Home' Greymouth Star : October 15th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1582 - The Gregorian calendar goes into
effect in the Papal States by decree of Pope
Gregory XIII. It is soon adopted in other
1730 - Antoine Laumet de La Mothe,
French soldier and explorer, dies.
1917 - Germany ’s famed woman
spy, Mata Hari, is executed in Paris
during World War One.
1928 - German dirigible
Graf Zeppelin makes the first
commercial flight across Atlantic
1946 - Nazi war criminal
Hermann Goering commits suicide by poison
one day before his scheduled execution.
1970 - Collapse of Westgate Bridge,
Melbourne kills 35 and injures 17.
1989 - Thousands of blacks hold “victory
marches” in South Africa to celebrate the
imminent release of eight political prisoners,
including Walter Sisulu.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Virgil, Roman poet (70 BC-19 BC);
Evangelista Torricelli, Italian inventor of
barometer (1608-1647); Pelham Grenville
writer (1881-1975); Penny
Marshall, US actress-director
(1942-); Sarah Ferguson, Duchess
of York (1959-); Eric Benet, US
composer-actor (1970-); Elena
Dementieva, Russian tennis player
(1981-); Keyshia Cole, American
singer (1981-); Prince Christian
of Denmark, son of Crown Prince Frederik
and Tasmanian-born Crown Princess Mary
“ Do what you can, with what you have, where
you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president
of the United States (1858-1919).
“ Naked a man comes from his mother’s
womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He
takes nothing from his labour that he can carry
in his hand.” — Ecclesiastes 5:15.
The death occurred
at Greymouth on
Sunday morning of
a well-known former
Greymouth businessman, Mr Gordon Joseph
Dick, of Ida Street. He was in his 67th year.
Mr Dick was born at Reefton and educated at
Reefton and Nelson Boys’ College. As a young
man he was paymaster for the Consolidated
Gold Mines at Reefton. In 1926 he took over a
butchery business which had been established
and was conducted by his father.
Mr Dick came to Greymouth in 1936 and
conducted a butchery business in Mackay
Street. In later years he was farming at
Gladstone. He had taken an active interest in
Federated Farmers on the West Coast and was
a keen follower of rugby. He was a member of
the Oddfellows Lodge and the Greymouth
Mr Dick is sur vived by his wife Grace, three
sons, Peter (Timaru), John (Greymouth),
Gerald (Paroa); and three daughters, Rosemary
(Mrs P Collins, Gore), Pamela, Mrs J Steegh,
and Mrs Jenifer Sage (Paroa).
A well-known figure in the West Coast gold
industry and local body affairs in the southern
town died in Hokitika on Sunday. He was
82-year-old Mr David Miller Pettigrew. Born
in Otago, he commenced his career in gold
dredging in Otago. He later shifted to the
Coast, first to Capleston and then to Stafford.
He was dredgemaster on the Rimu, Kanieri
and Arahura dredges. He ser ved on the
Hokitika Borough Council and as a trustee of
the Hokitika Savings Bank.
He is sur vived by his wife Christina, a
member of the Archer family of Reefton, later
Hokitika; and one son David (Wellington).
uFood for thought
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t is lunchtime and Timaru is bustling
— boutique shops, record stores, cafes,
sushi bars and estate agents all busy.
Stop a local and ask why and most
will give you the same answer: Allan
Mr Hubbard was a familiar figure in his
tweed jacket, parking his mustard-coloured
VW Beetle on Stafford Street, shuffling around
the corner to the South Canterbury Finance
(SCF) building to oversee multimillion-dollar
All done on handshakes, goodwill, a man’s
word. And all written into a ledger book he
Mr Hubbard is revered in Timaru, where he
lived with wife Jean in a $265,000 white brick
back-section home — more retiree’s bolthole
than multimillionaire’s playpad — before he
died in a car crash three years ago, aged 83.
