Home' Greymouth Star : August 22nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, August 22, 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.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
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
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
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
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1485 - England ’s King Richard III is killed
fighting against over whelming odds at the
Battle of Bosworth, ending War of the Roses.
1642 - English Civil War begins when King
Charles I brands Parliament and its soldiers as
1775 - England’s King George III proclaims
the American colonies in a state of open
1784 - Vincent Lunardi makes
England’s first hot-air balloon flight,
accompanied by a cat and dog.
1799 - Emperor Napoleon
Bonaparte abandons the Egyptian
campaign and slips past blockading
British ships to return to France.
1851 - The schooner America beats the Aurora
off the English coast to win a trophy that
became known as the America’s Cup.
1941 - Nazi troops reach outskirts of Soviet
city of L eningrad in World War Two.
1955 - A U.S. Navy patrol plane with 16 men
aboard is shot down off mainland China, by
1981 - A Taiwanese domestic jetliner explodes
in mid-air and bursts into flames, killing all 110
people on board.
1996 - Monsoon rains and a snowstorm sweep
across the Himalayas killing more than 200.
2010 - All 33 Chilean miners trapped deep
underground for 17 days are found alive.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Dorothy Parker, US writer/poet (1893-1967);
Leni Riefenshtal, German filmmaker (1902-
2003); Deng Xiaoping, Chinese
leader (1904-1997); Henri Cartier-
Bresson, French photographer
(1908-2004); Arthur Sackler, US
physician (1913-1987); Karlheinz
Stockhausen, German composer
(1928—2007); Ray Bradbury,
author (1920—2012); Tori Amos,
U.S. singer (1963—).
“Men make counterfeit money; in many more
cases, money makes counterfeit men.” - - Sydney
J Harris, American journalist (1917-1986).
“ Whoever loses his life for My sake will find
it.” — (Matthew 16:25).
The Grey Valley
Televiewers’ Society is
now a licensed body
and in the next few
days a signature on a Post Office form will
make it the holder of a translator licence. The
news that a licence is to be granted here will be
welcomed. It has come at an opportune time as
the West Coast is soon to be featured in several
The NZBC head hints at further translators
being installed at a later date. These are to
provide coverage to pocket areas — those
outside the scope of the primary transmitter.
No date has been set for initial operation of the
Cobden hill translator. The decision rests with
the Grey Valley society’s technical adviser.
They were known as the ‘High Street ’ gang.
Legion were the battles they fought. But this
was not a gang of delinquents. Their battles
were fought with bat and ball. The year 1905
saw an expansion in their activities and a
change of name. The gang adopted the title
‘United’. Now 60 years after its christening the
United Rugby Club stands poised to celebrate
its third major jubilee.
Honours first came to the club in 1907 when
F C Wade was selected for the South Island
team. He was the fourth West Coast player to
gain that honour up to that stage. Nineteen
United footballers have worn the West Coast
jersey since the last war. Current captain of the
senior team Peter McPherson has represented
Coast 59 times to top the list while ex-captain,
Joe Gillan, has also passed the half-century
mark with 51 appearances for his province.
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
“No one can set the
price of oil. It’s up to
Allah,” Saudi Arabian
Oil Minister Ali al-
Naimi said in May. But
less devout people believe
that Saudi Arabia has
been trying very hard to
set the price of oil — and
to set it low. Moreover,
it has been remarkably
successful, because last week the price of
oil was in the mid $40s per barrel, down
from just over $100 last May. But Riyadh
is not achieving its objective.
Saudi Arabia, like any oil producer, likes
a high price for its oil, but since it is very
rich and has huge reser ves it thinks long-
term. Watching American oil production
almost double in the past seven years,
mainly thanks to the rapid rise of fracking,
the Saudis could see they risked losing
their role as the “swing producer” which
can raise or lower the oil price just by
cutting or increasing its own production.
The only way Saudi Arabia could keep
that role was to drive the American
frackers out of business. Production costs
are secret in the oil world, but the Saudis
assumed that the injection of water, sand
and chemicals into shale rock at high
pressure makes hydraulic fracturing —
fracking — very expensive.
