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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
of the Westport News
Police cells busy
The Greymouth Police Station cells
were busy overnight after four arrests.
All alleged offenders were due to
appear in the Greymouth District
Court today. Two Whataroa locals, a
41-year-old man and a 25-year-old
woman, were arrested for failing to
appear in court yesterday, so spent
the night in the cells. Police also
held a 26-year old Greymouth man
overnight for breach of bail and a
23-year-old Greymouth woman on
Car speeds off
An unidentified black stationwagon
narrowly missed a power pole before
crashing into and badly damaging a
steel fence in Ward Street, Cobden,
at 9.20pm yesterday. Police have
appealed to the public for help to
identify the vehicle. Senior sergeant
Phil Barker said the vehicle took
off at speed after the crash. The
stationwagon would be distinctive as
its impact with the fence would have
caused significant damage to the
right side, he said.
help with mowing
Blackball residents will be able
to keep their streets in a tidy state,
with the Grey District Council
agreeing to fund them $600 to help
mow the street berms. Eastern ward
councillor Anton Becker has already
donated a ride-on mower to a
resident to mow the grass. In a letter
to the council meeting this week,
Blackball Residents Association
Trust chairman Paul Maunder said
it had made a big difference to the
appearance of the township.
Patchy drizzle in south, strong winds
An elderly couple returned from
holiday to find a Polish burglar lying
asleep in their bed after he broke in
and spent two days treating their
house as his own home. Intruder
Lukasz Chojnowski, 28, enjoyed
a bubble bath, cooked dinner and
even tidied the home of Pat Dyson,
73, and her partner Martin Holtby,
78, in Nelson, Lancashire, while
they were away on a five-day break.
When they returned they found
Chojnowski, who had come to the
UK to find work, but had lost his
lodgings due to language problems,
sleeping in their bed. The couple also
found that a chicken fillet and pasta
dinner had been prepared, dinner
plates, post and newspapers were
neatly stacked, the bath filled with
water and even the intruder’s socks
and under wear hanging out to dry.
— Daily Mail
Some Reefton residents say they
would sooner go to jail than stop
burning coal, as the West Coast
Regional Council attempts to
clean up winter smog in the town.
The council says it has to
clear the air or risk government
coalmine and with bitterly cold
winters, residents are reluctant to
stop burning coal and a number
are openly defiant.
A committee set up in Reefton
by the council, including locals,
has just finished testing a device
which attaches to chimneys to
collect pollution particles.
According to the council the
results of trials in the town over
winter were impressive, but
at $2500 a unit, residents are
worried they are unaffordable.
Lex Blackadder said he would
go to jail rather than comply.
With two chimneys in his house,
similar to many in Reefton, it
would cost up to $5000 just to fit
the pollution reducing device. He
also questioned the impact on his
insurance and consents.
“I won’t be putting one up for
a start. I ’d be going to jail,” Mr
He noted the Reefton trial had
measured the amount of soot
collected, not the emissions.
He also said the regional
council’s monitor for air pollution
in the town was close to where
trucks slowed down and sped up,
which may have elevated readings
Buller Deputy Mayor Graeme
Neylon, of Reefton, said opinions
varied in the town.
Some were concerned about
health impacts from pollution.
“Others are saying ‘no, we’ll go
to jail before we stop burning
Without a government subsidy
it would take an innovative
solution to win support, Cr
Neylon said, suggesting adding
the cost on to rates.
“For those on fixed incomes, it ’s
a huge cost for them. Hopefully,
there will be some sort of subsidy.”
Reefton Airshed Committee
chairman Jim Foster said their
first concern was to ensure people
could keep burning coal or solid
fuel, and their next concern was
He accepted there were a “ lot of
knockers” and said they needed
the buy in from residents.
up the winter
pollution could save $11 million
in health costs, as opposed to
$1.5 million to install a device
to every house in Reefton with a
Mr Foster said they planned to
point that out when approaching
the Government for a subsidy.
“ We are over the moon about
the test results,” he said.
However, they also needed
people to stop burning rubbish
and having outdoor fires.
“At the end of the day, we need
everyone’s buy in or they ’ll ban us
(burning coal) ... we need to get it
across the line. “
If coal fires were banned, a
heatpump would cost the same
as the chimney device, but cost
more to run, he said.
At the regional council meeting
yesterday in Greymouth, Cr
Terry Archer said there “will still
be some sceptics”.
“The options are, do nothing
and commissioners will be
appointed to address it and likely
ban coal fires ... or go with the
solution,” Cr Archer said.
