The Government is helping future-proof a critical West Coast industry with a loan of $9.9 million from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to enable a milk segregation project at Westland Milk Products, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.
“With suppliers from Karamea to the glaciers and 430 employees in Hokitika, an investment in New Zealand-owned Westland Milk Products is an investment in the economy of the whole West Coast,” Shane Jones said.
The interest-bearing, repayable loan from the PGF will support the development of segregation facilities at the co-operative’s Hokitika site, which will enable Westland Milk Products to collect and process different types of milk products and milk, such as A2 milk and colostrum.
“The objective is to encourage farmers to produce milk that can be turned into much higher value products, delivering higher returns without requiring an increase in herd numbers.
“This level of segregation would pave the way for Westland Milk to grow its business by processing to higher value products. This is a great example how technology can help drive growth that is both meaningful and sustainable.
“Westland Milk Products has indicated it may explore using the facility to produce non-bovine milk, such as sheep and goat milk or plant-based protein.
“This hi-tech investment will deliver a number of benefits such as upskilling some of the company’s manufacturing staff and attracting new talent to the region.
“The West Coast community has highlighted dairy as a key industry for their region. Today’s investment from the PGF shows the Government is willing to back industries that matter to a region and have the potential to make a real difference,” Shane Jones said.