Home' Greymouth Star : November 24th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, November 24, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1874 - Joseph Glidden receives a patent for
1902 - The first Congress of Professional
Photographers convenes in Paris.
1912 - Austria denounces Serbian gains in the
Balkans; Russia and France back Serbia while
Italy and Germany back Austria.
1927 - Federal officials battle 1200
inmates after prisoners in Folsom
1938 - Mexico seizes oil land
adjacent to Texas.
1939 - In Czechoslovakia, the
Gestapo execute 120 students who
are accused of anti-Nazi plotting.
1944 - American B-29s flying from Saipan
1949 - The Iron and Steel Act nationalizes the
steel industry in Britain.
1961 - The United Nations adopts bans on
nuclear arms over American protests.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
1914 - Elise Hoomans, D utch director/actress
( Jane Eyre).
1916 - Forrest J Ackerman, invented the term
1917 - Richard Bilderback
1917 - Rita Corita, (Hendrika
Sturm), Dutch singer.
1918 - Roley Jenkins, cricketer
(English leg-spinner 1948-52).
1919 - David Kossoff, British
actor (d 2005).
1926 - Alfred Fred Benavente, director/actor
1930 - Ken Barrington, cricketer (England
“ When I hear about negative and false
attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in
them, because I know who I am.” — Michelle
Obama, wife of US president Barack Obama.
“ My salvation and my honour depend on
God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge.”
— Psalm 62:7.
district recorded its
first road fatality since
October 1963 when
a four-year-old Blaketown girl lost her life in
Omoto yesterday afternoon.
Killed instantly after being struck by a car
was Sharyn Quy, daughter of Mr and Mrs
Arthur Quy, 8 Doyle Street.
The youngster had been visiting relatives, Mr
and Mrs N M Crook, when she apparently
strayed from the house down a bank and on to
the road. She was struck by a car being driven
towards town. An ambulance was called out
and medical aid was given by Dr R G Young,
formerly of Brunner, and Dr B M Dallas,
The Westland High School teacher Mr Kevin
McGrath, who proposes to fire Hokitika’s
old naval cannon at Cass Square during the
centennial celebrations, is taking no chances.
Until he has examined the inside of the barrel,
he does not know if the ancient weapon is safe.
Mr McGrath is to experiment to see how
much gunpowder will be necessary to bring the
cannon into action. He said he will use a light
gunpowder charge, a wad of paper and a fuse.
The fuse would be lit and he would then retire.
Some time ago Mr McGrath wrote to the
Carron Foundry in Falkirk, Scotland.
They confirmed the cannon was
manufactured by them in 1813 but its
subsequent movements were unknown.
Thirty-two years’ teaching ser vice will be
behind her when Miss Eileen O’Grady retires
from the profession on January 31, 1965.
Miss O’Grady is currently an assistant
mistress at Grey Main School and has been
associated with Westland schools throughout
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
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e has gone from folk
hero to a lonely man
rattling round in his
mansion and now Kim
Dotcom is facing a
return to prison.
It is one of the biggest houses in the
country, but the walls are closing in on
Kim Dotcom as he rattles around his
His wife is suing him, his lawyers have
dumped him and last week Judge Nevin
Dawson limited his travel. Dotcom is
banned from using helicopters, travelling
by boat or going more than 80km from
He was also ordered to report to his
local police station daily ahead of a bail
Many of his trappings of success will
surely be of little comfort these days.
He has called his beloved Coatesville
palace his golden cage. However, since
his wife Mona and their five kids recently
moved into a nearby house following
their separation in May, he lives there
alone, with a handful of helpers for
Three years ago the mansion bustled
with up to 50 employees but that is now
believed to have dwindled to fewer than
10 people, including a butler, security
men, kitchen staff and gardeners.
Former friends say in between looking
after business interests, Dotcom is likely
to spend much of his time in front of a
giant tv screen in his large console room
playing computer games, or feeding
his swans and touring the rolling 24ha
gardens in a golf cart.
Even his favourite poker table is
under-used these days as few close
friends drop by for the high-stakes games
favoured by risk-taker Dotcom.
“Kim is a very resilient guy but he must
feel like he is rattling around in that
house now,” a friend said last Sunday. “He
has everything that money can buy but
the mansion must now seem more like a
fortress than a home.”
And the question that must be haunting
him is: “How did this happen?”
Never has New Zealand seen such a
spectacular fall from grace.
Larger-than-life Dotcom, a German,
arrived here in 2010 like a conquering
hero with the lifestyle of an international
rock star, despite a number of criminal
It was not long before his toys —
including millions of dollars worth of
luxury cars with the now-infamous
collection of vanity plates — were on
Cars were among luxury items seized
from the Dotcom mansion during a 2012
He donated heavily to the Christchurch
earthquake relief fund and paid for a
$500,000 fireworks display on New Year’s
Eve 2010 in Auckland.
Dotcom was soon elevated to folk-hero
status after a number of run-ins with the
New Zealand authorities.
