Home' Greymouth Star : August 25th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, August 25, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1718 - French immigrants to United States
found city of New Orleans in L ouisiana.
1875 - British swimmer Matthew Webb
becomes the first person to swim across the
English Channel, swimming from Dover,
England, to Calais, France in 22
1944 - A Free French division,
racing from Normandy, liberates
Paris from the Germans.
1950 - US President Harry Truman
orders the Army to seize control of
the nation’s railroads to avert a strike.
1965 - Massive avalanche roars down from
glacier in Swiss Alps, burying 108 people at
hydro-electric construction project.
1981 - The US spacecraft Voyager 2 comes
within 105,000 km of Saturn’s cloud cover,
sending back pictures and data.
1997 - Egon Krenz, the East German
communist leader who threw open the
Berlin Wall eight years earlier, is convicted of
manslaughter for the shooting deaths of citizens
who tried to flee to the west during the Cold
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Ivan IV (“The Terrible”), first czar of Russia
(1530-1584); Erich Honecker, East German
leader (1912-1994); Leonard
Bernstein, U.S. composer-conductor
(1918-1990); Sean Connery, British
actor (1930—); Fredrick Forsyth,
British novelist (1938—); Elvis
Costello, British singer (1954—);
Claudia Schiffer, German model
(1970—); Tim Burton, US film
director (1958—); Danny Smythe, drummer
with U.S. rock group The Box Tops (1948—).
“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is
perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
— Bertrand Russell, English mathematician
and philosopher (1872-1970).
“Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders,
making the most of the time.”
— (Colossians 4:5).
Almost two miles
of scrub along the
Kaiata straight were
ablaze last night
providing a spectacle of flame and smoke but
causing no damage. As humidity plummeted
with drying easterly winds, fires spread with
alarming suddenness at Taylor ville, Runanga
and Dobson. Firemen yesterday and today were
watching burning off operations in all areas
and though some have got out of hand they
have done no damage so far.
The biggest fire was the Kaiata straight blaze
which had firemen standing by early and later
the Post and Telegraph linesmen who were
concerned about their roadside poles. Calls to
the Dobson brigade came at 6.30 last night
and firemen kept a sharp eye on and controlled
the blaze close to the road.
Farmers making the most of the current fine
spell of weather and burning off gorse and
bracken are also causing the New Zealand
Electricity Department a headache. The main
supply line from Lake Coleridge between
Otira and Arahura was out for a time when
flames licked the line near Arahura.
Greymouth police at the weekend broke up a
Blaketown beach party of young motorcyclists.
Both boys and girls are believed to have been
involved and police sources said this morning
there was a possibility that prosecutions would
Liquor was involved in the ‘party’ and an
eyewitness said most of the youngsters had
arrived at the beach on motorcycles or scooters.
There had already been some concern shown
by the Transport Department over the riding
around Greymouth streets by large groups of
boys and girls on these machines.
uFood for thought
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Brazil’s cities on
of Brazil’s President
narrowly elected to a
second term just last
October, but not one
of them made any
reference to the Peter
Principle. But if Rousseff were a senior
manager in any bureaucracy, public or
private, it would surely have been noticed
by now that she has been promoted to
her “level of incompetence”.
We owe the insight that “managers rise
to the level of their incompetence” to Dr
Laurence J Peter, who pointed out half
a century ago that people are promoted
on the basis of their success in their last
job, not their aptitude for the next one.
Eventually, inevitably, they are promoted
into a job they are not equipped to
do well. Even if they are not your
conventional kind of manager.
Dilma Rousseff was a success as a left-
wing guerrilla fighting Brazil’s military
regime in the 1980s; captured and
tortured for three days, she never said
a word. She was a success as the chief
of staff to Brazil’s first working-class
president, Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva,
from 2003 to 2010. She was a political
success in getting elected as Lulu’s
successor in 2010, and was re-elected in a
tight race last year. But being a president
herself is not part of her skills set.
Two years ago Rousseff had an approval
rating of 66%. According to the most
recent Datafolha poll, only 8% of the
population now gives her a positive
assessment, while 71% disapprove of
her performance. Indeed, two-thirds of
those polled believe that Congress should
impeach her and remove her from power.
