Home' Greymouth Star : February 1st 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - 5
Meridian Energy has lost its dispute
with the Wellington City Council over
$1.2 million in rates paid for its wind
farms, with the High Court ruling
the council acted lawfully in how it
calculated the bill.
The electricity generator-retailer has
62 wind turbines at its West Wind farm,
and 26 turbines at its Mill Creek farm,
both in Makara. In March 2009, as the
West Wind farm construction was being
finished, the council reassessed how it
calculated rates on wind farms.
The city council calculates rates
depending on whether the land is
considered “base differential”, which
includes residential, vacant and rural
land, or “commercial differential”, which
includes property used for commercial or
industrial reasons and utility networks.
The council decided wind farms were
an additional use of the land from the
rural classification in place, and created a
division for calculating rates on the wind
farm equipment, rating them under its
commercial rate billing category C8,
rather than the base differential category
D1. In the 2016 year, C8 rates in the
dollar of the land’s capital value were
0.820571c, while D1 rates in the dollar
were 0.276524c. The council calculated
rates on Mill Creek in the same way
when that wind farm was completed in
Meridian’s application for judicial
review was heard in November, with
Meridian’s lawyers arguing that the
wind farms should be placed in the base
differential category, saying the council
acted unlawfully in creating divisions in
the rateable units to reflect two uses for
the land. Meridian also argued the wind
farm portion of the units should not be
classed as commercial use.
Justice David Collins found the council
had acted lawfully on both counts. The
judge described the wind farm facilities
as “a significant commercial enterprise”
which falls within part of the larger
business of Meridian, and “therefore fit
squarely within” the commercial category.
Meridian will pay $1.32m in rates for
its wind farms in the 2017 financial year,
but would pay just $475,000 if the base
rate was applied. If the rates had been
calculated using that category since 2009,
Meridian would have saved $1.24m. The
judge ruled Meridian must also pay the
council’s legal costs.
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
Never too old for adventure
Cromwell men Bob Beck, left, Malcolm
Somer ville, Ivan Fahey and Richard Jackson
gear up for the fourth annual “postie-bike”
Ride for Life.
In two weeks, 30 riders from across the
country will traverse back roads on the small
Honda CT110 bikes on a 1100km loop,
starting in Cromwell and going through West
Otago, mid-Southland and Fiordland, near
Queenstown and back.
Organiser Mr Fahey said the group
had raised $6000 for the Prostate Cancer
Foundation of New Zealand over the years,
but the event was mainly about having fun
“ low-impact, low-speed, low-cost, high-scenic
The average age of the riders was about 65,
he said. “Never too old for a bit of fun and
adventure, they say.” — Otago Daily Times
PICTURE: Otago Daily Times
Tourist, migrant records
New Zealand saw record
immigrants in 2016 with more
migrants coming in on work
visas and more holidaymakers
than ever before, and economists
expect migrant inflows to keep
Annual net migration hit
70,600 in December 2016, with
the biggest net migrant gains
from China, India, the United
Kingdom and the Philippines.
Migrant arrivals rose 4% to
127,300 in the year, also a new
record, while migrant departures
dipped 0.5% to 56,700.
Short-term visitor arrivals,
which includes tourists, people
visiting family and friends and
people travelling for work,
reached 3.5 million in the year
ended December 31, up 12%
from the year earlier, Statistics
New Zealand said.
New Zealand has imposed
tougher criteria for skilled
migrants and cracked down on
applications for student visas
over increased concerns about
the level of immigration.
The Government has extolled
the benefits of immigration, with
a swelling population stoking
more activity and record inflows
of tourists underpinning an
economy growing at a rapid pace.
At the same time, a rising
population has posed problems
for policymakers by fuelling
demand for an already-stretched
housing market in Auckland,
while restraining wage growth.
The most popular country of
origin for permanent and long-
term arrivals was Australia, with
some 26,000 migrants arriving
in the year, but this was offset
by about 24,000 long-term or
permanent departures across the
Tasman in the course of the year.
