Home' Greymouth Star : May 26th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
The day the
West Coast shook
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TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2015
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Armed police in
The West Coast armed offenders
squad was called to assist while
police searched a Blaketown property
last night. Inspector John Canning
said it was a “routine call-out” for the
AOS, while a warrant was executed
to search for stolen property,
including firearms. Two men, aged
23 and 20, were arrested about 8pm,
both charged with receiving stolen
Police called as
teens attack mums
Westport police have attended two
family violence incidents involving
teenagers in the past 24 hours. A
mother and her daughter had to
be separated about 4pm yesterday.
Police said “verbal tensions” led to
temporary separation and there were
no charges. About 20 minutes later
police visited another address to a
conflict between a mother and her
son. The son hurled verbal abuse,
accompanied by “physical activity”
towards his mother. The matter has
been referred to the police youth aid
Stockton axe falls
Stockton Mine workers will
find out today who has a job and
who will be made unemployed.
Solid Energy announced on May
7 it would reduce the number of
staff at the Buller open-cast from
397 to 246. Because the mine has
38 roles vacant, that means 113
redundancies. The company said
the changes were necessary to
stem Stockton’s losses, which had
averaged $2.1 million a month this
Fine with light winds
Most dogs will burrow beneath
the fencing to escape their owners’
back gardens. But one crafty pet has
discovered a new getaway by using
a children’s trampoline to catapult
himself over a 2m fence. Paddy, a
four-year-old labrador-collie cross,
used the manoeuvre to follow his
owner Thomas McCormack to work
one day from their house in Croy,
north Lanarkshire. The four-year-
old dog managed to trail behind Mr
McCormack unnoticed to the train
station and on to the carriage, taking
a seat behind the 34-year-old as he
made his way to work. Bemused by
how the animal had managed to
escape the garden, Mr McCormack
discovered neighbours had seen the
animal throw itself over the fence
by jumping on the trampoline for
height. — Daily Mail
The Grey District Council
has dipped into $400,000 of
its contingency fund for the
Westland Recreation Centre due
to cost over-runs.
An anonymous letter sent to the
Greymouth Star from within the
council said the entire fund had
been blown just weeks into the
project, but not revealed.
“Is this going to be another
aquatic centre roof or spa pool
tile disaster?” the letter asked.
Kokshoorn said the contingency
fund now totalled $300,000,
although he acknowledged it was
Mr Kokshoorn said that was
due to the cost of the original
building contract coming in
higher than expected.
“Costs made us cut into a lot
of areas. To not affect rates we
had to use reserves. We got
there without direct rating,” Mr
That was what the contingency
fund was for, he said.
“A contingency allowance is
something we put in ourselves.”
The fund provided for things
that “might come out of the blue”.
“In our experience, we expect
things to come along.”
He agreed that it could be
further eroded with other
unforeseen costs along the way,
but the council would “cross that
bridge when we come to it ”.
“ We expect that, we don’t
know if that will be $100,000
or $300,000 ... we’ ll address that
problem when it comes up.”
He said all operations were
above board and he questioned
the intent of the letter.
“That person is trying to make
mischief. This could be a reaction
to $1 million of funds going
to the CBD renewal. Someone
may be thinking we have over-
At the council long-term
meeting this month, Mr
Kokshoorn surprised councillors
by announcing that he had
assigned $1m of funding from
their reser ves to go towards the
town renewal project.
He defended the use of reser ves
to fund that project.
“That ’s what they are for. We’ve
got $9m still sitting in reserve
funds. They are healthy and
are being replenished by half a
million every year.”
Mr Kokshoorn said detractors
should not “shoot from the hip”.
“ You need to look at all the
information. Money comes and
goes all the time.”
Blaketown welcomes new hall
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Bailey Magon, Phaze Dry and Seani-Lee Eastman check out the new Blaketown School hall, which is close to completion. The vinyl is due to be laid this week,
along with the concrete paths. The school has recycled an old sign from the 1960s for the outside. Principal Bevan Clark said they were “over the moon” with the new
hall. “ The students just can’t wait to get in.” The facility would be available for the public to use and they already had their first booking, with a training
session for Jump Jam in mid-June. The school will hold a fundraiser on Friday night to help furnish the hall, with a hypnotist show and auction at the Regent Theatre.
