Home' Greymouth Star : October 12th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
Easy fishing at
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MONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Gunshots heard in the vicinity
of a scrub fire being dealt with by
firefighters, between Dunollie and
Rapahoe late on Saturday night, have
prompted a warning from police.
Senior sergeant Philip Barker, of
Greymouth police, said firefighters
heard the shots while attending the
fire. Police would be making further
inquiries this week to identify the
perpetrators. Mr Barker said police
took “very seriously” incidents of
firearms being discharged close to
residential areas and would seize
firearms and licences, and arrest
the culprits if necessary. Earlier
on Saturday, about 7.30pm, the
Runanga Volunteer Fire Brigade was
alerted to a suspicious fire in scrub
near the car park at the Rapahoe end
of the Point Elizabeth Track. Deputy
chief fire officer Kelvin Dobson said
a tyre had been placed in the scrub
and set alight.
The former Hokitika Fire Station,
now converted into a cafe-bar, was
burgled early today. Police said two
offenders broke open the front door
and had begun stealing bottles of
wine when they were disturbed by
the owner, who gave chase down the
street. Wine bottles valued at about
$600 were either taken or broken.
Police said they were following a
strong line of inquiry.
moments after it was photographed
for the first time. The Moustached
Kingfisher is known as a ‘ghost
bird’ because it is so rare — and is
known to dwell on the Solomon
Islands. But when the animal’s
call was heard by scientist Chris
Filardi, he promptly tracked it
down and killed it. Mr Filardi, the
director of Pacific Programmes at
the American Museum of Natural
History, claimed that the animal
had been “collected as a specimen
for additional study”. But while
his actions have been decried
as “unnecessary slaying” by the
scientific community, Mr Filardi
said that the bird is “not rare”.
Heavy rain easing to showers
A locomotive fire inside the 8.5km-
long Otira Tunnel is being investigated
by Work Safe New Zealand.
Meanwhile, rail operator Kiwi Rail
has been slapped by the New Zealand
Transport Authority over locomotives
equipment on trains in the tunnel.
Work Safe mines and extractives chief
inspector Tony Forster confirmed the
High Hazards Unit had been notified
of a non-injury incident involving a
fire on a locomotive in the tunnel, on
Work Safe was currently investigating
the incident but was unable yet to
provide any further details, Mr Forster
NZTA national director rail safety
Celia Patrick said on Friday the agency
had placed a condition on Kiwi Rail,
effective from September 25, that
all locomotives in the Otira Tunnel
be fitted with full fire detection and
She said tunnels were “inherently
hazardous”, and acknowledged that Kiwi
Rail had improved protection in 2013
for passenger trains passing through the
tunnel by fitting locomotives used for
all passenger trains with the same safety
In an unattributed statement to the
Greymouth Star, Kiwi Rail said all
locomotives using the tunnel were now
It said there had been a “small ignition”
on the locomotive, being operated in
tandem with another as it travelled
up the tunnel to Arthur’s Pass, on
“The fire detection system on board
worked correctly and the source of
ignition and fuel was immediately shut
down,” the company said.
Kiwi Rail also confirmed that the staff
member on board had dealt with the fire
on the second locomotive once the train
had exited the tunnel at Arthur’s Pass.
“No one was on board that particular
locomotive at the time and the cause is
still under investigation.”
Kiwi Rail denied that the tunnel
could be shut down because of volatile
conditions, fuelled by carbon monoxide
emitted by several locomotives at a time
needed to pull trains through the steep
tunnel, and a build-up of coal dust.
Kiwi Rail said it was not exploring
breaking down trains into shorter
lengths at Otira for the leg to Arthur’s
Pass before reassembly, to help
minimise both exhaust emissions and
the explosion risk in the tunnel.
The Greymouth Star understands the
removal of yard space at both ends of
the tunnel following the scrapping of
the previous electric locomotive haulage
system means there is now not enough
capacity to break up and reassemble
However, Kiwi Rail said it had engaged
a contractor to clean and remove the
build-up of coal dust in the tunnel.
Air monitors had also been installed
in the tunnel “to measure the operating
“It is our responsibility to ensure that
the appropriate controls for safe work
procedures and rail operations are in
place for all tunnels on the network,
It always allowed sufficient time once
a train had passed through, to expel the
emissions before the next train.
The previous electrification system,
dating from when the tunnel was
opened in 1923 and decommissioned in
1997, was not replaced due to cost.
