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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Phone 769 7900
Nurse joins cancer
survivor in cycle event
A family stoush between two
men was played out on the street
in Westport last evening. Westport
constable Paul Sampson said one
of the men involved allegedly hit
the other man as he stepped out
of his car on Brougham Street,
about 5.15pm. The alleged victim
suffered “moderate” facial injuries.
The pair were connected through
marriage, although they were not
directly related. Police inquiries into
the alleged assault were continuing
Old school tour
Former students of John Paul II
High and St Mary’s schools will
next week get their last chance for a
look around their old school block,
before it is demolished early next
year. School principal Kieran Stone
said he would be guiding people
around the old St Mary’s building
next Tuesday between 3pm and
4pm, before it came down as part
of a major redevelopment of the
school. The building also did not
meet current earthquake standards.
A soft demolition would begin the
day after the guided tour, with the
floors of the block being taken up,
before a proper hard demolition
got under way on January 5 next
year. Mr Stone said the tour, which
would take place between 3pm and
4pm, had come about as a result of
past students showing an interest
in having a last look around the
landmark building. “It means a lot
and it’s a lot of memories for a lot of
people in the community. Initially
it was pretty much the block of St
Mary’s school, it’s housed various
rooms in different places over the
years, it even contained a science
block somewhere I heard.” Mr
Stone said the building was below
current earthquake standards not
because of the walls, which had steel
in them, but the foundations.
Sun with cloud at times
A British man who has been
unable to smell properly for 20 years
sniffed out a major gas leak just
days after he was kicked in the head
during a rugby match restored his
lost sense. Edward Baker’s ability to
smell deteriorated throughout his
adult life after he repeatedly broke
his nose playing rugby. He has
even undergone surgery to fix the
problem, without success. D uring a
recent game of rugby, he received a
kick to the face which left him with
another bruised and bloody nose.
The 41-year-old marketing director
put his newly-restored ability to
good use when he smelt a gas leak
near a school in Bournemouth,
Dorset just days later. — Daily Mail
A car driven by tourists was seen on the
wrong side of the road shortly before it
crashed near Dillmanstown last evening,
One woman was killed and another
three women in their 20s were seriously
injured in the single car crash on State
highway 73 at Bell Creek about 5pm
It occurred about 7kms south-east of
Kumara on the windy section of road
between Dillmanstown and the Old
A 21-year-old Chinese female was
airlifted by the NZCC Rescue Helicopter
to Grey Base Hospital.
West Coast road policing sergeant
David Cross said today that all three
survivors remained in hospital.
One of the victims had been transferred
to Christchurch Hospital where they
remained in a critical but stable condition.
The rental car involved had been seen
driving on the wrong side of the road
shortly before the crash, Mr Cross said.
It highlighted again the issue of bad
driving and the importance of people
reporting such incidents to police.
Anecdotal reports of bad driving were
probably just a fraction because of the
West Coast ’s “third world” cellphone
coverage. But the majority of dangerous
driving reports received by police were
followed up, Mr Cross said.
The distances and isolated nature
which characterised Coast roads meant
finding dangerous drivers was sometimes
impractical. Police followed up with rental
“It was unfortunate in this instance the
person who was on the wrong side of the
road ended up causing themselves and
Mr Cross agreed tourists being able to
drive immediately after entering New
Zealand was “very contentious”.
If drivers knew at the outset they would
be “under scrutiny ” then they might
be more conscientious. However, good
intentions slipped when a driver was
under pressure, Mr Cross said.
Distance between scenic locations
mixed with unfamiliar driving conditions
such as driving on the left, was a potent
“It ’s not uncommon for people to leave
Queenstown and hope to get through to
Christchurch in a day; that ’s daft,” Mr
Police were today speaking to witnesses
of the fatal crash. A serious crash
investigation was under way and police
were liasing to inform next of kin.
Haast senior constable Robin Manera
said the number of reports he received
about bad driving was increasing, in line
with increased visitor numbers.
“I think it ’s a percentage game. We’re
getting more calls about it now than we
did years ago,” Mr Manera said.
Calls would be higher if not for limited
cellphone coverage in South Westland.
However, this did not stop motorists
calling into the Haast police station to
report bad driving. “It ’s quite a regular
Increasingly police were being presented
with hard photographic evidence from
other motorists; or being flagged down on
the road to take action immediately.
Mr Manera said many tourist drivers
in his experience were unaware of the
impact of their behaviour.
“The most common complaint is they
are crossing the centre line. A lot of these
drivers, they don’t seem to think they ’ve
been doing anything wrong.”
According to NZTA the Coast averaged
eight deaths and 43 serious injuries on the
roads per year over the five years to 2011
— with at least a third of those tourists.
Paul McBride and
Christmas festivities will brighten
up Greymouth over two days this
weekend, with the Greymouth
Christmas Parade and Carnival,
followed by Christmas in the Park.
Much of downtown Greymouth
will be transformed with the
festivities from 10am on Saturday.
The main event, the Christmas
parade will begin at 1pm.
Family orientated activities will
be on offer and the town’s retailers
will be offering bargains. There will
also be market stalls throughout
the central business district, co-
facilitator Sharon Pugh said.
