17 jobs gone in Westport

Bathurst Resources is cutting 17 jobs in Westport, Buller Mayor Garry Howard confirmed today.

The company announced yesterday it was putting off 29 staff in Westport and Wellington.

Chief executive Hamish Bohannan said he didn't know how many would go in each place but a "fair few" were in Wellington.

Mr Howard said chief operating officer Richard Tacon had earlier told him Westport was losing 17 jobs. Mr Tacon himself was among the casualties, Mr Howard said.

All of the Westport staff losses would be in planning and administration.

However, Bathurst had not simply targeted ordinary workers, Mr Howard said.

"It's gone from top to bottom. The board's taken a 30 percent reduction (in remuneration)."

Management remuneration has also reduced 30 percent.

Bathurst's 2011 annual report showed it paid over $12 million in salaries, bonuses and stock options to 11 directors and key staff, including almost $4 million between Mr Bohannan and fellow director Gerry Cooper.

Mr Bohannan said yesterday that Bathurst had to make cuts to reduce costs and preserve value for its Buller project so it could start commercial production quickly when coal prices improved.

- Lee Scanlon of the Westport News

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