Home' Greymouth Star : January 25th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1533 - King Henry VIII of England, defying
Rome, marries his second wife Anne Boleyn.
1848 - Last convict ship to Port Phillip in
Victoria, the Marion, disembarks passengers.
1878 - Turkish steamer becomes
the first ship to be sunk by a
torpedo, fired from a Russian boat.
1919 - The League of Nations is
1947 - Italian-born gangster Al
Capone dies of syphilis in Miami,
1964 - The Beatles hit the top of
the US charts with their single I Want to Hold
1971 - In Uganda, army officers depose
Milton Obote and Idi Amin becomes
1971 - Charles Manson is found guilty of
masterminding the killings of actress Sharon
Tate and six others.
1990 - Death of US actress Ava Gardner in
London, aged 67.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Robert Burns, Scottish poet (1759-1796);
W Somerset Maugham, English author
(1874-1965); Virginia Woolf, English author
(1882-1941); Corazon Aquino,
former Philippines President (1933-
2009); Etta James, American blues
singer (1938-2012); Tobe Hooper,
US horror film director (1943-);
Dinah Manoff, US actress (1958-
); Princess Charlene of Monaco
(1978-); Xavi, Spanish footballer
(1980-); Alicia Keys, US singer (1981-).
“If the whole human race lay in one grave,
the epitaph on its headstone might well be: “It
seemed a good idea at the time.”
— Dame Rebecca West, Irish-born author and
“ You can make many plans, but the Lord’s
purpose will prevail.” — (Proverbs 19:21).
trainer T J Smith paid
about 2000 guineas for
an upstanding brown
colt by Ribotlight from Romedo at the National
Yearling Sales at Trentham this morning. The
colt was offered on behalf of Messrs G S and J
T Coleman, of Hokitika.
The colt, a close relative of Melbourne Cup
winner Galilee, is from the same dam as the
promising Romayne, a Red Jester mare who
carries the Coleman brothers’ colours. He was
reared at the Riccarton stud and is out of a
half-sister to the great Sometime. Other good
winners in this line include Romalin, Rickwell
Work will resume at the Strongman State
coalmine tonight. The mine, in which 19 men
perished last Thursday in an explosion and fire,
will resume normal production with the day-
shift tomorrow morning. Fire resistant seals on
which 80 volunteers have been working since
Monday were completed early this morning.
It is uncertain what the response will be to the
return to work, though one Mines Department
official said there had been no indication
that there would not be a full muster of men
prepared to resume.
On a charge of permitting sheep to wander in
a public place, an Arahura farmer was convicted
and fined the maximum fine of £10 in the
Hokitika Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Police
said a passing motorist called the police after
he collided with a sheep and then counted 30
ewes and lambs on the road and railway line at
Constable A C E Gillman said he had
previously warned the defendant. “It is obvious
he is using the State highway as a grazing area.”
uFood for thought
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stand up to
heeled Wellington bureaucrats of
the Electricity Authority. Instead,
Westpower’s chairman has let
them down by rolling over for the
Electricity Authority’s demand that
its consumers pay an extra
$2 million towards grid
infrastructure that is already built.
This law-unto-itself authority is a
classic ‘quango’ or ‘quasi-autonomous
non-governmental organisation.’ It
funds itself from your power bill, it
sets the rules and when they are final
there is no right of appeal except on
narrow matters of law.
It also decides what it pays itself.
This Wellington bureaucracy, we
see no need for, has 43 staff earning
over $100,000 a year, a chief
executive on over $7000 per week
and a chairman who took home a
whopping $252,000. Can anyone
explain to West Coast families who
earned a median of $64,500 in 2015,
what value for money it generates
for them? Yet it is hard-working
families who have no choice but to
fund these fat-cats.
If we applied the logic of the
Electricity Authority to fuel, then
Northland would enjoy the cheapest
fuel prices by a country mile because
that is where the refinery is. We all
accept the wisdom of smoothed fuel
costs around the country so why
should electricity be any different?
There is a conceit behind this
cockamamie ‘electricity market ’.
Westpower’s $3.8m financial
contribution helps government-
owned Transpower to increase
the $163m it returned to the
Government in the past financial
year. It further helps to protect the
hundreds of millions in dividends
that this Government receives from
the part-privatised power generators.
