Home' Greymouth Star : March 19th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, March 19, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1861 - Maori War in New Zealand ends with
1976 - Buckingham Palace announces
separation of Princess Margaret and Earl of
Snowdon after 16 years of marriage.
1982 - An Argentine scrap metal
dealer lands on the island of South
Georgia and plants an Argentinian
flag, worsening tensions between
Britain and Argentina that eventually
lead to the Falklands War.
1986 - Buckingham Palace
announces engagement of Britain’s
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
1988 - Two British soldiers who drive into
a Republican area of Belfast during a funeral
procession are seized and killed.
2014 - Russian forces seize military
installations across the Crimean Peninsula after
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a
treaty to claim the region as part of Russia.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
David Livingston, Scottish explorer-
missionary (1813-1873); Wyatt Earp, US
lawman (1848-1929); Albert Speer, Nazi
German architect and armaments minister
(1905-1981); Adolf Eichmann, Austrian-born
Nazi head of Jewish extermination
(1906-1962); Patrick McGoohan,
US actor of The Prisoner fame
(1928-2009); Philip Roth, US author
(1933-); Ursula Andress, Swiss-born
actress (1936-); Ruth Pointer, US
singer (1946-); Glenn Close, US
actress (1947-); Har vey Weinstein,
American film producer, (1952-); Bruce Willis,
US actor (1955-).
“He who has a thousand friends has not a
friend to spare, and he who has one enemy will
meet him everywhere.” — Ali ibn-Abi-Talib,
the fourth caliph (602-661).
“ I pray that you will begin to understand how
incredibly great His power is to help those who
believe Him. It is that same mighty power that
raised Christ from the dead.”
Six road-rail bridges,
the last of their kind
on the Coast and
possibly New Zealand,
will be replaced by new concrete structures,
expected to cost thousands of pounds, within
the next five years. This was announced today
by the Director of Roading, Mr J H Macky
who said: “ We have told our Christchurch
office to plan to have the bridges replaced
within the next five years. ”
Involved in this massive plan are Taramakau,
Arahura, Inangahua Landing, Larry’s Creek,
Waitahu and Boatman’s Creek bridges.
Resident engineers of both the Buller and
Greymouth residencies of the Ministry of
Works were somewhat surprised at this
morning’s announcement, revealed by the
Greymouth Evening Star’s Wellington
Undoubtedly the biggest assignments will be
replacing the Taramakau and Arahura bridges
which have handled road and rail traffic since
1893. Replacing these bridges will also mean
the building of new access roads, also a costly
and lengthy job.
Despite an absence of rain on the West Coast
this week, a house was flooded at Punakaiki
on Tuesday night and two children had to be
evacuated to ensure that they would be able to
get to school yesterday morning.
The cause of six inches of water in the home
was a high sea, backing up the Pororari River
which is blocked at its mouth, and forcing
waters into the domain alongside.
Mr W Mahuika, whose home is situated
on the Pororari domain, said that water first
entered his home on Tuesday night and did not
recede until 3am yesterday.
uFood for thought
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It was impressive — but it was not
real. The Greens’ apparent mastery of
economics turned out to be just one man’s
— Dr Russel Norman’s — achievement.
Hopefully, Dr Norman’s successor will
attain an equal level of economic literacy.
Because few would contest the
obser vation that, throughout John Key’s
second term as Prime Minister, the Greens’
co-leader, Dr Norman, easily outstripped
his centre-left rivals as the best informed
and most articulate economic spokesperson
on the Opposition benches.
With rare political discipline,
Dr Norman acquired a good working
knowledge of economics and spoke its
language as fluently as Finance Minister
Bill English. Perhaps more so.
Quite rightly, Dr Norman had identified
the Greens’ unfamiliarity with mainstream
economics as a serious weakness. Why
should the voters take them seriously if
they cannot talk convincingly about the
exchange rate’s impact on manufacturing;
the effectiveness of the Reser ve Bank’s
handling of monetary policy; or whether
employers are responding adequately to
rising levels of worker productivity?
It was all very well to talk about a future
based on ‘green growth’ and ‘green jobs’,
but voters living in the here-and-now
needed to feel confident that the Green
Party understood what was happening in
New Zealand’s economy — to their jobs.
To be a great artist, it is said, one must
first learn all the rules and master all the
techniques of painting. Only then is the
artist sufficiently skilled to break all the
rules and develop new techniques of his
own. Dr Norman clearly believed that the
same applied to economics. Only after
familiarising themselves with the ‘dismal
science’ of classical economics would the
Greens be ready to preach the more joyful
gospel of sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Dr Norman’s efforts in this all-important
sphere of politics did not go unnoticed. Mr
Key’s second term had hardly begun when
the Parliamentary Press Gallery began
referring to Dr Norman as “the real Leader
of the Opposition”. This was not solely
due to the fact that the Labour caucus’s
internal feuding was wreaking havoc upon
the party’s political credibility. It was also
about the way Dr Norman, as the Greens’
economic spokesman, was going head-
to-head with the Finance Minister in the
House — and not losing.
