West Coast council wants apology over 'anti-competitive' allegation

3:52 pm on 21 April 2021

West Coast Regional Council chairman Allan Birchfield has angrily rejected a claim the council has been anti-competitive in its dealings over quarries and rock supply contracts.

WCRC chair Allan Birchfield at his Ngahere office - home of former Grey River gold dredge.

The West Coast Regional Council has not done any exclusive deals and will be looking for the best offer for a supply of rock for river protection at Franz Josef Glacier, Allan Birchfield says. (file pic) Photo: LDR / Lois Williams

South Westland quarry owner Mackley Ferguson has complained to the Commerce Commission and the Auditor-General about the council's sale of its Whataroa quarry rights to MBD Contracting, and the long-term rock supply agreement that was part of the deal.

Ferguson said that undermined the viability of efforts by his company, Kokiri Lime Ltd, to reopen the Sugarloaf quarry at Karangarua, and his hopes of securing a council contract for rock for river protection at Franz Josef Glacier.

Cr Birchfield said that was nonsense.

"We don't have an exclusive deal with MBD - we haven't even got the funds from the government yet, and when and if we do, that contract will go out to open tender.

"We will be going with the best offer and we were expecting and hoping Kokiri Lime would be competing for that."

The council was not anti-competitive and had said it wanted out of the quarry business to create more competition in the sector, Birchfield said.

"It's very disappointing that they've done this (gone to the Commerce Commission) and I want an apology from Mr Ferguson," he said.

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