Heavy Snow Warning For Parts Of Southland

An active front, preceded by a strong west to northwest flow and followed by a cold southerly change, is forecast to move northwards across southern and central New Zealand overnight tonight (Monday) and during Tuesday morning.

Watches and Warnings for severe gale northwest winds, heavy rain and heavy snow are in force for parts of central and southern New Zealand.

Heavy Snow Warning
Heavy snow may disrupt travel in affected areas and could damage trees and powerlines. Cold conditions may cause stress for livestock.

Area: Southland north of Gore, eastern and southern parts of Fiordland, and Clutha north of Tapanui
Valid: 6 hours from 11:00pm Monday to 5:00am Tuesday
Forecast: A period of heavy snow. Expect 10 to 15cm of snow to accumulate above 400 metres, with lesser amounts down to 200 metres.

Heavy Rain Watch

Area: Fiordland
Valid: 3 hours from 8:00pm to 11:00pm Monday
Forecast: A period of heavy rain with thunderstorms possible. Rainfall amounts may approach short-duration warning criteria.

Strong Wind Watch
Strong Wind Warning lifted for : Southland and the Fiordland Lakes

Fire Out at Mataura Old Paper Mill


There was a fire in the former Mataura paper mill  that stores the ouvea premix in Mataura this afternoon. The fire is now out.

In a statement from Fire & Emergency NZ Otago-Southland says no water came into contact with the ouvea premix.
The building has been checked for ammonia gas.
FENZ stresses that no release of ammonia gas occurred during the incident.
Two fire investigators will investigate the cause of the fire.
SH93  between Mataura and Clinton has reopened. It was closed earlier today due to a fire at the former Mataura paper mill.

ILT Experiencing Highs and Lows

The Invercargill Licensing Trust is down $7.2 million in the first quarter of the financial year, but hit a record profit of $974,000 from individual businesses in July.

Chief executive Chris Ramsay said, in his monthly report, that July benefited from the operation of its remodelled Homestead Restaurant and Bar, that was closed between June and December last year.

The ILT also received very good support for its other restaurant and bar operations, as well as retail bottle stores.

However, because the industry was reliant on Air New Zealand’s direct Auckland flights, August was a tough month after alert levels changed again – halting flights into the city.

Total sales for the year-to-date (April to July) were down 24 per cent, with bottle stores showing a sales increase of 3.2 per cent in July, compared to 2019.

Accommodation remained the hardest hit by the affects of Covid-19, with hotels and motels not receiving the strong numbers of domestic tourists as expected.

Chris said they were finding it “almost impossible” to plan ahead due to the Covid alert levels constantly changing.

“We’re completely at the whim of the Government.   We have always viewed Alert Level Two as a level at which we will only make a minimal profit at best.”

The ILT has had to put off its Annual General Meeting until the end of the year because of current restrictions.

The following grant has been approved by the ILT in July:

Southland Art Society Inc: $10,000 to support 2020 ILT Art Awards For members’ information.

We can advise the following grants have been allocated by Trustees of the ILT Foundation:

  • Southland Badminton Association: $30,000 towards general manager wages, coaches, high performance development squad and administration costs.
  • Southland Table Tennis Association Inc: $11,000 towards operations manager, schools’ coordinator, coaching, operational costs for the next 12 months.
  • Order of St John: $17,539 towards annual servicing of defibrillators, pads/batteries, four new defibrillators and training.
  • Sport Southland A total grant to a level of $3,000 towards play equipment to be housed in a container in the inner city.
  • Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind: $2,500 towards the salary of the recreation officer and volunteer co-ordinator for 2020/21.
  • Epilepsy Association of NZ – Southland Branch: $3,750 towards salary support for the educator delivering the programme in Invercargill.
  • Kiwi Family Trust: $650 towards the purchase of wool for knitted items for agencies to pass onto families.
  • Southland Kennel Association: $1,000 towards travel costs for four New Zealand judges and one steward for shows in Invercargill from October 31 to November 1.
  • Windsor North School BOT: $1,250 towards four I-pads for classroom use.
  • Touch Southland: $20,000 towards staff wages, office rental, field hire and administration costs for the next 12 months.
  • Bowls Southland: $22,500 towards operating costs for 12 months in Invercargill.
  • Great South: $17,750 towards the ILT Kidzone Festival, specifically for storage costs and purchase of new equipment.
  • Southland Football Inc: $78,750 towards operational costs for the 2020/2021 year.
  • Southland Youth One Stop Shop: $12,500 towards director’s wages for the second half of the 2020/2021 year.
  • Sport Southland: $128,250 towards operational costs for the 2020/2021 year.
  • Athletics Southland: $2,000 towards costs of the Southland Festival of Running on Sunday October  11 2020.
  • Road Safety Southland: $2,500 towards the Drive My Life programme for vulnerable/at risk members of Invercargill community.