Did all this praise go to Dr Norman’s
head? Is that why he raised the possibility
that, in a future Labour-Green coalition
government, the finance portfolio might
well end up in his own hands? (The
very idea was enough to cause serious
conniptions in Labour’s ranks). Was Dr
Norman’s much-derided suggestion that
New Zealand embark on a limited degree
of quantitative easing, all the evidence his
critics needed that a little knowledge is a
Neither of these accusations stack up.
Subsequent events were to reinforce
Labour’s serious lack of talent in matters
economic. Also, journalists, so quick
to pour scorn upon Mr Norman’s QE
proposals, revealed much more about
their own, and their government briefers’,
ignorance of economics than they did
about the Green co-leader’s.
In spite of the fact that Labour’s policies
on superannuation and capital gains had
been in place for more than three years,
neither the party’s leader, nor its finance
spokesperson, proved equal to the task
of explaining them to the electorate. A
Labour-Green coalition could have done
a lot worse than make Dr Norman its
Minister of Finance.
Not that any of this matters now: not
after last week’s edition of The Nation
on TV3. In the course of introducing
the four candidates competing for the
co-leader’s job Dr Norman is stepping
away from (Gareth Hughes, Kevin Hague,
James Shaw and Vernon Tava) the show ’s
co-host, Lisa Owen, asked each man
to answer a quick-fire question on the
economy. What ’s the unemployment rate?
The inflation rate? The Reser ve Bank’s
official cash-rate? The economic growth
Only one of the candidates, Mr Shaw,
even came close to supplying the correct
answer. In less than five minutes,
Dr Norman’s hard graft over more than
three years: his gift of (as Ms Owen put
it) ‘economic cred’, was needlessly thrown
None of the questions were difficult. A
few seconds on the Statistics New Zealand
website was all that they required. That
none of the candidates had devoted even
this much time to acquiring the answers,
makes Dr Norman’s economic literacy an
even more remarkable achievement.
Some very hard yards await his successor.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing political
The Greens ‘economic cred’ — hard won, easily lost
year after Russia’s
takeover of Crimea
sparked a wave of
euphoria across the Black
Sea peninsula, residents
are suffering growing
hardship as prices rise and many fear for
Russia’s flag is flying across Crimea
on the anniversary of what President
Vladimir Putin calls the region’s historic
“return home” after Russian troops seized
control of it from Ukraine and the people
backed annexation in a referendum.
Since then Putin’s popularity has soared
— his face looks down from banners and
is emblazoned on t-shirts — and some
Crimeans, such as pensioners, say they
But foreign investors have fled, the
banking sector is paralysed and many
other residents are struggling to make
“Crimea will be a backwater of Russia.
What ’s good here? The prices are crazy
and salaries are laughable,” grumbled
35-year-old taxi driver Nikolai, deftly
negotiating potholes and rutted roads in
the centre of the capital, Simferopol.
Life was hard when Crimea was part of
Ukraine but it is proving no easier as part
of Russia, which has been hit by western
economic sanctions over the annexation
of Crimea and Moscow ’s support for
separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.
“Ordinary Russians lost out with the
annexation of Crimea,” said Sergei, a
construction goods retailer from Kiev
who moved to Simferopol last year with
his wife and children after protests that
turned violent in the Ukrainian capital.
“Across the whole of Russia, prices
are going up, there are sanctions, the
rouble has devalued,” he said, closing the
kitchen window to stop his neighbours
Such discontent has not prevented
the celebrations which began this
week in Crimea, the anniversary of the
referendum which showed 97% support
for joining Russia. The days-long party
also included a concert in Moscow.
Although the European Union and
the United States swiftly imposed
sanctions on Moscow following its move
on Crimea, Putin made clear he had no
regrets in a television documentary aired
“The ultimate goal was to give people
a chance to express
their opinion on how
they want to live in
the future,” he said
of the referendum,
dispatch of Russian
forces to Crimea as
intended to prevent
bloodshed and save
problems they face,
most Crimeans are
still glad to be part of
Russia, its leaders say.
“The president ’s
ratings in Crimea
are almost 100%,”
Aksyonov said in a
modest office with the
Russian and Crimean
“Nine out of
10 people say
they support (the
would vote the same
way again,” he said.
The Kremlin is
standing firm over the
the United States
and the European
Union on this week
the takeover of Crimea, portrayed the
referendum as a sham and said sanctions
would remain in place. Even some
western diplomats, however, say there is
little chance Russia will hand Crimea
back to Ukraine.
“Crimea is a region of the Russian
Federation and of course the subject of
our regions is not up for discussion,”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Many Russians say Crimea’s annexation
rights a historical wrong by Soviet leader
Nikita Khrushchev who gave the territory
to Ukraine in 1954, long before the
Soviet Union collapsed.