A net 10,310 migrants arrived
from China in 2016, a 16% lift
on 2015, while a net 8900 came
from India, a drop of 33% on
the year earlier. There was a 54%
jump in net migration from
Britain to 5600.
“The past year has seen a
marked lift in arrivals from the
UK (up nearly 2000 people on
last year’s levels) and China. The
increase in arrivals is mainly due
to more people coming on work
or residency visa, which has
offset a decline in the number
of international students,” Satish
Ranchhod, a senior economist at
“Second, the level of departures
of New Zealand citizens is
currently at very low levels, while
the number of New Zealanders
returning from offshore has risen
“These trends are expected
to continue to some time,
with this country’s positive
economic story, including its
labour market, making it a
very attractive destination. We
expect net migration inflows to
remain strong for some time,”
Mr Ranchhod said.
Of the new migrants who
arrived in the year, a net 33,900,
or 48%, settled in Auckland,
followed by a net 9.6% who
moved to Canterbury, net 5.2%
going to Wellington and net
3.9% settling in Waikato.
There was a 10% lift in work
visas given out in 2016 to
41,600, with that category of visa
accounting for the most migrant
arrivals in the year, ahead of New
Zealand and Australian citizens
at 37,700. Student visas dropped
12% to 24,600, while residence
visas increased 18% to 16,500.
There was a 16.2% uplift
in the number of visitors
holidaying in New Zealand in
the year to 1.8 million, with most
holidaymakers from Australia,
China or the United States.
On an annual basis, Australians
made up 562,000 of the 1.8
million holidaymakers, while
China was the second-biggest
pool at 311,000. — Scoop
An Omarama farmer whose
pivot irrigators were vandalised,
in an attack he suggested
involved environmental activists,
has invited environmental groups
over for tea.
Richard Subtil has said he
believed environmental activists
were behind the slashing of
44 tyres on three of his pivot
irrigators earlier this month.
The damage was estimated to
have cost up to $40,000.
While the Oamaru police
Omarama Station owners Mr
Subtil and wife Annabelle
environmentalist groups and
leaders to their station to share
information about irrigation and
other environmentally sensitive
Mr Subtil issued the invitation
through media last week and has
since received one response, from
Mike Joy, a senior lecturer in
ecology from Massey University.
He hoped the invitation would
“establish a degree of mutual trust
that can become a springboard
for better understanding on both
“ We’ve got a widening gap
between town and country . . . and
farmers and environmentalists.
We feel the best way we can
bridge that gap is to engage,
rather than distance each other
and throw rocks at each other. ”
In an attached press release,
he said he had been mulling
over the incident, which at first
made him angry. He could now
see some good could come from
it, through constructive dialogue
with critics of irrigation and
other farm practices.
“I ’m trying to get beyond the
negative, knee-jerk reaction
He did not know who would
take up his invitation, but hoped
environmental lobby groups such
as Greenpeace, SAFE and the
Green Party, would be interested.
“ Who knows what will come of
No date for a meeting was
set, but he hoped it would be
chaired by someone independent
of farming interests and that all
opinions would be aired.
Mr Subtil saw himself as an
environmentalist and said many
farmers worked hard to do what
they could for their environment,
but he acknowledged there were
farmers who let others down.
“ We firmly believe the future
of farming is going to be about
growing environmental steward-
“There might be 50% of issues
that farmers and (environmental
campaigners) can totally agree
on. So let ’s get discussing the
other 50% to see what headway
we can make.”
Mr Subtil said he hoped to hear
back from more groups.
— Otago Daily Times
Farmer extends olive branch to environmentalists
Govt pushes HPV vaccine for boys
The man accused of slashing hundreds of car
tyres near Wellington Airport claims he was not
the only vandal.
David Francis Johns, 52, on Monday pleaded
guilty in the Wellington District Court to using
a sharpened screwdriver to slash car tyres in the
Wellington suburb of Miramar.
