Home' Greymouth Star : March 11th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, March 11, 2015
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1812 - King Friedrich Wilhelm III of
Prussia declares Jews citizens with equal rights.
1818 - Mary Shelley ’s novel Frankenstein is
1845 - Maori stage uprisings against British
rule in New Zealand.
1917 - British forces capture Baghdad during
World War One.
1926 - Irish statesman Eamon de Valera
resigns as head of Sinn Fein.
1942 - As Japanese forces continue to
advance in the Pacific during World War Two,
US General Douglas MacArthur leaves the
Philippines for Australia.
1943 - British Eighth Army repulses German
counter-attacks in Tunisia in World War Two.
1945 - The huge Krupps munitions
works in Germany is destroyed when
1000 Allied bombers take part in the
biggest daylight air raid in history.
1955 - Death of Sir Alexander
Fleming, Scottish bacteriologist and
Nobel prize winner who (with the
help of Australia’s Howard Florey)
discovered penicillin in 1928.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Torquato Tasso, Italian poet (1544-1595);
Louis Florence d’Epinay, French author
(1726-1783); Sir Malcolm Campbell, British
businessman and world speed record holder
on land and water (1885-1967); Lawrence
Welk, US band leader (1903-1992); Sir Harold
Wilson, British prime minister
(1916-1994); Astor Piazzolla,
Argentine musician (1921-1992);
Rupert Murdoch, Australian-born
media magnate (1931-); Geoff Hunt,
Australian squash champion (1947-);
Bobby McFerrin, US singer (1950-
); Douglas Adams, British writer
(1952-2001); Susan Richardson, US
actor (1952-); Nina Hagen, German singer
(1955-); Alex Kingston, British actress (1963-);
Wallace Langham, US actor (1965-); Simone
Buchanan, Australian actress (1968-); Johnny
Knoxville, US actor (1971-); Joel and Benji
Madden, from US band Good Charlotte
(1979-); Thora Birch, US actress (1982-).
“There are some people who leave
impressions not so lasting as the imprint
of an oar upon the water.” — Kate Chopin,
American writer (1851-1904).
“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm,
therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of
slavery. ” — (Galatians 5.1).
support for the
Greymouth as a
convention and conference town was expressed
by the Minister of Mines Mr Shand this
morning. After being shown the plans of the
proposed Civic Centre he suggested that the
project go ahead immediately. This came after
a deputation met the minister this morning to
discuss not only the proposed Civic Centre but
also the establishment of a ‘conference’ industry
Besides being enthusiastic about the centre
project, Mr Shand was also obviously happy
to see the people anxious to do something for
themselves. The minister emphasised that it
was important to sell the idea to the country
through national publicity that Greymouth was
to become a conference centre.
The biggest-ever reclamation project to be
launched on the West Coast is steadily inching
into the tidal swamps of the Erua Moana
Lagoon. Waters which at high tide have
covered the eyesore of slimy mud and rushes
have already found their way barred by four
acres of new land.
The long-term undertaking is expected to be
completed within the next 10 years, but from
it will emerge some 40 acres of new land, land
which will ultimately be sold as housing and
Liverpool miner, 62-year-old Mr William
J Williams suffered fractured ribs in an
accident in the mine early yesterday afternoon.
A resident of Bright Street, Cobden, Mr
Williams said on the way to hospital that he
had been tipping a box underground and it had
“come back on me”. He was taken by car to the
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Kit Carson mourned
I just wanted to acknowledge with
sadness the passing of Kit Carson, former
editor of this newspaper. Had it not been
for him I would not have started writing
so many letters to the editor, or continued
with it. Okay, some people might not see
For a while I had issues getting letters
published because my grammar, spelling
and punctuation was nothing short of
abysmal because I have a severe case of
dyslexia. Kit already knew that because
I was in the same class as one of his
Whereas a lot of editors might have
looked at my attempts as trash, Kit was
always very kind. I did have the odd
argument with him over some letters he
disagreed with and would not publish, but
I have to concede he was very fair and a
real likeable guy.
We had a joke one day in which my
letters were described as ‘abstract literacy
works of art’ rather than literary works of
art. I have nothing but praise for Kit and
my thoughts are with his family, friends
and staff of the Greymouth Star. May he
rest in peace.
With reference to the article in the
Greymouth Star of March 5, ‘Stadium
gets green light ’. It is so exciting that
the Grey District Council is building
us (Westland) a recreational centre . . .
however, we would have preferred to have
it built in Hokitika.
