Home' Greymouth Star : September 26th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Friday, September 26, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1687 - The Acropolis in Athens is attacked
and badly damaged by the Venetian army
trying to eject the Turks.
1820 - Death of Daniel Boone, US
1907 - New Zealand becomes self-
governing dominion within British
1934 - The British Cunard
liner Queen Mary is launched in
1978 - Karol Wojtyla, archbishop
of Krakow becomes Pope John Paul
II, the first non-Italian pope since 1522.
1983 - Australia II wins America’s Cup
yachting series off Newport, Rhode Island, the
first US loss in 132 years.
1984 - Britain and China sign initial
agreement that returns Hong Kong to Chinese
rule in 1997.
1986 - Australian film Crocodile Dundee
opens in US and takes the country by storm.
1992 - A Nigerian military transport plane
crashes soon after take-off from Lagos, killing
all 163 people aboard.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot, British
writer and Nobel laureate (1888-
1965); Martin Heidegger, German
philosopher (1889-1976); Pope Paul
VI (Giovanni Montini) (1897-
1978); George Gershwin, US
songwriter (1898-1937); Leonard
Teale, Australian actor (1922-1994);
Ian Chappell, Australian cricketer
and commentator (1943-); Bryan Ferry, British
singer (1945-); Lynn Anderson, US singer
(1947-); Olivia Newton-John, Australian singer
(1948-); Linda Hamilton, US actress (1956-).
“As in the physical world, so in the spiritual
world, pain does not last forever.”
— Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand-born
“The world and its desires pass away, but the
man who does the will of God lives forever. ”
— 1 John 2:17
experience for a
Coal Creek woman,
Miss A H McLaren, yesterday afternoon.
While grouping her cows into the yard of her
property Miss McLaren was suddenly startled
and shocked by a blinding flash of light and a
mighty boom. Lightning had struck a bamboo
patch near her home and in no time it was
But Miss McLaren’s initial fears were for the
safety of her house which, when she entered
it, was full of smoke. But there were no flames.
The smoke was from the electrical units in the
house that had fused.
Miss McLaren then rushed outside with a
bucket of water and quickly had the burning
bamboo under control.
One Coal Creek resident who heard the crash
likened it to the boom of a 25lb gun.
In a massive Tokyo department store this
week, thousands of Japanese have been gazing
at striking scenes of the West Coast ’s famed
old goldmining settlement of Kumara.
At the same time they have been comparing,
from a canvas point of view, the value of the
alpine grandeur of Taranaki’s Mt Egmont
against their own beloved Mt Fujiyama.
Behind their interest in a group of painted
works is Greymouth’s noted artist Mr M T
Woollaston. In the store at present he has five
paintings — part of the first touring exhibition
of contemporary New Zealand art to go
overseas. Organised by the Q ueen Elizabeth II
Arts Council, the exhibition will be showing in
Tokyo during the Olympic Games.
Of Mr Woollaston’s five oils, three are from
the Kumara district, the other two with Mt
Egmont as the subject.
uFood for thought
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T S Eliot
hey raced down the slide,
one by one, like children
on a playground. At the
photos were snapped and
high fives exchanged.
The frequent fliers were all smiling and
laughing — and quietly hoping to never
use an evacuation slide again.
Doing so would mean their plane had
The slide demonstration was part of a
half-day safety course that encourages
passengers to be aware of their
surroundings and familiarise themselves
with what happens in an emergency.
The two dozen participants learned
the best way to brace for a crash, how to
open aircraft doors and why to wait until
exiting a plane to inflate life vests.
“In this day and age, everybody is so
comfortable with flying, they get on
planes and don’t consider safety,” says
Andy Clubb, a safety instructor at British
Airways’ flight training centre in London.
Started as a training exercise for oil
company employees who routinely flew to
remote locations, the course is now open
to frequent fliers willing to pay $265,
although most participants are still sent
by their companies. There are up to three
classes a week.
