Home' Greymouth Star : July 24th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, July 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
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Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1567 - Barely more than one year old, the son
of Mary of Scotland is crowned James VI when
his mother, defeated by rebel Scottish lords,
abdicates the throne. He becomes King James I
of England when his cousin, Queen
Elizabeth I, dies.
1704 - British capture Gibraltar
during War of Spanish Succession.
1911 - Yale University professor
Hiram Bingham discovers Inca city
Machu Picchu in Peru.
1922 - League of Nations Council
approves mandates for Palestine and Egypt.
1942 - British bombers devastate German
cities of Frankfurt and Mannheim.
1946 - United States makes first under water
test of an atomic bomb off atoll of Bikini in
1969 - The US Apollo 11 astronauts, the first
men to walk on Moon, splash down safely in
the Pacific Ocean.
1976 - US spacecraft Viking 1 lands on Mars
and starts tests to determine whether life exists.
1997 - After 290 years of union, the British
government offers Scots the power to legislate,
to tax and to speak for themselves in the
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Simon Bolivar, leader of South
American independence (1783-
1830); Alexandre Dumas, French
writer (1802-1870); Amelia Earhart,
US aviation pioneer (1898-1937);
Cootie Williams, US jazz musician
(1908-1985); Bella Abzug, US
lawyer, politician and activist (1920-
1998); Gus Van Sant, US director (1952—);
Jennifer Lopez, US actress/singer (1968—).
“ My feeling is that there is nothing in life but
refraining from hurting others, and comforting
those that are sad.” — O live Schreiner, South
African author and feminist (1855-1920).
“This cup that is poured out for you is the
new covenant in My blood.” — (Luke 22:20).
Over 50 years ago
two young West Coast
lads, Francis Coll and
William Ryan, bid
farewell to their families and set out to embark
on a vocation as Marist Brothers. And recently,
Brother Stephen (Francis Coll) and Brother
Eric (William Ryan) celebrated their golden
jubilees as such.
Brother Stephen taught in Greymouth from
1928 to 1930, then moved to Sacred Heart
College in Auckland. After brief terms in
Gisborne and Invercargill he has been there
since. For the last 25 years, Brother Stephen
has been editor of the Catholic secondary
Brother Eric, a primary school teacher, has
taught in many schools in New Zealand,
including several terms in Greymouth.
A lithe but dogged, 22-year-old Runanga
fullback, and a red-headed, pug-nosed, fleet-
footed Marist centre are the West Coast
Rugby League’s new Kiwi caps. Both have
shown distinct promise since boyhood and
deser ved their inclusion in the 1965 Kiwis to
tour England and France named last Saturday
Bruce Mann has proved himself a most
reliable fullback and his inclusion came as no
surprise. However, the naming of Leo Brown,
though a popular choice, came as a relative
suprise. While both have made their marks at
league, each played First XV rugby and won
lower grade representation in the other code.
Mann is employed as an electrician with
the State Mines Department at Rewanui,
while Brown is an apprentice painter and
paperhanger for a Greymouth firm. He also
excels at athletics and has won numerous
Greymouth and West Coast field events.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
t first glance, the profiles
seem innocent enough.
There’s Lucy, 31, from
Rochester, who enjoys
cooking, theatre and
books, and Jack, 46, from
Hampshire, who describes himself as a
“ laid-back character who travels a lot
with work and loves music and sport ”.
Some of the requests even sound
rather sweet. Matthew, a 59-year-old
Londoner, hopes to meet a woman to
“chat about life in general, politics, faith
and social justice”, while Sally, 43, from
Hertfordshire, wants “someone to keep
me on my toes and make my pulse race”.
They could all be hopefuls on an
ordinary dating website — one of the
many that have sprung up in recent years
to help single men and women find love
through the internet.
But these profiles are far more sinister
than that. For the people behind them are
all, in fact, married. They are signed up to
Ashley Madison, a controversial website
that promotes and caters for extra-marital
One can only imagine the huge wave
of terror felt by them this week when a
group of hackers threatened to reveal the
identities of Ashley Madison’s members.
One of the site’s many opponents, a
secretive group calling themselves The
Impact Team, claim to have hacked
into the on-line database and stolen the
details and private messages. They warn
that unless the site is shut down with
immediate effect, they will expose its
37 million cheating users worldwide by
publishing their names, addresses and
explicit images on-line.
Desperate to limit the damage,
Canadian-based Ashley Madison
appears to have caved in to some of their
demands by suspending a $30 fee for
members wanting to wipe their accounts
— a bone of contention for the hackers,
who said that the payers’ details would
still be kept on the company ’s system.
It remains to be seen, however, if this
will placate the hackers.
Ashley Madison — whose slogan urges
“Life is short, have an affair” — says that
exposing the identity of its members
would breach their right to privacy.
