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Tiger’s ex-caddie returns
to Cobden speedway
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Kiwi VC and the
A tantrum over the dishes
prompted a call to the Westport
police on Monday night to broker
the peace. The row between two
young sisters broke out at 7pm.
Community constable Paul
Sampson said their parents had
to physically bring one of the pair
“ under control”. No charges were
laid but it was one of three domestic
incidents attended by Westport
police since Monday. Later the
same evening, police broke up an
argument between a couple at their
upstairs flat in the business area of
Palmerston Street, and last night
police attended a heated argument
between a man and a woman at
an Orowaiti Road address. Mr
Sampson said the root of that
conflict was around the woman
attempting to stop her drunken
partner from driving.
About 25mm of rain fell on
Greymouth during a single hour-
long downpour last night, weather
obser ver Phil Forrest said. The
downpour lasted from 8.30pm until
about 9.30pm. Given how the rain
was collected on the monitored
rain gauge at the aerodrome, that
amounted to more on average than
fell in the 24 hours to 9am today,
when 18.8mm was recorded. “ They
were predicting heavy rain during
the night. I think it was a bit more
intense than what they thought. It
could be about Saturday before we
get back to real fine weather,” Mr
A Frenchman claims he has
invented a pill that makes bodily
gases smell like chocolate. Christian
Poincheval, 65, from Gesvres,
north-west France, says his capsules
will not only ease indigestion
but also eliminate foul odours
from flatulence. In place of such
malodorous whiffs, he says, users
of his herbal concoctions will
instead emit sweet smelling and
inoffensive scents. Previously, Mr
Poincheval has sold pills to scent
silent but deadly olfactory outrages
with rose or violet, but now he has
brought out a chocolate version just
in time for Christmas. “ The Father
Christmas fart pill that gives your
farts the scent of chocolate” retails at
9.99 euro for a jar of 60 and offers
benefits including “the reduction
of gas and bloating”. “It’s a nice
present for the festive season,” he
told newspaper Ouest France.
— Daily Mail
Rain, thunder, hail possible
Westland Milk Products has further
reduced in its predicted payout, slashing
another 40c a kilo, just as its 400 or so
shareholder farmers were gathering at
Shantytown today for the co-operative’s
annual general meeting.
Chairman Matt O’Regan said the
predicted payout would now be $5 to
$5.40 a kilo of milk solids, down from
$5.40 to $5.80 .
Advance payments to shareholders
would also be adjusted, resulting in
lower cashflows to farmers this season,
Mr O’Regan said.
“This will be unwelcome news for
shareholders, but not unexpected.”
The high level of in-market stocks
held by dairy customers was putting
downward pressure on the market —
particularly around bulk milk powders
“where the majority of (Westland’s)
business is still conducted”.
Mr O’Regan said an uplift in demand
was not expected next year and “the
lesson from this” was that Westland’s
drive to produce more value-added
products was the right one.
Virgin Flat farmer Johno O’Connor
described the news as “pretty
However, Westland had left itself little
room to soften the impact on suppliers,
Mr O’Connor said.
“In the past, Westland has been able
to have the flexibility of moving on
retentions ... It looks as though that
flexibility has gone now.”
Mr O’Connor said this was partly due
to historical decisions by Westland “not
retaining enough” of the payout. That
was impacting on the company ’s ability
to meet its financial commitments for
previous capital investment decisions.
Despite that, there was still “an
optimism” that dairy prices would lift.
“In the short-term it ’s pretty tough,
but I think the overall direction of the
world food prices mean the banks will
stick with the farmers,” Mr O’Connor
West Coast Federated Farmers
chairwoman Katie Milne said the
reduced payout confirmed all the
signals, although the $5.80 payout until
now had helped Westland farmers get
through the ordinary “hump of spring”.
Miss Milne said the international food
commodity market was at an interesting
point, with the European Union move
to allow increased dairy production and
therefore competition. The ongoing
Russian political situation impacting on
the world dairy market was also a factor.