So the Saudi strategy is to keep its own
production high in order to push the oil
price down. If the price stays low enough
for long enough, high-cost producers like
the frackers will have to close down. Then,
once the competition had been eliminated,
Saudi Arabia jacks the price back up by
cutting its own production, and the glory
In the meantime Saudi Arabia is losing
income too, of course, and oil revenues
account for 90% of the national budget. It
can live on savings for a while, but it needs
a fairly quick win.
It would be politically unwise to cut
the lavish government spending that
keeps the Saudi population happy, and
the government is also involved in an
expensive war in Yemen. The missing
income has mostly been replaced by
withdrawals from the country’s huge
foreign reser ves, estimated a year ago at
$700 billion — but those reser ves have
fallen by $65 billion in the past year.
The Saudis do not want to run those
reser ves down too far; without them, it
could not afford to play the role of “swing
producer”, and would lose most of its
diplomatic clout. So last week, for the first
time in eight years, Saudi Arabia started
selling government bonds, planning to
raise $27b by the end of the year. The
strain is starting to show.
The strain of this attritional battle is
also showing in the United States, where
various shale oil producers have cancelled
or postponed new drilling projects. But
the shale producers have consolidated
into bigger companies and increased the
efficiency of their production processes,
and US oil production is actually
continuing to grow this year. It is now
about 90% of Saudi production.
The brutal fact is that the Saudis are
losing this battle. When the US was the
biggest producer of oil, before about 1970,
it was the swing producer. Within a few
years, it will have overtaken Saudi oil
production and will be the swing producer
again. There is nothing Riyadh can do
The Saudis made two mistakes. The first
was to overestimate the cost of US shale
oil production, and assume that any price
below about $80 per barrel would make
it unprofitable. There are some shale oil
plays for which this is true, but the costs
vary wildly, according to the local geology,
and can be as low as $20 per barrel. Most
shale oil is profitable at $60 per barrel,
and that proportion is rising rapidly as
consolidation proceeds and efficiency
Their other, bigger mistake was to believe
that victory was possible at all. When you
stop production from a conventional oil
well, there is a large permanent loss of flow
when you restart production. The pores
in the oil-bearing rock clog up, and that
permanently reduces the “bottom-hole”
pressure that forces the oil to the surface.
Stopping production at a shale oil site
incurs no such loss, since the producers
create the pressure themselves. Uncap it,
and the flow resumes as before.
So even if the Saudis succeeded in
forcing most of the shale oil sites to close,
the shale producers would just turn the
flow on again as soon as Saudi Arabia
declared victory and cut production to get
the price of oil back up.
It will take a little more time to the
Saudis to acknowledge their mistake,
and they may not even be able to get the
price back up to where they need it by
cutting production. American production
will continue to rise, and Iranian oil will
probably also be coming back on the
market in a big way by next year.
The Saudis will stay rich, but they will
have to cut their spending and they will
suffer a permanent loss of influence. Their
only consolation will be that Iran, which
they see as their greatest enemy, will not
be able to use its oil to buy influence
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Fracking is winning the oil price war
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
PICTURE: Getty Images
A drill site that uses fracking to extract the oil.
t was a brutal game of survival for
all the boys at Turana.
The smaller ones tried to make
themselves invisible to avoid being
But when the Victorian youth
centre officers switched off the lights and
locked the dorm room doors at 9pm, the
bigger, older ones frequently crawled into
Many of the wards of the State and
juvenile offenders, often the victims of
physical and sexual abuse at home, had the
most to fear from those employed to keep
“ You belong to us,” a senior screw told
“ You’re a ward of the State. We are the
The two officers who repeatedly raped Mr
Latham threatened to send him to Turana’s
maximum-security section Poplar House,
described as being one step away from
“They ’ll cut your throat,” he was told.
There were three riots during the six
months 16-year-old Joseph Marijancevic
spent in Poplar House in 1966.
“One of the screws beat up one of the
lads so badly that they had to take him
to hospital,” he told the child abuse royal
commission sitting in Melbourne this week.
“They dished out treatment that shouldn’t
be dished out to adults let alone children.”
Even the medium-security Quamby unit
was more like a jail than a home, former
resident BDB said.
“I got into a couple of fights with other
boys but I felt safer because I was locked in
a cell on my own at night,” said BDB, who
grew up a boy but now lives as a woman.
Mr Marijancevic recalled being made to
clean stairs with a toothbrush.
Long-time Turana youth officer Ashley
Cadd described how some of the staff
viewed themselves as the top dogs and the
children as their prey.
