Home' Greymouth Star : June 24th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, June 24, 2015
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
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must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1916 - First Battle of the Somme begins in
World War One.
1947 - An American pilot reports seeing
strange objects in the sky looking
like ‘saucers skipping across the
water’, leading to the first use of the
term ‘flying saucer’.
1973 - Eamon de Valera, the
world’s oldest statesman at age 90,
resigns presidency of Ireland.
1987 - Death of US comedian-
actor Jackie Gleason, aged 71.
1995 - In the Rugby World Cup final, South
Africa defeats New Zealand.
2010 - Australian Prime Minister Kevin
Rudd loses his job to his deputy Julia Gillard
after losing the support of his party.
2011 - American actor Peter Falk, best
known for his Emmy award-winning television
role as detective Columbo dies aged 83
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Horatio Lord Kitchener, English soldier
(1850-1916); Jack Dempsey, US boxer (1895-
1983); Juan Fangio, Argentine motor racing
champion (1911-1995); Mick Fleetwood,
British drummer (1942-); Michele Lee, US
actress (1942-); Jeff Beck, British
guitarist (1944-); Peter Weller,
US actor (1947-); Nancy Allen,
US actor (1950-); Raelene Boyle,
Australian athlete (1951-); Sherry
Stringfield, US actress (1967-);
Robbie McEwan, Australian cyclist
(1972-); Lionel Messi, Argentine
footballer (1987-) .
“ To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence
the popularity of dogs.” — Aldous Huxley,
English author (1894-1963).
“ When it was evening on that day, the first day
of the week, and the doors of the house where
the disciples had met were locked for fear of the
Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and
said, “Peace be with you.” — ( John 20.19).
woman, Mrs Margaret
Dennehy, for the
second time in 20-
odd years has parted with one of her most
valuable possessions — a greenstone adze. And
recipient for the second time is the Canterbury
Museum to which the priceless Maori relic has
The director of the museum Dr R S Duff,
an expert on Maori craft, had previously not
seen this artefact although he has given Mrs
Dennehy a two-page history on it. The adze is
a rare colour crossed with patches of black iron
stain. The Maori called this ‘titae koka’, said Dr
It was about 1944 that Mrs Dennehy
uncovered the adze at the mouth of the Okuru
River in South Westland. She first sent it to
the museum about 16 years ago when a display
of Maori artefacts found on the West Coast
was staged there.
“They were reluctant to give it back,” said Mrs
Jetboat riding has its hazards. Two men who
would readily testify to this are Dr B W Nixon
and R B Gibbens, president of the Greymouth
Boxing Association. On Sunday morning the
two men travelled south to Whataroa where
Dr Nixon made a medical examination of a
young boxer in the district.
In the afternoon they were offered a trip
down the Whataroa River in a jetboat.
Everything went smoothly until the engine
petered out. The fuel tank had sprung a leak.
There was nothing for it but to trudge back to
the road through rough swampy country —
and five creeks.
Three hours later, they reached their
destination safely, but tired and somewhat less
than spic and span.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
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769 7913 (editorial)
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03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Helen Murphy and Luis Jaime Acosta
essica Q uintero awakes drenched
in sweat and instinctively grabs
for her AK-47 assault rifle. With
her old weapon no longer there,
she hides beneath the sheets
to escape the air raid of her
“The bombs still scare me, I
don’t sleep,” says Q uintero, 18, recounting
a regular night-time ordeal after fighting
for three years with Latin America’s
oldest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Scared of the persistent air strikes on
her camp deep in Colombia’s jungle, the
former child soldier fled and surrendered
in 2013, one of thousands who abandoned
the FARC in the last decade as its ranks
were cut in half to around 8000.
Quintero, whose 11 siblings also joined
the rebels, now spends her time with 60
ex-combatants, receiving post-traumatic
stress therapy at a safe house in the city of
They are trained in car repair, sewing
and electrical wiring, while learning to
read and write.
President Juan Manuel Santos hopes
to incorporate thousands like them into
society if peace is reached at talks with
FARC leaders in Cuba that have gone on
for two-and-a-half years.
