Home' Greymouth Star : February 27th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, February 27, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1881 - Boers defeat British force at Majuba
Hill in South Africa.
1889 - Railroad is opened in Burma from
Rangoon to Mandalay.
1900 - British Labour Party is formed with
Ramsay MacDonald as secretary.
1922 - The US Supreme Court
unanimously upholds the 19th
Amendment to the Constitution
that guarantees the right of women
1933 - Reichstag, German
parliament building in Berlin, is
1942 - In the first phase of the Battle of Java
Sea, three Allied destroyers and a cruiser are
sunk by the Japanese.
1997 - Divorce becomes legal in Ireland.
1998 - With the approval of Queen
Elizabeth II, Britain’s House of Lords agrees to
end 1000 years of male preference by giving a
monarch’s first-born daughter the same claim
to the throne as any first-born son.
2002 - British comedian Spike Milligan dies,
at age 83.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, US poet
(1807-1882); John Steinbeck, US writer
(1902-1968); Ariel Sharon, former Israel Prime
Minister (1928-2014); Joanne Woodward, US
actress (1930-); Elizabeth Taylor, US
actress (1932-2011); Ralph Nader,
US consumer advocate (1934-);
Robert de Castella, Australian
marathon runner (1957-); Peter
Andre, Australian singer (1973-
); Chelsea Clinton, former US
president ’s daughter (1980-); Scott
Prince, Australian rugby league player (1980-);
Josh Groban, US singer (1981-).
“All that is human must be retrograde if it
does not advance.” — Edward Gibbon, English
“ Beloved, I do not consider that I have made
it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting
what lies behind and straining for ward to what
lies ahead. ” — (Philippians 3.13).
Wellington, has been
Secretary to the
Treasury by the State Ser vices Commission.
Born at Runanga and educated there and at
the Greymouth High School, Mr Davis has
been an assistant secretary to the Treasury since
“ I was driving back to Hokitika recently
and I stopped in at a friend’s place and
watched television. I was agreeably surprised
at the quality of reception and sound,” Mr
Duncan Hardie told last night ’s meeting of
the Greymouth Chamber of Commerce. Mr
Hardie thought that it should not be very
dificult to get a translator in Greymouth to
re-direct the programme here from Hokitika.
Mr D G Heasley, who is secretary of
the Greymouth Televiewers’ Investigating
Committee, gave an outline of the group’s work
here, stressing that investigations and tests
were being carried out on the Cobden Hill to
find the best receiving site.
As from Monday, the price of pies and pasties
in some Greymouth bakeries will increase 1d
to 9d and 7d respectively. The bakers concerned
said today they had no alternative. The price of
meat used in pies had been increased and the
national price of another important ingredient,
margarine, had gone up 21⁄2d a lb.
“ With our present prices we just cannot
compete with the rises,” said one baker.
The last privately-owned power supply
organisation in New Zealand will close on the
West Coast in the next few days. It is Westland
Power Ltd which will be absorbed into the
Westland Electric Power Board at Hokitika.
uFood for thought
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etflix is expected to
launch next week
bringing New Zealand
more directly into the
corporate world of global
The global scale of the company —
with a listed value of $28.78 billion and
available in 40 countries — creates a new
dynamic for New Zealand that until last
year was dominated by the near monopoly
of Sky TV.
Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt
says “size matters” when competing for
television programme rights against New
While Australian Q uickflix, Spark and
Sky TV are focused on local revenue for
subscription video on demand, Netflix sees
New Zealand as a small part of its jigsaw
for a global tv ser vice.
It is a challenge for local SVOD
ser vices — such as Spark’s Lightbox and
recently announced Sky TV’s Neon —
and internet tv is a long term threat for
companies like Sky TV.
Netflix competes for price, content and
distribution and it does not need to make
a local profit. Rather the company judges
performance on the global returns of its
streamed titles, and not the return on
investment for individual territories.
For consumers it could be good news but
for local entertainment companies it will
be a tough ask.
Netflix’s Neil Hunt said that Netflix
has deep pockets and is direct in
acknowledging that that gives it an
advantage negotiating with Hollywood
studios for tv rights.
On the face of it the local listed pay
television companies — such as listed
Spark and Sky TV — face a juggernaut.
Sky TV with Neon is also a big local
customer for studios, and will have some
leverage. The Netflix business model has
nobody on the ground in New Zealand or
Could it be that being local counts
for something in the new world of pay
Spark recently began giving away
Lightbox with its Xtra broadband
package effectively using it as a loss leader
It has increased its initial investment in
Lightbox from $20 million up to
$35 million which is relatively small for a
company the size of Spark.
Netflix puts pressure on the availability
and price of content saying that ultimately
it aims to have the same content available
around the world.
