Home' Greymouth Star : January 12th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
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Greymouth volunteer firefighters
were called to a switchboard fire at
a Threadneedle Street address on
Saturday afternoon. Fire chief L ee
Swinburn said the fire had petered
out by the time the brigade got there,
but firemen completed thermal
imaging of the walls surrounding
the fire to check for any hotspots.
Meanwhile, in Westport firefighters
were called to a fire at the former
rugby league ground at Rainer Park.
Fire chief Pat O’Dea, who retires
today after 43 years in the job and
55 as a volunteer, said the fire was
a controlled burn-off of debris
left from trees being cut up in the
aftermath of Cyclone Ita, last April.
Blacks Point crash
An alleged drunk driver whose
car left State highway 6 at Blacks
Point, Reefton, late on Friday night
received minor injuries. Constable
Andrew Palmer, of Reefton police,
said the driver was “very lucky” to
be relatively unscathed as the car
was a total write-off. Th e driver was
nowhere to be seen when police
arrived about 11.30pm but he was
located a short while later at a
nearby property and was charged
A 59-year-old man was three
times the legal drink-driving limit
when police pulled him over in
Cobden yesterday afternoon. The
man failed to give way to a police
patrol in Ward Street at 3.30pm,
and when pulled over he blew
Fine spells with light winds
A couple who bought a micro-pig
were stunned when their pint-sized
family pet turned into a 303kg giant.
Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter from
Canada, adopted Esther thinking she
would only grow to around 32kg, a
respectable five stone. But they were
tricked and two-year-old Esther
has not stopped growing and is now
heavier than a fully-grown female
polar bear. The two-year-old sow,
which is toilet-trained, is now nearly
10 times its expected size. It eats £30
of vegan food each week, enjoying
a diet of rolled oats, barley and corn
as well as fresh fruit and vegetables
like over-ripe bananas and vegetable
peelings. — Daily Mail
Laura Mills and NZ Herald
At least four farmers have taken
their lives since Fonterra cut its milk
payout forecast for the coming season,
and West Coast farmers have been
urged to get help if things get bad.
On December 10, the country’s
biggest dairy producer dropped its
payout forecast for 2014-15 to an
eight-year low of $4.70 a kilogram of
Hokitika-based Westland Milk
Products is currently sitting a little
higher at $5 to $5.40.
According to Chief Coroner Judge
Neil MacL ean, 14 farmers have taken
their lives in the past six months.
Farmers on the West Coast are not
aware of any suicides in the sector,
and believe the Coast may be a
little better off to ride out the dairy
Federated Farmers mental health
spokeswoman Katie Milne, who
farms at Rotomanu, said Coast
farmers had received a higher advance
to date, but the big top up over winter
may not arrive.
Traditionally, Coast farmers had
carried less debt than other regions.
“Historically, the most profitable
places to farm are the West Coast
and Northland. They (farms) are
reasonably long established, with low
cost systems,” Miss Milne said.
She said Coast farmers had to
start thinking of winter feed now, as
less feed may be available to buy in
from Canterbury, which was nearing
“Start planning ahead now to make
sure you can feed the cows over winter.
Grow some more here now, or get in
some palm kernel, or work out what
stock numbers you can carry. Don’t
create a disaster for next spring.”
Federated Farmers took an advocacy
approach to mental health. It made
sure farmers were aware of the
resources available in the community
and asked farmers to keep an eye on
Generally, younger farmers and
other new entrants to the industry
often battled, not having the backing
that an established farm had available.
“If they reach the depths of
depression and can’t think straight,
financial pressure is one of the things
that puts them in that spot.”
Miss Milne recommended the
website depression.org.nz noting that
it had a section dedicated to farmers.
Aratika farmer Dianne Milne helps
run the Rural Support Trust on the
West Coast, and she also thought the
Coast was in a better position, partly
due to the better weather recently,
and also “there’s not so much debt in
West Coast District Health
Board programme director Michael
Frampton said they had no record of
farmer deaths in the past year.
“Our mental health teams continue
to work with the local farming sector
to ensure that people know how to
access help when they need it. We are
also continuing to work on initiatives
to help in early recognition of those
at risk,” Mr Frampton said.
In the North Island, Urenui farmer
John White, 58, who tried to take his
life in his early 50s, said he believed
the reduced payouts would be of
concern for many farmers.
