Home' Greymouth Star : May 12th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, May 12, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1838 -Death of missionary the Rev Samuel
Marsden, aged 73.
1839 -Without the approval of the British
Government, Colonel William Wakefield
departs on the New Zealand
Company ship Tory, with
instructions to purchase land from
Maori with £5000 worth of cargo
carried in the ship’s hold.
1937 -King GeorgeVI is crowned
at Westminster Abbey.
1943 -The Battle of North Africa
ends in World War Two
1967- Death of John Masefield, English poet
and, from 1930, poet laureate.
1971- Vietnam War protesters in Auckland
disrupt a civic reception for the return of 161
Battery and the SAS from Vietnam, chanting
and throwing red paint.
1973- The last person is executed by
guillotine in France.
1988- Nine people are killed when an aircraft
crashes into wooded hills north of Whanganui.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Edward Lear, English nonsense poet and
landscape painter (1812-1888); Florence
Nightingale, English nursing pioneer (1820-
1910); Katharine Hepburn,US
actress (1907-2003); Julius
Rosenberg, US electrical engineer
and communist executed, along with
his wife, for spying (1918-1953);
Tony Hancock, English comedian
(1924-1968); Burt Bacharach,
US songwriter (1928-); Ian D ury,
British rock singer-composer (1942-2000);
Steven Baldwin, US actor (1966-); Jonah
Lomu, All Black (1975-).
“A mother never realises that her children
are no longer children.” — Holbrook Jackson,
British critic and historian (1874-1948).
“A wife of noble character who can find? She
is worth far more than rubies.”
— (Proverbs 31:10).
The third death on
West Coast roads so
far this year occurred
last night when a
63-year-old Kumara man was struck by a car.
He died in the Westland Hospital late last
night. He was Mr Tim Moynihan, of Seddon
Shortly after 6 o’c lock, Mr Moynihan was
walking home in a westerly direction along
Seddon Street when he was hit by a van
driven by Mr Stanley Robert Godfrey, of
Christchurch. The van struck Mr Moynihan
about 200 yards west of the Empire Hotel
where there are no footpaths.
When he fell from scaffolding at the
Blacklock-Piesse building construction at
Stillwater yesterday afternoon, a Blackball man
fractured his right foot. He is James Stanley
Eyles, of Clifford Street.
Mr Eyles fell about 16 feet on to the concrete
foundations of the new timber products plant.
A hole-in-one on the 145-yard 13th green
by B J Vieceli highlighted weekend golf play
at the Greymouth Golf Club’s headquarters at
Kaiata. Using a No 7 iron, Vieceli played the
perfect shot yesterday afternoon.
It is the first time in known history that a
male club member has holed in one on the
13th. Some women have previously been
successful, but the shot for them is much
shorter than it is for men.
“ No contact ” was the report of all search
parties which investigated the flares and
reported explosion off the West Coast near
Jackson Bay on Friday night.
The mysterious explosion has aroused
considerable interest. One line of thought is
that a meteorite struck the ground with terrific
force on Mr F McKinstry’s property.
uFood for thought
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Robbie Manson was enjoying a quiet
drink with his mates when a tv report
about Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas
announcing he was gay made him freeze.
Olympic rower Manson had been hiding
his sexuality for years but was mulling over
Thomas’ 2009 revelation — which made
worldwide headlines — made him think
“The guys started making homophobic
comments and were laughing and
sniggering about it,” Manson says.
“I just thought, ‘that could be me’. I
decided to keep the fact I am gay a secret
for a while.”
Two years later, Manson came out to his
older brother, who is also gay, then to the
rest of his family, and then to his rowing
mates and closest friends. He finally came
out in public last year. The 25-year-old
says it felt like a weight was lifted from his
“Since I was at school I was terrified
anyone would discover I was gay,” he says.
“Then when my career took off, I worried
the other rowers would find out and it
would be all over. I was wrong. It turned
out people were more interested in my
ability than my sexuality and it was no big
deal to most.”
Manson is not alone. The results
of the first international research on
homophobia in sport, including in New
Zealand, is unveiled today and makes for
uncomfortable reading — particularly
as New Zealand prides itself on being
inclusive and was the first in the Asia-
Pacific region to legalise same-sex
The Out On The Fields study focused
on sexuality in team sports in Canada,
Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the
United States and New Zealand.
About 9500 people took part, including
631 lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight New
One in five New Zealand gay men
say they did not play youth team sports
and more than half say it was because of
negative experiences in school PE classes.
