Home' Greymouth Star : May 15th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
2 - Friday, May 15, 2015
Punakaiki water supply
Residents at Punakaiki have been
issued with another ‘boil water’
notice after a blowout on the water
main. Buller District Council works
engineer Tony Robertson said a
roadside mower damaged a road
shoulder, which caused a major leak
to the water supply. He said raw
material was introduced to maintain
the reser voir’s level, which resulted
in another ‘boil water’ notice. The
damage was repaired on Wednesday,
and the plant was back in full
operation, Mr Robertson said. The
notice was due to be lifted today. It is
the second ‘boil water’ notice the area
has received this year. The first was
in place from March 26 until April
21 when a slip discoloured the town’s
water supply. — Westport News
A person is dead after a fire in
a sleepout in the Bay of Plenty
overnight. Fire crews were called to
the sleepout behind a Webb Street
house about 11.15pm, northern fire
communications shift manager Scott
Osmond said. The building was well
involved by the time crews arrived,
he said. Fire investigators were at the
scene to assess the cause of the blaze,
but it was not considered suspicious.
A five-year-old boy is in a critical
condition with head injuries after he
was hit by a car in south Auckland.
The child was struck on Manuroa
Road in Takanini at 8.45am.
The road was closed while police
investigated. — NZ ME
Greymouth Bridge Club results
from this week were. — Wednesday:
Bijaya Mishra and Ian Anderson
65% 1, John Boyes and Tina
Fernando 60% 2. Thursday: Bruce
Truman and Stuart Oliver 60.7% 1,
Sue Glue and Michelle Gunn 53.6%
2, Tina Fernando and Paul Holt
Port of Greymouth. — Arrivals:
Nil. Departures: Nil. In port: Jay
Elaine, Latitude, Brid Voyager,
Borda, Christina, Jay Penelope,
Lady Sarah, Sovereign, Tantramar,
Tenacity, 28 other vessels. Expected
departures: Jay Elaine, today.
3.8% rate rise on way
Trials for a rental vehicle code of
practice to inform visiting drivers and
improve road safety will begin next
month, it was announced yesterday.
It follows widespread public disquiet
at overseas drivers driving on the wrong
side of the road, while authorities
seemed unable to regulate who gets to
rent a vehicle and drive on arrival in New
The trial code has been developed
following a meeting of 25 rental vehicle
companies in March.
Associate Transport Minister Craig
Foss yesterday welcomed the trial code
said one of its key elements would be an
assessment of drivers’ experience.
Under the code, rental vehicle operators
would also commit to providing
more pre-arrival information on New
Zealand driving conditions and sharing
information with their competitors.
Mr Foss said the New Zealand road
toll was still “far too high”.
The code was another initiative to build
a safe system for all road users, including
overseas visitors choosing to explore
New Zealand by car.
The Tourism Industry Association and
the Rental Vehicle Association aim to
have the code finalised by October and
in place for next summer.
set to start
The Grey District Council has dropped its
rates from the drafted 4.3% to a final 3.8%,
thanks to savings in insurance.
Council corporate ser vices manager Ian
Young said insurance premiums in general
were becoming lower and nearing “pre-
“That is the way insurance is heading again.
There is a big softening in the insurance
market that everyone will experience,” Mr
Young said today.
The council also received some savings
through collaboration with other councils.
“There was major insurance savings from
collaboration between the four councils.
We managed to put rates down to 3.8%,
which is a really good omen. We are bearing
fruit from collaboration between councils,”
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said.
All West Coast councils worked with
a wider group of 21 other councils from
greater New Zealand, including Manawatu,
Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. A total cost
saving of $3.4million resulted in savings for
the Coast councils of $458,000.
Mr Kokshoorn said they got a better deal
from volume and would start to look at that
There were other wise no major changes
to the long-term plan and it remained “as
“It’s a steady-as -we -go budget. There is
a lot of pressure on family budgets at the
moment. We are making progress but are
keeping rate rises to a minimum.”
The 10-year plan includes about $4.9m
for a new cell to be built at McLeans Pit
landfill, rates input into the Greymouth
port, and for $260,000 to be spent on
assessments of water and stormwater
Mr Kokshoorn noted that they would also
be able to “replenish” some of their reser ves,
notable as at the same meeting they assigned
$1m from reser ves for the Greymouth
central business district renewal.
