Home' Greymouth Star : July 16th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
The salaries of the West Coast
Regional Council chairman and
councillors look set to rise slightly
this year. Chairman Andrew
Robb wrote to the Remuneration
Authority to confirm the final
salaries for 2015-16, which will
see his pay rise from $72,300 to
$74,200, and the base salary for
councillors increase from $31,100 to
Grey dredge plans
Grey District Council plans to
buy a dredge to keep the Blaketown
lagoon clear for shipping, seems
to have struck another snag as it
investigates if the machine can move
the volumes required. In April, the
council began investigating options
for doing its own dredging of the
lagoon. It had found a dredge and
was considering buying it, but in
May chief executive Paul Pretorius
revealed that it may require an
extra person to operate it, throwing
off their budget. Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn told the Greymouth
Star this week the council was now
unsure if the dredge could handle
the volumes they needed. The lagoon
was last dredged about five years ago.
Mr Kokshoorn said they may look at
using the Westport harbour dredge.
Nelson Creek theft
A theft from a digger in the Grey
Valley at the start of the month has
just been reported to police. The
break-in was discovered at a work
site near Nelson Creek.
Occasional showers, light winds
A mouse has triggered panic and
a crush in a Casablanca mosque
that has left more than 80 people
injured, mostly women. The incident
occurred in the city’s Hassan II
mosque, which was packed during
evening prayers on Tuesday, the
holiest night of the Muslim fasting
month of Ramadan. “ Eighty-one
people, mostly women, suffered
light injuries and fractures while
some of them fainted,” local media
said. The panic broke out after a
woman raised the alarm over the
mouse, sparking a sudden exodus
of screaming worshippers. Among
those needing treatment was a
pregnant woman who suffered a
double fracture in the leg and has
been kept under sur veillance in
hospital. — AFP
A decision to withhold the names
of objectors to the registration of the
Ban 1080 political party last year is
a sad day for free speech, a seasoned
anti-1080 campaigner says.
The Electoral Commission initially
refused to release the names of
submitters prior to the general
election last year, and that decision was
supported by the Chief Ombudsman
Dame Beverley Wakem, who said the
opposing submitters feared for their
Ban 1080 Party member Mary
Molloy said that statement effectively
denied open speech in New Zealand
and was far worse than what her lobby
had ever been accused of.
“They ’re running away from ordinary
mum and dad New Zealanders on
the West Coast. I don’t know of any
incidents where someone’s life has
been put at risk,” Mrs Molloy said.
The Greymouth Star complained
to the Ombudsman in August after
the Electoral Commission released
the five submissions opposing the
registration of Ban 1080, but not their
All submitters had used similar
generic wording, arguing that the Ban
1080 name was offensive.
The Guardian argued the names
should have been released in the
interests of free speech. It also
argued that a party name was in itself
subjective — that in the context of a
general election and in the interests of
a free and open society voters had a
right to know what a party stood for,
and who opposed.
Dame Beverley Wakem said the
Electoral Commission was entitled to
refuse the request under the Official
Information Act, “in order to protect
the privacy of natural persons”.
“I do not consider the need to
withhold the names of individual
submitters is outweighed by any public
interest considerations in favour of
release,” Dame Beverley said.
The commission had advised that it
“generally does not ” release the names
of those who make submissions.
However, it usually disclosed identity
where the submitter was a political
party or third party organisation.
It had also considered “the strong
privacy interest ” in disclosing
submitter identity “due to the political
nature” of the process that it related to.
“Submissions on the registration
of parties inherently disclose
political views and can also disclose
allegiances,” the commission said.
In dialogue with the Ombudsman,
the commission said it wished to
encourage individual participation in
the political process, and the release of
an individual’s name and their political
beliefs “may deter participation”.
Two of the objectors to the Ban
1080 Party had specifically asked that
their names not be made public, the
“One of the submitters cited
personal and family safety reasons ...
due to the highly political, emotive
and controversial nature of the 1080
Therefore the commission decided to
withhold details of all six submitters.
Dame Beverley said she had
consulted with each submitter and
all had said they did not want their
“All have expressed, in strong terms,
concern for their safety (and in some
cases for that of their families and
employees) should their names be
released,” she said.
Some submitters also said they
thought they were making their
submissions “ in confidence” and that
they would not have done so other wise.
Two said they had received personal
threats and another two advised they
“ had negative interactions” with anti-
“ In this context, I consider the
individuals who made submissions
. .. have legitimate and well-founded
privacy concerns about the opinions
expressed in their submissions being
publicly attributed to them. ”
More 1080 stories, p2.
1080 Party political objectors to stay secret
Grave fears are held for a South
Westland identity after his remote bach
was razed in an early morning blaze.
The smouldering ruin of the corrugated
iron workshop and bach, halfway
between Karangarua and Jacobs River,
was discovered about 3am by a visiting
There was no sign of the sole occupant,
Maxie D uncan, who is in his late 70s
and is a former trustee of the West
Coast Development Trust.
