience we need to ensure that the Trust continues its positive momentum. He has the ability to think strategically along with strong practical knowledge and understanding of how to harness new and existing economic development opportunities in order to generate sustainable economic benefits for the West Coast," says John Sturgeon, Chair, Development West Coast.

Joseph will be moving to the West Coast, along with his wife Shelley when he commences work in March 2014, and he is looking forward to being part of the West Coast community.

(01 December 2013)


 

 

Leadership Graduates Already Making Their Mark in Boardroom

The West Coast's pool of people with leadership and governance experience has had another boost with the graduation of a second wave of business leaders from the West Coast Leadership and Governance Programme.

DWC launched the programme in partnership with Westland Milk Products in 2011 after recognising the need to develop the West Coast's next generation of leaders. Participants are sponsored by local businesses and take part in an intensive 14-month programme learning and studying good governance and leadership.

DWC's Chief Operating Officer Warren Gilbertson says 13 business people graduated from the second intake of the programme last night.

"As the second group to pass through this programme we now have a group of around 25 people ready to build up the layers of leadership and governance experience in our communities. These people are already becoming entrenched in our community organisations and businesses," he says.

Of the 13 new graduates six have already taken up positions on boards of various West Coast businesses and community groups. Stephen Lowe was the General Manager of WestReef when he began the programme but has since been promoted to CEO of Buller Holdings, WestReef's parent company.

"It is a great programme which gives participants confidence that when they get on those boards they are able to contribute because they know what is expected of them. The tutors are experienced business people who came in and talked us through real life examples of issues that they were dealing with which was invaluable," he says.

"It is really positive that DWC and West Coast businesses continue to support it and make it happen. One of the best aspects is the networking opportunities it gives you to interact with a lot of like-minded Coasters. As a group we would like to continue working together to help the community in economic development type roles".

Companies taking part in this second intake of the programme were Westland Milk Products, DOC, Hokitika Automotive, Buller Electricity, FT Dooley Ltd, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Grey District Council, Buller Holdings, Martin & Co Mitre 10 Westport and CMP Kokiri.

Mr Gilbertson says a third West Coast Leadership and Governance Programme will begin in 2014 and already there is strong interest from local businesses to participate. Businesses who are interested in this programme should contact Nelia Heersink at DWC.

(29 November 2013)


 

 

New Mines Rescue Training Centre Opens

A new training centre for the Mines Rescue Trust funded by Development West Coast (DWC) has today been opened at Rapahoe, near Greymouth.

In the wake of the 2010 Pike River Mine tragedy DWC donated $1 million to a Pike River Distribution Fund. Fund administrators allocated the money to the Mines Rescue Trust to establish this multi-purpose training facility.

The new facility will be known as the Development West Coast Mines Rescue Training Centre and was officially opened at 4pm by DWC Chair John Sturgeon and Mines Rescue Trust Chair Dave Stewart. Cobden-Runanga Anglican Vicar Tim Mora blessed the building.

Mr Sturgeon says it will be a world-class facility for both the Mines Rescue Trust and the West Coast community.

"The West Coast has a long history of mining accidents and this will be a fitting tribute to the many men who have lost their lives working in mines. We anticipate it being widely used by the mining industry and the facility will also be available to other West Coast industry and community groups," he says.

The 350sqm building includes three seminar rooms and office space as well as an underground training tunnel that allows for real life simulated training in limited visibility environments.

It will enable Mines Rescue to continue to provide high quality training in both underground and surface extraction as well as training for other industries that work in confined spaces, with breathing apparatus, and in gas awareness and detection.

New Zealand Mines Rescue Service General Manager Trevor Watts says the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River Mine Tragedy made recommendations for broad changes to mining regulations including training.

"As a result of the recommendations there will be a period of more intensive training required for those in the industry, from mine workers to managers and mining officials so the opening of the new facility is very timely. We have also had interest from other industry groups about using the centre and encourage them and other community groups to use the facility," says Mr Watts.

Greymouth company John Griffin Builders constructed the DWC Mines Rescue Training Centre.

(3 November 2013)


 

 

Winners of 2013 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards announced

Greymouth Engineering company E-Quip Engineering has been named the supreme winner at the 2013 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards.
E-Quip Engineering won both the Crombie Lockwood Leading Light Trades/Manufacturing/Primary Producer Award and the Greymouth Star Leading Light Super Nova Award.
The winners were announced at a black tie gala event at Shantytown on Friday 11 October. Development West Coast Chair John Sturgeon says he congratulates Equip Engineering and all the category winners who are:

Duncan Cotterill – Leading Light Enterprise Award
WestReef Services Ltd, Westport

PWC – Leading Light Retail Award
Greymouth Showcase Jewellers, Greymouth

NZIM, Southern – Leading Light Service Award
Riley Build, Hokitika

Crombie Lockwood – Leading Light Trades/Manufacturing/Primary Producer Award

E-Quip Engineering Ltd, Greymouth

Tourism West Coast – Leading Light Tourism Award

West Coast Wildlife Centre, Franz Josef Glacier

Westland Milk Products – Leading Light Community/Charitable Organisation Award
West Coast Riding for the Disabled, Hokitika

ACC – Leading Light Workplace Health and Safety Award
MBC Contracting Ltd, Westport

Hairy Lemon and The I.T. Team - Leading Light Innovation Award
MBC Contracting Ltd, Westport

Radio Network - Leading Light Rising Star Award
West Coast Wildlife Centre, Franz Josef Glacier

Greymouth Star Leading Light Super Nova Award
E-Quip Engineering Ltd, Greymouth

This is the second year E-Quip Engineering has had success at the awards with the company winning the Construction / Engineering / Manufacturing award in 2012. The judges said the company demonstrated it had the ability to move with the market and that it understood its niche markets which was proved by the growth and diversity of the business.

