Home' Greymouth Star : November 7th 2015 Contents WEST COAST FEATURE
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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
e 769 7900
Pike River Museum
Rewind: Royal visit 1994
68 left at Reefton
There are now 68 full-time
employees and a number of
contractors left at the Oceana
Gold mine in Reefton, as it heads
towards ‘care and maintenance’.
The contractors are working
on rehabilitation activities,
spokeswoman Andrea Atell said
this week. “ Reefton is transitioning
into care and maintenance, which
will commence at the end of
January 2016. A small team will
remain at site during the care and
maintenance phase,” Ms Atell told
the Greymouth Star. That will
leave just six workers in the mining
operation and eight in maintenance.
That will be whittled down again,
leaving a crew of about six to remain
on-site during the mothballing
phase. The mine previously
employed about 184 workers and 20
contractors. It is a big contributor
to the regional economy, paying just
over $17 million a year in wages
and spending over $12 million on
Late night for
Greymouth Fire Brigade
volunteers were out twice in the wee
hours. The first call was to a false
alarm as Olsen’s Pharmacy, chief
fire officer Lee Swinburn said today.
The second, at 4am, was to a minor
chimney fire on Marsden Road.
Some thieves in France have made
off with a rather odd prize recently
— four tonnes of cheese. Police
were called to a break-in in which
the owner of the Napier dairy in the
town of Goux-les-Usiers discovered
some crooks had stolen roughly
100 wheels of comte, a luxury
cheese which can only be made in
the Franche-Comte region using
unpasteurised cow ’s milk. It was not
an easy steal either — the thieves
had to cut through a barbed-wire
fence and break into a back door
using a crowbar to get to the cheese.
Police believe the cheese was stolen
by a gang who will sell it on the
blackmarket. — Metro
Greymouth Star On-line
Blaketown couple Christine and
Douglas Banks are at a legal dead end
after 14 years of wrangling with the
Grey District Council over the lease
on their residential property, costing
ratepayers $1 million in legal fees.
The Supreme Court has dismissed
their application for an appeal — their
final legal recourse — after an earlier
Court of Appeal decision upheld a
court ruling ordering the Banks to meet
their lease obligations, and awarding
legal costs to the Grey District Council.
The Banks disputed increases in the
annual lease of the former Greymouth
Harbour Board land owned by the
council, based on new valuations, and
argued that the increases were invalid
because a previous family leaseholder
was not properly informed when seven-
year rent reviews were added to the
lease in 1979.
The row has dragged through the
courts for the past decade, and at one
stage involved up to a dozen other
Blaketown lessees. However, they
withdrew over time, leaving the Banks
to argue it alone.
Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court
declined their application to overturn
the September 2014 Court of Appeal
judgment in favour of the council.
Instead they have been ordered to pay
the council $81,000 in legal costs —
less than a tenth of the legal bill footed
by the council.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
said the drawn-out battle had really cost
over $1m in legal bills, not accounting
for hundreds of hours in staff time.
It had taken a huge personal toll on
council staff, and the only “winners are
How to recover the debt from the
Banks -- who may lose their house as
a result of the court ruling -- would
be discussed by the council in the near
future, Mr Kokshoorn said.
“This has been going on since the
rent reviews of 2001. It has cost the
ratepayers $1m to defend — just over a
million bucks — and huge amounts of
staff time. Mrs Banks’ cause was always
weak but the council had to defend her
continued accusations,” Mr Kokshoorn
Throughout the “whole debacle” the
council had its wider responsibility
to ratepayers in mind, along with the
hundreds of other lessees living on
former harbour board land, in dealing
with the Banks’ refusal to honour their
He said the dispute was ultimately
unfair to those who had faithfully met
their council lease obligations; there
could not be one rule for one and not
“ When you’ve got a binding lease,
you’ve got a binding lease. You’ve got to
accept that, and we’ve got to administer
that on behalf of the ratepayers.”
Mr Kokshoorn said there was a clear
legal process for setting leases, with
independent valuations and the ability
to have an arbitrator determine any
opposition to increases.
At one point Mrs Banks had acted as
“If Mrs Banks was allowed to set
valuations and lease terms, a precedent
would have been set,” the mayor said.
He said he “couldn’t begin to explain”
the stress the saga had caused the chief
executive and other staff through years
of continual litigation.
The Banks were not able to be reached
for comment this week and did not
reply to messages.
