Home' Greymouth Star : February 21st 2017 Contents P2
Greymouth pair steer
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150 YEARS SINCE 1866
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017
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Man dragged by car
St John, police and fire personnel
were called to Dillmanstown about
11.15am today when a man was
dragged a short distance by his
car after the handbrake apparently
malfunctioned. The incident was
on Stafford Loop Road. St John
spokesman Ian Henderson said
one ambulance responded and
the driver, a man in his 30s, was
taken to Grey Base Hospital with
Town cameras now
fixed — police
Greymouth police say all seven
CCTV cameras in the central
business district are now working
again. Last winter, police told the
Grey District Council the town was
down to just two operable cameras.
The council agreed to set aside
$15,000 in the 2016-17 annual
plan to renew or replace crime
prevention cameras. The Greymouth
Star asked for an update after two
people recently had their cars ‘keyed’
in Custom Street — right within
view of one of the CCTV cameras,
only to discover that the camera
was not working. Area commander
Inspector Mel Aitken said seven
CCTV cameras covered the central
business district, and all were
now working well. “ The downside
is that we can’t cover all of the
Greymouth CBD area with seven
cameras,” Mrs Aitken said. Further
cameras could be accommodated,
but that would require extra
funding. “My prevention team are
working alongside our Greymouth
Community Patrol and considering
the feasibility of their members
monitoring the cameras during
community patrol shifts.” Three
years ago the council helped fund a
successful security camera covering
the Tainui Street roundabout,
Revingtons Hotel and McDonald’s.
Rain in south, spreads north
Three fish considered ‘messengers
of the sea’ have washed ashore in
the Philippines, sparking fears an
earthquake may be about to hit.
The bizarre-looking oarfish were
all found dead along the country’s
coasts despite usually lying between
200 and 1000m beneath the waves.
All three have washed up since
February 8 and were dotted across
the northern coast of Mindanao
island, in the south of the
archipelago. The flat, oar-like fish
can grow to more than 17m. The
Japanese call the fish the ‘Messenger
from the Sea God’s Palace’ and
several are said to have washed up
on the country’s coasts before the
tsunami in 2011. — Mirror
New hospital at dawn
A terrible season for West Coast
dairy farmers with persistent rain,
little sunshine and depressed
prices is proving to be “the perfect
storm” for farmers, many of whom
are stressed and anxious.
Rotomanu farmer Katie Milne
has likened it to “a reverse drought ”
with poor sunshine hours severely
reducing grass growth, which had
been poor since last autumn.
Some of her neighbours at
Rotomanu, in the lee of the
Southern Alps, had recorded over
6m of rain this summer when
normally they might get 4m.
“Basically it ’s been raining since
last April. Production is down all
over and people are waiting for it
to finish,” Miss Milne said.
After two and a half months of a
wet, cool summer, the weather on
the West Coast turned the corner
just this week with the arrival of
However, that may have come
too late on the farm.
Hokitika chartered accountant
Peter Cuff, who deals extensively
with farmers, said the wet had
been affecting farmers’ mental
Although the payout had
improved slightly that had been
offset by production lost due to
the wet conditions.
“It’s been getting to the point
where it’s too late to fix it this
season,” Mr Cuff said.
He urged downhearted farmers
to not judge the industry by one
or two seasons, as the weather and
payouts were cyclical.
“It’s a long-term game. ”
Miss Milne said some farmers
had no choice because they
needed the milk production to
keep debt at bay.
“ You can’t run your business at a
half capacity all the time waiting
for a year when it’s all better,” she
Coming on top of a couple of
tough payout years, anxiety levels
“Compared to other provinces,
we were down before we started
. . . if nothing else, thank goodness
it wasn’t last season, when we had
a terribly low payout.”
She urged stressed farmers to
take an hour or two off and talk
to each other to share their daily
Whataroa dairy farmer Dave
Nolan called it “the worst ” season
in at least 20 years.
“ It ’s really having an effect
on people, the morale. People
are getting pretty down to
it, especially with the payout
last year. It ’s a perfect storm,”
Mr Nolan said.
Milk production was down due
to marginal pasture conditions
and the lack of sunshine was also
affecting animal well-being.
Many farmers had been milking
once a day or every 16 hours since
before Christmas — a time when
milk production would ordinarily
near its peak.
He estimated production in
South Westland was down on
average between 15 and 20%.
Because of the ongoing wet
weather, many had also missed the
opportunity to cut silage before
Christmas and would struggle to
get their usual second cut to stock
up for winter feed.
“There’s still a hell of a lot of
silage that should have been taken
off in December,” Mr Nolan said.
Farmers were just trying to
stay afloat financially given last
season’s payout and cut in milk
“ People have got to keep farming
and keep spending and have some
production to satisfy the banks.
The general feeling around is that
people have to do what they have
to do — it’s pretty tough.”
