Home' Greymouth Star : October 8th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
Cairns perjury case
Mystery find on
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
mining has future
The closure of the Huntly East
coalmine in the Waikato does not
mean the end of underground
coalmining in New Zealand, Solid
Energy says. The State-owned
enterprise said today it intended
closing the mine with the loss of
68 jobs. “ This decision, however,
should not be read as the end of
underground coal mining in New
Zealand. This individual mine has
been in work for almost 40 years
and over that time the working
faces have moved further and
further from its portals and deeper
underground,” chief executive Dan
Clifford said. “ That is not to say
that underground coal-mining
may not be profitably done again
in the future with a different set of
conditions.” (More, p3.)
A smashed window and a vehicle
break-in, near the West Coast
Wilderness Trail at Milltown
and Lake Kaniere, are being
investigated by police. A rural
property owner arrived home on
Tuesday to find a window smashed
at their house. The property is on
the cycle trail route, in the Milltown
area behind Lake Kaniere. Hokitika
police are calling for cyclists
who might have seen vehicles on
Milltown Road between 8am and
10am on Tuesday to come for ward.
Then yesterday, a cyclist who left
their locked Toyota van parked on
Sunny Bight Road at Lake Kaniere
while they went cycling, arrived
back to find their vehicle had been
broken into. A cellphone and GPS
Cloudy, isolated rain
When half of the Chinese
population hits the road at the
same time, an endless traffic jam
seems inevitable — as thousands
of Beijing motorists found out
recently. Aerial footage has captured
the horrendous congestion on a
motor way leading to the Chinese
capital when holidaymakers made
their return journey near the end
of National Day celebration. The
incredible gridlock, which took
place on one of the country’s busiest
and widest highways, was caused
by a new checkpoint, reported the
People’s Daily On-line.
“ Incendiary devices,”
fireworks, thrown under a camper van
parked at Westport’s North Beach
are not “the welcome mat ” the town
wants to present to visitors, Buller
Mayor Garry Howard says.
Late last week four devices were
thrown under a New Zealand Motor
Caravan Association (NZMCA)
campervan parked up at North
Beach, Westport, while the occupants
were asleep inside.
Motor Caravan Association West
Coast area chairman Godfrey
Constable, of Greymouth, said today
the incident was symptomatic of “an
element ” in Westport who did not
welcome motorhome users.
Mr Godfrey said the victims were
parked in a fenced off area open only
to association members.
He described the perpetrators as
“ brain dead individuals”.
“It was an incendiary device. There
were four thrown under a van parked
“It could have been fatal but
fortunately it wasn’t,” he said.
Three of the devices, apparently
fireworks, did not explode.
NZMCA members gained entry
to the site on Department of
Conser vation reserve off Derby
Street through a combination lock.
Mr Godfrey said as the association
was preparing to open the site in July
last year, there was some dialogue
with “hoons” miffed at their exclusive
use of the area.
A kiosk built on the site for
members to register their stay had
barely been erected when “the
buggers burned it down”.
“There is an element in Westport
that doesn’t want us here. I think it’s
the young fellas who like to hoon
around in their cars.”
The association had liaised with
Mr Howard and the Westport police
to improve security as result of the
The matter would also go to
the national board meeting in
Invercargill this weekend.
Mr Godfrey said Westport was
about to be awarded the association’s
Motorhomes friendly status, but the
incident put a pall on it.
Greymouth was the first town in the
South Island to gain this, and with
40 others following since, Westport
was due to be formally awarded the
status at the end of this month.
In light of efforts to make Westport
attractive to visitors, Mr Howard
said today that the town did not want
“a large amount of publicity” about
the incident by “a number of stupid
“It’s very unfortunate when we’re
trying to put out the welcome mat,”
Mr Howard said.
The local community patrol in
conjunction with police and the
council had stepped up monitoring
of the park.
Fireworks hurled under campervan could have been ‘fatal’
A former Westport dairy farm manager
who admitted his guilt to the “sadistic”
ill- treatment of hundreds of dairy cows
was yesterday jailed for four and half
Michael James Whitelock, 28, shot one
cow in the leg, dumped another cow still
alive in an offal pit, and broke the tails of
hundreds of others.
In the Greymouth District Court
yesterday Whitelock was jailed on three
charges each of wilfully ill-treating an
animal, one of reckless ill-treatment,
one charge of unlawful possession of
a firearm, two of possessing a firearm
without a licence, one of possession of
explosives and another of attempting to
per vert the course of justice.
While employed as a dairy unit
manager at the Landcorp Totara farm
at Cape Foulwind, Whitelock broke
the tails of 152 cows and 57 heifers, and
subsequently failed to provide adequate
treatment for their injuries.
He and three other farm employees
shot one cow in the leg and beat another.
