Home' Greymouth Star : November 18th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
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‘Hoot-air’ professor for festival
Owlbert Eyenstein, the professor of hot
air, is the first special-shape hot air balloon
guest announced to take to the skies during
the 2016 Wairarapa Balloon Festival, from
February 25 to 29.
The 30.5m tall balloon, which was built
last year in Brazil has an envelope weight of
250kg, will fly New Zealand skies for the first
time at the festival.
It will be one of 25 featured balloons
including a second special-shape balloon
which is yet to be announced.
Festival chairman Jonathan Hooker said
he was thrilled to confirm the attendance of
Owlbert and predicts O wlbert will be a huge
drawcard for festival-goers.
“This enormous, special-shape balloon is
going to excite the crowd,” he said.
“O wlbert will certainly get noticed and he’ll
capture the imagination of everyone.
“He stands at 30.5m tall or 100 feet which
makes him 43 times taller than a real life owl!”
Owlbert will be flown by Gary Moore, a
certified commercial hot air balloon pilot
with more than 1400 hours of balloon flying
experience in over 17 countries.
The Wairarapa Balloon Festival programme
will be be released within the month and
will feature a week of balloon lift-offs and
family-fun entertainment at various venues
throughout the region.
Like previous years it will feature the Trust
House Night Glow on Saturday, February 27,
where family entertainment is provided and
tethered balloons light up the night sky.
Mr Hooker says it will be the biggest and
best festival yet and he encourages everyone
to join in the fun.
— NZ ME -Wairarapa Times-Age
PICTURE: Wairarapa Times-Age
Owlbert Eyenstein will take to the skies for the 2016 Wairarapa Balloon Festival.
The remains of New Zealanders
who lost their lives during conflicts
in Vietnam and Malaysia will not be
brought home, Prime Minister John Key
Thirty-six New Zealand soldiers were
buried in Malaysia after they were killed
in the Malayan Emergency and Vietnam
conflicts, and some of their families have
called for their remains to be brought
back to New Zealand.
The Australian Government has moved
to repatriate some of its war dead, but
Mr Key said New Zealand would not do
“On balance, I think it is the right
decision, and one that successive
governments have adopted, to leave
people primarily in these graveyards
in Malaysia,” Mr Key told reporters in
Veterans’ Affairs Minister Craig Foss
had visited the Malaysian graves and
reported they were being cared for in a
respectful manner, Mr Key said.
When a New Zealand soldier was
killed while ser ving overseas from 1948
to 1967 they were buried in the nearest
suitable Commonwealth or Allied Forces
Mr Key acknowledged the issue
was highly sensitive, but said it was
complicated by differing views among
“ It is a very delicate issue, and there
is quite a range of views from families.
Some families want their loved ones
to lay where they are currently buried.
Others do want to bring them home.”
Asked why the decision could not be
made simply on what each family wanted,
Mr Key said changing the policy could
lead to people who had lost relatives in
other conflicts wanting similar action.
“ You could take a broader view of that,
there may be people who would want to
go a long way back. We have an awful
large number of New Zealanders buried
“ It is difficult. And I fully accept it is
very raw for certain individuals, but I
think, on balance, it is right to continue
with the policy.”
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
Labour MP Phil Twyford says
he will not be intimidated by
an alleged smear campaign that
is apparently backed by foreign
Labour’s housing spokesman
will reportedly be targeted by
controversial political consultant
Simon Lusk at the 2017 election
because of his strong stance on
TV3’s Duncan Garner said
he was told Mr Lusk was being
funded by “Chinese money ” to
carry out a “direct mailout ” that
would focus on the Te Atatu MP.
Asked to respond, Mr Twyford
said: “I think it’s interesting that foreign
property speculators are so concerned to defend
the tax-free mega-profits they ’re making in the
Auckland housing market that they ’re willing to
hire the National Party’s dirty tricks machine to
do their work for them.”
Mr Twyford said he would not by silenced by
“this kind of intimidation”.
The Labour MP created a storm of controversy
earlier this year when he highlighted the large
number of Chinese-sounding names on a list
of 4000 residential purchases in Auckland. His
party wants to restrict foreign ownership of
Mr Twyford said he would press ahead with
a private member’s bill that would ban foreign
property speculation, and was due
to be debated soon in Parliament.
Labour leader Andrew Little
said he held no concerns about Mr
“ When people like Simon Lusk
appear on primetime television in
a programme like that, it means
their business is failing, they’re
desperate for work, and that ’s why
they ’re doing that. ”
Mr Lusk was one of the key
players in Nicky Hager’s book
He has previously acted as a
strategist for several National MPs
and is a friend of blogger Cameron
The National Party now warned candidates
against working with Mr Lusk.