Finally, it under writes the millions
in crony capitalistic subsidies to
support the Australian shareholders
of Rio Tinto.
That is why New Zealand First
has had a gutsful of this so-called
‘electricity market. ’ We sadly do
not use sustainable electricity as
a competitive advantage for this
country’s exports but instead force
consumers to pay ‘world prices.’
We must also ask why Mike
Newcombe is railing against the one
party standing up for the regions
and the West Coast. Could it be
because the West Coast upgrade
project was reclassified from being
‘an area-of-benefit’ investment? This
saw the West Coast ’s 2015 burden
fall from an estimated $8.9m to the
current estimate of $3.8m.
But if a $2.2m increase is victory
— that being the difference between
today and what the Electricity
Authority wants from Westpower’s
13,484 electricity connections —
I would hate to see defeat. This
increase works out to be an average
of $163 per connection, per year
but being ‘an average,’ it hides the
reality that larger power users, the
ones who employ people and create
jobs, will face the largest power
price increase from the authority’s
The spin doctors at the Electricity
Authority will no doubt massage
this down to an impact of between
$49 and $66 per annum for West
Coast residential customers.
However, it is not accurate for
Westpower to claim: “when these
were taken overall it meant there
is actually no significant impact on
Westpower consumers”. There are
serious negative impacts from this
proposal and it will not be fully
offset by other Electricity Authority
The only explanation possible
for the outburst from Westpower’s
chairman is that he is relying
upon the Electricity Authority’s
misguided estimate of cost savings
from the Commerce Commission’s
reset for lines companies and
Transpower. This counting of
chickens is not expected until
2020 and is independent of the
Even if true, and that is debatable,
for someone on the minimum wage
it means having to find another half-
day’s work just to pay for something
that has already been built. It is
hardly victory if those who create
jobs face big cost increases for
being based here. In Northland, the
Electricity Authority’s proposals
killed off 200 jobs at the proposed
Ngawha pulp plant. It is also hardly
victory to say it could have been
worse, because the 2015 proposal put
the average Westpower residential
customer increase upwards of $190
‘ but it ’s now between $49 and $66,
This increase in Westpower’s
grid transmission costs makes
Westpower’s chairman look like
a latter day Oliver Twist. He is
pleading to the Mr Bumbles at the
Electricity Authority: “Please, sirs,
I want less transmission pricing
methodology.” Unlike Oliver Twist,
there is no happy ending because
Westpower consumers, like those
in Northland and elsewhere, are
being fleeced by government self-
interest and its Electricity Authority
Power to the people of Westpower
New Zealand First leader and Northland MP WINSTON PETERS responds to criticism
from Westpower chairman Mike Newcombe after Mr Peters warned that Westpower may
face a 131% increase in Transpower transmission charges.
On a recent visit to the West Coast I
was impressed with the appearance and
tidiness of Reefton.
Whoever was responsible for the colour
co-ordination of the buildings along the
main street, complete with the hanging
flower baskets, are to be congratulated on
It certainly has put other towns on the
West Coast to shame, especially those
with Lions Club associations who should
be endeavouring to present towns in a
I was equally impressed when I went to
check on the relatives at Ahaura Cemetery.
The new fence, gate pillars and general
tidiness of the environs are a credit to
those responsible. It will look impressive
when the gates are installed.
Ray Walker (Greymouth Star, January
20) got it in one. Here we are in Kumara,
sitting on a site historically significant to
all New Zealanders. I am referring to the
grass with chimney stones that is all that
remains of the home built and occupied
by Richard John Seddon, New Zealand’s
longest ser ving Prime Minister (1893-
However, instead of celebrating this
authentic connection with our history, we
are building a Chinese garden, a garden
which will not resemble any garden the
Chinese miners might have established
to grow vegetables, but will look like
something airlifted from China.
Some of us are ashamed at the superficial
money-grasping message this sends about
I totally support the people who have
worked for years to get a water exporting
business through the resource consent
After all, it is hard to imagine anything
that the West Coast provides in greater
abundance than water. We probably have
enough to supply the whole of Australia.
