Home' Greymouth Star : January 11th 2016 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Monday, January 11, 2016
Fire crews battle island blaze
Strong winds hampered
firefighters’ efforts to contain a
vegetation fire on an island in the
Waitaki River at the weekend.
By yesterday afternoon, the
blaze was contained, but had
burned 72ha of vegetation on the
Otago Rural Fire Authority
principal rural fire officer
Stephanie Rotarangi said the
fire, on an island near Otekaike,
was reported about 3.30pm on
Saturday. It was inaccessible to
the three crews from Duntroon
and Kurow that were first to
was brought from Oamaru so
crews could reach the island.
Two helicopters and three rural
fire crews battled the blaze until
dark on Saturday and the site was
monitored overnight by deputy
principal rural officer Kerry
When the fire jumped from the
island about 2.30am yesterday, to
the South Canterbury side of the
river, fire crews returned.
Ten firefighters and one
helicopter remained at the scene
yesterday and by 4pm, they had
contained the fire to 72ha. A crew
remained at the scene overnight.
“Perimeters are all contained
now and we’re working on
mopping up,” Dr Rotarangi said.
Strong winds on Saturday
drove the fire and made fighting
the blaze more difficult, while
yesterday ’s conditions were more
favourable for firefighting.
“The winds are gusty, which is
not ideal, but we were ready for
that,” Dr Rotarangi said.
“The wind is still quite
unpredictable, though, and we’re
putting a lot of foam and water
on the fire so that if the wind
does pick up, it won’t take off
While fire crews had completed
initial investigations into the
cause of the fire, it was too early
to comment on any possible
A full fire investigation would
be carried out today, she said.
Heliventures NZ helicopters
dipped monsoon buckets into
the Waitaki River, while ground
crews were pumping directly from
the river to douse the fire.
No structures were threatened,
but several people were camping
in the vicinity. Most had packed
up by yesterday.
The Waitaki River island fire
was the second in the district at
the weekend. Six fire crews from
Twizel, Omarama and Otematata
were called to a grass fire in Lake
Ohau Road on Saturday. The fire
burned about 7ha of vegetation,
but was contained by about 3pm,
Dr Rotarangi said.
“Those crews in the Waitaki
Lakes have been pretty busy,” she
said. — Otago Daily Times
The fire on an island in the Waitaki River.
Kelly puts case for
The former union boss
dying of lung cancer is
making another plea to
authorities to ease access to
Although Helen Kelly
stood down as head of the
Council of Trade Unions in
October last year, she has
remained publicly vocal on
her desire to make it easier
to get access to medical-
“ I am taking nothing that can stop this
cancer killing me, and in not too long
a timeframe to be brutally honest,” she
wrote on political blog The Standard. “ It
is my view that a good cannabis product
will help me live the rest of my life in a
better situation than I will without it. ”
While Ms Kelly’s call comes on the back
of her own experience with a terminal
disease, she has also taken the time to
speak out for others who are sick and in
She described the heart-break of
the many stories she had been told —
children with brain tumours, partners
in their last stages of life zonked out on
morphine and elderly patients suffering
with severe arthritis.
“ Many are resorting to illegal
supplies and this in itself is so far from
satisfactory.” In her blog she says there
is a lot of red-tape to get through to get
permission from the Ministry of Health
to use legal, medical-grade cannabis.
“This actually requires me to find a
product, contact the producer, convince
my doctors to support my application
and then meet the Ministry of Health
criteria. ” Ms Kelly said
among the criteria was the
one that required all other
available drugs to have
been trialled unsuccessfully
— n ot simply that cannabis
Other criteria included
needing to have a severe or
that a medical professional
has assessed the benefit
versus risk of the product,
the patient is hospitalised when
treatment is initiated and provision of
a certificate of analysis preferably from
an accredited laboratory so that the
concentration of the active ingredient is
Ms Kelly said the issue was one that
was impacting widely on families with
sick relatives. “ It has been moving and
stressful to hear from these lovely people
and so frustrating that the system is so
hard — designed that way — and so
reliant on the individual to get what
they need.” S he described how cannabis
was a “ life-saver” for a sick four-year-old
who felt less nauseous on the drug, ate
more and put on much-needed weight
in a short time.
However, Ms Kelly said access to the
drug and its quality was never certain.
Ms Kelly believed if enough of those
in power spoke up things could change
for the better. “ I think we could change
this situation with a little more push ...
an exposure of the current system ... with
real stories of people with real illness just
wanting to live the end of their life with
a bit of dignity.”
— NZ ME-New Zealand Herald
A four-year-old boy who nearly
drowned at a Christchurch swimming
pool is “doing really well”, say police, who
are not investigating the incident.
Police and ambulance were called to
Kings Swim School in Sockburn in the
west of the city around 2.35pm Saturday.
A spokesman for Christchurch Hospital
said the boy was in critical condition but
details of his injuries could not released
without permission from his parents.
A St John Ambulance spokesman
earlier described the boy ’s injuries as
serious but did not have specific details.
Boy in pool incident recovering
A global biotechnology group part-
owned by a New Zealand forestry
biotech company must pay $81 million
in compensation and damages after
a US court found it used trickery and
deceit to defraud workers out of a
lucrative incentive package.
Nine former employees of seedlings
company Arbor Gen were tricked
into accepting a revised long-term
incentive plan that cut their combined
compensation package by around 90%
after the company began to grow, a
South Carolina lower court judge found.
The lawsuit filed in 2010 against Arbor
Gen, part-owned by Auckland-based
NZX-listed forestry biotech company
Rubicon, alleged that company board
members used “deception, misplaced
trust and pressure tactics” to convince
employees to join the less valuable
In a judgment Judge Edgar Dickson
said Arbor Gen’s “legacy employees
reposed special trust and confidence” in
the defendants — which included the
company itself, several board members,
International Paper, Mead Westvaco
(now Westrock) and Rubicon.
In turn, the workers were “abused
by Arbor Gen, its founders, its board
members and its management team”,
the judgment said.
“In not honouring the contracts, the
defendants acted with a lack of honesty
and integrity in communicating with
the plaintiffs,” it said.
“The defendants orchestrated a
cover-up scheme created and executed
to switch the plaintiffs out of the
original plan that the defendants had
determined to be ‘too rich’, all in an
effort to eliminate what defendants
recognised as a ‘high liability risk’.”
Rubicon chief executive Luke Moriarty,
a New Zealander named as a defendant
in the lawsuit, was criticised by Judge
Dickson for his evidence.
“At trial he was never qualified as an
expert to render opinion testimony on
the issue of valuation or damages ...
This court views defendant Moriarty’s
opinions as not supported by competent,
credible evidence and self-serving,” the
Last month when the US court
signalled it would likely rule against
them, Rubicon said it would appeal the
to pay $81m
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