The class begins inside a Boeing 737
cabin simulator. Aeroplane seats are
selected. Seatbelts are buckled. The safety
Just like on a real flight, nobody pays
attention — and these are passengers
who know there is going to be a crash.
The simulator rocks back and forth like
taxiing, then tilts up for take-off.
Soon theatrical smoke fills the cabin
and the flight attendants shout, “Brace.
Brace. Brace.” Everybody’s head goes
down until the evacuation order is
given. It is a scramble to the nearest exit.
Some passengers fare better than others.
Seatbelts are not snapped off quickly
enough. One woman struggles to open
the emergency exit over the wing.
When the smoke clears, the group sits
back down and learns that six to eight
passengers can go through the door in
the time it takes one passenger to
go through the tiny over-wing exit.
In the simulator, anyone who
hesitates gets a stern lecture. In real
life, they are pushed out the door,
down the slide by a flight attendant.
Clubb explains that the key to
sur vival is getting into the proper
brace position: Bend forward as far
as possible, keep your head down.
Place your feet flat on the floor and
slide them back.Your dominant
hand goes on the back of your head.
Protect that hand by placing the
other hand over it. Do not interlock
fingers. The goal is to ensure that
the bones in the stronger hand are
not broken so you can eventually
unbuckle the seatbelt.
Will members of the class ever use
the training? Each day, 8.3 million
people around the globe step aboard
some 93,500 flights.
They almost always land safely.
In the past decade, there have only
been 138 crashes worldwide that
had fatalities, according to aviation
“The likelihood is that you are
never going to have to do it in a real
life situation. But knowing now that
you could do it, just gives you a bit
more confidence,” participant Sarah
Barnett, who frequently flies in her
job marketing vacation destinations,
The course also aims to give the fliers
confidence in the people at the front of
“The two guys at the front of your
aeroplane are probably the most highly
regulated and checked professionals
you’ ll find anywhere — certainly more
than your doctor or your lawyer or your
accountant,” British Airways pilot Martin
Hockfield tells the class that pilots
come in twice a year for testing.
In a simulator, they practice take-offs
with engine failures or landing after a
loss of hydraulic pressure. It is like taking
a driving test every six months — in a
British Airways hopes the more than
15,000 people who have taken the
training since 2004 can act as leaders for
others to follow in a crash.
Some passengers freeze or melt down
in an emergency. If they see someone
quickly, calmly and confidently following
a flight attendant ’s instructions to
evacuate, they might do the same.
The instructors share this takeaway :
All passengers should think about
an emergency during the safety
Use that time to look for the nearest
exit, plus an alternative one. Check where
the life vest is and practise unbuckling
the seatbelt to build a bit of muscle
There were other safety tidbits
dispensed that day.
Red lights always signal an exit because
the colour cuts through smoke the best.
Always inflate life vests outside the plane;
they can limit mobility in a tight space
and if water fills the cabin, passengers
with inflated vests can be pressed up
against the ceiling, unable to swim down
to the door.
All bits of knowledge that, if passengers
are lucky, they won’t ever need.
“Fingers crossed, this afternoon has
been a complete, utter waste of time,”
“ You are at greater risk getting in your
car and driving to the airport.” — AP
A man practises using the emergency escape chute on an airliner.
Reading yesterday ’s Greymouth Star
I was in hysterics reading the cartoon. It
was absolutely brilliant.
However, as a retired nurse I can
see the value of telemedicine in rural
communities on the Coast. It is so
important, especially when the consultants
can not get to the Coast with the weather.
Also, when urgent consultations are
I was at a recent health conference
where one of the speakers spoke about
telemedicine being used in the rural Bay
of Plenty. It saves patients having to travel
to see a doctor. It also saves time and
money on transport.
Three years ago, Damien O’Connor
was heavily criticised for saying that the
direction of the Labour Party was being
driven by ‘a gaggle of gays and self-ser ving
I bet it would be hard, in the current
Labour Party, to find anyone — apart
from people that the prophetic Mr
O’Connor was accused of maligning —
who would disagree with him.
