Home' Greymouth Star : January 6th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
West Coast/New Zealand
2 - Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Wild end to month
Lightning, thunder and fog marked
the end of 2014 in Greymouth.
Weather obser ver Phil Forrest
recorded 108.3mm of rain over 13
days last month, down on 135.5mm
in 2013. The heaviest fall was
16.7mm, on December 9. The rainfall
total for the year was 1610.6mm,
down on 1902.1mm in 2013. There
were 164.8 hours of sunshine,
down on 177.7 hours the previous
December. The sunshine total for the
year was 1645.5 hours (1754 hours).
The highest December temperature
was 23degC on December 30, and
the coolest 6.5deC, on December 2.
There was one day of lightning, one
of thunder, six days when dew was
recorded and five fogs.
Dry year for Greymouth
Greymouth had its driest year
since 1993, local weather obser ver
Phil Forrest said today. According to
Metser vice figures, the town ended
2014 with 1617.8mm of rain for the
year. There was also 1648.6 hours of
sunshine. In 2013, Greymouth had
1889.2mm of rain, and 1743.8 hours
of sunshine. Rainfall figures for
other towns: Hokitika (2763.3mm),
Haast (3083.3mm) and Westport
(2019.8mm). Sunshine totalled
1087.1 hours in Hokitika.
Cool start to December
A cold start to December in
Reefton gave way to warm, humid
conditions. Colder temperatures
were prevalent during the first week
of the month, weather obser ver
Tony Fortune said. With the
change of wind to the northerly
direction the temperatures warmed
up considerably, with an increase in
humid conditions which lasted for
the rest of the month. The highest
temperature reached was 30degC
on December 16. Heavy rain on
New Year’s Eve caused a rapid rise
in the rivers. There was 144.5mm
of rain for the month (December
average 207.1mm). Rain fell on just
16 days (18 in December 2013). The
coolest temperature was -1degC on
December 2 (4degC in December
2013). The average maximum was a
pleasant 23.4degC (22.5degC).
Body in van
A man has been found dead in a
van on Auckland’s North Shore but
police say the death is not being
treated as suspicious. Police north
communications Inspector Willie
Taylor said they were called to the
scene on Kawana Road in Northcote
just after 9am. The van was parked
outside the address where the man
worked and Mr Taylor said it looked
likely a medical event had led to his
death. He said it appeared the man
had been in the van overnight as
those who found him described him
as “cold to the touch”. Mr Taylor said
a post-mortem examination would
be done to determine the cause of
death. — NZME
Port of Greymouth. — Arrivals:
One Greymouth vessel. Departures:
Moon Shadow II, one Greymouth
vessel. In port: 19 vessels. Expected
departures: Nil. Expected arrivals:
Ocean Odyssey, tomorrow; Jay
Elaine, Thursday; Cook Canyon,
Galatea II, Friday.
Local body leaders’
Footprints believed to be those of a
missing tramper have been found leading
into the Wilkin River, near Makarora,
north of Wanaka.
Two teams of four search and rescue
volunteers from Wanaka went into the
upper reaches of the Wilkin River area of
Mount Aspiring National Park yesterday
morning to look for the man, missing
since 6.30pm on Sunday.
An intensive search yesterday failed to
find him. It was halted at 8pm yesterday
and would resume this morning.
Search spokesman Phil Melchior said
the man was a New Zealander in his
early 40s and a visitor to the area.
He had been camping on a river flat
called “Jumboland’’ with his partner, his
partner’s brother and his partner’s father.
They were returning to their campsite
from a day trip to Lake Lucidus.
While the others followed the track
above the steep gorge between two flats,
the man took a “shortcut ” through the
“ We are confident we have had a
comprehensive look and we are confident
we are looking in the right place,” Mr
Wanaka police search and rescue co-
ordinator sergeant Aaron Nicholson
said the “terrain in this area is extremely
difficult and we have obvious concerns
for his safety”. — Otago Daily Times
of the Westport News
Former West Coast Regional Council
chairman Ross Scarlett racked up $9221
expenses in just over three months prior to
being ousted in the October 2013 election.
He spent over three times as much a
month as did his successor Andrew Robb.
