Home' Greymouth Star : March 15th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, March 15, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
44 BC - Roman dictator Julius Caesar is
assassinated by conspirators led by Brutus and
1493 - Christopher Columbus returns to
Spain, concluding his first voyage to the
1874 - France assumes protectorate over
central Indochina region of Annam, which
breaks off vassalage to China.
1877 - The first cricket Test between
Australia and England is played in Melbourne.
The home side wins by 45 runs.
1883 - Irish-American terrorists attempt to
blow up the offices of The Times in London.
1916 - US force of 12,000 soldiers under
General John Pershing is ordered to Mexico to
capture revolutionary leader Pancho Villa.
1917 - Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates
for himself and his son; his brother Grand
Duke succeeds as tsar and a provisional
government takes over.
1943 - Japanese planes attack Dar win in
World War Two.
1962 - US military training personnel in South
Vietnam exchange fire with Communist forces.
1969 - Fighting breaks out between Soviet
and Chinese forces on the border.
1975 - Aristotle Onassis, Greek
shipping magnate and husband of
former US First Lady Jacqueline
Kennedy, dies aged 69.
1979 - Pope John Paul II publishes
his first encyclical, Redemptor
Hominis, in which he warns of the
growing gap between rich and poor.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Andrew Jackson, US president (1767-
1845); Charles de Montalembert, French
author (1810-1870); Harry James,
US bandleader (1916-1983); Alan
Bean, US astronaut (1932-): Mike
Love, US pop musician of Beach
Boys fame (1941-); Sly Stone, US
singer-musician (1943-); Ry Cooder,
US guitarist (1947-); Renny Harlin,
Finnish film director (1959-); Fabio,
Italian model (1961-); Terence Trent D’Arby,
US singer (1962-); Lochie Daddo, Australian
media personality (1970-); Penny Lancaster,
English model (1971-); Mark Hoppus, US
musician (1972-); Eva Longoria, US actress
(1975-); will.i.am, American singer (1975-);
Ben Hilfenhaus, Australian cricketer (1983-);
Jai Courtney, Australian actor (1986-) .
“Sometimes it ’s worse to win a fight than
to lose.” — Billie Holiday, American singer
“If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make
my bed in Sheol, You are there.” — Psalm 139:8
The most up to
date small brewing
plant in Australasia
will be operating in
Greymouth soon. This is Westland Breweries’
new Steinecker plant which arrived in
Greymouth by ship from Auckland at the
Made in Germany, the plant has modifications
that make it more up to date than a similar one
in Auckland. Liberal use of windows at the
brewery will allow a good view of the brewing
process once the plant is in operation.
Impressively dressed in a Maclean tartan kilt
supported by a Ugandan python skin belt, the
Chief Scout of the Commonwealth Sir Charles
Maclean received an enthusiastic hearing in
Greymouth last night. He addressed a large
gathering of scouts, guides and general public
at an official reception in St Columba Hall last
Sir Charles is in the second week of a
whirlwind tour of New Zealand inspecting
scouting facilities. He was in Greymouth for
only a few hours and was whisked away this
morning to an official luncheon at Hokitika
after squeezing in a visit to a gold claim at
Rutherglen. However, tomorrow he has a rest
day scheduled at the Franz Josef Glacier.
A Greymouth Hospital employee finished
second in New Zealand in the intermediate
examinations for medical laboratory
technology. She is Miss Dianne Uddstrom,
daughter of Mr and Mrs C G Uddstrom, of
Nelson Q uay, Cobden.
Miss Uddstrom sat the difficult examination
last December, scoring 721⁄2% — only half a
point behind the best recorded in the country.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
So the town square tender has been let.
Didn’t it first come in at just over
$1 million, but now it is over $1.8 million?
Bet you all the tea in China it goes over
Now they are talking about traffic lights.
What a waste of money. Are they going
to operate 24/7 or just at so-called peak
periods — whenever that is?