Others argue that the spouses of
cheating partners have a right to know
what their other half is doing.
For in the years since Ashley Madison
launched in the United Kingdom in
2010, the site has been responsible for
many ruined marriages and relationships.
And while members make no mention
of children on their profile, their on-line
actions are destroying families off-line.
One of those hurt wives is Sarah Gould,
34, from Kingston upon Thames, Surrey,
who until January 2013 was happily
married — or so she thought — to Rich,
36, a computer engineer. They had been
wed for 10 years, had a six-year-old son,
James, and lived in a three-bedroom
house in a pretty cul-de-sac .
“ We had a gorgeous family and were
very loving and close-knit,” says Sarah.
“ We had a wide social circle and got on
well with each other’s parents. I’d worked
as an accountant, but gave it up when we
had James. I was happy staying at home
and just being a mum.”
Then, one day in January 2013, Sarah
was at home when the kitchen sink
sprang a leak.
“I switched on Rich’s laptop to try to
search for a plumber nearby, and suddenly
I heard this pinging noise and a little
window popped up on the corner of his
screen,” she says.
“I clicked on it and it took me through
to this website, which at first glance
looked like a dating website, but then
I saw it was all about cheating on your
“There was a series of messages between
Rich and half a dozen women. He was
deep in conversation with one called
Alison, whose screen name was ‘Sexy77’.”
Shocked, Sarah slammed the laptop
shut and called a friend to come round
and take a second look.
“I was shaking from head to foot,” she
says. “I felt physically sick. I didn’t know
whether to cry, laugh or scream. It was
“My stomach was in knots. I felt so
angry and confused and utterly heart-
broken, all at the same time.”
With her friend’s support, she phoned
Rich at work, asked him to come home
and confronted him about what she had
“He admitted it right away,” she says.
“He’d been seeing this woman for two
years. He found her on this website and
they ’d been meeting up ever since. I
threw him out the next day and never
looked back. Eight months later, our
divorce came through.”
As his job involved computers, Sarah
had never been suspicious about her
husband’s internet use.
“He’d sit with the laptop on his knee
from 7pm to 9pm most nights,” she says.
“I’m not technologically literate so there
were no red flags.
“I didn’t even know sites like Ashley
Madison existed. They ’re so vile and
dishonest, making it all sound like a bit
of fun. I can’t bear to think about what
sort of woman would go on there to find
a married man.
“S he was local, the same age as me, and
married herself — which made it even
Harder still, she admits, has been
dealing with the impact of her divorce on
“I got custody and Rich pays
maintenance, but it’s been hard for my
son. I still haven’t found a way to explain
what his daddy did that was so bad.”
Sarah found support through Women
Scorned, a non-profit group for women
who have been cheated on by their
husbands or partners.
Jo Welch, the group’s commercial
director, says the number of messages
they have had from those whose
marriages have broken down due to
infidelity websites such as Ashley
Madison has soared in recent years.
“It may have started in the United
States but it’s a trend that is growing
frighteningly quickly in Britain,”
“ Websites like this are disgraceful. They
break up families, causing so much pain
and suffering — and we have to deal with
the children and wives and husbands
whose lives are destroyed at the click of a
Despite the extreme ramifications
of joining the site, Ashley Madison is
astonishingly easy to use. Free to join,
new members are asked to provide a user
name and blurred photograph (the site
will pixelate it for you or you can add a
‘disguise’, such as a mask).
Users then select what they are looking
for, ranging from “cyber affair/erotic chat ”
to “anything goes”. It’s open to single and
attached users, though those who sign up
are predominantly married.
Men then pay in “credits”.
The introductory package is about $60
for 100 credits or about $350 for an
“a ff air guarantee” membership of 1000
credits. Five credits buys a message to
another member and 30 gets you 30
minutes of live chat.
Women do not have to pay — a sensible
incentive, given that 70% of the site’s
profiles are male.
They can then send private messages,
“ winks” to notify another user that you
have viewed their profile or virtual gifts
(normally images), and chat via instant
messenger when both members are on-
But what really sets Ashley Madison
apart from other infidelity websites is its
brazen approach to cheating.
Founder Noel Biderman — a married
father of two from Canada who set up
the company with his wife Amanda —
has claimed that affairs could be good for
a marriage as they remove the stress of
Biderman, who was a sports lawyer
before he turned internet entrepeneur,
is said to have made anything up to $1
billion from the site and has declared
“monogamy is dead ”.
The site’s logo makes a cruel mockery
of marriage, with the ‘o’ in the shape of
a wedding ring. Some users speak in
code — “ziplining” is code for having an
affair — while others boast about being
“ honeymooners”: married less than three
Despite the hackers’ threat hanging over
the site, there was no sign of it deterring
Britain’s married men from straying.
