Home' Greymouth Star : October 13th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, October 13, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
54 - Roman emperor Claudius I dies, after
being poisoned by his wife, Agrippina.
1792 - Cornerstone of the White House
is laid during a ceremony in the District of
1815 - British occupy South Atlantic island
of Ascension to prevent Napoleon’s
escape from St Helena.
1844 - Greenwich Mean Time
1943 - Italy, during World War
Two, declares war on Germany, its
former Axis partner.
1974 - Death of American tv
personality-columnist Ed Sullivan.
1991 - In renewed faction fighting, 21 blacks
are killed in South Africa’s black townships.
1992 - The pyramids, the Sphinx and other
monuments sur vive Cairo earthquake that kills
at least 400 and injures more than 4000.
1993 - A fanatical fan of tennis player Steffi
Graf is convicted of stabbing her arch-rival
Monica Seles but receives only a two-year
1994 - Pro-British Protestant paramilitaries in
Northern Ireland announce a ceasefire matching
the Irish Republican Army ’s six-week-old truce,
voicing “true remorse” for the killings of many
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Margaret Thatcher, former British prime
minister (1925-2013); Lenny Bruce,
US comedian (1925-1966); Frank
Gilroy, US playwright (1925-2015);
Nana Mouskouri, Greek singer and
politician (1934-); Paul Simon, US
singer-musician (1941-); Marie
Osmond, US singer (1959-); Kelly
Preston, US actress (1962-); Sacha
Baron Cohen, British comedian (1971-); Ian
Thorpe, Australian swimmer (1982-).
“One man’s transparency is another’s
— Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein.
“ He gives strength to the weary and increases
the power of the weak.” — (Isaiah 40:29).
Miraculously no one
suffered serious injury
when three motor
vehicles were involved
in a spectacular collision at the Kaiata straight,
on the outskirts of Dobson, in the early hours
of yesterday morning. One vehicle, owned by
Peter Gibson, 18, of Eva Street, Greymouth,
and driven by Tui William Bromley, 16, of
Cobden, was a complete write-off.
Bromley, with Gibson, Allan Campbell, of
Cobden and Robert Devine, of Runanga, was
travelling in a southerly direction from the
Stillwater dance behind another vehicle driven
by Thomas Brian Stacey, of Richmond, Nelson.
As Bromley was attempting to overtake he was
confronted by a car driven by Brian Campbell,
of Brunner, coming from the opposite
direction. Bromley’s car clipped both cars then
swer ved down the side of the roadway.
Police said it was practicably impossible
to believe that anyone could have sur vived
uninjured from the twisted and tangled
bodywork of Gibson’s car.
At 6.30pm on Saturday when the last of the
votes were being counted in the local body
elections which swept Dr B M Dallas into
the mayoral position — the first grandson of
Westland MP Mr P Blanchfield was born. He
was born to Mr and Mrs Frank Blanchfiled
and will be named after his politician
grandfather “Paddy”. Official name will be
Patrick but like his grandfather he will almost
certainly get the colloquial form.
Though he had a day off on Saturday in
deference to the elections, this was an occasion
one mayoral candidate could not miss.
Attending physician at the birth: Dr Dallas.
uFood for thought
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ue Henry says the State house
she shares with her partner,
Ken Under wood, is “the first
stable roof I’ve had”.
Mr Under wood, 91, a
naval gunner who ser ved on
the Achilles in World War Two, was
allotted the house in Clairville Crescent
overlooking Auckland’s Tamaki Estuary
when it was built in 1956.
Ms Henry, who will admit only to being
“ in my 60s”, moved in with him in 1972
after living for years on the streets.
She was born in Auckland as Sue
Wishart, but does not know who her
parents were, and knows of no relatives.
Her early memories of foster care are so
painful that she has largely blocked them
out of her memory.
She started running away and discovered
alcohol, which ruled the best years of her
“ I started drinking meths and plonk
when I was probably 10. I was a State
ward at a girls’ home. That ’s when it got
nasty,” she says.
“ It was an evil place. I can remember I
ran away all the time, and they used to put
me to bed with no pants on so I wouldn’t
run, but I used to rip the bottom off the
pillow cases for a skirt and bugger off
She had no formal schooling. “All I did
was drink — run away and drink, run
away and drink,” she says.
“A fair part of that time I actually slept
in the railway carriages at Quay Street
and in Pigeon Park and Myers Park and
anywhere else that I could hide, because
it was actually a criminal offence to be in
“There was a lot of food thrown away
back then. We always used to find a lot
of food in the rubbish. I used to wash my
hair in the basin at the ferry terminal and
shower at the Tepid Baths.”
