Home' Greymouth Star : June 2nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - 5
Dunedin’s historic courthouse
will cost the Ministry of Justice
about $220 a day in rates over the
next year while it lies empty and
That works out to more than
$1500 every week or about
$80,000 for a building the
Ministry of Justice cannot
guarantee will be used for court
ser vices again.
Ongoing security, maintenance,
and insurance costs would also
be spent at the Stuart Street site
over the coming year, though the
ministry was unable last week to
provide figures forthose costs.
Nor was the ministry able to
provide the cost of the lease for its
temporary High Street premises
citing time to respond under the
Official Information Act, though
rates alone on the site are about
$45,000, and the Ministry have
previously reported spending
more than $6 million fitting out
The Government ’s changes to
last month mean the building
can remain in use for another
35 years before strengthening
works must be completed, but
the ministry could not say at
this stage whether those new
guidelines would affect its plans
for the courthouse.
The ministry was also again
unable to answer a request to
publicly commit to returning
court ser vices to the historic
courthouse, saying it needed up
to 20 working days to respond.
Since the historic courthouse
was pronounced an earthquake
risk, no plans for strengthening
work have been publicly released,
and no strengthening work has
A ministry spokesman said
it was continuing to build a
business case “to explore our
options for returning ser vices to
the Stuart Street courthouse”,
calling the process required to
strengthen heritage buildings
“ We will be paying rates, (the)
amount of which is set out on the
“ Just because a building is being
vacated because it poses a risk of
collapse in a strong earthquake,
it does not mean we are exempt
from paying rates. ” Dunedin
barrister Anne Stevens said it
was hard to believe the ministry
was serious about returning court
ser vices to the building.
“ It is hard to accept that that
is a genuine statement, when no
work has occurred. It’s hard not
to be a little cynical that there
is some prejudice against the
building, because it is historic. I
suspect they think it will cost too
much as an ongoing concern.”
Mrs Stevens said the city’s legal
community was confused at the
decision making which had led
to the building’s closure without
any plan for remedial work being
announced. — Otago Daily Times
not live to
The woman at the centre of a
legal battle over her right to die
may not live long enough to hear
the verdict, her husband says,
after her condition took a turn
for the worse this weekend.
Wellington lawyer Lecretia
Seales, who has an inoperable
brain tumour, is “not well” and
was “talking less and less”, her
husband Matt Vickers posted on
her blog, Lecretia’s Choice.
On Friday morning Ms Seales
woke to find her paralysis had
spread, taking a “firm grip on
her whole body”, and leaving her
“rigid as a plank, unable to bend
at the waist ”, Mr Vickers wrote.
A hospital bed was delivered
with some difficulty over
a holiday weekend — to the
couples’ home, which meant Ms
Seales did not have to be moved
to a hospice, which was against
her wishes, he said.
His wife was “not well”, Mr
“Her eyes are closed most of
the time. She is having trouble
swallowing. She is talking less
and less. But she is facing all of
this without complaint. She says
she has no pain, and she has not
taken any painkillers.
“Every so often a tremor
comes. Her whole body shakes
and vibrates. The pressure of
the tumour on her brain stem is
causing her brain to reconfigure,
to shift against itself like restless
earth, causing her body to
tremble, the frame of the bed
shaking and rattling. And then it
subsides, and she rests.” However,
he added: “Lecretia’s choice is
imminent, and we don’t know
yet if she will get to make it.” He
did not know if Ms Seales would
choose to end her own life if she
won her court challenge, he said,
but “having the ability to make
a choice about how her life ends
would give her more strength to
In a touching post, Mr Vickers
described how he was sitting
with his wife, holding her hand
and talking about the holidays
they had shared together.
“S he is facing this as she faces
all things: with tremendous
bravery and courage. I am so
proud of her. I love her so much.
“ I don’t know what she will
ultimately choose, or even
whether she will get to. But for
Lecretia, it was always having
the choice that mattered, not
the choice itself. ” Mr Vickers
declined to comment further
about his wife’s condition or her
court case, when contacted today.
