Home' Greymouth Star : May 14th 2015 Contents 3
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THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
‘Save our heritage’
Open letter to mayor
of the Westport News
Trio held for
Three people have been charged
with aggravated burglary after a
Greymouth resident was allegedly
threatened with a knife during a
break-in at a Shakespeare Street
house last Wednesday afternoon.
The offenders — a 42-year-old man,
20-year-old woman and 22-year-old
man — fled the scene before police
arrived, but were captured shortly
afterwards. Senior constable Mike
Tinnelly, of the Greymouth police,
said the two younger offenders
left in a vehicle, while the older
man was on foot but was caught
“quickly” by a police tracker dog.
“ The other two were also caught
promptly, as they were escaping the
scene in a car,” Mr Tinnelly said.
No one was injured in the incident.
Police alleged the offenders were
attempting to take a variety of
household items. The 42-year-old
was found to have a small amount
of methamphetamine ‘P ’ on him.
He made a brief appearance in the
Greymouth District Court yesterday
and was remanded in custody until
later in the month. The other two
have been released on bail.
up for smart meters
Mighty River Power’s metering
business Metrix will be Trustpower’s
preferred provider to supply smart
meters to its 225,000 customers,
including on the West Coast. The
long-term service contract between
Metrix and Trustpower will cost
$100 million over the next three
years. Tauranga-based Trustpower
has been running a competitive
tender for the right to provide smart
meters to its customers for the past
15 months. Over the past five years
Metrix has installed 340,000 smart
meters. — New Zealand Herald
A woman dialled 111 because
she was sold an ice-cream without
enough chocolate sprinkles. The
caller contacted West Midlands
Police while arguing with the owner
of an ice-cream van because she
was unhappy with what she was
served. D uring the minute-long
call, the indignant woman told the
operator: “It doesn’t seem like much
of an emergency but it is a little bit
because I’ve ordered an ice-cream
and he’s put bits on one side and
none of the other. He’s refusing to
give me my money back and saying
that I’ve got to take it like that.” —
Rain, some heavy falls.
The Government will not stump up
a cent to build Westport ’s $8 million
new integrated family health centre
(IFHC), but is funding the entire
$64 million cost for Greymouth’s new
hospital and IFHC.
“Government has confirmed that
the Grey Hospital redevelopment and
IFHC will be funded directly by the
Crown,” West Coast District Health
Board programme director Michael
“Government has decided that
private funding is to be used for
financing the Buller IFHC.”
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor said that was “an outrage”
Government aimed to privatise the
“ W hy should the people of Buller,
who have paid taxes, who have earned
hundreds of millions of dollars for the
Government through Solid Energy’s
core operations, have to rely on the
private sector for basic public health
“ This is an outrage and another clear
example of the squeeze occurring right
around the country so the Government
can have a so-called balanced budget.”
The Government had assumed that
the West Coast — a region equivalent
in length to the distance between
Auckland and Wellington — should
have only one publicly-funded health
facility, Mr O’Connor said.
“It’s a huge backward step for basic
taxpayer-funded responsibilities in our
Buller Mayor Garry Howard said
he would not criticise the private
funding proposal until he had more
“I’m just pleased that, one way or
another, it’s going to go ahead and we
are going to get there.”
Mr Howard, who emphasised he was
speaking on his own behalf, did not
rule out investing ratepayer funds in
The council had about $4m in the
kitty from selling leasehold sections.
If the IFHC provided a secure
investment, council should consider it,
The council would have to consider
public good, commercial return and
risks, then consult the public before
making any decision.
“It’s a very large chunk of money, but
it gives them something they could
feel and touch and have community
Mr O’Connor said he “absolutely
objected” to any ratepayer funding of
core public health services.
“ We’ve got plenty of things we need
to spend money on, like good quality
water for people to drink, before we
move to take responsibility for what
has been accepted for years as a core
taxpayer public health responsibility.”
He also questioned why no one
had yet seen any plans for the new
Mr Frampton told the Westport
News the West Coast DHB was
unusual in that it owned and operated
large parts of primary care.
However, DHBs did not traditionally
fund IFHCs, which were privately-
owned and operated in most parts of
“ The use of private funding to support
the Buller IFHC development is not
therefore inconsistent with what would
occur in other parts of the country.”
The DHB was beginning market
investigations to identify potential
investors for the Buller development,
Mr Frampton said.
The number of prospective partners
was currently unknown.
Asked if Ngai Tahu, which has
previously been cited as a possible
Buller partner, was still an option, he
said the DHB would consider all
Govt leaves Buller to pay for new family health centre
Westport residents are on tenterhooks
as they wait for news of the proposed
reorganisation at the Stockton coalmine,
amid whispers of hundreds more job losses.