But combatants face multiple challenges.
Many like Jessica have been traumatised
by war, others have spent most of their
lives fighting in the jungle and have few
other skills, and Colombian society might
struggle to accept them.
If the reinsertion policy fails, there
could be additional suffering for
Colombia after 51 years of conflict as
former fighters struggle to find jobs and a
It could also crimp growth in Latin
America’s fourth-largest largest economy.
Crime gangs are already recruiting
at safe houses, says Jonathan Lucumi,
19, a former insurgent who has been
approached to sell drugs for good money.
Others are enlisting, he says. “ They ’re
keen, they love their guns.”
The criminal gangs, known as
Bacrim, gained strength in 2006 after
the demobilisation of right-wing
paramilitaries — bitter FARC enemies —
failed to incorporate the roughly 30,000
into society. About a quarter of them
turned to crime and the gangs are now
Colombia’s biggest security threat.
Most Colombians hate
the FARC — the war
has killed about 220,000
people — and may be
reluctant to employ
or welcome them into
as happened with the
“FARC are attractive
to the Bacrim because
they can handle a gun,”
said Olga Garcia, who
helps former rebels at
the safe house. “ They
can’t put FARC on their
believes a ‘peace
dividend’ could bolster
economic growth a
couple of percentage
points, although some
academics see a ‘peace
paradox’ if former rebels
take up crime.
“ While the cost
in terms of GDP
associated with the
conflict is reduced by
peace, the cost associated
with organised crime
could increase,” says a
study by the Sabana and
and conflict think-tank
That may be avoided
if private companies
and the Chamber of
Commerce says about
80% of Bogota-based
companies are willing to help.
Some, like Coca-Cola Femsa, have
been involved for years, offering courses
to about 1600 former rebel combatants
and hiring a few at its Bogota bottling
Colombia spends — and will spend
after any peace deal — about 4 million
pesos ($1500) annually in education and
work training programmes over six to
seven years helping combatants return
home, said Joshua Mitrotti, of the State’s
Jail costs triple that, he says.
“It’s not just reinsertion, it ’s
reintegration — a total transformation of
the individual,” said Mitrotti, estimating
success could take six years.
But independent organisations,
like the safe house in Medellin, say
the government is way behind and is
underestimating the costs involved. Three
million pesos are needed monthly per
person for at least three years and dozens
of rehabilitation centres established
Many former fighters feel stigmatised.
Carlos Gomez, 51, left the FARC and
completed the government programme,
receiving 8 million pesos to start a small
business. But he lives in fear of being
“I’ll be judged, or worse, if people know
my past,” he says, speaking out of workers’
earshot at his small garment factory.
Many Colombians agree.
“I want peace, but I’m not ready to
interact with FARC,” said Bogota
dentist Adriana Jimenez, 38. “I don’t
want them to live near me, or their
children to lay with mine. They could be
While the government wants rebels,
who mostly come from poor rural
backgrounds, to return home and build
lives farming, that will be difficult.
Some 60% of Colombia is undeveloped
with rural development years and
billions of dollars away. Poor roads make
transporting crops costly and the oil
industry, a major driver of growth, has
recently faltered amid price declines.
Coca cultivation — a lucrative FARC
business — would be difficult as
authorities quell cocaine production.
Past demobilisations have brought
The 2000-strong leftist M-19
successfully disarmed in 1990 and ex-
militant Gustavo Petro is now Bogota’s
mayor. But Antonio Navarro Wolf, a
M-19 leader turned politician, warns that
peace accords often “swap one type of
violence with another.”
Some 5000 sympathisers of the
Patriotic Union, a party founded by the
FARC in 1985 as part of peace talks
that ultimately failed, were murdered by
paramilitary death squads in the following
“There’s never been a peace process
when rebels haven’t been killed,” said
Senator Ivan Cepeda, whose Patriotic
Union father was gunned down in 1994.
Reintegrating Colombia’s guerillas
A former rebel, left, who now owns a clothing factor y, oversees a worker in his workshop in Bogota.
bad for fishing
Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) has
applied for a prospecting permit to mine
a vast area of sea bed directly off the
West Coast. All Coasters, I am sure, will
be utterly appalled if such a permit were
to be granted for it would certainly be
the end of commercial and recreational
fishing on the West Coast.