New Zealand gay men are also among
the most likely in the world to stop playing
sports when they become adults because of
discrimination — and 71% believe youth
team sports are not welcoming or safe for
gay men and women.
High numbers of gay New Zealanders
also reveal they hide their sexuality. Eighty-
eight per cent of young gay men and 76%
youth say they are at least partially in the
closet, keeping their sexuality secret from all
or some of their team-mates.
The research was initiated by Bingham
Cup Sydney — an organisation for gay
people in sport — and supported by a
coalition of other sports organisations.
Dr Grant O’Sullivan, from Melbourne’s
Victoria University, was one of seven
experts who sat on the study’s review panel.
He says a main concern is kids being
turned off sport at school. He believes PE
teachers in particular need to be trained in
ways to support and protect lesbian, gay
and bisexual students.
“Often the teachers are not sure of how to
deal with bullying or they may worry about
complaints from parents if they talk to
students about homosexuality,” he says.
The results come as no surprise to some
of the small number of openly gay New
Zealand sporting heroes, such as Olympic
speed skater Blake Skjellerup and former
NPC rugby player Ryan Sanders.
Skjellerup says he stopped playing rugby
at 10 because of an intimidating dressing
“I love team sports, but I shied away
from it during my high school years as
the constant homophobic bullying and
language used in that environment made
me feel isolated and inferior,” he says.
“It was easier to come out and be myself
in an individual sport because I wasn’t
afraid of letting anyone down when the
only person I was representing was myself.
“ We know youth suicide is high and we
also know there are higher rates of suicide
among gay youth because of homophobia
and lack of education. This study clearly
shows homophobia in sport needs to be
taken much more seriously.”
Sanders, who also played semi-
professionally in Scotland, did not feel safe
coming out until he retired from rugby
in 2004. He started Haka Tours and was
named 2010 Young Entrepreneur of the
“I knew I was gay early on but I became
very good at leading a double life and
hiding my sexuality,” he says.
“It ’s a bit depressing to see the study has
found so many gay men still need to do the
same while playing rugby and other sports.
“The biggest problem I think is the
language. I used to hear the word ‘fag’ all
the time. It sent a strong message that
coming out was not an option. It was very
Homophobic language rather than
physical violence is the most common form
of discrimination, according to the New
Zealander who took part in the Out on the
Of those who had personally been
targeted with homophobia, results show
Canadian gay, bisexual and lesbian people
were most likely to report being physically
assaulted (21%), followed by the UK (20%).
Those in New Zealand were the least likely
to have encountered violence (12%).
Seventy-eight per cent of New Zealand
participants also said they had witnessed or
experienced homophobia in sport and just
over three-quarters believed an openly gay,
lesbian or bisexual person would not be safe
as a spectator at a sporting event.
The problem is nowhere near as rife for
gay females in sport, insists former New
Zealand women’s football international
The 33-year-old Aucklander is in a long-
term relationship and has two kids. She still
plays football at premier level for Western
O’Neill insists she has never had a
problem with being open about her
sexuality as a player but is more guarded
now she is coaching.
“I have never had a bad experience or
received verbal insults from other women
in sport and never hid the fact I am gay,”
“However, because I am coaching, I am
now more careful about speaking about it
as I realise some people might have an issue
“It is pretty sad that, in this day and age,
some people still make derogatory remarks
about someone’s sexuality.”
Rainbow Youth — an Auckland
organisation that provides support,
information and advocacy for young gay
people — believes discrimination has no
place in New Zealand sport.
Spokeswoman Toni Duder thinks sports
organisations could learn from the New
Zealand Defence Force.
In February, the NZDF topped a new
global index, ranking armed forces for
inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexuals and
Uniformed members have also marched
in the Auckland Pride Parade and, in 2012,
the Defence Force created O ver Watch, a
group to support its gay staff.
“ What the military has done has really
helped change attitudes towards gay people
and sports codes could follow the lead,”
“The fact that so many young gay men,
in particular, are not participating in sport
or leaving sport early because they feel
uncomfortable is a concern.
“They are not only missing out on a lot of
fun but could also be denying themselves
proper exercise and general fitness, which
could have health implications when they
Back in his hometown of Thames, rower
Manson is training hard to make the
Olympics in Rio next year.
He says since coming out in December
he has had nothing but support from
colleagues, friends and the public.
“ When I used to hear homophobic
language at school or in sports I took it
“But since I became open about being
gay I have realised most people are not
homophobic at all. They just use certain
language and make jokes about gay people
without realising it could be offensive.