The system of individual territories for
rights is starting to break down in our
small corner of the tv world. Traditionally
New Zealand and Australian tv rights
have been negotiated separately, in part
because the separate market ensures more
revenue for studios.
Hunt says — and other New Zealand
broadcasting sources confirm — that
Hollywood studios are negotiating
subscription video on demand deals for
both countries and that appears to give
an advantage to those like Netflix and the
Australian firm operates in both.
Hunt meantime talks up the role of
Netflix in commissioning its own content
where it is guaranteed exclusive rights and
shows like House of Cards that have made
a big splash internationally.
So far this year Netflix has made 60
shows — it will be surprising if they all
have the impact of House of Cards.
The reality is that television programme
makers are not guaranteed mainstream
But Netflix also has a distribution
advantage over Quickflix, Lightbox and
It will hit the ground running in March.
It has already negotiated dealing with
smart television manufacturers and
installed its apps into many of the devices
such as tablets and cellphones.
According to Hunt many of the smart
televisions bought in New Zealand over
the past two years have a Netflix app
installed that can be easily activated
Meanwhile Sky and Spark are
introducing new apps slowly because of
the high development cost for a relatively
small market. Both companies have
shown that New Zealand broadband
is technically up to providing streamed
SVOD ser vices.
“ I don’t think broadband is an issue
here,” Netflix’s Hunt said.
“ We have dealt with much weaker
broadband in Brazil and Mexico with
1 megabyte per second, where in New
Zealand it is around 5mps.
“ Netflix has developed its streaming
“ We stream in parallel from several
different ser vers and do not just rely on
one ser ver being available. So if a ser ver
is blocked or jammed we start using the
One anomaly in the new local ser vice is
that Netflix will be competing with itself.
In the lead-up to its arrival New
Zealand consumers have been accessing
the Netflix United States ser vice — and
other television streaming sites — using
‘ backdoor’ or Virtual Private Network
(VPN) sites, allowing them to watch
superior libraries at prices kept low
because of the size of the market.
Watch: Netflix looks for Emmy wins but
already leads online
In theory this could continue after the
bona fide New Zealand ser vice starts but
Netflix is not in any rush to shut down its
“ What can I say?” Hunt says.
“ Where we know about a VPN we do
something about it but in general it is
not something we have a lot of ability to
deal with. New Zealand broadcasters such
as Sky, TVNZ and Media Works have
complained that VPN allows people
to see shows they bought NZ exclusive
It seems that studios have been in no
rush to police VPNs either.
Hunt said that the problem of VPNs has
been overstated and that when its bona-
fide ser vice is established many customers
will prefer not to go to the trouble of
backdoor subscription in the US.
Under the Netflix strategy the NZ
ser vice will get bigger and richer and
better, he said.
That is unless local ser vices can find
some way to stop the juggernaut from
taking over the corporate pay market that
only opened up six months ago with the
launch of Spark’s Lightbox.
— New Zealand Herald
Internet tv heats up
Ian McDonald was a West Coast
personality who was loyal to his community
and touched the lives of many through sport,
work, casual conversation or debate.
He was a butcher by trade and worked for
many years at the Mawhera Meat Company,
alternating between both shops in Tainui
He later discarded the blue and white
apron and set his sights on the hotel industry,
where he became well known as a publican,
firstly at Revington’s Hotel and in later years
the Royal Hotel.
Sport played a large part during his life,
from rugby league to basketball, cricket,
softball and golf. He was a regular member
of the West Coast basketball teams in his
playing years and was a respected coach,
referee and administrator of the game.
Ian played cricket for the United club and
represented West Coast as a left-hand swing
bowler. He was also competitive in softball
and a regular West Coast representative.
Ian was a long-time member of the
Greymouth Golf Club, held regular office
in administration and was a former club
president. He played the game to win at all
costs and was competitive around the greens,
having the distinction of holding most of the
tournament trophies in his cabinet.
“Ian was a left-handed golfer and had a
handicap in single figures,” Winston Beck
said. “ He was very familiar and a stickler
for the rules of golf, and he was a good and
authoratative organiser. Ian’s opinions were
1938 - 2015
A game-changing trial has shown
that rates of HIV infection can be
slashed by treating actively gay men
with an anti-viral drug when they are
The Proud study, conducted in
England, provides the first evidence
that prophylactic HIV treatment is
highly effective in a real-world setting.
It showed that pre-exposure to the
HIV drug Truvada can reduce the risk
of infection in men-who-have-sex-
with-men by as much as 86%.
Previous research had suggested
that prophylactic treatment might cut
HIV infection rates but it was unclear
whether such an approach would work
The new study of 545 participants
divided the men into two groups, one
of which was to be given Truvada
immediately and the other a year later.