Last week, in a three-day
hearing in front of Justice David
Collins in the High Court at
Wellington, Ms Seales’ legal
team argued that not allowing
her doctor to administer lethal
medication that would relieve
her suffering was contrary to the
Human Rights Act. Evidence
was also given by Ms Seales’
oncologist, who said she had
weeks or some short months to
However, the Crown argued
that there was nothing in current
legislation that allowed for
doctors to lawfully help to end
someone’s life and only a change
in legislation would make it legal.
Professor Paul Rishworth,
QC, said Ms Seales’ arguments
around who could apply for
doctor-assisted death led to a
slippery slope and there were
details such as the definition of
the word terminal that would
have to be dealt with. — NZ ME
Newly elected Green Party male
co-leader James Shaw says his job is
to “change the party” to prepare it for
government rather than an opposition,
massively grow party membership
to reflect a broader cross-section of
New Zealand society and articulate
economic policy that goes beyond both
capitalism and socialism.
Button-holed by opponents as a
right-wing candidate because of
his background as an international
business consultant, Mr Shaw got a
rousing cheer from the 250 delegates
at the party’s annual congress when he
told them he was “not a hero of free
market capitalism, because free market
capitalism is dead” and had been since
governments bailed out private sector
banks in the 2008 global financial crisis.
“The reality of politics in the wake
of the global financial crisis is that
there is no longer a struggle between
capitalism and socialism. What we
have now is a hybrid model that takes
some of the good but most of the bad
elements of both systems.
“There’s no name for this system that
we now live under,” Mr Shaw said. “It ’s
not capitalism or neo-liberalism. And
it’s not conser vatism. Nobody speaks
for it. Nobody voted for it.” It was
a product of lobbying, deals behind
closed doors and driven by polling.
While he opposed going into formal
coalition with the National Party, he
urged the creation of “common cause”
with National on an ambitious national
target for greenhouse gas emissions
reduction ahead of December’s global
climate change conference in Paris.
Mr Shaw said also the Greens need
to modernise how it campaigns, using
techniques that are “technology-
based, data-driven but founded on
communities, self-organisation and the
passion of volunteers”.
Mr Shaw, who entered Parliament
after the September 2014 election,
became the party’s third male co-
leader in its 25-year history yesterday,
convincingly beating front-runner
and long-ser ving MP Kevin Hague,
winning the support of 69 electorate
delegates to Mr Hague’s 56, with
other candidates, Gareth Hughes and
Vernon Tava, winning one vote each
under the party’s electoral system.
On his Facebook page, Mr Hague
said he was very disappointed.
“I’m going to take a couple of weeks
off now before plunging back in to my
He also congratulated Mr Shaw.
PICTURE: Getty Images
Co-leaders of the Green Party, James Shaw and Metiria Turei pose together following the Green Party conference.
New Greens co-leader aims to ‘change par ty’
A dispute between an uncle and his
nephew in Havelock North on Saturday
evening ended with one being treated
for stab wounds and the other in a police
Police were called to the scene in
Panckhurst Street about 6.35pm after
the wounded man, aged in his 60s, had
gone to a neighbouring house to call
police, Inspector Matt Broderick said.
The man was said to be bleeding
heavily from several stab wounds to his
arm and back.
Mr Broderick said it was not
immediately known what had sparked
what he described as a “family dispute”,
but that it had “quite clearly, seriously
Police went to the home of the nephew,
which was understood to be nearby, and
arrested him a short time later.
The man, in his 40s, was charged with
wounding with intent and is scheduled
to appear in the Hastings District Court.
The uncle was attended to by St John
and taken to Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
Mr Broderick said his wounds were
not life threatening.
— NZ ME-Hawke’s Bay Today
Family feud ends in cell, hospital
Hundreds of posties will lose their jobs
when mail delivery days are slashed next
month, but just one compulsory redundancy
is expected, New Zealand Post chairman Sir
Michael Cullen says.
