Home' Greymouth Star : October 8th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, October 8, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and - except for e-mails - your signature. Noms de
plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1934 - Bruno Hauptmann is indicted on a
murder charge over the death of the infant son
of US aviation pioneer Charles Lindberg.
1952 - Crash of three trains in north-west
London kills 112 and injures more than 200.
1967 - Death of Clement Attlee, Britain’s
Labour prime minister from 1945-1951.
1982 - Polish parliament dissolves
Solidarity, formally ending eastern
Europe’s first experiment in trade
1992 - Death of former West
German Chancellor Willy Brandt,
1993 - UN General Assembly lifts
almost all its remaining economic
sanctions against South Africa.
1994 - US President Bill Clinton sends 4000
US troops and American warships to the Gulf
to counter Iraqi deployment near Kuwaiti
1995 - A huge earthquake hits island of
Sumatra, Indonesia, killing at least 100.
2006 - Race driver Mark Porter dies after
suffering massive injuries in a crash at Mount
Panorama while preparing for the Bathurst
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Juan Peron, Argentine president (1895-
1974); Sir Mark Oliphant, Australian physicist
(1901-2000); Neil Har vey, Australian cricketer
(1928-); Paul Hogan, Australian
comedian-actor (1940-); Jesse
Jackson, American civil rights
leader (1941-); Chevy Chase, US
comedian-actor (1943-); Sigourney
Weaver, US actress (1949-);
Stephanie Zimbalist, US actress
(1956-); Simon Burke, Australian
actor (1961-); Matt Damon,
US actor-producer (1970-); Bruno Mars,
American singer-songwriter (1985-)
“ Politics are usually the executive expression
of human immaturity. ” — Vera Brittain, British
“ For I am not ashamed of the Gospel; it is
the power of God for salvation to everyone
who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the
Greek. — (Romans 1:16).
Though he wore
a pensive smile as
he came out of the
Blackball mine for the
last time on a productive shift, bushy-browed
Morgan O’Flaherty (all 5ft 4in of him) was
saddened by its closing. For him this was
the end of the road. He would be the last to
suggest that this had not been a good innings.
He will always insist that the best of his 71
years were spent “down the mine” in one phase
He is still working as an examining deputy
at Blackball — but only till Christmas when
he will retire. For Morgan O’Flaherty it is
enforced retirement — even at 71. But this is
not the major problem.
His worry is Blackball’s worry. Should he stay
in the mining township that has lost its reason
for being — the now closed colliery? Or should
he sell up and seek a warmer climate where he
can spend his well-earned retirement?
Every Blackball resident faces the same
Four young girls had a very lucky escape from
serious injury when their car flipped off the
road and ended up almost wedged between
two big posts just south of Gladstone yesterday
The incident occurred half a mile down the
road from the sawmill settlement on an acute
right angle, flax-fringed bend. In the attempt
to take the corner, wet at the time through
rain, the car apparently went out of control,
finishing up resting on its hood, facing back
south to Hokitika. Had the blue and white,
modern German-manufactured vehicle slewed
sideways, it would probably have struck both
posts. But the girls emerged unscathed apart
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Mrs Pugh’s mum
In reply to Fletcher’s (Greymouth Star,
September 26) and Campbell’s mail
(September 24) — obviously a personal
friend of Dot Com and probably hiding
behind a mask with Mrs Pugh’s face on
it, I can see that their tactics are the same,
and if not very similar in thinking the same
way as him and that is ‘knock ‘em down
while you can’. Well, sorry, those tactics do
not work any more, as they have probably
learned by the National Party getting in
by such a majority. Dirty tactics do not
work any more, especially with true blue
Coasters.For a change, they should go back
a bit and see some of the positive things
that Pugh did by saving Hokitika millions
in a factory that never was, spending a lot
of her own money investigating something
that never was going to happen. Maybe the
ratepayers would have something to really
worry about if this had happened.
Also, Kumara is looking pretty good as
well, with positive people getting behind
each other with their cycle track and their
hotel, which is a credit to the owner, who
got in with the then mayor. I would also
like to inform this paper that Pugh is not
her Christian name, and believe it or not
she does have one, and that is Maureen, or
I also note that the writer could remember
the other politicians’ names. Strange.
My advice to all the negative people is
go and have a good look at yourselves in
the mirror and do something useful, like
thinking positive instead of festering inside.
It might not get you anywhere but makes
you feel good inside, and only good follows
Instead of going for the jugular, go to
there hearts as it is a big bad and wonderful
world out there, but at the end of the day
Maureen as I do, she has a beautiful heart
and loves the Coast, as I do, and is trying to
make it a better place — more than I can
say for the minute few around here.
