Home' Greymouth Star : December 2nd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, December 2, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1790 - Austrian troops re-enter Brussels and
suppress the revolution.
1804 - Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself
emperor of France in Paris, taking the crown
from attending Pope Pius VII.
1815 - Britain and Rajah of Nepal
sign a peace treaty.
1942 - Nuclear chain reaction
is demonstrated for the first time
by scientists working on the
Manhattan Project underneath the
University of Chicago’s football stadium.
1960 - The Archbishop of Canterbury visits
Pope John XXIII. The two heads of the two
major religions break a 400-year-old tradition
set in the 1500s by Britain’s King Henry VIII
and Pope Leo X.
1961 - Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares
himself a Marxist-Leninist who will lead Cuba
1969 - The Boeing 747 jumbo jet makes its
debut as 191 people, most of them reporters
and photographers, fly from Seattle to New
1971 - Britain terminates all treaties with
crucial states in Gulf, leading to formation of
United Arab Emirates.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Georges Seurat, French artist (1859-1891);
George Richards Minot, US physician/Nobel
laureate (1885-1950); Otto Dix,
German artist (1891-1969); Maria
Callas, US opera singer (1923-
1977); Gianni Versace, Italian
fashion designer (1946-1997);
Paul Watson, founder of the Sea
Shepherd on Whale Wars (1950-
); Lucy Liu, US actress (1968-);
Monica Seles, Yugoslav-American
tennis player (1973-); Britney Spears, US pop
“ When we cannot find contentment in
ourselves it is useless to seek it elsewhere.”
— Francois, D uc de la Rochefoucauld,
French author (1613-1680).
“Because he loves Me,” says the Lord, “I
will rescue him; I will protect him, for he
acknowledges My Name. ” — Psalm 91:14.
The Miss West
Coast contest is on.
Five local girls have
entered so far, and
a tentative date, January 19, has been set for
the staging of the contest. The local winner
will contest the Miss New Zealand series in
Dunedin later in the year.
The Miss West Coast contest is run by the
Cobden-Kohinoor Rugby League Football
Club and its organiser Mrs B Stone said
today that the judges had been appointed, as
had the compere. Negotiations were under
way to obtain the use of the Regent Theatre
and Mrs Stone is hopeful that a satisfactory
arrangement will be made.
The judicial panel will consist of two
local women, and one man. They will be
Mesdames R Blyth and M G Kelly, and Mr
L D McGlashan. Miss Doreen McNabb has
accepted the position of compere for the show.
Extensions costing £10,000 have been
approved for the West Coast Historical
Museum in Hokitika. To meet the costs
an addition £6700 must be raised, a special
meeting was told in Hokitika last night.
The meeting was attended by local body
representatives from Inangahua to Ross. The
secretary of the group, Mr R C Drummond,
said today that it was an ambitious project,
but he was confident that the money would be
raised. “All local bodies with the exception of
Inangahua have given their assistance,” he said.
Representaing the Greymouth Borough
Council, the Mayor Mr F W Baillie said: “It is
a worthy amenity to the West Coast and has
a number of fine exhibits, many of which are
unable to be displayed due to a lack of space.”
uFood for thought
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Greymouth Star front page news
‘Millions of mice overrun town’
(November 28) is not a bit surprising.
What is surprising is the fact that
the area between White Bridge and
Arthur’s Pass township is also overrun
with baby stoats by the hundreds or
more likely thousands, as witnessed by a
friend and myself on our way home from
Christchurch about 10pm on Tuesday,
The baby stoats, along with the mice,
were all over the road and the stoats were
easy to tell apart from the mice due to
their length and manner of movement. I
reported this to DOC the next day.
Those baby stoats are going to grow into
adult stoats and the kea population will
certainly be at risk.
While I hate 1080, if it is the only
means of control then it has to be used to
save other wildlife.
L M Hawkins
Cobden ‘cut’ and
The article in the Greymouth Star
(November 25) re the Cobden ‘duck
pond’, brought to mind a comment I
once heard about a speaker who had just
finished giving a speech which ran on for
two hours. Comment: ‘He spoke for two
hours and never used one thought ’. Range
Creek must have an outlet to the sea,
which is the only way to stop the flooding
of lower Cobden.
We have been told twice in the past few
years that Range Creek has been let out to
the sea so is this just another ‘huff and a
puff and I will blow your house down’?
