Home' Greymouth Star : December 11th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, December 11, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1205 - In England, John Grey, Bishop of
Nor wich, is elected Archbishop of Canterbury.
1792 - France’s King Louis XVI faces charges
of treason. He is convicted, and
executed the following month.
1816 - Britain restores Java,
Indonesia, to the Netherlands.
1894 - World’s first motor show
opens in Paris with nine exhibitors.
1901 - First trans-Atlantic radio
signal is sent by Italian Guglielmo
Marconi from Poldhu in Cornwall and
received by Percy Wright Paget in St John’s,
1928 - Police in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
thwart an attempt on the life of US president-
elect Herbert Hoover.
1930 - Bank of the United States in New
York fails and closes all its 60 branches.
1941 - United States declares war against
Germany and Italy in World War Two.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Alfred de Musset, French author (1810-
1857); Robert Koch, German physician
and bacteriologist (1843-1910);
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian
writer and Nobel laureate
(1918-2008); Betsy Blair, US
actress (1923-2009); Jean-Louis
Trintignant, French actor (1930-);
Donna Mills, US actress (1940-);
Jermaine Jackson, American
entertainer, (1954-); Mos Def, American
rapper and actor (1973-); Hamish Blake,
Australian comedian (1981-).
“ Better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.”
— C hristina Rosetti, British poet (1830-1874).
“ I went past the field of the sluggard, past
the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
thorns had come up everywhere, the ground
was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was
in ruins. I applied my heart to what I obser ved
and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little
sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the
hands to rest — and poverty will come on you
like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. ”
— Proverbs 24:30-34.
After having served
14 years, 12 of
retired from chairmanship of the Greymouth
Harbour Board. Members at the board’s annual
meeting last night urged him to reconsider his
decision, but he remained adamant.
On vacating the chair, Mr Steer immediately
nominated Mr C E Heaphy for the position.
Mr H Hutchinson seconded the motion. “I
would be pleased to see Mr Steer carry on, but
he has been forceful in his refusal and I think
Mr Heaphy is the ideal man to replace him,”
commented Mr Hutchinson.
These sentiments were also expressed by
Mr F W J Munden. In paying tribute
Mr Munden said the past chairman had
always been helpful, firm in his dealings, but
appreciative of others’ points of view.
A proud history, dating back to the earliest
days of the West Coast ’s goldrushes, can
be claimed by the Bank of New Zealand’s
Greymouth branch which today celebrates its
The bank is Greymouth’s first commercial
undertaking to attain its century. It followed
close on the heels of the town’s first
businessman, Reuben Waite, who set up a
trading establishment in the same year, 1864.
Waite passed from the scene years ago — there
is no evidence now of his pioneer store. The
bank, however, is still firmly established in the
town, in Mawhera Q uay.
The bank established an agency at Greymouth
on December 10, 1864, with Mr F J Walmsley
as agent. Walmsley had earlier opened an agency
at Westport in May 1863, but it was withdrawn
the following April when he returned to Nelson.
uFood for thought
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Has there ever been a leader who
commanded absolute loyalty?
A king, a party boss, a prime
minister so blessed with the
attributes of leadership that not
even one of his barons, ward-
heelers or cabinet ministers ever
felt moved to ask the question:
“ Why not me?”
Even in the court of King Arthur,
Mordred plotted murder and ruin.
The “one brief shining moment ”
that was the Kennedy White
House shivered in the shadow of
Lyndon Johnson’s unappeasable
ambition. On the plane-ride back
from Norman Kirk’s Waimate
funeral his colleagues lobbied
furiously for the numbers to
The acid of political power
dissolves all friendships, all pacts,
all solemn pledges of loyalty. All
leaders knows this and conduct
themselves accordingly. On the
battlefield, they bring victory.
At the ballot box, more votes
than their opponents. On the
Government benches, favourable
polls and reliable majorities.
The moment a leader fails
to furnish the victories, votes
and validation promised to his
followers, challenges — and
challengers — are inevitable.
Power belongs to those with
courage to take it — and the skill
to wield it.
Which is why the initial
conclusions of Labour’s election
review panel made me chuckle.
One of the reasons the party
performed so poorly, reported
the four wise heads appointed to
identify where Labour went wrong
in 2014, is that its parliamentary
caucus failed to unite around the
leadership of David Cunliffe.
