Home' Greymouth Star : September 12th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, September 12, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1609 - English explorer Henry Hudson sails
into the New York river that now bears his
1848 - Switzerland adopts new constitution
as a federal union with strong central
1878 - Obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle,
originally cut from the quarries of Aswan in
about 1475 BC, is erected in London.
1890 - British South Africa Company sets up
Salisbury in Rhodesia.
1943 - German paratroopers take
Benito Mussolini from the hotel
where he is being held by the Italian
1959 - Soviet Union launches
Luna 2, the first spacecraft to strike
1977 - South African black
student leader Steven Biko dies in police
2001 - Stunned rescue workers continue to
search for bodies in the World Trade Centre’s
smoking rubble a day after a terrorist attack
that shut down the financial capital, badly
damaged the Pentagon and left thousands
dead. President George W Bush, branding the
attacks in New York and Washington “acts of
war,” said “this will be a monumental struggle
of good versus evil” and that “good will prevail”.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
France’s King Francis I (1494-1547); Richard
Jordan Gatling, inventor of the multi-barrelled
machine gun, (1818-1903); Herbert Henry
Asquith, British prime minister (1852-1928);
Maurice Chevalier, French actor-entertainer
(1888-1971); Jesse O wens, US athlete (1913-
1980); Linda Gray, US actress
(1940-); Digby Richards, Australian
entertainer (1941-1983); Barry
White, US singer (1944-2003);
Max Walker, Australian cricketer
and television personality (1948-
); Rachel Ward, Australian-based
actress (1957-); Ben Folds, American
musician (1966-); James Frey, American
writer,(1969-), Paul Walker, US actor (1973-
2013); Nathan Bracken, Australian cricketer
(1977-); Grant Denyer, Australian television
personality (1977-); Yao Ming, Chinese
basketball player (1980-); Jennifer Hudson,
American actress and singer (1981-).
“ In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap.”
— Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821).
may have to talk
with a powerful lot
of persuasion before they have their former
international representative Trevor Kilkelly in
a blue jersey on Sunday. The veteran ex-Kiwi is
not keen on a late code appearance here, even
though it might mean the salvaging of some of
the riversiders’ damaged reputuation this season.
Yesterday afternoon with his wife and family,
Kilkelly returned to the West Coast from
Sydney and a hard term of professional league
in the jersey of Manly-Warringah. He looked
as rugged and as fit as ever as he stepped off
the railcar in Greymouth. But looks belied true
“It’s all right for you young chaps, but it was
too hard for me,” he said in summing up how
he fared on the Australian front.
The Dobson State coalmine’s first stoppage
on a dispute for about a year has ended.
Normal production resumed at the colliery
with this morning’s shift.
The one-day halt yesterday was called by the
men after a “flare-up” between an under viewer
and one of the underground workers.The miner
concerned was told to go home, and the rest of
the pit walked out in protest, idling the mine
for the dayshift, afternoon backshift and the
night dogwatch as well.
Union secretary Mr R F Beadle described
the dispute as being of a minor nature. “ The
problem was ironed out and an amicable
agreement was reached,” he said today.
Sinnott. — On September 10, 1964, at
McBrearty Annexe, Greymouth, to Tom and
Mildred, a daughter; both well. Deo gratias.
uFood for thought
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Winery defies war
mid the war in Syria,
one hillside vineyard still
produces wines that are
ser ved in the Michelin-
starred restaurants of
London and Paris.
It has been a struggle to keep Syria’s last
commercial vineyard open, the owner of
Domaine de Bargylus says. The war, which
started in 2011, has engulfed the whole
country, and militias on both sides fight in
Sandro Saade and his brother Karim,
Christians with family roots in Syria and
neighbouring Lebanon, planted grape
vines on the tree-lined peaks of the
Mediterranean province of Latakia in
2003, two millennia after the Romans used
the same slopes for their own wineries.
Bargylus’ first vintage was in 2006.