Finally, I would like to add that Mrs Pugh
was voted in by us, the people, but also
voted in by us (the people) were a council
which as yet have not been hung out to
dry, after all the final decisions are made by
Also, we the people made a choice when
we made a vote for our MPs, so after three
years are we all going to look in the mirror
and ask ourselves with tears in our eyes, did
I make the right decision? I think not.
Very sincerely, Mrs Pugh’s mum. Go suck
J M Briggs
A job for Mrs Pugh?
So, Maureen Pugh is out of Parliament.
That must mean that she has some spare
time on her hands. She has always said
that she is passionate about Westland, then
perhaps now would be a good time for
her to get together with the retired former
councillors and organise a workshop with
the current council to help them find out
where the $8.7 million of ratepayers’ money
has disappeared to.
I am of the understanding that $9m was
loaned to set up Westland Holdings Ltd,
which was later paid back. If that is the case
then there must be a record of it. Since that
loan was paid back, $8.7m has ‘disappeared’.
So, when was the money paid back,
how much was it and what has happened
money that is put into a bank account
just ‘disappears’. If it has been spent on
something then there must be a paper trail.
Any half-decent business would have a
record of all the transactions as they would
show on the bank accounts.
If no progress can be made on this
issue then I would suggest that a forensic
accountant be called in to look at the books.
The ratepayers deserve answers and the
district would certainly benefit from the use
of the money.
Franz Josef Glacier
The Old Ghost Road
I think it is healthy when people advance
different perspectives, but only when this
is done for the greater good and with a
healthy dose of fact-based objectivity.
In my view, the opinion piece ‘Good and
Bad of the Old Ghost Road ’ (Greymouth
Star, October 3) certainly fell short on both
The author’s opposition to The Old
Ghost Road, among other things, is well
known. That is his prerogative. However,
the mistruths and conspiracies that were
portrayed as fact in his piece (the latest
conspiracy being that the project has
mining motives) require correction to
ensure that your readers are fully informed.
The hundreds of volunteers who have
poured over 20,000 hours of blood, sweat,
tears and joy into this project, and the
amazing group of corporate citizens and
funding agencies that have contributed to
our grassroots effort deserve that the truth
We have given the author opportunities
to engage with and shape this project, and
in particular its emerging predator control
element. Others have taken up that offer
and we are all better off as a result. It is
regretful that the author cannot collaborate
in the same productive fashion.
I am privileged to be part of this project. I
am also privileged to see and connect with
the humbling, over whelmingly positive
feedback from users of The Old Ghost
Road — people immersing themselves in
our amazing outdoors and maintaining
their connection and custodianship with
what makes New Zealand special. With
this project comes serious responsibilities
(particularly to the environment), and
considerable technical and logistical
challenges. We wish it were as easy ‘as
building ... by spin alone’ but it has taken a
fair bit more. Metre by metre — 70,000 of
them thus far — The Old Ghost Road is
coming to life and is over 85% complete.
One of the claims in the opinion piece
does have an objective basis: that time
will determine the fate of project. That
said, the author’s opinion only ser ves
as inspiration to ensure The Old Ghost
Road becomes a positive part of the West
Coast ’s future, and we trust that users will
experience and judge the merits of this
project for themselves based on their own
Sports trip pride
So many times we are bogged done with
the negative things that are happening
around us that we forget about the
specialness of living here.
I was lucky to attend the Secondary
School Rugby League tournament, held in
Auckland. The team was made up of great
bunch of youth from both Greymouth
High School and John Paul II High
Well, I have to say those Northland boys
have the wow factor — they are big, and
they are fast. But our boys made them
work, there were times in all the games that
those big boys looked like they were feeling
a bit tired, hands were on hips and there
was a bit of walking where running should
have been happening.
Our boys played their hearts out for five
hard days. Here was this mix of our two
high schools who represented Greymouth
well, they were a great bunch of young men
of which we should be so proud.
Behind any trip like this is the manager,
the coach and trainer. I cannot imagine the
hours of work that they put in to make it
all happen. How we need to thank all these
people who work with our children so that
they have the opportunity to play in all the
sports. Also on this trip were a group of
parents, supporting this team.
Throughout the week I noticed something
special and it was this that reminded me
what was great about being a Coaster. It
was the parents on the sideline who cheered
and at times cringed. I was humbled to see
the compassion and care towards all the
boys by these parents.
It is comforting to know that on trips
such as this we have these parents on them.
