Home' Greymouth Star : January 19th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
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Thursday January 19
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Angela and Gordon. —
Tragically taken from us
15 years ago today.
Forever in our hearts
Love Mum, Dad and
(Johnny the Pole).
Tragically killed at
Strongman Mine 1967.
Those we love don't go
They walk beside us
Unseen, unheard but
Still loved, still missed
and very dear.
In loving memory
Suzanne, Tony and
FAGAN, Gary. —
January 19, 2016.
The rolling stream of
life rolls on,
But still the vacant
Recalls the love, the
voice, the smile,
Of the one who once sat
Still loved, missed and
Jo, Tania, Tim,
January 19, 1967
Lest we forget
NEWCOMBE. — With
treasured memories of
Oddie and Ginty who
perished along with their
17 mates in the Strong-
man Mine explosion,
fifty years ago.
Nina, Gary, Wayne,
Brian and Greg.
Alice and Terry.
Mitchell) Monica Jean.
Passed away peace-
fully on January 5, 2017
at Goondiwindi Base
Dearly loved wife of the
late Andrew Nicholas.
Loved sister and sister-
in-law of Mary and
Percy (deceasd) Willis,
and Lonah and Jim
Sadly missed by her
family. A remembrance
service will be held at
Goondiwindi on January
Nick Smith says Labour’s
plan to allow re-entry to
the Pike River coalmine
Government to support
a proposed member’s bill
which would bypass legal
barriers to getting back
into the mine drift, or
2.3km-long entry shaft.
Leader Andrew Little
announced the proposal
yesterday while visiting with families at
their blockade on the mine access road.
“ We can actually deal with that threat
of liability for the (Solid Energy)
directors by legislating to prevent that
happening in this particular case.
“ What I pledged to the families is that
on the first day of Parliament I will seek
leave to table a bill that does just that,”
Mr Little said.
“It removes any risk of liability for the
directors of Solid Energy in relation to
any attempt at re-entry for the purpose
of recovering remains or any bodies in
the drift leading to the mine.
“And I’m working on that bill now,
I’ll have that ready to go on the 6th of
The Pike River families commissioned
a report from international mining
experts last year which concluded that a
safe re-entry was possible.
However, Solid Energy directors say
their evidence is that it is too risky
and that the methane-filled drift is
Dr Smith says he thinks Labour’s idea
is “hypocritical and unsafe” and is a bid
to outplay NZ First leader
Winston Peters politically
rather than a consistent
approach to safety.
The mine should only be
re-entered if it complied
with updated workplace
safety laws, and exempting
it “would set a dangerous
precedent ”, Dr Smith said.
“ It would be extraordinary
to make an exemption from
the Health and Safety at
Work Act from the very
place where 29 workers lost
their lives from inadequate
standards that triggered the new law.”
Labour had argued these laws were
not tough enough and is now being
hypocritical in wanting to attempt re-
entry, Dr Smith said.
“Either the mine can be safely entered
under existing law, or it should not
However, the families of the miners
who died in the 2010 disaster are
applauding Mr Little’s idea.
Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her son
Ben, says it gives the Government the
chance to do the right thing
“It was the government that made
promises to get our boys out, it is a
government-owned company that has
control of the mine, it’s on government
land ... Now the Government can clear
the way. ”
Mr Peters, who has been a long-time
advocate for getting back into the drift,
is also commending Mr Little’s stance.
“If any bodies are there we can get
them out, provide their families with
overdue closure and gather evidence
on why 29 New Zealanders died.”
— Smith Lee Scanlon
of the Westport News
Westport harbour has safety valves
designed to save Westport from flooding,
and the town needs to ensure they are
working rather than come up with new
ideas, says former Buller mayor and fire
chief Pat O’Dea.
Mr O’Dea said Westport did not need the
flood protection options provided in a report
commissioned by the West Coast Regional
“I believe the only real protection for
Westport and surrounds is to reinstate the
original port features.”
Mr O’Dea said John Coode, the engineer
who designed Westport harbour in 1880,
incorporated features to minimise the
dredging required, but he accepted the
Buller River would need constant dredging.
“The port operated well for decades until
the features he built in were not maintained.”
Mr O’Dea said natural river material had
combined with debris from the 1962 and
1968 earthquakes to build up the Buller
River bed, reducing the velocity of the river.
When bar depths deteriorated the then
Ministry of Transport had extended the
harbour walls. This worked for a while,
but had further reduced the river flow. Bar
depths deteriorated again and the river bed
continued to rise.
“The concerns now of major flooding in
Westport and its surrounds are very real,”
Mr O’Dea said. “ To alleviate the danger,
I believe we must go back to the original
designs which incorporated safety features
for the district ... keeping the riverbed at as
low as possible level and creating a safety
valve for Westport.”
Mr O’Dea said dredging must be
maintained and the overflow re-established
using heavy equipment to clear a channel.
This would increase river flow in both the
Buller and Orowaiti.
“I consider the back-to-basic tried and
proven is the surest and most cost-effective
way to protect Westport and surrounds.”