DHB picks up tab for ambulance
The West Coast District Health Board
has agreed to pick up a $1471 bill St John
sent a Greymouth pensioner to transfer
her partner, who has dementia, back from
Barbara Collett was stunned to
receive the bill, especially as her partner
is a subsidised resident of Kowhai
Manor rest home. He was transferred
to Christchurch for surgery but it did
not go ahead, and he was sent back to
The story made talkback radio early
today, generating a heated response.
St John spokesman Ian Henderson said
yesterday afternoon the DHB would
cover the cost of this transfer “as it fits
criteria they have”.
“ To clarify: this invoice was for a trip
Greymouth. It was booked by
Christchurch Hospital,” Mr Henderson
He said there may have been some
confusion from the patient ’s family.
St John would be rescinding that
invoice and issuing a new one to go to
the West Coast DHB instead.
Mrs Collett said this morning she was
pleased with the result.
She also felt the invoice was a “wake up
call for the Coast ”.
“It ’s a steep bill if you haven’t got the
The failure to produce evidence
from a taser was enough for a charge
of obstructing police to be dismissed
against a Kumara Junction mother in
the Greymouth District Court last
Margaret Jean Robinson had been
charged with obstructing police
during an incident involving her son,
Cody Allyn Robinson, on September
2 last year. Cody Robinson had
previously been imprisoned for one
year and three months for threatening
behaviour relating to this and other
incidents, the court was told.
Police said that on September 2
last year they pulled over a car, 100m
north of the Taramakau Bridge, for
following the patrol car too closely.
Constable Damon Monks spoke
to Margaret Robinson about her
driving, when Cody Robinson began
to “shout and yell abuse” at him.
Given his previous assault on police,
Mr Monks advised his colleague,
constable Shannon Heaney, to have
a taser on standby.
Mr Monks and Mrs Robinson
went to the back of the car to talk
about the situation. Cody Robinson
followed and began pacing up and
down in a “threatening manner”.
Ms Heaney then pointed her taser
at Robinson. In court, she said Mrs
Robinson got in the way and would
not move, so Ms Heaney had to
lower the taser.
In order to de-escalate the situation,
police left the scene.
They returned the next day and
arrested the mother and son, charging
Mrs Robinson with obstructing
Under cross-examination by lawyer
Eymard Bradley, Ms Heaney agreed
that a recording of the incident, taken
by the taser, was not available.
She said it had been found to have
had a “slow spark rate” and had
been sent to the police armourer in
Despite numerous requests for it to
be sent back, police had been unable
to get hold of the taser.
Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said he
was “minded to dismiss the charge”
due to the lack of the evidence.
“ It is crucial and admissible
evidence, it effectively goes to the
heart of the case.
“ I am not attributing blame, but I
do not believe reliable and admissible
evidence should be withheld from
the court when it’s arguably the best
evidence,” Judge O’Driscoll said in
dismissing the charge.
Case dismissed as mum charged with obstruction
A proposed coalmine near Westport
has attracted the attention of
conservationists — even before consent
has been lodged.
Stevenson Mining, intends seeking
consent for a multi-million dollar
open-cast mine at Te Kuha, about
10km south-east of Westport on the
north side of the Buller River towards
the Buller Gorge.
Stevenson Mining general manager
Mike Coleman said a few months ago
the “small mine” would employ about 40
people. It would produce about 250,000
tonnes of coal a year to be railed directly
from Westport to Lyttelton for export.
Coal Action Network Aotearoa said
yesterday it had requested a report
under the Official Information Act
from the Department of Conservation.
The West Coast Regional Council
confirmed today it had not yet received
an application for resource consent.
“Forest and Bird have commented
that they believe the land to have high
conser vation value. There have been
previous attempts to mine this area over
many years,” Coal Action Network said
in a blog post yesterday.
Coal Action Network said Bathurst
Resources and Solid Energy were
getting rid of staff and there should be a
“ just transition” from mining.
However, Stevenson said recently its
quality coal was used for carbon fibre
processes, including medical processes,
not for burning.
Conservationists round on new Westport mine
Contingency fund raided
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