“That is a crucial part of council. You’ve
got to put some money away for a rainy day.”
Mr Kokshoorn said they also needed to
account for depreciation.
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Osu, Senpai Paul. We
have lost one of our
own, a much loved,
valued and respected
member of our club.
Without you there is a
piece missing, but you
will never be forgotten.
You would always
say “Pain is weakness
leaving the body” but
you never showed
weakness. We will carry
on, because you would,
no matter how hard that
To Lynda, Brittany
and Jayden we cannot
begin to express our
sorrow for the loss of
a husband, father and a
friend to many.
“Pinan” means Peace
and Harmony and one
day, we hope to find
— From your family at
Seido Karate, Hokitika.
Sandra Mary. — Wes,
Wayne and family thank
everyone for the cards,
calls, baking, flowers
and support in our loss
of Sandra. A special big
thanks to medical and
oncology staff at Grey
and Christchurch Hospi-
tals. Please accept this
as a personal acknow-
of the Westport News
A former Westport harbourmaster is
aghast at Buller District Council plan
to sell the dredge after Holcim leaves
The council’s draft long-term plan
includes almost $2.9 million ‘profit from
sale of assets’ in 2017-18.
Responding to questions from the
Westport News, corporate ser vices manager
Angela Oosthuizen confirmed the council
was planning to sell port assets, including
The council assumed port operations
would cease after Holcim pulled out, she
Former harbourmaster David Barnes
described the plan as “crazy ”. He said
Westport ’s flood risk would worsen without
The Kawatiri’s dredging by the cement
silos not only maintained cement ship
berths, but created a pocket for water to run
into when the Buller River ran high, Mr
“ We dredge about 150 cubic metres of
stones from there a year.”
The Kawatiri also kept the bar clear
of sand, he said. Without dredging the
harbour entrance would end up like others
on the West Coast — with a lake and a
sand bar between the river and the sea.
“ You will form a dam at the entrance.
That will force the water to back up in the
river and back up into the town. Even the
narrowing of the tipheads has caused a
damming effect to some extent. ”
The council was mistaken if it thought
it could sell the Kawatiri and hire another
dredge when the river clogged up.
“S hips need a depth of water to float
in. Kawatiri needs 4m of water. We will
rapidly get the river back to about 2m, I
would say, then we won’t be able to get in to
dredge it out.”
Nor would Westport find a dredge crew
with the skills and local knowledge of those
on the Kawatiri, Mr Barnes said.
Mr Barnes said that when he was
harbourmaster, the Kawatiri was dredging
about 300,000 cubic metres a year
compared to Nelson port ’s maintenance
dredging of just 60,000 cubic metres a year.
“That shows how much dredging
we actually do. It ’s a huge amount by
comparison with any other harbour.”
The dredge cost $1.1m a year to operate,
but subsidised its costs by dredging
After Holcim left, the dredge’s burden on
ratepayers could be reduced by more out-
port work. The Kawatiri could also dredge
the Buller River only when required —
about once every couple of months.
Mr Barnes doubts the port assets would
sell for a $2.9m profit. The dredge was in
good nick, but was 30 years old and had its
original engines, he said.
Selling the tug Bob Gower would also
be a mistake. It provided the “eyes” for the
harbour, he said.
“ Without that hydrographic gear, how do
you know what the bar’s doing. How do
you know the depth of the river? You don’t
Mr Barnes was Westport’s harbourmaster
for 10 years before he resigned a decade
ago. He is also a former Buller district
Dredge sale plan raises Westpor t flooding fears
PICTURE: Westport News
The Buller District Council plans to sell the Westport dredge, Kawatiri, after Holcim leaves the district.
Some West Coast volunteer fire
brigades are so thin on the ground
that on “rare” occasions they are
unable to immediately respond.
However, overall the 342-strong
volunteer base for the region’s 21
brigades is in strong heart and only
a “handful” of the 1000 calls received
Coastwide last year did not get an
immediate response, NZ Fire Ser vice
West Coast area commander Mark
He was aware of “a handful” of times
recently when some smaller brigades
scraped to cover the minimum
“It is a rare occurrence,” Mr Boere
However, it did highlight the need
to remember the volunteer base of
the brigades and for a variety of new
people to come on board, both in
support and on the front line.
