Home' Greymouth Star : March 2nd 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
Blooms and bargains
at Kaiata fair
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MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Fight victim suffers
A man received puncture wounds
to the back when a fight broke out
at a party in D unollie on Friday
night. Sergeant Dave Cross, of
Greymouth police, said they were
still investigating the incident. “ The
injuries to the man were not life
threatening and he was treated at
Grey Base Hospital.” Mr Cross said
they had yet to identify the weapon
used in the attack.
Hoarding goes up
on cyclone site
Earthworks under way on the
Boundary Street, Greymouth,
site of R and N Traders are to
accommodate a new billboard. A
billboard was previously attached
to the building, which was badly
damaged in the Easter cyclone
last year. After the building
was demolished by new owner
Development West Coast,
permission was sought to install a
new sign mounted on poles. Work
began on site late last week.
ser vices resume
Maternity ser vices for pregnant
women assessed as being low risk
recommenced in Westport today. A
2013 review of West Coast District
Health Board maternity ser vices
recommended that planned birthing
be stopped at the Kawatiri Birthing
Unit. The Haslett Partnership has
now been contracted to run the
unit, which reopened today. “ It has
been a lot of work to get the unit up
and running again in such a short
timeframe, but we’ve had great
enthusiasm from staff, other health
and community organisations and
the community,” Correen Haslett
Rain north of Grey, sunshine spreading
A man dubbed ‘the guru in bling’
allegedly convinced up to 400 men
to cut off their own testicles so it
would bring them closer to God.
Ouch. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh,
who has an estimated net worth
of $40 million and has 50 million
followers worldwide, is head of the
socio-spiritual organisation Dera
Sacha Sauda. He also stars in films.
The preacher allegedly convinced up
to 400 men to carry out castrations
on themselves because it would
bring them closer to God. The
procedures, which witnesses say
were conducted at a hospital owned
by Singh, took place around the
year 2000 but are coming to light
because those involved are speaking
out for the first time. — Metro
Coast police urge driver calm
The West Coast ’s top cop Inspector
John Canning says police are trying
to stop dangerous tourist driving, but
with limited success.
“Driving this summer has been
particularly bad and we have been
working hard to stop it, to very limited
effect,” Mr Canning said today.
His comments came after another
weekend of atrocious driving. On
Saturday, a foreign driver was clocked
driving 178kph on the Mahinapua
straight, and another was fined on the
spot for dangerous driving.
A tourist was punched in the face
in Greymouth on Friday morning, a
few hours before a car carrying four
Chinese tourists plunged 20m into
the Whataroa River, and a carload of
German tourists ran off the road near
“I don’t believe the situation is going
to get any better any time soon. There
are obviously many reasons for the
increase in driving incidents — there
are many more cars on the road this
season and there appears to be more
tourists driving around the West
Coast,” Mr Canning said.
More police cars were patrolling
West Coast roads in a bid to try to
intercept bad driving.
“It is a major problem and has
been happening here since at least
December. When I was travelling to
Whataroa, after two tourists died when
the vehicle they were in crashed off the
Wanganui Bridge on December 30,
I drove down south that day and the
driving then was some of the worst I
have ever seen,” he said.
He did not see a “short-term”
solution, but stressed the need for
motorists who witnessed bad driving
to contact the police and not to take
matters into their own hands, unless it
was “life threatening”.
Police are still seeking witnesses
to the assault of a tourist outside the
Australasian Hotel, in Greymouth,
on Friday morning, when another
motorist pulled the driver over,
punched him in the face and took his
Mr Canning said the incident
did not warrant the attack and the
assailant should have instead taken the
registration number of the vehicle and
phoned the police.
“In incidents like that, give us a call
straight away and we will deal with the
situation straight away.”
The speedster stopped on the
Mahinapua straight was expected to
appear in the Q ueenstown District
Court today. He had his licence
suspended for 28 days.
Meanwhile, an Asian visitor driving
a camper van with four occupants was
fined $750 and the keys were given to
a more “capable” driver.
