Home' Greymouth Star : January 20th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, January 20, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1265 - England ’s Parliament meets for first
1841 - The convention of Chuanbi is signed by
which Hong Kong island is ceded to the British.
1887 - New Zealand annexes Kermadec
Islands; US Senate approves leasing Pearl
Harbour in Hawaii as a naval base.
1892 - First official game of
basketball is played in the United
1936 - Death of King George V of
1942 - Nazi officials hold the
notorious Wannsee conference,
during which they arrive at their “final solution”
calling for extermination of Europe’s Jews.
1958 - The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic
expedition led by Dr Vivian Fuchs arrives at the
South Pole, the half-way point of the journey.
1984 - Johnny Weissmuller, US Olympic
swimming gold medallist and Tarzan actor, dies
1993 - Death of Oscar-winning actress
Audrey Hepburn in Switzerland.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Wolfe Tone, Irish nationalist (1763-1798);
George Burns, US comedian (1896-1996);
Federico Fellini, Italian film director (1920-
1993); Patricia Neal, US actress (1926-2010);
Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, former US
astronaut (1930-); Tom Baker,
British actor who was the fourth
Dr Who (1934-); Lorenzo Lamas,
US actor (1958-); Sophie, Countess
of Wessex, the wife of Prince
Edward, Earl of Wessex (1965-);
Skeet Ulrich, US actor (1969-);Joey
Badass, American rapper (1995-).
“America is a land of wonders, in which
everything is in constant motion and every
change seems an improvement.” — Alexis de
Tocqueville, French author (1805-1859).
“Therefore I am content with weaknesses,
insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities
for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak,
then I am strong.” — (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Fire broke out in
the Strongman State
coalmine this morning
and may entomb
the four remaining miners who perished in
yesterday ’s disaster. When rescue teams entered
the mine again at eight o’clock this morning
they were met by a great wave of heat. The fire
must have taken hold some time between 1am
and 7am today. Fifteen bodies were recovered
by last night but officials have abandoned hope
for early recovery of the remaining four. Rescue
operations were stopped immediately and
efforts will be made to seal off the affected area.
Greymouth and surrounding districts were
masked in gloom as people absorbed the shock
of yesterday ’s tragedy, resulting in the death
of 19 men. Only talk in the town of 9000
people is the disaster which occurred when an
explosion wrecked Greens’ No 2 dip flinging
the 19 miners to their death.
As news of the tragedy began to filter
through the town, relatives and families of
those underground made telephone calls to
mine officials seeking assurance their loved
ones were not involved. Some never got that
Most of those who died were well-known in
Greymouth. “ The whole town is in mourning,”
said one shopkeeper this morning.
Literally thousands of bathers have thronged
West Coast beaches over the past week, and
have increased the chances of drowning. Last
weekend at the Rapahoe beach, the Kotuku
Surf Life Saving Club was kept on its toes
watching the large crowd in the water, as a
strong northerly rip threatened to carry them
away up the beach.
uFood for thought
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3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
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769 7913 (editorial)
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The West Coast DHB are trumpeting
how they are saving money by keeping
elderly people in their homes longer by
supplying home help.
In 2013, when I first began receiving
help on this scheme, my doctor wrote out
a report on my health problems and sent
this report to the DHB, who then sent a
social worker down to assess my home.
They recommended handgrips on doorways
and bathrooms etc, and the amount of
time suggested for home help. This was
half an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and
Fridays to fill coal buckets and wood and
clean fires, plus one hour of housework on
Tuesdays and Thursdays. I consider this
time reasonable as my old house, like most
old houses, takes time to keep clean.
Last Wednesday, January 11, I received a
visit from a registered nurse who told me
he was recommending a cut to my home
help of one hour. This nurse must think that
as you get older you get stronger and health
A recent article in the Greymouth Star
(December 31) reported the case of an
elderly widow who had her one hour a
week cut after receiving a phone call from
the DHB. There are many others.
My recent visitor from the DHB said
they “had to save money to build the new
hospital”. When I asked him to repeat this
in the presence of a reporter, he said any
statements would have to come from the
I suggest Grey Power might get involved
in this matter of cuts to home help for the
elderly. At present the home help service
is a shambles. Wellington bureaucrats are
making a complete stuff up of what was
once a very well run home help service.
Come on all you elderly residents, speak
out, complain to hospital board members
and local MPs about this treatment.
Staying silent never fixed anything.
I am travelling from up north in a
camper van and had the pleasure of
spending several nights at the beautiful spot
of Nelson Creek.
