Holdings, proper ty gone

By Janna Sherman

The Westland District Council’s trading company Westland Holdings Ltd and its beleaguered property company subsidiary have been axed.
The changes were announced yesterday on the heels of a $40,000 review of its council controlled organisations (CCOs), which also include Hokitika Airport Limited and Westroads.
Westland Mayor Mike Havill confirmed those two entities would remain as council’s two key operating CCOs.
However the Greymouth arm of Westroads was likely to be amalgamated.
“With only two key CCOs, the role and relevance of Westland Holdings Limited is no longer sustainable and council has recommended that the company be wound up,” he said.
“Management of council’s community property assets will be transferred in-house and Westland District Property Limited will no longer operate.”
Mr Havill said the review — carried out by Auckland-based local government consultants Morrison Low — questioned the relevance of council being involved in the property development sector through the subsidiary, which was started in 2010 to manage various council property assets.
“Council’s interest is primarily in managing community assets such as pensioner homes, swimming pools and the Jackson bay wharf. These assets do not and are not expected to deliver a commercial return to the Westland District Council.”
The cuts — which were mooted to simplify the structure of council’s operating entities — will have an impact on staff.
The property company has two paid staff members; general manager Marion Smith and operations manager Mark Jurisich, based in Hokitika.
Employment of staff at the swimming pool was also transferred to WDPL in 2012.
Both CCOs also have a separate board of directors.
“There are a number of commercially sensitive and employment issues involved in the current structure that need to be understood and managed appropriately,” Mr Havill said.
“We are now working through a consultation process to understand all of the implications of the recommended course of action.”
Westland Holdings Limited chairman Graeme King said while the “nuts and bolts” were still being worked out the board would work constructively with council to facilitate the changes.
Mr Havill said the asset and service changes would allow council to focus on its core business and facilitate a more direct governance of the remaining CCOs. “This, in turn, is expected to deliver good outcomes for all ratepayers and their communities.”
An implementation plan for the proposed changes will be discussed behind closed doors in the confidential section of council’s next full meeting, on May 22.