From his own pocket, he gave millions
to charities, including the Salvation Army,
Auckland’s Parenting Place, the Presbyterian
Church, Scouts and Otago University cancer
Locals reckon he offered pioneering and
visionary support to help farmers ‘grow ’ the
region into a dairy powerhouse. Without it, the
main street might be desolate, dominated by
charity stores and dollar shops. Even now, you
are more likely to find a skinny jeans hipster
than someone willing to offer a bad word about
Even after SCF ’s spectacular collapse in
August 2010 and the ensuing $1.58 billion
Government bailout. Even after the largest
fraud trial in NZ history at which, had he been
alive, Mr Hubbard would have been front and
centre in the dock.
Even after yesterday in the High Court at
Timaru, when his former right-hand man,
former SCF director and lawyer Edward
Sullivan, 72, was found guilty on five of nine
charges, including making false statements and
misuse of a document for pecuniary advantage.
Two of his ex-colleagues, chief executive
Lachie McLeod, 50, and accountant Robert
White, 70, were cleared of any wrongdoing.
The trial heard the three defendants had
major concerns with Mr Hubbard’s “archaic”
practices and the way he was conducting
On July 25, 2007, the trio prepared an
“extraordinary” letter to Mr Hubbard
expressing their concerns with the business
But despite the concerns, nothing changed,
the Crown argued. The defendants “did not just
turn a blind eye” but took affirmative actions
that breached the controls on the company, it
The complex trial lasted 61 days and heard
from more than 40 witnesses.
While Mr Hubbard was not there to fight
his corner, or explain his actions, a clear
picture emerged of the major shareholder and
chairman who was clearly in charge of the
company ’s affairs.
The Crown painted him as a man who evaded
and detested accounting and legal regulations.
Former director Stuart Nattrass said he
believed Mr Hubbard was “ ungovernable”.
Defence lawyers said Mr Hubbard was the
“alter ego of the company” who would “go it
alone” to devise and implement complicated
related party loans.
“There can be little doubt that Mr Hubbard
was an extremely influential, stubborn and
determined man ... (he) enjoyed and demanded
significant control over a company that he
largely treated as his own,” the defence argued.
Justice Paul Heath agreed. In his verdict
yesterday, the judge expressed disbelief at the
antiquated ledger entries.
He concluded Mr Hubbard was so stuck in
his ways that he was “unable or unwilling to
grasp the need to adapt existing governance
and management procedures” to modern day
“ Unfortunately, the corporate governance
practices that Mr Hubbard insisted on
maintaining, Mr Hubbard’s view of the greater
security of related party lending, the lack of
transparency in publicly available documents
about the extent and nature of such lending,
and the inability of his co-directors to influence
a change in his attitude directly contributed
to the failure of the company and the losses
suffered,” the judge said.
But what also emerged during the trial was
his unwavering dedication to investors — here
was a man who would “rather sell everything
and live in a tent ” before he saw any debenture
holder miss out on their funds.
“Effectively he conducted the business on the
back of a personal guarantee to investors,” the
Hastings businessman Sam Kelt said he had
felt “extraordinarily privileged” go into business
with Mr Hubbard, “who at that stage was
viewed in a similar frame as the Fletcher family
... an iconic Kiwi”.
While his personal frugality was the stuff
of legend — at the 50th anniversary of his
accountancy firm, Hubbard Churcher and
Co, the partners replaced his threadbare
lounge suite as a gift — it extended to his
business practices. The trial heard that when
Mr Hubbard stayed at Auckland’s Hyatt
Hotel, then owned by SCF, he would walk the
hallways at night switching off all the lights.
Vaughn Nicolson was hired by Hubbard and
Churcher about 2000 as an IT manager to
implement a computerised way of working.
“Allan had realised that computers had become
a necessary evil but he never had one,” Mr
Nicolson, 48, who worked for him for almost
seven years, said.
His old boss arrived at the office every day at
6.30am and opened his mail.
One Timaru High Street shop owner, who
did not wish to be named, heard the mail came
in a locked box that only Mr Hubbard and his
wife had a key for. “ For Allan Hubbard, it was
all up here,” he said, tapping his right temple.
Even though he claimed to have had money
tied up in SCF when the global financial crisis
happened, he holds no ill will towards Mr
“ Without him, this town would be nowhere. ”
Mr Nicolson, like many in the town, still
cannot get his head around the trial. “It just
doesn’t add up,” he said. “ Who was Allan
defrauding? It certainly wasn’t for personal gain.