MPs’ pay rises
Graeme Axford (Greymouth Star,
March 6) is spot on with his obser vation
concerning MPs’ claim that they cannot
refuse pay rises — ‘It is a bit rich the poor
MPs’ claim that there is nothing they can
do about it when, in fact, they can pass a
law that will resolve that problem for them
and us as taxpayers’.
Reinforcing Mr Axford’s challenge to
Parliament is the current proposal by
the Queensland Premier Annastacia
Palaszczuk to introduce legislation that
will enable Queensland MPs to reject
a pay rise awarded last year under the
previous government. Not only that,
but she intends making that change
Are we to take it that New Zealand’s
MPs are incapable of doing what is being
proposed in Q ueensland? Or is it, as I
suspect most New Zealanders believe,
they are just too greedy to take a hint from
‘across the ditch’?
And where do the West Coast ’s two
parliamentary stooges stand on this issue?
Mike Bennett send-off
A very sad send-off for our very good
friend Mike Bennett (aka ‘Bonehead ’) or
to the hippies, ‘Micky Drinkup’. What
a remarkable man, probably the most
knowledgeable I knew.
I wish I had spent a lot more time with
him, but what with the heavy intake of
alcohol it would not have done either of
us any good anyway.
He gave me a signed copy of his book
The Venison Hunters, which I will
treasure always, and I met some of his old
shooting mates at his send-off, notably
Alan D uncan. RIP Micky.
Marae a treasure
I had the pleasure of attending an open
day at Kati Waewae’s gorgeous Arahura
Marae on Saturday, February 28, along
with about 200 other members of the
We were welcomed on to the grounds
in front of the marae with a powerful and
moving powhiri, followed by a morning
tea and a leisurely browse through the
inside of the marae. The huge number
of car vings and panels are stunning,
absolutely breathtaking in their size and
intricacies. Iwi members were available to
discuss the meanings and histories of the
car vings, which had been crafted by local
Kati Waewae will be holding additional
open day events on a monthly basis
over the next few months. I strongly
encourage a visit to this wonderful West
Coast treasure as a reminder of both the
historical and contemporary influence of
Maori in our region.
The Ngamatea School centenary,
Whangaehu Valley, Easter Sunday,
April 4, 2015 with an afternoon
gathering and evening barbecue.
Phone (06) 342 8827 or (06) 342 8561,
or e-mail email@example.com
Kremlin under cloud
ast month, when Boris
Nemtsov was shot dead as
he walked across a bridge
next to the Kremlin, it took
11 minutes before a police
car arrived at the scene,
according to the time stamp on closed
circuit television footage.
From the moment the 55-year-old
former deputy prime minister was
shot late on Friday night, February 27,
associates of the Kremlin critic have
been asking why the police took so long
to get there, and how, in such a heavily
monitored location, someone could fire six
shots at him and get away.
Nemtsov was the most high profile
opposition figure killed during President
Vladimir Putin’s 15-year rule. His
shooting prompted accusations from
Putin opponents, and western States, that
democratic freedoms in Russia were under
Russian authorities said this week they
had charged two men over the killing
of Nemtsov and said one of them was a
former senior policeman from the mainly
Muslim region of Chechnya who had
confessed to involvement in the crime.
The two were among five men, all ethnic
Chechens, frogmarched into a Moscow
courtroom, forced by masked security
officers gripping their bound arms to walk
But questions still remain.
Russian officials have denied any
involvement in Nemtsov ’s killing. Putin
called it a shameful tragedy, and demanded
a thorough investigation.
Accounts gathered from opposition
activists and Nemtsov ’s friends raise
questions about State security agencies’
actions in the minutes before and after the
attack on Nemtsov.
Those sources say they believe
Russian security agencies, which run
close sur veillance on many prominent
opposition figures, especially in the run-up
to a protest, were monitoring Nemtsov,
who was organising a rally due to take
place two days after his death.
That sur veillance, they said, included
the tapping of phone conversations and
security agents at times physically tailing
opposition figures. They said they knew
of the practice because in the past their
telephone conversations had been posted
on the internet.
In addition, people with experience
of trying to stage protests close to the
Kremlin said the area is under 24 hour
monitoring from closed circuit cameras
and a heavy concentration of police and
security ser vice agents, making it one of
the most tightly protected places in Russia.
It was not possible to independently
establish whether Nemtsov was under
sur veillance at the time of his killing, or
that the area was being monitored by State
security. It is possible sur veillance data has
been passed to investigators, but not made
Detailed questions about the
circumstances of the killing were sent to
the Investigative Committee, the State
body leading the investigation, and to
the Federal Security Ser vice (FSB), the
main state security agency. They did not
The issue of sur veillance may be crucial
to understanding who could have killed
Nemtsov, say his friends.