It is mar vellous that people are willing to
pay good money for water, but hey, lucky
us for having one of the world’s most
After yellow gold, black gold and white
gold, maybe the next rush will be ‘wet
I support Ron Hardwick and his family
(Greymouth Star, January 20). Why
should Cobden have third-rate flood
There is a perception that the West
Coast Regional Council does not
represent the West Coast region, just a few
wealthy landowners, especially with the
spending of millions of dollars on a 1080
For the past 150 years some of the things
that have been done to the Grey River
have meant that while most of Greymouth
has a level of flood protection, areas such
as lower Cobden, Omoto and Blaketown
are at a higher risk because the level of the
floodwaters are higher than ever before.
The filling in of the original E Rua
Moana Lagoon has meant that several
square miles of absorption of floodwaters
has gone, the harbour works and confining
the river to one channel, along with the
tipheads from 1870 and the floodwall
from the 1990s have all contributed to
much higher flood levels.
According to recent publicity there are
flood overflow areas in the Buller River,
why not on the Grey River?
In the goldrush days there were literally
hundreds of dams on the Coast, and all
had automatic overflow protection. In
my view what is needed in both Cobden
and Blaketown are automatic overflow
channels equipped with standby pumps
for when the sea is high.
Continue with the finger in the dyke
mentality of the regional council and
there will be a catastrophic failure of the
floodwall, with corresponding loss of life
Last week I drove through to
Greymouth to have a look at the height
of the flood. The blocks were placed in the
Grey floodwall hole to block any water
from flooding into the Grey area.
It appears they were not wanted, but to
be sure rather than sorry is the best motto.
If this was the thinking of those in power,
did their thinking not reach as far as those
they deliberately flood a number of times
each year in Cobden?
Yes, the gate in the Cobden floodwall
was closed, when it was closed is the
difference between having to wade around
in your section or not.
Perhaps some in control do not
understand, so let me explain: The river
floodwater is brown and the Range Creek
water is what we call a brackish. If a
person was not colour blind it was easily
seen that probably over 50% of the water
in the ‘duck pond’ was river floodwater.
All the water covering the old rec around
the homes was river floodwater, the
water blocking Bright Street was river
floodwater and the water in the famous,
fictional safety outlet was river floodwater.
Well, in the latter case that would perhaps
keep the sea out.
Yes, one could see the brackish water
forcing its way into the river floodwater,
but only because the hole in the floodwall
gate was then closed.
Tell me why it is so important that no
floodwater must flow through the hole in
the Greymouth floodwall to disturb Mitre
10 and others, yet it is okay to regularly
flow though the hole in the Cobden
floodwall and put those old people and
others’ lives at risk through stress and
Keep the gate closed for the people. You
can open it to top up your ‘duck pond’ for
the tourists when necessary. On doing this,
go hand in your resignation.
Home help cuts
Late last year, there was a media report
about removal of home help ser vices some
elderly in the Manawatu region. Recent
reports in the Greymouth Star show the
same is happening on the West Coast
and may be part of a national strategy
with undisclosed motives. Reducing or
removing home help from those who want
to live at home is a significant change in
direction of providing care closer to home.
There was an obligation for explanation
to the elected board members and the
community before the changes were
If cost cutting is the main reason then
there are better ways of cutting costs while
improving the ser vice. Increase in patient
transfers is an area which should be
explored as there is a potential for greater
savings. Transferring patients out of the
region has many costs beyond the cost of
transport. It can hinder care to those who
need follow up care and lack of resident
specialists can impair the standards of
acute care ser vices.
A considerable sum of local health funds
may be transferred out of the region and
the contribution to the local economy
is also decreased. Analysing in-patient
trans-alpine transfers over the past decade
may provide useful information. In-patient
transfer numbers had been less in the
past and the staff mix at these times may
provide useful information about the best
mix of local and visiting specialists.
Improving safety and quality of care
can also reduce costs while improving
the ser vice. In 2008 a local anaesthetist
raised many issues relevant to safety.
While the anaesthetist was discredited at
the time, reports published in the Health
and Disability Commissioner website
from 2016 can be used demonstrate the
concerns were likely to have been valid
and still has not been corrected.
Published Health and Disability
Commissioner cases also show many other
areas where improvements can be made.
However, due to the way the investigations
are conducted, the errors repeat and health
care costs continue to escalate.