Let ’s get into the town square. The town
does maybe need something, but on a scale
like this? The story goes that the money
for this cannot be used for anything else.
It has to be used for this, although things
have been changed in the past. One
seriously important thing that needs doing
is the sewerage.
Last year we saw on the front page
of the paper the sign on the riverbank
regarding sewage discharge. Whitebaiters
on the ‘Big Rock’ will tell you about the
treated discharge, and then there is the
raw discharge. Council says that is because
all the people have not connected to the
new system. That is not quite true, though.
The raw discharge is from the Greymouth
Over the past few years you will have
seen streets all around being dug up and
new sewerage pipes laid. Have you seen
any streets in the town centre being dug
up? The answer is, ‘no’. Apparently the
town system is too complicated to renew.
So does that mean that the town sewage
will continue to discharge into the Grey
Now, wouldn’t you think that the
$2m-odd would be better spent on
something that is used 24/7 rather than
something that will be used as weather
permits? So, if the above is quite correct, a
correct truthful and non-political answer
would be appreciated.
Traffic light stupidity
I see in Monday night ’s paper (March
13) there have allegedly been 22 crashes
at the Mackay-Tainui street intersection
in the past 10 years. Wrong. The diagram
supplied in the press release (published
on the Grey Star website but not in the
paper) can only support nine. One cannot
count crashes back down the street from
cars pulling out of car parks etc. Nice try.
Where do we get 6000 vehicles per
day on Mackay Street? That is eight per
minute from, say 7am to 7pm. How does
the Tui ad go? Yeah, right.
I often do u-turns outside the post office,
which I doubt I could do at that traffic
density. Another doubtful comment.
I have received a lot of positive
comments and from all there is strong
opposition to traffic lights. While they
may be red, green and yellow it appears
the air may be blue for those waiting for
them to change, should they be installed.
Making Mawhera Quay one-way will
only lead to Mackay Street carrying more
traffic, especially big trucks which we do
not need. Leave the quay alone.
Tr a ffi c jams on upper Tainui Street near
Brewery Hill as a line of trucks etc wait
to do a right-hand turn to Herbert Street
will be a new hassle.
As for the assertion that it is a ‘complex
intersection’ . . . who are we dealing with
to make that comment? You cannot get a
more common one than an X intersection.
I see the press release was signed by our
CEO Paul Pretorius which by inference
means it is his statement of intent. Sorry
Paul, above your pay grade, as Trump
would say. Just keep administering and
bean counting, leave the decisions to our
elected officials who are surely there to do
the will of the people, not that of hired
I also ask those officials to put their
hands up as to their stand on the matter. I
am sure it is not a unanimous council.
Come on Greymouth, let ’s bury this
stupidity and blow out the light bulbs once
and for all.
It made me wonder the way the council
destroyed the Makura Croquet ground,
probably three years ago, and left it that
way. I went up to Greymouth and took
photos of the rush bushes and sandpits on
what was once a perfect green. I prepared
my document for the Local Government
Commission, then probably a week or so
later headed to Greymouth to check all
was true and correct.
There before my eyes was the prepared
ground waiting only for the grass seed —
not a rush or sandpit in sight. So I took
another lot of photos, to view in the future
and confirm to myself I was not dreaming.
All this in probably three weeks.
So I included the sentences: ‘ We hardly
need to change, you lot just keep breathing
down their necks’.
Something seems to happen to many
who are elected on to councils and
government — they believe the large
income makes them untouchable.
I now call my camera ‘Genie’.
Trevor Molloy snr
Rest home closure
It is my understanding, and I may be
wrong, the DHB is charged with running
the hospital and thus keeping in check the
ser vices provided to the community in the
best interests of the community’s health
and welfare needs and requirements.
This includes sending patients to
Christchurch for medical procedures,
then leaving the patient to find their own
way home at their expense, cutting back
on in home care and playing a part in the
closure of a rest home with hospital care
This is now causing mental health issues
within the community that the DHB
ser vices, by way of stress, anxiety and
worry, discontent with regards to not only
the future of the standard of care they
will receive, but how and where they will
have go to receive the care they are going
to require. Many cannot afford to move
given what the value of their home is.
