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New Measures For Westland Economic Development

A raft of new measures, which includes waiving all new building and resource management consent application fees for the next six months, will be introduced if a committee of the Westland District Council on the West Coast gets its way. John Howard reports.

The newly formed economic development committee called Westland's Working, last night recommended that some of its share of the money from the Government's package in lieu of logging on the Coast, be used to assist New Zealander's to establish businesses in Westland district.

The six month moratorium on new building and resource management consent fees also includes a recommendation that the council makes it a permanent policy through its Annual Plan public consultation process.

The Westland Council will consider the recommendation at its next meeting. With the positive mood in council the move looks likely to get approval.

The committee has $3 million it can use for economic development as it sees fit, but the waiving of fees is a policy matter and must be approved by the full council. The money, however, will come from the Westland's Working budget.

The committee had earlier approved up to $25,000 being provided to New Zealander's towards the cost of feasibility studies for ideas which will establish new Westland-based business ventures.

A new seperate business unit to assist the Westland's Working committee has also been established which includes incorporating council's existing economic development functions.

The committee will also drive initiatives itself with more than 20 ideas for new business ventures under consideration.

Westland District Mayor, John Drylie said, "We're confident that these steps will provide real assistance to Westlander's and New Zealander's who are considering a plan or venture."

"Westland District wants New Zealander's to consider our district as the place to establish their business. We have a good airport with good daily services and along with a port just up the road in Greymouth, exporting to Australia, for example, is easy and cost effective," he said.

Mr Drylie said land and housing in the district is very cost-competitive and there is a good pool of willing labour.

"We also have a magnificent out-door environment but people do have a perception that it rains a lot on the Coast."

"Our region is so large that that's like saying if it's raining in Auckland it must also be raining in Wellington, because that's the distance on the Coast. It doesn't happen but pure rain water is a saleable product today," Mr Drylie said.

The Westland's Working committee has been established for two months with membership consisting of four elected members of council including the Mayor, and six appointed community members.


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