Russia has underlined its commitment
to Crimea by announcing a military
build-up on the peninsula, home to
Russia’s Black Sea fleet and to more than
two million people, of whom around 60%
are ethnic Russians. It has also promised
to pour in money to boost the local
economy and help residents.
Some pensioners say they now receive
much bigger pensions and are happy with
the support from Russia.
“Life has changed for the better.
Pensions and salaries got bigger, roads
are being repaired, and in general the
government started working,” said one
who gave his name only as Alexander.
Businessmen, however, complain of
“In Ukraine, everything was simple,”
said 41-year-old Emil Mustafaev, a real
estate developer from Sevastopol. “Now
everything is closed to us.”
He said he could no longer buy building
materials he needs from Ukraine, which
has severed all rail connections to the
peninsula, while only Russian airlines
now fly to Ukraine.
Many supplies from Ukraine have been
disrupted: Farmers lack water to irrigate
crops, residents face frequent power
outages and it is proving hard to attract
tourists to Crimea’s beaches.
The Crimean government said tourist
numbers more than halved in 2014, down
from six million visitors the year before.
Moscow has promised to establish
alternative routes and has awarded a $3b
contract to Arkady Rotenberg, a Putin
ally, to build a bridge across the Kerch
Strait that would connect Crimea to the
Referring to the bridge, a tour operator
who gave his name only as Ivan said:
“ Without the bridge there will be no
In the last year, Crimean authorities
have nationalised scores of Ukrainian
enterprises, said Simferopol lawyer
Zhan Zapruta, who works to protect
“Aksyonov has this desire to return
Crimea to the conditions of the Soviet
Union ... to take all structures that make
any real money,” he said.
The prime minister rejected the lawyer’s
accusation, saying: “ We have no personal
aims for nationalisation.”
But residents say foreign businesses are
also put off by a deterioration of law and
security. ‘Self-defence’ volunteers can be
seen patrolling streets, clad in camouflage
and wielding batons.
Some describe an atmosphere of
harassment and fear, saying there have
been numerous abductions and security
forces have detained people on false
accusations. Crimea’s Tatar Muslims,
who number about 240,000, complain of
intimidation and violence.
“Since Russia annexed Crimea, the de
facto authorities are using a vast array
of bully boy tactics to crack down on
dissent,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty
International’s Director for Europe and
He said the abductions had prompted
many critics to leave Crimea, adding:
“Those remaining face a range of
harassment from authorities determined
to silence their opponents.” — Reuters
Pro-Russian head of Crimea Sergei Aksyonov, left, Crimean State Council speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, right, and Oleg Belaventsev, centre,
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to Crimea, walk past performers during a meeting to celebrate the first anniversary of Russia’s annexation
of Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, in central Simferopol.
Prince Harry is looking
for work — but do not
expect him to be sending
out invitations to connect
And if it takes him a
while to find the right
position, the family
fortune should tide him
over until his first payday.
Royal officials said this
week that the 30-year
old prince will leave the
armed forces in June.
Kensington Palace said
he will volunteer with a
programme that helps
wounded ser vice members “while
actively considering other longer-term
In the meantime, Harry’s final
army duties will include a four-week
assignment in April and May with
the Australian Defence Force. The
prince will spend time in Dar win,
Perth and Sydney and attend centenary
commemorations of the World War One
Gallipoli campaign in Turkey.
Harry said leaving the army after a
decade of ser vice, which included two
tours of duty in Afghanistan, has been
“a really tough decision” but that he is
excited about the future.
“The experiences I have had over the
last 10 years will stay with me for the rest
of my life,” Harry said in a statement.
“For that I will always be hugely
Harry graduated from Sandhurst
officers’ academy in 2006 and joined
the Household Cavalry as an armoured
reconnaissance troop leader. He ser ved in
Afghanistan as a battlefield
air controller for 10 weeks
in 2007-08 until a media
leak cut his tour short.
Keen to return to the
front lines despite fears
he would be a top Taliban
target, Harry retrained as a
helicopter pilot and served
in Afghanistan in 2012-13
as an Apache co-pilot
Most recently he has
served as a staff officer
in the army ’s London
headquarters, playing a
lead role in bringing the
Invictus Games “an international sports
competition for wounded troops” to
Harry and his brother, Prince William,
have carried forward the tradition of
senior royals taking on military roles.
William left the Royal Navy in 2013
after extensive training as a helicopter
pilot, and became an air-ambulance pilot.
Harry was the first British royal to see
combat since his uncle, Prince Andrew,
who flew Royal Navy helicopters during
the 1982 Falklands War.
Harry has often seemed more
comfortable as a soldier than in his royal
duties, and he has been visibly energised
by his work with charities for wounded
“It ’s very easy to forget about who I
am when I am in the army,” Harry said
in an interview after returning from
Afghanistan in 2013.
“Everyone’s wearing the same uniform
and doing the same kind of thing.”
— New Zealand Herald
Prince Harry looking for work
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