Just what right have they to destroy one
of our important industries? Commercial
fishing is already in steep decline in our
waters, so this is something that is totally
unwarranted and cannot be allowed to
occur. For this company to say that their
operations will help communities to
thrive and keep skilled New Zealanders
in the country is rubbish and simply
patronising and I hope Coasters will
vehemently show their opposition, as well
as iwi and Maori organisations.
All TTR has in mind is the pursuit of
a fast buck. Has absolutely no regard for
the welfare of the fishing community or
the planet for that matter. It will be the
end of our Hector’s dolphins.
I wonder if the West Coast councils
will be up to the task or simply prove
to be spineless. The fishing industry is
very important to our communities and
cannot be allowed to be destroyed — it is
as simple as that.
On May 19 this year I had a fall from
a bicycle near the infamous vehicle and
rail bridge outside Greymouth, which has
apparently claimed others as victims over
the years. I had at the time been working
over there for a few weeks helping out
with the local police unexpected and
The fall resulted in some pretty decent
injuries, but now things are looking like
Up to the point I had the fall my time
had been enjoyable and the people of the
town had made me feel very welcome.
I would mention Freddy’s Cafe that
became my local. Where else would the
staff ask what sort of soup I would like on
And the local gym, I felt at home after
My sudden departure did not allow
me to get around to thanking the people
of Greymouth both the locals I got to
know and those who helped me out after
the accident. So I thought it might be
appropriate to make it a public thanks
Immediately after the fall a motorist in
a small white 4X4 stopped to assist me. I
can only speak well of this guy, who was
reassuring and most helpful indeed. If he
reads this then I would welcome a call for
Then came the ambulance staff, again
I was so impressed by the attention I
got from them. Great, absolutely great,
really professional. On to the Greymouth
Hospital, where I spent a number of
days and nights. And again, what great
treatment I received from all the staff.
The nurses were all fantastic. At all times
I felt I was in good hands.
So anyone I came into contact with
over there, whether while I was working
or after the accident, please accept my
sincere thanks. Great place and great
Detective senior sergeant
On Friday, June 5, the Greymouth Star
published letters from John Paul II High
School Year 13 social studies in which
they expressed their concern over the
sale of legal highs and suggested that the
council consider introducing a bylaw to
ban/restrict such sales.
They are very grateful for the messages
of support which they have received
for the sentiments expressed in their
However, they would like to clarify
one point mentioned in two of the June
letters, which stated that they had written
to the council about the matter in March
and had received no response. They are
now aware that the mayor did reply to all
their letters on March 26 via the school
in one lot, but they never received them.
What happened to them we do not
know but they would like to emphasise
that when they wrote their June letters
they did so in good faith and with no
intention of misleading anyone.
The students and I regret any
misunderstanding which may have
arisen as a result of their letters. For my
part, I apologise to the mayor and to
the students for the misplacement of
mail, somewhere, which has caused this
misunderstanding but I want it to be
clear that I am proud of our students for
the excellent letters they wrote.
John Paul II High School
Rest home praised
A great big ‘thank you’ to Granger
House, everyone from cleaners to the
cooks, activity people and also the van
driver, registered nurses and all other
staff. I spent one whole month in there. I
must say it is better than a five-star hotel.
It is so lovely, the service is tops. The staff
are all angels minus their wings.
From breakfast in bed each morning to
the wonderful selection of food provided,
a different choice each day, plus morning,
afternoon tea and supper — the residents
are well fed.
Special thanks to Ruth and Helen,
who saved my toe which was half black.
I said to the doctor at the hospital that
I was afraid of losing my toe. The doctor
replied: ‘No dear, we amputate above the
Also, the staff do not pay for their cups
of tea. They give showers, wash clothes
and do ironing if required. How these
rumours start I do not know. Please do
not judge a book by its cover. I have
experienced it first-hand. Also, my
husband Ross has been in their care for
the past year. Such a wonderful place.