Within an hour of signing up as a new
female member, without a profile picture
or any identifying details except a user
name, age and location, I was contacted
by 16 men, 13 of them married.
One wanted to chat privately; another
asked to share his intimate photo album.
A few had not bothered to obscure their
faces in their profile pictures. One even
looked as if he was at his own wedding.
Worse than breaking up individual
marriages, experts say Ashley Madison
and its ilk are doing untold damage
to the institution as a whole. Harry
Benson, research director at the
Marriage Foundation, says such sites are
“thoroughly unpleasant and misleading”.
“They actively encourage people to
look for an affair by making that option
available,” he adds.
“Every marriage goes through difficult
times, when you feel like you’re not being
listened to or cared for, and affairs do
“But to facilitate it is trying to profit
from unhappiness and turn it into misery.
To pretend that adultery is a good
thing in an other wise long-lasting, loyal
relationship is utter nonsense.”
So do its users deser ve to have their
Divorce lawyer Georgina Hamblin,
director of leading family law firm
Vardags, says not: “ Whatever you think
of the morals of the people who sign up
to use sites like Ashley Madison, they do
have a right to privacy. Hacking into a
database and threatening to reveal their
personal details shouldn’t be condoned.”
But, fascinatingly, Georgina has found
that profiles on infidelity websites
are now increasingly cited in divorce
petitions as grounds for the ‘unreasonable
behaviour’ of one partner.
“ We’re seeing a huge trend in this type
of work,” she explains. “It ’s an adulterous
minefield. Every third client now has
something to do with on-line infidelity.”
She is working on a case in which a
husband signed up to an extra-marital
affairs site in order to catch out his
unfaithful wife. “It’s been incredibly
hurtful — images found on the family
iPad, children involved, decades of
marriage. But situations like this are
becoming all too common.”
For Sarah Gould, who mentioned her
husband’s extra-marital dating profile in
her divorce petition, it sounds painfully
“I am very happily divorced, but if it
hadn’t been for that website, then I might
still have been happily married,” she says,
“ What those hackers are doing is
brilliant. Let the cheaters sweat. They
only have themselves to blame if the
whole world finds out their dirty little
— New Zealand Herald
Website destroys lives
Could I please get the newspaper to ask
our MP why have over 600 United States
corporations and lobbyists seen the draft
TPP deal while everyday citizens of New
Zealand are being left in the dark and are
not allowed to see what their elected MPs
are agreeing to?
Also, why is it that those corporations
get a say in what our government agrees to
in the TPP deal?
Supporting the arts
Following up from the article in the
Greymouth Star of July 20 I wanted to
give the community a little insight into
how other councils support their local art
gallery. Two examples follow:
How Ashburton Council contributes
to its art gallery — Council provides
annual grant funding that provides the
majority of the Ashburton Art Gallery’s
operating expenditure. Council also owns
the former county council building and
funds the rental cost associated with
this. Council is currently building a new
Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage
Centre facility in West Street, Ashburton.
When complete, this will be the new
home of the Ashburton Art Gallery,
Ashburton Museum, the Ashburton
Family History Group, a dedicated
education centre space and the council
and community archives.
How Nelson council contributes to
its art gallery — The Suter Art Gallery,
with support from council, completed
a hugely successful fundraising project
which saw it raise $6 million towards
the redevelopment of the gallery. This
matches council’s $6 million commitment
to the project. The Suter Art Gallery
continues to be a popular attraction for
visitors and residents. It brings to the
city a diverse range of exhibitions and
programmes, and continues to acquire
new pieces for its collection. Funding
from the Friends of the Suter enabled
several works to receive conser vation
treatment and reframing.
Sometimes it seems as though the
Left Bank Art Gallery is viewed as a
second thought, left to its own devices
but criticised for not being open long
enough, not active or modern enough,
or other shortcomings. The things that
the community want from its art gallery
cannot be maintained via the dedicated
(but stretched) group of committee
members and volunteers.
We are really pleased to have better
communication with council and the
community to discuss what the future
holds for Greymouth/Mawhera and the
arts here. The CBD development plan
allows for some very exciting happenings
and we can see great potential to develop
the arts industry in the Grey district.
We are always looking for sponsors,
donations, supporters and volunteers - to
get involved, call us.
West Coast Society of Arts
Some months ago I spoke to the
Hon Damien O’Connor about a deep-
water port at Point Elizabeth to bring
cruise ships in to the West Coast. From
November 1, 2013, to April 30, 2014, a
total of 89 cruise ships visited D unedin,
bringing 250,000 tourists plus 65,000
The cruise ship industry is the fastest
growing of all tourism in the world,
expected to grow by 23% in the next two
years. Mega ships are now in ser vice,
with others being built which carry 5000
tourists, plus 1500 crew. More Australian
tourists come to New Zealand than any
country in the world, and Point Elizabeth
is in direct line to all the big Australian
Pre-arranged bus trips could take those
tourists the length of the South Island,
joining up with the ship at Dunedin,
Nelson or Picton. This is why I also believe
the Hollyford road link and the Karamea
to Collingwood link should be built.
