Home' Greymouth Star : January 17th 2017 Contents 150 YEARS SINCE 1866
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Greymouth police have received
a number of reports of two
youths acting suspiciously in the
Countdown-Warehouse car park
over the past couple of days. West
Coast police prevention manager
Vicki Walker urged members of
the public to call 111 immediately
if they spotted the youths. She said
the suspects were aged about 18 and
one rides a mountainbike.
A 22-year-old man had his car
impounded yesterday afternoon
when he was nabbed doing wheelies
in Johnston Street, Greymouth.
West Coast police prevention
manager sergeant Vicki Walker
said today police were notified of
the man’s driving and were able to
catch him immediately. He has been
charged with causing sustained loss
The driver of a truck that rolled
on State highway 65, just north
of Springs Junction this morning,
escaped without injury. The accident
happened about 7 o’clock and
contractors recovered the vehicle
without having to close the highway,
which is part of the alternate route
north between Christchurch and
Rain, becoming heavy
Conspiracy theorists have long
insisted that Elvis Presley is still
alive and faked his own death
in 1977 to escape the pressures
of fame. Now they claim that a
new picture taken at the singer’s
Graceland home shows he is still
living and even visited his old house
on his 82nd birthday last week. The
images show a large man with white
hair and a white beard standing
among the crowd as a cake-cutting
ceremony took place last Sunday on
the front lawn of Graceland. Some
fans claim that the bearded man is
the spitting image of what the star
would have looked like as an older
man. One fan wrote on the page: “I
did notice that man at a few points
during the video and wondered if it
was him”. — Daily Mail
West Coast civil defence’s reputation
was damaged by a media release late
last year warning of a large aftershock, a
new report has found.
The West Coast Regional Council has
apologised to anyone upset by it.
Issued in November in the wake of
the Kaikoura earthquake, the release
warned of a large aftershock.
Aftershock activity in the area had
been “suspiciously quiet ”, it said,
saying “there is a possibility of large
aftershocks in the area designated by
Geonet on their probability map”.
It was soon withdrawn and West
Coast civil defence regional manager
Chris Raine was forced to apologise
— but only after it was on television as
breaking news, and went viral. All the
main news websites covered the alert.
“There was a lot in the release that
was not factually correct,” civil defence
director Sarah Stuart-Black said the
An internal investigation has been
completed by the West Coast Regional
Council and it said late last evening
steps were being taken to revise its
Council chief executive Mike Meehan
said it had engaged external experts.
“ We apologise to anyone who may
have been upset by the contents of a
media release early in the aftermath
of the November 2016 earthquake,
and we unreser vedly apologise to
Andy Thompson, a public information
manager, for some of the comments
made in the media following that
happening, and thank him for his
ongoing support and understanding.”
The council had full confidence in Mr
Thompson’s abilities and accepted that
an unprecedented series of events had
occurred in difficult, immediate post-
earthquake, circumstances. The release
had Mr Thompson’s name on it.
Based on the findings, the council
would be implementing some changes
to the protocols surrounding the release
of information in the event of a major
civil defence situation, Mr Meehan said.
Next steps for the council would
include a comprehensive review of its
civil defence communications strategy,
including looking at fact checking and
sign off procedures, those authorised
to issue statements, and stakeholder
groups that needed to be communicated
Longer term the council would
address its wider communications
responsibilities including the role of
social media and the 24/7 nature of
Mr Meehan said because tourism
played such a big part in the vitality of
the West Coast, communications with
travellers and with foreign media was
an important factor.
Mr Raine remained employed. Civil
defence had got the message really
wrong but the intention had been to tell
people to be prepared.
The report by Perception Public
Relations and Marketing found there
were currently no formal group or local
civil defence media policy procedures.
Digitally the story remained very high
profile, with several story links still
showing in the first page of a browser
search for West Coast civil defence.
Most New Zealanders who consumed
news, or used social media such as
Facebook daily, would have some
knowledge of the incident. Some
statistics suggest the story was seen by
The timing of the release and the
resulting broad media pick-up and
social media sharing, would likely have
caused distress about the ability to trust
messages from civil defence.
“There is a high likelihood that
West Coast civil defence has suffered
reputational damage, and it is with
this entity that most of the impact sits
and remains, within both public and
political circles locally and centrally.
“D ue to the small population and
interconnectedness of the West Coast,
we also conclude that there will have
been personal reputational damage
incurred by both Chris and Andy.”
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Moana at the weekend. The lake is high and swimmers were few and far between.
The temperature in Westland has
managed to pass the 20degC mark
only once so far this year.
West Coast swimming spots are
quiet and beaches half empty as the
cold, wet summer continues.
Even the cicadas have been silent.
Rain is forecast until Friday when,
after a day of sun, the Metser vice
expects it to cloud over again with
more rain from Sunday on.
