Debate over future site of cement plant, New Zealand

Debate over future site of cement plant, New Zealand
Published: 20 June 2007

A tug of war is being waged over relocation of a cement plant in the South Island.

Holcim New Zealand is deciding whether to close its long-serving Westport works and build a new $200 million plant in Otago.

A group of West Coasters have launched a late bid against such a move:

600 people rushed to beat a deadline on Tuesday to make submissions against a move to Weston, a settlement near Oamaru.

Buller business association chairman Vince Wallis, says Holcim directly provides 130 jobs and the loss of the plant would be a disaster for the district.

However, a Weston resident, Peter Rodwell, says some people are not happy about the idea of a new factory there, and will contribute to a fund to fight it. But district Mayor Alan McLay says he believes the majority of people support the proposal.

Holcim has applied for resource consents to build a plant in Weston, although it says it would not necessarily relocate there.

A hearing on the issue is due in the next three months. Holcim’s final decision is at least a year away.