Sir Michael is proud of how staff cuts
are being handled ahead of the delivery
reduction, saying it was very different from
public sector lay-offs in the 1980s.
However, the Postal Workers’ Union said
many posties would leave unwillingly, but are
on fixed-term contracts and are not eligible
About 300 posties are expected to be out of
the job next month, followed by another 100
in the next couple of years.
“This is an employer which is in the process
of one of the biggest reductions in labour
in the history of New Zealand government
“ When you’ve got the number of letters
going down 10% a year you can’t keep on
carrying the same number of people in jobs,”
Sir Michael said.
He accepted some posties were feeling
upset and under-valued.
“It is not their fault. That ’s the hard thing I
think for people to gather.”
Some had been helped to gain new
qualifications to prepare for new careers.
“ We’ve done our very best to help people.
“I know that ’s still not enough for many
people and that is absolutely understandable. ”
Sir Michael has investigated concerns
voiced last week by a Dunedin on-call postie
and unions that the company is using zero-
hour contracts and penalising people who
were not available at all times.
He was satisfied the company was not using
those arrangements, and said calling the
casual contracts zero-hour was a “per version
of the term”.
While mail volumes were dropping, the
mail business is being sliced between more
Some, like DX Mail and Whitestone Post,
use New Zealand Post to deliver letters for
“ We’re delighted they use our network.
If they didn’t use our network we’d have to
make much bigger cuts.”
Asked about the small-town providers like
Whitestone Post run by an Oamaru taxi firm,
Sir Michael said: “Goodness knows how they
make money out of it.”
Questioned whether mail delivery was a
public ser vice, Sir Michael replied: “I’m sure
the taxi driver doesn’t see it as a community
Sir Michael did not view letters as any
different from other forms of communication.
“ Delivering letters isn’t a public ser vice. It’s
a means of communication. It ’s no different
from Facebook, or Twitter, or e-mail, or
The future of the company was expected to
be mainly in parcel delivery.
Postal Workers’ Union spokesman John
Maynard said many posties had been hired
on fixed-terms and some felt “ used” by the
company as a stop-gap measure.
It meant people losing work next month
would not be counted in redundancy figures.
“The amount of redundancy numbers the
company is going to pay out will be a lot less
than 400. ”
The union has been in conflict with the
company about whether it is breaching the
collective agreement in respect of the required
number of permanent workers.
From next month, mail delivery in urban
centres would reduce from six to three days
per week. — Otago Daily Times
Post job losses hard: Cullen
A young American woman was
rescued by the Coastguard after
becoming “mildly hypothermic”
during a kayaking trip to
Rangitoto on Saturday.
The woman, 19, was on a guided
tour with a group of fellow
university students and teachers
when a tour guide noticed she
had become delirious 6km out
from shore and called for help,
Fergs Kayaks head instructor
John Williams said.
“S he was slightly delirious and
one of the guides obser ved that,
then she seemed to perk up,” he
“Then she went into more of
a delirium, so the guys quite
rightly called in the Coastguard
who came and picked her up.”
The Coastguard took the young
woman back to the mainland
Helicopter paramedic assessed
She was then taken to Auckland
Mr Williams said he called the
hospital three times to check on
the young woman.
He also spoke to a professor
in the group who told him they
were waiting to see a doctor.
The professor told him the girl
was conscious and lucid and Mr
Williams later heard she had left
hospital “under her own steam”.
Coastguard duty officer for
the northern region Johnny
Slough said the girl had
mild hypothermia when the
Coastguard picked her up half
a kilometre off the shore of
“S he was conscious, but she was
unable to paddle, which is why
the decision was made to bring
her to shore quickly,” Mr Slough
“S he was not alert and
conscious, she was in a lowered
level of consciousness.”
Slough said it was thanks to the
guide’s quick thinking and the
immediate availability of a rescue
vessel that the situation did not
become any more serious.
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