Buller District Council

Media Release – Kawatiri Dredge to be Sold

23rd August, 2017

Westport’s Kawatiri dredge is to be sold at and the community consulted on what to do with the proceeds.

At today’s Council meeting, Buller District councillors resolved 6-4 to sell the dredge.  Councillors’ Hart, Barry, Neylon and Hill voted against, Councillor Nahr abstained from voting.

The Council-owned company, Buller Holdings Ltd, will manage the sales process.  It will begin next month, when the Kawatiri is on the slip for maintenance and recertification.

The Kawatiri has not dredged the Buller River for more than 12 months since the cement manufacturer Holcim left Westport in mid-2016. Prior to that, it was used to dredge bays for the large cement ships.

The dredge is not required for fishing vessels. Talleys has been advised of the sale and has confirmed it will continue to use the port along with other commercial and recreational fishing boats.

Last week Buller District mayor Garry Howard said selling the dredge was “the only sensible option left” after fruitless years of searching for new bulk trade shipping opportunities and more contract work for the Kawatiri.

“Without Holcim to justify it, keeping the dredge is costing Buller ratepayers more than a million dollars a year. That’s $140 per ratepayer for the dredge to sit idle with no return for ratepayers,” Howard said.

Proceeds from the sale would go back to Buller District Council. Ratepayers would have a say on how the funds would be utilised as part of next year’s 10-Year Plan engagement process.

At today’s meeting, the Council also agreed wind up its port company, Westport Harbour Ltd, and put its assets and remaining operations into WestReef Ltd, another Council-controlled company.

For a series of questions and answers about the sale of the dredge click here: Information around the sale of the MV Kawatiri dredge (305Kb)



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