"E-Quip Engineering have carried on last year's great work and been rewarded by winning the Super Nova award. The company employs Coasters and does business with the rest of the world, it is a great example of how West Coast businesses need to spread their wings to survive," says DWC Chair John Sturgeon.

This year two new awards were introduced to celebrate innovation and new business on the West Coast. DWC CEO John Chang says the winners of these new awards should be proud of their achievements.

"Innovation is fundamental to the West Coast economy and there was plenty of evidence in the entries of innovation at every level and in different industries. The new Rising Star award recognises the smaller players and the winner of this category has the opportunity to go on to be a significant contributor to the West Coast business community," says Dr Chang.

Mr Sturgeon says the 2013 awards were a wonderful celebration of business on the West Coast and would not happen without the support of sponsors. On behalf of DWC's Trustees he acknowledged the hard work put in by DWC staff, in particular Event Manager Karen Mercer and colleague Helen Wilson, to ensure the night was a success.

"All credit to them that this has been such a successful event for three years now. I would also like to acknowledge the support of the sponsors and to thank Shantytown staff for ensuring everyone had a wonderful night," he says.

(12 October 2013)


 

Business Awards Finalists Announced

Sixteen businesses, from Westport to South Westland, have today been named as finalists in the 2013 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards.

DWC CEO John Chang says he would like to congratulate all the finalists as it is a wonderful achievement to make the top three in each award category.

"It is really encouraging to see so many businesses from different fields participating, the West Coast business community has really embraced the awards which is wonderful," he says.

This year all the finalists will also be considered for two new awards, the Hairy Lemon and The IT Team Leading Light Innovation Award and the Radio Network Leading Light Rising Star Award. The culmination of the awards night at Shantytown will be the announcement of the overall Grey Star Leading Light Super Nova Award.

"These new awards are very exciting as they highlight the excellent skill-set that exists on the West Coast. The business awards are a vehicle to demonstrate and highlight our innovation to the outside world and also an opportunity for the business community to celebrate success together," says Dr Chang.

A team of independent judges, from a wide range of backgrounds and including some of the Gold Sponsors, spent three weeks assessing award entries. Each judge disclosed any conflicts of interest that they had and worked independently of other judges and their individual decisions were collated to determine the finalists.

Event Manager Karen Mercer says she is delighted with the calibre of both the entries and the judges.

"We received entries from the length and breadth of the West Coast and were very pleased to see that every category had good numbers competing with

many entering the Leading Light Business Excellence Awards for the second time," she says.

"All finalists were excited to learn that their business had been selected. They are looking forward to the gala event and sharing the celebrations with all finalists and the business community."

Dr Chang says he would like to thank all the sponsors for their support of the awards and commitment to the West Coast region. The platinum sponsor is the Greymouth Star. Gold sponsors are Westland Milk Products, ACC, Duncan Cotterill, NZ Institute of Management (Southern), Tourism West Coast, PWC, Crombie Lockwood, The Radio Network and Hairy Lemon and The IT Team. Silver sponsors are Buddle Findlay, ANZ, Monteiths, New World Greymouth and BDO. CMP Kokiri, The Heartland Hotel and Fox Glacier Guides have provided in kind sponsorship.

Judges will now spend another three weeks determining the winners of each of the seven categories plus the three additional awards. Winners will be announced at the West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards gala event at Shantytown on Friday 11 October 2013.

The finalists in the 2013 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence
Awards are:

Duncan Cotterill – Leading Light Enterprise Award
• MBC Contracting Ltd
• WestReef Services Ltd
• DOC – Franz Josef Waiau & South Westland Weheka areas

PWC – Leading Light Retail Award
• Greymouth Showcase Jewellers
• Styliz Hair Salon
• Lake Brunner Service Centre Limited

NZIM, Southern – Leading Light Service Award
• Pure Beauty and Massage
• Hahana Day Spa
• Riley Build

Crombie Lockwood – Leading Light Trades/Manufacturing/Primary
Producer Award
• CYB Construction Limited
• E-Quip Engineering Ltd
• Riley Build

Tourism West Coast – Leading Light Tourism Award
• West Coast Wildlife Centre
• Shantytown Heritage Park
• Hahana Day Spa

Westland Milk Products – Leading Light Community/Charitable
Organisation Award

• The Buller Gorge Marathon Trust
• Westport Kindergarten Association
• West Coast Riding for the Disabled

ACC – Leading Light Workplace Health and Safety Award
• MBC Contracting Ltd
• WestReef Services Ltd
• Westport Kindergarten Association

(5 September 2013)


 

DWC CEO Resigns

Development West Coast's CEO John Chang has announced he is to resign from his role with the Trust. Dr Chang will step down as CEO at the end of November however he has agreed to a request by the DWC board to assist with the transition to new management until 31 March 2014.

DWC Chairman John Sturgeon says Dr Chang told the board of his decision yesterday and it has received his resignation with sadness.

"The role of CEO is going to be a difficult one to fill because of the skills John Chang has brought to DWC. He has given the Trust excellent direction and will be leaving DWC in a good financial position. Personally, I have enjoyed working with him and believe we worked very well as a team as our skills were very complementary," says Mr Sturgeon.

Dr Chang says he has decided to leave DWC to be closer to family in Auckland as he has spent the last five years commuting to the West Coast.

"I began my role at a time when DWC was going through interesting times and I have worked extremely hard with the team to build DWC's credibility, performance and public confidence. I did not want to leave with the job half done but now believe that with the help of the Trustees, staff and community I have achieved my goals for DWC," says Dr Chang.

"I feel extremely privileged to have had the opportunity to experience life on the West Coast. During my time with DWC I have met some wonderful people and thank the board for their guidance. In particular I would like to acknowledge the mentoring I have received from Chair John Sturgeon with whom I have had a close working relationship".

Dr Chang joined DWC in January 2009 with a strong executive management background. He previously led Canterprise Ltd, the University of Canterbury's commercialisation company, from 2004-08 before establishing Jardoo Investments in early 2008.