“I am not saying this is acceptable
behaviour, but I would advise young people
to enjoy playing sport and don’t let their
sexuality stop them,” he says.
“ Who knows how much talent New
Zealand could be losing because young
gay people are not participating in sport or
stopping it altogether because they think
their sexuality will hold them back?
“In my case, most of the concerns turned
out to be all in my own head.”
Labour MP Louisa Wall is calling for
New Zealand sporting codes to join
their Aussie counterparts and make
a commitment to rid their sports of
In a world first, last year all four
Australian football codes as well as Cricket
Australia agreed to introduce policies to
Big names such as John Eales, David
Pocock, Nick Farr-Jones and Adam Ashley
Cooper are all rugby “ambassadors” on the
issue of homophobia in sport.
Wall — a former representative netball
and rugby union player who is openly gay
and was behind the gay marriage bill —
believes New Zealand should follow
“It is very encouraging that the likes of
the NRL and Super Rugby will not tolerate
or condone discrimination,” she says.
“I would like to see our codes
replicate what the Australians are doing
and formalise policies to eliminate
“I would also like to see this happening in
recreational sports in New Zealand.
“These policies should be led by the codes
themselves. They should not rely on the
World Rugby and International Gay
Rugby recently signed a historic agreement
to collaborate on the continued promotion
of equality and inclusivity in rugby.
Nick Brown, general manager, public
affairs at New Zealand Rugby, says it
supports that agreement and promotes
rugby as a game to be played and enjoyed
by all New Zealanders regardless of race,
creed or sexual orientation.
“ We would not tolerate any
discrimination in this regard,” he says.
Rugby Players’ Association boss Rob
Nichol says homophobic discrimination
is not widespread among New Zealand
“ We focus extensively on the mental
well-being of players, whether that is
providing help and advice about substance
abuse, relationships, or behavioural or other
mental health issues,” he says.
“I suppose sexuality would fall under that
“If a player is unhappy or stressed off the
field he will not be performing well on it
and we would be there to help.”
Sporting authorities have already
been cracking down on homophobia in
In March, NSW Waratahs flanker
Jacques Potgieter was fined $20,000 by
the Australian Rugby Union for calling an
opposition player a ‘faggot ’ during a match.
Potgieter later apologised publicly.
The issue has also made headlines in
In March, gay Welsh rugby referee Nigel
Owens received abuse on Twitter after
England ’s 55-35 victory over France.
— New Zealand Herald
Coming out of the sports closet
The macho Kiwi rugby, racing and beer mentality is keeping gay sportspeople firmly in the cupboard.
nderground disposal of
waste water produced from
oil and natural gas wells has
been blamed for triggering
thousands of small
earthquakes in Oklahoma
and a number of other United States states
Heightened seismic activity corresponds
closely with the timeframe and location of
increased drilling and hydraulic fracturing
across the south-west United States,
according to the US. Geological Sur vey
(“Incorporating induced seismicity in the
2014 United States national seismic hazard
Most tremors have been barely perceptible
to humans, but one at Prague in Oklahoma
was recorded at magnitude 5.6, enough
to cause severe shaking and damage to
The quake swarms have sparked a debate
about safety and economic opportunity in
states and communities that depend heavily
on oil and natural gas production for jobs
Most tremors seem to have been caused
by re-injection of waste water brought to
the surface along with oil and gas back
underground into deep rock formations,
rather than by the hydraulic fracturing
water, contaminated with salt,
hydrocarbons and even traces of naturally
occurring radioactive material picked up
from formations underground where oil
and gas are found, is actually the largest
single output of the oil and gas industry.
United States oil and gas wells produced
over 57 million barrels per day of waste
water in 2007, according to researchers.
Since then, natural gas production has
risen by 30% and oil production is up 80%,
so the amount of produced waste water is
almost certainly much higher.
According to researchers, 95% of the
produced water is disposed of underground
by reinjecting it into the oil- and gas-
bearing formation to maintain reser voir
pressure or into other rock formations.
But it has long been known that the
removal or injection of a large volume
of fluid into rock formations can trigger
The first and most famous example
of man-made earthquakes or ‘induced
seismicity ’ due to fluid injection was
reported at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in
the 1960s and 1970s.
Contaminated liquid waste from
a chemical weapons plant injected
underground triggered thousands of
tremors near Denver, the largest of which
measured magnitude 4.8.
Man-made earthquakes have also
been linked to the impoundment of
large volumes of water for hydro-electric
power dams, geothermal energy plants,
conventional oil and gas fields, enhanced oil
recovery programmes and mining.