“ You’ ll do as I tell you. You’ ll jump when
I tell you and if I say go and stick your head
in the toilet, that ’s what you’ ll do.”
Even he felt intimidated by some of the
other screws — big ex-policemen and ex-
army types. Imagine how an overwhelmed,
vulnerable young child felt.
“ Who’s going to go and talk to a chief
who’s 6ft 2in and stares down at you and
has got a snarl on his face before he opens
“No way has that child got confidence to
open his mouth.”
Laggers copped a beating, from the
other boys in Turana or the other girls at
Karen Hodkinson tearfully described
being slapped across the face and called
a “dirty lying little bitch” when she told a
Winlaton staffer that a social worker was
abusing her in 1974.
She was locked up in the Goonyah
security section for misbehaving.
“The cells in lockup did not even have
beds. I was given a blanket and had to sleep
on the floor.”
Ms Hodkinson said hearing others tell
the royal commission about being abused in
Victorian State-run youth training centres
was like hearing her own story.
“Everything everyone seems to say is my
story over and over again.
BDC had been in Winlaton only a few
days in 1963 when three other girls pushed
her down in the day room and abused her.
“I didn’t scream because I was scared if I
did they would hurt me more.
“The other girls in the room didn’t do
anything to help.”
Abuse was just part of the culture.
She and others ran away many times. The
police just brought them back.
The Winlaton girls were subjected to strip
searches and invasive medical examinations
by a doctor they nicknamed Doctor Finger.
Mr Latham also tried to escape his
abusers at Turana. The police picked him
up, took him back, the screw did the
paperwork and then raped him again.
Another time he told a detective about
the abuse but was placed back in the hands
of one of his abusers. The screw responded:
‘I told you not to say anything’ and raped
It was a game of survival for all the boys
Mr Latham sat with his head resting
in his hand as a support person read his
statement to the royal commission.
“It was extremely hard to sit there and
listen to it. A couple of times I nearly lost
it,” he said afterwards.
BDB was shaking at times as she
described the abuse and life in Turana.
“ We were looked after very much the
same way as you would look after car parts
or old tv sets or something like that.
“Wehad no one to talk to.
“People weren’t interested whether we
did well in school, in fact if we attended
The Turana instruction manual in the
1970s dealt more with the care of stores,
laundry and linen and lock-up procedures
than the wellbeing and enhancement of the
boys’ lives, former superintendent David
Mr Green, who was in charge in 1968 to
1970, was himself horrified by the victims’
stories in the Melbourne hearing this week.
It included the story of Robert
Cummings, an abuse victim even before
being sent to Turana, where he was
repeatedly raped by other boys and sent
for electric shock treatment to ‘cure his
Mr Cummings returned to Turana as a
recreation officer when he was 19 because
he did not want the boys to experience
what he did.
He retired recently after 41 years as a
He hopes that sharing his story of abuse
will help ensure no other children in care
BDB shares a similar hope.
“If the rights of all children are protected
in my lifetime, that would be better than
any form of payout I could possibly receive.”
Game of survival
As I write this, hearing rain on the roof,
how obviously true are the words of Pope
Francis that some countries have areas
rich in water while others endure drastic
scarcity. In his latest encyclical letter ‘On
care for our common home’, dealing with
our environment, he devotes a section
on the issue of water. Fresh drinking
water is indispensable for human life,
yet in many places demand is exceeding
the sustainable supply. Unsafe water
results in many deaths and the spread of
water-related disease. Underground water
sources are threatened by pollution.
Even in clean green New Zealand we
hear words of warning that all is not
What can we do? We who have
plenty should not waste this precious
resource. We should be able to help with
funding to provide clean water where it
Perhaps we can make our own the
prayer with which the Pope concluded
his letter. “God of love, show us your
place in this world as channels of your
love for all the creatures of this Earth.
Enlighten those who possess power
and money that they may avoid the sin
of indifference, that they may love the
common good, advance the weak, and
care for this world in which we live
The poor and the Earth are crying
out. O Lord, help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future, for the
coming of your kingdom of justice,
peace, love and beauty. Praise be to you!
Monsignor Gerry O’Connor
Greymouth Catholic Parish.
Water, a precious resource
Links Archive August 21st 2015 August 24th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page