DWC will now begin the process of recruiting a new CEO.

(3 September 2013)


 

DWC Sponsors West Coast Amateur Sports Trust

Development West Coast is pleased to announce it is the new sponsor of the West Coast Amateur Sports Trust. Formally known as the Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust, it will now be called the Development West Coast Amateur Sports Trust.

DWC CEO John Chang says with the exit of Solid Energy as a sponsor the Trust was struggling to find a funder and DWC was happy to support the organisation.

"Given DWC was already supporting the Trust through our community funding we were pleased to step in to ensure it can continue its excellent work. Organisations like this are needed for the well-being of a healthy community and we are proud to be involved in ensuring young West Coast sports people have the same opportunities as their counterparts in larger centres," says Dr Chang.

DWC already funds the Sports Trust $10,000 annually for the Sports Trust to distribute to recipients. This new agreement sees DWC providing a separate $5,000 sponsorship and gaining naming rights to the organisation in return.

DWC Amateur Sports Trust Chair Chips Robinson says the Trust is thrilled DWC has stepped in to help them.

"It's pretty hard out there to get sponsorship so we are really pleased DWC has helped us out. This will benefit promising athletes from Karamea to Haast," he says.

The DWC Amateur Sports Trust helps young West Coast athletes achieve in their chosen sport.

"We look at their aspirations and what they can achieve. We have some really good youngsters out there and they put the West Coast on the map and make us proud," says Mr Robinson.

The Trust has helped athletes like Greymouth bowler Ethan Kelleher who has used the funding to attend training camps and then gone on to be selected for the New Zealand U18 side which beat Australia in a test series. Hokitika javelin thrower Holly Robinson was helped to travel to London to represent New Zealand in the Paralympic games and in July she won a silver medal in the F46 class Javelin at the International Paralympic Athletics World Championships in France with a personal best throw of 34.37 metres. Young Hokitika swimmer George Schroder is another Coast athlete the Trust has helped and who is showing excellent promise.

(2 September 2013)


 

"Solid" Year for DWC Results in Net Asset Growth

Development West Coast's annual report for the year ended 31 March 2013 shows the Trust has had a positive financial year with total assets of $122m, up from $118m the year before.

DWC Chairman John Sturgeon and CEO John Chang released the annual report at a public meeting in Hokitika this evening. DWC posted a total income of $11m (including unrealised gains) and taking into account expenses and community distributions made a net profit for the year of $5.4m.

Mr Sturgeon says it has been a year marked with steady progress but DWC's measure of success should not be limited to its positive balance sheet.

"I believe DWC has done well to consolidate its financial position but DWC's staff have also been working quietly behind the scenes with a number of West Coast businesses that have been struggling in this difficult economic climate, and Trustees are pleased that many core business services have successfully been managed by the staff over the past year," he says.

In recognition of its contribution to assisting businesses on the West Coast, DWC was the proud winner of the 2012 AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards (Not for Profit), a nationwide business awards event hosted by the Auckland University of Technology, Business Faculty.

"It's great for the staff that their hard work has being recognised in such a prestigious way," says Mr Sturgeon.

DWC CEO John Chang says it is pleasing to see DWC's assets continue to grow. Since 2001 the Trust has generated $108m in income and committed $50m cash into our local communities.

"Through prudent financial management and with the assistance of our investment advisors, DWC's current balance sheet is strong and well placed to further assist our businesses in the 2014 financial year. Preserving existing jobs was our priority during the year. DWC has the ability to strategically apply the Investment Fund to further explore new and exciting technologies and processes that could offer critical commercial advantages to the West Coast businesses," says Dr Chang.

Priorities for the 2014 financial year include working closely with West Coast businesses, local and central government agencies, expanding the "DWC Business Toolbox" and investigating opportunities to attract external investment and new businesses to the Coast with the ultimate outcome being the promotion of new jobs.

(27 August 2013)


 

Building Company Wins for Early Bird Awards Entry

Entries are already arriving for the 2013 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards with Hokitika building company Riley Build winning an early entry prize package draw.

A week before entries close nominations have already been received for the Hairy Lemon & the IT Team Innovation Award. This new award recognises an innovation that has made a significant difference to a business' productivity, modus operandi, profitability or performance.

Businesses can nominate themselves or another business for the innovation award and Development West Coast CEO John Chang says it is encouraging to see nominations coming in already.

"Early indications are that the level of innovation that exists on the Coast is really high and that is genuinely quite exciting. We need to promote that a high degree of creativity and innovation exists here on the West Coast and we have to market it to the rest of New Zealand and the world," says Dr Chang.

As the winners of the early bird draw, Riley Build has won a special Breakaway Package including two nights' accommodation for two at the Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier and a guided glacier walk from Fox Glacier Guides. We acknowledge the generous contribution by the sponsors for these two wonderful prizes.

Riley Build's Kate Riley says it was great to win the draw and the company is now looking forward to learning whether it will make the award finals.

"The awards have already provided an opportunity to review the Riley Build operating systems and focus on our team's strengths while acknowledging our weaknesses. It would be brilliant to reach the finals, not just for our team but all our subcontractors and suppliers who work with us to maintain a high level of service," she says.

Businesses can still enter the awards until 5pm Friday 26 July. Once entries are received a panel of nine high profile South Island business people will undertake initial judging with finalists announced on 30 August 2013.

DWC's Helen Wilson says it is brilliant to see entries coming in early.

"What a great effort we are seeing from West Coast businesses already, especially in nominating businesses for the new innovation award. We will now be contacting those businesses to make sure they are happy to be nominated and to ensure they get an entry form to us," she says.

For more information on the awards and entry forms go to www.leadinglight.org.nz.

(22 July 2013)


 

West Coast Primary Schools Technology Savvy

West Coast primary schools are now some of the most technology savvy in the country after a nearly $500,000 investment in new computer equipment.

As part of the third year of Development West Coast's Computers in Schools programme ten primary schools have recently received $138,000 worth of new ICT equipment.

