Home' Greymouth Star : March 23rd 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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second best in NZ
underground coalmine museum and
train ride at Denniston has been
closed after the High Hazards Unit
said the train winch was a fire risk.
Power to the winch was cut on
Friday and Work Safe New Zealand
is making no apologies, saying there is
potential for fatalities.
Mine operator John Gurney said on
March 4 — four years since it opened
“out of the blue” they received a
letter from the High Hazards Unit.
It said they had examined the
Health and Safety in Employment
(Mining Operations and Quarrying
Operations) Regulations 2013 in
detail and found the train’s haulage
winch system fell within this
“They have stated that we do not
comply and must cease to use our
winch (or take our electric locomotive
into the mine).”
The closure was “absolutely gutting”,
and they had not been given time to
comply, he said.
“Millions of dollars have been
spent by both the Department
of Conser vation (DOC) and the
Mr Gurney said he had no idea what
information the decision was based
on, or if it was correct.
“Admittedly our tourist mine is an
oddity in this complicated legislation
which generally applies to
operations that are actually mining.”
More detail had now been sent and
they appeared to comply with the
majority of points.
However, “ before we were
even able to reply, on Friday ...
DOC, who are the owners of
the mine, chose to cut the power
to the winch.”
Mr Gurney said if it was an
immediate safety issue he would
have no issue.
The suggestion of walking
customers into a dark, wet mine,
with a steep incline, uneven
ground, and rail track was more
dangerous than the train.
Unit chief inspector extractives
Tony Forster, said Mr Gurney’s
version of events differed
considerably from the facts.
He was operating a venture
which had the potential to cause
multiple fatalities, he said.
“The Unit has been in
discussions with him since
September last year over the
need to ensure the locomotive
winch was safe.”
The locomotive pulling the
carriages into the mine was a
potential source of fire.
Mr Gurney had consistently
resisted the Unit ’s attempts to
make his operation compliant.
Work Safe had proposed a
meeting with him this week
but he had rejected that, then
demanded that a general
manager from Work Safe be
present at it, Mr Forster said.
“ Work Safe has exhausted all
“O ur intention is to place a
prohibition notice on the mine’s
operations to protect passenger safety.”
It would not be uplifted until the
winch system was made compliant,
a competent person was trained to
operate it and a fire risk assessment
was carried out.
DOC conser vation ser vices manager
Bob Dickson, of Westport, said the
power was cut to the winch to stop
its use out of concern for the safety of
“ We were also mindful of our legal
The train could still safely be
operated to carry visitors to the mine
entrance and visitors could walk the
rest, though due to the uneven surface
entry would be limited to those able
to handle it.
Mr Gurney has now turned to
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor for help, and wants people
to like the Facebook page ‘The
Mr O’Connor visited the mine on
Friday and said today he thought the
mechanism was relatively simple and
all the precautions he was familiar
with were in place. He urged the
parties to work together.
A Grey Valley woman was arrested
for dishonesty on Saturday after
changing price tags to get a cheaper
deal at The Warehouse. Police
said the alleged offender, 58, from
Ikamatua, was seen exchanging $40
price tags for $10 tags on garments.
The woman was stopped by store
security at the counter at 1pm as
she went to pay for the items. The
clothing with price-swapped tags
was recovered and the woman was
arrested and issued with a formal
warning for using a document for
A double assault at a Blackball
party on Saturday morning is under
investigation. A 19-year-old woman
and a 15-year-old girl were allegedly
assaulted during what police
described as “a social gathering”.
The suspects, a 40-year-old man
and an 18-year-old man, both of
Blackball, were not present when
police arrived early on Saturday.
Both were still to be tracked down
and inter viewed by police today.
A historic break-in was discovered
yesterday at the Westport
Railway Society premises in the
former railway goods shed in the
Esplanade. The intruders had
entered the building at some point
in the past month, police said today.
