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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2015
fun day at St Patrick’s
Smoke, no fire
A number of vigilant Dobson
residents alerted by a huge pall
of white smoke near the Brunner
Workingmen’s Club about 9 o’clock
last night called the fire brigade.
Brunner Volunteer Fire Brigade fire
chief Rob Lunn said the smoke was
emitted from an old truck that was
started after sitting idle for a long
time. It resulted in plumes of white
smoke but no action was required by
the brigade. However, Mr Lunn said
it was good to know local residents
were vigilant and quick to dial
111 when they noticed something
A vehicle crash closed a section
of Kaniere Road, Hokitika, about
11.20am today. The occupants of
the vehicle were not trapped and
were attended to by the Hokitika
Volunteer Fire Brigade. Traffic was
diverted off Kaniere Road at the
town end via Pine Tree Road and
A 19-year-old Blaketown man
was arrested for possession of a
small amount of cannabis after
police executed a search warrant
of his residence about 1.30pm.
Police caught up with a 48-year-
old Greymouth man yesterday and
arrested him for breach of bail, and
in Hokitika a man was arrested for
stealing a handbag from a library
patron. Police said the man was
seen acting suspiciously and going
through the handbag, prior to his
Cloudy with one or two showers
Nose-hair trimmers, hair removal
cream and a chainsaw are among
the worst Christmas presents
British women have received from
their partners, a new sur vey reveals.
Others have unwrapped cellulite
cream, weighing scales and a fishing
rod. One unfortunate woman was
given a DIY taxidermy kit — for
a mouse. Years of disappointment
means that 40% of women now
choose their own gifts, while one in
three admit to returning a present
from their partner as soon as the
festive season is over. Meanwhile,
a fifth of women admitted to
‘re-gifting’ and one in 10 sell their
unwanted presents on on-line
auction site eBay. Wanting to save
their partners’ feelings, 30% of
women confessed to practising their
‘thank you’ face smile in the mirror
to ensure their gratitude looks as
authentic as possible. And a quarter
of women admit they wear or use a
‘hated’ present to avoid hurting their
partner’s feelings. — Daily Mail
Labour leader flying high
Labour Party leader Andrew Little is
expected to take a dive tomorrow — a
very big one, from 19,000ft, with a skydive
above Franz Josef Glacier.
He will make his leap of faith with New
Zealand’s highest skydive in a publicity
stunt to launch a new conser vation
initiative with Skydive Franz and the Kea
Conser vation Trust.
Kea trust spokeswoman Tamsin Orr-
Walker said Skydive Franz had come on
board to support the trust.
“The idea is to get the message out,
about what we need in terms of kea
conser vation,” Ms Orr-Walker said.
They wanted to get local communities,
including Franz Josef, on board, and to
The glaciers have a high profile
population of kea but in 1995, 27 were
shot and dumped at Fox.
Ms Orr-Walker said some people loved
the birds, but not everyone.
“The whole population was essentially
taken out in Fox,” she said, referring to
the shooting deaths.
Others have been poisoned in aerial
1080 drops in the area.
She said having the Skydive company
on board would also help educate tourists,
who were prone to feeding the kea and
acting inappropriately around them.
Mr Little is set to take the jump
tomorrow morning, weather depending.
A Texan-based company has applied to
prospect 1.6 million square kilometres
offshore of New Zealand — including
off the West Coast — in the biggest
petroleum application seen in this country.
“I’ve never seen anything of this scale
before,” Green Party energy and resources
spokesman Gareth Hughes said this
The application from ION Geophysical
was lodged in late September and is under
The company did not respond to a
query through its Texas office asking for
According to its website, ION was
founded in 1968 and has about 1000 staff.
Mr Hughes described it as a “massive
application”, covering an area the size of
the Greenland icecap.
The Greens would “absolutely” be
watching its progress.
If the prospecting permit was granted,
it would involve seismic sur veys, he
said, which were known to have an
environmental impact on the likes of
Hector’s dolphins off the West Coast.
“U ltimately if it went to drilling, which
is some way off and seems highly unlikely
with the oil price, there’s a big risk,” Mr
“ We would urge Government to decline
Mr Hughes said with world leaders
meeting in Paris to address climate
change, the West Coast should diversify
its economy away from fossil fuels.
The ION website says it develops
technology to improve seismic image
quality. It also says it helps reduce
the environmental impact of seismic
operations throughout the world.
