Home' Greymouth Star : September 11th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, September 11, 2015 - 5
On the second anniversary of the massive
Diana Falls landslip, aerial footage has been
released showing the extent of the damage
and the work — described as the most
complex rockfall protection in Australasia
carried out to reopen State highway 6.
On September 10, 2013, heavy rain caused
more than 40,000 cubic metres of rocks and
trees to fall on the highway between Haast
It also caused other smaller slips in the
area, one of which is believed to have
contributed to the deaths of Canadian
tourists Connor Hayes and Joanna Lam,
whose camper van was probably hit by a
slip and swept into the Haast River, coroner
David Crerar found.
The highway was immediately closed for
11 days and then at night for more than a
year, as the New Zealand Transport Agency
(NZTA) battled with how to make such a
dynamic environment safe.
The road closures caused economic
hardship for towns on either side of the
slip, from Hokitika to Wanaka, as tourists
chose alternative routes to travel between
Christchurch and Queenstown.
The West Coast, where tourism makes up
10% of the regional gross domestic product,
the second-highest in the country, was
the hardest hit after many tourists
decided against visiting once there was no
The 142km journey from Haast to
Wanaka had become 950km, as travellers
had to backtrack through Arthur’s Pass.
The highway reopened day and night in
early November last year, marking the final
stages of what the NZTA described as one
of its most challenging projects on the West
Coast for many years.
A solution had been found and
Christchurch geotechnical engineering and
construction company, Geovert, erected
what was called “the most complex rockfall
protection system in Australasia’’.
The work was carried out in three stages.
First, unstable rocks were removed from
the 30m vertical rock face and a fence was
erected at the base and draped against the
slope to prevent rocks from falling on to the
A temporary fence was then installed at
the top, enabling large rocks — up to 200
tonnes each — to be broken into one-
tonne sizes and removed.
Finally, a fence was erected one-third of
the way up the slip, to catch any other rocks
which became loose.
The NZTA said each of the fences was
capable of stopping a boulder weighing up
to 16 tonnes and the size of a small
car, which was travelling at more than
The total cost of managing and
remediating the slip was $8 million.
Otago Daily Times
The Diana Falls slip on the Haast Pass.
Haast slip cost $8m
by Brendon McMahon
The Ministry for Primary
encouraged West Coast farmers
short of feed to seek help early if
stock are beginning to struggle,
following 15 animal welfare
complaints in the region in the
past three months.
In a statement yesterday the
ministry said it was “working
with some farmers” to mitigate
animal welfare concerns resulting
from constant wet weather and
poor pasture growth.
The welfare matters all related
to dairy cattle.
prosecution against a dairy
farmer within the Grey district
was pending but had not yet
Animal welfare manager Peter
Hyde said they had received
15 complaints relating to West
Coast farms in the past three
Of these, four turned out to be
unfounded, while the ministry
was working with six farmers
to mitigate the animal welfare
issues it had found.
Those cases were predominately
from Hokitika south and were
symptomatic of the cold, wet
conditions in Westland this
spring with consequent poor
Mr Hyde said ministry animal
welfare inspectors had a good
farmers faced and it was “there
to help” with animal welfare
“Farmers are dealing with
a prolonged spell of bad
Mr Hyde said.
“MP I is not there to persecute
farmers who are up against
are looking for
solutions and seeing what
can be done in the short term to
assist with the care of stock that
Mr Hyde said owners and
managers had a duty of care
to ensure stock did not suffer
unnecessarily and inspectors
could talk to the right people
on the owners’ behalf about
MPI could liaise
Federated Farmers to see what
supplementary feed was available
and put owners in contact with
the Rural Support Trust.
liasing with Westland Milk
Products, Dairy NZ and
“ We encourage stock owners
who can see animal welfare
problems looming to get help
Mr Hyde said the condition of
some cows was lighter than ideal
for the time of year and welfare
inspectors had followed up
complaints made by the public.
“These cows are definitely
light, but not to the point where
it would be considered to be in
breach of the Animal Welfare
It had been “a very stressful
start ” to the season for
farmers given the weather and
underlying financial conditions,
Mr Hyde said.
“They ’re having to shift stock
several times a day to stop
paddocks getting too pugged.
Many farmers are doing more
with less staff and resources.”
Everyone was hoping for a
few weeks of fine weather to
stimulate pasture growth.
“Decent grass growth will do
a lot to mitigate this problem.
tolerate wilful negligence or
West Coast farms
Farmers dealing with ‘prolonged spell of bad weather’
was arrested for living in a
camouflaged van on school
grounds has had his strongly-
worded appeal quashed.
Friedrich Fehling was living
in his van on South Westland
Area School’s grounds, on the
outskirts of Hari Hari, when
he was ser ved a trespass notice
and arrested in 2009 — despite
having permission to keep a
vehicle on the site.
It has been a six-year legal
The Court of Appeal released
its judgment on the latest stage
of the fight — Mr Fehling’s
application for special leave to
appeal under the Human Rights
Act — on Wednesday.
It was dismissed and Mr
Fehling was put on notice for
filing papers that contained
“off ensive language and baseless
allegations of corruption and
The saga began in 2009 when
Mr Fehling was legally living
within the school grounds on
land leased to his friend, senior
teacher Jim Castello.
Without warning, he was
issued a trespass notice on
January 5, 2009, signed by the
He was arrested immediately
on an outstanding warrant in
relation to another matter but
the charges were later dropped.
Mr Fehling started a hunger
and water strike for the three
days until he was released
from custody. The school said
complaints had been made to the
caretaker that Mr Fehling was
using the school pool, showers
and toilets and people felt
intimidated by Mr Fehling, but
he denied the claims.