This talk of spending ratepayers’ money
to enlarge the existing channel — the
cut — this lot have already spent money
modifying the cut. The reason it did not
prove sufficient to take the sea water let in
through the hole in the wall to sea, is that
the councils did not give the sea end an
outlet. Simple logic.
When Range Creek has an outlet to
the sea, the hole in the wall will have to
be removed for always, or you will be
diverting the Grey River north through
the hole in the wall and out the Range
At present the floodwall around the
council’s hole in the wall is collapsing,
with the river surging through the wall
itself, around the council’s hole.
The distinction of our floodwall
increases at each tide until what we paid
for goes to sea. As I have previously told
the council, the excavations dumped on
the old dump should have been used to
reinforce the part of the floodwall used
as their dam. The danger this creates to
the homes with these ‘storage ponds’, is
they lead a flood further into Cobden by
overflowing one into the next one.
They must be done away with. They
have no purpose other than to make the
written article look important and if the
councillors, as individuals, had to pay for
them out of their own pocket, they would
never use the word. Those in charge —
get real. People live down at the lower
I muse whether your photograph
of Andrew Little in last Tuesday ’s
Greymouth Star is prophetic.
Given the ‘halo’ Andrew has acquired in
the shot, should he be seen as the saviour
of the near-wrecked Labour Party? I
sincerely hope so.
I know he certainly has that potential
I was out kayaking on Lake Mahinapua
on a Monday late afternoon recently and
saw several keen young people with a
generous coach getting wholeheartedly
into yachting skills. What a wonderful
sight on a warm, sunny spring afternoon.
Family histor y
I am trying to trace family of Maud
Barbara Swingland, born about 1878 and
married to my great-grandfather John
Joseph Turnbull. Their son was Percival
John Turnbull. I would be grateful for any
information, thank you.
fter a year on the skiing
and mountainbike slopes
of Canada and Europe,
graduate Nick Hawkins
weighed up his options:
go back to Australia where he had made
quick money to finance his OE, or settle
down in New Zealand?
“I could have earned more money there,
for sure,” the 24-year-old says.
Instead, Hawkins chose to come home,
joining a growing wave of New Zealanders
forsaking the higher wages available
overseas to return to a country they
perceive as having a lot more going for it
than a few years ago.
Like many New Zealanders, Hawkins
was drawn to Australia’s mining industry
— in his case, a Q ueensland coalmine —
after completing an engineering degree
in earthquake-damaged Christchurch.
But money in the mines is hard-earned
— Hawkins and other New Zealanders
would fly in and out of the Bowen
basin mining area in three-to-four week
rotations, working six days a week in the
extreme climate. It was not an appealing
“A big factor for me (in coming
home) was friends and family and the
lifestyle available here. ” Hawkins loves
the outdoors and hunting, fishing and
mountainbiking are all within easy reach
He also sees reliable work prospects
down the road, unlike in Australia where
mining, construction and other industries
have slowed considerably in the wake of
weak prices and the global financial crisis.
Hawkins quickly landed a job as project
engineer with CMP Construction on
an apartment and retail development in
Albany, one of the fastest-growing suburbs
in rapidly expanding Auckland. With
the Christchurch rebuild and Auckland
infrastructure and housing projects getting
Government backing, he sees more
construction opportunities opening up and
is eyeing a future in project management.
“ You can see the levels of foreign
investment coming in ...”
Though not every sector of the New
Zealand economy is growing, construction
and IT are booming and face massive skill
shortages, especially in Auckland (where
80% of job growth is concentrated) and
In contrast, life has been tougher in
recent years for many New Zealanders
who moved to Australia, North America
and Britain — economies hit harder
by the global financial crisis and whose
recovery has been slower than New
Migration figures for the year to
October 31 show New Zealand had a net
migration gain of 47,684 — an all-time-
high by a distance. O ur net population loss
to Australia — the main destination of
New Zealanders departing for longer than
12 months — was “just ” 5311, the lowest
since the early 90s.
An upsurge in New Zealanders returning
from Europe and America began in 2012;
those in Australia began drifting back last
year and this year’s incoming of 15,206
New Zealand citizens from across the
ditch was 6000 higher than two years ago.
At the same time, numbers leaving for
Australia have nearly halved — from a
record high of 53,700 just two years ago.