Temperatures are not forecast to
rise above 18degC over the next 10
The Metser vice did not immediately
have figures for Greymouth yesterday,
but said in Hokitika the temperature
had made it past 20degC only once
On January 2 it reached 21degC
but just four days later, struggled to
Most days the temperature has
sat stubbornly at between 16 and
Lake Brunner rose so high last
week, with the Crooked River in
flood, Iveagh Bay was temporarily
Beaches are also quiet — weather
data from NOAA, which is used
by officials, shows the current
sea temperature off Hokitika is
The average maximum is a far
warmer 20.8degC with the average
Robbie Barrow from the Kahuna
Boardriders said surfers would agree
it was considerably cooler than
normal for January.
“ We put it down to the unremitting
westerly south-westerly weather
systems. We expect it to warm up
“March/April is when our inshore
water is warmest.”
Kotuku Surf Lifesavers chairman
Mark Bolland said this time last year
in Greymouth the sea temperature
was about 18degC, but currently it
Neville Winter from the Lake
Brunner Coastguard was stoic.
“The lake is probably up to 18 or
19degC. It doesn’t change a lot.”
The beaches on the western shore
were the warmest spots, he said.
“And it ’s one of the warmest lakes
in the South Island.”
Meanwhile, the Metser vice says a
potential weather bomb is brewing.
Lisa Murray said the approaching
low would undergo a process called
‘explosive cyclogenesis’ — deepen
rapidly. It could become a weather
From 9pm today until 3am on
Thursday, 300 to 400mm of rain is
expected in the Westland ranges,
with 90 to 140mm about the coast. In
Buller there could be 60 to 100mm
about the coast.
The website Accuweather, which
accurately predicted the wet January,
shows an improvement from the first
week of February.
‘Release would have caused distress’
Lee Scanlon and Teresa Smith
of the Westport News
A Westport publican was knocked
out, his nephew suffered a broken jaw
and a friend was badly bruised after
the publican ejected a patron from
Westport’s Criterion Hotel over the
“There was a bit of a scuffle inside
and I put one patron on the street,’’
publican Glen Elley said.
“There was another one standing out
there who I won’t have in my property.
“This other one I put out said, ‘oh
well, I’m going back in’.
“I said, ‘no you’re not, you’ve just
been in an altercation you’re not
coming back in’.
“Then he spat the dummy and that ’s
the last I can remember.’’
Mr Elley has no idea who king hit
him. He was told later that several
men in their 20s kicked him as he lay
unconscious on the footpath.
His bar manager cried for help. His
nephew Reuben Elley and a friend
Javorn Walter — both in their early
20s — responded.
When Mr Elley came to 10 minutes
later, Reuben Elley was nursing a
broken jaw and Mr Walter was badly
bruised around his head.
The alleged assailants had scarpered,
but Glen Elley believes he knows who
they are. He hopes CCTV footage
and witnesses will confirm it.
He was taken to Buller Hospital
where he spent a couple of hours
“I ’ve only got a big lump on the back
of my head and a bad looking eye, and
Reuben Elley was sent to
Christchurch Public Hospital.
“He went into surgery this morning,
poor little fella. He’ ll be 12 weeks’
sucking through a straw.’’
Glen Elley said about 60 people
were having a good time in his bar
when the scuffle broke out about 2am.
About 20 minutes earlier he had
stopped an altercation outside Work
and Income, a few metres from his
hotel on Westport ’s main street.
He said one person — who he
believed was a woman — was on the
ground when he intervened.
It was the first time in about 30
years as a publican that he had been
Police area response manager
sergeant Brent Cook said police
inquiries were continuing.
Publican king hit, nephew beaten
Potential weather bomb brewing
An appeal for sightings of a
woman who has been missing for
almost a month and was last seen
in Punakaiki on December 22 has
turned up nothing so far.
Mother of four Shelly Crooks, 36,
told a friend that she was going to
hitchhike to Opotiki in the North
Island, but her family has not heard
from her since. Police said this was
unusual, especially over the holiday
Her father John Crooks, said
Shelly had five-year-old twins and
a son and daughter aged 11 and 12
who were in the care of other family
members. Her children, along with
her seven siblings, all want to find
out where she is.
He thought Shelly would have
made her way to where her children
were in Opotiki for Christmas, or to
Tokoroa for a family birthday party
on Boxing Day.
“ I thought she’d be making her way
to us, or she would have contacted
“ We don’t know whether she’s
walking another track or her
whereabouts at all.
“ We’re worried.’’
She always loved going bush
and this was not the first time Mr
Crooks has gone a long time without
speaking to her.
Once he did not hear from her for
The most concerning part of her
disappearance is that she has not
used her phone or bank card since
December 23, Mr Crooks said.
“S helly doesn’t communicate that
well. She doesn’t keep contacting
everyone every five minutes. She’s a
little bit different.’’
Mr Crooks moved around the
country for his demolition work
when his children were growing up
and the “hunting family’’ often lived
without power. As a result Shelly
and the rest of them were pretty
Mr Crooks last spoke to her in
December. She had just completed
one walking track and was already
talking about her next one. She is of
medium build and is about 180cm
tall. Anyone with information on
her whereabouts is being asked to
call sergeant Michel Bloom of the
Greymouth police on 03 768 1600,
or e-mail michel.bloom@police.
govt.nz . — New Zealand Herald
No sign of missing woman
10 Boundary Street Greymouth
Ph 03 768 5720
fax 03 768 0907
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