Amid global economic challenges including high inflation, increasing interest rates and softer equity markets, DWC's investment portfolio experienced a reduction of $7.3m to $139.6m. This was primarily due to unrealised losses of $7.7m.As of July 2023, the fund has recovered by $3.6m to $143.2m, in line with economic expectations as inflation comes under control, interest rates stabilise, and equities recover.
DWC Chief Executive, Heath Milne, commented, “The DWC investment portfolio is highly diversified, with a mix of growth and income producing assets. The outlook for equity markets into FY24 remains cautious with inflation and central bank cash rates likely to have peaked. DWC remains in a good position to be able to receive cash returns to fund future initiatives and continue to support the West Coast.”
The fiscal year closed with a $5m net deficit, in contrast to the previous year's $2.8m profit. Despite this, DWC approved 12 out of 14 commercial funding applications, totalling $4.2m, and invested an additional $8.2m in regional development projects and community distribution.
DWC has maintained its commitment to the West Coast Community Trust (WCCT) with an annual contribution of $200,000.
As well as reacting to the immediate needs of the region, DWC is working on long-term projects and initiatives. The year began with a focus on collaboration within the region as work started on executing Te Whanaketanga Te Tai Poutini West Coast 2050 Strategy.
Building confidence in the region is a key mission and several initiatives got underway with this in mind. A concerted effort to enhance the region's national image has seen DWC proactively securing 217 media placements, both nationally and internationally, highlighting positive West Coast stories and generating an advertising equivalency value exceeding $1.6m.
Recognising the importance of retaining talent in the region, DWC has continued its Tertiary Scholarship programme offering four annual scholarships valued at up to $32,500 per student.
The year also saw the launch of Te Tai Pountini Destination Management Plan, setting a clear direction for tourism in the region, and Te Tai Poutini Renewable Energy Strategy to help unlock opportunities in renewable energy investments and job creation on the West Coast.
From its initial capital of $92m in 2001, DWC’s direct investment into the West Coast economy has now reached $182.8m while maintaining the Fund at $139.6m.
“The true value of DWC to the region goes far beyond direct investment into the economy,” said Milne. “DWC staff are working tirelessly with local businesses to build capability, as well as helping them access other capital and business opportunities, and at the same time promoting the Coast as a great place to visit and live.”
During the financial year, DWC worked with 345 actively managed clients and allocated $846,219 in training, advisory and advice implementation funding to 210 West Coast businesses through the Regional Business Partner Network and MBIE’s Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan. A further $2.53m in Tourism Communities Kick-Start funding was distributed to 89 COVID-impacted businesses in Westland District. The year also saw over 850 people attending DWC business events, workshops, and trainings.
DWC is continuing to leverage its Fund to attract investment into the region. This financial year, DWC helped secure $3.9m in external investment for the region.
In March, DWC conducted its annual client survey to assess the perception of DWC among the West Coast community and other stakeholders. The survey results showed DWC’s net promotor score improved to +21 and has consistently improved since the first survey in 2020.
“This reflects the great work and dedication of the entire DWC team,” said Milne.
DWC looks forward to another year of working closely with stakeholders to unleash business potential on the West Coast.
The close of the financial year was marked by a significant and sad moment for the entire DWC whanau with the passing of sitting Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio appointee Trustee Barry Wilson on 28 February 2023.
“Barry was a great supporter of DWC and a true gentleman. His wisdom and outstanding personal values will be missed – we will remember him fondly,” said DWC chair Renee Rooney.
West Coast leads the way in New Zealand for housing affordability
We've heard a lot about Kiwi's moving to Australia to escape the high cost of living, but according to the latest data they could be heading in the wrong direction.Learn more
A Century of Connection: Ōtira Tunnel Marks 100 Years
The Ōtira Tunnel, a remarkable engineering marvel of its era, celebrated its 100th birthday amidst an outpouring of festivities, and a deep appreciation of its historical significance to New Zealand.Learn more
Rare penguins swim 2,000km to return to the West Coast
Making a 2,000-kilometre swim from their Sub-Antarctic Convergence summer feeding grounds, the Tawaki (Fiordland Crested Penguins) have once again reached the coastal rainforests of Lake Moeraki on the West Coast for their annual breeding season.Learn more
West Coast Gold Rush: Father-Son Duo Strikes Internet Gold
On the West Coast’s untamed natural wilderness, a father and son gold prospecting team are striking it rich, not just in gold but also in internet fame.Learn more
Pedal Power: West Coast Capitalises on Cycle Tourism
Cyclists have been injecting significant funds into the New Zealand economy, with 2.19 million cycle trail users contributing $950 million to regional economies and gaining $11 million worth of health benefits in 2021, according to two Government reports. This has led to a surge in local businesses keen to tap into the trend, including on the West Coast.Learn more
Couple who moved to West Coast say they haven't looked back
Nearly two years ago, Eliza Hood and her family left Gisborne for the charming coastal town of Greymouth. They didn't just find a new home, but also a welcoming community and a surprising economic trend that contrasts with the rest of New Zealand.Learn more
Protecting the Kōtuku: West Coast business’s winter war against predators
During the quiet winter months, Whataroa on the West Coast transforms into a front line against invasive pests.Learn more