Several windows in historic railway
carriages in the building were
smashed and other items tipped
over. Forensic evidence had been
recovered from the scene which
would assist the investigation, police
Cloud increasing, showers
It is one of the strongest biblical
images learned in childhood —
the animals entering Noah’s Ark
two-by-two. But BBC 1 drama
The Ark, to be shown over Easter,
will not include the iconic scene
because writer Tony Jordan does
not want it to feel ‘like Peppa Pig’.
Jordan, best known for his work on
EastEnders, said: ‘What we have
done with Noah in the past is to
change it into a children’s story. It is
like a version of Peppa Pig. ‘Every
time someone makes a film, they
have the ramp and then the two
crocodiles followed by two ducks. It
is all rubbish. ’ The Ark, which stars
Shameless actor David Threlfall
as Noah, also ignores the scene
where a dove carries an olive leaf to
Noah to let him know the flood is
receding. But the changes do not
please traditionalists. —
The tourist train enters the underground mine at Denniston, that has now been closed amid safety concerns.
Tourist train forced to close
Thomas opening for Ricky Martin
Nicholas McBride and Herald on
Greymouth’s Jackie Thomas will be
‘ livin’ la vida loca’ when she opens four
shows for Puerto Rican singing giant
Ricky Martin’s New Zealand tour.
Thomas rose to fame by winning the
debut season of X Factor NZ in 2013
and her subsequent single ‘It ’s worth it ’
opened at number one on the NZ Top
40 Singles Chart.
Last week she performed her second
single ‘Until the last goodbye’ on the
second season of the show.
Thomas took to Facebook to make
the announcement of her involvement
in the tour, commenting: “So excited
I can finally announce this. While
he’s floating about here in NZ, I’ll be
opening for the man, the legend, Ricky
Martin flew into New Zealand on a
whistle-stop visit to Auckland to film a
performance of his new single Mr Put
It Down that will be broadcast on the
March 30 episode of X Factor NZ.
Martin told the Herald on Sunday he
though Thomas was “outstanding” and
was looking for ward to working with
Martin has asked Thomas to be his
support act when his One World global
tour kicks off next month with gigs in
Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and
“I want to meet Jackie and check out
the vibe and if the chemistry is good,
maybe we will do something in the
studio together. (We) could perhaps
record a single.”
The shows take place during April,
including one at Christchurch’s CBS
Canterbury Arena on April 21.
Police shut down a party in
central Greymouth on Saturday
night and sent the revellers home
after several people showed up
uninvited, police staff said.
They were called to a Thompson
Street house at 10pm after about
10 unwelcome people arrived.
Damage by some partygoers to
nearby property prompted the
police to shut down the party to
prevent further disturbance in
These included palings being
pulled off a fence, stones thrown
through a window, and a
windscreen of a parked car which
Police inquiries to identify the
culprits involved were continuing
today and a call went out to
the public to help identify the
Liquor ban breaches also
featured in Greymouth police
work over the weekend.
police caught four people
at separate locations within
drinking or carrying alcohol and
breaching the Liquor Ban area
A 41-year-old man was caught
drinking on Guinness Street, a
34-year-old woman was nabbed
carrying alcohol on Herbert
Street, and a 19-year-old man
and a 17-year-old woman were
stopped while carrying alcohol
on Tainui Street.
All were issued with alcohol
infringement offence notice
march in Westport
About 100 protesters
including two who had driven
10 hours — marched through
the main street of Westport on
Saturday chanting ‘Stop The
Drop’ and ‘Stop 1080’.
Organiser Peter Lusk said
people came from Karamea,
Greymouth and Wanaka, and
they also raised $145 for their
The Wanaka women drove 10
hours and stayed overnight at
Ross, he said.
The march ended up at the
Gates Of Remembrance, with
“ What I liked about the
speeches is everyone is serious
about extending this campaign,
to get around New Zealand
and back up other rural people,
and to do everything we can
to stop the upcoming poison
After the speeches they
marched back through town,
chanting all the way, “getting
filmed continuously by a
detective, and getting lots of
waves, claps and toots from
The protest was in response to
the planned Buller North 1080
Mr Lusk said people were
angry because it was so close to
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