An armed police raid on his house in
January 2012 led people to believe the
Government was in the pocket of the
Americans, gaining him a lot of public
The tycoon was arrested along with
three others on FBI charges of criminal
As time went on he won court case
after court case that exposed questionable
Government actions. People liked the
idea of the big guy taking on the bigger
guys and fighting against abuse of power.
We loved it as he asked John Key :
“ Why are you turning red, Prime
We enjoyed easy laughs as John Banks
could not remember helicopter trips to
the Dotcom mansion.
And we believed Dotcom over the
politicians because he was standing up to
authorities we did not feel we could trust.
He was also popular with youngsters,
who liked his Megaupload business
because they could get their hands on
entertainment content here they could
not otherwise get.
Dotcom was also the world’s No 1
ranked Modern Warfare 3 computer
game player, which further cemented his
“New Zealanders are generally
suspicious of characters who come to live
here in a blur of ostentatiousness,”
Dr Rosemary Overell, lecturer in cultural
studies at Otago University said.
“Because of his obvious wealth, at first
Dotcom was regarded as being a bit
‘ up himself ’, but his battles with the
Government soon turned him into an
“Even though he is rich, he was seen
by many as being the victim of unfair
harassment and that struck a chord with
Dotcom became so popular among
young people that students began writing
about him in their final assignments,
“He was seen as being this internet
freedom fighter and computer game
champion who was taking on the big bad
boss John Key.
“The authorities played into Dotcom’s
hands and soon he was being seen as
being ‘one of us’.”
Dotcom’s halo fell off in the run up to
the election in September. He sank
$3.5 million into funding the new
Internet Party, which joined Hone
Harawira’s Mana in a gamble that failed,
and saw Harawira lose his seat.
Dotcom promised a big “Moment of
Truth” revelation that would bring down
John Key ’s National.
His big reveal turned out to be an
e-mail that purported to show the Prime
Minister was involved in a plan to get the
internet entrepreneur into New Zealand
so he could be extradited to the US.
On the day of Dotcom’s big
announcement, the e-mail was dismissed
as a fake.
Six days later, after his party’s poor
showing in the election, he declared that
he had poisoned his brand. He took the
stand to shoulder the blame — but his
fall from grace was complete. The hero
had become the villain.
Political commentator Bryce Edwards
believes Dotcom’s world began to unravel
long before that. His demise can be
traced back to March, when he launched
the Internet Party.
“Dotcom was an unusual phenomenon,
an aberration, even, that had never been
seen in New Zealand politics before,”
“He was a very popular guy but perhaps
he underestimated the level of scrutiny he
would come under as soon as he was seen
to be bankrolling a political party.
“His attempted transition from
uber-capitalist to man of the people did
not seem real to most folk.”
Edwards reckons another blow was that
a lot of people just do not like political
parties and they see most politicians as
“Kim suddenly went from this kind of
Robin Hood figure to being a political
party boss who perhaps had a personal
agenda, so people started having doubts
“He was seen as being a power behind
the scenes and this looked even more
“The Moment of Truth debacle was the
final nail in his political coffin. I doubt
there will be any coming back from that.”
Political warhorse Sue Bradford quit
Mana in May when the party ’s alliance
with Dotcom’s Internet Party was
The partnership proved disastrous at the
polls and lost Mana leader Harawira his
Te Tai Tokerau seat.
“The whole thing was a very
uncomfortable intervention in the New
Zealand political landscape,” Bradford
“I told the party right from the start
that money doesn’t lead to success.
I thought Kim was a strong and
charismatic speaker but a feeling arose
that he was using Mana as a vehicle to
secure himself a permanent home in New
Zealand, which is understandable, but
people could see through that.”
Internet Party leader Laila Harre
on Saturday announced that she was
stepping down as leader of the party. She
told TV3’s The Nation the negative focus
on Dotcom was a distraction. “ We were
kind of in a lose-lose position”.
Harre said she was no longer being
paid by Dotcom and had intermittent
contact with him via text message. “Kim
is focusing on his legal issues, obviously
that ’s at a critical point.”
A campaign insider insists Dotcom did
not throw cash around like confetti in a
bid to buy success.
“In any dealings with the Internet Party
everything was very much above board,”
the source said.
“Everyone was paid on time, including
wages and expenses. Kim was very
well thought of and there was a lot of
admiration for the way he could deal with
massive and complex personal, legal and
business issues yet always remain upbeat
“He was certainly not the dictatorial
monster that he has been made out to
be by some former employees. Kim will
New Zealand Herald journalist David
Fisher, author of The Secret Life of Kim
Dotcom, says the bubble began to burst
when Dotcom became obsessed with
bringing down John Key.
“Before he got involved with the
Internet Party, Kim told me he suspected
it would lose him a huge amount of
support,” Fisher said.
“I think he underestimated just how
powerful this backlash would be.