Dredging stopped about six months ago,
after Holcim closed its cement works and
its ships stopped visiting Westport.
Mr O’Dea is worried residents considering
the regional council’s flood protection
options would go for the cheapest one and
protect against a 50-year flood, rather than a
He could recall having two 50-year floods
in one year when he was mayor.
Westport had been fortunate to escape the
worst possible scenario — a major rainfall
event coinciding with high tide and high
seas — but it was only a matter of time
before that happened, Mr O’Dea said.
The regional council commissioned Land
River Sea Consulting in 2015 to determine
the flood risk and the potential damage to
Westport should the Buller River burst its
The consultants’ report provides six flood
protection options. They range from doing
nothing to building extensive stopbanks and
flood walls. The dearest option would cost
$10.5 million to protect against a 50-year
flood or $13 million for a 100-year flood.
Ratepayers would have to foot the cost.
The regional council is mailing summaries
of the options to ratepayers. It has organised
nine drop-in sessions at the NBS Theatre,
starting next Wednesday, for people to find
Westport does not need flood
protection options — O’Dea
of the Westport News
Holcim is in confidential negotiations with
prospective buyers of its Westport assets,
says capital projects manager Ken Cowie.
The company closed its Cape Foulwind
cement works in June after 58 years of
operation in Buller. It is selling all its
Westport holdings including the cement
works site, a quarry, packing plant site, wharf
silos, water treatment plant and 11 houses.
The assets comprise about 500ha of land,
including 200ha of farmland.
Expressions of interest closed last July.
Mr Cowie said that since then Holcim had
focused only on those parties interested in
buying all of its land holdings.
“ We are currently in ongoing confidential
negotiations with these parties. Should these
be unsuccessful Holcim will look to dispose
of individual parcels of land separately.
“The demolition process is a part of these
discussions and Holcim still expect that the
plant sites will be demolished.”
Asked whether there was a possibility of
Holcim gifting any or all of its assets to the
local community, Mr Cowie said that was
part of the ongoing negotiations.
The Westport News understands former
Westport manager Clark Nelson, who was to
super vise decommissioning and demolition,
left the company last year.
Westport lost over 100 jobs when
Holcim closed its cement works in
favour of importing cement from Japan.
Holcim’s departure also cost Westport
harbour and Buller Electricity their major
Holcim in negotiations for Westport assets sale
Judith Ann Jones, a retired farmer,
admitted in the Greymouth District
Court to driving at more than twice
the legal alcohol limit after she earlier
disputed the blood testing procedure.
Jones was disqualified from driving for
the minimum six-month period.
She was stopped by police on State
highway 6 on September 11, 2015.
Her lawyer Doug Taffs argued under
the Criminal Procedures Act a failure
in procedure around the original blood-
alcohol samples being taken. Police
obtained a first sample but were then
unable to obtain a subsequent sample
at the time to be made available for
Mr Taffs argued the police had failed
in their disclosure obligations, and a
subsequent procedural delay had led to
prejudice against Jones.
Judge Tom Gilbert, declining the
application to dismiss the charge or
penalise the police, said the delays in
the case were by no means extraordinary,
with six months of the 16 months on
the books partly a result of legitimate
applications by the defence.
“In my view, the prejudice such as it is
does not warrant a stay or dismissal of
the charge and the police failings as such,
that they do not warrant a disciplinary
response but may justify a lowering of
the penalty,” Judge Gilbert said.
Jones then vacated her not guilty plea
to guilty and was subsequently convicted.
Her blood-alcohol level was 157mg,
“ very well over the allowable limit ” of
Judge Gilbert noted her blood-alcohol
level was close to the equivalent of
800mg of breath-alcohol.
He also noted Jones was caught
following a complaint about her driving
which, given her previous clean record,
Her lower penalty was reflected in the
blood testing procedure
The Julian Temple Band will perform
at the Barrytown Hall this Saturday.
The original, alt-blues five piece
band from D unedin is fronted by
San Francisco born songwriter
Julian Temple on guitar and vocals
and featuring Alex Vaatstra (Ha the
Unclear) on violin, Steve Marshall (Left
or Right) on bass, Logan Hampton
(Alizarin Lizard) on keys, and PMK
(Entire Alphabet) on drums.
They have toured for 13 years through
New Zealand, Australia and the United
They have had two New
Zealand top 10 Albums (2012’s
Upsidedownbackwards and 2015’s
Ceiling in the Sky).
Tickets cost $20 and doors open at
Police say they are making progress in
identifying who knocked out a Westport
publican and broke his nephew ’s jaw on
Sergeant Malcolm Lamont said police
had inter viewed a number of witnesses
and had more inter views scheduled with
people present at the time.
“All victims are being kept up-to-date
on the progress of the investigation. ’’
Criterion Hotel proprietor Glen Elley
was king hit during the fracas in the
early hours of Sunday morning.
He was told later that several men
in their 20s kicked him as he lay
unconscious on the pavement outside
His nephew Reuben Elley, who came
to his aid, had his jaw broken and later
had to undergo surgery in Christchurch
Another friend who sought to help the
pair suffered bruising to his head.
