Home' Greymouth Star : January 19th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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MONDAY, JANUARY 19, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Axemen, 200 ‘golfers’ in
Hokitika for big weekend
A 36-year-old Cobden woman
was arrested on Saturday after
walking out the door of Greymouth
New World without paying for a
box of beer under her arm, then
assaulted two people in the car
park and dented a parked car. The
incident happened about 12.30pm.
Police said the woman faced two
charges of assault and two of wilful
damage, as well as theft of the beer.
Camper van takes
A camper van driver who turned
off Mawhera Quay in to Smith
Street in the wrong lane, smashing
head-on with a ute coming down
the hill from the Cobden Bridge,
was ticketed for failing to keep left.
The occupants of the vehicles were
shaken but uninjured in the 2pm
incident, Greymouth police said.
An iPad, Nikon camera in a black
case, and a brown leather wallet
containing bankcards were stolen
in a burglary of an Arnold Valley
Road home, near Stillwater, some
time between 11.30am and 2pm on
Saturday. No one was seen or heard
at the time and police would like
to hear from anyone who can help
identify the thieves.
Showers clearing to fine
Rocks were thrown through the
windows of two Cobden houses
during the weekend, and police
suspect the same offender. A Ward
Street house, near the intersection
of Hall Street, was targeted just
before midnight on Saturday, and
yesterday a window in a Fitzgerald
Street house was smashed between
10pm and 10.15pm
MI5 are recruiting new spies with
the help of an on-line game which
lets members of the public try
their hand at being the next James
Bond. The game puts people to
the test as part of the spy agency ’s
recruitment drive to take on new
mobile sur veillance officers. The job
description is very particular, with
height restrictions meaning any
men taller than 6ft 1ins and women
over 5ft 8ins need not apply as they
may stand out from the crowd.
— The Daily Mail
of the Westport News
West Coast ratepayers forked out
$685,000 for their councils’ legal bills
in the year to June 30 — including
$185,000 spent by the Grey District
Council on the ground lease dispute
with Blaketown couple Doug and
Grey district ratepayers were again
hardest hit after their council spent
almost as much on lawyers as the other
three West Coast councils combined,
according to information obtained by
the Westport News under the L ocal
Government Official Information and
Grey ’s legal expenses came to
$330,000 — an average of $38.26 per
ratepayer. The legal costs represent
1.4% of the council’s operating
expenses. However, the cost was down
about $100,000 on the previous year.
More than half of Grey ’s legal bills
$185,000 — were for Simpson
Grierson’s advice on the Banks lease
dispute. The dispute cost the council
$337,000 the previous year.
Buddle Findlay pocketed $87,000
for work relating to design issues at the
Buller District Council had the
third-highest expenses of $114,693,
but the second-highest average cost
per ratepayer of $15.25. The spending
equated to 0.5% of Buller’s operating
expenses. Buller’s legal costs were down
$73,688 on the previous year.
The West Coast Regional Council
spent $183,299, at an average cost
per ratepayer of $8.17. However, the
regional council had the highest legal
costs as a percentage of operating
spending at 1.6%. Its legal costs fell
over $10,000 on the previous year.
Westland District Council spent
$57,000. That equated to $8.48 per
ratepayer and 0.3% of operating
spending. Its costs fell almost $27,000
on the previous year.
Buller’s biggest cost was $41,980 paid
to Gallaway Cook Allan for advice
over the flawed hockey turf at the Solid
Energy Centre, in Westport. The legal
firm has received more than $104,000
for its work in relation to the hockey
turf over the past three years.
The regional council refused to reveal
what its legal expenses were for, citing
legal professional privilege.
The Westland council’s highest
payments were $35,000 to Lane Neave
for advice on a subdivision, Jackson
Bay wharf, conservation management
strategy, deed of transfer of functions
of mining activity and a freedom
Westland’s legal costs included $7000
to Anderson Lloyd Caudwell regarding
the Haast-Hollyford toll road and
Official Information Act requests.
$522,000 in two years on lawyers for rental dispute
Runanga residents turned out on
Saturday for a roof party to celebrate the
first big step in the restoration of the
historic miners’ hall.
Runanga Miners’ Hall Trust chairman
Paul Thomas said the gathering marked
a milestone at the start of the repairs
and an opportunity to embrace the
It was a great turnout, with a wide
representation of the community, from
the elders to middle-aged and young,
Mr Thomas said.