David Cunliffe knew that he
faced a caucus full of enemies when
he put his name for ward for the
Labour leadership. What he did
not appear to understand was how
urgently he needed to neutralise
In this respect, the behaviour
of Mr Cunliffe’s successor is
To start at the beginning:
Andrew Little’s whole
parliamentary career appears to
have been inspired by Prince Hal’s
soliloquy from Shakespeare’s
Henry IV, Part One: Yet herein
will I imitate the sun, Who doth
permit the base contagious clouds,
To smother up his beauty from
the world, That, when he please
again to be himself, Being wanted,
he may be more wonder’d at, By
breaking through the foul and ugly
mists, Of vapours that did seem to
There are times when one’s
leadership ambitions are better
ser ved by keeping them hidden
than by openly parading them
before one’s colleagues and the
world. Like Prince Hal, Mr Little
was at pains to smother up his
leadership qualities until such time
as his party had most need of them.
And what a masterful job he
made of it! As far as most of the
political class was concerned there
was very little to be hoped for from
Mr Little’s wafer-thin victory over
Grant Robertson. Commentators
almost gloated that Labour’s new
leader was everybody’s second
choice; had never won a seat;
carried neither his caucus nor the
party membership; and almost
did not make it into Parliament
at all! Needless to say, the wider
electorate’s expectations were
But Mr Little, like Prince Hal,
understood that: By how much
better than my word I am, By so
much shall I falsify men’s hopes.
Far from being “a modest little
man, with much to be modest
about ” — as Winston Churchill
famously described his nemesis,
Clement Atlee — Mr Little burst
out of Labour’s corner with his
dander well-and-truly up, landing
punches on a Prime Minister
whose reaction to this new leader’s
wholly unexpected onslaught was
almost as disbelieving as the Press
For the first time in a long time
the whole of the Labour Party
experienced that surge of energy
and hope that comes from seeing
one’s champion lay low the enemy’s
best fighter. MPs, party grandees,
union bosses and ordinary
members alike heard Mr Little
tell the Prime Minister to “cut the
crap” and knew that Labour had,
at long last, a leader worthy of the
Mr Cunliffe failed dismally
to unite his caucus for the very
simple reason that nothing he did
gave his enemies cause to cease
questioning his right to lead them.
Like a medieval king defeated on
the field of battle, Mr Cunliffe
was forced to endure, through the
whole duration of his long retreat,
the contemptuous scorn and open
hostility of his embarrassed barons.
Mr Little, by contrast, having
demonstrated the requisite
courage and skill, can now present
that surest proof of leadership.
Chris Trotter is an independent,
left-wing political commentator.
Arise, Sir Little
aori adults living in
north Epsom have
about the same
likelihood of being a
daily smoker as their
European neighbours — 8% to 9%.
Nip next door to well-heeled Remuera
west and disparities start to show up, with
7% of Europeans smoking, compared with
10% of Maori.
But then head south to low-income
Manurewa central and you will slam into
the ethnic smoking gap: the Maori rate, at
40%, is nearly double the European rate,
according to the latest national census data
on “regular” smokers, those who puff daily.
The picture varies from area to area
because of small numbers, but Manurewa
central roughly reflects the national
Maori-European smoking divide.
Nationally, 32.7% of Maori aged 15 or
older smoke, compared with 13.9% of
Europeans. Pacific people are on 23.2%,
Asians 7.6% — and the whole population,
Slicing the 2013 smoking statistics up
by poverty reveals even greater differences.
The smoking rate in the most-deprived
areas is more than four times greater than
in the least-deprived.
By 2013, all major ethnic groups’
smoking rates had declined since the
preceding Census, in 2006, but the
percentage reduction was greater for
Europeans than for Maori, a trend
present since the 1980s when the national
adult smoking rate was 33% and the
Government made its first big efforts to
get New Zealanders to quit.
Researchers say history predisposes
Maori to having higher rates of smoking
than other ethnic groups in New Zealand,
and this is passed on from parents to
children like a contagious disease.
Professor of public health Tony Blakely,
of Otago University at Wellington, ties
this back to the European colonisation of
New Zealand and the use of tobacco to
buy Maori land.