Kiwi Rail declined to say how much
had been spent since 1997 on installing
and maintaining systems to make the
tunnel safe for the operation of diesel-
“ We constantly review the most cost-
effective method of operating in this
Kiwi Rail currently faces four charges
brought by Work Safe related to
carbon monoxide poison risk in the
Otira Tunnel to Kiwi Rail workers
and contractors engaged by Kiwi Rail,
relating to an incident in November
The case was recently transferred to
the Wellington District Court.
Woman five times over booze limit
Police are “appalled” at the level
of intoxication of a Nelson woman
they nabbed for drink-driving in
Westport on Friday night after she
was spotted driving while talking on
The woman was seen pulling up
short of the Peel and Brougham
streets intersection, busily talking
on her phone.
Police said that when approached
it became obvious the woman had
She was breath-tested and blew a
massive 1717mg — more than five
times the legal limit.
immediately suspended for 28 days.
She will appear in the Westport
District Court on October 29.
When spoken to by police the
woman said she had had “only a
third of a bottle of vodka”.
The vodka bottle was in her
handbag, with four boxes of
Smirnoff Ice strewn around the
“Police are appalled at the level
of intoxication,” senior sergeant
Allyson Ealam said.
Just over an hour earlier, Westport
police caught another drunk driver,
also from Nelson, as he was exiting
Westport Countdown on Friday at
8.15pm, having just purchased more
The man was charged with drink-
driving after he blew 760mg.
Police said it emerged that
the driver had been previously
disqualified from driving. His
vehicle was impounded.
An off-duty police officer broke
up a fight outside a Greymouth
takeaways shop on Friday night,
arresting two men in the process.
The 8.15pm incident unfolded
after two men assaulted another
man as he left Parky’s Takeaways.
“The assault was witnessed by an
off-duty police officer, who promptly
broke the three up. Both men were
arrested and charged with common
assault,” senior sergeant Allyson
The assault victim did not require
medical treatment and both men
were later released on bail.
arrested a man last night for breaking
windows at the former Hokitika
Motels, in Fitzherbert Street.
Police were called after the
occupants reported a rock had been
hurled through the window of their
A man was later tracked down and
charged with wilful damage after
breaking six windows.
He was also charged with
disconnected a security camera and
then tried to light the wiring, and
allegedly damaged two cars at the
same location. The man has been
kept in custody.
Off-duty cop breaks up street fight
Police have yet to talk to the
sur vivors of a collision between a
truck and car at Omoto on Friday
evening, in which a Greymouth
Trent O’Connell, 17, was a front
seat passenger in the car, which
collided with the truck on State
highway 7 about 6.45pm.
The 26-year-old driver, and
another passenger, were both
injured and taken to Grey Base
Hospital but have since been
discharged. The truck driver was
Tasman police communications
manager Barbara Dunn said early
indications were that the car was
travelling east from Greymouth,
colliding head on with the truck.
Trent was taken to hospital but
died of his injuries.
overnight on Friday and for most
of Saturday while the police
serious crash unit conducted a
scene examination. The car was
extensively damaged and will
undergo further examination.
Trent was a Year 13 student at
Greymouth High School.
“ Trent was a part-time student
studying tourism and was a
valued young man in our school
community and we were excited
to be working with him on the
transition to work,” principal Andy
The school was offering support
to students and staff to help them
cope with the death, and offered
its sympathy to the family and
Trent had also worked as a
part-time shop assistant at The
Warehouse in Greymouth for the
past 18 months.
School mourns crash victim
The Electricity Authority has
promised more consultation early
next year on controversial plans to
alter power transmissions charges,
potentially adding $500 a year to the
average West Coast power bill.
It recently sought feedback on
proposals to change the way national
grid operator Transpower calculates
Westland Milk Products says under
the proposals, its annual power bill
would go up by $2.3 million, forcing
it to reduce its payout to farmers by 3c
a kilo of milk solids.
It would also add $1700 a year to
the average dairy farmer’s power bill,
and $500 a year to average household
Electricity Authority chief executive
Carl Hansen said the next step would
be to consult on whether it changed
the pricing guidelines and if so, what
the changes might be.
“ We plan to make a final decision on
the (pricing) guidelines by mid-2016.”
If a new pricing schedule was
approved, the earliest any transmission
price changes would apply was from
April 2019 onwards.
Authority to consult on electricity changes
Work Safe NZ investigating
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