In the last three years 31 schools have spent $461,000 (incl gst) on new classroom technology including 265 new computers, 135 tablets, upgraded wireless networks, digital cameras, interactive whiteboards and data projectors. DWC provided $345,000 of the funding and the schools provided the rest as well as committing to ongoing technology plans.

DWC Chair John Sturgeon says DWC is proud to have been involved in the Computers in Schools programme.

"It is great that West Coast kids are now in a position where they are ahead of the game when it comes to technology. Our kids deserve the same opportunities those in other regions get," he says.

It is expected that by June 2014 most West Coast schools will have the ability to be connected to ultrafast broadband. ICT facilitator Eric Martini says as a result of DWC's programme West Coast primary schools are now in a position to use ultrafast broadband to the fullest.

"All of the West Coast primary schools now have up-to-date technology and as a region we must be one of the most connected and up to date in the country," he says.

The Computers in Schools project came about after an audit found 74% of West Coast schools had computers that were four to six years old, compared to the national average of three years. Eric Martini, the ICT Management Committee and West Coast Primary Principals came to DWC with a proposal to upgrade ICT equipment throughout West Coast schools.

DWC trustee Frank Dooley visited Westport North School today to view the children using their new iPads.

"DWC believes education is at the heart of economic development. This project is making a difference to young people's learning which is a fantastic result," says Mr Dooley.

Deputy Principal of Westport North School, Cath O'Loughlin, says the school has been able to purchase an iPad for every teacher meaning each class, from Year 0 to Year 7, now have two at their disposal.

"The children are using the iPads for maths and literacy as there are lots of games which practice the skills and strategies they need. They don't even realise they are learning," she says.

"Teachers have been given days for professional development around e-blended learning and even though it is unchartered territory they are enjoying using the new technology, especially as the iPads are so easy to use".

An independent review of the first year of the Computers in Schools project has found students are more engaged in learning and have increased motivation and engagement since the introduction of new technology.

(15 May 2013)


 

More Chances to Shine at 2013 Business Awards

The 2013 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards will include more award categories and a streamlined entry process, making it easier for small and medium sized businesses to enter and win.

A new innovation award will also give the local business community an opportunity to nominate a business or individuals they believe have made a significant difference to the West Coast business scene.

DWC CEO John Chang says the changes have come about as a result of feedback from a survey DWC ran after last year's awards.

"There was a perception that it was unfair that smaller businesses were competing with large organisations so we now have separate categories for small and large businesses. We didn't want smaller businesses to give up before they even start the entry process," he says.

"Overall the feedback is that the business community is strongly supportive of the awards and really enjoy the gala evening at Shantytown. This is shown by the excellent level of corporate sponsorship the event attracts," says Dr Chang.

The changes will mean small and medium sized businesses will have separate categories and businesses with more than 30 employees will be eligible to enter a new enterprise award. There will also be a new rising star award and all businesses will be eligible to enter the health and safety category.

Dr Chang says he is very excited about the new Leading Light Innovation Award. "We are looking to reward an individual, group or business that has done something out of the ordinary which has made a big impact on a business. Entrants can be nominated by their colleagues, managers or governance board so please get your nominations to us," he says.
Event Manager Karen Mercer says this year the awards entry process has been streamlined.

"We want to encourage as many businesses as possible to enter. As well as making the entry forms simpler, DWC staff will be available to offer advice about your entry and we'll run seminars in each region during May or June to offer advice to businesses considering entering," she says.

Businesses that make the finals get excellent publicity and a free video on their business while winners enjoy additional marketing spin-offs. Victoria Boyes from Greymouth New World won the 2012 PWC Retail Award and says she would encourage every business to enter.

"The most overwhelming thing for us was how proud and thrilled the community was that we had won. The journey of entering and analysing your business is an asset in itself and an exercise everyone should do," she says.

Entry forms will be available on www.leadinglight.org.nz with entries opening on 4 June and closing on 26 July 2013. As an extra incentive all entries that are received by 10 July will go in the draw to win a fabulous travel prize. The gala dinner to announce the winners will be held at Shantytown on 11 October 2013.

(29 April 2013)


 

DWC Training Centre Set to Open Mid-Year

Construction of the new Development West Coast Training Centre being built for the Mines Rescue Trust is well underway with the facility on target to open mid-2013.

Work on the purpose built training facility at Rapahoe began in January and New Zealand Mines Rescue Service General Manager Trevor Watts says there has been excellent progress.

"This is an exciting project for both the mining community and the West Coast and is a facility that will be here for years to come. Construction started in mid-January and with the good weather the builders already have the framing up and trusses on so we are on target to open in June or July," he says.

The DWC Training Centre is being financed by DWC through the Pike River Distribution Fund. DWC donated $1 million to the fund in the wake of the 2010 tragedy in which 29 men lost their lives. Fund administers allocated the money to the Mines Rescue Trust to establish a multi-purpose training facility.

DWC Trustee and Pike River Distribution Fund chairman, Mark Lockington, says the Trust saw it as an ideal project to assist both the mining industry and local economy.

"This training centre will be a valuable asset on the Coast now and in the future. While Mines Rescue will run it we would encourage other Coast businesses to make the most of the facility," he says.

The 350sqm building includes three seminar rooms and office space as well as an underground training tunnel that allows for real life simulated training in limited visibility environments.

It will enable Mines Rescue to continue to provide high quality training in both underground and surface extraction as well as training for other industries that work in confined spaces, with breathing apparatus and in gas awareness and detection.

Despite recent high profile mine closures on the West Coast Trevor Watts says the industry is very positive about the new facility.

"There are still a lot of working mines on the Coast and as well as our core work for the mining industry we also provide external training for industries like drilling, dairying, construction, engineering and civil works. The industry is keen to be able to use the facility and it puts us in a strong position to meet their demands when mining does bounce back," he says.

