Home' Greymouth Star : February 11th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, February 11, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1858 - St Bernadette of L ourdes, originally
Marie-Bernarde Soubirous, first has a vision of
the Virgin Mary at Lourdes.
1922 - The Forests Act passes into New
Zealand law, with the intention of establishing
the New Zealand Forest Service.
1938 - Sir Frederic Truby King, who founded
the New Zealand Plunket Society, dies aged 79.
1968 - Communist troops execute 300
civilians in South Vietnam and bury
them in a mass grave during fighting
for the city of Hue.
1971 - A treaty banning nuclear
weapons from the ocean floor is
signed by 63 nations.
1973 - A six-year campaign to save
Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau from
hydro-electric development concludes with the
Government appointing six guardians of the
1979 - Followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini seize power in Iran, nine days after
the religious leader returned to his home
country following 15 years of exile.
1994-A Nato-enforced ceasefire takes hold in
2004-South Korean and US researchers
announce that they have cloned a human
embryo as a source of sought-after embryonic
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Thomas A Edison, US inventor (1847-1931);
Keith Holyoake, New Zealand prime minister
(1904-1983); Leslie Nielsen,
Canadian actor (1926-2010);
Conrad Janis, US actor (1928-);
Gene Vincent, US musician (1935-
1971); Burt Reynolds, US actor
(1936-); Bill Lawry, Australian
cricketer (1937-); Bevan Congdon,
New Zealand cricketer (1938-);
Sergio Mendes, musician (1941-); Sheryl
Crow, US singer (1962-); Sarah Palin, US
politician (1964-); Jennifer Aniston, US actress
(1969-); Matthew Lawrence, US actor (1980-);
Kelly Rowland, US singer (1981-).
‘’I owe nothing to Women’s Lib’’. — Former
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
“ Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has
created these things.” — Isaiah 40:26
West Coasters are
inclined to take a
over the coal industry
and any setback is treated like a disaster, Mr
D D A McPherson, mines shipping officer in
Greymouth, claimed yesterday. Mr McPherson
retires at the end of the month after holding
the position on the Greymouth wharf for over
Mr McPherson said the criticism of the
administration of mines was not in the best
interests of the industry and more good could
be done by getting behind the trade and
making full use of coal. Speaking of the future,
he held that it would be a long time before the
country would be able to do without coal.
Mr McPherson took up his present position
back in 1942, after spending periods with the
Income Tax and Labour departments. He
has been chairman of the Port Conciliation
Committee since its inception here, and has
been closely associated with rugby league,
ser ving as president of the West Coast Rugby
League for a number of years, before retiring
two years ago.
A brother to Miss Stella Ladd, medical
welfare officer at Greymouth Hospital, has
been awarded the Brackley Memorial Trophy
by the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators. He
is captain Frederick Patrick Ladd, of Auckland,
who received the award for his flying of
amphibian aircraft on mercy missions.
Captain Ladd has become something of
a legend throughout New Zealand and the
Fiji Islands for his flying of small amphibian
aircraft, especially on mercy missions to
isolated spots cut off from medical ser vices,
says the guild.
uFood for thought
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ngela Merkel grew up
under Communist rule
in the old East Germany.
She speaks fluent
Russian. She has been the
chancellor of Germany
for the past 10 years. For all that time she
has been negotiating with the Russian
president, Vladimir Putin, on wide variety
of subjects — including, for the past year,
Ukraine. They may not like each other
much, but they certainly know each
So listen to what Angela Merkel said
about the debate in the United States
military, in the Congress, and even in
the White House about sending direct
American military aid to the Ukrainian
government. “I cannot imagine any
situation in which improved equipment
for the Ukrainian army leads to President
Putin being so impressed that he believes
he will lose militarily,” she said. “I have to
put it that bluntly.”
Does anybody think that Angela
Merkel is wrong about this? Does any
sane person think Putin would flee in
panic if he hears that the US is going
to send Ukraine “defensive weapons”
(anti-tank weapons, anti-artillery radar
and the like)? If not, then this is crazy
Nobody in the US is talking about
sending state-of-the-art tanks and
planes to Ukraine, and they are certainly
not offering to send American troops.
Secretary of State John Kerry is merely
talking about giving some sophisticated
“defensive weapons” to an army that does
not even use the weapons it has very well.
The Ukrainian army is poorly trained,
badly led, and controlled by a government
in Kiev that is as incompetent as it is
It sometimes wins when it is fighting
the equally ragtag troops of the two
breakaway ‘republics’ of Donetsk
and Lugansk. But if the Ukrainian
government troops and the assorted
volunteer battalions that fight alongside
them start to win, then the Russians send
in a few thousand well-trained soldiers
and push the Ukrainians back.
That is what happened last August,
and now it is happening again. Putting
more advanced ‘defensive weapons’ in
Ukrainian hands is not going to change
this pattern, and military professionals
in Washington know it. This proposal is
pure, strategy-free tokenism.
