Home' Greymouth Star : May 12th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Westport police have been busy
in the past few days dealing with
domestic or family violence. Late
last week a 25-year-old man was
arrested for trespass and wilful
damage as a result of a domestic
dispute at a Cobden Street
residence. On Saturday morning, a
50-year-old man from Fairdown,
just north of Westport, was ser ved
a 24-hour place of safety order after
an argument with his partner. The
next day, police went to a Queen
Street address just after 6.30pm
after a domestic argument alarmed
the neighbours. Just under an hour
later, at 7.25pm, a man was taken
home from outside Buller Hospital,
where he was found extremely
drunk. Police said the man, who was
looking for his partner, was trying
to kick in the front door of the
A Karamea woman in her 40s
fell from her horse, breaking her
leg, yesterday morning. Apparently
the woman was thrown before the
horse landed on her and broke
her femur. She was airlifted by the
NZCC Rescue Helicopter back to
Grey Base Hospital shortly before
Cobden siren set
off by mistake
The Cobden Volunteer Fire
Brigade fire siren over the town was
accidentally activated late yesterday
morning. Fire chief Gary Pollock
said the alarm system was tripped
while some electrical work was
being carried out in the fire station.
Rain becoming widespread, heavy falls
An alleged bank robber was
arrested after he could not resist
posting a video of the crime on
Instagram. Dominyk Antonio
Alfonseca, 23, was arrested on
Monday in Virginia Beach, Virginia
about 30 minutes after he robbed
the Towne Bank, police said.
Alfonseca posted a video, which
has since been removed, that gave
a first-person perspective of the
heist, as well as a copy of the note
he gave to the bank teller. In the
note he asked for $150,000 and said
“ I would appreciate if you ring the
alarm a minute after I am gone ...
make sure the money doesn’t blow
up on my way out. :-)”.
— Huffington Post.
The Rotomanu farmer who
stood trial in March for his part in
the star vation and death of nearly
800 cows has been found guilty,
in a reser ved judgment released
to the Ministry of Primary
David Ham denied charges of
animal cruelty and failing to keep
stock adequately fed and watered
Ham had leased his property
to father and son Robert and
Jeremy Ussher, who admitted the
offences and were sentenced in
the Christchurch District Court
two months ago.
Robert Ussher pleaded guilty
to six charges of animal cruelty
and one of failing to provide
sufficient food and water, and was
sentenced to three months’ home
detention and community work,
while his son Jeremy was fined
$5000. He admitted one charge
relating to the mistreatment and
one of failing to supply.
Both were also disqualified from
owning or working with stock
unsuper vised for three years.
manager Peter Hyde said today
Ham had been found guilty on
the substantive charge of “reckless
The maximum penalty for an
individual is up to three years in
jail, and-or a fine of up to $75,000.
The lessor charge of failing to
meet the physical health needs of
640 animals was dismissed.
Mr Hyde said the ministry was
“pleased” with the judgment.
“ It proves a serious reminder to
farmers who sharemilk or lease
their properties that they are
still liable for what goes on at
their farms and that they have an
obligation as owners to ensure the
farms are properly managed. ”
During the hearing in the
Greymouth District Court, a
veterinarian told of how he was
haunted by the death of hundreds
of cattle, saying it was the worst
incidence of star vation he had
seen in his 22-year career.
In total, 788 animals were
found either dead or dying from
star vation on the property, and
many were so badly emaciated
they had to be euthanised.
Coast to Coast reviewing Kumara Hall
The Kumara banquet ser ved up
by volunteers to Coast to Coast
competitors every year since 1983 is
In its heyday, 1200 meals were
ser ved up in the Kumara Memorial
Hall on the eve of the big race; last
year it was down to just 550.
With overall competitor numbers
falling, competitor Richard Ussher
took over the Coast to Coast business
from the founding race director Robin
Judkins, and is now revamping the
The Kumara Hall annual general
meeting at the weekend heard
there were doubts over whether the
competitors’ meal would continue at
Mr Ussher said yesterday he was
waiting for a response from the
Kumara community on a couple of
proposals about how things such as
the meal were managed at the pre-
“I am hoping we will have feedback
from them this week so we can move
for ward with planning for the next
He stressed that, for the moment,
it was speculative. The race was keen
to maintain a strong link with the
Kumara community and continue to
provide an opportunity for the town
to raise money through providing
ser vices to the race.