Syria’s rebel forces — a mixture of
hardline Islamists and other groups seeking
to end the dynastic rule of President Bashar
al-Assad — are in Latakia and started
taking ground last year. Some of these
groups have forbidden alcohol in areas
they control but the Bargylus vineyard
has stayed in government-held territory
throughout the conflict.
Syrian wineries were largely small-scale
operations, often located at churches
and monasteries and meant for local
consumption. Syrian Christians made
up 10% of the pre-war population of 22
million people, but that figure has fallen
sharply amid the violence, and wine
production has dwindled too.
There have been a few scares at the
Last August, Assad’s forces and rebels
battled clashed about 100m from the farm.
Several explosions hit the vines, but there
was minimal damage and the fighting has
“ We’ve been lucky that the conflict is
not very close,” Sandro Saade said from
Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. “Compared to
other regions of Syria, we haven’t had the
conflict permanently installed next to our
Still, the war forced the Saade brothers
out of Syria, as it has millions
of other refugees, so they now
manage the vineyard remotely
from Beirut, 200km away.
The Syrian staff have stayed
throughout the fighting and
pick, ferment and bottle the
wine on site.
During the summer, close
to harvest, a sample of grapes
are delivered twice a month to
Beirut, where they are tasted
by Stephane Derenoncourt,
a French winemaker and
consultant, who has worked
with the Saade brothers since
the establishment of the
The six-hour taxi ride carries
a sample of red syrah, merlot
and cabernet sauvignon grapes
and white chardonnay and
sauvignon blanc grapes through
the border to L ebanon for
“It is a risk (to visit
Syria) because of the war,”
Derenoncourt said at the
tasting session with Saade
in Beirut. “I used to go five
or six times a year.” Even
as the conflict spreads, the
winemakers are determined to
keep the vineyard open.
“The quality of the soil is
fantastic because we have two
different soils. It ’s very good
for the production of wine,”
At the tasting, Derenoncourt
sampled the grapes for
bitterness and crushed the reds
in his hands to check the skin.
The reds were about two weeks
from har vest, the whites only a
week away, he said.
The major challenge of
running a vineyard from another country in
a time of war is logistics, Sandro Saade said.
About 45,000 bottles are boxed in Syria
yearly but then travel by sea to Egypt,
then on to L ebanon, eventually arriving in
Antwerp to be stored in their European
“ We’re trying to do whatever we can.
Getting a taxi from Syria to here is not
A week ago, we wanted to taste the grapes
for the first time this season and the taxi
couldn’t go through the borders because the
borders were closed,” Sandro Saade said.
Bottles that make it out are sold to fine-
dining restaurants that include L’Atelier
de Joel Robuchon, Gordon Ramsay ’s
Claridges and the Dorchester Hotel.
Sandro Saade, right, the owner of Domaine de Bargylus, and French winemaker and consultant Stephane Derenoncourt during a wine
tasting session in Beirut. Sandro Saade and his brother Karim, Christians with family roots in Syria and neighbouring Lebanon, have been
forced out of Syria and now manage the vineyard remotely from Beirut.
Ronald (Ron) Butler
Well-known Runanga identity Ron
Butler died last week, severing another link
with the old hillside coalmining town of
Ron was raised at Rewanui and as a
young lad attended the school there
before his family eventually moved down
the hill to Dunollie. After ser ving time
as an apprentice spring maker at West
Coast Motor Bodies, in Greymouth, Ron
returned to Rewanui to work in the mine
there as a qualified steam operator, firing
the boilers for the mine. In a lifetime
spent in the trade, he worked in Haast
running the steam generator that powered
the village and also worked on the boilers
at Fletchers, Westland Laundry and
the Kokiri meatworks. Ron was heavily
involved in his community and spent 17
years on the Northern Ward Community
Board, at Runanga. He was instrumental
in establishing give-way signs in Runanga,
footpaths along Seven Mile Road, the local
railway crossing lights and the Brunner
Mine site memorial at Taylorville. For
many years he also drove the wheelchair
van within the Runanga community and
gave many hours of his time delivering
Meals on Wheels to local residents. He
was also chairman of the group that
organised the Runanga centennial reunion
in 2006, and was president of the Runanga
Workingmen’s Club on three separate
occasions. In July last year Ron received the
Grey District Council award in recognition
of his voluntary services to the community.