He was charged with wilful property damage
and carrying an offensive weapon in a public
place. The combined maximum penalty is 10
The streets near Wellington Airport were often
crowded with cars, which has led to an ongoing
feud between residents and those trying to get
out of paying for airport parking.
Police conser vatively estimate at least 300
car tyres were slashed between October 2016
and January 2017, but admit that figure could
be much higher, because some people did not
bother reporting it.
When police arrested Johns last week, he told
officers that he did it due to frustration with the
crowded parking situation.
He claimed he had tried to get in touch with
the council, but had not been successful in
getting a resolution. He became frustrated and
took matters into his own hands.
However, Johns told detectives he believed he
had slashed fewer than 100 tyres, and that he
was not the only one doing it.
He also said his actions were working, because
the number of cars parked on the affected
streets had dropped significantly.
Johns will reappear in court for sentencing on
April 5. — NZME
Tyre slasher blames council inaction
Fonterra director Michael Spaans has
stepped down from the board due to
ill health, and has been replaced by Ian
Farrelly, who retired from the role last
month. The changes took effect from
yesterday, Auckland-based Fonterra said.
Fonterra chairman John Wilson said
Mr Spaans’s tireless contribution to
the dairy industry has been significant
both inside and outside the Fonterra
boardroom. The company did not detail
his health issues but noted he may stand
again when his health improves. —N Z N
Fonterra board change
As students begin a new school year, the
Government and researchers are talking up a
free vaccine against a cancer-causing virus that ’s
being offered to boys for the first time.
Pharmac funding for Gardasil, a vaccine
which has been protecting young women
against human papillomavirus (HPV ), was
last year extended to also cover boys from
While the vaccine is known for its ability to
protect against cer vical cancer, it can also reduce
the risk of other cancers — such as of the throat
along with genital warts, New Zealand’s
most common STI.
The Government yesterday announced it
would be launching a campaign across radio,
print, outdoor adverts and on-line to convince
parents and caregivers of Year 8 students about
the vaccine’s benefits.
“H PV-related cancers cause more than 50
deaths in New Zealand each year, and most
of these are preventable,” Health Minister
Jonathan Coleman said.
“A growing proportion of throat cancers are
caused by HPV and they affect males at higher
rates than females.”
The vaccine will be available free through
most schools for Year 8 students as part of the
standard immunisation programme, he said.
Only a few other countries have made the
vaccine open to both men and women, including
Australia since 2013 and the US since 2009.
University of Auckland immunisation
advisory centre director Associate Professor
Nikki Turner said while it would take several
years to see the effect of immunising boys on
cancer rates, previous studies had found a
dramatic decline in genital warts.
“Parents need to be aware that the vaccine is
expected to be highly effective against a range
of very nasty cancers, and against genital warts,
and it has a well-established international safety
record,” she said.
In good news for those scared of needles,
younger people receiving the vaccine will need
only two doses, as opposed to three for adults.
“This is a good reason not to delay vaccinating
younger teenagers,” Prof Turner said.
The changes to funding for Gardasil also
allow anyone up to 26 to get catch-up vaccines.
About 65% of girls in Year 8 were immunised
last year, with the rate climbing steadily in
recent years. — NZ N
Specials available South Island only, price valid until Sunday 5 February 2017 or while stocks last. Trade not supplied. Due to current
Licensing Trust laws, liquor not available at Elles Road, Windsor & Gore. Specials may not be available at all stores. Club Deals are
only available to Clubcard Members at New World South Island stores when they scan their Clubcard at the time of purchase.
Yoghurt or Dairy
Food 6 Pack
excludes Nappy Pants
Export Citrus 330ml
12 Pack Bottles
Nice & Natural or Griffin's
Muesli or Nut Bars 6 Pack
Fruit Salad, Peaches
or Pears 410g, excludes
425g Mango Slices
Lunch Box Product of USA
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