“ ION significantly improves image
quality and reduces the risks associated
with oil and gas exploration and reser voir
development and production. ”
A spokesman for NZ Petroleum and
Minerals said if granted, the actual “lines”
the sur vey ship would follow were long
and widely spaced.
“Seismic sur veys are often in a single
sedimentary basin. This sur vey is across
multiple basins. It is about a ‘big picture’
view of the geology around New Zealand,
and the relationships between basins —
not pinpointing somewhere to drill a well.
“There would also be significant research
value in this data, in that it would provide
specific information regarding tectonic
plates and the geological settings of New
PICTURE: Stewart Nimmo
Petra Roper as Mary, holding the baby Jesus, along with Penny Anderson and Emily Urban from the Crossroads Dance Group, were central to
the entertainment last night at the Greymouth Combined Churches Christmas concert. The Waiata Koha Community Choir and Greymouth
Youth Choir also performed before 400 people at the Regent Theatre. The concert has been held annually for nearly 20 years.
More photos p7.
Trial for fleeing offender adjourned
The jury trial of a former West
Coast man who fled to Australia
three years ago while facing child
sex charges, has been adjourned
The 42-year-old had been set
to stand trial at the Greymouth
District Court on January 28,
2013, on charges of sexually
abusing his daughter over an eight-
month period, while working on a
Greymouth farm in 2011.
He had been granted name
suppression given the alleged
offences against his daughter.
However, his trial had to be
aborted after a catalogue of
mistakes around the man’s bail
arrangements meant that he got
married while on bail, obtained a
new passport under his new wife’s
surname, cut off his electronic bail
bracelet and fled the country.
In July last year, the Australian
Federal Court upheld an order for
the man to be extradited back to
New Zealand, which the man had
appealed against, on the grounds
that he would be subject to “serious
physical harm from gang members”
he had previously been associated
with in the country.
He also said that he would be
subject to “psychological torture” if
he was extradited.
However, Federal Court Justice
John Nicholas said that there was
no evidence to support the man’s
The accused was extradited last
year and has been in custody ever
He had been due to stand trial
before a jury in Christchurch,
beginning on Monday.
However, Greymouth lawyer
Marcus Zintl said today the trial
had been adjourned indefinitely, for
reasons that he could not go into.
The defendant had been remanded
in custody, and although a new trial
date was yet to be set, Mr Zintl said
it would probably be some time in
The West Coast, which has
suffered more than 1000 job losses in
several years, is “blessed”, Economic
Development Minister Steven Joyce
told Parliament yesterday.
Mr Joyce was asked what
the Government was doing to
encourage investment, jobs, and
growth in regions such as the West
The mine job losses started in 2010
at Pike River, followed by Spring
Creek two years later, then Stockton.
Mr Joyce replied that only
last week, during a visit to the
West Coast, he announced that
Greymouth had become New
Zealand’s 12th fully fibred town for
The Government had committed
tens of millions of dollars for
regional roading projects such as the
new Taramakau River road bridge
and the Mingha Bluff to Rough
Creek realignment at Arthur’s Pass.
He cited the Old Ghost Road
cycleway, involving a $3 million
Government investment, and a $10
million commitment to create a
‘great walk’ between Blackball and
There were also opportunities in
tourism, Mr Joyce said.
The Government would be
regional economic growth and
investment study for the region.
The West Coast was “ blessed” with
fertile land, stunning scenery, and a
The economic growth and
investment study had been requested
by regional leaders, he said.
West Coast-Tasman Labour
MP Damien O’Connor asked:
“ How does the employment of a
Wellington consultant to write a
report on the West Coast offset
the 1000 jobs lost when the
National Government destroyed
Solid Energy through incompetent
Mr Joyce replied by quoting Buller
Mayor Garry Howard, who said he
was “seeing action on the Coast for
the first time”.
The Speaker then inter vened:
“Order! The level of interjection is
unacceptably loud between both
Mr (Gerry) Brownlee and Damien
O’Connor. If they want to have a
conversation, they are welcome to
take it outside into the lobbies if
they so wish.”
Separately, Finance Minister Bill
English and Labour leader Andrew
Little went head-to-head over the
Mr English said unemployment in
the South Island had been very low
in the past three or four years.
“ How can he say Minister Joyce’s
regional growth programme is
working, given the West Coast has
entered recession, according to the
ANZ report?” Mr Little replied.
Mr English said the West Coast,
as with every other coal-producing
area in the world, was suffering
significant impact from low coal
The report instigated by Mr
Joyce would allow the regions to
“ understand their own strengths
and make their own decisions about
their own destiny ”.
Minister recites help for Coast
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