Norm Walsh said Ron was a great
“He was intelligent, well read and
possessed a great knowledge of Runanga
history. He was passionate about his
community of Runanga and ser ved it for
many years, and he was a man everyone
respected,” he said.
Ron Butler is sur vived by his wife of 54
years, Patricia, and his three daughters,
Sandra, Linda and Paula.
Imagine a pedestrian zone in the
centre of Greymouth. Imagine arriving
to Greymouth by train and being able
to walk through Mackay Street without
being bothered by the noise and chaos of
cars. Imagine having a coffee at Robert
Harris and sitting outside in the shade of
a kowhai tree, with people strolling by and
no smelly traffic fumes. Imagine walking
from shop to shop without having the
intrusion of cars.
Would it be possible to close certain
streets in central Greymouth to traffic?
There are beautiful greenstone monuments
and sculptures sprinkled through
Greymouth, but at the moment they
are disjointed as there is no pathway
connecting them. Imagine how pleasant
Greymouth could be with a pedestrian
area on Mackay Street between the train
station and BNZ building, and Tainui
Street between the Post Office and the
Clock Tower. With an appropriate design,
some kowhai and pohutukawa trees, several
benches and a sculpture or two from local
artists we could have a pleasant central
area that both the tourists and Greymouth
community could enjoy.
A simple structure covering at least some
of the area and providing rain protection
could make the space suitable for markets
and public events. If the ground was level
and covered with tiles the space could be
easily accessed by pushchairs and people
with walking aids or mobility scooters. The
accessibility of the area could be improved
by designing additional car parks where
unsafe buildings may need to come down.
With people enjoying the space the foot
traffic around the local businesses would
be likely to increase, bringing in more
customers. Can you imagine it now?
Life is full of surprises and the ‘meet the
candidates’ meeting held in the Fiordland
Community Centre on Monday evening,
chaired by Southland Mayor Gary Tong,
was one of those pleasant surprises.
The Fiordland Advocate dedicated the
front page to that meeting. A written
question asked all candidates at the Te
Anau forum, hosted by the Fiordland
Advocate, what support they could offer
to move the Haast-Hollyford road project
forward, and the responses across the board
indicated a tacit approval for the project.
Not a single party candidate spoke in
opposition to the proposed road. They all
showed support and I was delighted.
Labour candidate Liz Craig said while
there would be a need for more debate
within the community, there would be no
objection from Labour if the public wanted
the road. “ Talking to people about this
issue, my sense is that there is a lot more
support for it than for previous projects.”
Green candidate Rachael Goldsmith
echoed this sentiment and said a
Haast-Hollyford road was the least
environmentally destructive proposal
compared to the failed Fiordland Monorail
and Milford Dart Tunnel.
My feeling is your local candidate,
Damien O’Connor, has lost touch with the
people he is meant to represent and on that
basis West Coast-Tasman needs a National
government with Maureen Pugh as the
MP. Those of us who met with Maureen, as
she supports the promoter and investors for
the project, have been very impressed and
we wish her every success.
Mer v Halliday
In regards to the story on Paddy
O’Donnell (Greymouth Star, September 2)
my heart goes out to him, being a personal
friend of his for over 25 years.
His home was his pride and joy. He has
worked hard all his life to save for his own
home. It meant the world to him.
Now he is a broken man. Since the
Cyclone Ita storm he has been staying with
his sister. Life for Paddy will never be the
same. He is devastated. Happy memories
shared with him, now all that stands is just
an empty piece of land — a big loss.
I want to express my disappointment that
the Nelson-based MP for Labour, Damien
O’Connor, has come out against Chinese
investment with the Hollyford road project,
owned by Durham Havill. This rejects the
chance of attracting an investor to further
develop our coal sector by getting a decent
small jetty or port developed or a buyer
for Solid Energy to help take it back to its
It prompted me to check just how many
bits of legislation that benefited the Coast
Mr O’Connor has voted in favour of in the
past three years.
