Home' Greymouth Star : October 23rd 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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under guard for
People arriving at Westport Airport
over the next month may find
the Defence Force patrolling the
gateway, as a big military exercise
gets under way. The official start
date for the New Zealand Defence
exercise, which involves more than
2000 troops, is November 2. However,
numbers will start increasing from
now. Buller Mayor Garry Howard
said today the airport — a key
facility during the drill — would
be open as normal for the month.
Entering the airport, passengers will
see a ‘tent city’ and there may be
Defence Force personnel patrolling
the gateway. Aircraft will be
operating day and night, including
the NH90, BE20 King Air, C130
Hercules and C17 Globemaster.
There is no fixed timetable of when
specific aircraft are due to arrive,
but people can view them from the
public car park area at the airport, or
from Rotary Road.
Organisers of the Hokitika-
based Farmlands Agfest have been
invited to Korea by a government
official. Professor Gan Hoan
Jeong, a principal lead for the
Korean Government ’s major events
and festivals, has invited Agfest
managing director Andy Thompson,
to attend the Jinji Agricultural Expo
in Korea during the second week
of November. Mr Thompson, who
is also a dairy farmer and Westland
district councillor, will also do two
presentations on Agfest and its
exceptional growth, highlighting the
West Coast. Mr Thompson said the
Korean government may send a team
of delegates to the next Agfest in
Hokitika on April 15-16 .
A quick-thinking cat trapped atop
a tree for four days climbed down
on a ladder which had been set up
for would-be rescuers. An animal
rescue team in Los Angeles were
called out to save the stricken cat,
which had got stuck in the Cypress
tree. Terrified, the cat had started
meowing loudly as it was seated
at the giddy height for almost 100
hours. But as soon as the crew put
up the ladder, the quick-thinking
albeit ner vous cat started to descend
the ladder. It initially clambered
down the ladder with a certain
amount of trepidation, being very
careful with its footing before
leaping to the safety of ground.
— Daily Mail
Westland Milk Products says it is
in a sound financial position and well
positioned to return higher payouts to
shareholders in the medium to long-
The dairy company yesterday posted
its annual return on the internet,
and shareholders were this morning
digesting the figures.
Barrytown farmer Richard Reynolds
said some interesting questions needed
to be raised but the comprehensive net
loss for the year, as reported on-line of
$26 million, was “huge” and effectively
represented a $65,000 loss to each of
Westland ’s 400 or so shareholders.
In a statement this morning,
Westland Milk chief executive Rod
Quin said in spite of a difficult season
the co-operative had retained 10c from
its payout to shareholders of $4.95 per
kilogram of milk solids, which equated
to a profit of $7m before tax.
Despite the state of the global dairy
market and the consequent reduction
in revenue, the company had assets of
more than $538m and was in a sound
position, Mr Quin said.
The investment in added-value
plant and technology in the past few
years was already reducing Westland’s
reliance on the highly volatile bulk
“Income from our nutritional
products is already adding significantly
to shareholder returns, with nearly
20c of the 2014-15 payout from this
source,” Mr Quin said.
“ We expect an increasing, and more
profitable, component of Westland ’s
revenue to come from added-value
products as our capital investment in
new plant comes on line.”
The 2014-15 season was a blunt
reminder that dairy commodity cycles
were becoming shorter, with even more
extreme price volatility.
“ With revenue of $639m and volume
of 123,084 tonnes, Westland continues
to be a major regional economic
success, delivering an industry-
competitive payout of $4.95 a kilo
The annual report showed an after-
tax loss of $25.9m compared to last
year’s profit of $8.7m.
In an e-mail to the Greymouth Star
this morning, the company said the
apparent loss in the financial figures
was an ‘on paper’loss only, and stemmed
from the way in which the international
financial reporting standards (IFRS)
required the company to report its
hedge fund activity in its tax accounts.
Responding, Mr Reynolds said on
the face of it, the impact on the bottom
line for individual shareholders was
“There is a lot of concern out there by
a proportion of farmers around the level
of debt, which comes from two things:
cash flow and capital (expenditure).
“The interesting thing for me is their
commentary around it, what slant
they ’ve put on a loss,” Mr Reynolds
Westland Milk Products ‘in sound position’
The heads of the Salvation Army in
Greymouth have resigned after being
cleared of allegations of theft levelled
against them by a disaffected volunteer
earlier this year.
Captains Mark and Avis O wen were
accused of stealing money and a donated
item from the Sallies Family Store in
Greymouth — but an independent audit
found they were innocent. The police
were not involved.
“The allegations were made by one of
our volunteers in mid-March and were
taken very seriously and investigated
Salvation Army territorial
secretary for personnel for New Zealand,
Fiji and Tonga, captain Gerry Walker,
Mr Walker stressed there was “no
truth” to any of the claims.
The volunteer had alleged that money
from an item sold at the op shop had
not been banked, and that a Maori relic
donated to the store went missing.
