Holcim wins Environment Court decision

A new cement plant near Weston in North Otago has come a step closer with the Environment Court dismissing appeals against the consent granted for the plant by the Waitaki District Council.

 The court ruling is a hurdle jumped but it’s not the end of the race. Holcim New Zealand now needs to prepare a case for its parent company which will make the decision on whether or not to build the plant.

The company was keen to build a plant on the same site in the mid 1980s but decided not to when the recession led to a downturn in building. The current recession and its impact on the need for concrete will be among the factors the company considers when it makes its decision.

I have been one of the supporters. The plant would have economic and social benefits for the district and I was reassured that the resource consent process would safeguard the environment.

One of the factors which reassured me was the number of people from Westport who opposed the consent because they wanted the company to stay there.

I couldn’t believe that a company which obviously plays such an important and positive role in the economic and social life on the West Coast would suddenly turn in to a bad corporate citizen if it moved east. Even given the difference in climate, particularly wind direction and patterns, I didn’t believe that if an old  plant had operated for decades without adverse impact on the health and wellbeing of people, stock; air, soil and water  there, then a new one, built with up to the minute technology;  would cause problems here.

5 Responses to Holcim wins Environment Court decision

  1. gravedodger says:

    If as a workerbee I had to choose between a job at Weston or Cape Foulwind (does that name conjure a mental image) Weston would be for me. If however the plant is located east it will be for many good reasons but I do feel for the very good people of Westport who get another challenge delivered to them and I am sure they will survive it as they have all the others.
    Would it not have been great if the money spent on the consents and appeals could have been delivered to Westport to alleviate the significant changes this will cause, if the relocation happens, instead of creating a cash flow for the army of lawyers.


  2. murrayg1 says:

    so producing a ton of carbon for every ton of cement, is a good legacy to hand on to our children?
    We have an obligation to them, to hand on a planet in as-good or better nick than we inherited it.
    This project is just a small cog in a big machine that is degrading the planet, and using up finite stores of fossil fuels (the name should tell you something) in the process.
    Meaning we are expecting them to clean up our mess, but we’ve used the fuel to do so.
    Of course, you have to have moved on from thinking that everything was made in 7 days, 5000 years ago, and that a deity is overseeing everything.
    At that point you realise that one species – us – has the power to annihilate all others, and indeed ourselves. We alone, have that responsibility, and on a finite little planet containing finite resources, on which an exponentially increasing number of people are consuming an exponentially increasing amount per head. This exponential increase is expressed in terms of ‘doubling time’, and is a J-curve graph, something few folk get their heads around. Think of it as a physical manifestation of compound interest.
    Thus the current rash of dam and development proposals, covering much of the topography. It is merely the manifestation of the last possible doubling-time. (It’s the grains on the squares of a chessboard thing) Many – most – won’t see the light of day. Why? There isn’t the fuel supply left to do the construction.
    Meaning the cement proposal is a white (appropriate really!) elephant.
    Very soon, probably within 2-3 years, we will be seeing triage applied to infrastructure – not the planned stuff, I mean the stuff we already have.
    It will be interesting to watch the pennies dropping….


  3. J.R.M. says:

    In regard to the above comments that NZ will build no more sustainable energy projects because of peak oil and large reduction in dairy and meat production to meet our CO,2 targets what a load of bull! Cement will be needed increasing quantities to build wind farms as well ashydro power .Thatis the reason for anew clean efficient cement plant at Weston,A pity it has taken so long J.R.M.


  4. murrayg1 says:

    I think you should re-read my comments, without your preconcieved notions inserting themselves.

    My comments went nowhere near dairy, meat or CO2 targets.

    I said there were finite resources on/in the planet, too many people wanting them, and that when the most essential (fossil oil – try getting through a day without it) peaked in it’s rate of supply, we would be in decline.

    Oil makes the infrastructure I said we would be triaging – pipes, bitumen, plastics, transport, synthetics, adhesives…and it underwrites everything else.

    Meaning – with respect – that building a plant in anticipation of an increase in activity, is the real load of bull.


  5. bobux says:


    an exponentially increasing number of people

    Actually, world population growth projections keep being revised down. That is as far from ‘exponential’ as you can get.

    There isn’t the fuel supply left to do the construction.

    probably within 2-3 years, we will be seeing triage applied to infrastructure – not the planned stuff, I mean the stuff we already have.

    I don’t doubt we have some challenging times ahead, but I have seen no realistic projections that there will be a physical shortage of oil in 2-3 years.


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