The standard fire response was for
two appliances but systems were in
place to call other brigades to assist.
Mr Boere said the brigades
performed a vital community
promotion of smoke alarms and
other initiatives to minimise risk
meant fire calls were actually
However, the first response role
of fire brigades for car accidents
was increasingly important and it
particularly underlined the vital role
of rural brigade volunteers.
Work ‘migration’ of rural residents
from their home patch during the
day meant some brigades at times
struggled to muster a minimum four-
man crew, although that was the
“There are brigades with four
members only. There’s no brigades
that are unable to do their role —
for a one-pump station, of 12 to 16
people, we would expect there are
four people around at any time to
man the truck,” Mr Boere said.
Operationally, a lot of effort was
being invested in support of those
brigades by the wider Fire Ser vice
region, particularly in volunteer
“ Volunteers are 75% of our
workforce in New Zealand, so
anything we can do to support those
volunteers, that ’s what we’re doing.”
The West Coast fire area was keen
to recruit new volunteers and was
about to mount a campaign.
There was wide scope for people to
join, particularly in support roles such
as drivers and pump operators, as well
as for the frontline.
Greymouth Volunteer Fire Brigade
chief fire officer Lee Swinburn said
they struggled “the odd time” but
in the main was able to man two
appliances for every call-out.
“ We’re tight but not critical,” Mr
However, as with all other
community-based volunteer groups,
the brigade increasingly faced the
same pressures from “the way society
Variable work patterns and social
commitment were factors, he said.
“ I know other brigades really do
struggle during the daytime. It is no
fault of the brigade. ”
The days when firemen had to live
within immediate proximity of the
station had gone.
“At the moment we are pretty good
but when we take on staff we really
look at whether they are available
during work hours or during the
night. We have no trouble getting
the right people but it’s whether
they are available,” Mr Swinburn
Hokitika fire chief Harry Collett
said his brigade was fortunate to have
a full roster, but he acknowledged
the issue of volunteer availability was
“Community support is there but
unfortunately for a lot of people their
need to earn an income doesn’t allow
them to be (always) available.
“There are a lot of people in those
smaller towns who probably need a
tap on the shoulder next to say ‘I can
join the brigade,”’ Mr Collett said.
Lack of volunteers stretch fire brigades
hydro scheme flow
Trustpower admits its Dillmanstown
hydro electric power scheme has reduced
the flow through Kapitea Creek well
below the minimum required by its
resource consent — and now it wants to
change its consent conditions to keep it
Under the terms of the consent, the
Kapitea Reser voir residual flow must be
maintained at 28 litres a second in the
creek at all times.
However, investigations undertaken
by Trustpower as part of its own
monitoring, confirmed that the residual
flow was only 14 litres a second.
The company investigated increasing
the flow by widening a pipe, installing
an additional bypass over the dam, or
modifying the submerged intake, which
is about 8m under water.
However, it said the modifications
could affect the structural integrity of
the dam, while also creating “significant
health and safety implications in trying
to create a safe working environment
in which to undertake the modifications”.
Instead, the Tauranga-based company
said in its consent application to the
West Coast Regional Council that it
wanted to amend the conditions of the
A report supplied by Trustpower says
there have been no negative effects on
the ecological health of the Kapitea
Creek tributary with the lower flow.
“ Indeed, a healthy environment has
been maintained within the creek despite
the residual flow rate being below the
minimum residual flow required.’’
The power scheme incorporates an
intake located in the Big Wainihinihi
River, where water is diverted into a
tunnel through to the Kawhaka River
and on to the Duffers power station.
This water then passes through the
Loopline Lake, on to Lake Kapitea, is
passed through the Dillmans power
station and finally the Kumara power
station, where it is discharged into the
Aimee van der Weyden
of the Westport News
The West Coast ’s population will increase
by just 200 people by 2043, according to a
report by the Salvation Army.
That is an increase of just 1%. By contrast,
Auckland’s population is expected to increase
by 49% by 2043.
Mixed Fortunes, written by Salvation Army
social policy analyst Alan Johnson, said
quality of life was, more than ever, dictated by
where a person lived in New Zealand.