Ratepayers forked out $4731 for mileage
for Mr Scarlett who lives at Karamea, 200km
from the regional council’s Greymouth head
Mr Scarlett also spent $2269 on air
travel and accommodation, and $1291 for
a conference, according to figures obtained
under the Local Government Official
Information and Meetings Act.
Meals ($713) and taxis ($216) made up
Mr Scarlett ’s spending equated to over
$2600 a month, compared to about $1000
a month for his expenses in 2012-13. He
could not be contacted for comment.
His remuneration for the three and a half
months before he lost his council seat came
Mr Scarlett relinquished his council credit
card in 2011 after Audit New Zealand
criticised the regional council for failing
to properly authorise or check credit card
spending. He has usually been the top
spending Coast council leader.
Mr Robb spent $6908 in eight months,
including $5612 for air travel and
accommodation, $616 for mileage, $461
for rental cars, $156 for meals and $61 for
His spending equated to $863 a month.
Buller’s Garry Howard was the highest-
spending Coast mayor. He cost ratepayers
$8159 in the eight months to June 30, 2014
including $2639 for conference fees, $2479
for travel and $2184 for subscriptions.
Accommodation ($610) and meals ($247)
made up the rest.
His spending equated to just over $1000
Mr Howard said it had been good value
for money for ratepayers.
For example, ratepayers would have been
hard hit if proposed cuts to Buller’s roading
subsidies had gone ahead.
Attending meetings in person, rather than
writing letters, had paid off, he said.
“ Being able to speak directly to those
people who were making the changes, in
the Ministry of Transport and the National
Roads Board, did make a difference. ”
As a result, Buller’s subsidy would rise
from 58% to 63%. The Karamea highway
would keep its special purpose status, with
100% funding, at least for the next three
Mr Howard said he had also made strong
representations to the Government on
broadband ser vices and cellphone black
“That is ongoing and we haven’t seen the
results but the Government have got $100m
additional for broadband and $50m for
mobile phone black spots.”
The West Coast aimed to cash in next year
when funding applications opened.
Mr Howard said he had also helped set
up an insurance collective which Coast
councils would join, to reduce their risk and
It had happened because he had attended
provincial local government meetings. He
was the only Coast mayor there.
He had also brought back information
from meetings on psychoactive substances
and the Local Alcohol Policy.
“It’s certainly given us a position on how
we should proceed with those two issues,”
He provided reports for all councillors
from every meeting he attended, he said.
He had also travelled throughout the
district to various meetings. “ I will go to
wherever the community require me to, to
remuneration for the eight months.
His predecessor, Pat McManus, c laimed
nothing in expenses. He received $22,643
remuneration for the part year, before he
stood down at the 2013 election.
Grey district Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
claimed only $1448 in expenses for the
full year — for air fares to Wellington. He
received $72,199 remuneration.
Former Westland Mayor Maureen
Pugh spent $1892 and received $18,403
remuneration for the part-year. Her
successor Mike Havill spent $5982 and
received $49,209 remuneration.
Tuesday January 6
Urgent Cases Only
Phone 768 5942 first
(Bev). — The families
of Bev would like to
thank all those who
cared for her during her
illness. An extra special
thank you for the medi-
cal staff and carers who
helped Beverley over
the years. Thank you to
the priests, nuns and
friends who prayed and
gave their support to
Bev and her families.
Thank you to those who
visited for the baking
and flowers given to the
Passed away January 4,
Noel, sorry I can't be
there to see you off on
your last ride, but “ride
well, ride hard, ride
GILL, Barbara. — On
Sunday January 4, 2015,
peacefully at Wairau
Aged 85 years. Loved
wife of the late Keith.
Much loved mother and
mother-in-law of Denise
and Max Capill, Murray
church), Grant and
(Australia). A loved
grandmother and great-
grandmother to all her
Messages to 10 Percy
Street, Blenheim 7201.
In lieu of flowers a
donation to the Cancer
Society, PO Box 233,
Blenheim 7240 would
be appreciated or may
be made at the service.
Heartfelt thanks go
to all the staff who
cared for our Mum
A funeral service for
Barbara will be held at
St Ninian's Presbyterian
Church, Alabama Road,
Blenheim on Thursday
January 8 at 1.30pm
followed by private
cremation. Cloudy Bay
www.cloudybayfunerals.co .nz .