Cutting home help
Harry Cox’s letter (Greymouth Star,
January 20) recalls my old dad’s similar
experience when he lived alone in
Blenheim many years ago.
When dad was in his late 80s a newly
appointed manager of the organisation
running Blenheim home care cut his carer
time by half. As Mr Cox rightly obser ves,
the bureaucratic mindset appears to think
that as people get older they require
As always, the bureaucrats and their
political bosses know the price of
everything and the value of nothing. And
as is the case regarding many excellent
caregivers, the friendship which dad’s carer
provided was something which brightened
his week but which would be entirely
beyond the comprehension of miserable,
penny-pinching, career ladder-climbing
managers and their political bosses.
Working on a similar principle, perhaps
bureaucrats and politicians should receive
diminishing salaries the longer they hold
their positions. It might help them to
understand that people’s needs usually
increase with age rather than the reverse.
I trust Grey Power will dive into this
issue, though I fear that Mr Cox’s hopes
of the local MPs standing tall are overly
optimistic. After all, we cannot expect
National’s list MP to rock her comfortable
boat, nor Labour’s local representative to
abandon his long-held role as a lion in
opposition and a lamb in government.
It was a former German chancellor
Helmut Schmidt who obser ved, ‘The
stupidity of governments should never be
underestimated’. He should know.
As for the DHB board members, the
reality is that they are not allowed to
challenge management on any subject
— for which we have to thank Annette
King and all subsequent health ministers.
Only by speaking out in the media could
they influence anything and, as is obvious,
there is only one West Coast member ever
prepared to do this.
As we see throughout the DHB board
system New Zealand-wide, lone dissenting
voices can achieve nothing. I should know.
Been there, done that.
Are we surprised that by largely voting
for the same-old, same-olds, whether in
general elections or for DHB boards, we
get the same old outcomes? Wake up New
Zealanders — you have only your failed
representatives to lose.
Democrats for Social Credit
‘A trip down memory land’ — Bring lunch
to share along with your memories from
villages around the King Country from
1940, 1950, 1960 to the present.
To be held Waitangi Weekend, Saturday,
February 4 at 10.30am at the Benneydale
Inquiries please phone 07 878 3303.
As the demand for fish continues to
grow, the experiences of more than 1000
trafficked men have highlighted the
sinister side to what can end up on our
It has been almost two years since a
report by the Associated Press revealed
deaths and slavery aboard fishing boats
in Indonesian waters and sparked a mass
rescue of men in Benjina and Ambon in
the country’s east.
The testimony of more than 1100
of these fishermen, as well as more
than 280 returned Indonesian fishers,
has since been pieced together by
the International Organisation for
Migration to form a detailed account of
how those involved in illegal, unreported
and unregulated fishing on foreign
vessels in Indonesia go about their
“ When compared to trafficking in
persons in other sectors, exploitation in
the fishing industry is among the most
severe,” the report, released in Jakarta
this week, concludes.
Recruited from a range of countries to
work illegally, the men became enslaved.
Almost 90% of 249 victims reported
they were not paid, while 65% said they
worked 17 to 20 hour days.
“Minor mistakes, laziness, and
insubordination were not only punished
with beatings and whippings, but also
in some cases victims were confined or
Fishermen from Myanmar and
Cambodia told of the murder of
colleagues by captains when they were
too weak or sick to work.
“The next of kin and other family
members may never have been informed
of the death,” the IOM states.
National laws were breached, front
companies established, different flags
raised aboard vessels, and catch changed
hands at sea until the fish entered the
global supply chain where people were
ignorant “of its provenance and the
Chief of mission IOM Indonesia,
Mark Getchell said the stories contained
in the report were “symptomatic” of the
insidious trade in people, not only in the
Indonesian and Thai fishing industries,
Mr Getchell said he hoped the report
highlighted to businesses and consumers
the “criminal activity and exploitation
potentially underpinning their profits or
the fish on their plate”.
The IOM has outlined a raft of
recommendations for the Indonesian
government, including that investigators
be trained to spot the signs of human
Indonesian Fishery Minister, Susi
Pudjiastuti announced that fisheries
businesses must now comply with a
‘human rights audit ’ as part of the
Slavery, whippings and death rampant in Indonesian fishing industry
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