Council chairman Andrew
Robb asked about feedback, while
noting “you generally hear from
the ‘antis’ in the first instance”.
Planning and environment
manager Mike Meehan said
they did a four-day laboratory
trial looking at emissions, and a
report suggested that the actual
performance would be better in
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Grey Main School new entrants Noah Johnson, right, Arliah Huston, Milan Olsen and Leon Campbell open their lunchboxes for the school’s latest
initiative, waste-free lunches. This term the school is focusing on ecological sustainability, looking to reduce lunch waste by introducing ‘Waste-free Wednesday’.
The school encouraged parents to reduce the amount of rubbish by having reusable containers, and taking food scraps home to put in the compost.
Cat torturer admits P, cannabis offending
A Cobden man convicted on two
charges of animal cruelty and a host
of drug offences was told in the
Greymouth District Court yesterday that
imprisonment was the only appropriate
Hayden Growcott, 21, had already
pleaded guilty and been convicted on
one charge of beating a cat to death
and one charge of severely burning
another. However, he also pleaded guilty
to seven charges of offering to supply
methamphetamine (P), one charge of
offering to sell the drug, one of offering
to sell cannabis and two of receiving.
Judge Stephen O’Driscoll told
Growcott that although he had been
scheduled to be sentenced yesterday, he
would now be sentenced together on all
the charges against him on November
18. “ The only sentence which can be
imposed is a sentence of imprisonment,”
the judge said. Growcott was this time
remanded in custody.
O’Connor nominates flatmate as leader
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor signed David Parker’s
nomination form in his bid for the
Labour Party leadership, but says he will
always be loyal to the party leader no
matter who it is.
Mr Parker is up against former
trade unionist Andrew Little, Grant
Robertson and Nanaia Mahuta.
Mr O’Connor said this morning
that Mr Parker, his flatmate while in
Wellington on parliamentary business,
had asked him to sign his nomination
form and he had agreed.
“ I could work with any of them,” he
said. “ I’ve always been loyal to the leader,
whoever that may be.”
Mr O’Connor said the party upheaval
was “one of the most frustrating times in
my whole political career”.
“ It’s very disheartening.”
He “despaired” at the underlying party
process, which he believed was divisive.
Members could participate, there was
the trade union influence, which he
described as “useful”, and the “essential”
caucus wisdom, but when brought
together they were inevitably divisive.
When asked more about Mr Little, he
said the party “absolutely” needed the
trade unions and needed to negotiate
and protect workers.
Mr O’Connor said it would be an
“ interesting” few weeks with the latest
leadership contest, but noted that he
had had disputes and run-ins with past
leaders at different times.
“The need for strong leadership is
Left-wing political commentator
Chris Trotter said today Mr O’Connor
was one of the few in the Labour caucus
with hands-on business experience, who
spoke with the “genuine accents” of
working class New Zealand.
“That ’s why they got him to do the
voice over” for the Labour adverts in
2011, Mr Trotter said.
Mr O’Connor had car ved out a niche
for himself in Labour, he said.
Solid Energy’s Stockton open-cast
mine now employs less than half as
many people as it did before the coal
In June 2012, the mine employed
about 1103, comprising 704 mine
workers and 399 contractors’ employees.
Since then hundreds of jobs have
disappeared through a sinking-lid
policy, redundancies and contracts
being wound up early.
The latest restructure, in July this year,
cost 186 jobs.
Solid Energy figures show that at the
end of August, the mine employed just
over 500, comprising 404 mine workers
and about 105 contractors’ employees.
However, the company has changed
the way it records contractors. It now
counts the contractor hours worked
monthly and converts that to a full-
time equivalent number, according
to communications manager Bryn
Previously, it counted the number of
contractors’ workers on site.
Of the 404 mineworkers, 386 were
permanent full-time and 19 were fixed-
term full-time, Mr Somerville said.
The July restructure cut mine
production by a quarter, to 1.4 million
tonnes a year, and was expected to
prune $60 million in operating costs
this financial year.
At the time, Solid Energy chief
executive Dan Clifford said he could
not guarantee Stockton would not face
more job cuts.
Asked last month whether the
changes had had the desired impact on
viability, Mr Somer ville said it was too
soon to answer.
He said no further personnel or
organisational changes were being
contemplated at the mine at present.
The mine cuts have sucked millions
of dollars from Buller’s economy.
Many businesses are struggling and
Westport’s main street has lost two
since July. Porto Bello Bar and Grill
has gone into voluntary liquidation and
Appmed West Coast has moved to a
Stockton job numbers halved in two years
‘I’d rather go to jail’ — resident.
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