Home' Greymouth Star : March 12th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, March 12, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
641 AD - Chinese Princess Wen Cheng
goes to Tibet to marry the Tibetan ruler and
the marriage becomes the basis for
China’s claim to sovereignty over
1868 - In Sydney, James O’Farrell
attempts to shoot visiting Duke of
Edinburgh, Prince Alfred, in the
1894 - Coca-Cola is sold in bottles
for the first time.
1907 - At Toulon, France, the battleship Iena
explodes, killing at least 118 men.
1913 - Canberra becomes the capital of
Australia when the foundation stone of the
Federal Parliament building is laid.
1945 - Anne Frank, the Dutch Jewish
teenager who kept a diary of her wartime
experiences, dies in the Bergen-Belsen
concentration camp in Germany, aged 15.
1966 - General Suharto takes over power
from President Sukarno in Indonesia.
1969 - Beatle Paul McCartney marries Linda
Eastman in London.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Kemal Ataturk, first president of Turkey
(1881-1938); Vaslav Nijinsky,
Russian dancer (1890-1950); Jack
Kerouac, US writer (1922-1969);
Edward Albee, US playwright
(1928-); Liza Minnelli, US singer-
actress (1946-); Mitt Romney, 2012
US presidential candidate (1947-);
James Taylor, US singer (1948-);
Marlon Jackson, US singer (1957-); Aaron
Eckhart, American actor (1968-); Steve Price,
Australia rugby league player (1974-); Pete
Doherty, UK musician (1979-).
“If power corrupts, being out of power
corrupts absolutely.” — Douglass Cater,
American author and educator.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is
born for adversity.” — (Proverbs 17:17).
Echoes of the 1951
strike were heard in
the Marist Rugby
yesterday afternoon when the loss of the
freezing industry as a coal customer was
highlighted by the Minister of Mines Mr
Shand. He was answering a question at the
annual meeting in Greymouth yesterday of the
South Island Coal Merchants’ Federation, the
most representative gathering of coal interests
ever held in the South Island.
He said the failure to supply coal to the
freezing industry during this stoppage had
caused an enormous loss to the coal industry.
He said something should have been done
about meeting the freezing industry’s demands
then and shortly after — now they had gone
over to oil.
“If we ever have a serious stoppage again, if
we ever fail to supply again, we will lose more
big customers,” Mr Shand said.
Rather groggily, but still gamely, nine-
year-old Michael Costelloe wandered into a
Richmond Street home yesterday afternoon.
He came soon after another youngster had
rushed in with the news that a boy had fallen
from the Richmond Street bridge and “cut his
Today Michael is resting his wounds in
the Greymouth Hospital but he showed
indomitable spirit when he staggered up from
the bridge and walked to the house. He had
more than a cut head. Both his forearms were
broken in the fall.
He was taken to hospital by Mr G W Kinsey
to whose house he had walked for help. His
condition today is described by the hospital as
He is the son of Mr and Mrs M G Costelloe,
of Barkley Place, Cobden.
uFood for thought
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The Prime Minister does not know
what ‘mass collection’ means. This is
surprising — given that the Prime
Minister has spoken English all his life.
Since the phrase has been used repeatedly
with reference to the Government
Communications Security Bureau’s
(GCSB) acknowledged interception of
individual and diplomatic metadata on
an industrial scale, the Prime Minister ’s
professed ignorance is rather hard to
What makes the Prime Minister’s
unawareness even more puzzling is that he
was the Minister in charge of the GCSB
in 2009, when its facilities were, at the
behest of and with considerable assistance
from the United States Government,
being up-graded to ‘full-take’ capability. It
is inconceivable that the Prime Minister
was not fully briefed on these expanded
intelligence-gathering powers by the then-
head of the GCSB, Sir Bruce Ferguson.