The worst came when she was sent to
what was then the Arohata girls’ borstal
“They used to make me scrub the floor
with a toothbrush and this screw used to
beat me and I’d land on my guts,” she says.
“ Most of the girls I knew died before
they were 25 from overdoses, suicide, self-
“ When kids go through that, it’s with
you for the rest of your life. You end up
being uneducated. You are a non-identity,
you don’t fit anywhere, you’ve got no
family. You go through your whole life and
you can’t trust anyone. They kill your trust. ”
She found work in laundries and sewing
factories. After work she drank herself into
a nightly stupor.
After she moved in with Mr Under wood,
she became an “outworker”, sewing
uniforms for the likes of traffic officers for
up to 120 hours a week.
“ I didn’t want to stop drinking. In the
last year of my drinking I was down to a
26oz Coruba a day, a 112oz brandy a day
and anything else I could get my hands on.
“The last year of my drinking I was
covered in abscesses; they wouldn’t heal. I
was vomiting up blood clots, I’d swag half
a bottle of rum in one go and next minute
all this blood would come out. I could
hardly move in the end. I had all this pain
in my back.”
Finally she went to Alcoholics
Anonymous, where two long time
sponsors drove her recovery.
“They used to boot my backside because,
they said, ‘I see myself in you.’
She had her last drink on Good Friday
31 years ago.
“ It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she
says. “You have to do it one day at a time,
even an hour at a time.”
Mr Under wood was a key support.
Asked how they met, she says, “ We were
just good mates.”
She says it has been a wonderful
relationship: “ We never argue. ”
Ms Henry threw herself into saving
others. She still has people struggling with
addiction who turn up at her house or ring
That soon morphed into advocating for
She founded the Housing Lobby in 1987
to fight State house rent increases, and
fought market rents and State house sales
through the 1990s.
Oddly, she counts former Prime Minister
Rob Muldoon as “really supportive”.
By the late 1980s he was still MP for
Tamaki, and she worked with his office on
Through the first decade of this century,
she fought against council plans to rezone
Panmure and Glen Innes for high-density
She opposed new Housing NZ blocks at
Talbot Park, and has been part of a wider
group that has protested against every
State house removed or demolished in a
huge redevelopment that envisages 7500
mostly private homes to replace Tamaki’s
2800 existing State houses.
Earlier this month, she led a march up
Tripoli Road against legislation giving
ministers powers to sell State houses.
“ You can never think about yourself
because you wouldn’t cope,” she explains.
“That ’s why I’ve plunged myself for 30
years into helping the people with housing
— because it’s dangerous, it ’s lethal, to
think of myself. ”
With no family roots, she has also found
another way to ground herself, literally.
Mr Under wood brought in topsoil for
the Clairville Crescent home back in
the 1950s and built up a productive
garden which they have expanded
“I never thought I’d say I’m happy to be
sober, but I really am today, and having
stability here has been part of that.
“It’s impossible to stay sober without a
permanent, stable roof over your head. ”
State house tenants from around New
Zealand plan to march on Parliament
today against Government plans to sell
an initial 1600 houses in Tauranga and
Ariana Paretutanganui-Tamati, organiser
of the State Housing Action Network
(Shan), said about 100 tenants were
likely to join the hour-long march from
Wellington’s Civic Square at noon.
Vanessa Kururangi, who co-ordinates
Shan’s branch in Tauranga, where all
1250 local State houses are for sale, said
about seven tenants from Tauranga and
12 from Hamilton would represent 80 to
100 tenants who turned out to a public
meeting in August.
“ We would love to take more of our
tenants, but trying to fundraise to get
people down there is a little bit out of our
reach,” she said.
Rachael Goldsmith, from Invercargill,
where the city’s 370 State houses are for
sale, said about 60 tenants attended a
public meeting but only two would be
flying to Wellington, carrying about 500
signatures on a petition to stop the sales.
Eight from Auckland’s Tamaki
Housing Group are also taking more
The Treasury is due to call this month
for expressions of interest from parties
who would buy or lease the houses in both
In Tauranga, an iwi consortium
submitted “a detailed commentary” to the
Treasury on September 25 and is due to
announce an agreement with an intended
tenancy manager this week.
Allan Pollard of Masterton-based Trust
House liquor licensing trust, which bought
500 Wairarapa State houses in 1999,
declined to say whether his group would
take on the management contract.
IHC spokeswoman Gina Rogers said the
organisation’s Accessible Properties was
still in the market for the Tauranga homes.