Whitelock also shot another cow in
an attempt to try to euthanise it, and
then dumped it in the offal pit without
making sure it was dead.
In jailing Whitelock, Judge Stephen
O’Driscoll said the offending was at
the higher end of the scale because of
the number of animals involved and the
variety of ways in which the animals
were mistreated. He also denounced the
“sadistic behaviour” that Whitelock had
shown towards the animals.
“ You were engaged in a culture of
cruelty on that farm. Whatever the
pressure or stress you may have been
under, there is no excuse or explanation
for that conduct.”
Earlier in proceedings, defence lawyer
Richard Maze argued that Whitelock
had been out of his depth as manager
of the farm as a previous employer had
advised Landcorp that the he was not
ready for the job of dairy manager at the
farm, without being given a significant
level of support.
Mr Maze said that Whitelock was not
given that support, and that sometimes
working from 4 o’clock in the morning
until midnight, he “worked himself into
an utter hole, he simply lost the ability
He claimed that lack of proper support
showed a “degree of systematic failure by
Landcorp”. However, Judge O’Driscoll
said the offending was no one else’s fault
“ Many people got to work and are
under stress. I don’t think your reaction
could be placed in any way at the fault
of Landcorp. Nor could it be said that
lack of super vision caused or contributed
to that conduct. You were placed in a
position of trust and you abused that
Judge O’Driscoll said that the “use of
staff to perpetuate violence to animals”
and the “cruel and gratuitous violence
undertaken on some of these animals”
were aggravating factors.
Whitelock also pleaded guilty to the
unlawful possession of a shotgun, a
. 243 and a .22 rifle, for which he had
no licences, alongside .243 ammunition,
which were found stashed in his
children’s bedroom, in Timaru.
He was also charged with trying
to persuade a witness to give a false
statement to investigators.
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Children on the Sport Canterbury West Coast Active Kids holiday programme yesterday hit the beach at Karoro for a spot of hut building. Just
ahead of a storm front rolling in, about 30 children turned beachcombers scrambled to build huts using anything they could find, including bits
of gorse, punga, driftwood and beach stones to anchor the structures against the elements. Within 30 minutes of starting, Hannah Kelsall, left,
Greanne Williams, Jessie Baatjies, Ella Richards, Nyah Reweti, and Sean and Finlay Brown had topped off their innovative wind shelter with an
Holiday beach huts
Almost six months after the death
of 15-month-old Cobden toddler
Leith Hutchison, police have yet to
wind up an investigation or make an
Leith died at Starship Hospital in
Auckland on April 23, two days after
the little boy was taken to Grey Base
Hospital, in cardiac arrest and not
Following his death, Greymouth
police said they were considering
the possibility that Leith had
suffered an assault some time prior
to his being taken to hospital. For
months after wards, the police said
they were awaiting the results of
specialised tests being conducted
overseas following the post mortem
examination to confirm if the little
boy had suffered a brain injury.
West Coast police area Inspector
John Canning said today that the
only comment he could make at this
stage was that the inquiry was active
and still “ongoing”.
“Some of these things aren’t solved
in a day,” he said.
Toddler death inquiry ‘ongoing’ — police
A Taylor ville man who could not
resist the temptation of driving a
“ big V8” after a drinking session, and
then crashed the car, was convicted
in the Greymouth District Court
Lawyer Richard Bodle said Jonty
Charles Pickett, 20, was having a few
drinks at home with friends when
he made the “stupid decision” to go
out driving, as he “couldn’t resist the
temptation of a big V8”.
Pickett crashed the car, suffering a
cracked vertebrae and a damaged eye
socket in the crash.
Mr Bodle said the shock of that
crash, as well as the shock of having
ended up before the judge earlier in
the week on a charge of burglary,
which was due to his “associations,”
had made him “revisit his life”.
Judge Raoul Neave said Pickett
had got himself in a mess, “ largely
because you are yet to complete your
“ You had a job in Christchurch
on the rebuild, but you were not
prepared to put in the hard work.
The rebuild offers young men the
chance to rebuild their lives as they
rebuild the city,” Judge Neave said.
However, there seemed to be an
indication that Pickett was starting
“Hopefully, (the crash) proved to
be a wake up call. Previously your
trajectory was taking you towards
disaster and even death if you didn’t
buck your ideas up.”
Pickett was banned from driving
for six months on the charge of
driving while suspended, and was
given 80 hours of community work
for excess breath-alcohol. He was
also ordered to pay reparation of
$899 for the damage done to the
If he did not reoffend, the judge
said he would remit $4000 of his
existing fines, and if he kept paying
reparation for 12 months, another
$1500 would be wiped from the
slate. On top of that, the entire
balance of his fines would be wiped
if he completed a further sentence of
120 hours of community work.
Crash gives Taylorville man a wake-up call
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