Home' Greymouth Star : August 23rd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, August 23, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1305 - Scottish rebel leader William Wallace
is hung, drawn and quartered for treason in
1628 - D uke of Buckingham, about to embark
at Portsmouth, England, with further expedition
to La Rochelle, France, is assassinated.
1775 - England’s King George II
proclaims existence of open rebellion
in American colonies.
1913 - Copenhagen’s famous
landmark, The Little Mermaid,
is unveiled at the entrance of the
1926 - Film idol Rudolph
Valentino dies suddenly, aged 31.
1927 - Two Italian-born anarchists, Nicola
Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, are executed in
Massachusetts despite worldwide protests they
1937 - Japanese military forces land at
1948 - The World Council of Churches is
1962 - Telstar satellite relays first live television
program between United States and Europe.
2006 - A British pilot breaks a land-speed
record for driving with a diesel engine, racing
across the Bonneville Salt Flats at more than
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Gene Kelly, US actor-dancer (1912-1996);
Vera Miles, US actress (1930-); Barbara Eden,
US actress (1934-); Keith Moon,
English drummer of The Who fame
(1946-1978); Rick Springfield,
Australian-born pop singer (1949-);
Shelley Long, US actress (1949-);
Queen Noor, American-born wife
of Jordan’s King Hussein (1951-);
River Phoenix, American actor
(1970-1993); Kobe Bryant, US basketball
player (1978-); Sun Ming Ming, Chinese
basketball player (1983-).
“Friendship is honey — but don’t eat it all.”
— Moroccan proverb.
“Bless them which persecute you: bless, and
curse not.” — (Romans 12:14).
will commence its
50th festival, and a glance through the records
will reveal how this worthwhile organsiation
has grown a great deal from its very humble
beginnings some 57 years ago. It was a day
in 1899 when Archdeacon G W York was
approached by three young men, Andrew West,
Kenneth Petrie and Fred de Berry. Would it be
possible for the Archdeacon to form a club for
young men at the Holy Trinity Church? The
Archdeacon did not have to be asked twice and
with his concern for young people he eagerly
set to work to help to begin the Trinity Young
Other churches, Methodist, Presbyterian,
Roman Catholic already had their own
similar societies and these all came together
holding regular meetings for debating and
cultural activities. In 1907 the clubs met and
unanimously decided to hold competitions
in the town hall with charges for admission,
medals for prizes and a panel of judges.
An elderly Runanga woman collapsed
suddenly and died while shopping in
Greymouth yesterday afternoon. She was Mrs
Mary Gray Quate, wife of William Quate,
26 Pitt Street. Mrs Q uate, aged 72, had been
shopping in the Mackay Street store of Millers
Ltd. She was understood to have had heart
trouble for several years.
Born and married in Scotland, She came to
New Zealand in 1926. For a period she lived
at Rewanui but for the past 20 years was a
Mrs Q uate is sur vived by her husband, two
sons, Alex and John; and three daughters,
Elizabeth, Joy and Denise.
uFood for thought
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Tatooine is, you will surely
agree, a pretty stupid name
for a planet, but there are
so many Star Wars fans
that some unfortunate
world is bound to end up
being called exactly that.
Let us just hope that its
inhabitants, if there are
any, never find out. On the
whole, though, giving more user-friendly
names to newly found planets orbiting
other stars is a good idea.
There is, for example, a potentially
habitable “exoplanet ” only 16 light years
from here that is currently known only
as Gliese 832c. As any real estate agent
could tell you, it would attract a lot more
attention if you renamed it Nirvana.
There are gazillions of stars, and only
about 300 have proper names (Antares,
Procyon, Sirius) in any language. Some
of the other bright ones are named after
the constellation they are in, with a Greek
letter or a number to indicate which one
they are (Alpha Centauri, 61 Cygni). But
most are just a number in a star catalogue.
Jerome Lalande’s, published in 1801, had
47,390 stars, Henry Draper’s, published in
1918, listed 225,300.
Gliese 832 was named in a list of 3803
“nearby” stars (up to 72 light years away)
first published by Wilhelm Gliese in
1957, and updated several times since.
The “c ” was added when Gliese 832 was
discovered to have planets two months
ago. All very sensible and orderly, but
not very romantic. So the International
Astronomical Union called in the
consultants, and the result was (pause for
trumpet flourish) a competition!!
The Name Exo Worlds contest,
announced last year, will give the global
public an opportunity to give more
exciting or at least more memorable
names to about 300 planets circling other
stars. Starting next month, a site will open
on which astronomy clubs and other non-
profit organisations can register with the
IAU, and in October they will be asked to
pick 25 or 30 of these planets for the first
round of naming.
