2 Aug 2013

West Coast economic group calls for Govt help

7:30 am on 2 August 2013

A West Coast economic development group is calling on the Government to help the region's mining sector following the decision by cement giant Holcim to close its Westport plant.

Holcim on Thursday announced plans to import cement rather than making it in New Zealand and will shut its manufacturing plant in Westport in two to three years with the loss of 120 jobs. It has shelved plans for a plant near Oamaru.

Development West Coast chairman John Sturgeon says the announcement is one of several recently that have left the region struggling financially.

Mr Sturgeon says one positive is the proposed Bathurst mine, however environmental groups are appealing against court decisions and delaying the resource consent, and he wants the Government to step in.

But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the Government cannot overrule the court process. He says the court case does not come under changes being made to the Resource Management Act that could speed matters up.