Of course, Putin’s stated concerns about
Western plots to draw Ukraine into
Nato are not very rational either. He is
exceptionally ill-informed if he thinks
that western European countries like
France and Germany would let Ukraine
join Nato, since that would mean they
were taking on a treaty obligation to fight
Russia on Ukraine’s behalf.
He is completely deluded if he takes his
own military’s hoary arguments about
Ukraine’s military importance seriously.
It is 2015, not 1945, and Russia has lots
of nuclear weapons. It simply does not
matter whether Nato’s tanks are far
from Russia’s border or close to it.
Wherever they are, nuclear deterrence
Putin cannot also really be worried
about the example that a democratic and
prosperous Ukraine might set for his
own people. Ukrainian incomes are far
lower than Russian ones (thanks mainly
to Russian oil and gas), and the west
shows no inclination to pour money into
Ukraine in quantities large enough to
change that. Although Ukraine is more
democratic than Russia, its government is
no less corrupt.
What drives Putin, therefore, is a grab-
bag of emotional motives. His man in
Kiev got overthrown, and he does not
like to lose face. Even if Ukraine has little
strategic or economic importance, it was
part of Russia for 300 years, and he hates
the idea that it might just slide into the
west on his watch. He shares the paranoia
about the evil intentions of the west that
every Russian inherits (for very good
None of this is worth a full-scale war
in Ukraine, let alone a serious military
confrontation with the west or a new
Cold War. Maybe if the United States
were prepared to go in boots and all,
showering Ukraine with weapons, money
and even US troops, Putin might back
away, although it would be a terrible risk
But some token ‘defensive weapons’,
basically to make Americans feel
better? That involves less risk of a huge
Russian over-reaction, admittedly,
but it would still be a big step towards
a new Cold War, and for no possible
That is why Angela Merkel and French
President Francois Hollande flew to
Moscow last Friday : to head Kerry off
by patching up some new ceasefire (or
reviving the old one) in eastern Ukraine.
They will be meeting with Putin and
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
in Minsk today in the hope that they can
make it happen.
At best, that would mean the effective
loss of Ukrainian sovereignty over two
more provinces (Crimea is already gone),
and a semi-permanent ‘frozen conflict ’ on
Ukraine’s eastern border. Not great, but
realistically Ukraine has no better options
We know that Putin is willing to
settle for such ‘frozen conflicts’ in order
to cripple disobedient former Soviet
republics, because he has already done
it with Moldova and Georgia. We know
that the victims of such tactics can
thrive despite Moscow ’s games. Georgia
certainly does, and Ukraine could do even
better with strong European Union and
There is no satisfactory military solution
for either side. Settle for a stalemate, and
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Truce or trouble?
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
PICTURE: Getty Images
German chancellor, Angela Merkel talks with Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
I read in your paper (February 3)
children who are not attending bilingual
classes at Grey Main School are put off
the buses and forced to walk part-way to
school. This walk requires them to cross
two or more streets, one of the busiest
streets in Greymouth.
There are two points I make here.
Firstly, the council has not mentioned
putting a pedestrian crossing in for these
children. Yet they are looking at spending
hundreds of thousand of dollars putting
an overbridge across the quay for a few
Surely I must have that wrong.
Second point. The bus company has a
contract to pick these children up at a
designated pick-up and deliver them to
their school. Not to kick them off the bus
halfway there. If one of those children
stepped out on to the road and was killed
by a passing tourist, I believe it would
make the bus driver responsible.
Put the seats back
On a hot summer day in Greymouth,
I stopped on my walking travels to buy
my lunch at the Tainui Street Discounter
shop; cheap $1 sausage rolls and pies.
There were other customers there, eating
ice-creams in their cars, and standing up,
as there is nowhere to sit — no tables or
chairs, inside or outside the shop. I had to
sit on the footpath eating my lunch.
The new owners obviously do not cater
for the comfort of their customers and
if people were to buy takeaways, there is
nowhere for them to sit and eat their food
I am a disgruntled customer. Where is
In response to the letter from Ulrike
Stephan, of Auckland (Greymouth Star,
February 2), I would like to say that his
letter was one of fantasy.
While we would love to see tame black
robins in our bush, they live precariously
in the Chatham Island.
Having the tweet, tweet of the rifleman
follow him seems equally unlikely,
although grey warbler and some kakariki
and also the visiting cuckoos may well
have been heard.
Falcons do not circle; rather, Australasian
harrier hawks do. Silvereyes were formerly
in high numbers but seldom now seen in
large flocks, just two or three.
Tomtits are rather individual birds that
follow you through the bush, not in the
flocks he speaks of.
Pigeons are often fat depending on the
time of the year, and tui and bellbirds
remain down in numbers in many areas
except our cities, where they are common
If he found this nirvana anywhere other
than beside his computer or lounge chair,
could Ulrike Stephan kindly also show us
the photographic proof of this rare happy
1080 kills some of all species, is a cruel
killer which does not discriminate, has no
antidote and is not wanted or needed.