The magnitude and destructiveness of
earthquakes are directly related to the
surface area of the rock that ruptures by a
The magnitude of naturally occurring
earthquakes follows a well understood
distribution. Most are very small, with
progressively fewer occurrences of tremors
at higher magnitudes.
Below magnitude 2.0, they are unlikely
to be felt by humans. Those between
magnitudes 3.0 and 5.0 will be felt.
Those over magnitude 5.0 are likely to be
In general, the bigger the volume of fluid
injected or removed from a formation, the
bigger the maximum potential earthquake,
according to the US National Research
Hundreds of quakes are induced by
energy production (oil, gas, geothermal,
hydro) every year in the United States and
probably thousands around the world.
Most are very small at magnitude 2 or
lower, with a small number ranging up to
magnitudes 3 and 4, which are felt, and
very rarely to magnitude 5.
The potential for hydraulic fracturing
to cause earthquakes has caused concern
among local communities and been seized
on by environmental groups and climate
campaigners to call for curbs on the
But it is vital to put the risk into
perspective. Most of these induced
seismic events pose little risk of damage to
buildings or humans.
They are better described as tremors or
more neutrally as seismic events rather than
the more emotive — though common —
The magnitude scale is logarithmic so a
magnitude 2.0 or 3.0 seismic event releases
a very different amount of energy than a
magnitude 5.0 or 6.0 one.
The energy released by a magnitude 3.0
tremor, the sort that might be associated
with oil and gas field operations, is roughly
15 million times smaller than the Nepal
earthquake on April 25.
Even the worst earthquake in Oklahoma’s
current swarm, at Prague, released 2000
times less energy than the one near
Lamjung in Nepal.
While some tremors have been directly
traced to the pumping of fracking fluid at
higher pressure into undetected fault zones,
such as the one at Preese Hall in Britain,
most are associated with the disposal of
Induced seismicity is a side-effect of
all oil and gas production rather than
the fracking process. Some of the largest
recorded seismic events have taken place
at conventional fields which have been
waterflooded to boost oil recovery.
And induced seismicity is not limited to
oil and gas production. Some of the largest
earthquakes that may have been triggered
by man have been linked to dam projects in
India (M6.3) and China (M7.9).
The most frequent induced seismicity
in the United States has occurred at
the Geysers geothermal power plant in
northern California, which triggers 300-
400 tremors per year, with one to three of
them rated at magnitude 4.0 or higher.
The Geysers has a well-established
programme to pay for damage to property
(such as broken tiles or cracked walls)
linked to its operations.
Communities in mining areas and near
oil and gas fields have long experienced
induced tremors: an average of 15 due to
underground works are reported each year
in the United Kingdom.
Most induced quakes around the world
are limited to between magnitudes 2.0
and 5.0, where they may be felt but are
unlikely to do much damage according to
researchers at Britain’s Durham University.
Because the amount of fluid involved in
hydraulic fracturing itself is relatively small,
just a few million gallons, it is unlikely to
generate a large tremor, unless injected
into a heavily faulted area. The volumes
involved in waste water injection are
much larger and pose a greater potential
The risk of activating a large fault system
provides a strong case for regulating both
fracking and waste water injection and
ensuring that operators have an adequate
understanding of local geology and that
their operations are monitored to detect any
seismicity due to undetected faults.
The biggest danger comes from proposals
to lock away carbon dioxide underground
as part of carbon capture and storage
CCS has been identified as essential
if the world is to continue using energy
from fossil fuels such as coal and gas while
curbing carbon dioxide emissions and
limiting the rise in global temperatures to
two degrees Celsius.
To have an impact on climate change,
however, CCS would have to pump billions
of tonnes of supercritical CO2 under
intense pressure into deep rock formations.
The scale of the injections would pose an
earthquake risk far greater than anything
currently associated with oil and gas
For some climate campaigners and
environmental groups, the threat of
earthquakes is another reason to ban or
severely regulate fracking, and ultimately
leave the oil and gas in the ground.
But that response would be neither
practical nor proportionate; the risk of
earthquakes is associated with plenty of
energy technologies that environmentalists
like, such as dams, geothermal and CCS.
Unfortunately, the response from some
executives linked to the oil and gas industry
has been to deny that any link exists and
attack the scientific studies, which while
not conclusive are strongly suggestive.
A more sensible course would be to accept
that there is a strong likelihood of a causal
link between oil and gas production and
seismic events and work towards sensible
and proportionate regulations, recognising
that the quake risks are moderate and that
oil and gas production remains essential.
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