The couple lease their Blake Street
residential property, which has been
occupied by Mr Banks’ family since
The lease passed to Doug and
Christine Banks in 1979 and lapsed in
2000. A new lease was put in place in
2006, backdated to 2000 with a seven-
At the end of 2007 they were advised
they needed to pay $3260 a year, being
the new rental, and were given three
options: accept the new rate, go to
arbitration or discontinue their lease.
“Mr and Mrs Banks chose none of
these options but refused to pay rent
at the new rate,” the Supreme Court
According to the court judgment, the
outstanding rent was $10,580 by July
2011 and the council issued a notice
under the Property Law Act.
“Mr and Mrs Banks did not pay the
arrears in response to this notice, which
led to the council filing an originating
application for the cancellation of the
lease,” the judgment noted.
In a letter to the Greymouth Star in
October 2014 the Banks said they had
continued to pay their rental into a
council bank account every week while
their dispute ran through the courts.
PICTURE: NZ Defence Force
Another plane load of soldiers flies in to Westport for the military operations under way there. The next key date is November 11, when some of the
2000 visiting troops will begin amphibious landings, and three days later practise evacuations by sea. A farewell ‘open day’ is planned for Westport on
November 21, while this afternoon the troops got to spend about an hour with Prince Charles at the start of his fleeting visit to Buller.
The Blake Street property at the
centre of the lease dispute.
Court orders Blaketown couple
to pay council $81,000
Westpor t ‘invasion’ begins
A Greymouth man who left his
former partner with permanent
disabilities after he rolled his car on
a trip to Christchurch, successfully
appealed a previous court order to pay
her an emotional harm payment of
Matthew Allan Alexander was in
a relationship with the woman for a
short time, and on May 9 they had
been on their way to see his family in
Christchurch, when he crashed west
of the city.
Alexander drove around an S-bend
at Kirwee when the car came off the
road, rolling numerous times. The
woman was trapped in the car, and
had to be freed by the ‘ jaws of life’
As a result of the crash, she suffered
scalping to her head, back and neck
fractures and a badly injured hand.
The woman still suffered stress as a
result of the accident, and was nervous
whenever she was the passenger in a
Judge Raoul Neave had previously
sentenced Alexander to pay reparation
of $5000 to the victim, however
Alexander appealed the decision
in the High Court at Greymouth
yesterday on the basis that he did not
have the means to pay so much.
Justice Paul Heath asked lawyer
Eymard Bradley about Alexander’s
capacity to pay the reparation, and
Mr Bradley said his client lived from
“ week to week”.
He paid some child support
to the mother of a child from a
previous relationship, had some loan
repayments and a bond he owed, and
could probably afford to pay off the
reparation at $40 a week.
Justice Heath said $40 a week was
“not enough” and Alexander might be
looking at a sentence of paying some
form of reparation in conjunction
with community work if he could not
pay the full amount.
The justice said that it would have
been better if Judge Neave had called
for a reparation report, as “better
information allows you to make a
better decision”. The judge had been
in “error” in not ordering such a report
before deciding on the sum of $5000.
The case was remanded back to the
District Court, which will set a date
IRD investigating Gloriavale
Inland Revenue is still investigating
the Gloriavale charitable trust,
six months after the department
announced it was looking into the
The investigation was announced in
Gloriavale Christian Community
owns assets totalling $36.6 million,
including a dairy farm, deer enterprise,
sphagnum moss processing plant and
an aircraft repair firm.
The tax-exempt charity, operating
as the Christian Church Community
Trust, is run by four church leaders
and overseen by Hopeful Christian,
who is referred to in documents as the
Internal Affairs said in a statement
this week that Charities Services was
investigating the Christian Church
Community Trust to determine
whether it remained eligible for
registration as a charity.
“The investigation was opened as a
result of information published earlier
this year in the news media. Because
it is an ongoing investigation we are
unable to provide any further detail at
this stage, however.”
decisions about charitable registration
status were made by the independent
Charities Registration Board. If an
organisation disagreed with a decision
made by the board, it could appeal to
the High Court.
The Gloriavale trust ’s annual returns
for August 2013 through July 2014
show it is worth more than $36.6m
and made a net profit of more than
$1.86m in that year.
Green MP Catherine Delahunty,
who visited the reclusive community at
Lake Haupiri last week, said members
confirmed to her they received
Working for Families financial
support from the Government.
IRD said it could not comment on
Driver wins appeal against payment to victim
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