ROLLESTON 1080 FACTORY: Has NZ’s West Coast RC been squandering ratepayer money to facilitate a private individual’s business interests?

WHY DID THE WEST COAST REGIONAL COUNCIL ACT AS BRIDGING FINANCE FOR THE 51% SHAREHOLDER OF THE ROLLESTON 1080 FACTORY? – Making a loss in the process it seems. What was wrong with using the bank?

By Carol Sawyer

The West Coast Regional Council made its initial investment in the Rolleston 1080 bait factory, Pest Control Research Ltd, in May, 2013, but did not disclose it until it was exposed by the Greymouth Star 17 months later.

See: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm…

This investment was made despite a 2010 – 2011 survey of homes in Ross, Hokitika, Hari Hari and Whataroa finding 92.5% were against their council being involved with 1080 in any manner. (Greymouth Star, 14 November, 2017)

By 2 September, 2016, the West Coast Regional Council had sunk $2,105,000 into the Rolleston factory! It was still only making prefeed baits and Pindone at this stage, and did not get consent to make 1080 baits until May, 2018.

See: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm…

The West Coast Regional Council has had a 49% share in the business since 2013 with, until 6 July, 2018, the 51% share being held by Malcolm Thomas, who had previously worked for the NZ government entity Landcare Research NZ Ltd.

See: https://www.stuff.co.nz/…/1080-factory-given-west-coast-reg…

(Pest Control Research Ltd at present has three directors – Michael Meehan, who is also CEO of the West Coast Regional Council, Matthew O’Brien, and John Wilson of Wanaka.) See: https://opencorporates.com/companies/nz/4460339

On 29 June, 2018, the West Coast Regional Council bought the 51% share in the factory from Malcolm Thomas, meaning they now owned the factory OUTRIGHT.

1. pest control partnership from WCRC report 1.7.17 to 30.6.18

As you can see from the above excerpt from the 2018 annual report, the stated intention was to dispose of the newly acquired 51% share at year end ( i.e. a day later, on 30 June, 2018 ?!). However this did not happen and the WCRC sold it on 6 July, 2018, one week later, to Matthew O’Brien of Kiwicare Corporation Ltd.

Why did Council buy it from Malcolm Thomas to sell to Matthew O’Brien, instead of letting the two sort it out themselves? I was told by someone in Council that it was to help out with bridging finance. Surely it isn’t the Regional Council’s job to squander the ratepayers’ money to facilitate some private individual’s business interests? PLUS… the annual report for the year ended 2018 states “Impairment on transfer held for sale – $272,549”. I am not an accountant but it would appear that the ratepayers took a loss of $272,549 over that transaction, for holding the business in its entirety for a week.

Normally if a businessman required bridging finance they would go to the bank. Was this too risky, and if so why were the ratepayers obliged to take the risk and bear the loss?

As regional councils go, $272,549 would generally not be a large amount of money, but one must remember that the West Coast Regional Council has the smallest ratepayer base in the country, with a total West Coast population of 32,000, and only approximately 10,000 ratepayers.

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The “pest control” business has been a disaster financially for the West Coast Regional Council. In the 2018 annual report, the Council’s ‘Vector Control Services’ were $766,046 “over budget”. Add in the seeming $272,549 loss on the PCR Ltd transfer and that comes to $1,038,595! (To put that in perspective that is, in effect, a loss of an average $104 per ratepayer.)

In that year the WCRC declared a deficit of $859,635, instead of a budgeted surplus of $561,171.

