Home' Greymouth Star : July 21st 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
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The first of the new generation vibrant green St
John ambulances has arrived in Greymouth.
Greymouth St John station manager Andrew
Ching said the new diesel-powered Mercedes
Benz was part of the nation-wide roll-out of the
new ambulance colour scheme, away from the
traditional white to a bright two-tone green.
The colour change was mainly to heighten
visibility — particularly in an urban environment
and was being implemented as the current
fleet was replaced.
The new Greymouth-based ambulance was the
first in the green guise for the region and cost just
under $200,000. It was specially built from the
chassis up before being fitted out, Mr Ching said.
Currently the region has 19 ambulances which
on average are expected to be in ser vice for up to
400,000km before being replaced.
The cost of the new ambulance ser ved
as a reminder that St John relied on local
financial support and fundraising to pay for
new vehicles and to operate ser vices in the
“This is what people’s donations go towards.”
An obvious avenue for residents to support
West Coast St John was to join the supporters’
scheme which cost $45 a year for a single
person, $65 for a couple, and $75 for a family
which included the benefit of not being
charged for ambulance callouts. Mr Ching
said the core of St John was its volunteer base
and there was always room for more.
“ We are just coping. Like most stations we
do struggle to cover the roster at times —
but we do get through with the dedicated staff
Cooking oil fire
A South Beach resident did well
to extinguish a cooking fire after it
ignited the extractor fan above the
stove early last evening. Greymouth
fire chief Lee Swinburn said the fire
was caused by cooking oil bursting
into flames. It had gone beyond the
stage of being able to cover it with
a lid, but the occupant managed to
put out the fire with an extinguisher
by the time two brigade applicances
arrived. “ The occupant did a good
job doing what they did because
it really could have suffered more
major damage,” Mr Swinburn said.
Brigade members wearing breathing
apparatus spent about 30 minutes
ventilating the property.
July is providing the West Coast
with its coldest spell of weather
for a considerable time with an
all time low for the month of
-1 .9degC recorded in Greymouth
this morning. Greymouth weather
obser ver Phil Forrest said it had
been consistently cold with nine
readings below zero registered for
July. “ It is one of the coldest years
for a very long time,” Mr Forrest
said. Reefton weather obser ver
Tony Fortune said it was -5degC in
the town this morning.
A West Coast schools project
will be given $95,100, not $615.
On Thursday, the Greymouth Star
received a press release sent by
Christchurch-based National list
MP Jo Hayes saying the schools
had received “$615.000”. Grey Main
School principal Mandy O’Sullivan
told the Greymouth Star that they
had in fact received $95,100, and
supplied documents to support this.
The money would be used over two
years for professional development.
The Ministry of Education also
confirmed the $95,100 figure.
Mostly fine, with light winds
A Scottish chip shop has been
asked to remove a banner hailing
it as the home of the deep-fried
Mars bar. The Carron Fish Bar
in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire,
advertises itself as the ‘birthplace of
the world famous deep-fried Mars
bar’ with a large sign on the side
of the shop. O wners say it attracts
thousands of tourists from around
the world to try it every year but
the local council wants the banner
to come down as part of a plan to
‘improve the look’ of Stonehaven.
The food has become synonymous
with the negative stereotype of the
unhealthy Scottish diet.
A new documentary on the Pike
River mine disaster examines it
from the eyes of the women.
The Women of Pike River has
been close to two years in the
Greenstone Tv began research in
November 2013 and initially spoke
to the wider families group.
“ But it was our six women, who
spoke so strongly and with such
emotional honesty who stood out
and became the focus,” producer
Tash Christie said today.
“ Being a bunch of female film
makers, it made sense to us
(and was indeed a privilege) to
approach what was a very ‘male’
tragedy, through the eyes of their
The crew made 10 trips to
Greymouth, did six separate
shoots, and had fortnightly contact
with the families throughout,
getting updates on the re-entry
process and their response to
delays and decisions.
Over the two years, because of
the situation with Solid Energy,
re-entry to the mine and Peter
Whittall’s court case, the scope of
the documentary was continually
“ We set out to film our women’s
reflections on the tragedy, and
to complete the story with the
re-entry to the mine and their
response. But after six months
it became increasingly clear that
the reality wasn’t going to be that
The Women of Pike River
follows a four-year journey of six
family members as they fight for
justice, accountability and re-entry
into the mine’s drift.
The women featured include
Nan Dixon whose son Allan, 59,
died. When he tried to voice his
serious concerns about the safety
shortcuts being taken at the mine,
Nan recalls, he was “told to shut
his face and get the coal out ”.
Kath Monk lost sunny, sports-
mad son Michael who was just 23.
His sister Olivia, also features.