Starting in December, these clubs and
organisations can propose names for
the planets and their host stars (only
one planet per group), and in March the
general public can rank the proposals in
an on-line vote. They are expecting more
than a million votes.
The winning names will be announced at
the IAU General Assembly in Honolulu
a year from now — and Tatooine will
certainly be one of the winners, provided
that George Lucas gives his permission.
(There might be a copyright issue). But
Vulcan will not be one of the names
(sorry, Trekkies) because he was a Roman
god, and names of religious figures are not
The IAU’s naming rules are the most
interesting part of the exercise. Names
may not be longer than 16 characters,
they should only be one word, and they
must be pronounceable in some known
language (though not necessarily yours).
They should not be rude, they must not be
of a commercial nature, and the names of
pets are not acceptable.
Most importantly, they cannot be the
names of living individuals, nor the names
of individuals, places or events principally
known for political, military or religious
activities. Which would have caused a lot
of problems if the rule had already been in
force during the last big round of naming
Imagine that the IAU’s rule had been in
force in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries,
when European sailors and settlers were
sprinkling names on all the “new lands”
in the Americas and Australasia. No New
England, no Melbourne, and certainly
no El Salvador. No Sao Paulo, no Los
Angeles, and no Sydney.
The southernmost Australians dealt with
the problem in 1856 by changing their
island ’s name from Van Diemen’s Land
(he was a former governor of the D utch
East Indies) to Tasmania (Abel Tasman
was simply an explorer, and safely dead
by then). But New Zealand would not
pass muster on the word count, and New
South Wales is simply ridiculous.
Waterloo in Canada will have to go, as
will Washington (both the city and the
State) in the United States, and they will
have to do something about Bolivia too.
But the biggest problem will be what
to do about the Americas: two entire
continents called after an individual who
was still alive when they were named.
Amerigo Vespucci, originally from
Florence, moved to Spain in 1492
and subsequently became involved in
organising various voyages of exploration
to the New World for the kings of both
Spain and Portugal. In 1507 he was
credited by the German geographer
Martin Waldseemuller with discovering
that these lands were not part of Asia, as
Columbus had originally believed, but a
huge separate land-mass between Europe
On his world map of that same year,
therefore, Waldseemuller named that
land-mass America, after the Latin
version (Americus) of Vespucci’s first
name. But Amerigo Vespucci was still
alive — he did not die until 1512. The
name caught on, as it happened, but
Waldseemuller broke the IAU rules.
It is never too late to fix a mistake,
but what shall we call the place instead?
I know. How about the continents of
North Tatooine and South Tatooine?
And, of course, the United States of
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles on world affairs
are published in 45 countries.
Weird rules around naming planets
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
n health, the election has become
a bidding war focused on the new
centre ground of free doctor visits.
National outmanouevred Labour
in May with a budget promise
to extend free GP visits and
prescriptions to children under 13 from
next July, at a cost of $30 million a year.
Until then, this had been the territory
of the Greens — and the Child Poverty
Action Group, which wants the extension
of the current free under-6s care to all
But now Labour has trumped National
by adopting its under-13s policy
and extending it to the elderly, at an
additional cost of $120m a year, including
More free care, including dental
treatment, for pregnant women is among
a cluster of promised Labour additions to
free or low-cost primary care. The party
says this would fund free GP visits for
nearly 40% of the population — up from
12% now — and nearly 30% would get
The Greens want free primary healthcare
for all children.
The idea of this State-funded largesse is
to treat people earlier to keep them out of
more-expensive hospital care, and there is
some evidence to support this view.
Labour costs its primary care changes
at $280m a year, and claims the
Government ’s increases in health funding
have not kept up with the country’s needs.
But the Government says it has
managed efficiently in tight financial
times, increasing health spending from
$12.6b in 2009/10 to $15.6b this financial
year — about $500m a year including
New Zealand’s spending on health
rose by more than twice the average rate
among countries in the Organisation
for Economic Co-operation and
Development from 2009 to 2011,
according to OECD figures.
It was Labour in government a decade
ago that introduced universal subsidies
for primary healthcare, a sector in which
State funding was previously more
Under Don Brash in 2005, National
threatened to unwind the policy, but later
Under Health Minister Tony Ryall,
since 2008 subsidies have expanded for
some but have been eroded by inflation
for others. He has made the free-under-
6s concept — introduced by Winston
Peters in the late 1990s and achieved only
partially under Labour — a widespread
reality. More than 95% of children in that
age group now have access to free care,
including after hours.