During my stay I found that the toilets
were kept spotless by the custodian, rubbish
was emptied every day, and I found the guy
doing the cleaning etc to be very pleasant
and helpful. During the course of my stay
I had the displeasure of speaking to a local
from Greymouth who was skiting about
having stayed at Nelson Creek for years but
The custodian spoke to most people
to ask them for a payment for camping,
which is unbelievably cheap at $6 per head
per night. This happens at all camps and
I believe all users should pay their way. If
they do not there is a problem with people
like me paying and other freeloaders not,
I understand the camp is run by the local
community and no doubt it has its running
costs which would be a lot, and if these are
not able to be met then that is when we all
The rules were displayed and are not
hard to follow. One rule was to use only
the supplied fire pits, which are the first
I have seen and a great asset and a health
and safety tool. But the custodian asked
these locals not to light a fire on the ground
due to health and safety issues, and he was
spoken to like a piece of s..t. These types of
people do not deser ve to have a camp so
beautiful to use.
When I went to pay for my time there
some childish idiot had written abuse all
over the receipt book — it may have been
a child, the writing was so bad. I could not
believe what I was seeing. Disrespectful
On a note to the custodian and his local
community, ‘keep it up and try not to get
disheartened with these idiots’.
I write to you once more regarding the
flooding in the Peel Street-Nelson Q uay
area of Cobden.
Yesterday morning I spoke to a member
of the Grey District Council in Peel Street
and I suggested that the ‘D uck Pond ’
should be opened up to drain the area. He
informed me that the matter lay in the
hands of the West Coast Regional Council,
but he would contact them and express my
The mayor has said in the past that the
‘gut ’ would be opened if and when required
during a flood. At 3pm there was no sign of
any activity in the area and the floodwater
continues to rise. It has been, and still is, in
I am starting to think that the town
square is of greater importance than the
welfare of the Cobden ratepayers. I hope
this letter grabs the attention of some of
Ron and Meryn Hardwick
From coal to tourism
My name is Ray Walker and I was
brought up in a State house at 49 Firth
Strongman Mine eight miles from
Greymouth with my mate Bernard Miller.
His father was the engineer.
Unfortunately, over time coal and
other fossil fuels will no longer exist,
so the Coast needs to think of changes.
With a ferry running from Whanganui
to Motueka, a tourist trip by road to
Karamea will see tourists arriving in great
On behalf of all Coasters, I would not
hesitate to state perhaps our greatest
Coaster over time would be Richard
John Seddon. Tourists visit Kumara, the
home of Seddon and what do they find?
A bloody hole in the ground. Come on
Coasters — give a few dollars to put his
house back, or at least a picture of it next
to the hole! The locals will love it.
Once a Coaster always a Coaster.
Please West Coasters, do not let New
Zealand think that we are that thick in
that we believe, even in the slightest, any
part of what Winston Peters said. It is
election year, why do you think he came
your way? If it gets to the media, that suits
him. In my view he is more dangerous
than working down a mine.
I viewed the video of the Aickens slip
on the Greymouth Star website.
There is a very impressive earthmoving
job going on up there to clean up the slip
left by nature — and man wants to move
that much material by the bucket load
with diggers? Yeah, right. Where are the
bulldozers and scrapers of old? Get the
big boys in there with their big toys —
they could shift mountains 20 years
Too PC nowadays. Nature did not apply
for a resource consent to dump it there so
just get on with it. Move that hill at Otira
and Kaikoura. Too much time and money
wasted on bulls...t (I cannot even use the
word correctly any more).
he fear of chaos erupting
in the world once Donald
Trump settles into the O val
Office, probably needs some
From a historian’s point of
view, we are doing all right.
BBC history presenter Dan Snow
tweeted at the weekend: “ World is
absolutely not in chaos. Compared to
the past it ’s unimaginably peaceful and
prosperous. Pessimism fuels Trumps.”
But for months or longer, there has been
a sense of a mostly orderly and predictable
period of time coming to an end and
something new and dubious beginning.
Irritating political norms that were dull
but provided stability now look paper thin.
Can a policy or long-time understanding
now get overturned in just 140 characters
by Trump on Twitter?
Various institutions, traditions and
assumptions that seemed to hold it all
together have never looked so inadequate
— eroded by the anger, apathy and
complacency out there, everywhere.
These days Trump is able to shake
political capitals in Europe and dent
company profits (Lockheed Martin,
BMW etc) with a few words in an
inter view or a tweet, such is the
ner vousness at what he intends and the
loose style with which he tosses away
On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela
Merkel said: “ We Europeans have our fate
in our hands”.