Police and the fire brigade both said
this morning they had not reached any
conclusions, although the site was roped
off and a scene guard had been placed
A thorough search was under way and
a forensic examination launched.
The Fox Glacier Volunteer Fire
Brigade was called about 3.35am to the
property, which sits on Maori reser ve
land about 730m west of State highway
6 on the Mai Mai straight, south of the
Fire chief John Sullivan said a male
relative of Mr Duncan had arrived back
from an overnight hunting venture about
3am to find the shed a smouldering
heap of iron.
When the brigade arrived, Mr
Duncan’s vehicles were parked up
but there was no sign of their owner
anywhere on the property.
“By the time we got there it was pretty
much a smouldering heap of collapsed
iron,” Mr Sullivan said.
The relative who discovered the
burning ruins had left the property
yesterday afternoon to go for an
overnight possum shooting trip in the
Franz Josef Glacier police arrived at the
fire scene while the brigade was there,
and an initial super vised search for Mr
Duncan, under the cover of darkness,
proved unsuccessful, Mr Sullivan said.
“It’s a bit of a mystery. We had a pretty
thorough search through ... we couldn’t
find anything obvious. We’re just
keeping our fingers crossed.”
The property had no close neighbours
and was reasonably isolated. Access was
via an old logging road and a former
section of the old main road, he said.
The large barn-style shed was used
as a woodworking workshop, with Mr
Duncan living in a part which had
been converted to living quarters on a
“There was talk that Max could possibly
be in there. We didn’t find anything,” Mr
Mr Duncan was well known in the
Fox Glacier, Jacobs River and Bruce Bay
areas, and was “a bit of an icon”.
He was renowned in the district for
his distinctive crafting of salvaged
timber into furniture and other fixtures,
featured in many local businesses.
In a statement this morning, West
Coast police said detectives and fire
investigators would be at the scene
West Coast farmers will be
“down to the bare bones” after the
latest plunge in world dairy prices,
with the effects expected to spread
throughout the region.
The Global Dairy Trade price
index dropped by 10.7% from
the last sale a fortnight ago, with
wholemilk powder prices registering
their biggest fall in 12 months.
Prices are now at their lowest level
since Global Dairy Trade auctions
began — falling more than 40%
since March and are 62% lower than
their peak last year.
Barrytown dairy farmer Richard
Reynolds today struggled to
put a positive spin on the latest
“It’s happened early in the season
so there is still some time to adjust
your farm system to the payout,” Mr
“ You can only cut so many costs
out of a business. There will be very
few people who break even this
He expected self-contained farms
with low debt levels could still break
even, but most would not.
“There’s nothing you can do other
than run the business as best you
can, that ’s the big thing to accept.”
Mr Reynolds said farmers would
feel the results of this right through
into the next season.
“The problem with this is we are
looking at definitely two years of
low payouts in a row. Before now,
we tend to have one low payout year
then go back up to average. It takes
at least one year after a low payout
to get back on your feet.”
Eyes would now be on the banks
to see if they could “maintain their
nerve” and stick by the good farmers.
“The interesting thing to keep an
eye out for is how the banks react.
They control the whole game now.”
Dairy NZ West Coast consulting
officer Ross Bishop said farmers
were “down to the bare bones”
and would start to erode farm
It was “inevitable” that farmers
would be running a deficit for a
second year, and that would have
“You can join the dots — dairy
farming is a big part of the regional
economy, when farmers don’t have
money to spend, that money is not
in circulation. The extended effects
will continue to be felt,” Mr Bishop
“It’s not just dairy farmers who
have to endure through all this.
It is everyone living in these
Westland Milk Products was
staying tight-lipped on the effects
of the drop.
Spokesman Steve Attwood said
the company had a standing policy
of not commenting on the Global
Dairy Trade auctions or their
potential impact on payouts, outside
of the monthly payout review
conducted by the board.
“And then only if there is a
significant variation to that payout
prediction, and then only after it has
notified shareholders,” Mr Attwood
The Westland Milk co-operative
board will next meet in Hokitika on
A Federated Farmers farm
confidence survey, out yesterday,
found that farmers in West Coast-
Tasman-Marlborough, and the East
Coast of the North Island had the
largest decline in confidence in the
Coast farmers feel the pinch
PICTURE: Viv Logie
Greymouth friends Holly Ellis, eight, left, and Abbie Mason, seven, managed to find some of their favourite books at the annual Greymouth
Rotary Club Bookarama, which opened this morning. Holly scored a collection of Harry Potter books, while Abbie discovered her most liked books,
the Rainbow Magic fairytales. Bookarama runs until noon on Saturday. Today and tomorrow it is open until 7pm, in the Coastwide Honda
showroom in Tarapuhi Street.
Bargains draw bookworms
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