The election result showed that the rest
of New Zealand was clearly in agreement.
Mr Burrell obviously did not read any
of Mrs Pugh’s guff (Greymouth Star,
Mrs Pugh did not take any blame for
the mess her council got itself into under
her stewardship; she refused to admit
to any of it, despite the evidence to the
contrary, so you can not have it both ways.
And it was Mrs Pugh who talked about
‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’ in
reference to Labour, so Mr Burrell’s nice
analogy has elevated us well. Thank you.
Mr Anisy, a National supporter, texted
me saying ‘boom — you lose’.
In regards to entering the drift of the
Pike River Mine, this is a clear case of
bureaucracy gone mad.
They are using safety regulations that
govern a working mining operation
(need for a second egress) as the basis for
restricting a recovery operation because
everyone is too scared to make a decision
or to recognise that a recovery or rescue
operation has to, by virtue of a changed
context, operate from a different set of
rules, but that does not make it any less
All they are doing is walking down a
rock tunnel with a sealed far end to check
for possible bodies and to evaluate any
evidence. They are not walking through
any coal seams. This seems such a small
and easy thing to do that may well answer
a few questions and give the Pike families
some closure. Come on Solid Energy.
Archdeacon Tim Mora
Pike River 29
recover y — why not?
There can always be reasons for doing
nothing, especially when that is what you
have decided to do.
This appears to me to be the case with
the sequence of decisions which, to date,
have prevented the recovery of the 29
bodies from the Pike River coalmine.
I live on the West Coast and have
no connection with coalmining or the
As the months and now years have
dragged on it has been upsetting to
witness ‘can do’ Coasters’ expectations
being knocked back by excuse after
excuse. I am still at a loss to understand
why the men’s remains have not been
recovered. Surely I cannot be alone in this.
The authorities’ early position was that a
recovery attempt would risk losing more
lives. The latest position is that a partial
recovery may be possible via the long
That the recovery has been made the
responsibility of a failing mining company
defies reason. It was a failing mining
company which caused the tragedy.
What has never been publicly explained
is why a new direct tunnel has not been
drilled to reach the miners. The majority
of the men were working in an area
around 100m from the nearest point on
the surface. The knowledge, equipment
and manpower for such a recovery are
right here on the Coast.
The technicalities associated with a short
tunnel are quite manageable.
At the time of the tragedy, the
machinery was available on the Coast
which could tunnel that distance in a
couple of weeks. (In Chile in 2010, a
rescue tunnel around seven times as long
was drilled in 69 days).
The main risks at Pike River are the
danger of explosion and lack of breathable
It was never explained why the mine
workings where the miners lay could not
be tunnelled directly into and temporarily
purged with nitrogen or carbon dioxide.
This would allow recovery teams to safely
work in the unbreathable atmospheres for
which they train.
Rescue and recovery in mines will
always have associated risks. Recovery
teams are trained to manage these risks.
They should be given more of a lead role
than a cash-strapped mining company.
The Pike River 29 could still be
recovered once an agency with the will to
do so is given the resources.
So — why not?
Regarding the article about two ladies
getting sick from 1080 poison dropped on
them (Greymouth Star, September 20).
I would just like to say ‘thank you’ to the
only doctor on the West Coast to help
the Reefton women in their time of need.
It takes guts for a doctor to push for an
investigation into their health, after these
two women had 1080 dropped on them
and are now suffering health problems.
In 2010, after the 1080 poison drop
over South Westland, 13 people got sick.
When contacting the local medical centre
they had no emergency plans put in place.
In fact, they did not want to know.
The National Poison Centre is a joke.
They also had no idea what to do and
referred people to their local GP.
Nurses who wanted to help had doors
shut in their face. You would expect there
would be a contingency plan in place
when this deadly poison is being spread
from the air next to people’s properties
and water intakes.