Given the level of security normally in
place, the killing could have been done
only by trained killers acting with the
possible involvement or acquiescence of
some part of the security ser vices, several
of Nemtsov’s associates say .
That would make less likely some of
the lines of inquiry that investigators and
officials have mentioned in recent State
media reports: that the killing was over
Nemtsov’s business dealings or personal
life, or committed by extremists acting on
their own initiative.
Some of Nemtsov’s friends said their
experience showed he must have been
under sur veillance.
Lev Ponomaryov, an opposition activist
and Nemtsov ally recalled how he had
arranged by phone to meet Michael
McFaul, the former United States
ambassador to Russia on March 29, 2012.
When McFaul reached the venue, a
television crew from Kremlin-controlled
television station NTV was waiting for
him, Ponomaryov said.
McFaul tweeted on that date:
“ Everywhere I go NTV is there. Wonder
who gives them my calendar? They
wouldn’t tell me. ”
Ilya Yashin, the co-chairman of
Nemtsov ’s party, said when he arrived at
a restaurant for a meeting with a foreign
diplomat, the manager came up to him
and warned him that State security agents
had been there two hours earlier to install
listening devices. This account was not
able to be independently verified, nor the
details of the meeting.
Nemtsov was subject to the same
treatment, Olga Shorina, his closest aide,
said. “ Three days before a march, they
always did that. They always monitored.”
Vladimir Ryzhkov, a veteran opposition
leader who worked with Nemtsov, said:
“ How else do they know about all our
Shorina added that a prosecution case
against dozens of opposition activists
including well-known opposition figure
Maria Baranova, over a May 6, 2012
protest, contained evidence about planning
for the rally that could only have come
from organisers being tailed.
Against this backdrop, some of
Nemtsov ’s associates say they are bemused
as to how he could be shot dead without
State security agencies being immediately
Individual sur veillance, layered on top of
the security permanently in place around
the Kremlin, would have made an attack
like the one on Nemtsov difficult to pull
off, say his friends. After he was shot,
police or another state security agency
should have appeared on the scene much
sooner, the friends said.
In 2013, one of Nemtsov ’s fellow
opposition activists, Sergei Sharov-
Dalaunay, tried, with one other person, to
stage an impromptu picket on Red Square,
a few hundred yards from the spot where
Nemtsov was killed. In contrast to the
11 minutes it took police to arrive on the
night Nemtsov was shot, Sharov-Dalaunay
said it took police only seconds to grab him
from the moment he unfurled a banner.
The short-lived protest with the
Ukrainian flag was not on the same
bridge where Nemtsov was shot, but on
another, parallel bridge. The two are about
600m apart. Both are within sight of the
Kremlin, and roughly equidistant from it.
A portrait of Russian politician Boris Nemtsov is placed at the site where he was
killed, with Kremlin’s Beklemishevskaya Tower seen in the background, at the Great
Moskvoretsky Bridge in central Moscow.
In October 2003, Jeb Bush unveiled one
of the largest economic projects in Florida
history: a $500 million plan to bring
Scripps Research Institute to the state
and build a biomedical hub he said would
generate nearly 50,000 jobs in 15 years.
As governor, he described it as a “seminal
moment,” comparable to Walt Disney
World’s arrival in Florida in 1971, which
brought billions of dollars in tourism,
spawned tens of thousands of jobs,
transformed the economy and created the
world’s most-visited vacation resort.
Today, as Bush leads possible Republican
candidates in the 2016 race for the United
States presidency, the missed projections
and mixed results of his signature economic
policy as governor — a biotechnology
gamble that has yet to pay off — illustrate
problems he could face in explaining his
own record while promoting a vision of
“real conservative success.”
By nearly all measures, the plan to
transform bedroom communities into
biotech corridors by attracting Scripps and
other research institutes has fallen short of
expectations, despite $1.3 billion in State,
city and county funding.
Making an early case for his presidential
ambitions, Bush has stressed that
government should not be in the business
of picking winning industries and that
market forces should do that job.
“I’m not here to take sides and I don’t
think the government should either,” he
said in a speech last week.
But his Florida record tells another story.
Bush passed a $310m incentive package
through the state legislature in 2003 to
entice California-based Scripps to open
a branch in Jupiter, a small coastal town
of 55,000 people in affluent Palm Beach
County, which invested another $203m.
The money funded the salaries of
scientists over 10 years and paid for a
32,500 square metre research facility on the
Florida Atlantic University campus and
other start-up costs.