It has been a black few years for the Buller
town, which is also facing the closure of
the cement factory. Stockton and Holcim
Cement are the two biggest employers in
Solid Energy today refused to comment on
speculation that hundreds of jobs could be at
risk, saying it will outline a “reorganisation
proposal” to Stockton staff members from
about 1pm tomorrow. Chief executive Dan
Clifford will be in Westport to deliver the
Stockton employs 561 people, 143 fewer
than when owner Solid Energy hit the
skids almost two years ago when the coal
price plummeted. In addition, hundreds of
contractors’ jobs have already gone at the
mine; best estimates put the total job losses
to date at 340.
“ There is concern through everyone in the
community because we know how important
the Stockton Mine is to all the businesses
in Westport and the wider region,” West
Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor said.
“ W hatever happens up there will affect the
railways, engineering and all the contractors.
It has a huge impact.
“O bviously people are concerned about
possible cuts which might extend to another
couple of hundred,” Mr O’Connor said.
Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing
Union West Coast area organiser Garth
Elliott said he did not know what to expect.
“Members up there have been waiting for
an announcement for quite some time. They
are probably feeling anxious.”
In February, Bathurst Resources, which
has delayed starting its proposed Denniston
mine, cut 29 Buller jobs, and last year cement
company Holcim shed 17.
Holcim is building two 30,000-tonne
import terminals elsewhere in New Zealand
and, when complete, will close the Cape
Foulwind factory with the loss of 120 jobs.
A Holcim spokesman today confirmed the
company would leave Westport in two years.
Buller Mayor Garry Howard said he
thought the Coast faced a tough time over
the next 18 months to two years, but it
“ The community is a bit on the anxious
side. They are really saying, ‘what does the
“Stockton is the important producer for
Solid Energy. Without production coming
out of there, there’s no Solid Energy. It ’s the
jewel in their crown.”
Bainbridge said the uncertainty was one of
the worst things.
“People can’t plan.”
However, she was sure Solid Energy would
keep reasonable numbers on the Stockton
In March, Solid Energy reported a loss of
The Greymouth Scout Hall was carefully lifted on to the back of a truck yesterday to make way for an expanded car park to ser vice the Grey
District Aquatic Centre and proposed Westland Recreation Centre, to be built alongside. The Scout Hall has taken up new residence at the
Suburbs rugby league ground on the Karoro Domain. The Makura Croquet Club pavilion will next be moved to the other side of the green,
also making room for the new car park.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Housie is no longer being called
at the Greymouth RSA after the
group upped sticks and moved to
the Union Hotel when the rent
Monday night housie has run at
the RSA for about 30 years, and
is now organised by Bowls West
Spokesman Stuart Oliver said
they had been offered a better
deal at the Union after the RSA
pumped up the rent to $40.
“ That was not the only reason we
left, though. When we have our
half-time break, often the RSA bar
is not open and some of the people
playing were not able to have a
drink, or something to eat; at the
Union they can,” Mr Oliver said.
He said there was plenty of
discussion about the move.
“Everyone was asked what they
wanted to do and if they had
wanted to stay at the RSA, we
Greymouth RSA president Mick
Collins was not too concerned
about losing the housie as they had
already secured another group, tae
kwon do martial arts, to use the
rooms on a nightly basis.
“So we haven’t lost out,” Mr
While the future of the club
had not been looking good when
things went “pear shaped” a while
ago, it was “ticking along nicely at
the moment ”.
“However, like everyone else in
this town at the moment we are
just getting by. There is not enough
money or people to go around
everyone — but we are ticking
RSA housie calls new home
After years of inactivity, the
Scottish Highlander Band has
been officially disbanded, with its
equipment to be sold off.
The move was prompted after
equipment had to be moved
from the ruins of the Greymouth
Municipal Band Hall, in
Blaketown, which was destroyed
in the April 17 windstorm.
At the Grey District Council
meeting this week, Cr Murray
Hay noted the difficult decision
that had to be made as he
recommended that the council
look to terminate the band.
Cr Hay said the equipment,
which was currently being kept
at a councillor’s home, should be
sold off and the proceeds put toward
the Regent Theatre and municipal
band in equal parts.
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn noted
that the band’s termination
marked the “end of an era”.
The band had become inactive
due to a lack of musicians able to
play the instruments.
Speaking for the former
Highland band, Peter McIntosh
said he hoped the proceeds from
the sale of equipment could go
back to a useful cause or an asset
for the town.
Scouts on the move
Greymouth Highland bagpipes fall silent
Possibly 200 Stockton jobs at risk
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