Albert Street will be transformed
into a ‘kids’ zone’ with activities such
as a bouncy castle and face painting.
There will also be buskers and carol
singers, while a hot-rod and vintage
car display will be based near the
clocktower in Tainui Street.
The parade leaves the Boundary
Street roundabout at 1pm.
All the usual book and cartoon
characters such as Tigger, Pooh Bear,
Dora the Explorer, and Sponge Bob
Squarepants will be there.
The parade will feature the
combined Greymouth Municipal
and Westland Brass bands.
community group floats will proceed
along Mawhera Quay before
swinging past the Railway Station
and back along Mackay Street.
“ We’re hoping Father Christmas
will make an appearance ... so you
better be good,” Mrs Pugh said.
This year ’s carnival is being
organised under the umbrella of the
Greymouth Business Promotions
Group. Mrs Pugh said the event
took a lot of planning and was only
possible through volunteer effort.
She particularly singled out
Greymouth transport operators
who took vehicles out of ser vice in
advance to make them available for
floats for the community event.
There was scope for a ser vice or
community group to take over
organisation of the parade next year,
she said. The festivities extend into
Sunday, with the Greymouth Classic
Hits Christmas in the Park.
It was to be held at Dixon Park,
but has been moved to the Regent
Theatre due to a forecast of rain.
The programme will get under way
at 3pm, with last year ’s X Factor
finalist Cassie Henderson once again
Classic Hits spokesperson Ann-
Marie Thompson, said there was a
“There will be a lot of interaction
with the crowd singing Christmas
carols and we will have Carolyn
Williams there with her Youth Choir
singing Christmas songs as well.
“Sunday is a such a good family
day and it will work in well with the
parade being on the Saturday. The
focus is on Christmas and this year
we have a little kids competition to
dress up as fairies and elves.”
The Hokitika and Westport parades
are on Saturday, December 13 and
the Reefton parade is on Saturday,
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Grey Main School children Nova Hayden,
Kahya Pownceby, Millah Boniface, Nadia
van der Westhuizen, Bille-jean Gully,
Reagan Boniface, Ashley Mallett and
Jimmy Gully are busy making snowdrops
for their school float in the Christmas
Parade and Carnival which is on this
Christmas festivities jingle in to town
Fatigue has been blamed as a major
reason behind a narrowly avoided head
on collision involving the Tranz Alpine
train at Otira last year.
A report released by the Transport
Accident Investigation Commission
today, found that a train controller’s
performance was “highly likely” to have
been impaired by fatigue at the time of
the incident on June 10, 2013.
The Tranz Alpine had left Otira station
on time destined for Christchurch,
heading for the western portal of the
At about the same time, signals
technicians finished testing the tunnel
door and ventilation systems at the
About one minute after the train had
departed, one of the technicians radioed
train control and requested authority to
drive their two road vehicles across a rail
bridge toward the approaching train.
The train controller assumed that the
train had already crossed the bridge
and entered the tunnel, and gave the
technicians authority to cross the bridge,
in to the path of the approaching train.
The driver of the Tranz Alpine
overheard the authorisation.
He reduced power and brought the
train to a gradual stop before reaching
the bridge, and alerted the train
controller to the conflict.
The TAIC found the train controller
had not followed Kiwi Rail’s track
occupation rules, which required him
to verify the actual location of the train
before authorising the road vehicles to
cross the bridge.
He had three means at his disposal to
Continued on p2.
Kevin Hague has inched ahead of
Damien O’Connor in the end of
year political rankings, with some
kind words reser ved for retired MP
The newly released annual Trans
Tasman roll call for 2014 gave Mr
O’Connor, the West Coast-Tasman
electorate MP, 5.5 out of 10, down
from 6 last year.
“Stayed off the party list and
nearly doubled his West Coast-
Tasman majority. He is Labour’s
voice on the farm.
“Says it like it is and knows his
electorate, Labour needs more like
him,” the report states.
Green Party list MP Kevin
Hague, of Greymouth, rises to 6.5
“Arguably the party’s most
competent MP, and dealing with
health and housing will make sure
he isn’t under-employed. Works
well with media,” quotes the report.
Recently retired Chris Auchinvole
(National) got a 5 and “lightened
up the debating chamber, which it
often desperately needs”.
“ He’ll be missed for his select
committee work. ”
Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene
only reaches 2.5.
“ Do still waters run deep or are
they just still? Has had time to find
his feet, and still no impact. ”
The politician of the year was
Prime Minister John Key, who
performed strongly at home and
has “ become an international
“However there are clouds, the
fallout from the Dirty Politics saga
continues ... He has the respect —
almost the love — of the voters,
he needs to be careful he does not
treat them with contempt. A fourth
term does beckon, but the PM’s
tendency to be just a bit smug, a bit
arrogant, and at times a bit childish
could derail it.”
National MP Nick Smith, who
is in charge of the Pike Mine
memorial, has gone from a 7 to a
7.5. Energy and Resources Minister
Simon Bridges also performs well,
with a 7.5. Trans Tasman is a
Hague trumps O’Connor in poll
Fatigue blamed for near-miss
PICTURE: NZCC Rescue Helicopter
The scene of the fatal crash on State highway 73 yesterday.
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