Construction of the DWC training facility is being undertaken by Greymouth company John Griffin Builders. They expect to complete the build by the end of May.

(25 March 2013)

Greymouth sqaure

Statement of Investment Policy & Objectives

The broad investment objectives for DWC’s Investment Fund are to achieve a level of Income which is needed to meet the distribution requirements of DWC in any one-year and to provide for a reasonable element of capital growth. This is required to preserve the real value of the Trust Fund thereby enabling increased distribution levels over time.

More specifically, the Fund’s investment policy aims to earn a rate of return, after investment-related expenses and any taxes, that exceeds CPI increases by at least 3% pa over rolling 3 year periods. The Investment Fund’s maximum asset allocation for the reported and ensuing financial year is as follows:

Asset Class    Allocation 
 Cash     100%
 NZ Fixed Interest    90%
 Total Cash & Fixed Interest    100%

Australasian Equities   22%
Australasian Property  5%
International Equities  21%
Alternative Investments  11%
Total Equities   55%

                        


Investment Review

DWC is pleased with its rate of return from its investments for the year ended 31 March 2019. While the financial markets have been volatile, they have produced strong results for DWC’s investment portfolio.

DWC’s growth (or equity) investments returned 10.5% for the year with the Australasian equities providing the bulk of the gains.

As long-held bonds have matured, the average yield on DWC’s bond portfolio has fallen slightly to 5.9%, with the overall cash and bond return at 4.6%. This still compares favourably with the current OCR, which has remained at or below 1.75% since November 2016.

Overall, DWC earned returns of 7.0% on its Investment Fund. At the start of the financial year DWC had 50.7% of its investment funds in equity (growth) assets. At 31 March 2019, the percentage of the Investment Fund exposed to growth assets remained at 50.7%, although the value of equities held increased when compared to last year due to the overall growth of the fund.

Available for Sale investments (consisting of Fixed Interest and Alternative Assets) increased in value during the year. These movements in value are reported in “Other Comprehensive Revenue and Expense”.

DWC continues to liaise with its Investment Advisors, JBWere (NZ) Ltd and Bancorp Treasury Services Limited, and closely monitor its funds.


Key numbers and highlights

 


 

$1 Million for New Mining Training Facility on the Coast

Development West Coast is to donate $1 million to the Mines Rescue Trust to build a multi-purpose training facility at its Rapahoe base near Greymouth.

In the wake of the Pike River Mine tragedy, in which 29 men lost their lives, Development West Coast (DWC) allocated funding of $1 million to the Pike River Distribution Fund.

The Fund administers have decided to distribute the $1 million to the Mines Rescue Trust to establish a multi-purpose training facility that will assist the mining industry with their current and future training requirements.

Fund chairman and DWC Trustee, Mark Lockington, says the Trust felt it was important to recognise the severity of the disaster and its impact on families, the community and the local economy.

"DWC believes the training facility will be a real and enduring benefit to the Coast. This is a meaningful way we can assist the mining industry and the local economy," he says.

"It was hoped the Pike River Distribution Fund could be used to stimulate and develop business activity on the West Coast, especially those supporting the mining industry. We saw this training facility as an ideal way to achieve those aims."

New Zealand Mines Rescue Service General Manager Trevor Watts says he is delighted DWC has decided to fund the new facility.

"The training centre will allow us to provide the industry with a state-of-the-art training facility while still maintaining our core capability as a rescue organisation. The more education and knowledge in the industry the more we can raise safety awareness with the ultimate aim of preventing incidents from occurring," he says.

"The new facility will enable Mines Rescue to provide high quality training to the industry in both underground and surface extraction. Our goal is to provide a wider variety of industry training than we already do, from basic induction training to Certificates of Competency for those already in the industry. It is our intention to make the training facilities available to other trainers with specialist expertise in the extractive industries".

Currently Mines Rescue operates a small training facility at Rapahoe including a small underground training tunnel. The new facility will be purpose built with the potential to include a virtual reality training theatre allowing miners to experience real life dangers in a controlled environment. This technology is used extensively in Australia and is an additional tool to enhance industry training.

(13 December 2011)


 

 

More Coast Schools get New Computer Equipment

Nine West Coast primary schools will be able to purchase new computer equipment after Development West Coast Trustees approved funding for year two of the Computers in Schools Project.

DWC will fund $79,370 towards computer equipment for the schools. This follows a contribution of $100,000 earlier this year which purchased over one hundred new computers and other ICT equipment for eleven West Coast primary schools.

The Computers in Schools project was designed to increase student engagement and achievement by providing access to 21st century technology. It came about after an audit found 74% of West Coast schools had computers that were four to six years old, compared to the national average of three years.

DWC Chair John Sturgeon says Trustees were keen to continue to support the initiative. "West Coast students should have the same access to technology as other areas. Computers are an important aspect to learning these days and education has a significant impact on economic development."

"While it is too early to make definitive conclusions about the impact on student achievement, indications are that the initiative is making a positive difference to both students and teachers," says Mr Sturgeon.

Cobden School was able to purchase 22 netbooks,6 digital cameras and 2 flip videos in the first year of the project. Principal Noula Kazakos-Tomczyk says the computers are a great way to engage children.

"It's their generation, they are digital natives and they are much more motivated to learn when technology is involved. We wouldn't have been able to purchase the equipment without the help from DWC," she says.

West Coast ICT Facilitator Eric Martini says schools involved in year one of the project have reported that students and teachers are more engaged, enthusiastic and confident using the new technology.

"Teachers are making more use of computers and students are using computers for longer. One benefit of this is students are spending more time on programs like Mathletics which has resulted in increased student learning in at least one school," he says.

One requirement from DWC was that participating schools provide a 20% contribution and completed an ICT investment plan addressing equipment need and ongoing replacement and maintenance funding.

"It is important that schools plan and budget for future upgrades and equipment replacement," says Mr Sturgeon.

The year two funding will be advanced to participating schools during term four to enable schools to purchase the necessary equipment for the beginning of the 2012 school year.