“He seemed very focused on getting
revenge on John Key, who he blamed
for destroying his business. That kind
of attitude did not go down well with
Kiwis, who began to question whether
they should believe a guy with a grudge
and facing serious charges, or the hugely
popular Prime Minister.”
Ironically, Dotcom’s honesty in
shouldering the blame for The Moment
of Truth fiasco could turn into his saviour,
some academics believe. The moment he
declared his brand had been “poisoned ”
could be the pivotal moment in his
“The idea that he put his hands up and
was ‘copping it’ went down well with
the Kiwi psyche,” cultural studies expert
“He showed contrition and New
Zealanders love a good redemption story.
“It is hard to imagine that anyone using
their personal failures as a promotional
tool would go down well in many other
countries, including America.
“But if Dotcom can also play up on
being a concerned family man who
only wants the best for his children
even though he has split from his wife,
he could claw his way back into public
Dotcom has simply become a victim
of the trend for people to be fascinated
with the rich and famous, Lorna
Piatti-Farnell, senior lecturer at the
University of Auckland ’s school of
communications studies, said.
“Because Dotcom had the flash cars,
the mansion and the attractive wife he
was perfect for a feeding frenzy on social
media,” she says.
“Dotcom was very clever at creating an
image of success that people around the
world wanted to buy into.
“A phenomena like him can go global
overnight, but can quickly fade when the
public moves on to the next big thing.
“The same applies to other popular
icons, including actors, actors and
“ Whether Dotcom can resurrect himself
is anybody’s business.”
And whether he can do it in New
Zealand is out of his hands. He faces a
fresh bail hearing in court tomorrow and
is still fighting extradition to the United
States. — New Zealand Herald
Dotcom’s big fall
Pike 29 remembered
As I walked into town on Wednesday I
reflected on this special day in memoriam
of the Pike River 29 men who lost their
lives four years ago.
In Greymouth there was a sombre
feeling, still the pain is buried deep for the
families and all of Greymouth.
As a born and bred West Coaster all
Coaster as we are a strong and supportive
community during disasters, and we
triumph over loss.
‘Thank you’ to Dave Dobbyn, the
musician who has personally written a
song as a tribute to the 29 men, lost but
not forgotten. In our hearts they stay, very
special to us West Coasters.
Re privately-owned bush (Greymouth
Star, November 19).
It was pleasing to see Maureen Pugh take
up the hammer to put toward her National
Party colleagues on the issue of paying for
privately-owned bush when taking such
land into the conservation estate.
While people such as myself went into
press regarding this some time ago, it was
still the National Party that avoided the
questions. This land must be paid for in
recompense, no question about that.
Information obtained from the West
Coast DHB shows how ridiculous the
attempted justifications of DHB empire-
building have become.
The new job description for DHB
bureaucrat Michael Frampton extends
to three foolscap pages — but the fancy
description cannot disguise the fact that
it is just another HR (human resources)
manager position — so why dress it up
with the absurd title of ‘general manager,
people and capability’ — and then load it
with the mumbo-jumbo which the DHBs
have become so skilled at under the post-
1993 corporate management agenda?
The job description itself spells out that
this is a HR manager position by stating,
‘the role of general manager people and
capability leads a team that supports those
who care for patients’ — in other words,
Yet again the DHB is re-inventing
the wheel — and in management terms
probably replacing the round wheel with a
Making up new titles to create an
illusion of ‘progress’ in management is
nothing new since the long-proven public
hospitals management structure based
on the knowledge of the chief medical
officer, senior nurse and hospital manager
was ousted by today ’s multiplicity of
managers-for-everything and endless IT
(information technology), which turns the
simplest process into a jargon-laden jungle.
Regarding Mr Frampton’s new position,
one wonders just what is meant by such
expressions as, ‘People strategy that is
aligned to and enables the organisation
direction’; ‘positive constructive
relationships within the human resource
function and across the organisation’;
‘ business partnering — support in the
business for managers and staff ’. And, my
particular favourite, ‘establish the change
And so it dribbles on for three pages.
People familiar with management
systems before the corporate nonsense
takeover in the early 1990s will recall
when the staff or personnel manager was
identified by those logical titles.
Some may say, what is in a name —
but the mushrooming management
hordes which accompanied the change
of language have destroyed one of the
outstanding features of public hospitals
— happy workplaces where there was no
upstairs-downstairs division of employee
One might reasonably call it downright
class snobbery in the health sector.
establish my change imperative.
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
Jacobs River School
A reunion will be held for everyone
who attended or was associated with
the Jacobs River or Bruce Bay schools,
now closed, from February 6-8
(Waitangi Day weekend).
The weekend will involve a BYO get
together on one of the nights and a
reminisce at the school.
No registration fees are required, just
yourself and if possible a plate of finger
food for a nibble and a cuppa at the
For more details and registration go
to the Facebook page Jacobs River
School Reunion or contact the J R S R
Committee chairman William Wilson by
e-mail, email@example.com or by
phone, (03) 751 0882.
PICTURE: Getty Images
Kim Dotcom speaks at an Internet Party gathering in September.
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