How many of you are aware that New
Zealand has two official languages — and
English is not one of them?
I asked Simon Bridges, my local MP,
and he confirmed it — there is no
legislation that enshrines English as an
official language of New Zealand.
To correct this, he suggested I start a
petition to the House of Representatives.
He will present my petition to Parliament
and the wording has been approved by
the clerk of the house.
The two official languages are sign
language, made official in 2006, and the
Maori language in 1987.
I have launched the petition in
Tauranga and it is doing very well locally.
Perhaps you belong to a walking group,
a garden or craft group or a ser vice or
Probus club — could you take it along
to your meeting? I hope that the people
in your area will be willing to sign this
petition, you can contact me on petition@
inbox.com or 027 233 1595 or on this
website: http://tinyurl.com/omne6zj .
English is our common language and
we must ensure it becomes an official
language of our country.
With your help, it can.
I see the planned downgrading of health
ser vices in the West Coast is gradually
being revealed to the public. Removal of
age-care facilities from Buller Hospital is
I presume the Minister of Health had
been given the explanation that the
removal of ser vices is essential for cost
cutting. Keeping people with treatable
medical problems away from detection
by relevant experts is one way of cost
cutting. The public and the minister are
not being made aware that costs can also
be reduced by improving the standard of
ser vice. Changes in West Coast services
and costs over the past decade should
An earlier article reporting the number
of people who had to be flown out of
the Coast for essential services gives
an idea of the level of downgrading of
specialty ser vices in Grey Base Hospital.
Many people who have had to use West
Coast health services from a decade ago
are aware of the standard and extent of
ser vices provided by some of the long-
ser ving specialists. Many left the region,
and the departures were not accidental.
The greater scope of ser vice was made
possible in the past by having individuals
within a team who had done training
beyond the usual basic level of specialist
medical training and broader experience
in other health care professions. This
allowed a better service as well as better
supervision of clinicians with a lesser
level of experience. Better standards and
scope of ser vice meant more patients
could be treated closer to home but
reduced the ability to siphon funds out of
Maintaining local expertise would have
provided a more efficient service and a
better teaching environment.
A fall in the sun’s heat output to levels last
felt 300 years ago would slow temperature
rises in the eastern United States and
Europe, though the worldwide impact
would be far too small to halt global
warming, a study said this week.
The report, led by scientists at the
British Met Office Hadley Centre, said
the possibility of a dimmer sun should be
added to regional plans for coping with
more winter floods, likely because of more
rain and fewer frosts in a warmer world.
The study said solar output was falling
from high levels in recent decades and there
was a 15-20% chance of a decline by 2050
to match the ‘Maunder Minimum’ of 1645-
1715, the depths of a Little Ice Age when
the River Thames in London froze over.
Such a natural dimming of the sun would
cause a 0.1degC fall in average global
temperatures, they estimated, a tiny brake
on a 6.6degC rise in the worst case scenario
of man-made global warming by 2100.
“ We can’t be saved by the sun,
unfortunately,” professor Adam Scaife,
a co-author at the Met Office Hadley
Centre in Britain, said, commenting on
the report published in the journal Nature
Even so, a new Maunder Minimum
would have noticeable regional impacts
in the eastern United States, Iceland and
northern and eastern Europe, slowing a
rise in temperatures by between 0.4 and
0.8degC, the report said.
Such places were likely to be kept slightly
cooler because computer models suggested
a big fall in solar activity would disrupt
winds and suck cold air southwards from
“The new aspect is the regional effects,
particularly in Europe in winter,” said
Georg Fuelner, an expert at the Potsdam
Institute for Climate Impact Research who
was not involved in the study.
“These (regional) effects are interesting
but we need to see how robust they will
be with future follow-up studies,” he told
Fuelner wrote a 2010 study showing that
the impact of any Maunder Minimum
would also be marginal compared to global
The report said the local impacts of a
dimmer sun on Europe and the United
States were big enough to warrant inclusion
in long-term infrastructure plans, such
as storm drains in cities or river flood
“Engineers need to know the full range of
uncertainties,” Scaife said.
Big fall in sun’s output would slow temperature rises
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