(13 October 2011)


 

 

Development West Coast Assets Continue to Grow

Development West Coast has achieved another year of steady returns, continuing to grow the Trust's assets.

The Trust has today released its annual report for the year ended March 2011. DWC ended the financial year with total net assets of $115.92m. This represents an increase of $2.9m from the previous financial years result of $112.99m.

"This was a very strong result in a year of ongoing financial market uncertainty," says DWC CEO John Chang.

Total income of $7.3m together with unrealised gains from investments of $4.1m delivered total consolidated revenue of $11.4m. The total operating expenses for DWC were $2.40m compared to $2.47m the year before.

"This translates to a 17% decline in total operating expenses since 2009. What is even more pleasing is that this was achieved without the loss of any key services or activities that deliver economic benefits to West Coast communities," says Dr Chang.

The Trust made its' largest ever community distribution allocating $5.34m to the region in comparison to the previous year of $3.02m. This was due to a number of substantial unbudgeted community grants including $1m to a Pike River Mine relief fund, $1.5m to two regional cycle-way projects and $100,000 to the Canterbury earthquake relief fund.

"These unbudgeted community distributions of $2.6m did have a negative financial impact on DWC's bottom-line. However, Trustees are confident with solid advice received that they have made the correct decisions," says Dr Chang.

The 2011/12 financial year will also see significant community distributions. Trustees have committed to an extraordinary distribution of $6m which will see Buller, Grey and Westland District Council's provided with a special one-off fund of $2 million each. The $2 million is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts through to March 2016 and enable each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion.

(31 August 2011)


 

Development West Coast gives $100,000 to Community Trusts

Development West Coast will provide the West Coast Community Trust and Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust with $100,000 this year to distribute to community groups.

DWC historically distributed community grants through several channels including Community Distributions and CEO Delegation. However Trustees have decided it makes more sense for Councils and community groups to make funding decisions. This means DWC will no longer be directly involved with community funding applications.

"The main reasoning behind this approach is to empower the local community charitable organisations," says Development West Coast Chair John Sturgeon.

"In the opinion of the current DWC Board these organisations are better connected to their local community groups and have an integral understanding of their needs. They are better placed to make funding decisions," he says.

Last month DWC announced a $2 million one off extraordinary distribution to each of the three District Councils. The $6 million is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts through to March 2016, enabling each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion, and should be a significant impetus for the local economy.

Together these two initiatives mean decisions about community funding will now be made by the three councils and two community trusts, not Development West Coast.

Trustees decided to allocate $90,000 to the West Coast Community Trust and $10,000 to the Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust.

The West Coast Community Trust has been running for 23 years and is governed by nine trustees who represent their communities and are appointed by the Minister of Finance.

"This will be a good boost for the West Coast Community Trust, it will almost double our annual distribution. Our next grant round is October so I encourage Coasters to apply," says Chair Dennis Straker.

Chair of the Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust Chips Robinson is also welcoming the grant.

"It's going to be great for the sports community. Our Trust committee will be meeting shortly to work out how the $10,000 grant will be distributed," he says.

Organisations that were planning to apply to DWC for a community grant have been contacted to advise of this new direction and are welcome to lodge an application with an alternative funding organisation.

Development West Coast will continue to consider loans to community organisations for capital development projects although this does not include maintenance. These loans will be assessed on a strictly commercial basis.

Major District Initiative funding of $1.2 million per annum to the West Coast District Councils will continue to be distributed directly by DWC to the councils for the purpose of applying the funds to significant community projects.

(19 July 2011)


 

Winners of the West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards Announced

Engineering and Construction company GT Liddell Contracting Ltd was last night named as the supreme winner of the inaugural West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards.

The winners were announced at a black tie function at Shantytown on Friday 8 July.

Development West Coast Chair John Sturgeon says the winners should be extremely proud of their achievements.

"These companies have been judged as the best in the region. It is the first time their successes have been acknowledged and the judges commented that choosing the winners was very difficult as all finalists were of an exceptionally high standard," he says.

The winners are:

Solid Energy NZ – Service and Retail – Unichem Olsen's Pharmacy

Duncan Cotterill - Primary Producer – Westland Milk Products

Tourism West Coast – Tourism – Westland Tourism Ltd

Buddle Findlay –Community/Charity Organisation – Tai Poutini Polytechnic

Westland Milk Products – Construction/Engineering/Manufacturing – GT Liddell Contracting Ltd

ACC – Workplace Safety – Westland Milk Products

Greymouth Star – Super Nova – GT Liddell Contracting Ltd

Development West Coast CEO John Chang says the awards serve to acknowledge the important role that business plays throughout the West Coast region.

"It has been a challenging year for business on the West Coast. These awards are even more significant in 2011 as the region emerges from a global economic recession, has had to deal with the challenge of the Pike River mining tragedy and, more recently, the catastrophic earthquakes which have had overwhelming consequences for our Cantabrian neighbours," he says.

Dr Chang says the awards would not have been possible without the support of all the sponsors.  He also thanked MC Mark Sainsbury and guest speaker, Julie Christie for taking their time to come down to Greymouth for the awards evening.

Dr Chang also wants to acknowledge the hard work of DWC Events Coordinator Julie Kissell and her colleagues in planning and co-ordinating the event.

On back of the tremendous success of this year's event, we are looking forward to the 2012 awards.

(11 July 2011)


 

Finalists Announced

Development West Coast, along with sponsors and supporters of the West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards, thank the West Coast business community for their support and commitment to this inaugural celebration of West Coast business excellence.

It is encouraging to have received around 40 quality entries in the first year.  We thank all entrants and acknowledge the considerable effort put towards their entries.  We would encourage all entrants to continue their support of this celebration of business excellence by entering again next year.

Congratulations to the 12 finalists across the six categories.   Judges commented on the difficulty in separating the finalists, given entries were of a high standard and  demonstrated aspects of business excellence.