It is the most baffling of cases.”
1926: South Canterbury Finance Ltd
started as a regional lender.
November 2008: SCF enters government ’s
retail deposit guarantee scheme.
June 2010: Allan Hubbard stands down as
August 2010: SCF goes into receivership.
Government makes $1.6 billion bail out.
September 2, 2011: Hubbard a “person of
interest ” in SFO probe when he dies in
head-on car crash near Oamaru.
December 2011: SFO lays charges against
Lachie McLeod, Edward Sullivan, Robert
White, Graeme Brown and Terrence Hutton.
August-October 2013: Charges against
Brown and Hutton dropped.
March 12, 2014: Trial begins at High
Court in Timaru.
Yesterday : Sullivan found guilty of five of
nine charges. McLeod and White acquitted.
— New Zealand Herald
Just before the 2011 election, West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor made his memorable scathing statement that the
Labour Party list had been kidnapped by a ‘gaggle of gays and self-
ser ving unionists’. The party responded with the cold shoulder.
How dare he speak his mind?
But National’s resounding victory on September 20, which buried
Labour under an avalanche of right-wing votes, shows just how
prophetic he was. It was pitch perfect.
The implosion of Labour’s party vote — including on the West Coast,
where even died-in-the-wool Labour supporters find themselves in the
uncomfortable position of giving their party vote to National — was
entirely self-inflicted by the loony fringe within Labour.
The worst result in 92 years should result in deep soul searching and
a stripping back of the political correctness that has beset this party in
recent years. Instead, we have another scramble for the leadership —
initiated by David Cunliffe in the name of self-preser vation — with
everyone pretending this alone will assuage the electorate who will
somehow forgive and forget, and like the prodigal son will return in
2017 to save Labour at the ballot box. Forget it.
What Labour needs is to urgently reconnect with the electorate as a
credible alternative, but it will utterly fail to do so with the activities
of political dinosaurs and self-interest MPs who have been given free
reign to indulge their personal agendas. For instance, post-election
talk within the party that the next deputy leader ought to be Maori
or Pacific Islander or gay or a woman, shows that they have learned
nothing from the harsh lessons of humiliation.
Former leader David Shearer, ineffective as he was as leader, briefly,
had the courage this week to speak some home truths that it seems no
one in the party really wants to hear when he said the party should be
less focused on special interest groups.
At least the ambitious David Cunliffe could read the tea leaves and
stepped aside, but that should not be read as a magnanimous gesture
— he should not have stood again in the first place, having just led the
party into the valley of its darkest defeat since 1922.
Now we have the spectacle of union hack Andrew Little and — sorry
— gay MP Grant Robertson, convincing themselves they can lead the
party out of the nightmare of 2014. O’Connor prophecy fulfilled? The
absurdity of the leadership race forced the hand of deputy leader David
Parker to try to occupy the middle ground — which, in the current
Labour Party, has become no man’s land — and then last night Nanaia
Mahuta joined the circus.
In an era where — unfortunately — politics have become so shallow
and superficial that votes are cast on good looks, smiles and the ability
to carry yourself on tv, maybe the dark horse here should be Jacinda
But all of this really is just a sideshow that should have waited until
the party review of what went wrong.
If the Labour Party wants to have any show of ever again regaining
the treasury benches, it desperately needs a complete cleanout of its
meddling organisational structure within, and a realisation that gay and
women’s equality issues, while commendable, must never be allowed to
become all-consuming as has happened here.
This cleanout has to include those behind the gloriously failed
campaign of 2014, for which president Moira Coatsworth, secretary
Tim Barnett and campaign adviser Matt McCarten can all take a bow.
This trio was completely out of touch in the lead-up to the election and
much blame for the dismal result rests at their table. Some will fall on
their sword and go anyway, but others need to be quickly cut adrift and
the inflatable punctured.
The West Coast, which gave birth to the Labour Party among the
working class struggles of the coalfields, gave an unmistakable message
that it did not support those it cannot trust. In recent years Labour has
burned its bridges with too many and it needs to heed that message.
