Home' Greymouth Star : August 28th 2014 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
747 Queen of the Skies abdicates
$1 (Home Delivery 75c)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
21 years for murder,
Police puzzled by
PM cut-outs in
boot of stolen car
Police found cut-out smiling
faces of Prime Minister John Key,
National Party candidate Maureen
Pugh and Labour MP Damien
O’Connor in the boot of a stolen car
after a short pursuit in Blaketown
last night. The owner of the Honda
Civic reported the car missing an
hour after the chase. It was seen
speeding along Preston Road about
9 o’clock. Police signalled for the
driver to stop in Steer Avenue, but
he accelerated away and a short
pursuit ensued along Reid Street,
reaching speeds of 80kph. The chase
continued along the tiphead road
before being called off. Th e vehicle
was found abandoned, with the keys
in it, on a gravel road near the beach.
Police opened the boot to find the
cut-out faces smiling back at them.
“These have obviously been removed
from advertising billboards and
have been sent for fingerprinting,”
constable Paul Watson, of
Greymouth police, said. Alcohol
found in the car was also impounded.
Meanwhile, photos of some of the
defaced billboards of Mrs Pugh
have appeared on a Facebook page
called ‘National Party Billboard
Makeovers’. Mr O’Connor’s and Ban
1080 Party billboards have also been
targeted by vandals.
A man went into a rarely-used
bedroom in his mother’s home
and discovered thousands of wasps
had made a giant nest in a bed. An
estimated 5000 wasps had created a
nest by chewing through bedding,
including a blanket and pillow.
Pest-control expert John Birkett
was called to deal with the mound
of wasps inside the mattress at the
five-bedroom home in Winchester,
Hampshire. He said: “In 45 years
I have never seen anything like it.
There must have been 5000 wasps.”
— Daily Mail
Mainly fine, light winds
Greymouth Star On-line
A Dobson man charged with drug
offences and theft of electricity to
grow the drugs, was sentenced in the
Greymouth District Court this week
to six months of community detention,
12 months’ super vision and $1559 in
A police search of the home of
Jeffrey James Johnson, 52, on March 3,
uncovered 20 cannabis plants growing
in a shed, seven plants growing around
the property, 2.5g of cannabis, a pipe
for smoking the drug, and a growing
The growing room was supplied with
electricity via a system of wiring that
meant the meter reading did not pick
up how much power was being used.
Johnson was subsequently charged,
together with his son, Joel James
Johnson, 23, with cultivation and
possession of cannabis and theft of
The police today dropped the charges
against Joel Johnson.
Lawyer Doug Taffs said on Tuesday
the elder Johnson had pleaded guilty
to all charges. Since the offending, he
had gained employment working on a
rebuild project, and random drug tests
showed he had been off the drug since
the offending came to light.
Judge Raoul Neave said Johnson’s
previous drug offending in 1982, 2010
and 2011 showed a “ longstanding
problem with illicit drugs”.
However, a report showed he had
been willing to address the issues his
offending highlighted. A combination
of Johnson’s early guilty plea and other
factors meant the sentence stopped
short of a custodial term.
On Tuesday, the judge ruled that
the evidence against Joel Johnson was
inadmissible, saying there had been
insufficient evidence for a warrant to
search his property in the first place.
The younger Johnson’s property was
searched after police had earlier visited
his father’s home.
Sergeant Brent Cook told the
court there had been evidence of the
electrical supply at Jeffrey Johnson’s
house having been tampered with,
and when he visited Joel Johnson’s
property, there appeared to be a source
of electricity, from an outside meter
reading box to a large garage and shed
outside the property.
Mr Cook also observed that the hot
water had been disconnected from the
electricity supply, and the meter was
showing a reading of zero.
Those issues, combined with the
electrical wiring at the father’s
property having been tampered with,
Joel Johnson’s trade as an electrician,
and Mr Cook’s obser vations that the
windows of the property were covered
up, added up to the suspicion that
cannabis may have been growing at the
property, and electricity being stolen.
However, Mr Taffs said the windows
of the property were not covered, and
Mr Cook had been mistaken to think
they were. Mr Cook agreed.
Mr Taffs said a meter reading of zero
could be accounted for by the property
having a wetback, and the hot water
being disconnected when the fire was
Mr Cook said the zero meter reading
was consistent with advice from a
member of the power company, who
had checked the supply and said
someone had tampered with the meter.
Judge Neave said that from Mr
Cook’s obser vations there was nothing
to justify the issuing of a warrant for
Joel Johnson’s address.
He said the sergeant had not provided
enough detail to the officer who had
issued the warrant to make their own
mind up about whether it should be
The fact that the father was growing
cannabis and had stolen electricity
at his address, the family connection
to his son, and the suspicious meter
reading were all Mr Cook had as
justification for a warrant to search the
property being issued.
Judge Neave said they were
“conclusionary statements without
sufficient evidence to back them up”.
There was, therefore, insufficient
evidence to confirm even the suspicion
of cannabis being grown at the son’s
property.The search warrant should not
have been issued and as the evidence
had been improperly obtained, it was
inadmissible, the judge said.
The charges were formally withdrawn
Dobson cannabis grower siphons off electricity supply
West Coast dairy farmers are
hunkering down and scaling
back on their spending after
the Hokitika dairy co-operative
yesterday slashed the forecast
payout for the second time in a
After two days of meetings,
the Westland Milk Products
board last night confirmed a
revised payout prediction of
$5.40 to $5.80 a kilo of milk
solids — before company
On July 29, company forecasts
of $6 to $6.40 were greeted
with alarm, and the latest slide
has some sweating.