“ We are seeing this reverse flow instead
of a brain drain which is great to see,” says
Paul Robinson, New Zealand director of
recruitment firm Randstad. “ We’ve been
through several years at the bottom of the
cur ve in terms of business growth and
employment but we can expect to see five
to six years of confidence and growth. ”
Hays Recruitment managing director
Jason Walker says the turnaround is as
much due to rare negativity in Australia
as the equally unusual optimism here.
Walker says there is a strong media focus
on Australia’s economic woes; employers
ner vous about upcoming state elections
and tax increases are not hiring. New
Zealanders who lose their jobs have no
access to Australia’s benefit system and
cannot withstand unemployment for long.
Our comparative rude health — and
serious skill shortages for upcoming
Auckland housing and infrastructure
projects, the Christchurch rebuild and
the expanding IT sector — have fuelled
talk that the statistics might not be a
blip but a trend: that the vast numbers
who’ hae decamped for higher wages and
opportunities in past decades may start
coming home in larger numbers.
“New Zealand has become funky and
cool,” says Rod Drury, chief executive of
cloud-based software firm Xero. “ There
are good things going on here — good
music, great coffee and food. It’s a more
international world and New Zealand
is not so far behind any more. There’s a
noticeable increase in interest in working
here — skilled IT workers no longer feel
they have to compromise. It’s also the lack
of people; it’s seen as a great place to bring
There is even a reversal of the recent
spectre of Australian employers recruiting
here to plug workforce shortages. An
employment expo in Perth last weekend,
arranged by our Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment, attracted
strong interest, says Auckland Chamber
of Commerce chairman Michael Barnett,
who was there with regional economic
development agency Ateed. “ We added
about 400 people to our database across
the spectrum of construction — welders,
builders, civil engineers, project managers,
plumbers, electricians, drivers.” Barnett
found strong awareness of upcoming
projects including the Christchurch
rebuild and Auckland’s housing targets,
Water view link and other roading projects
and the Sky City Convention Centre.
“ People are looking at Auckland and
saying ‘it ’s not a rebuild, it ’s growth’ and
it’s got certainty to it. ” A further expo, in
Sydney today, is aimed at the IT sector.
Australia’s woes have forced many New
Zealanders home with their tails between
their legs but not every industry is being
flooded with inquiries from disillusioned
“ We are seeing it but it’s not a massive
flow, just a steady movement from
Australia,” says Mike Huddleston of
construction sector recruiters Allied
Workforce (AWF). “ There’s still an issue
with pay — many have been earning $80
to $100 an hour and having to accept $25
to $40 an hour if they come back is hard
“Hopefully, they ’ve had a chance to save
some money and accept that the good
times are over and there’s plenty of work
Even Australians are beginning to
look at New Zealand more charitably.
When NSW couple Aaron and Natalie
McKeown told friends and family they
were off to new jobs in Wellington, taking
their two young children with them, there
was disbelief. “ They said, ‘people don’t
move to New Zealand, they move from
New Zealand to Australia’,” Aaron says.
The IT manager for a Hunter Valley
mineral ser vices firm found the sector’s
“The company I worked for had shrunk
by about three-quarters. I wasn’t at risk of
losing my job but I was losing motivation
because I wanted to work in an industry
that was expanding. ”
He accepted a job with Xero as a
platform architect; Natalie works in its
customer ser vices team, handling inquiries
“ It was a massive change,” he says.
“ We’ve got two boys, aged six and nine.
Having them leave their schools and
friends, and leaving our families, was a
But Natalie says Wellingtonians are very
friendly, the boys are coping well and New
Zealand is an appealing place to live.
“ We keep pinching ourselves living in
the capital and being able to run into the
city to work. It’s very compact.”
The couple, aged 40 and 41, are among
7500 long-term arrivals from Australia in
the past year who are not New Zealand
citizens, up 50% on two years ago.
It is not all gloom over there, however:
an HR manager who is returning to
Auckland after eight years in Sydney,
bringing her Australian husband, says the
NSW economy is “going great guns and
there’s lots of work for those who want it.
I have (New Zealand) friends in Brisbane
and they have landed on their feet and
love the lifestyle. ”
Academics warn that we shouldn’t get
ahead of ourselves. AUT professor of
migration studies Richard Bedford expects
normal ser vice to resume shortly — with
many more New Zealanders leaving to
work overseas each year than coming
home. That diaspora began with baby
boomers in the 1970s and, since the 1990s,
New Zealand has replaced its departing
population largely through immigration.