The 12 finalists in the inaugural 2011 West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards are:

Solid Energy – Leading Light –Service & Retail

Unichem Olsen's Pharmacy Blackball SalamiWest Coast Shuttle 2007 Ltd

Westland Milk Products – Leading Light Construction/Engineering/Manufacturing

GT Liddell Contracting LtdWestpower/ElectroNet Group

Buddle Findlay – Leading Light - Community/Charity Organisation

Tai Poutini PolytechnicWest Coast Blue Penguin TrustNew Coasters Inc

Tourism West Coast – Leading Light - Tourism

Kea Heritage ToursFranz Josef Waiau Area, Department of ConservationWestland Tourism Ltd

Duncan Cotterill – Leading Light - Primary Producer

Westland Milk Products

ACC – Leading Light - Health & Safety

Westland Milk ProductsWestland Tourism LtdG T Liddell Contracting Ltd

The next step in the awards process will see all category finalists reassessed to determine the winner of each category.  Category winners will then be judged to determine the first West Coast Leading Light Super Nova Award winner. Winners will be announced at the gala dinner to be held at Shantytown on Friday the 8th July 2011. We look forward to a great night celebrating our region's leading lights of business excellence.

(15 June 2011)


 

Finalists Celebrate

Entrants, category finalists, and sponsors of the West CoastLeading Light Business Excellence Awards enjoyed a fabulous evening together over drinks and superb finger food at the Australasian Hotel on Tuesday 28 June in a lead up to their big night on 8th July.

Development West Coast Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Chang congratulated all entrants for the exceptional quality of their entries, noting judges had found it very difficult to choose the finalists.  He then presented finalists with certificates recognising their achievement, while a prize draw was undertaken for all non-finalists applicants.

Congratulations to Styliz Hair Salon who can treat their staff at one of a selection of West Coast restaurants to the value of $500, and also to Hokitika Cheese and Deli who was the winner of a $500 Greymouth Regent Theatre voucher.  What a great way to celebrate participation!

Finalists are now looking forward to the West CoastLeading Light Business Excellence Awards evening at Shantytown on 8th of July.  This prestigious night will see everybody in their best evening wear and will definitely set the bar for future events.

(15 June 2011)


 

Councils and community trusts to distribute DWC funds

Mayors from Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils yesterday signed a funding agreement with Development West Coast which will see each district provided with a special one-off fund of $2 million.

The $2 million is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts through to March 2016 and enable each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion.

"It's about building significant assets in our community, such things are better directed through the councils who know their respective communities needs," says DWC Chair John Sturgeon.

While Development West Coast will not dictate how and where the fund is spent councils have agreed to ensure the money is applied to projects that meet the Trust's objects of promoting sustainable employment opportunities and economic benefits to the West Coast region.

Trustees have also resolved that the West Coast Community Trust and Solid Energy Amateur Sports Trust will each be a recipient of bulk funds from DWC for them to distribute to the community.

"The intent is to move away from Development West Coast directly making community grants," says Mr Sturgeon.

"There are organisations in the region who are better connected to the community so the Trust is moving towards an annual bulk funding model."

Councils have agreed not to make any applications to the Trust in respect of community assets and projects for a period of five years. However the Trust will continue to consider any commercial applications from community and charitable organisations.

As a requirement of the agreement Development West Coast wishes each of the Councils to consult thoroughly with its communities before deciding how to distribute the funds.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says Grey District has a number of projects which will fit the funding criteria.

"We can spend this money easily and if we spend it wisely it is a win win for everyone. Development West Coast is investing in the community and growth for the future.

Westland District Council has decided to use the money towards the four day Westland Cycle Trail.

"$2 million is going to go some way to developing our cycle trail which will bring real economic benefit to the Coast," says Westland Mayor Maureen Pugh.

Buller District Council Mayor Pat McManus says the council has set up a small working group to develop a set of criteria for applications.

"We haven't decided where the money will go yet but I think the council should look at doing joint ventures or leverage to turn the $2 million into a $4 million project.

Over the past 10 years DWC has injected over $27 million into the community for various projects and purposes. An additional $13.2 million has been allocated through the Major District Initiative programme which has seen major community assets built including Buller's Solid Energy Centre, Greymouth's Aquatic Centre and the refurbishment of Hokitika's Regent Theatre. This translates to over $40 million cash into the West Coast community.

The extraordinary distribution fund has been approved by the Minister of Finance in his capacity as Settlor under the Deed of Trust.

(8 June 2011)


 

 

 

Development West Coast Invests in Dairy Industry

Development West Coast has invested $5 million in West Coast dairy farm company Cranley Farms Ltd.

The investment made via Development West Coast's distribution fund means Development West Coast will take a 43.5% shareholding in the company which owns dairy farm development Cedar Farm in Westland's Arahura Valley.

Cranley Farms Ltd plans to become a significant provider of milk to Westland Milk Products. Cedar Farm is currently milking 1,250 cows and producing 375,000kgs of milk solids per annum on once-a-day milking for the entire season. It aims to reach peak production within five years which will see it milking 1800 cows and producing 700,000kgs of milk solids. This translates to a total revenue of $5.4 million in the West Coast economy (based on projected payout of $7.70 per kg), and does not include the downstream benefits attributed to the milk processing sector.

Development West Coast CEO John Chang says Cranley Farms Ltd approached the Trust in mid 2010 seeking investment to expand its operations.

"After an exhaustive due diligence it was concluded the investment met Development West Coast's objects of sustainable economic benefits and promotion of employment opportunities," says Dr Chang.

"Given several Development West Coast Trustees are involved in the dairy industry we were careful to observe proper good governance. Any related interests were registered and appropriately dealt with," he says.

"The company plans to develop the land and build another milking shed and two houses which will provide employment in the short term. Given dairying is a significant industry on the Coast and a major employer benefits will flow right through the community".

