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MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
A couple sleeping in their
camper van at the Cobden Bridge
campsite had a rude awakening
yesterday morning when someone
threw a beer bottle through the
window. Senior constable Mike
Tinnelly, of Greymouth police, said
the visitors from Westport “got a
hell of a fright ”. The culprits were
not found. Meanwhile, in Westport
a 24-year-old man was arrested
after a window smashing spree as he
walked along Queen Street early on
Saturday morning. He was charged
with wilful damage. Police also
made a mid-morning arrest for a
driver caught drink-driving at 10am.
The 20-year-old told police he had
been to a party on Friday night,
went home for a sleep, and then got
behind the wheel the next morning.
He blew 516mg in a roadside
Power cuts yet
to be traced
Electonet has not yet established
the cause of two power cuts in
Greymouth yesterday. Supply was
lost at 11.16am and was restored
to most customers 15 minutes
later. Electronet spokesman
Rodger Griffiths said that as staff
were working on that, customers
in the South Beach area then
experienced short outages through
until 12.24pm. The faulty section
of cable was eventually isolated and
electricity was fully restored after
2pm. Mr Griffiths said work would
continue this week to pinpoint and
repair the fault.
Rain, heavy falls at times
strangest domestic incidents ever
reported to police. It involved
a homeowner in Stamford,
Connecticut, calling authorities
because his angry cat would not
let him back inside his house. “My
cat was getting too aggressive, and
I was inside, and then he attacked
me, he scratched me in my leg and
he bit me,” he was heard saying
on the 111 call. “So me and my
wife, we come outside, and now
we cannot go in the home for like
three to four hours,” the man said.
The dispatcher took pity on him
and sent a police unit that helped
him get back into his home. The
owner and his pet, which had
recently had a kitten, are thought
to be getting on better.
— Daily Mail
A wide-ranging review of the rating
system in Westland has prompted two
former mayors to come out fighting,
pitting Havill against Havill.
The stoush south of the Taramakau
has filled public meetings, and pages
of the Hokitika Guardian with letters
to the editor.
Current Mayor Mike Havill today
stressed the change from land-based
to capital-based rating was only a
proposal, and he believed his council
had been brave in tackling the old
But former mayors Durham Havill
and John Drylie said their councils
had also looked at it and threw it out
as unworkable. They urged councillors
to stop and listen.
Councillors — most of whom are
in their first term — also propose a
new rural residential category, which
has provoked the most anger, with
small townships including Ruatapu,
Woodstock, Rimu and Kokatahi the
hardest hit with proposed increases of
up to 100%.
A public meeting at the Hokitika
Senior Citizens Rooms recently
became heated — especially as the
venue was so small that some had to
be turned away.
Durham Havill spoke at that
meeting. He has been vocal in
claiming that the proposed rate rise is
really 24.4%, not the 5.5% portrayed
in the draft long-term plan.
He said the rate take last year was
$11.2 million and this was projected
to rise to $13.2 million, which made
the rise more than 20%.
He also noted that the increase in
the annual general charge to $864 per
property was now more than double
that in the neighbouring Grey district.
Mr Havill, Westland mayor and
former county chairman for about 15
years, questioned whether councillors
understood the ramifications of their
When he was mayor they looked
at changing the rating system three
times, but threw it out because “it ’s
just not fair on the ratepayers”.
He said the council chief executive
Tanya Winter had been driving the
rates review, but he felt ratepayers
would not accept the increases.
“There’s no way after three years of
12% increases ...we have had enough.
There’s nothing to show for it. Debt
When he was mayor, Westland
district was one of the best local
authorities in the country, but that
could change, he said.
“ We can’t allow that to happen.”
Former mayor Drylie also spoke
out at the Hokitika meeting, asking
councillors to instead look at
spreading the rates equally at 5.5%.
Mr Drylie said today the fact he
spoke out was indicative of the public
“I don’t think the council has a firm
grip of what they’re doing,” he said,
mentioning rate rises of “30, 40, 50,
“I hope the councillors listen, listen
to the ratepayers rather than the CEO
or rates officer,” Mr Drylie said.
But Mayor Mike Havill says there is
a lot of misinformation in the public
domain. He insists the proposed rate
increase is 5.5%, a figure that had been
signed off by Audit NZ.