Phone (03) 578 2004.
George (Bill). — Passed
away peacefully in his
January 3, 2015, at
Christchurch, in his 80th
husband of the late
Hariata, dearly loved
father and father-in-law
of Dianna and Paul,
Fran and Gary, Wayne
and Mary, Whatu,
Phillip and Julie, and
Paea and Shane, dearly
loved grandfather and
special friend of Terry,
Nigel, and Phil (Bro).
Bill will be sadly
missed, Messages to 146
Bright Street, Cobden,
Greymouth 7802. A
celebration of Bill's
life will be held in the
Holy Trinity Anglican
Church, Tainui Street,
(Wednesday) at 2pm,
followed by interment at
the Gladstone Memorial
Park Cemetery. Resting
in the care of Anisy
Funeral Home, Grey-
United States musician Brian Ernst
will play on the West Coast next week
— and he also has his charity, not just
his music, in mind.
Ernst has independently released
three studio albums and one double
live album, which are available at his
shows as well as iTunes.
He will perform 30 shows in New
Through his music, he is also
involved with a non-government
organisation called Journey4YOUth.
“ Basically, we donate the first
10% of our gross income to various
funds. Some of these programmes
include widow and orphan care,
empowerment trainings and micro
loans for women and education
sponsorships for underprivileged
youth. Handcrafts are available at the
shows that support these initiatives,”
While they currently work in Kenya
their hope is to work in many villages
all over the world one day. Ernst and
wife Katie will also be donating 5% of
their tour proceeds to New Zealand
Ernst said he had done many things
in his life.
“I’ve been a suit-wearing business
man to a blue collar warehouse worker
and everything in between. Playing
music has been the one thing in my
life that gives me a creative medium
to express myself artistically for the
benefit of other people. ”
He describes his music as “acoustic,
Ernst will perform at the Cook
Saddle Cafe at Fox Glacier on January
14, the Blue Ice Cafe at Franz Josef
Glacier on January 16, and Barrytown
Hall on January 17.
Charity in musician’s mind
Firefighters contained a large
plantation fire north of Christchurch
which at its peak saw the evacuation
of 40 nearby homes.
The blaze, which was believed to be
moving south, began in a plantation
forest area 300m north of the car
park at Pines Beach, 4km east of
Kaiapoi, just before 2pm yesterday,
A helicopter equipped with a
monsoon bucket and 21 fire engines
helped to fight the fire.
Police said all residents of houses
that had earlier been evacuated were
allowed to return to their homes at
A cordon remained in place, which
encompassed the plantation and
surrounding bush area.
Police said they were working with
fire investigators to dampen down
any remaining hot spots.
They would also be undertaking
a full scene examination in order to
determine the cause of the fire.
Police asked the public to avoid the
cordoned area around the plantation
while scene investigations were
Emergency ser vices thanked the
public and Pines Beach residents for
their patience and co-operation while
the cordons were in place.
Southern fire communications
shift manager Riwai Grace said 14
fire trucks remained at the scene.
Emergency ser vices had feared the
worst at the fire’s peak, as strong
winds made the blaze difficult to
“Thankfully there was a wind shift
it definitely helped the crews get
the fire under control. It could have
been a lot worse than what it was.”
Mr Grace said the cause of the fire
was still unclear.
“At this stage it is too early to tell
what may have caused the fire, they
are looking at all sorts of different
Meanwhile, a house fire on Batten
Grove at Pines Beach was also
extinguished. Fire investigators were
now trying to figure out if the two
incidents were related, Mr Grace
“ Fire investigators are looking
at that house fire and trying to
determine if it was caused by the
fire in the forest or if it is a separate
Emergency ser vices said the prompt
reporting of the fire minimised
the impact on the Pines Beach
community and resulted in no
residential properties being damaged
They said the summer weather had
caused land in the Canterbury region
to be very dry, and urged the public to
report any suspicious activity or signs
of smoke in remote areas as soon as
possible. — NZ ME
Plantation blaze near Kaiapoi contained
A woolshed near
destroyed as firefighters
battled a pine plantation
blaze in a seasonal
hot spot for an hour
soared above 30degC in
Fire Brigade chief
Peter Sinclair said he
understood the woolshed
blaze on a property in the
now mainly dairying area
of Top Grass Road, just
outside Dannevirke, was
reported at 1.07pm.