“It ’s worse in recent times with
fluctuating payouts and no steady
income, as such. Financial pressure
is usually a trigger point,” Mr White
Where to get help
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787
254. West Coast callers will get Mrs
Milne in the Grey Valley, or Roger
Brookes in Buller.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508
828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO), also
Dairy farmer suicide watch as milk prices slump
Punters at the Kumara Races had
a clear run back to Greymouth on
Saturday evening, with not a police
checkpoint to be seen.
Checkpoints were set up at
Arahura and east of Kumara, but
although those figures were not
yet available, overall few drink-
drivers were picked up after the
races, West Coast police area
Asked why not all race punters
were subject to a breath testing
checkpoint this year, Mr Canning
said it was a case of “yes and no”.
Last year, police teams stopped
all traffic on the Kumara straight,
the road to Hokitika, and north of
the Taramakau Bridge.
Mr Canning said the approach
this year was for ordinary patrols to
monitor the road into Greymouth
for signs of drink-driving through
“ We move it around. Last year ...
we had one at Gladstone,” he said.
What police picked up on the
road reflected the generally good
behaviour at the races, he said.
That event was probably one of
the few BYO alcohol events left
in the country and race-goers
generally respected that privilege
“Most official licences, you can’t
bring your own in and in that
regard people did behave. To their
credit the crowd did pretty well.”
While the crowd at Kumara was
behaved, the same was not true of
Greymouth, where intoxication
checks on Friday and Saturday
nights picked up a 15-year-old boy,
a 16-year-old boy, and a 22-year-
old man, all of whom were found
drinking in the liquor ban area in
On Saturday night, a 19-year-old
man was arrested and charged with
trespass after he was removed from
the Paroa Hotel and repeatedly
tried to re-enter the premises. A
38-year-old man was also arrested
at the same hotel, for disorderly
behaviour. A man was arrested for
fighting in Hokitika, on Saturday
night, but released with a warning.
The sun smiled down on the annual
Kumara Gold Nuggets race meeting on
Saturday as a crowd of about 7500 filed
on course for a day of entertainment,
picnics and competitive racing.
Patrons pushed through $386,678,
down slightly on last year’s record
turnover of $401,259, while TAB
punters off-course invested $856,260,
compared with $838,151 a year ago.
There was a good police presence on
course and the big day out went off
without a hitch, with more glitz and
glamour than before as the majority of
patrons dressed up for the occasion.
Ruakaka trainers Kenny and Lisa Rae
claimed the main prize of the day, the
$25,000 Vernon and Vazey Truck Parts
Kumara Gold Nuggets, with an
all-the-way win on galloper Red Ripper,
while Whanganui trainer Kevin Myers
produced the classy Scapolo to take the
feature sprint, the $15,000 Primepanels
NZ Ltd Handicap 1150m.
“A fantastic day and on a par with last
year,” club president Patrick Meates
said. “ The crowd was good, the turnover
was good ... It all went smoothly and
everyone had a great day out.”
More photos, stories, results, p 8, 9, 12.
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Ruby Sinnott and daughter Ivy enjoy a day out at the Kumara Races, on Saturday.
Overgrown lawns greet holidaymakers
The grass verges outside the
Grey District Aquatic Centre were
quickly attended to today after
being left to overgrow, presenting
a field of yellow to visitors for the
The grass was still noticeably
unkempt earlier this morning.
Grey District Council chief
executive Paul Pretorius said the
person responsible for maintaining
the section had been on leave and
no other plans had been arranged
in the meantime.
Mr Pretorius said today he had
the job “attended to immediately”.
The grass was normally mowed on
a “very regular basis”.
“That is why it is so obvious now,”
Mr Pretorius said.
The floodwall was also blooming a
fine crop of dandelions.
Assets manager Mel Sutherland
said he had asked for the fenced off
area of the Westland Recreation
Centre site, behind the aquatic
centre, not to be mowed as it was
about to be dug up.
All contractors generally had
reduced staff numbers over the
Christmas and New Year period
but essential ser vices ran “365, 24/7”
with staff on-call.
He confirmed the council
was responsible for the centre
island along Tainui and High
streets, while property owners
were responsible for the berms
immediately in front of their
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
The overgrown grass area outside the Grey
District Aquatic Centre, on State highway 6.
Few checkpoints this year
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