“It’s been bloody nice to have $5.80
until now, but as to it being sustainable
... there’ve been a few raised eyebrows,”
Miss Milne said.
Farmers would have to wait and see
what happened with commodity prices,
given the increasing world supply of
milk and impact of drought. It ’s often
something like that happening that sets
the cog the other way.
“The message is, rural debt is bloody
high and when you get the chance to
lower it, you do it.”
Miss Milne said she believed the
banks were now more realistic around
farmer debt, although newcomers this
season would be hit hard.
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Peter Ewen with his new book Pike — Death by Parliament, in front of the memorial to West Coast miners, on the Greymouth floodwall.
Petition launched to force unitary council
A bid to create one West Coast
unitary council has begun, with a
petition about to go Coastwide,
supported by a media campaign.
Peter Salter, who ran for the Ban
1080 Party in the general election, is
the public face of the campaign.
He said today the petition was about
far more than just the poison or the
West Coast Regional Council’s recent
$1.9 million investment in a 1080
factory at Rolleston.
“There’s a total groundswell of
discontent,” Mr Salter said.
He cites investment off the West
Coast and huge rate rises in Westland
as other factors.
“Powers have gone to people who
don’t know how to use it,” he said.
“They have forgotten the words ‘public
servant ’. Now they are managers or
executives. They are playing with our
money. We are shareholders in this
Mr Salter said he would front the
campaign and take the flak, but “others
are behind me”. There is also financial
The petition will run in the West
Coast Messenger next week, and it
has also been posted on-line. Radio
advertising is also planned, with a push
before the petition closes on December
“This is your chance, if you are
unhappy with the way things are
going,” Mr Salter advised.
Asked how he thought it to go, he
said he had “no expectations at all”.
“If people don’t get off their butt and
have a say, don’t come back and whinge
to me later.”
If they got the numbers, the petition
would be handed over to the Local
Government Commission, and after
that “it ’s in their hands”.
The on-line petition is worded:
“ We the ratepayers contribute to
keeping in place four CEOs, four
sets of administration staff, four fleets
of vehicles, four groups of elected
councillors duplicating other support
structures. We need one council
representing the West Coast displaying
common sense. Open to West Coast
ratepayers and residents only.”
In 2008, Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn led a bid for a unitary
council. He conceded defeat in 2009
when a petition failed to get enough
signatures in Buller and Westland.
Back then, a minimum of 10% of
the voting-age population in each
district was required to force the L ocal
Government Commission to consider
an enforced amalgamation. Two years
ago, the National-led Government
changed the Local Government Act to
make it easier for councils to merge.
Sixteen years ago, Rapahoe
coalmining historian and author
Peter Ewen made a submission in
support of the Pike River Mine
getting consent. On Friday he will
release a hard-hitting book about
the disaster that killed 29 men
Pike — Death by Parliament is
in full colour, with over 240 photos
and 280 pages.
In 1998, Mr Ewen made a
submission to the Buller District
Council urging consent for the
“I’m not a latecomer to the
subject,” he explained.
His previous book, Strongman
Three Score & More, records
the background to the 1967
Strongman Mine disaster.
He has spent three years on
the Pike River book, which was
extended due to the ongoing
delays with the re-entry, which has
now been abandoned.
Mr Ewen said he had focused
more on the regulatory side: “John
Key belatedly conceded the mine
wouldn’t have been allowed in
Australia. It wouldn’t have been
allowed here either under old
If the mine fan had not been
placed underground, the mine
could have been reventilated
immediately after the explosions,
With lots of other things on the
go — Mr Ewen is also a member
of the West Coast Regional
Council — he is distributing the
book to stores on the West Coast,
Nelson and Westport. It retails for
“I’m thrilled with it,” he said.
Mine disaster detailed
Greymouth and Hokitika Stores
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