The tribunal found German-
born Mr Fehling, was a trained
engineer but “chose to live
a simple life in nature”, was
“ intensely intellectual”
regarded as an “outsider” by some
in Hari Hari.
He was awarded $10,000 in
2012 by the Human Rights
Tribunal for humiliation and
loss of dignity in relation to the
trespass notice. Mr Fehling has
since repeatedly appealed to
the tribunal on the grounds of
discrimination and victimisation
after a school representation
spoke to local media.
The proceedings have been
dismissed, which prompted his
latest attempt in the Court of
Appeal. — NZME
Court quashes appeal from
Hari Hari school squatter
by Nicholas McBride
The New Zealand Transport Agency says
the Taramakau Bridge was not seriously
damaged when a truck hit the top of it on
Kiwi Rail senior communications adviser
David Miller said there was “slight gouging”
on the protective impact beam on the top
of the structure, and that had prevented any
further damage to the bridge.
Mr Miller said they believed the strike
happened between 4 and 5pm. Kiwi Rail was
notified about 5pm. The truck involved in the
strike did stop and Kiwi Rail was informed
by local contractors who were working
Incident recovery manager Emma Cowell
said bridge strikes were a significant risk for
rail passengers and staff, and drivers should
always check their height before driving
under a bridge.
“It was lucky that the Taramakau River
bridge was not seriously damaged in
yesterday ’s incident, but it is another
reminder to those driving trucks and heavy
vehicles to always check the height of their
vehicle or load before passing under a rail
bridge,” Ms Cowell said in a statement.
Kiwi Rail had on average 33 bridge strikes
a year involving over-height trucks.
“Kiwi Rail wants to prevent bridge strikes
from happening and is asking motorists to
always obey the road signs that give plenty
of warning of a low bridge. If you think
your vehicle or load is above the clearance
height, then do not try to pass underneath
the bridge, and take an alternative route.”
Ms Cowell said anyone involved in a bridge
strike, or who witnessed one, should report
it to Kiwi Rail on 0800 808 400, or to the
police immediately so the bridge could be
inspected and any necessary repairs could be
“It is important that trains do not travel
over a damaged or seriously compromised
structure placing the safety of passengers
and our staff at risk. Any driver who collides
with a rail bridge could be liable for the
cost of repairing the damage, as could their
Stark choices lie ahead for 1500
creditors of Solid Energy owed more
than $400 million, in a key vote next
week on opting for either a fire-sale
liquidation or a controlled, two-and-
a-half-year sell-down of the coal
Once touted by former chief
executive Don Elder as potentially a
multi-billion-dollar company, in the
worst case scenario it could sell for
$60m, and also carry over a $150m
administrators favour the delayed
sell-down, but 50% of creditors must
vote in favour, and so too must 75%
of creditors by value — the latter
mainly the banks involved.
Under liquidation and an immediate
fire-sale creditors may get 15c-20c
in the dollar back, but if they opt for
the sell-down might receive 35c-40c,
administrator Korda Mentha said
The State-owned enterprise was
placed in voluntary administration in
mid-August, at the time thought to be
carrying debt of about $320m, in the
face of uneconomic export coal prices.
Solid Energy has shed about 900
jobs and still has about 740 staff
and contractors on the books whose
futures will be determined by the
creditors’ vote next Thursday.
commissioned by Solid Energy’s
administrator Korda Mentha was
released yesterday by administrator
Korda Mentha supports Solid
Energy’s board’s proposal to adopt
a “deed of company arrangement
(Doca)’’, the process for a delayed sell-
down, he said.
“The Doca is in our opinion the
preferred option ... on balance it
provides the best return for all
creditors,’’ he said.
If the Doca was supported in the
vote, trade creditors and employees
would receive 100c in the dollar, Mr
Other creditors, including the
banking group and bondholders,
would be expected to receive 35c to
40c in the dollar, he said.
Subject to finalising some minor
details, the bank consortium and TSB,
as the largest note holder, had already
agreed to support the Doca proposal
“ which is encouraging for the vote’’.
rehabilitation costs and Mr Gibson
said Solid Energy’s was about $150m,
and was not represented on the balance
sheet, so rehabilitation costs would be
covered by the Crown, subject to a cap
minimising the risk to local councils.
When asked if there had been
interest in asset purchases, Mr
Gibson said there had been “plenty
of inquiries’’ during the past month,
which he hoped would later be able to
run as a “competitive process’’ to sell
Otago Daily Times
Solid Energy future in hands of creditors
Truck strikes Taramakau Bridge
The transformation of Kumara,
its history and a tour of the new
historic attractions will be the
focus of the next Heritage West
Coast forum and annual general
meeting, on Saturday, September
Beginning at 10am with a get-
together at the Theatre Royal
Hotel, a short annual general
meeting will follow.
chairwoman Fiona Pollard will
then give a presentation covering
how Kumara has transformed
itself from a struggling town,
to a community with growing
businesses, direction and a
A tour of the restored buildings,
Chinese miners reser ve, Taylors
Hill, new town attractions and
other features will follow.
The day will also include time
prioritising the next projects
and events to be undertaken by
Heritage West Coast over the
The heritage forum is open to
the public and anyone interested
is welcome to attend by
registering with Jackie Gurden.
Heritage trust heads to Kumara
or more at any of these participating stores to go in the draw.
Promotion Runs From Thurs 10th Sept - Thurs 22nd October 2015
TRAILER & ACCESSORIES PACKAGE
7 X 4 CRUISER TRAILER
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