We can send our children away and know
that our children will be looked after and
supported. We Coasters have heart, we will
watch over each other’s children, sooth,
comfort and celebrate with them, and we
will look after each other.
What 1080-free zone for Blackball?
(Greymouth Star, October 2). Our
drinking-water, washing and bathing water
is drawn from a river not a creek; a river fed
by a multitude of creeks, which I have no
doubt will be green with 1080 — a great
green 1080 funnel.
Tb Free New Zealand’s so-called
concessions are, I believe, a dirty joke on
the good folk of Blackball, just as the
water testing will be. My family will not
be drinking a drop of Blackball water. The
poison will be leaching into our river for
I thank the deadly poisoners, Tb Free
NZ, the regional council and the lovely Dr
Cheryl Brunton — a threesome all in bed
together giving consents.
Just who are they answerable to?
What contingency plan is there for a mass
poisoning? There is no cure for deadly 1080
No applause, just fear from this man for
Daaron Randel Turton
Dr Lasantha Martinus raises many
important points regarding care of
patients after surgery goes seriously wrong
(Greymouth Star, October 3).
In particular, his reference to ‘timely
investigation’ of cases highlights the
extraordinary delaying tactics being used
by those who are supposedly charged
with resolving questions relating to the
treatment and after-care of patients who
have been dreadfully let down by the health
system. If one were inclined to be cynical
(and goodness’ knows, one tries hard not
to be in the face of current political and
bureaucratic agendas), one might think
this is a deliberate tactic to protect people
who have not kept the high standards one
expects from a public health system.
Given the statement by the DHB that
there would be no comment on the case
referred to in Dr Martinus’ letter, I asked
under the Official Information Act for
the regulations which prevent DHB
board members from commenting on
issues which are being investigated by
the Health and Disability Commissioner
(HDC). As I expected, the DHB’s
Michael Frampton’s answer states that
there are no such regulations, followed
by a lengthy account of what the Health
and Disability Commissioner does and
ending with, ‘where an HDC investigation
is taking place, particularly where that
investigation is nearing completion, it is
appropriate that health providers and their
boards respect the HDC mandate and
process, recognising that in most instances
the organisation would have conducted
their own investigation, and await the
completion of the HDC investigation
before commenting further’.
‘Respect the HDC mandate’? How about
respecting the patient ’s right to answers
within a reasonable timeframe — not one
stretching into years?
So, elected DHB board members are
free to comment about the ridiculous
length of time the Health and Disability
Commissioner takes over investigations
and which, as Dr Martinus clearly explains,
‘can lead to erroneous findings’. Add to that
the extraordinary lengths that DHBs go
to — including the use of DHB corporate
solicitors to evade, delay and confuse
patients’ attempts to ascertain exactly what
went wrong in their cases, and it is clear
that something like the inter vention of
elected board members is needed to break
the cycle of secrecy and cover-up.
How about it, West Coast DHB elected
Democrats for Social Credit
Paediatric ser vices
It is interesting to see the new model
of care and the downsized hospital is
justified with statements such as: ‘clinicians,
including nurses, had led and continued to
lead the process to design the new facilities’,
‘clinical teams had designed a solution for
paediatrics’. The term clinician is applied to
anyone providing health care to a patient.
At the least, demonstrated competence
to manage patients of their trained scope
of expertise should be a prerequisite for
clinicians advising on the design of a new
model of care and a hospital.
In one of my earlier letters I told of an
incident about a patient who was admitted
to hospital with high blood-glucose with
newly diagnosed diabetes. The patient did
not like the taste of the diabetic cordial
provided by the hospital kitchen on a
diabetic diet, and this was replaced with
orange purchased from the cafeteria. It
was a critical care nurse and subsequently
a relieving paediatric nurse who gave the
child orange juice. It was a junior doctor
who changed the hospital insulin protocol
when the blood-glucose was uncontrolled
on the highest dose of insulin on the
protocol. Allegedly, it was paediatrician
with relative inexperience in diabetes who
had said, ‘it was okay to give orange juice’
when the blood-glucose was high.
Each of the people involved in the
dangerous decision making were clinicians
but did not realise they did not have the
Considering that paediatric ser vices are
being downsized and a paediatric death
is awaiting a coronial inquest, perhaps
paediatric deaths before and after the
already changed model of care should be
In brief reply to the council’s chief
executive’s response (Greymouth Star,
October 3), I urge the Mayor and
councillors to check their agendas,
minutes and the Local Government
Official Information and Meetings Act.
This will provide factual evidence of
whether or not their chief executive can
be trusted in a matter that he appears to
have lost objectivity in some time ago by
personalising it instead.