I feel hurt and let down by the medical
officer of health and all those doctors on
These two women need support and not
to be ridiculed and have the blame turned
back on them. We all need to stand up
and take control of our health. Doctors do
not know everything. If you feel you have
been poisoned, someone is accountable for
this. Do not give up, fight it. Do not let
the authorities fob you off.
The 1080 blame game
Is it not the very height of hypocrisy
that the Government can find $90,000
just like that to fund a kea conservation
trust (Greymouth Star, September 18)
the selfsame bird they are spending
millions on wiping out?
To my way of thinking, the biggest
conflict between kea and humans comes
in the form of a man-made green pellet
that rains on their habitat from a machine
called a helicopter.
Interesting also, the front page headlines
(Greymouth Star, September 20),
‘Health concerns prompt fresh 1080
This has the potential to become a
lot more serious and I can not help but
wonder who will be the next to get the
blame? They have already tried blaming
In reply to Neil Messenger’s letter
(Greymouth Star, September 17). His
comment that we all benefit from council
ser vices is all very well but not when these
ser vices come at a cost to the leaseholder-
ratepayer through the unlawful actions of
To start at the beginning, and to
help gain some understanding of my
misconstrued ditties, please consider the
Lease titles on Crown-owned land-
sections were originally set at 21 years
with the right of renewal. Please note,
that the leaseholder did not set them, the
These lease title agreements were then
signed by the leaseholders, then witnessed
by lawyers acting on behalf of the Crown
and signed, stamped and sealed. Then
forwarded to the Land Registrar in
Hokitika, whereby they were signed,
witnessed, stamped and sealed, rendering
them watertight Crown policy documents.
This was the legal process of events.
However, the Grey District Council
then took it upon themselves to change
the lease title agreements to seven years,
with no right of renewal. This is where the
Both the council and their lawyers
entered into what I believe was an
illegal act, changing these lease title
agreements. The lawyers in question were
also representing both the council and
leaseholders, which in my opinion was a
complete conflict of interest. Furthermore,
the leaseholders were offered no
consultation process by the council. I
believe this was illegal, rendering our lease
title agreements as falsified documents, so
therefore null and void. They simply do
Then, when the leaseholder disputes
the situation, the council complains that
the leaseholder has cost them $600,000
in lawyer-consultation fees as a result
of changing a legal document into an
illegal one. What a clever move on the
council’s part. And least anyone forget, we
all have the right to freedom of speech,
including the right to defend our rights
something this country sadly lacks.
So I suggest that if Mr Messenger finds
my letters not to his liking, perhaps he
needs to do his own homework on the
lease debate, or failing that avoid this
section of the newspaper.
Kevin George Curtis
In 2008, Peter Dunne called for the
abolition of the Maori seats on the basis
that the Maori Party had won more seats
than they had received in terms of the
party vote. He called it a distortion of
MMP, a perversion of the will of voters,
undemocratic and unacceptable.
Now, for the second election running,
it is Peter Dunne’s United Party that has
not made the cut in terms of party vote.
This time around a miniscule 4533 people
gave him their party vote, which is about
a quarter of the amount needed to justify
his seat, based on his very own criteria.
Will Peter Dunne now be calling for
the abolition of the Ohariu seat, based on
his view that holding such a position is
undemocratic and a perversion of the will
of voters? Alternatively will he reverse his
statements to that effect? Or will he do
what he did in 2011 and just pretend that
once again, he has not been hung by his
own petard? How many such hangings
can one man endure?
I would like to thank the business
communities of Grey and Westland for
the quality feedback and suggestions
they made to those of us in education
at the recent DWC-West Coast Trades
DWC chief executive Joseph Thomas
showed great leadership in linking
learning with our economic development
and we appreciated his commitment in
facilitating the discussions. We took lots
of lessons from both sessions, but the
main messages were that we need to keep
working on growing literacy to a higher
level, problem-solving skills, the ability to
use useful technology and being aware of
the expectations of the workplace.
I also took confidence that our business
community backs our young people to be
the leaders of tomorrow and is committed
to the partnerships that can make that
Greymouth High School
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