Comparing the two made it possible
to assess the effectiveness of pre-
exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men at
high risk of HIV infection.
Of the 276 men treated straight away,
just three were infected with HIV over
the subsequent year.
During the same period, 19 of the
men from the “deferred group” became
Chief investigator Professor Sheena
McCormack said the results showed
PrEP was highly effective at preventing
HIV infection in the real world.
“These results show there is a need
for PrEP, and offer hope of reversing
the epidemic among men who have sex
with men in this country.”
Dr Michael Brady, medical director at
the HIV/Aids charity Terrence Higgins
Trust, said “PrEP is, quite simply, a
“ We know that most gay men use
condoms most of the time, and that this
has prevented tens of thousands of HIV
infections since the epidemic began
in the United Kingdom. However,
we also know that condomless sex
vastly increases the risk of HIV being
“This research shows just how
effective PrEP can be in preventing
transmission of the virus in groups at
greatest risk; offering another line of
defence alongside condoms and regular
testing. It is not a vaccine and it won’t
be for everyone, but once approved, we
expect it to significantly increase the
momentum in our fight against the
virus.” — New Zealand Herald
could cut HIV infection
risk by 86%
Coal prices in
I see coal has dropped to a record low
price (Greymouth Star, February 19).
I would like to know why a person like
me, who worked all my life at Strongman
Mine (42 years), has to pay $340 a tonne
for open-cast, when they can sell it for
$100-120 to overseas markets? Is this a
The coal is produced about 5km from my
door — if I had a long-handled shovel I
could get it myself.
Re the DOC pruning of rhododendrons
in Kumara. How does DOC have the time
for looking at rhododendrons flowering
when old man’s beard grows wild in their
own backyard, not to talk about gorse?
And telling people gorse is used as a
cover for natives, when gorse deposits
nitrogen in the soil and New Zealand
natives grow best in poor soils, but taking
on gorse for DOC is just too hard; and
planting more natives in the garden plant
more grasses and more hay fever will
Everything in moderation would be far
Franz Josef Glacier
The article (Greymouth Star, February
21) about Amy, Bruno and Scarlett — the
goats which sorted out Buller Hospital’s
‘ unkempt grounds’ — raises all sorts of
Since goats initiated action which DHB
bureaucrats had failed to do for a month,
why not extend the goats’ activities into
other areas of management?
IT? No problem. Instead of sending
unwanted paper mountains to all and
sundry, they could eat them — and
produce a useful by-product for the garden.
Planning? Goats do not need to take
years to plan something. Working on
the same basis that the hospital lawns
needed mowing so they got on with it
immediately, they could save millions of
dollars currently wasted on plans which are
created for no other reason than keeping
computer twiddlers in bogus work.
PR? Goats are known to be sociable
creatures (sometimes too much so...) but at
least you know where you are with a goat
— unlike the meaningless twaddle spewed
forth by so-called PR consultants and
But best of all, how about a goat for
Minister of Health? I will bet if you
explained to a goat that DHB loans could
be provided by the Reserve Bank for zilch
interest instead of sending taxpayers’ health
funds into the private finance sector Amy,
Bruno and Scarlett would not bleat about
the bush — they would be all for it.
Democrats for Social Credit
So much has been said about Catholics,
and other religions also; but what about
victims of incest? The victim suffers a lot.
Some say perpetrators are going through
hell. No, it is the victims.
The recent article about the new
hospital states that bed numbers will be
reduced. I wonder if, when considering
the bed numbers, the needs of the region
In another recent articles we were told
how the rural midwives had to travel long
distances,which is time consuming. In
the age of telecommunication, sometimes
follow-up can be done using a telephone
but at other times you need to physically
examine the patient. In a rural setting
sometimes it is cheaper and safer to keep
someone in the hospital longer.
There are times when a patient needs to
be transferred to Christchurch Hospital
for a procedure but too unstable to
wait at home. Keeping the patient in
Greymouth until the procedure can be
scheduled is a more efficient use of the
resources in Christchurch Hospital.
However, to do this safely the base
hospital has to be staffed with the correct
Hospital bed requirement can be
reduced by providing prompt access
to an appropriate level of expertise as an
outpatient. However, analysis of serious
incidents will show that there
is a problem in providing the
required level of expertise to hospitalised
Many incidents do not reach the media.
In one such case a patient who perforated
her bowel in hospital did not have a
medical assessment until eight hours
later. A junior doctor who saw the patient
queried a bowel perforation but the
diagnosis did not happen until two and a
half days later. When there are problems
diagnosing the obvious in a hospital, it
is not very convincing of the ability to
diagnose the subtle in the community.
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