I am sure many business people would
set up on the West Coast and Buller if
they had a direct link to Australia and
the rest of the world, which would create
hundreds of jobs.
Now, with Kiwi Rail threatening to close
some of its lines, including the Midland
Line, a serious exploration needs to be
carried out for the creation of a port.
Recently in the news there was an item
about all the wasted tyres in New Zealand.
Why haven’t the Greens suggested that
they use them to build homes? A British
couple in Normandy, France, built a house
made from tyres, clay and hard work.
Some of the interior walls have glass
bottles in them to add character.
They have a composting toilet and a
system that turns their dirty water into
drinking-water. They have solar panels,
too, making them completely self-
sufficient. The house is well insulated but
they also have a wood fire for extra heat
Everyone should live like this so we are
not at the mercy of the councils.
Other recycling ideas I have seen are
kitchen benches being made from melted
down yoghurt containers, and glass bottles
being broken up, placed in concrete
then polished. Both types make very
hardwearing benches and look great.
National’s ‘buddy’ MP
My letter refers to article ‘Schools
granted ... $615’ in Saturday ’s paper. Not
sure which press release your reporter
read but the fact is the West Coast
actually receives $615,000 for the new
It is important for me to lobby for this
electorate, even as a volunteer, to make
sure we are always considered whenever
any new funding is rolled out. The Coast
needs a strong voice in government and I
make sure it has one. As our electorate’s
‘buddy’, MP Jo Hayes is my ‘go to’
contact. She ensures that my messages are
heard, so part of her role is providing an
internal process for me to use.
Seems to me your reporter is cynical
that the government ensures we have a
strong voice, even though a buddy MP
from Christchurch East is still able to
deliver more than the other MPs quoted
in the article ‘Buddy’ MP emerges, who
have delivered little for the Coast in 50
The press release f rom Jo Hayes was missing
an all-important comma, so the figure was
given in the release as “$615.000”. Grey
Main School later clarified that in fact they
had received $95,100.
‘Buddy’ MP defended
Regarding your article ‘Buddy MP
emerges’ I understand that you did not
publish the media statement as presented
to you by Jo Hayes, National list MP, the
focus of which was the $615,000 (not
$615) awarded to a cluster of schools
in the Greymouth district through
the ‘Investing in educational success’
initiative. Instead you chose to use the
information provided to belittle Jo Hayes
and the idea of a ‘buddy’ MP.
I am one of the family members referred
press release that was given to you by the
member. I am concerned after reading the
article and speaking to Jo herself, that I
can no longer trust what I read in your
paper. What you have printed is quite
different to what the member asked you
Surely when sent a press release from
a sitting Member of Parliament, who
incidentally has good intentions for this
region, you can either choose to release
it or not. I do not believe you have the
right to re-present such a statement to
further your own political agenda. On the
contrary, your readers have the right to
unbiased information upon which they
can form their own views and opinions.
Your treatment of this information
not only denigrates the MP but also
denigrates the intelligence of your
The elite eating kereru — this defies
comprehension. Conser vation and
democratic rule seems to be dead in this
Health and Disability
Yet another article about a Health
and Disability Commissioner (HDC)
investigation in Auckland explain the
extent of problems within the New
Zealand health sector.
A patient admitted to an Auckland
hospital with a broken hip had his surgery
delayed due to ‘medical issues’. After
spending time in four different wards and
15 days later, the patient had died after
being found unconscious with breathing
The three-year HDC investigations
stated the death was related to a urinary
tract illness. I would have thought after
a three-year investigation someone could
have elaborated on how a urinary tract
illness caused breathing difficulties. The
specific details of ‘medical issues’ which
were neglected were not mentioned.
The Auckland hospital was one of the
largest hospitals in New Zealand and
would have had a number of doctors
who would know that ‘medical issues’ in
a hospitalised patient require diagnosis
before formulating a management plan.
The question is why the HDC did not
use someone with relevant expertise? The
public may not know that expert medical
opinions are sometimes provided by
managers or a clinician without medical or
nursing training appropriate for the task.
The public may wonder why ethically
bound health care professionals and
unions do nothing about it. Sometimes
important details are kept secret.
A local case from few years ago, where
a patient suffered severe burns during
a procedure, is an example. HDC did
not inform the involved staff that the
equipment instruction manual explained
what happened. HDC did not inform
the public that theatre staff did not
get adequate support and inadequate
telephone advice led to treatment
delays. Systems cannot improve without
The way the HDC is currently used
is compromising health care in New
Zealand. Public funds pay for HDC
— the governance and the consequences.
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