For an average sized dairy
farmer on the Coast, it wipes
$200,000 to $250,000 of annual
Grey Valley farmer Colin
van der Geest said at $6 a kilo
farmers could still make a profit.
“At $5.30 it ’s pretty marginal,”
he said, noting there was a
30c a kilo retention to come
out to go towards company
“Having said that, it ’s early
days and there’s a long way to
go. I wouldn’t panic just yet,
but I will be thinking about my
extra spending for the year,” Mr
van der Geest said.
Buller farmer John Milne said
it was news no farmer wanted
“Basically, the discretionary
spending stops,” Mr Milne said.
“ You have still got to farm, you
can’t just stop farming ... but if
you can get by using different
techniques that ’s what you do.
“Reading between the lines”
he said he doubted the drop in
payout was finished yet.
“This year 65% of our costs
come before Christmas, our
costs are coming and we’ve not
got an increase in payout. It ’s
pretty tricky. You are talking to
banks every month.”
Johnny Reedy junior said once
the payout fell below $6 “it
starts really hurting”.
“ You just have to watch the
spending for a while — any real
form of development is out the
window, gets stalled,” Mr Reedy
At Kokatahi, Andrew Baird
said it seemed to be a sign of
“Like they keep telling us,
we’re in a volatile market. I
would suggest most people are
a wee bit more wary these days
after what happened a few years
ago,” Mr Baird said.
“As they say, it’s very rare that
we strike two positives: the
weather is good, the payout is
Dairy NZ farm consultant
Ross Bishop, of Greymouth,
said it was “going to cause quite
a few issues for quite a few
A “significant ” number of
West Coast farms were carrying
fairly high levels of debt.
When farm expenses were
paid — wages, replacing broken
equipment — about $4.20 to
$4.40 was gone. That only left
$1 to pay debt and themselves.
“It ’s going to put pressure on
budgets to create break-even
scenarios,” Mr Bishop said.
Westland Milk Products
chief executive Rod Quin
said last night the board
and management were “very
conscious” of the stress the
reduction would put on some
“ We’ll be monitoring the
situation and working closely
with shareholders to help
ensure they have the resources
and tools to manage their way
through this,” Mr Quin said.
The reduction was driven by
the fall in prices across the globe
and the continued high value of
the New Zealand dollar.
The skim milk powder price —
which represented a substantial
proportion of Westland’s
12%. He said there was still
lacklustre demand from China
and stock levels in distributor
and customer warehouses was
“O ur recently announced
investment in a $102 million
nutritionals drier at Hokitika
will give us the capacity to shift
more of our production to this
end of the market where profits
are higher and opportunities to
lift payouts are better.”
Fonterra confirmed yesterday
it was holding its payout at $6.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Mckenna Elwood and classmates at Kidsfirst Kindergarten Greymouth donned their maddest hats and enjoyed some of the
sweetest treats for a Mad Hatters Cupcake Party today. The idea came from Mckenna, who wanted to share her love of cupcakes with
her friends. Children also got the chance to make cupcakes of their own.
Mad hats and cupcakes
Nine seek seats on new high school board
Greymouth High School will hold an
election to select its first board of trustees in
three years, after successfully emerging from
under the shadow of a commissioner.
The school received nine nominations for
the five spaces available.
Principal Andy England said there were
four candidates for the one staff position, and
four also for the student position, by the time
nominations closed yesterday.
“ I’m excited about working with our
community,” Mr England said.
The new board of trustees will take office
on September 17, which will also mark
commissioner Christine Nijdam’s final day
with the school since being appointed three
years ago as a result of a damning report from
the Education Review Office.
Voting papers will go out to parents on
Mrs Nijdam was glad to see so much
interest from the public.
“For me it is really important the whole
school community will find itself represented
at the board table. ”
She said the community would take it from
“It’s really positive for them. They have their
school back. ”
The nominations for the parent seats on the
board are: Jennifer Barrow, Karen Hamilton,
Linda Calder, Nicki Mora, Margaret
Crawford, Mel Sutherland, Lisa Smith,
Adrian Smith and Erin McGoldrick.
Labour’s ‘big red bus’ will roll into the West
Coast tomorrow and will pay homage to the
party ’s Runanga roots while here.
The bus will visit Westport, Reefton,
Greymouth and Hokitika, as well as a stopover
at the Runanga Miners’ Hall; Runanga is
regarded as one of the birthplaces of the
Labour leader David Cunliffe has ‘missed
the bus’; he has the first televised leaders
However, Mr Cunliffe will be on the Coast
next weekend for the launch of a new book
about his relative, New Zealand’s longest
serving prime minister Richard John Seddon;
Mr Cunliffe is the great-grandson of Seddon’s
The big red bus is expected in Westport
at 10am, Reefton at 11.45am, Runanga
at 1.30pm, Greymouth at 2.30pm and in
Hokitika at 4.15pm.
Labour’s ‘red bus’ rolls into Coast
Cruze Sportwagon CD AUTO
Captiva 7 LS PETROL AUTO
Colorado LT Z 4X4 AUTO
Derek Vallance 027 543 0947
027 838 9162
Ray Thomas 027 222 0089
027 432 5273
027 589 3863
Links Archive August 27th 2014 August 29th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page