The report paints a bleak picture for the
West Coast, especially if public policy
continues to ignore the needs of regional
“Based on current trends it is apparent that
New Zealand is on a divergent growth path
and that this path risks the creation of two
New Zealands — Auckland and the rest.”
It was important that public policy
acknowledged the importance of location in
questions of economic and social inequality,
the report said.
The report included a wide range of statistics
that supported the Salvation Army ’s belief
that New Zealand was becoming disparate.
Between 2009 and 2014, the West Coast ’s
population increased 0.9%, to 32,800. The
report described the Coast ’s population
as “static”. It said the region was likely
to experience weak growth in the elderly
population and a decline in the population of
Recent forecasts suggested that over the
next 25 to 30 years, Auckland could account
for over 60% of New Zealand’s population
In time, Aucklanders would make up about
40% of that population. Aucklanders would
be mainly younger, wealthier, better skilled,
and more ethnically diverse than the rest of
New Zealand, the report said
In 2012, Buller District Council chief
executive Paul Wylie predicted the number
of permanent resident ratepayers in Buller
could increase by about 400 by 2022. An
increase in population would mean more
people to help “share the burden” of rates,
Sallies forecast 1%
Coast population growth
The Grey District Council has decided
against changing its sandwich board
bylaw, despite recognising it as yet
another fee for businesses to pay.
The council put the issue up for review
last month after a staff report looked into
the benefit of suspending the bylaw to
assist ‘economic recovery’ in Greymouth.
Regulatory councillor Doug Truman,
a Greymouth retailer, opened the
discussion last night, recognising the
economic conditions and the attempts
to make the town more vibrant.
“ We are trying to make it a more
interesting place and we’re working
against ourselves . . . we need to be more
more flexible,” Cr Truman said.
The bylaw states that the building side
of the footpath must be kept free to
allow disabled people to navigate safely.
Northern ward councillor Cliff
Sandrey said a Runanga business had
been picked up for not paying its fee
despite “no foot traffic issue”.
“People are struggling and it is another
fee they ’re paying — You’re not going
to get 20,000 signs put down the main
street,” Cr Sandrey said.
Chief executive Paul Pretorius said
that if the $75 licence fee was dropped
it would have to come out of rates, as the
issue still needed to be enforced.
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn noted that in
choosing to put out a sandwich board,
businesses were able to reap the benefits
If the council agreed to reduce the
fee, it would only invite others to ask
for various fees to be reduced, Mr
Cr Tony Coll, a former Greymouth
retailer, favoured keeping the fee as it
was on a user-pays basis.
“There are other ways, in this day and
age, to make a town look vibrant,” Cr
Cr Truman moved to keep the bylaw
as it was; only Cr Sandrey was opposed.
The council will next put its traffic and
parking bylaw out for review.
No change to council
sandwich board rules
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a record
number of doctors and nurses are working for the West
Coast District Health Board. As of March, it had 36
doctors and 277 nurse full-time equivalents. That was
nine more doctors and 44 more nurses compared to
2008, Mr Coleman said, including five more senior
doctors and eight more senior nurses.
Health staff at record level
restructuring of the
corrections system which
will see almost 200 jobs
executive Ray Smith
yesterday announced it
would reduce the number
of full-time prison staff
by 194 from three prisons
as part of a restructure.
There are 38 jobs going
at Waikeria Prison, 47
at Rimutaka, and 37 at
Davis said the job losses
would have serious
ramifications for New
“Once again the
Government is looking
to do away with jobs
in some of our smaller
regional centres,” he said.
money out of the local
economy. The loss of
almost 200 Corrections
roles doesn’t just affect
those who are losing
their jobs, but their
communities as well.”
Mr Davis questioned
a move to increase the
number of prison beds
while reducing staff
numbers to look after
“ Interestingly Mr
Smith says Corrections
is looking to improve
reintegration, health and
rehabilitation ser vices
for prisoners and reduce
re-offending by 25% by
2017. He is also talking
increased prison bed
“ With fewer people
to actually provide the
ser vices, and potentially
433 more prisoners, it
will be interesting to
watch the ‘reshape’,” he
said. — NZ ME
Prison job cuts
caned by Labour
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