I am very mindful in our current world
climate showing that terrorists will target
anything, anywhere, that New Zealand
DOC and other organisations cause this
tasteless, odourless and very difficult to
test for poison around in our wild places,
adjacent our homes, farms and small
towns. This is there for the picking. A
perfect terrorist weapon. I wish it out of
my air, out of my water and out of my
homeland, New Zealand.
It is good to see that the Grey Base
Hospital anaesthetic department is fully
staffed with people residing in Greymouth
(Greymouth Star, February 5).
When the South African locums used
to provide a ser vices it was in the days
when Grey Base was recognised for its
safety culture. The anaesthetists returned
regularly for six-week stints and were
supported by local anaesthetists. The
exorbitant registration costs started when
the registration process was changed after
the local ser vices were disrupted in 2007.
Others profited from these costs to Coast
health. Retaining staff is as important as
Many others have arrived and have left.
Frequently, I believe, this is because of
harassment with incident investigations.
Until the safety culture was disrupted,
harm from errors were rare. In a safety
culture, debriefing occurred immediately
on discovery and appropriate staff
informed and local corrective action was
taken within days.
The culture of writing incident forms
after harm has occurred and ‘private’
prolonged investigations has created
an unhealthy culture. Often the errors
are outside the scope of expertise of the
staff members involved. Without open
investigations and prompt education,
preventable errors repeat.
This is not good for morale and it
makes the staff member vulnerable to
bullying. Even the judiciary processes are
manipulated to allow the bullying culture
to continue. In one case the Health and
Disability Commissioner report made
it look like one junior doctor ’s actions
were solely responsible for the death, and
failed to mention most of the errors. In
the coronial inquest, preventable errors
were ignored as the expert providing
independent opinion did so without
reading the clinical notes or other experts’
reports. Independent may be but useless in
Coast health advice
The articles in the Greymouth Star
(February 4) about future health ser vices
in Westport and Reefton again raise a
matter which no one seems prepared
to speak out about as an issue of major
significance to the entire future of the
New Zealand public health system.
In both cases the Government have
stated there is no money available. Further,
they have instructed all DHBs to consider
PP (public/private partnerships) funding.
So why are not local MPs of parties not in
Government shouting from the rooftops
about the widespread failures of PPP
funding overseas which have led to huge
cost overruns, serious delays in project
timetables and frequent failures to provide
promised ser vices?
information is readily available on
the internet. MPs’ silence can only be
interpreted as their parties’ agreement with
PPP funding — unless, of course, they do
not understand its dire implications.
Adding to this concern is the usual
vagueness — if not downright secrecy —
with which local discussions are being
conducted. For example, concerning
Reefton we read of ‘different options’
being discussed, ‘ lots of ideas were being
canvassed’. ‘ There are a lot of balls up in
the air’ and that, ‘we are sitting back and
What ‘ideas’, ‘options’ and ‘balls up in
the air’? If it was not such a serious issue it
would be a joke.
I started campaigning about rural health
issues in 1991, right from the start I was
appalled at the deception, evasion and
broken promises perpetrated on rural
communities by politicians and their
bureaucratic lackeys. ‘Sitting back and
listening’ has been a fatal agenda for rural
communities throughout the country.
Tragically, trust in politicians and
bureaucrats has become a misguided
policy for New Zealand communities.
And the deception does not end with
rural ser vices as DHB discussions
everywhere continue to be the
very opposite of the ‘openness and
accountability’ promised by the politician
who set up DHB boards in the first place
— Annette King.
There is only one logical explanation for
all this — to privatise by stealth the New
Zealand public health system which was
once the envy of overseas countries.
What has happened to the Kiwi protest
voice when our so-called ‘leaders’ deceive
at every turn?
Democrats for Social Credit
Cattle Tb figures
In his letter (Greymouth Star, January
28), Ospri/Tb Free NZ South Island
relationship manager Danny Templeman
confirmed there were 65 Tb infected herds
as of September 2014.
In June 2012 the then Animal Health
Board (now Ospri) was claiming there
were just 60 Tb infected herds in New
Zealand, meanwhile the AHB website was
telling us there were actually 66 infected
herds. Mr Templeman also confirmed
there were 100 Tb infected herds by
December 2013. By November 2014 there
were supposedly 72 Tb infected herds —
just how many infected herds were there at
the end of 2014?
Yes, there are fluctuations in infected
herd numbers during the year. Why do Tb
Free spin doctors claim they are beating
Tb when they know Tb infection figures
can rise and fall exponentially within short
periods? They are playing on the public ’s
lack of real knowledge of the subject. It is
known as perception and reality.
The possum is a small bit player in the
overall bovine Tb scheme of things. Stock
movement is the major player. At 40%
compliance for farm to farm movements
the Nait scheme is still a crock; it was
supposed to help trace Tb infections. In
regard to Nait, Ospri’s Stu Hutchings was
quoted in the Rural News (February 3,
2015) as saying, ‘ We’ve been using it to a
huge extent with Tb breakdowns. There
have been some significant ones in dairy
herds recently which have been related to
Forty percent compliance? Enough said.
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