“The increase over the rating base,
exc luding Hokitika water rate, is
5.5%. Included in the 24% is the
100% targeted rate to Westland Milk
Products for the upgrade of the water
Submissions close on Wednesday,
with a council hearing set down
for next week. Mr Havill has read
107 submissions so far and said the
rural-residential rating category was
drawing protests, while other sectors
Rural-residential ratepayers had “for
a long time” been paying the lowest
amounts in the district, he said.
“ It’s good that the council has had
the vision and the courage to take a
look at the rating methodology. It’s
widely accepted what we have doesn’t
Mr Havill said he was “probably
a little bit surprised” at the number
of individuals opposing it “without
considering the wider benefits to the
Ex-mayors lead public outcry over Westland rates
A young woman was taken
to hospital with a serious head
injury early yesterday after a 21st
birthday party in Hokitika turned
Constable Neil Gillespie, of
Hokitika police, said the vicious
attack at a birthday party being
celebrated in the Seaview
Hall just added to the violent
behaviour in the town over the
weekend, which also resulted in
a hotel bouncer being beaten up
when he refused two men entry
to a local bar.
Mr Gillespie said the woman
victim at the party had tried to
get between two men fighting
but was assaulted herself. She
was taken to hospital in a critical
condition with life-threatening
“Initially it was thought the
victim was not going to pull
through, however she is going to,”
No one had been arrested yet
but inquiries were continuing.
It was one of a number of
fights at the birthday party and
Mr Gillespie said police were
astounded at the behaviour of the
People were walking around “all
over the place” with black eyes
and other injuries. Too much
alcohol was being consumed and
no one at the party was taking
“ We turn up and have to pick
up the pieces. There is no need for
this type of carry one. People are
supposed to be having a good time,
not getting involved in scraps and
assaults at celebrations.”
The hotel bouncer had been
set upon when two men, in their
late 20s or early 30s, were refused
entry “probably because they were
“ While the bouncer did not
need to be hospitalised, he got a
His assailants were arrested and
locked up for the night.
Earlier on Saturday night, a
36-year-old man was taken into
custody for his own safety after he
caused disorder in Hokitika. He
was also charged with resisting
Mr Gillespie said police
believed the man was affected by
something other than alcohol.
“He was in quite a state when he
was apprehended just after 6pm. ”
‘Bomb’ find mystifies
Minds are ticking over after a strange
metal ball was unearthed from the Grey
River shingle pit, at Kaiata.
Westroads worker Chris Chamberlain
was screening gravel when he noticed a
rusted ball among the gravel.
“It looks like a miniature mine but I
think it is far too small for a mine,” Mr
Chamberlain said.“ At first I thought
it was an odd looking rock. I’m quite
fascinated with odd bits of metal which
come across the screen and when I had
a closer look I saw it was rusted. It ’s
not big and definitely not a mine, but I
hope History House can work out what
it actually is and what it was used for.”
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Chris Chamberlain with the strange looking mine lookalike he discovered buried in the Grey River.
Work that should end more than 100
years of flooding in Runanga will get
under way this week.
Preparation work will involve
installing a culvert and realigning
Nine years ago, the Grey District
Council bought a house for demolition
to make room to realign the creek and
take out a 90-degree corner that was
causing flooding problems. However,
the project stalled in 2006.
Finally, preparation work will start
this week on moving sewerage services.
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said that since
2006 the council had been putting away
money for the work. Unfortunately,
there had been floods in that nine-year
“Early this week people will see work
start on the corner of Raleigh Creek,”
Mr Kokshoorn said.
A $124,000, 30m-long boxed culvert
will be installed. The council works will
reduce the angle of the creek on the
corner of McGowan and Ward streets,
and widen the causeway. The culvert will
go 30m under the road on a more gentle
angle than the current creek path.
The total cost of the work cannot be
revealed until the tender for the work
which will be finalised shortly — is
“It should solve the problems with
Raleigh Creek, though there are no
guarantees,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
“It ’s going to be a huge breakthrough.
It ’s been a problem since Runanga was
Thirty years ago, flooding was so bad
that some rescuers had to wade into
chest deep water.
Runanga flooding addressed, finally
Hokitika party gets out-of-hand
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