I stated: ‘For over one year, we have
sought release, through the Ombudsman’s
office, of an internal report within council’s
agenda dated August 10, 2009, withheld
under sections 7(2)(a) and 7(2)(i), which is
not legally privileged (‘legal advice’), yet the
council claims legal privilege’.
The Ombudsman has yet to make a
decision on this report titled ‘Blaketown
Leases — a Way Forward’. We have no
other complaints with the Ombudsman,
so, in my opinion, it is dishonest and
misleading for Mr Pretorius to state ‘her
efforts to have the report released via the
Ombudsman failed for the simple reason
that legal advice from
solicitor to client is privileged’.
For the sake of honesty, I respectfully ask
the Greymouth Star to check the agenda
item and print the particular interest
that led to this report being dealt with
in-committee, as the L ocal Government
Official Information and Meetings Act
requires the agenda to record this, section
If, as claimed by Mr Pretorius, it is ‘ legal
advice from solicitor to client ’, then it will
state clearly section 7(2)(g) and not sections
7(2)(a) and 7(2)(i), as I previously claimed.
The council’s legal action can not affect
the August 10, 2009 agenda purpose for
this report being heard in-committee.
I believe the above is a flagrant disregard
for both honesty and compliance with the
law, particularly as the Ombudsman’s office
has now been publicly maligned.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
responds: “Mrs Banks has embarked on a rent
boycott in spite of having a valid lease, and in
the process she took a small group of trusting,
elderly lessees with everything to lose on this
journey with her. The High Court has found
her in default of a valid lease and also awarded
costs against her.
She appealed both the decision and the cost
award to the Court of Appeal.
In addition, she has since made
representations to that court, including
procedural motions which all went against her
and likely will result in yet another cost award.
She unsuccessfully appealed to the Supreme
In spite of this, she accuses the council of
growing the legal bill.
I believe she is using militant tactics of a
divide and rule nature, with no regard for the
people of the district at large.
The council has to defend every accusation
Mrs Banks makes through the courts.
If a legal precedent is set by the council
allowing Mrs Banks to nominate her own
rental or if the council does not defend the
continued court challenges and appeals by Mrs
Banks, every other lease would also be affected.
More than 500 leases have been f reeholded
over the years and leased land is being
freeholded regularly, even in current times.
Many residents have made big sacrifices to
freehold. It was not easy for them but further
down the road nobody regrets f reeholding
Mrs Banks should be thankful that her land
can f reeholded.
There is no such thing as a f ree lunch, but
by continually taking court action I believe
Mrs Banks is dining out on ratepayers’ money
needed to run the port.
In my opinion the community is being
misled. The DHB appears determined to
downsize and downgrade.
The 2009 LECG report gave an
expectation that had a positive public
What has happened?
Ms Bousfield ‘does not envisage any
redundancies’; is she in the ‘bureaucratic
loop’? (Greymouth Star, October 4).
Certainly, clinical staff do their research
and make recommendations, however the
whole hospital design and build is outside
the democratic process. Like thousands of
others, she has been duped by the rhetoric.
We have a clinical board, staff employed
to interview patients, advisory groups, and
elected board members. All report directly
to the board and executive. These groups are
simply put in place to enable the DHB to
keep several steps ahead of the play; ‘know
your enemy ’.
It has reached the point where staff,
banned from talking about the hospital,
must now speak out and make public
their concerns. The community is also
treated appallingly in the communication,
participation and presence, being
deliberately left out of the design and
expectation process. The community must
support our frontline staff re the reduction
in building size, bed numbers and specialist
I am astounded at the media statements
by the DHB that are clearly out of touch
with reality; they state that beds will be
single or double rooms with en suites? $67
million with 30,000 population? There is
no way we can afford this luxury at this
price. Christchurch wards have six beds per
ward and share bathrooms and showers;
this system works perfectly all right. It is a
hospital, not a hotel.
The public own the hospital, and like
building your own home, must have their
say in every aspect of design. Why have
beds been reduced from 102 to 56?
Coasters have 150 years of experience.
Virtues of raw milk
Village Milk has just celebrated its first
birthday. I wholeheartedly recommend
to anyone who has not yet tried this
delicious milk to make the short drive
to the Village Milk farm at 26 North
Beach Road, Cobden. It is a short drive
from Greymouth, just 3.8km from the
The historic farm, tucked between native
bush and the Tasman Sea, looks like a farm
in a child’s picture book, with sheep, lambs,
goats, chickens and ducks, as well as the
pampered cows. The modern operation has
received the highest level of certification
from Westland Milk Products.