Reports Of Fire At Old Mataura Paper Mill

Fire and Emergency is attending a fire at the Old Paper Mill in Mataura.
Crews were called at about twenty 1.40 this afternoon.
More than 30 firefighters are in attendance.
There is currently no danger of the fire getting near where the ouvea premix is stored. The fire is on the floor underneath the premix, approximately 30 metres away.
The fire currently covers a 10 square metre area, in the hydro generator. It is contained.
Fire fighters are currently working to isolate the power and will extinguish the fire once it is confirmed the power isn’t generating.

Diversions are in place around the Mataura area due to a large fire in the old paper mill.

Road closures are in place while emergency services respond to a building fire on Kana Street (State Highway 93).

The fire was reported about 1:40pm, and A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said two appliances from Mataura were at the scene of the fire from around 1.50pm, with two more on the way from Gore.

There have been reports the fire was inside the old paper mill, where ouvea premix is stored, but this was yet to be confirmed.

A number of diversions are in place around Mataura and traffic is being diverted up State Highway 1.

Motorists are asked to avoid the area and expect significant delays.

Emergency services were called to the old mill late last month following reports of a sprinkler being activated after being damaged due to heavy frosts.

Covid Update Monday 31st August

Minister of Health Chris Hipkins and Deputy Director-General of Health Robyn Shearer are giving an upate on the latest on Covid-19.

Watch the 1pm briefing:
Live update


Severe Gale Warning For Southland & Fiordland

Severe gale west to northwest winds, heavy rain and heavy snow for parts of central and southern New Zealand
An active front, preceded by strong west to northwest flow and followed by a cold southerly change, is forecast to move north across southern and central New Zealand overnight tonight(Monday) and during Tuesday morning.

This front also brings a burst of heavy rain, especially for the western parts of the South Island and a period of heavy snow for inland Canterbury.

Area: Southland and the Fiordland Lakes
Valid: 10 hours from 9:00am to 7:00pm Monday
Forecast: Northwest gales are forecast to be severe at times, with gusts reaching 120km/h.

Watches and warnings for heavy rain and heavy snow and are in force for parts of the South Island.

Strong wind gusts could damage trees, powerlines and unsecured structures. Driving may be hazardous, especially for high-sided vehicles and motorcycles.

South Port Year-End Pleasing Despite Impacts Of Covid-19

The results for the year ending 30 June 2020 for South Port New Zealand Limited (South Port) were pleasing but also reflect the unavoidable effects of the nationwide Alert Level 4 lockdown, including some unexpected offsets.

Trade volumes were impacted by a softening of international commodity markets, compounded by the domestic disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the Alert Level 4 lockdown, the Port continued operating as an essential business. New processes and procedures were quickly adopted to ensure the Port’s people were safe and able to continue in their work.

South Port Chief Executive, Nigel Gear said, “the business operated extremely well due to the hard work and dedication of the port team. Our core set of values, especially ‘Safety First’, served us well in making good decisions during this period.”

Total cargo throughput was 3,269,000 tonnes, a 7.2% decrease on the prior year.

South Port Chairman, Rex Chapman said, “Like the rest of the country we were noticeably affected in April.”

“Despite these impacts, the Company has reported an after-tax profit of $9.43 million, 3.6% below last year, which is still a very pleasing result overall and in line with our forecasts presented at the 2019 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting in November last year.”

Operating revenue for the year was 1.4% higher than FY19 at $44.6 million.

Total log volumes exported through Bluff were 33% down on FY19. Total container volumes fell 2% at 47,600 TEU (2019: 48,600 TEU).

Pre-tax operating profit was $13.35 million (2019: $13.71 million) and net profit after-tax for the year was $9.43 million ($9.79 million).

Earnings per share were $0.359 (2019: $0.373). Net tangible asset backing was $1.74 (2019: $1.64).

The Board’s ongoing policy is to take into consideration both free cash flows and reported profits in determining the annual dividend. This year, the Directors also had regard to the uncertain economic outlook caused by the pandemic.

As a result, the Directors have determined to declare an unchanged final dividend for the year of 18.5 cents, which takes the full year’s dividend to 26.0 cents (2019: 26.0 cents), with full imputation credits attached.