He discussed the next stage of the
repairs with Mayor Tony Kokshoorn,
who suggested they should clean up the
peeling and faded facade first.
“It was a serendipitous moment,” Mr
Thomas said. “I said we could do with
that $5000 from him — then he opened
his wallet and pulled out a cheque for
$5000!” Mr Thomas said he was “blown
away ” and thankful for the personal
donation, which would go towards
repairing and painting the front of the
old coalminers’ hall.
Police act on ‘surfing’
Police have tracked down the
Dunedin owner of a van seen
travelling near Hokitika last
week with a young child ‘car-
surfing’ out the sunroof. Sergeant
Andy Lyes, of Hokitika police,
said the file would be forwarded
to Dunedin police to take the
investigation further. Someone
following behind the van on
the Lake Mahinapua exit road,
was appalled by the incident,
which they photographed and
handed to the police. Mr Lyes
said police would now endeavour
to find out what was going on
before deciding on any charges.
“At the very least the driver could
be fined for allowing a person to
ride in a dangerous position, but
depending on the outcome of the
investigation more serious charges
could be laid.”
PICTURE: Lisa Rangi
Runanga Miners’ Hall Trust members and supporters — Angela Stratford, front left, Sandra Gibbens, Bev Connors, Rose Green, and back left, Blair Buckman,
chairman Paul Thomas, Shane Dalton, Rick King, Dyan Hansen and Paul Kearns — toast the new roof at the celebration party on Saturday afternoon.
Runanga stands united
Greymouth police are now involved in
the investigation of a dog killing after
the animal was found dumped in a ditch
with its skull smashed in.
Senior sergeant Phil Barker, of the
Greymouth police, said the SPCA had
passed on the name of the suspected dog
“ We are working with the SPCA on
this matter and it is being treated very
seriously,” Mr Barker said today.
SPCA welfare officer Paula Kerr
confirmed that a complaint of animal
cruelty had been lodged with the police,
and another with the national body.
SPCA national manager Alan Wilson
said all incidents of animal cruelty were
“From what we understand it was
a very nasty incident and there are a
number of serious charges which can be
laid,” Mr Wilson said.
“ We will not know what they will be
until all avenues of the investigation
have been completed. ”
Anyone convicted of ill-treating an
animal could face up to a year in jail or a
fine of $50,000.
“If the charge is reckless treatment
of an animal the jail time increases to
three years and the fine to $75,000. If it
is deemed to be wilful ill treatment the
fine is $100,000 and-or five years jail,”
Police called in over dog killing
Claims that the high-profile
1080 poison pest
campaign ‘Battle for Our Birds’
wiped out a group of nationally
endangered birds are unfounded,
the Department of Conser vation
The $12 million campaign last
year dropped 825 tonnes of toxic
bait at sites including Kahurangi
National Park, from Buller to
Golden Bay, where DOC staff
were monitoring a population of
39 rare rock wren at a research site.
DOC staff have now reported
that 25 of this group of birds could
not be found.
Anti-1080 campaigners claimed
the use of 1080 had “exterminated ”
part of a rare population which the
high-profile campaign had been
designed to protect.
New Zealand First conser vation
yesterday reiterated a call for a
moratorium on the use of 1080.
But a DOC spokesman said the
fact the birds had not been sighted
did not mean they had been
“ We have found no dead rock
wren. There’s no evidence to
suggest that we’ve knocked them
out with 1080.”
Immediately after the poison
operation, 30 of the rock wren
population were sighted by the
staff monitoring the site.
A large snowfall then made the
site inaccessible for two weeks.
When staff were able to get back
to the area, just 14 were found.
Rock wren were typically
reclusive birds, and the DOC
spokesman said they were “very
flighty” and difficult to monitor.
“ We don’t know what ’s happened
whether the heavy snowfall
covered the nests or something
else. There is a whole host of
DOC said it would be difficult
to measure the health of the
population until next year because
the birds were no longer nesting
and had dispersed.
The total population of rock wren
was unknown, but it was listed
as ‘nationally endangered’, the
second-highest ranking behind
Rock wrens are small, reclusive
birds found in small pockets of the
South Island’s high country. Their
limited flying ability and nesting
on the ground makes them easy
targets for predators such as rats
and stoats. — NZ ME
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