In Invercargill, Mayor Tim Shadbolt
said he held a meeting for potential
buyers including Ngai Tahu, Presbyterian
Support Southland and Pact Group, a
Dunedin-based charity which runs 150
houses mainly for people with intellectual
disabilities and recovering from mental
Peter Wards, chief executive of
Presbyterian Support Southland, said his
group no longer expected to be part of the
But Louise Carr, of Pact Group, said
Pact was interested in buying all 370 State
houses in Invercargill, and Ngai Tahu
spokesman Julian Wilcox said the iwi had
formed a working party on the issue.
A spokeswoman for Horizon Housing,
based in Q ueensland, said the company
had no update on its stated position that it
“ looks for ward to working in partnership
with local providers” of social housing in
New Zealand. — New Zealand Herald
Fighting for a home
Having lived a life on the streets, Sue Henry believes in the right to a home. She has
been fighting for State housing tenants since the 1980s.
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Sue Henry at a protest march.
There is a small but
significant industry in
the United States that
predicts the “coming war”
with China, and Atlantic
Magazine is foremost
among reputable American
monthlies in giving a
home to such speculation.
It has just done it again,
in an article that includes
a hearty dose of geo-political theory. The
theory is “the Thucydides trap”.
The author is Graham Allison of Har vard
University, the man who coined that
phrase. Thucydides, the historian of the
Peloponnesian War in the 5th century BC,
explained what caused the war this way:
“It was the rise of Athens, and the fear
that this inspired in Sparta, that made war
inevitable.” It lasted 20 years, and at the end
of it the two great powers of the ancient
Greek world were both devastated.
Yet they did not go to war over anything
in particular, according to Thucydides. The
problem was that Athens was overtaking
Sparta in power (like China is overtaking
the US now), and just that one fact was
enough to send them to war. So are China
and the US doomed to go to war in the
Allison knows better than to make a hard
prediction, but he does point out that out
of the past 16 cases when one major power
was gaining in power and its rival feared
relegation, 12 ended in war.
Such predictions and formulas have an
impact in the real world. When Chinese
President Xi Jinping arrived in Seattle
two weeks ago at the beginning of his
US visit, he felt obliged to respond to
Allison’s article: “ There is no such thing
as the Thucydides trap in the world,” Xi
said. “But should major countries time
and again make the mistakes of strategic
miscalculation, they might create such traps
Well, he was not going to say, “Yeah, we’re
doomed to go to war with each other,”
was he? But it is clear that Chinese (and
American) leaders worry about this — and
that worrying about it paradoxically makes
it more likely to happen, because it places
the whole question of ‘who is on top?’ at the
centre of their thinking.
Does it really matter which is more
powerful when China and the US have no
shared border, make no territorial claims
against each other, and are separated by
the world’s largest ocean? Lots of people
in each country would say no, but both
countries have military-industrial-academic
complexes that thrive on the threat of a
US-Chinese military conflict.
They would not benefit from an actual
war, of course. But the threat of a great
war kept millions of people in the military,
in defence industries and in various
universities and think tanks in interesting
and sometimes very profitable work during
the four decades of the US-Soviet Cold
The threat of a US-Chinese war already
provides gainful employment to a lot of
people, though nothing like as many as
those who made a living off the threat of
World War Three during the Cold War.
If the perceived threat of war grows, so
will the number of American and Chinese
experts who make a living from it. So it is
worth examining Allison’s assumptions to
see if they hold water.
There are only two key assumptions. One
is that China will decisively surpass the US
in national power in the coming decade.
The other is that such transfers of power
from one dominant nation to another
are still likely to end in war. Neither is as
certain as it seems.
Chinese dominance is certain if the
country keeps growing economically even
at its new, lower rate of 7% a year. That
is still at least twice the US rate, and the
magic of compound interest will still do its
work. But the era of 10% annual growth
ended for Japan and South Korea, the
other east Asian “miracles”, after about 30
years. Each country then fell to a normal
industrialised-country growth rate or (in
Japan’s case) below it.
China is about the 30-year point now.
Maybe its managers are clever and it can
avoid the same fate, but their recently ham-
fisted efforts to prop up the stock market
suggest other wise.
Most observers believe that China’s
economic growth this year is already below
7% — maybe 4%, or even less. Neither of
the other east Asian miracles ever got back
on to the ultra-high growth track after
they fell off it. At 4% growth or less, China
would not be overtaking the US any time
As for 12 out of 16 changes in the great-
power pecking order ending in war, that is
true. But according to Allison’s own data,
three out of the four that did not end in
war were the last three, covering the last
half-century. Recent history is a great deal
more encouraging than older history.
Maybe more effective international
institutions have helped the great powers to
avoid war. Maybe the existence of nuclear
weapons has made them much more
cautious. Probably both. But a US-Chinese
war is not inevitable. It may not even be
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
War with China again: The Thucydides trap
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
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