“A hundred years ago Maori females had
very high smoking rates. For non-Maori
females it started much later, post-World
War Two. There has been a longstanding
history of high smoking among Maori,
which comes back to the way trading was
“ You’ve got a cultural norm and a
contagion ... of smoking transmission.”
Professor Blakely said the higher
smoking rate of Maori was in part
explained by lower socio-economic status
— S ES, a measure of income, educational
level and occupational class — but only to
a small extent.
Maori were “coming off a very different
history of a very high smoking rate which
means you’ve got further to go down”.
“Normally what we see around the world
is rich males take up the habit first and
drop it first, followed by low-income males
who take it up, drop it next, followed by
high-income females, then low-income.”
New Zealand is largely following the
same pattern, although Maori females are
“There are these waves in smoking going
up then going down, and the lower
socio-economic groups tend to take it up
last then take a long time to give it up. It’s
just out-of-phase epidemics.
“ Why? Because when smoking initially
comes into a society it ’s seen as glamorous
and hits the higher socio-economic
groups first. Then they realise it’s bad for
them and give it up first because they
have higher levels of education, better
knowledge and better income to get quit
treatments, although we (the State) do try
to subsidise them now. ”
In a 2003 paper, Professor Blakely and
colleagues reported that although smoking
rates had declined between 1981 and
1996, ethnic inequalities had widened
under the indoor smoking restrictions at
many workplaces, the controls on tobacco
advertising and other mainstream tobacco
control policies of the time.
“These mainstream inter ventions appear
to have been more effective for those
population groups who already had the
lowest rates of smoking,” they wrote.
“Thus the overall prevalence of smoking
may have been reduced at the expense of
growing inequalities in tobacco use and
tobacco-related health outcomes. ”
It was several years after the 1996
Census before policies were introduced to
specifically target Maori smoking (1998),
and to make reducing health inequalities a
major health goal (in 2000).
Doubts remain about whether New
Zealand can meet the Government ’s target
of being a largely smoke-free nation —
widely interpreted as a smoking prevalence
of less than 5% — by 2025. The latest
projections from Professor Blakely’s group,
published in the New Zealand Medical
Journal, predict a European rate of around
7% and Maori rate of 19%, although these
figures don’t take into account the two
10% tobacco excise tax rises scheduled for
next month and 2016.
In an Otago University blog post last
month, Professor Blakely and others said
that to make achieving the 2025 goal a
“reasonably high” probability , annual 10%
tax rises would be needed, plus one other
big new policy, such as:
Regulating the tobacco market and
gradually reducing the supply of tobacco.
Reducing the levels of nicotine — the
addictive component — in tobacco to very
A large reduction in the number of
Reducing the number of points of sale
could be particularly effective in poor
areas, research from Canterbury University
For his Master of Science thesis in 2011,
geography student Christopher Bowie
compared Christchurch neighbourhoods
on their densities of convenience stores
“Individuals living in low SES
neighbourhoods have greater access to
commercial sources of tobacco products
than those living in high SES areas,” he
Analysing Health Sponsorship Council
youth smoking research, Mr Bowie also
found that while all young smokers
overestimated adult smoking prevalence,
young smokers at schools in poorer areas
over-estimated it the most.
A total of 30% of them believed half
of adults were smokers, and 43% put the
proportion at three-quarters.
Auckland University tobacco control
expert Dr Marewa Glover said these
young people’s beliefs would have been
shaped by what they saw around them in
a similar way to how Maori smoking was
“ More Maori smoke, so more Maori
believe it is the norm, and therefore more
She said many people in lower socio-
economic groups were not touched by the
2004 indoor smoking ban at virtually all
workplaces including pubs, although they
were influenced by tobacco tax rises.
Dr Glover described a feasibility study
her group conducted in Northland that
engaged community volunteer “aunties” to
find pregnant Maori smokers and support
them to stop smoking.
The aunties found 67 women. Later
checks of medical records showed 24%
were not smoking at the time of birth.
A national check in 2010, published in
the journal of the College of Midwives,
indicated that 43% of pregnant Maori
women were smoking when they
registered with a midwife and that 21% of
them quit during pregnancy.
“The aunties,” Dr Glover said, “were able
to get into homes associated with gang
lifestyles. It ’s finding people who have
access, who know the community and are
acceptable to that community to go in and
deliver the support.”