“The proposals still include an
opportunity for them to provide a
meal service, but in a different set-up
from previous,” Mr Ussher said.
Kumara Hall new secretary-treasurer
Pavel Bares also said it was too early
to say what might happen to the
He was at the first meeting in the
Kumara School staffroom when the
meals started in 1983. The school ran
it for about six years, but when it got
too big the wider community took it
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Lifelong Kumara resident Mary Stuart has helped prepare the Coast to Coast banquets at the local hall for many years.
Runanga tap water gets all-clear
Runanga residents will be able to
drink their water straight from the tap
again today with the ‘ boil water’ notice
lifted this morning.
Grey District Council utilities
engineer Kurtis Perrin-Smith said
testing had shown three clear days,
from Friday to Sunday.
The notice was put in place on April
29 after a fault in the main bore. In
order to continue a supply, the council
used a second bore, which had been at
risk of contamination in the past.
The main bore was repaired and
put back in place, but the notice
remained a few days longer to ensure
the contaminated water was no longer
circulating in the pipes.
The problem was compounded by
an issue with the alarm system on the
reservoir, causing water levels to drop,
as well as a break in the water main.
“There were a number of issues that
linked together to cause us some
issues,” Mr Perrin-Smith said.
The main bore had no issues with
contamination and the council tried to
rely on that one more.
In 2012, residents voted against
joining the Greymouth chlorinated
Mr Perrin-Smith said they did not
have to resort to chlorination this time
because the levels of contamination
“If it had been any higher, chlorination
certainly would have been an option
that could have been used.”
Though the council wanted to respect
the wishes of the community not to
have chlorine, it would be purely a
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the
drinking-water standard upgrade on
the Runanga supply was currently out
The upgrade had already been rated
for and once in place that would
permanently fix the problem of ‘boil
The Ngahere Hall will be given
to the local fire brigade but its
future beyond July looks doubtful.
The hall currently sits on Kiwi
Rail land but the lease runs out on
July 21. If the lease is not renewed
the hall must be demolished and
the land cleared.
When the Grey County Council
joined the amalgamated Grey
District Council in 1989, the
Ngahere Hall was not formally
transferred and has since been run
by a committee.
As de facto owner, the council
policy is not to invest in
community halls. The committee
told the council it was happy for
However, at the monthly council
meeting last night, Cr Tony Coll
said there was public interest in
the hall and it was offered to the
Ngahere Volunteer Fire Brigade.
The hall will be disposed of at
the brigade’s discretion and cleared
before the lease expires. Failing
that, the council will seek public
interest in the demolition or sale
of the hall.
Cr Murray Hay said he had
recently been to an event held
there and was saddened that it may
“It is an old hall but it is still
useful. It is a shame. I feel sad that
we have to come to this,” Cr Hay
said. Cr Kevin Brown worried that
earthquake improvements might
see other halls fall by the wayside.
Chinese steel makers who used to pay
Australian mine owners $US110 a tonne
for coal, are now buying it for $US40 a
Businesses commentator Rod Oram
told Radio New Zealand this morning
that coal prices had fallen 70% in three
That was partly due to enormous, new,
low cost mines coming on stream in
places like Indonesia and Mongolia, Mr
Chinese steel makers paying Australian
mine owners $110 were now able to buy
coal from Mongolia at $40.
On the demand side, some “unexpected”
things had happened, Mr Oram said.
Chinese coal consumption had fallen
1.6% in the past year, even though its
economy had grown 7.3%. Beijing was
closing the last of its coal-fired power
stations and was trying hard to power
itself without coal.
Fracking had driven down the price of
gas, so United States power plants had
switched from coal to gas. As a result, US
miners were trying to export their coal.
“The shift is happening without (the
world) running out of coal,” he said.
“It makes it difficult to see how Solid
Energy is going to be floated up again on
a sharply rising coal price.”
When the Government last put money
into Solid Energy the coal price was
$160, now it was below $100.
Mr Oram said on the West Coast there
was a “greater awareness that the global
industry has moved substantially against
“I sense that the lingering faith in coal
is beginning to dissipate on the West
Low cost mines undercutting world coal price
Ngahere Hall doomed
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