Honesty will tell the party that it no longer represents the values of the
ordinary working man.
Add to that Labour’s de facto relationship with the Greens. Inevitably,
the Greens will be a partner in a future left-wing government but unless
their influence is kept in check, and in perspective, it will only gnaw
further at Labour support.
To the vast majority of voters, New Zealand’s middle ground is much
broader than just pandering to those promoting gender quotas and
Auckland’s kava and haka brigade. Heartland New Zealand is what
pumps GDP, and the things that matter to the heartland is what wins
While Labour was sleeping, that middle ground has been hijacked
expertly by the National Party and unless Labour examines itself with
the honesty and blowtorch that is needed, it will not sur vive. If Labour
cannot redeem itself, New Zealand will be condemned — regardless
of political colouring — to a solitary dominant party, National. While
MMP brings diversity, without a real contest, New Zealand politics are
Labour needs to cut adrift the loony left who are presently at the
wheel — let them have their own party elsewhere — and try to
regain the middle ground it once held so proudly. In memory of West
Coast Labour greats such as Paddy Webb, Harry Holland and Paddy
Blanchfield, it needs to rescue the party before it is too late.
I am sitting reading the article in
yesterday ’s Greymouth Star on how the
Mayor fails to win support for a cut-price
wharf sale. Reading the article brought
disbelief. Surely there must be something
else behind this that is not in the article?
So, we are talking about a piece of land
that no one else would even look at in the
area it is. One would think the council will
get nothing for it at all under their current
attitude. On the other hand, Mr Boot is
offering what seems a fair deal for what is
a useless piece of land for anyone else.
Maybe I am wrong and lots of people
want this land?
Surely, one would look at the bigger
picture of everything that is happening in
that area. Cr Brown said that they have to
be fair to the ratepayers. I am a ratepayer,
and only speak for myself, but how I see
all this is the council will gain nearly
$90,000 from the sale to Mr Boot.
In a time where Greymouth is at its
worst, with job losses in the coal industry,
Trents etc, and being what I would call
rock bottom, there is a bright light that
has come to town. That is Mr Boot.
He has brought this new venture to
Greymouth (his home). He could have left
it in Nelson.
Going by Monday’s paper he will employ
around 110 staff, and that may increase.
The people he has had building this
complex has helped Greymouth hugely in
difficult times. Accommodation providers,
restaurants, electrical business, plumbing
etc all gained from this. It is, from what
I have heard, not the end of Mr Boot ’s
So, from where I am sitting, Mr Boot ’s
offer of nearly $90,000 is fantastic and I
cannot understand where the councillors
can say he is acting like a dictatorship.
Surely, we all want what is best for
Greymouth here? I am 100% behind
Craig Boot is going to do something
with this land, I am guessing. It may
produce income. I think the Mayor is spot
on, on this one. And personally, a huge
‘thank you’ to Craig Boot for everything
he is doing.
Pioneer Day a hit
Greymouth’s 150th anniversary
celebrations have been fun. DP1 Cafe’s
‘Pioneer Day’ last Saturday was great
value. My friend and I had high tea for
just $5 each, with no additional charge
for my gluten-free option of five fabulous
We were also offered toffee apples, and
there were beaut prizes given away by the
friendly staff, dressed in period costume.
The boys with the lemonade stand were
on to a winning recipe and selling it at an
old-fashioned price, and the proceeds from
that and the high tea will benefit local
charities. How good is that?
If you feel you have missed out, then I
recommend you phone the cafe and book
your own high tea some time.
Well done, DP1.
There is a common understanding that
if someone leaves their whitebaiting
equipment at the edge of a river that it will
be there on their return.
Unfortunately, this was not the case last
week when someone stole my equipment
from the end of the access road past the
locked gate on Cobden Island some time
between 5.45pm on Thursday, October 9,
and noon on Friday, October 10.
The stolen items include one dark green
plastic Walker Bay dinghy (single sail); set
of oars; two green poles and a whitebait
net. If you have any information please
contact the Greymouth police on
(03) 768 1600.
A look at downtown Timaru.
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