Part of the problem is the economy.
Since it peaked in 2010 at 7%, Brazil’s
economic growth rate has plunged. This
year the economy is predicted to shrink
by 2%. It is not all Rousseff ’s fault: the
worldwide collapse in commodity prices
has hit Brazil particularly hard. But in
practice, the government in power at the
time gets the blame.
Moreover, the austerity measures she
has imposed to deal with the fall in
government revenue have hurt her own
electoral base among poor Brazilians.
So far she has not touched the ground-
breaking “Bolsa Familia”, a modest cash
handout that has lifted 36 million people
out of extreme poverty, and she promises
to go on raising the minimum wage, but
pensions and unemployment benefits
have already been cut.
An even bigger bigger problem for
Rousseff is the legal investigation
codenamed Lava Jato (Car Wash). The
biggest corruption scandal in Brazil’s
rather impressive history of such
things, it involves an estimated
$22 billion in “suspicious contracts” going
back for almost two decades involving
Petrobras, Latin America’s largest oil
Some of it involved graft for personal
enrichment, but most of it appears to
be money skimmed off government
contracts to pay for election campaigns
and other party political activities. Since
the governing parties for most of this
period have been Rousseff ’s Workers’
Party and its parliamentary coalition
partner, the Brazilian Democratic
Movement, several dozen senior
politicians from both parties have been
Worst of all, Dilma Rousseff was the
chairwoman of Petrobras from 2003 to
2010. It was not her primary job, and she
denies knowledge of any of the corrupt
transactions. The investigating officers
also say there is no evidence linking her
to corruption. But people are looking for
somebody to blame, and support for her
impeachment is strongest in the poorest
areas of the country.
On the other hand, there is no charge
against Rousseff that could justify an
impeachment. Even in the absence of
such a charge, a two-thirds majority in
Congress could theoretically impeach her,
but no such majority can be achieved in
the current Congress.
So Rousseff can just tough it out, and
so far she has done just that. Sunday ’s
big demonstrations were mostly attended
by white, middle-class people who
probably never voted for her anyway. Her
own constituency of poorer Brazilians,
although angry about her austerity
measures and rising inflation, have not
yet come out in the streets against her.
That could change if the economic
situation gets even worse. A major
slowdown in China, Brazil’s biggest
export market, could spell big trouble for
Rousseff. So long as no evidence emerges
that clearly links her to the corruption
at Petrobras, however, she can probably
stay in office until her term ends in 2018.
What she cannot do is restore popular
confidence in her leadership.
She does not lack the intelligence
or the experience to be an effective
president, and most of the time she gets
her economic and social priorities right.
There is no reason to believe that Lula,
the man who finally brought change for
the better in the eyes of poor Brazilians,
would have coped any better with the
economic headwinds Rousseff has been
struggling with. But he would still be
popular, and she is definitely not.
She tries hard, but it just does not work.
She has been promoted to her level of
(political) incompetence, and it is going
to be a long three years for her and for
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Dilma Rousseff and the ‘Peter Principle’
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Greymouth-born Colonel Hugh
Arthur James Hutchinson (retired)
was a former Commander of the Sixth
Field Engineering Squadron in North
Vancouver. He also ser ved as an honorary
aide-de-comp to the Canadian Governor-
The son of Henry Hutchinson OBE,
Hugh Hutchinson attended Grey Main
School and Greymouth Technical College
before completing an engineering degree
at Canterbury University.
Hugh was an adventurous and
energetic man who put his efforts into
his profession as a civil engineer. His
engineering skills were highly regarded
around the world and took him to many
parts of the world, from Australia to
Canada to Asia to North Africa. His
specialty in hydro engineering gave him
opportunities to be a part of the building
of hydro-electric dams in Tasmania, and
Mica, British Columbia.
A significant part of Hugh’s career was
dedicated to the construction of the Great
Manmade River Project (GMRP), in
Libya, in which he was initially the phase
one project manager, returning later in his
career to oversee further areas within this
The GMRP involved the construction
of an enormous pipeline to extract water
from beneath the Sahara Desert and
piping it hundreds of kilometres to key
cities in Libya.