I went through Hansard, the official
records, and I can only find one in the past
three years (where he crossed the floor for
the Nick Smith logging bill).
My question is, who should I vote for as
my MP? One that supports a capital gains
tax, increased personal tax, a regional water
tax, an increase in regional fuel tax and
the dreaded carbon tax? One who makes
a weekly attack on one thing or another
in the paper like it is pre-programmed,
but never has a solution he can get past
his colleagues? One who only appears
in election year and is invisible for the
other two years? I am going to vote for
a candidate who has the contacts and
My money is on Maureen Pugh, the
National Party candidate.
If any of the possible candidates can
retain and grow mining, develop roading,
ensure farming is kept free of unnecessary
taxes, it is her.
In the recent DHB media statement,
the improvement in GP waiting time is
a positive trend. However, not all health
issues are within the scope of a GP. It is
important to ensure that the patients have
timely access to clinicians with the relevant
scope. I noticed that there is a target of 150
days to see a specialist. For many medical
problems this is a ridiculous target. In a
bygone era, same day service was possible in
Greymouth using accident and emergency.
Larger hospitals have the options of
specialty trainees and assessment wards.
Specialty ser vices are often labelled as one
group, without the knowledge that there
are more than 20 surgical and 20 physician
Many people have an understanding on
the roles of specialties like orthopaedics
or anaesthetics. However, there is limited
understanding of the increased scope of a
general surgeon or a general physician in a
As well as their own specialty, they have
to provide on site support for several sub-
specialty ser vices which are unavailable
There are about 20 specialties under the
auspices of the Australasian College of
A general physician has to have some
knowledge of about half of these to provide
general medical ser vices in a hospital
like Greymouth. While the five-year
programme in general medicine is adequate
for inpatient acute medical services, you
still need the support of accident and
emergency officers, anaesthetists and other
This training period is grossly inadequate
to provide outpatient general medical
There is an extended seven-year
programme to better suit smaller hospital
staffing. It is interesting to know, how the
DHB has facilitated this level of training.
Most answers given by election candidates
to the question about the Greymouth
Hospital rebuild (Greymouth Star,
September 8) typify the shallowness of
political thought and the inability to think
beyond the same old cliches.
None of the candidates quoted mention
the fact that if health ministers of whatever
party is in power would use the Reser ve
Bank to fund the rebuild then the huge
amount of money thereby saved would
provide funding for greatly expanded
services while improving the West Coast
DHB’s financial position.
National’s Maureen Pugh boasts of the
proposed high-interest loan as being the
biggest per-person for a DHB, but she
completely ignores that all DHB loans as
currently mismanaged are a profligate waste
of the country’s resources.
Labour’s Damien O’Connor resorts to the
the tired old tactic of criticising National
— c ompletely overlooking that it was his
government that set up the DHB boards to
operate in secrecy while perpetuating the
ongoing dinosaur-like funding system.
The Greens’ Kevin Hague bemoans
the lack of planning — having himself
as a West Coast DHB chief executive
presided over several years of management
ignoring the views of Greymouth health
professionals, whose knowledge could have
led to a better-functioning hospital and an
environment where the health professionals’
input would have paved the way for a better
At least Claire Holley (Conser vative)
and Peter Salter (Ban 1080) dealt with real
issues rather than political blather.
This week, retired Queensland judge
and renowned corruption fighter Tony
Fitzgerald suggested that voters should
shun the two major Queensland parties
because — neither major party wants
political standards to be a significant
electoral issue and neither will willingly
reform the flawed political process which
they control and from which they each
That sounds to me like every party
currently in the New Zealand parliament.
One day New Zealand voters must see
through the deceptions being practised
upon them. Why not at this election?
Democrats for Social Credit
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the
glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”
— (Isaiah 60:1)
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