You can buy milk from the easy-to-use
vending machines any time and even buy
one-litre glass milk bottles from another
vending machine. Bring your own clean
bottles if you just want to try it to see if you
I hesitated to try the Village Milk but
once I did I was hooked and would not
want to go back to supermarket milk.
The owners, Colin and Jody, are very
friendly and are happy to answer any
Try it, it is great.
Pike River Mine
The article in Dominion-Post of
September 24, ‘Documents suggest mine
safe to re-enter’ quotes: In a letter to Solid
Energy chief executive Dan Clifford,
Work Safe New Zealand wrote that it had
identified ‘no operational barriers to re-
entering the drift’.
The re-entry plan from October last year
found the mine was ‘safe and technically
With the release of documents made
public under the Official Information
Act, it is my opinion that Solid Energy
has finally painted itself into a corner.
The families of the 29 men killed in the
Pike River Mine tragedy, although they
had every right, were not told of this
information in October last year.
They have been to hell and back for
almost four years, faced with the possibility
of never having closure, with the return of
I applaud the clout of the Official
Information Act. It would seem that, quite
rightly ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.
I trust the latest information will ensure
that the families will finally achieve their
goal, and peace of mind.
First of all, how could 29 workers die at
work in New Zealand? In 2004, Parliament
passed the Climate Change Amendment
Act on March 2, 2004.
After reading the parliamentary
committee documents for this amendment,
the undisclosed faceless bureaucratic
authors to this document are not disclosed.
So, the council issues the permits for this
mine development under section 104E
of the RMA. ‘A consent authority must
not have regard to the effects of such a
discharge on climate change — to the use
and development of non-renewable energy’.
And in the Parliament document, ‘this
effect was unknown’.
Why does Solid Energy now have the
right in New Zealand to have the power to
withhold access to this work site-mortuary?
Because the same faceless bureaucratic
authors had the right to recommend.
I read with glee the last comment on
fibre optic being available in Blaketown
for September 30. I read how the Chorus
spokesman stated that call centres might
not have the information.
On October 1, I tried getting fibre.
Chorus explained, ‘ We deal with
telecommunications providers, not
consumers’. I thanked the lady at Chorus
and added that I think I may be paying
for the upgrade via my taxes. So I duly
rang Spark and was told just because the
fibre was laid does not mean you will get
the ser vice, and the lady explained to me
that in her experience it could be anything
up to six months. I asked ‘who does the
Meanwhile, my VDSL line continues to
degrade. Perhaps it is all just smoke and
Maruia rat ‘plague’
Re the DOC media release on the
Maruia Valley Battle for Our Birds pest
control. I know the Maruia area very well
and had two years based in the Forest
Ser vice hut on Thompsons Flat, and have
visited this area a multitude of times in
the past 50 years. I have never seen an
abnormal number of rats in the Lake
Daniells and Victoria Ranges area.
I have been into Thompsons Flat four
times in the past three months and can
say, in my considered opinion, that rat
numbers are low. In most places of New
Zealand backcountry there is a resident
population of rats, mice and stoats. There
is some evidence that the use of aerial
1080 poison can affect rat and stoat
populations, but not on this occasion.
Between August and October last year,
the Maruia area was hit by two major
storm fronts. This weather pattern, in my
opinion, completely destroyed the beech
mast. There were a significant number of
trees blown down and the evidence of the
beech mast was very easy to see at ground
For the Department of Conser vation to
poison 85,000ha of New Zealand bush on
the possibility that rat and stoat numbers
may increase is a lesson in stupidity.
On the track into Lake Daniel, I am
aware of the location of a large number
of DOC traps and, regardless of DOC
propaganda, I would estimate that the
rat catch is low to very low, and certainly
does not warrant this massive poisoning
programme. One of the things I find very
disturbing in most of DOC’s statements
is their complete ‘don’t care’ attitude to the
destruction of so many non-target species,
especially our native birds.
I have spoken to several experienced
bushmen and it is our opinion that, under
the current poison programme, the kea
will become extinct in the wild within the
next five years. In fact, I believe that the
next generation will believe that the kea is
a South Korean motor car.
When the director-general of DOC
makes a statement saying that you would
have to eat many tonnes of trout to be
affected by 1080 poison, he is treating the
public as a group of morons.
Finally sir, I can assure your readers
that the Lake Daniells/Victoria Range
area does not support enough possums
to contribute to the fur industry. Possum,
rat and stoat numbers in most cases are
a figment of DOC’s imagination and we,
the general public, are going to pay a very
high price, and I can assure you that future
generations will not thank us.
Links Archive October 7th 2014 October 9th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page