But the structure was
“completely gone” by the
time two crews arrived
soon after wards, he said.
The firefighters spent
more than an hour at the
scene ensuring the fire
Rural firefighters from
Matapiro were joined
by two Fire Ser vice
crews and four urban
fire authority tankers to
fight the plantation fire
further north, after it was
reported on a property
at Matapiro Road,
Crownthorpe, just before
The fire in the 250
square metre pine
plantation started in
a tree-filled gully and
spread to grass in a
principal fire officer,
Gordon Foster, said
getting it under control
had taken time.
“ It was lucky the
Matapiro guys got there
as quickly as they could,
because everyone else had
to come from town,” he
The cause of the
blaze was unclear and
would be subject to an
But Mr Foster said a
fire ban enforced by the
council since last month
had helped reduce the
number of rural fire call-
“Since we put the fire
restrictions on in late
December we haven’t had
a great amount of (scrub
Temperatures in Wairoa
and Waipukurau soared
beyond 31degC yesterday
and it was estimated to
be at least that hot in
the Matapiro area, with
the peak in Napier and
Hastings about 28degC.
Hot weather is expected
to continue this week,
are not expected to
reach the 2012 January
highs, which included a
January 10 temperature
of 35.2degC in Wairoa.
— NZ ME-Hawke’s Bay
An invasion of Argentine ants continues to
drive Patea residents to despair.
Four Square owner Yogita Patel said large
numbers of ants still remained in the town and
“They get in the pantry, the wardrobe, just
everywhere. That ’s the most annoying thing.”
She said while her house was inundated the
store was not.
It had to close for a short period while it was
sprayed for the pests and is now ant-free.
She said residents had written to the South
Taranaki District Council to try to get
something done on a town-wide scale.
Earlier in the week, Patea Community Board
member Ruth MacKay told the Chronicle the
ants are in the town in their millions.
“ It doesn’t matter how many times you spray
they just keep multiplying and coming back.
And we’re not talking hundreds, we’re talking
Mrs MacKay said there were many elderly
people in Patea who simply could not cope with
“They’re everywhere. Any food you have, you
absolutely have to keep it in the fridge. It’s out
of control and everyone is so sick of these ants.”
South Taranaki District Council acting
chief executive John McKenzie has said the
Argentine ants are listed in the Taranaki
Regional Council Pest Management Strategy
as a pest, and the council will be working with
the Patea Community Board to advocate for
greater attention by the regional council on this
“ Hopefully, that attention can reduce the ant
population and nuisance that it creates,” he said.
says the World
Conser vation Union lists the Argentine ant
as one of the worlds worst invasive species.
The Argentine ant originally established in
Auckland in 1990, and is now a problem in
an increasing number of towns and cities
throughout New Zealand.
The ant is native to northern Argentina,
Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil.
— NZ ME-Wanganui Chronicle
Town rallies to
crush ant invasion
A driver and his passenger who carried
10 children in a trailer on State highway
3 have been charged with reckless
Last Tuesday another motorist was
passed by the vehicle towing a trailer a
few kilometres north of Bulls. The trailer
was covered by a tarpaulin which flapped
open to reveal several children.
The motorist called *555 and the vehicle
was later tracked down by Marton police
as it headed towards the town.
Constable Paul Grayson said 10
children between the age of four and 16
were found in the trailer. The person in
the passenger seat was the mother of the
children while the driver was another
The pair will appear jointly charged in
the Marton District Court on January
16. — NZ ME-Wanganui Chronicle
The former Marist Brothers house — more recently the YHA backpackers — looks vulnerable in the background as contractors this
morning demolished the landmark St Mary’s School building, across the road at John Paul II High School. The two-storey building
was quickly reduced to bricks and mortar to make way for a redevelopment of the school site. Construction of the new classrooms
will begin shortly.
Landmark school building demolished
PICTURE: Paul McBride
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