Anyone who witnessed the fight or has
any information about it should contact
Westport police on 789 7339 or ring
the anonymous line Crime Stoppers on
0800 555 111.
— Westport News
Police making progress
over assault on publican
Dunedin band to play at Barrytown
Rainforests and a
glacier are some of the
attractions of the newly
launched Fox Glacier
and Okarito Toyota
Kiwi Guardians sites.
A new website now has
hunt-style activities at
of Conser vation sites.
Toyota Kiwi Guardians is
a joint initiative between
the Department of
Conser vation and Toyota
The goal of the
conser vation programme
is to turn children
into guardians of the
land and sea. Families
can get started on
their Okarito and Fox
by downloading the
hunt ’ map from www.
New website highlights
South Westland attractions
Labour leader Andrew Little faced media
for the first time this year on Tuesday
without his usual spectacles — but says the
new look is not an election-year makeover.
Mr Little said he used to wear contact
lenses regularly years ago.
“ I haven’t more recently, but I have
been this summer. And so, I’ll wear them
sometimes and sometimes not.”
Laughter greeted a question of whether
casting off the glasses at yesterday ’s event
was an election year makeover.
“No, I’m just getting back to see how
they (contacts) feel and what it looks like
and, who knows,” Mr Little, who wore his
glasses during a visit yesterday to the Pike
River families at their picket line, said.
Image is important in politics but not all
efforts to improve it have gone well.
Former Labour leader Phil Goff ’s freshly-
dyed hair stole the limelight at his state of
the nation speech in 2011.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters
accused John Key of dying his hair in a
memorable exchange after Parliament
resumed last year.
After Mr Key denied doing so — saying
“there’s no dye in these locks, baby” — Mr
Peters asked, “ Why don’t the curtains
match the carpet then?”
Politicians across the chamber erupted
with laughter, and Mr Key objected: “I take
offence that the member is telling New
Zealand he’s seen my carpet.”
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Labour leader Andrew Little faced media for the first time this year without his usual spectacles but says the new look is not an
election year makeover. He said he used to wear contacts regularly years ago.
Andrew Little ditches the glasses as election year kicks off
The West Coast Regional Council has asked people
to raise concerns with it directly after Forest and
Bird posted supplied photos of stock wading through
Break Creek, near Karamea. Council consents and
compliance manager Gerard McCormack said no
complaints had yet been made to the council. “If
people are concerned about activities occurring
in their area, they need to report these to us so
we can obtain the necessary information we need
from them, investigate accordingly and report our
findings back to those individuals. I would strongly
encourage anybody who has concerns about adverse
effects on the environmental to get in touch with the
Public asked to repor t
stock in waterways
The person in a car
which was shielding a
longboarder from traffic
before fatally hitting him
was sentenced yesterday.
who “oversaw the route”
was also sentenced.
Hunter died on
Road near Paraparaumu
on March 25 last year.
Devon Paul Weston
Welch and Germaine
appeared in the
Court on charges of
causing death, and were
sentenced to 150 hours
of community work
each. Both were also
disqualified from driving
for one year.
Mr Hunter, 21, fell off
his longboard and was
hit by the following car.
Welch, the driver of the
car, was following as a
safety measure intended
to prevent other vehicles
Though the details of
the crash were not clear,
it appeared Mr Hunter
fell as he was going
around a corner without
When Welch saw the
longboarder on the road
he swer ved into a bank
to avoid hitting him,
but bounced off, hitting
Mr Hunter’s family
did not blame the driver,
calling the death a “freak
He was regarded as
one of New Zealand’s
best longboarders and
had aspirations to ride
Michael Bott, said the
key message was that
a young man had died
while participating in an
extreme sport he loved.
“ In this situation, a
young man drove a
car too close behind.
Something went wrong
and the inevitable
occurred,” Mr Bott said.
“There are no winners,
my client ’s been through
Mr Bott said Mr
Hunter’s parents had
shown the “utmost
sympathy” for Welch.
Welch and Dageville
had “been through a
massive amount of
trauma”. — NZME-
Both the Grey and Buller rivers were still
rising at noon today, but civil defence said
the rate had slowed.
A third emergency floodwall meeting
was held in Greymouth just before midday,
when the Grey River passed the 6m mark.
However, West Coast Regional Council
chief executive Mike Meehan said the rate
of the rise had slowed.
“ We are thinking it probably won’t go too
much over this,” Mr Meehan said.
“And it’s not too dissimilar for Buller.”
It was “nowhere near” the point where they
would consider evacuations.
“The rate of increase per hour is really
High tide is at 4.08pm but Mr Meehan
said when the river was in full flood and
with great velocity, the tide would not have
as much impact.
Westport harbourmaster Mike Charles
said it was still raining heavily at 11.30am
when the river gauge at Te Kuha was about
The first stage alarm level for flood warning
“There’s an incredible amount of trees and
debris,” Mr Charles said.
A high flood water level of 11.8m was
recorded in the Buller River in August
Grey and Buller rivers rise rate starting to slow
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