Karamea dairy farmer and
Federated Farmers West Coast
chairman Peter Langford said
those on lighter sandy soils in the
Karamea area were coping a little
“ It ’s not really going well for
anybody,” Mr Langford said.
His milk production was down
about 12% overall and had
been milking once a day since
Continual rain did not translate
into decent grass and lack of sun
was compromising animal health.
“There’s no decent energy in the
grass. Pregnancy tests are not the
flashest,” Mr Langford said.
Federated Farmers dairy section
chairwoman Renee Rooney, of
Rotomanu, characterised the
season as “pretty cr.p”.
Most were farming to the
conditions given the “invariably
wet and waterlogged” ground
PICTURE: Laura Mills
The steel frame of the new Greymouth Hospital, pictured at sunrise this morning. The construction crew was moving more steel into place at first light.
Cycling tourist knocked off bike — twice
A cycling tourist was unharmed after
two terrifying near-misses — one with a
van and the other with a truck and trailer
as he was heading out of Franz Josef
West Coast police area prevention
sergeant Paul Watson said the British
Columbian man had to leap for his life
when a white van travelling south headed
straight for him on the one-way bridge
over the Tatare River.
“The cyclist dumped his bike then fell
off when the van was driven on to the
bridge,” Mr Watson said.
A little further north near the Okarito
turnoff, a truck and trailer unit passed
him, clipping the handlebars and sending
the cyclist flying off for a second time in
“The cyclist is okay and back on his bike
and continuing on his merry way.”
Police will be viewing dash cam footage
from a witness in the hope of identifying
“ When we do we will be having a chat
with them about road courtesy,” Mr
Motorists needed to show more
courtesy and share the road, he said.
“Drivers passing cyclists need to ensure
they leave a 1m gap between themselves
and the cyclist, and motorists do need to
slow down when they are approaching
cyclists ... and may need to stop.”
‘Mystery lights’ seen over Greymouth
Air traffic control has been unable to
solve the mystery of strange lights seen
over Greymouth last Thursday night.
Runanga resident Anthony Dean
spotted what he described as bright
orange lights that circled and made
eight passes, between 9.30pm and
He said he had spoken to others who
also saw them.
The lights came from the south-east
and headed northerly, turning right
towards the east before disappearing
and then coming back again from the
“At first I thought that it was an
aircraft with bright headlights on, in
a holding pattern waiting to land at
Christchurch. But the lights where so
bright all the time, and aircraft don’t
fly sideways, neither do they have them
(lights) at the rear. There was no sound
at all so if it were a helicopter I would
have heard it,” Mr Dean said.
He said they were not Chinese
lanterns or flares as they kept returning.
Airways, which is responsible for
air traffic control, said the area was
uncontrolled airspace. The only flight
that Airways was aware of that night
was a departure from Greymouth about
“It is always possible that someone
was night flying at the aerodrome but
not on a flight plan,” a spokesman said.
Garden City Helicopters said it
thought the lights could be explained
as coming from the NZCC Rescue
Helicopter, which was returning from a
3.5 hour round trip from Greymouth-
about that time.
The West Coast Conser vation Board
has backed the use of the Inland Pack
Track for the Pike 29 ‘great walk’ —
despite opposition from Punakaiki and
Coast Road residents — but has also
asked the Department of Conser vation
to look at other options.
Local residents argue that when the
walk is built between Blackball and
Punakaiki, mountainbikers should use
the old logging track known as Ryall
Road to head in or out of Punakaiki, to
keep the historic Inland Pack Track clear.
That would mean the track could remain
on its current alignment, rather than
having part of it re-routed.
A DOC paper tabled at the
conser vation board meeting in Westport
last week noted that high construction
and maintenance costs, poor visitor
experience and the need to secure access
arrangements on Ryall Road.
It put the cost of using the Inland Pack
Track at $210,000, against more than
$720,000 for Ryall Road, which would
need two bridges and a more lengthy exit
Regenerating forest on the suggested
alternative route did not meet ‘great walk’
A barrier system was proposed to
preser ve the heritage values of the Inland
Conser vation board chairman Mike
Legge said today the board had backed
the pack track but had asked DOC to do
more work on the Ryall Road option and
the high costs estimated.
“ We want to check the information,”
Dr Legge said.
conser vation board chairman, spoke at
the board meeting last week but said
there was little or no discussion of the
points they made.
“DOC was able to present an
unchallenged view of advantages of the
Inland Pack Track choice versus a list
of disadvantages of Ryall Road,” Mr
The pack track was a listed heritage
site so DOC had yet get approval from
Heritage New Zealand to carry out even
minor works, and no application had
“So it’s still all up in the air and yet the
official opening of the management plan
is only 17 days away,” Mr Robertson said.
Inland Pack Track backed for Pike 29 walk
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