Home' Greymouth Star : October 19th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, October 19, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1765 - The Stamp Act Congress, meeting in
New York, draws up a declaration of rights and
1781 - British troops under Lord Cornwallis
surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the
American Revolution war.
1812 - French forces under
Napoleon Bonaparte begin their
retreat from Moscow.
1944 - The US Navy announces
black women would be allowed into
Women Accepted for Volunteer
Emergency Ser vice.
1950 - United Nations forces enter
Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
1972 - US and South Vietnamese officials
meet in peace negotiations where the US and
North Vietnam will move toward a ceasefire
agreement in Indochina and a political accord
that would replace the current government in
1977 - The supersonic Concorde aeroplane
makes its first landing in New York.
1987 - The stock market crashes as the Dow
Jones Industrial Average plunges 508 points,
or 22.6 per cent in value — its biggest-ever
percentage drop in decades.
1994 - A bomb on a crowded city bus kills 20
people in Tel Aviv, Israel.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Auguste Lumiere, Frenchman credited with
making the first movie (1862-1948);
John Le Carre, British writer (1931-
); John Lithgow, US actor (1945-);
Jennifer Holliday, US singer (1960-);
Evander Holyfield, US heavyweight
boxing champion (1962-); Trey
Parker, American comedian and
animator (1969-); Louis Oosthuizen,
South African golfer (1982-) .
“ You are never too old to set another goal, or
to dream a new dream.” — C S Lewis.
“And do not forget to do good and to share
with others, for with such sacrifices God is
pleased.” — (Hebrews 13:16).
By a stroke of
luck the contents
of a Mackay Street
chemist ’s shop were
neither damaged nor were any supplies needed
in an accident when a car smashed into the
front window in the early hours of yesterday
morning. A veranda post and a plate glass
window of L S Robertson, Chemist, were
smashed when the car swung out of control on
to the footpath at 4.25am.
The car with three young occupamts had been
travelling down Tainui Street when it went out
of control after turning into Mackay Street.
One 17-year-old passenger, Alex Hutt suffered
very minor injuries not requiring hospital
treatment. Driver of the car, Maurice Martin
Robinson, 18, and the other passenger, Douglas
Brett McLean, 15, were completely uninjured.
The car was described by Greymouth police
this morning as “fairly extensively damaged”.
Extensive investigations will be conducted
soon to find the most efficient method of
ser ving West Coast viewers, chairman of
the NZBC Mr C A McFarlane said at the
official opening of the Sugar Loaf television
transmitting station on Saturday. Now that
Sugar Loaf had been found unsuitable to
viewers here engineers were looking at
alternative methods of bringing satisfactory
reception to the West Coast, he said.
However, this presented considerable
technical problems due to the geological
characteristics, he added. The chairman
stressed that it was not possible for a ser vice
to be provided for all regions of the country
simultaneously because of the finance, staff
resources and technical factors.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
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3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
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o wonder Lydia Smith’s
clivias bloom brilliantly.
The bright orange,
bell-shaped flowers are
growing in multi-million
The 69-year-old, and her husband Ian,
72, are living the quarter-acre dream less
than 3km from the hustle and bustle of
They are among the few — just
seven intact, single-title, quarter-acre
(1011square metres) sections are left
in downtown Auckland and the eight
suburbs that border it.
Another three sections between 1215sq
m and 1451square metres also remain.
Together, those 10 residential sections
represent the last of a disappearing way
of life in the most central suburbs of our
biggest city — a home and a chunk of
land big enough for a veggie garden, fruit
trees and energetic children.
As Auckland has grown, many sections
we live on have shrunk, sliced up to
host many more homes than originally
Drive through large swathes of the city
and you could be forgiven for thinking
the dream of the quarter-acre, pavlova
paradise is dead.
The change is, unsurprisingly, most
pronounced in central suburbs, although
some areas, such as Ponsonby and
Freemans Bay were never quarter-acre
Other parts of Auckland are also
transforming, and will continue to do
so as intensification increases under the
proposed Unitary Plan, the rulebook for
city development for the next 10 years.
But holdouts remain.
The Smiths, who have lived in their
turn-of-the-20th-century villa on a
1011square metre section of Parnell’s
Alberon Street since 1979, are among
a tiny number of central Auckland
homeowners who have resisted the
marching tide of progress.
