Plant's safety record fuels fundraising bid

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013

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A $500,000 medical hub is to be built in Mokau after the final cash injection needed for St John Tainui.

A $29,600 donation from Methanex meant the fundraising, which began in 2010, was finished and the organisation could start work on a complex with an ambulance garage, a nurses' cottage, two consultation rooms, a kitchen and sleeping area.

"It's been a hard slog, but we've got all our money ducks in a row. Now we can start work in the new year," Gay Andrews of St John said.

Methanex gave St John $400 for each injury-free day during the 10 weeks of upgrades at the plant recently.

After completing 74 out of 75 safe days, the company presented St John with a $29,600 cheque on Wednesday last week.

Mrs Andrews said the medical hub would be of great benefit to the community and she had already been approached by Waitara doctors expressing interest in paying weekly visits to the North Taranaki town.

"A lot of older people out there will be very happy they no longer have to go to Te Kuiti or Pio Pio to see a doctor."

She said St John had received a huge amount of support for the project, with money coming in from farmers and trucking companies.

The "Mokau crew" raised $12,700 at an auction and St John also received $200,000 from the TSB Community Trust, $10,000 from OMC and $5000 from Fonterra.

Methanex made additional donations to the Urenui Volunteer Fire Brigade ($4750), Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust ($5000), North Taranaki Community House Trust ($5000), and Waitara Volunteer Fire Brigade ($5000).

"We're pleased that our strong safety record is also benefiting the communities in which we live and work," Methanex director of manufacturing Brian Ropitini said.

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