The tourists whose vehicle ended up
in the water at Whataroa were able to
swim to safety and were not injured,
while the tourist who crashed at
Waiuta suffered a broken leg.
PICTURE: Ben Aulakh
Tayla Watkins, left, Molly Kells, Tayla McIntosh and Lititia McWatt look through the jewellery at the Gypsy Fair, held at the Omoto Racecourse on Saturday.
The fair has been travelling the country since 1990. The ‘gypsies’ were today packing up and heading to New Brighton, Christchurch. As well as food, lots of arts
and crafts are for sale when the annual travelling fair rolls into town.
The ultrafast broadband roll-out
in Greymouth is past the halfway
point, with 2100 households and
businesses able to connect — but
only 52 have opted in so far.
That puts Greymouth ahead of
the roll-out process in Auckland
and Wellington, but below the
national average for uptake.
Chorus media and PR manager
Nathan Beaumont said their
latest figures showed that the
UFB build was about 53%
completed in Greymouth at the
end of December.
“That means more than 2100
end users are able to connect
to the UFB network,” Mr
By comparison, the roll-out in
Auckland was 25% complete and
in Wellington 30%.
Uptake in Greymouth was only
2.5%, compared to the average
uptake nationally through the
Chorus network of 11%.
They did not have a breakdown
of how many of the 52
Greymouth connections were
households or businesses.
“ We would certainly like uptake
to be higher in Greymouth
but I think once the internet
ser vice providers start competing
more in the market that will
certainly raise awareness and
drive competition to sign up
customers,” Mr Beaumont said.
Once the UFB infrastructure is
completed in Greymouth, nearly
4000 households, businesses,
schools and health centres will
be able to connect to the UFB
In order to utilise the higher
speeds, residents have to contact
their internet provider.
committed $1.5 billion through
Crown Fibre Holdings and has
contracted four companies to
deliver UFB infrastructure to
reach 75% of the population over
Last week the New Zealand
Herald reported that the Chorus
roll-out of ultrafast broadband
and rural broadband initiatives
were on schedule.
The company had connected
December 31 and was on track
to reach its full-year target of
The UFB roll-out has been
completed in Ashburton,
Oamaru and Blenheim — three
of the 24 areas to go ultrafast.
New hospital tenders in
Tenders have closed for building the
new $67 million Greymouth Hospital,
but all details are being kept under
The redevelopment is expected to
give a shot in the arm to Greymouth’s
depressed economy, as well as creating a
The Ministry of Health was advertising
for a New Zealand or international
contractor for the project. Tenderers will
next be shortlisted and then asked to put
in a request for proposal to be conducted
in early to mid-2015.
The tender includes the integrated
family health centre to be built alongside
The Greymouth Star asked the
ministry what interest had been received,
and what the process was from now on.
However, media relations manager
Peter Abernethy said according to
the National Health Board, which
was overseeing the process, “we aren’t
in a position to say anything because
of commercial sensitivity around the
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
said the construction would be a “big
“On top of work the start of the ($11m
sports) stadium and the $2m polytechnic
block that ’s just started, there’s going to
be a lot of building in and around the
district,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
“It’s the kind of stuff we need to keep
moving for ward while we look for other
All going well, commissioning of the
new hospital will be under way by the
beginning of 2017, with the hospital to
open shortly after wards.
The first comprehensive sur vey
in 14 years of Hector’s dolphin
numbers is under way off the
West Coast, with the help of a
special ‘bubble window ’ plane.
Hector’s are among the smallest
dolphins in the world and are only
found in New Zealand waters.
The last sur vey conducted off
the West Coast in 2001 estimated
the population at 5300.
The current work is being
led by the Ministry
Primary Industries, which has
responsibility for fishing, using
an ‘aerial sur vey line transect ’
method, which involves the use of
a small plane flying at low altitude
(500 feet) with four scientists on
board obser ving and recording
The ministry said in a statement
the bubble windows enabled the
scientists to obser ve dolphins
directly below the plane.
Sur veying is under way, with
the winter component to begin
in July. The sur veys will take a few
weeks and cover from Farewell
Spit to Milford Sound.
Dolphin count begins
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