Associate Health Minister Peseta
Sam Lotu-Iiga said the Government
was committed to reaching its goal of a
Smokefree New Zealand by 2025.
“ I am particularly keen to see the rates
of Maori and Pacific people smoking
decreasing to reduce the massive health
problems that smoking causes in our
communities,” he said.
In 2013-14 the Government budgeted
for $66.9m to be spent on tobacco control
activities, up from $57.4m in 2009/2010.
“ New Zealanders have done well over
the past few years but clearly there is still a
long way to go and much more to do,” Mr
Rivalry to win the $5000 prize was
so hot in Pou Collett ’s quit-smoking
competition that nearly half of the 11
teams ended up with all of their members
having stopped puffing.
“That ’s pretty good; it’s awesome,” Lloyd
Whiu, a Waikato co-ordinator for Wero,
the Whanau End smoking Regional
whanau Ora challenge, said.
Ten-member teams — mainly Maori,
but some Pasifika and Pakeha too —
compete to have the greatest number quit
for 24 hours at the end of the three-month
challenge. The Auckland University staff
who oversee the national competitions
have not decided the winner or winners in
the challenge entered by 29-year-old Mr
Collett ’s kapa haka group, Motai Tangata
Mr Collett, a te reo Maori teacher at
Te Awamutu Intermediate School, began
smoking when he was 13 and said he was
surrounded by family members and friends
who smoked. Before the competition
began he was smoking about 14 cigarettes
The Wero was his fifth attempt to quit.
It took him two weeks after the challenge
started before he managed to go 24 hours
without a smoke.
“ It wasn’t easy. I found myself getting a
bit edgy and craving like crazy. My wife
Renee smokes, so smoking is always there.
Quitting didn’t happen overnight; there
were a few slip-ups.”
“ I used the patches but they didn’t work
so I just had to use pure will. If anyone
had a slip-up we didn’t put them down,
we just encouraged them to think of the
bigger picture for the kapa haka nationals
Wero winners nominate a charity to
receive any winnings and Mr Collett ’s
group will put its share of the $5000
and smaller prizes they won towards the
kapa haka group’s trip to the nationals in
When the Herald spoke to Mr Collett
he had been smoke-free for 10 weeks and
was liking it, kind of.
“ Every now and then I don’t feel too
good — no, I don’t feel too bad. I can
taste food better and I’m eating a lot more
which is probably not a good sign.”
But his breathing has improved and he
is saving money. He said he wanted to stay
off the smokes for his health and his four
Wero programme manager Ingrid
Minett said more than 2000 people had
taken the challenge. Q uit rates checked a
month later varied but had been as high
“There’s two national challenges in 2015,
one in April and one in September. We
are looking at employers and businesses
who want to support their staff, and some
smaller regional challenges along with the
national ones.” — New Zealand Herald
Yesterday marked 10 years since smoking was banned in bars. MARTIN JOHNSTON, the New Zealand Herald’s
health reporter, looks at the socio-economic factors influencing tobacco use and plans for a smoke-free future.
War against smoking
A protein responsible for the
brain’s sweet tooth could point
the way to new drugs that prevent
Scientists have discovered an
enzyme that seems to drive sugar
cravings in the hypothalamus, a
brain region that regulates various
functions including food intake.
The enzyme, glucokinase, was
already known to be present in the
liver and pancreas.
In tests on rats, boosting the
protein’s activity in the brain caused
the animals to consume more
glucose in preference over their
Reducing glucokinase activity led
to the rats eating less glucose.
Glucose sugar is a component of
carbohydrates and the main energy
source for brain cells.
Lead scientist Dr James Gardiner,
from Imperial College London, said
our brains relied heavily on glucose
for energy. The evidence suggested
that glucokinase in the brain played
a key role in driving our desire for
“This is the first time anyone has
discovered a system in the brain
that responds to a specific nutrient,
rather than energy intake in
general,” Dr Gardiner said.
“It suggests that when you’re
thinking about diet, you have to
think about different nutrients, not
just count calories.”
A drug targeting glucokinase
or its biological pathway could
potentially prevent obesity, the
The discovery also has
implications for the way people
diet. “For some people, eating more
starchy foods at the start of a meal
might be a way to feel full more
quickly by targeting this system,
meaning they eat less overall.”
Enzyme could lead to drugs that stop obesity
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