Mr Chapman said, “The full dividend payment represents a gross return of 5.2% (net 3.7%) based on a share price of $6.95 at 30 June. This means that South Port’s dividend pay-out ratio will be 72% of reported net profit (and 79% of free cash flow).”


The Port along with the Southland region has expressed concern over the potential closure in August2021 of New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS), which represents one-third of the Port’s cargo base and ~18-20% of NPAT.

Since the announcement by Rio Tinto, Southland business and community leaders have together lobbied Government to work with Rio Tinto for an extension of the shutdown for at least a 4-5 year timeframe. This would allow for the planning and transition to new industries, and importantly preserving jobs and keeping skilled labour in the region.

Mr Chapman noted that NZAS contributes around $450 million annually to the NZ economy. He said, “NZAS is producing some of the lowest carbon aluminium in the world, using hydro electricity from the Manapouri Power Station supplied by a dedicated transmission network.”

“The base fundamentals for the continued operation of NZAS are still very sound and it is important that the Government, electricity providers and Rio Tinto negotiate a sensible solution that will benefit not only Southland but the NZ economy. The Port will closely monitor the progress of negotiations.”


Forestry was the main contributor to the decline in FY20 cargo with both logs and woodchips down on past seasons.

“Log volumes in particular were affected by an oversupply of Spruce logs into the China market as a result of a bark beetle infestation in Europe which accelerated the harvesting of that species,” said Chief Executive, Nigel Gear.

“This was compounded during the lockdown when forestry cargoes were not considered an essential industry therefore log and woodchip exports (including containerised timber products) ceased during this period.”

“Record volumes of bulk stock food products were imported due to a late season surge of shipments through the Port.”

“These increases were partly attributed to Covid-19 restrictions that dictated a change in working conditions at the meat plants, slowing down the number of stock units being processed which was perceived to lead to a shortage of feed in the region.”


“While bulk cargoes are the backbone of the Company’s trade, the standouts this past financial year were the cold storage facility and the container activities, effectively making up for any bulk volumes lost through the Port,” said Mr Gear.

“The cold storage facility upgrade completed 18 months ago with extended load-in and load-out bays, increasing efficiency and improving safety. The new blast freezer continues to exceed our volume expectations.”

A $1 million expansion project for the container terminal area was completed and has provided much-needed additional space for the efficient storage and movement of containers. This has assisted with the planning of the depot and ship day operations in the container terminal. These efficiencies combined with the increased throughput of refrigerated cargo at the Port has been one of the highlights of FY20.


“Unknown variables could affect the Company in the coming year”, said Mr Chapman. “The continued impact of Covid-19 on international markets and the ongoing disruption from outbreaks of the virus within New Zealand are still a material risk going forward.”

“South Port is considered an essential industry and we expect that should the country return to higher alert levels in the future, all cargoes, including forestry, will continue to be handled through the Port.”

“Our customers indicate they have good visibility of sales to the end of the third quarter (October 2020); however, beyond this timeframe there is some uncertainty.”

Based on presently known factors, South Port is expecting FY21 earnings to be down ~2% and the Company will endeavour to maintain dividends at the current level.

A Beach Volleyball Tournament in Invercargill’s CBD, Yes!

Picture this: come 26th November 2020, a location in the heart of Invercargill’s CBD,
is going to come alive with the sounds of volleyballs being struck. The sun is shining,
spectators are clapping and cheering with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen on, as they watch top athletes perform on newly-designed and built courts of sand.

A six- year dream is coming to fruition, just in time for the South Island Junior Secondary School Beach Volleyball Championships.

Volleyball Southland will be hosting the 2020 South Island Junior Indoor and Beach Volleyball Championships, starting on November 22nd. November 23rd to 25th for the indoor championship, 26th November – Junior Beach Championship, and 27th – 28th
November for the Southland Open and Grand Prix, where they hope to have sixteen of NZ’s top beach volleyball athletes in Invercargill, showcasing their skills and holding a development clinic in support of local athletes and coaches.

The week is rounded off with some of the top players participating in exhibition games in Queenstown on November 29th.

All indoor games will be located at ILT Stadium Southland, and all beach volleyball
games will be played at the former Southland Bowling Club, at 40 Forth Street, Invercargill, which is about to be transformed into The Otepuni Community Hub.

