Fonterra plant win for region

By Don Farmer

The multimillion-dollar expansion Fonterra is planning for its plant at Pahiatua can only be good news for the town and the wider region - providing the company sticks to the letter of the law and meets all its consent conditions.

Fonterra has a long way to go before it gets the green light from Tararua District Council and Horizons Regional Council to build a third milk powder-drier, but if it does the company is willing to spend up to $250 million on the project and create an extra 45 permanent jobs.

That's not to mention the huge number of men and women who will be employed temporarily in the actual construction phase.

It can be assumed that the town to benefit most will be Pahiatua itself, especially if the majority of the 45 new permanent workers settle in the town, along with their families.

The cash flow into the local economy will not be insignificant and, as far as the permanent workers are concerned, will be ongoing.

You don't have to be a Philadelphian lawyer to determine the likely spin-offs to northern Wairarapa towns, and towns farther afield, from hundreds of pay-packets injected into the district while construction is going ahead.

Those workers will all eat, most will drink, buy petrol, have vehicles serviced, pay rent and spend in 1000 different ways.

While it's easy to be excited about the project and the obvious help it will be to our economy, there will nevertheless be those who take a cautious approach.

Community watchdogs will want to be assured that the big expansion project will not impact negatively on the environment, especially as the project involves building a wastewater plant.

Fonterra has lodged many applications over the years for alterations and additions to its business nationwide, and will be well aware of its need to tick all the boxes or risk losing the faith of the community, and possibly have its all-important consent applications fail.

That would be the worst possible outcome, not only for the dairy giant but for Pahiatua and the Tararua district.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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