Bedford cautions that a good proportion
of the record number of “permanent
and long-term” arrivals who account for
our huge migration gain this year are
on student and work visas rather than
long-term migrants or returning New
Though everyone agrees fewer New
Zealanders departing for Australia and
more coming home represents a welcome
reversal, there’s considerable ground to
make up. New Zealand lost a net 256,000
people to Australia in the past decade
(though some will have moved on to
another country before returning to New
Zealand). These stadium-sized annual
losses will take some replenishing. And
the current reversal may last only as long
as it takes the Australian and British
economies to re-gear.
There are hopeful signs, however, that
workers may be lured by more than
monetary considerations and job security.
Work culture and lifestyle gains may
compensate for lower pay for some -- and
that ’s where New Zealand employers can
make progress, say leading recruiters.
“ Young people are actually forgoing
salary for these qualitative things they feel
are more important than the extra $40,000
or $50,000 they may be getting offshore,
particularly in the UK,” Debbie Francis, a
partner in PWC’s consulting practice says.
“They are seeking employers whose
values are aligned with their world view.
They don’t expect a job for life — if they
like the culture they will stay. They want
meaningfulness. With more-senior people,
it’s about wanting to give children a more
Kiwi childhood experience. And though
we may think housing is unaffordable,
it is affordable compared to Sydney or
Robinson agrees that factors like work-
life balance, interesting job content,
variety and promotion opportunities are
important though salaries remain “ by far
the number one consideration”
There are already signs of recovery in
Australia’s construction sector and in
Britain, he says, so employers need to
“They need to be aware of what ’s on the
horizon and mindful of what people are
looking for. But it ’s great that we’re seeing
talent returning, because in the last few
years we’ve lost of lot of people offshore.”
After 12 years in Melbourne, 2014
seemed the right time for Airdre Knox to
move home to Wellington. She returned
mainly for family reasons: her father had
died and her mother is now 82.
“ It was time to come home and spend
time with her. I really missed New
Zealand; I missed the ocean and the
culture. New Zealanders are so friendly.”
A lawyer, Knox left New Zealand aged
30, after finishing a big project for a
Government department. She wanted
to experience life in a big city and was
looking for a change.
“ I was intending to go back to university
but got there and discovered everything
was very expensive and it wasn’t easy to
become a student over there.”
She moved instead into the then-
emerging field of knowledge-management
and worked in the public and private
“ Melbourne’s an awesome place where
there’s always something on but it’s
definitely an expensive place to live in. You
find you get caught up in your job and
don’t experience the city the way you think
enjoy it more.”
She has taken a job with tech firm Xero
and says Wellington has become much
more vibrant. She’s also more aware of the
lifestyle benefits here.
New Zealand is no longer the “slow and
sleepy country town of old”, she says, and
there’s more of an entrepreneurial spirit.
“There’s this fantastic ‘can-do’ attitude
and culture. It’s a really invigorating and
Knox urges anyone contemplating
moving to Australia to research things
“ I was retrenched out of one of my roles
and was unwell for a time and effectively
was in hardship because I couldn’t access
support I was entitled to.
“ I don’t think New Zealanders fully
appreciate what the special category
visa (introduced in 2001) really means.
Australia is very tough. People go over
there thinking it’s what it was like 20 years
ago but (it ’s) not anymore. We are really
second-class citizens now.”
Teacher Gabrielle Moros learned that
the hard way when, aged 24, she headed
for the Gold Coast early last year.
“ I’d heard they loved Kiwis. My aunt ’s
a teacher there and I thought it would be
easy to pick up work. But there was a lot
more paper work than here and teaching
was much harder to get into. ”
She ended up working at a preschool but
found the money no better than in New
They lived in the heart of Surfer’s
Paradise where “there was always a party.
There were lots of drugs around and
incidents with bikie gangs — it wasn’t a
good place to live.” Her boyfriend could
not find work and moved to Brisbane to a
job at the port before being laid off. “ We
really struggled on one income. Then he
went off to the mines. ”
The couple went their separate ways
and, after losing her job, she returned to
Auckland where she immediately found
“ It just shows you how beautiful home
More New Zealanders are coming home — or staying here — as the Australian dream turns sour
for many. GEOFF CUMMING, of the New Zealand Herald, examines why life suddenly seems
better on this side of the ditch.
No place like home
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