Pest Control Research Ltd made a loss for the West Coast Regional Council in this last financial year too, and the investment amount would appear to have taken a bit of a dive (?):

“1080 FACTORY LOSS FLAGGED WITH AUDIT NZ”
by Laura Mills – Greymouth Star, Nov 1st, 2019

Audit New Zealand has flagged the West Coast Regional Council’s loss related to its investment in a 1080 factory at Rolleston. The annual independent auditor’s report has just been released. Auditors said the council had included in its financial statements unaudited information relating to an investment in Pest Control Research Limited Partnership — the 1080 plant. The auditor’s report said the council’s financial statements included the share of Pest Control’s loss of $45,574, and its investment of $943,174. “The associate (Pest Control) is not a public entity and, as such, the AuditorGeneral is not its auditor. At the date of our audit report, the audit of the associate was not completed,” Chantelle Gernetzky said. “There were no satisfactory audit procedures that we could adopt to obtain sufficient evidence to confirm the financial information relating to the associate is fairly reflected.”

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1) Add in the seemingly poor business practices that led to the chemical accident on May 28 last year.

Story here: https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/2376578832622429

In relation to this, I was told the following by someone in the poison business:

“Adequately trained, experienced staff working under properly documented processes and wearing the correct PPE don’t poison themselves or others. I thought long ago that there would be serious consequences if a minimalist, solely profit focused company with no experience, training, procedural documentation or proper handling equipment got into the manufacture of 1080 products.”

We still don’t know the full outcome of this accident:

Story here:
https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/2553849544895356

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2) Add in seemingly poor quality products – baits past their use-by date, baits too soggy to use, and therefore condemned (and presumably buried!)

Copy of Copy of 26994348_2051229438490705_794147738856288614_n

 

Story here:
https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/2484237481856563

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3) Add in the fact that another 1080 factory appears to be in the pipeline, further reducing PCR Ltd’s share of the poison cake – Connovation Ltd received consent to manufacture 1080 baits in March, 2019:

Story here:
https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/2398825227064456

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All in all, the pot of gold some misguided West Coast Regional Councillors envisaged from the 1080 factory, Pest Control Research Ltd, has become a bucket of slime. Best get rid of it fast, I’d say!

Here are the annual reports:

West Coast Regional Council Annual Report, July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018

https://www.wcrc.govt.nz/…/Annua…/Annual%20Report%202019.pdf

West Coast Regional Council Annual Report, July 1 2018 to June 30, 2019

https://www.wcrc.govt.nz/…/Annua…/Annual%20Report%202019.pdf

 

RELATED DOCUMENTS BELOW:

2. vector control biz unit from WCRC ann rept 1.7.18 to 30.6.19

3. qualified opinion from WCRC Ann rept 1.7.18 to 30.6.19

4a. pest control from WCRC rept 1.7.17 to 30.6.18

4b. pest control from WCRC rept 1.7.17 to 30.6.18

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “ROLLESTON 1080 FACTORY: Has NZ’s West Coast RC been squandering ratepayer money to facilitate a private individual’s business interests?”

  1. We have all known that the 1080 poison Business has been the Core of Government corruption in NZ, But this shocking information must “Come to Light” DoC cannot GAG the media to protect corrupt friends for ever

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  2. Thank you for this informative posting. It is my belief that a parallel situation exists in Nelson, which has a unitary authority. NCC ‘s ‘associate’ in this parallel is the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust. About two and a half million dollars has been spent to provide a privatised fenced and poisoned space extracted from public use. Some of the legal firms have profited from ownership of poison businesses. It is extremely distasteful to encounter the money motive as predominant, driving not only the poisoning but the quite needless development of another dangerous technology, viz. 5G. Neoliberalism is cruel, greedy, secretive and widespreading in its abuse of people’s rights. Government has not merely shirked its proper responsibilities, it actively conspires with business interests to prevent public knowledge and participation, the media generally giving all such a free ride. This reporting is a welcome and most wonderful exception. Writing to applaud.

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    1. “Neoliberalism is cruel, greedy, secretive and widespreading in its abuse of people’s rights.” very well said, thanks for commenting Christopher. This is Carol Sawyer’s excellent investigative work. And all of this corruption since Rogernomics. I had heard of the Brook Sanctuary goings on. Happening in a few places … Horowhenua another case in point. Article to come on that as well. Thanks again & thank you for the compliment.

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