Mr Hager’s book said Mr Lusk worked with
Mr Slater to discredit candidates they did not
like, and to engineer Don Brash’s takeover of
the Act Party.
Mr Lusk has also been linked to Labour’s
Napier MP Stuart Nash. TV3 reported Mr Nash’s
associates reportedly paid Mr Lusk up to $20,000
to investigate the potential for an alternative
centrist party, possibly headed by Mr Nash.
Mr Nash said he knew nothing about the
alleged “hit job” planned for his colleague.
“I have nothing to do with taking Phil
Twyford out,” he said. “P hil is doing a fantastic
job.” — NZME -New Zealand Herald
Labour MP defiant
over intimidation bid
to stay in
Benefit backpay action
The Government is to
rush through legislation to
retrospectively fix a measure that
has meant for the past 17 years it
has underpaid many beneficiaries
by one day.
The legislation, introduced
to Parliament yesterday under
urgency, will also mean anyone
who has not already applied
for the extra day ’s benefit will
immediately lose the chance as
soon as the bill passes.
It follows the discovery last
year that since a 1998 law change
Work and Income had wrongly
been starting benefit payments
the day after a stand-down
period ended instead of the day
The Government ’s fix will
change the wording of the law to
clarify payments will begin the
day after the stand-down period.
It will apply retrospectively to
1998, effectively post-validating
what is likely to be thousands of
Only those who had lodged
a review before the law passes
would have that review processed.
However, there would be a seven-
week review period for those
whose benefits started after the
Social Security Appeal Authority
identified the issue in a ruling
in May 2014. It was not until
September this year that Work
and Income started paying the day
the stand down ended to ensure it
was complying with the law until
that law could be changed.
The decision not to allow a
grace period for people to apply
for the underpayment was
criticised by the Green Party.
Co-leader Metiria Turei tweeted
the party would help rush in any
applications for review before
the law passed and the chance
Labour leader Andrew Little
said Labour had argued for a
six-week window for people to
apply for the day ’s underpayment
before it was closed off. He
said the underpayments had
happened under both Labour
“So this is not about pointing
the finger of blame. But it is a
government mistake and people
are out of pocket as a result of it. ”
He said many people would
not bother with such a small
sum, but for some people it was
Social Development Minister
Anne Tolley said it had always
been policy to start paying a
benefit paying benefits the day
after a two-week stand down
period ends, but an “accidental”
wording change to the legislation
in 1998 meant those payments
should have been made on the
same day the stand down ended.
That was not picked up until
two beneficiaries questioned it
during social security appeals last
year. She said the solution was a
“good balance between fairness
policy consequences, and the
subsequent cost to the taxpayer”.
The exact scope of the problem
was unclear. A spokeswoman for
Ms Tolley said if the problem
was not corrected, it would cost
an extra $6 million a year for the
extra day ’s benefit. Since 1998,
2.7 million benefits had been
granted but not all went through
a stand-down period. She said
MSD would have to go back
through every file to work out
how many it affected and the
total cost if it was all repaid.
— N ZM E-New Zealand Herald
Retrospective law change rushed through
An Auckland company where an
experienced crane operator was crushed
to death while undertaking a routine task
has been ordered to pay $116,000.
A J Russell Bricklayers Ltd was
sentenced yesterday in the Auckland
District Court after pleading guilty to
one charge under the Health and Safety
in Employment Act.
It was asked to pay $80,000 in
reparation and a fine of $36,000 over the
death of Roy Chan.
The company was charged with failing
to take all practicable steps to ensure
Mr Chan’s safety at work, after he was
crushed between the boom of a crane
and a truck deck.
He had 40 years’ experience in the crane
industry and had worked for A J Russell
Bricklayers for more than 30 years when
he died at work on December 20, 2013.
“ Mr Chan was greasing a crane as part
of routine end of year maintenance when
it appears he inadvertently activated a
remote control unit he was wearing,”
a statement released yesterday by
Work Safe New Zealand said.
“That caused the crane’s boom to move
towards the truck deck, crushing and
fatally injuring Mr Chan. ”
Work Safe’s programme manager for
construction, Marcus Nalter, said Mr
Chan’s death was a preventable tragedy.
“The company did not have a proper
plan in place to ensure that in-house
maintenance work was done as safely as
possible,” he said.
Mr Nalter said there were at least two
“simple steps” that could have prevented
over man’s death
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