And though they could have cashed in
years ago, they have no regrets. “ We love
it here,” Lydia Smith said as she showed
the couple’s rambling garden.
They have ripped out the agapanthus
but original fruit trees, sturdy cabbage
trees and towering pohutukawa remain.
Most of their neighbours have letters
attached to the end of their street
numbers, but they had always resisted the
temptation to subdivide, she said.
The couple paid $53,000 ($278,000
in 2015 dollars) for their four-bedroom
villa, after negotiating $10,000 off the
asking price, in part because the property
was in what was then considered to be a
less-desirable part of Parnell.
“It was a lot of money back then. Mt
Eden (properties) were in the $30,000s so
I thought this was about right.”
Their choice of location was driven by
austerity — the newly-introduced carless
days law meant the couple, raising two
children, wanted to be close enough to
walk to jobs in the central city, Ian Smith
said. “ This wasn’t upmarket then. It was
the university side of Parnell.”
Amazingly, they faced significant
criticism from family members ner vous
about the house’s age. It was extensively
renovated in the early 1980s and while
the Smiths did not want to say what the
property might be worth now, it has a
capital value of $2.7m.
Their children are now raising families
of their own so they are open to selling
at some point but no firm decisions have
been made. Multiple real estate agents
were frequently in touch, Lydia Smith
Sir Thomas Thorp is another quarter-
acre hold-out. The 89-year-old bought his
Judge Street home for $300,000 ($1.57m
in today ’s dollars) in 1979.
The property, which borders Martyn
Fields Reserve and has breathtaking
views of Waitemata Harbour, has a
capital value of $2.6m.
A former high-profile High Court
judge, Sir Thomas said real estate agents
called about twice a month, but he did
not want to sell the home in which he
raised a family.
“I’m staying here while I can. It’s a
superb place, private and close to the
city. I haven’t thought of subdividing. I’m
hoping it will go to a decent-sized family
when I move.”
Barfoot and Thompson managing
director Peter Thompson said widespread
subdivision of quarter-acre sections began
in the late 1980s and had gained pace
“Certainly, the number of quarter-acre
sections is diminishing at a quick rate.
For those who are sitting on them, it adds
a lot of value.
“It was everyone’s dream to grow up on
a quarter-acre section, but obviously the
population growth and the Unitary Plan,
saying expand upwards and outwards, will
take the quarter-acre sections out of the
Those who had grown up in or raised
families on their large, central-city
properties often expressed a wish for it to
remain a family home, he said.
Auckland Council chief of strategy Jim
Quinn said Auckland ’s population was
expected to increase between 750,000
and a million in the next 30 years.
Intensification was vital to meet demand.
“I don’t think anybody wants to see
that sprawl for miles and miles, and all
the problems that come with that. So
obviously we need land release to enable
some wider growth, but we also need to
intensify, and that ’s what the Unitary
Plan is signalling.”
Auckland Council were asked how
many residential properties greater
than 1000sqm were left in downtown
Auckland and the neighbouring
suburbs of Saint Mary’s Bay, Herne Bay,
Freemans Bay, Ponsonby, Arch Hill,
Newton, Grafton and Parnell.
Those areas contain about 5600 homes,
excluding apartments and units. We then
checked the addresses of those greater
than 1000sqm on Google Earth to make
sure the sections did not contain multiple
houses, and excluded properties larger
than the traditional quarter-acre size of
1011sqm only because they were spread
across more than one title, such as in the
case of Prime Minister John Key ’s Parnell
We found 10 properties on single titles
and housing single, detached homes.
Seven — in Parnell, Grafton and Herne
Bay — were between 1004s quare
metresand 1011square metres. Three, in
Parnell and Herne Bay, were between
1215square metres and 1451square
Goodbye quarter-acre dream
Once, a house with land for a veggie garden was the norm. Now just a few ‘last men
standing’ remain, finds CHERIE HOWIE of the Herald On Sunday.
Mexico’s campaign to stem a tide of
illegal immigrants from Central American
countries to the United States has led to a
surge in complaints of abuse by migration
officials, including violent attacks and
Under US pressure, President Enrique
Pena Nieto in July 2014 launched a plan
he said would make Mexico’s southern
border “safe for Mexicans and migrants
Since then, the number of Central
American migrants — mainly from
Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras —
caught trying to enter the United States
has fallen markedly. But complaints of
abuse at the hands of Mexican officials
shot up around 40%, data obtained shows.