But there are stress cracks in primary
care. Rises in patient fees permitted by
district health boards since 2009 have
Labour cites a Statistics NZ brochure
showing the average cost to adults for a
GP visit has risen by 24% under National,
to $36.28 last year. No corresponding
children’s charge is given, but a Health
Ministry survey found it was $21 in
2011/12 among children whose care
attracted a fee, while for 55% there was no
A Child Poverty Action Group survey
last year found the average cost for a child
aged 6 to 17 to visit a GP during office
hours was $24. Individual charges ranged
from zero to $60.
After hours the average fee was $44, and
the range from zero to $89.
The ministry’s annual survey last year
found 6.35 of children had missed out
on a GP visit because of the cost in
the preceding year — up from 4.8% in
one year. Labour claims there was an
increase for adults too; the ministry report
indicates there may have been an increase,
but it was not statistically significant.
Labour also claims there is a “rising
number of people turning up to
emergency departments because they can’t
afford to see a GP” — and there is some
evidence at least of rapidly increasing
demand at EDs although the reasons are
A doctor/manager admitted in papers
for the Auckland District Health Board
that, even before the annual surge caused
by winter illness, its adult emergency
department was “struggling” to meet
the Government ’s six-hour target for
“The ED is geared to manage 160
patients daily but in effect has been
managing in excess of 200 patients
regularly in recent months.”
Mr Ryall’s six targets — EDs, elective
surgery, cancer treatment, immunisation,
urging smokers to quit, and heart and
stroke risk checks — mark out his main
The groundwork for the big increase
in child immunisation was laid under
Labour, but it is Mr Ryall’s tight focus
on headline targets — Labour calls it his
“obsession” — that has driven change,
especially in ED times and increased
amounts of elective surgery.
The amount of elective surgery increased
in most of Labour’s nine years in power,
but fell in some years.
Under National, elective surgery has
surged. About 158,000 patients were
treated last year, a 34% increase in five
years, which was far greater than the
population growth rate. Further increases
are promised, with an extra $110m
committed over four years.
Despite this, a survey for the health
insurance industry estimated last year that
280,000 people were “in need of elective
The industry says the public system
cannot cope and needs private sector help,
partly because of an ageing population
needing more surgery and the decline,
triggered by the recession, in the number
of people with insurance.
Mr Ryall’s cancer target has reduced
waiting times for treatment, and he has
funded a four-year trial of bowel cancer
screening in Auckland’s north and west,
building on an idea proposed by Labour.
Labour leader David Cunliffe has
promised to build the Waitemata scheme
into a national programme, at an initial
cost of $14 million a year.
His party says New Zealand — which
has one of the world’s highest bowel
cancer death rates — is lagging behind
many developed countries in not having
a national screening programme, which
could save up to 180 lives a year.
National will wait for the Waitemata
results before making a decision on a
Population health — covering the likes
of obesity, healthy eating and exercise —
is another area traditionally the heartland
of Labour and the Greens.
But National has shored up many of its
weaknesses here with schemes such as the
rheumatic fever prevention programme
and child immunisation improvements.
Huge changes have occurred on tobacco
control, thanks to MMP, Maori Party co-
leader Tariana Turia and Internet-Mana
Party co-leader Hone Harawira.
The percentage of people who smoke
had dropped to 15% by last year, from
21% in 2006. Tobacco tax increases, the
retail display ban and the proposal for
plain packaging have had wide support in
Some public health practitioners have
not fully recovered from National’s rapid
abolition of many of Labour’s efforts to
improve the country’s food “environment ”.
National’s instinct is the educational
approach rather than confronting the food
industry, although many experts agree
this is unlikely to reduce New Zealand’s
obesity problem — we are the third most
obese of OECD nations.
Our adult obesity rate rose from 27%
in 2006/7 to 31% last year. Child obesity
rose from 8% to 11%.
Labour would pass the Public Health
Bill, which gives wide powers to control
the food supply to address diseases in
which food is a factor.
The Greens would require all food and
drink sold in schools to be nutritious and
want a levy on “fizzy/soft drinks” that
would later be imposed on “other products
that cause significant health problems”.
National, although opposed to
regulating food for the sake of obesity, has
adopted an Australian scheme that has
won praise from one of the Government ’s
chief public-health critics, Professor Boyd
The budget in May committed $40m
for the Healthy Families initiative to
operate for four years in 10 communities,
including two in South Auckland and one
in the city’s west.
Professor Swinburn said the scheme
in Victoria involved talking to school
principals and other leaders about “how
levers can be pulled to make it healthier
for kids”, such as by altering the food
available. — New Zealand Herald
Health bidding war
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