Mr Walker said it turned out the
‘missing’ money had in fact been banked,
though incorrectly coded.
“ It was true the Maori relic was given
back to the iwi, but we believe that was
respect and the appropriate gesture.”
He said the independent audit,
along with a routine audit, revealed no
evidence of any wrongdoing.
“There were no irregularities of theft or
misappropriation of money uncovered.”
Mr Walker said the accusations had
devastated the couple and they yesterday
resigned as officers of the Salvation
The West Coast is the only region
to record a population decline this
year — but provisional estimates
from Statistics NZ indicate the Grey
district has already bottomed out.
show the Coast
population down 0.4%.
Buller, bruised by mining job
losses, recorded the largest drop of
2.1%. O verall, the region lost 100
Since 2013 Buller lost 300 people,
and the district now has an estimated
population of 10,350. Grey district
declined by 100 to 13,600, but then
rose again by 50.
Westland, enjoying growth in
tourism and dairy factory expansions,
recorded steady growth from 8570,
to 8640 and this year 8720.
“Hell, if you look at the jobs we
have lost in just five years we are
holding our own,” Grey District
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said.
Since 2010, over 500 mining jobs
had gone in the Grey district alone.
For the Coast, the tally was about
However, to end up with an overall
loss of only 50 people in the Grey
district indicated the area was
diversifying, Mr Kokshoorn said.
A recent report from Development
West Coast indicated the Grey
district had 43% of the region’s GDP,
Buller 33% and Westland 24%.
Of the 15,150 full-time equivalent
jobs on the Coast, Grey had 44%.
Citing the fish factory expansion,
and $100 million of infrastructure
upgrades in the past decade
(including water and sewerage), he
was ever optimistic.
He said he wanted the revamp of
central Greymouth to go ahead, to
keep visitors in town.
“Unemployment is about 5.5%.
We have bottomed out and we are
starting to rise,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
Westport Property Brokers real
estate agent Charlie Elley said a
campaign to entice retirees from
Christchurch to Westport had been
Rather than being house rich and
cash poor, people could move to
Buller, he said.
However, he acknowledged that
the majority of the disposable
income had disappeared and many
people in Buller were just getting by.
“I know a lot of people who are
only making ends meet. But they are
not giving up. It ’s a beautiful place.
There’s a lot more to do than sit in
traffic during the day,” Mr Elley said.
Labour Weekend promises to be a big
one for the West Coast with reunions,
two major sesquicentennial celebrations,
and other annual events coinciding with
the public holiday.
Tomorrow promises to be fine, with
possible showers on Sunday unlikely to
be a big dampener for the full schedule
Weekend highlights include:
Hokitika Volunteer Fire Brigade
150th anniversary street parade, town
centre, tomorrow 10.30am.
Hokitika-Ross leg of West Coast
Wilderness Trail official opening,
Aylmer Street, Ross, tomorrow 1pm.
Howat family reunion, Hokitika,
Saturday and Sunday.
Waimangaroa Rugby Club reunion,
Westport and Waimangaroa, tonight
West Coast Speedway opening day,
Greenstone Park, tomorrow 4pm.
Ross 150th Goldrush celebrations,
tomorrow from 2pm. Fireworks display
Bruce Bay Sports, Sunday from
Ross 150th period costume street
parade, Sunday 2pm — goldpanning,
bearded miners, dancers, fire engine and
Greymouth Motorcycle Street
Races, Sunday 9am to 4pm.
NZ Universities vs Australia
Universities international rugby league
game, Wingham Park, Sunday 2.30pm.
West Coast Rugby League
centennial, Greymouth, tonight until
Buller leads population decline
A Greymouth student at Otago
University drew on his knowledge
of science and maths when he
competed on the revitalised
television quiz show University
Cameron Evans, who attended
Grey Main School and Greymouth
High, is studying for a bachelor of
science, majoring in physics and
chemistry, and was recently filmed
with the Otago team for the tv
Mr Evans said it was his interest
in quizzes that prompted him to
have a go.
“ I just saw an advert in the student
magazine that they were taking
people for consideration. I like pub
quizzes so I went along and gave it
a shot and got the call back.”
His strength was in science, given
his current studies, and his general
knowledge was “pretty diffuse”.
“But of course you don’t really
know until you hear the question,
The episode featuring Otago
University facing off with Lincoln
University will air on Prime TV on
However, Mr Evans is keeping
mum on the team’s chances of
“I can’t comment too much. We
(Otago) are the most successful
team in the history of the
programme, we just need to try to
live up to it I guess.”
He said it had also been a great
experience, with filming at the
Avalon Studios in Wellington.
Otago University students Anthea O’Sullivan, William Crawford, Francesca Allen, Naomi Woods, and Greymouth’s Cameron Evans, compete in
the first round of the new series of University Challenge.
Coaster foots it in University Challenge
Busy weekend on Coast
Unfounded theft allegation
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