Dubbed “Frontera Sur”, Pena Nieto’s
plan set out to tighten border controls,
register migrants and discourage their use
of dangerous transport north such as an
infamous train known as “La Bestia” (The
Beast), which criminal gangs have long
Despite also pledging to protect their
rights, migrants complain the opposite has
In the year through June 2015, Mexico’s
National Commission on Human Rights
logged 567 complaints of abuse by officials
at the National Migration Institute, up by
39% from the previous 12-month period.
That far outweighed a slight dip in
complaints against police during the
same period, to 83 from 92, according to
CNDH data requested by the Washington
Office on Latin America for an upcoming
Activists say the vast majority of abuses
go unreported but that anecdotal evidence
supports the increase shown by official
“P lan Frontera Sur has turned the
border region into a war zone,” said
Alberto Donis, managing director of the
Hermanos en el Camino shelter, near
the migrant stopping-point of Ixtepec in
Oaxaca State. “ Talk of human rights is a
lie. Almost all of the migrants who arrive
here have been abused by authorities.”
Evidence that migration officials
harass and abuse Central Americans sits
uncomfortably alongside Mexico’s
condemnation of US presidential
hopeful Donald Trump for
labelling Mexican migrants as
rapists and drug runners.
So worried are some migrants
about being attacked in Mexico
that they reported climbing trees
and using belts to tie themselves
to the upper branches so they can
sleep in peace.
Delivered by migrants or legal
intermediaries, the CNDH
testimonies accuse Mexican
officials of beatings, extortion,
robbery and willful neglect.
INM spokeswoman Sofia
Vega declined to comment on
the CNDH findings but said
Plan Frontera Sur “has provided
countless benefits to people of
The migrants’ path through
Mexico is a map of violence and
extortion and is studded with sites
of atrocities like the 2010 massacre
of 72 migrants near the north-
eastern town of San Fernando by
the Zetas drug cartel.
Mexican drug gangs have long
preyed on migrants crossing their
turf, but they face competition
in the criminal food chain from
Shelters offer scant respite.
Over whelmed and understaffed,
many resemble refugee camps, with
space, water and food scarce.
For accountancy student Victor
Santos from El Salvador, crossing
Mexico is now even more dangerous than
In March, the 21-year-old was deported
for the sixth time in three years after
he was pulled off a bus by six Mexican
migration agents outside El Ceibo, in
He said he ran off, but the agents caught
up with him, beat and robbed him and
then deported him. “ They hit me and took
$1000,” he said by telephone from
Santos said he filed a complaint against
the officials while being held at an INM
detention centre, but was removed from
Mexico before it was processed.
INM spokesman Ruben Dario Garcia
said the agency had no knowledge of the
Pena Nieto unveiled his southern border
strategy after a jump in detentions in the
United States of unaccompanied minors
from Central America created a political
crisis for President Barack Obama last year.
The US government stepped up efforts
to secure its border and Mexico began
deporting many more migrants before they
could reach the 3200km frontier.
The flow of migrants duly slowed. From
October 2014 through August 2015, the
number of minors caught travelling alone
at the US border fell by nearly half to
Total border apprehensions dropped by
a fifth to 249,726 between July 2014 and
March 2015, the last month for which
US Customs and Border Patrol data is
Meanwhile, deportations from Mexico
in the first five months of 2015 rose more
than 70% from the same period in 2014 to
To escape deportation, migrants often
pay bribes to INM agents of between
$30 to $300, according to testimony from
dozens inter viewed.
Gonzalo Chavez, an Ixtepec-based
immigration lawyer working for the
attorney general’s office of Oaxaca State,
said Pena Nieto’s plan has created a
“climate of legalised anarchy”.
Among migrants he has represented is
Carlos Arevolo, a 40-year-old Salvadoran
who reported witnessing INM officials
setting fire to a field of long grass where
he and three others were hiding to avoid
“I saw a lot of fire and smoke and
heard people screaming,” Arevolo said in
testimony registered at the Ixtepec public
prosecutor’s office after he alone escaped
the INM officials.
Authorities did not address the men’s
complaints because the other three were
quickly deported and Arevolo had no fixed
address in Mexico, Chavez said.
Mexico’s abuse of migrants
Armed Mexican police await the arrive of a train carrying migrants.
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