Anna Osborne lost husband
Milton and she still struggles
with not being given the chance
to bury her man “in a place of her
Brenda Rackley ’s partner John
Hale had thrown a 45th birthday
celebration for her the week before
the explosion. He was the last man
to enter the mine and she believes
he is buried under or around the
rockfall about 2.5km up the drift.
Sonya Rockhouse had two sons
in the mine — her youngest, Ben
was only 21 when he died. His
brother Daniel, managed to drag
himself and another man, Russell
Smith, to safety.
The premiere screening is at
the Christchurch Isaac Theatre
Royal on August 15 as part of the
New Zealand International Film
Festival. The women are attending
It will screen on Tv One later
PICTURE: Greenstone Tv
Pike River women Sonya Rockhouse, Anna Osborne, Brenda Rackley, Kath Monk and Nan Dixon.
Through the eyes of the Pike women
The Government said today the L ocal
Government Commission would work
with each region to see if councils
needed restructuring — giving a clear
hint some regional councils may be
replaced with CCOs.
CCOs are any company with a
majority council shareholding; they run
organisations like airports and zoos.
The West Coast has four councils,
three mayors and more than 40
councillors, prompting periodic calls for
In a speech to the L ocal Government
NZ conference in Rotorua this morning,
Local Government Minister Paula
Bennett said the commission would be
working up various structure options for
each region to look at and decide what
works best for them.
She was adamant there would be
Where necessary she would “legislate
to either set a new CCO up across a
region — or even to take something
said too many
communities were not experiencing the
levels of growth they needed.
“I imagine there are some which think
that because the commission has decided
to take large reorganisation off the table
for greater Wellington and Northland,
and because I have clearly stated I will
not legislate for large amalgamation,
that they can all continue as they have.
“ Well you can’t.
“It is not in the best interests of the
people of New Zealand.”
Some councils had a department that
supported local tourism, others had one
backing major events.
An area with the population of 43,000
could have five wastewater treatment
plants all run independently.
Changes could mean a different
responsibilities and accountabilities for
“It could even mean in areas that
might put a number of CCOs in place
for key growth and infrastructure that
there is no longer a need for a regional
“Some councils may even choose to
“I fully understand and accept that one
solution will not work across all of New
Ms Bennett urged communities to “be
brave — own the change and both the
commission and I will do everything we
can to assist ”.
“But let me be clear — there will be
In the year ending March 2015,
local government wages and salaries
increased 2.3%, the highest since 2012,
and significantly above CPI, the central
government, and private sectors, she
An application to officially request
an investigation into whether the West
Coast should have one unitary council
was lodged last month.
Peter Salter, who ran for the Ban 1080
Party in the general election, is leading
‘There will be change’
Greymouth High School has agreed
a conditional sale of Karoro L earning
to an Invercargill-based training
Greymouth High School principal
Andy England announced in a statement
today the board of trustees had signed a
conditional sale agreement with Front-
Line Training Ltd of Invercargill.
Mr England expected the sale to
go unconditional later this year, with
full transfer to Front-Line before
Although the sale was still conditional,
Mr England was pleased to be working
with such a “highly-respected company ”.
Mr England will be working with
Front-Line managing director Pauline
Steedman to support their acquisition
of Karoro L earning in the interests of
“It has been important to our board,
all along, to retain Karoro L earning in
our community and to maximise the
ongoing employment opportunities for
Karoro Learning currently employs
19 staff, has 120 students enrolled at
the Greymouth campus, 350 adults on
community education classes and 300
distance learning students.
Mr England said all services would
continue as normal.
In February the board said it was
selling the adjunct so it could focus fully
on the achievement and well-being of
Greymouth High School students.
computing, selling and customer service
training in Invercargill.
Invercargill company to
buy Karoro Learning
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Ambulance officer Denise Kilpatrick and station
manager Andrew Ching with the new generation
Vibrant green ambulance rolls into town
Some of the major players in West
Coast mining will provide industry
updates at the Minerals West Coast
Forum at Shantytown tomorrow and
Energy and Resources Minister
Simon Bridges will make the keynote
speech on Thursday afternoon.
Minerals West Coast manager Peter
O’Sullivan said between 160 and 189
A Women in Mining panel session
will open the forum and on Thursday
Kit Wilson from Newmont Waihi
Gold will look at why mining heritage
matters. Also on Thursday New
Zealand Petroleum and Minerals
will also speak, as will industry group
Straterra. Oceana Gold will discuss its
Reefton mine and sustainability, and
the chief mines inspector will speak
before lunch. There are then industry
updates from the major Coast players
including Solid Energy, as well as
Mines Rescue and the School of
Major players to attend mining forum
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