She was reacting to Trump’s comments
about Nato (“obsolete” but also
“ important ”), the EU (prepare for Brexit
sequels) and herself (made a “catastrophic
mistake” about refugees).
In the same inter view with the Times
and Bild, Trump put Merkel on the same
level as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin,
even though Berlin is a key US ally and
Moscow is a difficult rival power, usually
dealt with at arms length. “ I start off
trusting both but let ’s see how long that
lasts,” he said. “It may not last long at all.”
Statements that were once seen as part
of the tumble of campaign politics take on
a different light when uttered by a man a
day away from being the leader of the free
world. Former US ambassador to Nato Ivo
Daalder tweeted: “ Trump is more critical
of Nato, EU, and Germany — all close
allies — than he’s ever been of Putin and
We are entering an upside down
world. ” But Robin Niblett, the director
of Chatham House, told the New York
Times: “I take all of this with a pinch
of salt. I think Trump is trying to keep
his options open and not be cornered by
simply standing up for existing policy
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May
said the United Kingdom would not be
able to stay in the single market after
leaving the EU. Add to that Trump’s
targeting of Merkel as she faces re-
election, Beijing’s concern at the sudden
shakiness of US recognition for the
one-China policy and Trump’s general
warming towards Russia. A lot of
uncertainty that was not there before has
been injected into the western world.
Trump’s team has been sending mixed
signals compared to the boss during the
transition with the proposed secretary of
defence, General James Mattis, calling
Nato “the most successful military alliance,
probably in modern history, maybe ever”.
A great unknown at this stage is how
much of policy will be shaped by Trump
himself or by his cabinet. And within the
team, who will have the most influence?
Added to this are the surreal changes
in party politics in Washington, with a
Republican wing these days in favour
of Putin, Julian Assange and Wikileaks
while others stick to the party’s old foreign
policy orthodoxy and the Democrats
newly antagonistic towards Russia.
Trump’s approach to foreign policy is
one half of the equation — other countries
have to work out what it means and react
to it. When Trump says something that is
different to policy in place for eight years
or longer, it is not a simple expression of
his viewpoint: Others are making moves
to take advantage of a new reality.
Major swings are expected when power
changes hands between the parties but
Barack Obama to Donald Trump is
While most of the attention has been
focused on larger powers and potential
major conflicts, such as China and Taiwan,
smaller stand-offs are more likely. A
Serbia-Kosovo flare up shows that there is
not only potential new conflicts to watch
out for but old ones reviving.
Kosovo police stopped a Serbian train
painted in nationalist colours with the
words “Kosovo is Serbia” crossing the
border. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s
Boston Globe writer Scott Gilmore
made the point: “ To their credit, Serbians
understand Trump/Putin are ushering
in a new Moscow-centric world, while
Americans are still deciphering tweets.”
Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted:
“ Trump’s comments on the EU and
Nato could pave the way for Russian
adventurism in the Baltics. Which would
not be good.”
It is Trump’s reframing of the US
relationship with Russia that is bubbling
concern. Nato is deploying troops to
Poland to reassure alliance members.
Lithuania is to build a fence along its
border with Russia.
Yesterday a Nato general, Denis Mercier,
reacted to Trump’s comments with a
soothing: “ We see that there is a need for
adaptation”. Mercier said Nato has “some
structures that are obsolete”.
Trump has argued with people,
companies and groups as diverse as
Saturday Night Live, the Pope, CNN,
Vanity Fair and US intelligence staff. But
he has consistently been positive about
Moscow and Putin.
Aside from the US intelligence report on
Russia’s alleged meddling in the election
and the disputed dossier compiled by
a former MI6 agent, there’s a lot that
is publicly known about Trump’s views
of and ties to Russia. Washington Post
columnist Anne Applebaum outlined
Trump’s real estate group is heavily
reliant on Russian investment; a former
Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort,
worked for Ukraine’s former Russian-
backed President, Viktor Yanukovych;
Team Trump at the Republican
convention changed the party platform
to soften the language on Ukraine and
Trump repeated slogans and conspiracy
theories during the election campaign
lifted from Sputnik, a Russian propaganda
Trump is willing to “risk serious conflict
with China, to destroy US relations with
Mexico, to dismiss America’s closest allies
in Europe and to downgrade Nato ... But
he has repeated many times his admiration
for Russia and its president ”.
The world waits to see whether its fears
of chaos are exaggerated.
— New Zealand Herald
The world waits
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