Hugh worked in Libya for many
years and was there when the Gadaffi
government was toppled. Hugh was
instrumental in ensuring the safe
extraction of numerous foreign workers
from Libya during that highly dangerous
time. It remained a key regret in his life
that he did not see the completion of the
Hugh Hutchinson died in West Palm
Beach, Florida, United States, on
August 5. His ashes will be interred at the
Karoro Lawn Cemetery, in Greymouth.
Hugh Arthur James Hutchinson
1936 - 2015
of the New Zealand Herald
ith China’s economic
Minister Tim Groser
says South-east Asia
is New Zealand ’s “No 1 insurance policy ”
should the Chinese market deteriorate
Speaking at an event in Kuala Lumpur on
Saturday to celebrate 40 years of relations
between New Zealand and the Association
of South-east Asian Nations (Asean),
Groser said export diversification was
“ What we’re trying to do is create options
for New Zealand over the next 20 years so
we never recreate the same dependency that
we used to have 40 years ago, which was on
Britain,” he said. “South-east Asia, for us,
is frankly our number one insurance policy
if things go the wrong way in China.” New
Zealand ’s trade links with South-east Asia
have been growing since the early 1970s,
when New Zealand lost its guaranteed
access to the British market.
New Zealand exports to the 10-nation
Asean region — which includes Thailand,
Indonesia and Malaysia — reached
$6.1 billion in the year ended March
2015. Five years earlier it was $5.2
A free trade agreement between New
Zealand, Australia and Asean came into
force in January 2010. New Zealand
also has separate FTAs with Singapore,
Malaysia and Thailand.
Asean, with a population of more than
600 million, is this country’s fourth-biggest
But despite the opportunities available
in South-east Asia, when it comes to
New Zealand trade the region has been
overshadowed by China in recent years.
While New Zealand exports to Asean
increased by 17% over the five years to
March 2015, those to China more than
doubled over the same period to $10.7b,
Statistics NZ figures show.
Now, with China’s growth story hitting
a bumpy patch, questions are being asked
about our heavy focus on the world’s
second-South-east Asia insurance policy if
things go wrong in China.
A disappointing Chinese manufacturing
sur vey sent jitters through financial markets
on Friday, adding to concerns about
Beijing’s recent moves to devalue the yuan
to bolster the country’s exporters.
Groser, however, dismissed the suggestion
that New Zealand ’s focus on China had
been a mistake.
“ What the previous Labour Government
did in getting this FTA with China ...
has been enormously beneficial to New
Zealand,” he said. “So the answer is not
to stop trying to exploit those advantages
we’ve got in China, but to create other
opportunities to de-risk.” A report by
market research firm Coriolis, released last
week, identified scope for New Zealand to
increase dairy exports to Asean, particularly
those of butter and infant formula.
Another report, published by ANZ in
April, said there was potential for two-way
trade with Asean to more than double to
$27b by 2025.
At the time of the report ’s release,
ANZ’s Graham Turley said New Zealand
exporters were conscious of the risks that
came with relying on a small number of
large export markets.
“ With its accelerating urbanisation,
rising incomes and consumption, Asean
will be a market of considerable scale and
will provide New Zealand exporters with
an alternative to their two main export
markets of China and Australia,” Turley
However, New Zealand still faces barriers
in growing exports to the Asean region,
despite the F TA.
Indonesia, for example, introduced import
quota restrictions on beef in 2011, which
led to a slump in New Zealand beef exports
to the world’s most populous Muslim
New Zealand and the United States have
requested that a World Trade Organisation
dispute panel assess the restrictions, which
could lead to sanctions against Indonesia,
Reuters reported in March.
Meanwhile, five Malaysians credited with
deepening links between that country and
New Zealand received awards as part of
Saturday ’s celebrations.
One of them, Amar Leo Moggie, was one
of the early Colombo Plan students and
graduated with a master of arts in history
from the University of Otago in 1965.
He went on to become a Malaysian
cabinet minister and is today chairman of
Malaysia’s national electricity firm, Tenaga
New Zealand’s High Commissioner
to Malaysia, John Subritsky, said New
Zealand relations with Asean had matured
from an initial focus on regional security
and development to a range of areas
including trade, investment, tourism and
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