It marked the start of a policy to diversify
Florida’s $800b economy by pumping
money into big non-profit research
institutes and betting that “clusters” of
biotech start-ups and pharmaceutical
companies would form around them on the
back of scientific discoveries, bringing in
venture capital and high-paying jobs to six
counties across the State.
Scripps was the first step.
It would create 6500 jobs in 15 years,
Bush said, with 2800 at Scripps alone
and 3700 at spin-off companies, while
increasing Florida’s gross domestic product
by $3.2b in that same period. Another
44,000 jobs would be created as other
biomedical groups built around the Scripps
location, leading to the creation of nearly
500 biotechnology companies.
Three years later, Bush set up an
“Innovation Incentive Fund” that would
use State money to propel the biotech
industry. It spent $456m to lure seven
more non-profit life-science institutes and
a biotech company, New York-based IRX
Therapeutics Inc, to Florida over the next
With cities and counties kicking in
matching funds, Florida spent a total
By the end of last year, the investments,
including the funding of Scripps, had
generated 1365 jobs, the data showed, just
under a quarter of the original projection
of 6000 direct and indirect jobs by 2019
and far from the more ambitious target of
Wages for the jobs are high, but so, too, is
the cost to Florida’s taxpayers at about $1m
Documents from Scripps Florida Funding
Corp, which oversees the State’s payments
to Scripps, show that direct and indirect
contribution to Florida’s economy from the
institute totalled $52.5m in 2013, far from
the originally projected $3.2b by 2019.
The State itself acknowledges that the
Innovation Incentive Fund, set up during
Bush’s second term as governor, “does not
break even” when calculating a return based
on economic benefits, including “tangible
gains or losses to state revenues,” according
to a 2014 report by Florida’s Office of
Economic and Demographic Research.
Florida and biotech industry officials
say the investment has reaped scientific
dividends and the nine-year-old Innovation
Incentive Fund still has time to succeed
with a goal to produce break-even
economic benefits within a 20-year period.
The institutes were “strategic one-time
investments that have yielded tremendous
results for the state,” Bush spokeswoman
Kristy Campbell said. “F lorida’s investment
in recruiting world-class research institutes
to the state has diversified the economy,
created high wage jobs and contributed to
significant scientific research advances,” she
Scripps, for instance, has made advances
in Florida toward a blood test to diagnose
Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms
appear, it says. Its Florida labs have also
discovered a compound that might protect
brain cells against Parkinson’s disease and
identified a pathway in the brain that
regulates vulnerability to nicotine addiction.
Bush’s 2003 projection of Scripps’
economic impact was produced by the
Florida-based Washington Economics
Group, whose president, Antonio
Villamil, was a senior commerce official
in the administration of Bush’s father,
President George H W Bush. Washington
Economics Group did not respond to
requests for comment.
Other recipients of the funds have
struggled to meet state targets.
Democrats have said the biomedical
money should have been spent on other
programmes such as education.
It is unclear whether the issue will
pose a political headache for Bush but
his economic record as governor will be
scrutinised should he finally declare his
candidacy for the presidency.
“People will ask why were some of these
massive incentives given when the results
are mixed,” Matthew Corrigan, author of
Conser vative Hurricane: How Jeb Bush
Remade Florida, said.
Some problems are beyond the State’s
control. The 2008 financial crisis hurt
the biotech industry nationwide. Sharp,
long-term federal budget cuts known
as “sequestration” caused the National
Institutes of Health, the world’s biggest
funder of scientific research, to reduce its
funding of grants for biomedical research
institutes since 2012.
But the State also appeared to misjudge
the scale of work needed to commercialize
research and the difficulty of luring venture
capital from bigger centres such as Boston,
San Diego and San Francisco that have
consolidated their dominance with a
critical mass of top universities, hospitals,
big biotech companies and hundreds of
“ When the governor went after these
institutes to come to Florida, we didn’t
realise the amount of infrastructure that
needed to be in place,” Kelly Smallridge,
president of Palm Beach County’s Business
Development Board, said.
“ You don’t just go and pluck two institutes
and put them in a county and expect the
industry overall to thrive and for companies
to flock here,” she said of Scripps and
the Max Planck Florida Institute for
Neuroscience, both in Palm Beach County.
Today, Florida remains a marginal player
when it comes to biotech’s lifeblood —
venture capital. The State remains far out
of the top 10 states that attract the most
venture funding. Since 2002, it has received
less than 0.7% of the venture investments
Of the six companies spun out of Scripps
in Florida, only two remain in the State and
one no longer operates. — Reuters
Bush’s big bet may haunt him
Links Archive March 10th 2015 March 12th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page