It is, accordingly, very difficult to believe
that the Prime Minister does not know
what ‘mass collection’ entails. So, why
claim ignorance? Perhaps it is because
‘mass collection’ sounds a little too much
like “mass sur veillance” — an activity
which, if proven to have taken place,
would require our Prime Minister, by his
own solemn undertaking, to resign his
Certainly, the prospect of having to
relinquish his office is a powerful motive
for the Prime Minister to create as
much confusion as possible around the
activities of his security agencies. If that is,
indeed, the Prime Minister’s motivation,
then professing ignorance of what ‘mass
collection’ means is actually a very clever
It is roughly equivalent to a
meteorologist claiming not to know what
‘rain’ is. The statement is so preposterous
that it leaves the questioner feeling utterly
flummoxed. How can one have a sensible
conversation about the weather with a
weather expert who denies any knowledge
of rain? Of course a meteorologist can
be challenged. He can be ridiculed. He
can even be branded an out-and-out liar.
Meteorologists capacity for serious reprisal
Prime ministers, on the other hand, have
the power to make people’s lives extremely
uncomfortable. Insulting a meteorologist
is unlikely to prove a career-terminating
act. But, publicly challenging and
ridiculing the Prime Minister? Calling
him a liar? That is not a course of action
likely to recommend itself to any journalist
who values the good opinion of his or her
Publicly claiming not to know the
meaning of ‘mass collection’ delivers
further benefits to Mr Key. Not only
does it effectively shut down a potentially
dangerous line of questioning, but it also
suggests a potent line of defence to his
The sub-textual message contained
in the Prime Minister’s claim is one of
impatience and denial. “ I don’t know what
‘mass collection’ even means”, when filtered
through the ears of someone who agrees
with Mr Key’s portrayal of Nicky Hager
as “a screaming left-wing conspiracy
theorist ”, becomes: “ These journalists
think they know something about the Five
Eyes operation, but they don’t. All of this
stuff about ‘mass collection’ is just rubbish.
I don’t have to respond to the likes of
Nicky Hager, Glen Greenwald or Edward
Snowden — and neither do you. ”
This, too, is a tactic of considerable
psychological subtlety. It builds on the
silencing effect of the Prime Minister’s
denial by simultaneously priming his
followers to reject the evidence-derived
premise of the original question.
All the revelations of Snowden,
Greenwald and Hager: ‘Fallowhaunt ’,
‘Darkquest ’, ‘Legalreptile’, ‘ Venusaffect ’,
‘ Xkeyscore’. The whole terrifying lexicon
of the Five Eyes system of global mass
sur veillance is transformed from objective
fact into mere subjective accusations.
The sort of charges a large section of the
community has been carefully schooled to
reject as the work of “screaming left-wing
Of course the Prime Minister
understands what ‘mass collection’ means.
Just as he is fully aware that all New
Zealanders are, indeed, under sur veillance
by the Five Eyes panopticon. His
brilliance as a politician (if brilliance is
the right word for so sinister a talent) lies
in the way he has transformed the truths
and untruths of the controversy into brutal
binary equations of partisan allegiance.
To paraphrase President George W Bush:
“ Every citizen now has a decision to make.
Either you are with the Prime Minister,
or you are with the ‘screaming left-wing
Whatever John Key may understand, or
not understand, about ‘mass collection’, his
mastery of the dark arts of ‘mass deception’
is beyond dispute.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
PM familiar with ‘mass deception’
rones, or unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAVs),
are a hot ticket in Silicon
Valley, but United States
over regulations has given
overseas companies a head-start in figuring
out how best to exploit them.
Global spending on drones could add
up to close to $100 billion over the next
decade, with commercial uses — from
farming and filming to pipelines and
parcels — accounting for around an eighth
of that market, according to BI Intelligence.
But for years, the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA), the authority
largely responsible for regulation in the
United States, has dragged its feet, only
last month issuing draft rules on who can
fly drones, how and where. It is likely to
be a year or more before the regulations
are in place — good news for companies
operating outside the US and looking to
build a business around drones.
Sky-Futures, a British company that
dominates the use of drones to collect and
analyse inspection data for oil and gas
companies, says its business soared 700%
last year as the normally conservative
energy industry embraced the new
technology. Co-founder and operations
director Chris Blackford said the company
is coupling drones with software and a
better understanding of what works in
the field, giving Sky-Futures “a head-start
over the US because we understand pretty
intimately the problems facing the oil and
gas market, and how we can solve them
Looser regulations outside the US have
created pockets of innovation attracting
ideas, money and momentum, says Patrick
Thevoz, co-founder and chief executive of
Swiss-based Flyability, which builds drones
inside a spherical cage that allows them to
bump through doors, tunnels and forests
without losing balance.