Cranley Farms Ltd also has interests in Bold Head farm in Ross and Parkdale Farm in North Canterbury. Until now it has been owned by equity partners including a number of mainly local investors.

Director and shareholder Ian Robb says the investment means another large dairy farm can be developed on the Coast.

"We currently employ 8 people on Cedar dairy farm and 5 on the other farms, and this will increase to 19 within twelve months. On top of that we'll employ another six contractors in the next six months developing the land and grassing and fencing the property. In the new year we'll start building the new milking shed and two houses," says Mr Robb.

Westland Milk Products CEO Rod Quin says he is delighted at the news.

"Westland Milk Products priority is to increase milk production on the Coast. This investment shows a commitment to dairying and the West Coast," he says.

West Coast dairy farmer, Mr David Milne, has been appointed to the Board of Cranley Farms Ltd as Development West Coast's board appointment. Mr Milne has considerable dairying experience on the West Coast and it is expected his skills and knowledge will complement those of the existing Cranley Farms board.

(24 May 2011)


 

 

West Coast Businesses Keen to Celebrate Success

Organisers of the West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards are delighted with the number of applications they have received.

Around 40 West Coast businesses have entered the inaugural awards which celebrate business excellence in the region.

"We're extremely happy with the number and mix of entries in the first year. It proves the West Coast business community is ready to celebrate its' business achievements," says Development West Coast CEO John Chang.

Dr Chang says corporate sponsors also need to be acknowledged. "This event would not be possible without the fantastic response from the corporate sponsors and support from the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce."

Three categories were particularly popular ; Solid Energy Service and Retail, Tourism West Coast Tourism and ACC Workplace Safety.

Development West Coast's events co-­‐ordinator Julie Kissell says many businesses have commented that no matter what the result on the night the entry process has been of real benefit.

"This entry process has made the business owners focus on their achievements and areas of weakness, which is something they often don't find the time to do," she says.

A pool of 25 judges will now judge the entries with finalists announced to the public on June the 15th.

Winners will be revealed at a black tie gala event at Shantytown on Friday the 8th of July. The event will be hosted by TVNZ's Mark Sainsbury and offers an ideal opportunity to celebrate business excellence and acknowledge the valuable contribution West Coast businesses are making to the local economy.

(13 May 2011)


 

DWC approves $6 million economic boost to region

DWC yesterday approved a $6 million grant to be distributed amongst the three West Coast District Councils.

The $2 million to each council is expected to provide an economic boost to the three districts and enable each district to fund various community assets and projects at their discretion.

While approved, the funding is still subject to each Council signing a joint funding agreement with DWC, and will also be dependent on DWC gaining the appropriate approval from its Settlor, the Minister of Finance.

The one-off distribution has, in part, been made in light of the current economic environment, and also ties in with the Government's economic recovery package for the West Coast that was announced recently.

Over the past 10 years DWC has injected over $27 million into the community for various projects and purposes, excluding the further $13.2 million allocated to the Major District Initiative (MDI) programme. It is programmes such as the MDI that have had a significant impact on the local communities, and Trustees see the benefits in continuing to work with the Councils and other key organisations across the West Coast to develop a common vision of how the economic interests of the region can best be advanced.

Upon signing the agreement, DWC's Chair and Mayors will make a joint announcement detailing the Extraordinary Distribution.

(3 May 2011)


 

Business Awards Launch 2011

Until now, the West Coast was the only region in New Zealand that did not hold an annual business awards.  Development West Coast together with our sponsors are pleased to announce the inaugural "West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards".

This black tie gala event will be held on July 8th 2011 at the iconic tourist destination Shanytown. The MC for the evening is well known current affairs television presenter and host of TVNZ Close Up, Mark Sainsbury.

This event offers an ideal opportunity to celebrate business excellence in our region and acknowledge the valuable contribution West Coast businesses are making to our local economy.

The West Coast Leading Light Business Excellence Awards will attract the most progressive business minds on the West Coast, all vying to be the best in the West.

1.             Why Enter the Awards

An opportunity to focus on your business and identify core strengths and competitive advantages as well as areas that may benefit from more focus in the future.Provides a networking opportunity with other business leaders and professionals.Award winners receive public recognition of business excellence.Award winners receive regional media coverage.Entrants who make the semi-final stage receive independent assessment and feedback from experienced judges.The award process provides a platform on which to acknowledge the contribution made by employees to your organisation's success.Participation provides a means of engendering pride in your organisation.Participation provides another dimension for show casing your services and products to a wider audience.

Award Categories

Individual businesses are entitled to enter one category each. All businesses may enter the Workplace Safety Category in addition to another category, or as a stand alone.

Solid Energy NZ Ltd - Leading Light - Small/medium enterprise – Service & Retail

Excellent service support and a strong retail sector are all fundamental to a vibrant economy. This category recognises excellence in Small/medium enterprises in the service and retail sectors.

Buddle Findlay - Leading Light - Primary Producer

This category recognises excellence in the primary production sector which has formed the backbone of the West Coast economy i.e. mining, fishing, forestry, agriculture, horticulture and farming are included in this category.

Westland Milk Products - Leading Light - Construction/Engineering/Manufacturing

Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing are recognised as major contributors to the West Coast economy and this category recognises excellence and innovation in these sectors.

Tourism West Coast - Leading Light – Tourism

Recognises excellence in the Tourism sector.

Duncan Cotterill - Leading Light - Community/Charity Organisations

This category recognises the excellent work of community/charity organisations.

ACC - Leading Light - Workplace Safety

This award recognises excellence in workplace safety. It will be awarded to a business with an outstanding health and safety initiative or workplace safety culture. This award can be entered in addition to other categories

(Please note, should you be selected as a finalist for the ACC Workplace Safety Award, ACC will arrange a site visit as part of the judging)

Greymouth Evening Star - Leading Light - Super Nova Award

This category is the overarching supreme award from which winners of all categories are entered.

Entries close 5.00pm, Monday 9th May 2011

(17 March 2011)