It will be the new home for Southland Darts Association and Volleyball Southland.
Volleyball Southland Chair, Donna Milne said they are diversifying into Beach
Volleyball, to develop and utilise the former bowling greens, while continuing to
maintain their strong indoor competitions at ILT Stadium Southland.

Mrs Milne said they were expecting over 2000 people to attend across the week for
the South Island junior champs plus beach events.
This number is made up of 69 indoor teams of 10 players per team. Then many of
the players would go into doubles for beach in the Year 9/10 tournament.

In the beach volleyball, there would be 16 teams, and 8 teams of each gender for the
Grand Prix, plus 32 teams – 16 per gender for the Southland Beach Open.

Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) is a support partner in the project, and has
assisted with marketing, media and logo design. They’ve also offered student
volunteers to be extra pairs of hands at the week-long event, who will be using their
skills in photography, massage (the athletes), and marshalling.

“I am blown away by the Invercargill City Council (ICC), SIT and our fantastic local
funder’s belief and potential investment into our vision for beach volleyball courts in
the CBD, and having a community hub for people to play in, and take part in
recreational activities”, Mrs Milne said.

National Promises At Least Five Years of Tiwai Pt Smelter

The National Party has pledged it will keep the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter running for at least five more years if elected in October.

The clock is already ticking down to the closure of the smelter near Bluff after owner Rio Tinto announces plans to close Rio Tinto released plans to shut it next August, ending its contract with Meridian Energy.

National Party leader Judith Collins told an enthusiastic Southland crowd she was confident a commercial deal could be reached, preventing more than 2000 job losses across the region.

Yunca Engineering has been supplying products and services to the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter since 1994.

It was there at its Invercargill head office that National Party leader Judith Collins unveiled her vision for the smelter.

“Our aim is to create a commercially viable result that will keep the smelter in operation for at least the next five years while preparing Southland to lessen the severity of any potential closure. We believe a commercial deal could be reached,” Collins said.

“It is our understanding that the owners of the Manapouri Power Station – Meridian Energy – have offered a positive electricity price to Rio Tinto, based on Meridian’s potential losses of tens of millions of dollars a year if there is a drop-dead date for closure of the smelter. Based on this, we understand that a commercial deal could be reached.

She promised a National Government would expedite negotiations between Rio Tinto, power companies and Transpower to ensure better transmission prices so the smelter could commit beyond its hard close date next August.

Her other pledges include upgrading the smelter’s technology to boost available electricity, improving Southland’s internet and accelerating Transpower’s investment in transmission lines.

In exchange for the deal, she said Rio Tinto would need to show how it would clean up the site and deal with waste when it closed.

Judith Collins announces Tiwai Point smelter policy in Southland. Judith Collins announces Tiwai Point smelter policy in Southland. Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

Deputy leader Gerry Brownlee said the company was willing to consider negotiating, but he wouldn’t be pushed on financial figures.

“Know when to hold them and know when to fold them,” he said.

“New Zealand Aluminium Smelter has put some numbers of the table, and we’ve considered those and have decided there is strong basis for negotiation.”

Judith Collins said part of the negotiation would include looking how to deal with the roughly 8500 tonnes of potentially toxic waste created by the smelter that has been sitting in a disused Mataura paper mill for years.

When asked if there was a fallback plan, she said there was – but she was not going to reveal it.

Instead Collins said she was focused on getting to work on negotiations straight away – if elected.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said losing the smelter would be a devastating blow to Southland.

National’s plan was a positive step forward and recognised high transmission costs as one of the key barriers in negotiations, he said.

“It’s really going to take a strong government to intervene. They’ve given a signal today that they want to do that.

“I wish them well. It’s been a challenge for many years with a variety of governments and we haven’t really got a lot of progress. So I’ve got high hopes, but we also got a commitment today that they would intervene in other ways if that was going to take longer than originally planned.”

Tracy Hicks believed a partnership between the government and the regions would be key.

Invercargill City Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt was also pleased with the pledge.

“It’s challenging, but it always has been when it comes to negotiations between the smelter and the electricity company,” he said.

Invercargill City mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt. Invercargill City mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt. Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton
“But this is a great time. People are positive now, they’re looking for new projects they can possibly get behind and this will certainly benefit from any support they can possibly get.”

Halting the closure would give Southland more time to kickstart other industries, he said.

“We realise that the smelter will not last forever. But we don’t want money, we don’t want subsidies. We don’t want any of that. We just want fair pricing.”

Southland’s leaders were not putting their eggs in one basket however, saying they were keen to hear from each political party about their plans for the smelter.

Source: rnz.co.nz Republished by arrangement.