Another British company, Bio
Carbon Engineering, hopes to speed up
reforestation by using drones to plant
germinated seeds, and shares in New
Zealand-based Martin Aircraft and IPO-
MAI.NZ; trebled in the first few days after
listing in Australia last month, on investor
hopes for the personalised aircraft maker
which is developing a UAV that could be
used by the military, oil and gas, mining
and farming industries.
In Japan, the government is looking to
fast track industry-friendly regulation to
give its drone business an edge.
But the real work, say those in the
industry, is in building out the drone
ecosystem: the payload, software, operator
and end user, and making sense of the
data. That can only come by connecting to
“As long as you don’t have the end user
because they can’t use it, you’re basically
missing a lot of the ecosystem,” says Thevoz.
In Singapore, Garuda Robotics is already
moving beyond just being a drone operator.
“The drones are a means to get the data
out of the sky,” says co-founder and chief
executive Mark Yong, “but if you can’t
process it you’ve not created any value for
While the company has been helping
map the boundaries of palm oil plantations
in Malaysia, it has added the ability to
calibrate the drones’ cameras to measure
moisture levels in individual trees. It is now
working with agronomists to figure out
how to make sense of that thermal data to
judge the health of trees and their likely
Other projects include assembling real-
time 3D maps of building sites to help
construction schedules, monitoring and
reducing algae blooms and keeping tabs
on packs of stray dogs using infrared
All of this would be hard, if not
impossible, under FAA regulations that
limit drones flying out of sight of the
operator, or at night.
While regulation typically lags
technology, no one’s betting against Silicon
Valley dominating the industry in the long
run. Last year, more than $100 million
flowed into US drone start-ups,
ccording to CB Insights, double 2013
“L et ’s not kid ourselves,” Philip Von
Meyenburg, who runs a drone operating
company out of Singapore said. “ They
know what they ’re doing in the US.”
And China, too, is in the game as
hardware prices fall rapidly. China’s DJI
sells consumer grade drones for $500,
making it hard for companies producing
lower volumes to justify their higher prices.
“The challenge for all drone
manufacturers now is that we’re in a market
that is constantly updating,” F lyability’s
Thevoz said. — Reuters
Game of drones
Visitors are ser ved by an Infinium-Serve Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV ) that is designed to ser ve food and wait tables, at the National Productivity Month exhibition in
Former well-known Greymouth
identity and shoe retailer Ross Steel
died in Nelson recently.
Greymouth born, Ross was one of
four sons of Jim and Myrtle Steel and
along with his three brothers Colin,
Barry and Russell and sister Judith, they
initially lived in Palmerston Street.
Ross received his secondary education
at Waitaki Boys’ High School and
started his working life as a young lad
in his father’s shoe store, in Mackay
When his father retired Ross took
over the family business and operated
Steel’s Shoe Store for many years until
moving to Hastings and then retiring
As a young man Ross was well
respected on the athletic tracks
throughout the Tasman region and
also made his mark on the rugby field,
forcing his way into the West Coast
senior representative side as an 18-year-
old. He played his club rugby for
Blaketown and was a loyal committee
member of the club.
While rugby and athletics played their
part, it was standard-bred racing where
Ross Steel established his name as a
respected trainer in the harness industry.
Ross was a member of the Breeders
and Trainers Association and trained
horses from his stables based at Victoria
Park for many years. He trained the
very smart pacers Falsehood and Dandy
Briar for their first two wins, before
sending both horses across to the
Canterbury stable of Ces Donald.
Ross drove Falsehood to win, with
the horse going on the run second to
Lordship in the New Zealand Cup,
while Dandy Briar went on to win the
Auckland Trotting Cup.
Battle Hymn, Dealer’s Choice,
Quality Inn and Bay Prince were other
notable horses trained at Victoria Park
by Ross Steel.
“ Ross was a very close friend and a
really nice fellow,” Tony Negri said. “ He
was a caring, convivial fellow, a friend to
many and well respected.”
Ross Steel is sur vived by his wife Flo
and sons Christopher, John and Bruce.
John Ross Steel
1929 - 2015
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