They simply cannot afford to sell and go
elsewhere in New Zealand to somewhere
where they have some chance of decent
care without having to leave familiar
surroundings. When Granger House is
full, and that will not take long, where do
the others go? Then there are those who
have no children or family here to help.
That is a number of us — our children
have left and have no interest in coming
back, other than for the occasional visit.
It will beinteresting in times to come to
see how the DHB will cope and what
so-called ‘positive spin and dribble’ they
will come up with to cover themselves
and their cock-ups to appease and con the
Orthopaedic ser vices
The recent public meeting in
Greymouth about deteriorating local
health ser vices, the DHB response was
limited to orthopaedic to ser vices, but was
The people who represented the DHB
were recent appointees to their positions.
The clinical director of orthopaedics had
only been in the position for a month. This
was similar to the meeting few weeks ago,
where the manager responsible for home
help had been in that position for three
Concerns expressed by the public
included long waiting lists for elective
surgery such as joint replacement. The
clinical director of orthopaedics explained
that funding for operations is limited
to a Ministry of Health allocated quota
for each DHB. ‘Not enough surgeons’
is not the only explanation. This also
explains why the DHB management of
the recent past has disrupted the West
Coast orthopaedic and other ser vices. By
performing the surgery in Christchurch,
West Coast funding can be diverted
as a source of additional funding for
Regarding current orthopaedic ser vices,
the public were informed that there are
eight visits per month. In between busy
clinics and elective surgery, very little time
is allocated for acute care. This means
acute on-site orthopaedic ser vices are only
available a few days of the month.
The recently appointed clinical director
of orthopaedic ser vices had been led
to believe that prior to the merger the
West Coast had to rely on one surgeon
providing all the elective surgery without
providing acute ser vices. Twenty-four
hour, seven-day acute on-call ser vice had
been available till recently.
In 2012 the joint CEO of the West
Coast and Canterbury DHB claimed that
West Coast ser vices had to be cut back
due to excess locum costs. The orthopaedic
surgeons claimed they wanted long-term
contracts but were only offered locum
contracts. O ver the previous few years
I had spoken to five different surgeons
who were working at Grey Base Hospital.
Collectively, they had a wide skill mix.
However, they were harassed to leave or
not provided with long-term contracts.
Peter Neame’s letter (Greymouth Star,
March 10) demonstrates yet again how
the politicians and bureaucrats running
the New Zealand public health system
completely fail to learn from experience.
Mr Neame’s account of a suicidal
person unable to obtain help recalls an
incident on the Coast many years ago
when I was rung by a desperate sounding
person describing themselves as a mental
health patient unable to get help from the
Coast mental health ser vice. I rang the
DHB mental health office and was told
to ring the Grey Base Hospital mental
health manager. I did so but got an ‘out of
office’ recorded message answer machine
on which I left the details of why I was
calling. Having often heard the official
view urging the general public to regard
very seriously any appeal for help on
mental health matters, I then rang around
various contacts and eventually found a
district nurse who agreed to talk to the
patient and who later called me to say that
she believed she had calmed the situation.
And the mental health manager? She
phoned me 17 hours after I left my call
— to criticise me for not ringing the
mental health emergency number. When
I pointed out that I did not know the
number and that the mental health office
had not mentioned it, her only response
was that ‘it’s in the back pages of the
paper’. What sort of attitude is that?
So, here we are all these years later and
still the DHB has not got its act together
on mental health.
As the Spanish philosopher George
Santayana observed, ‘ Those who do not
learn from the past are doomed to repeat it ’.
The NZ money-go-
The superannuation football is being
kicked around again.
Firstly, why was the old age pension
started in the first place? People
supposedly had a real incentive to save and
plan for retirement. Real life is not that
straightfor ward, and many older people
fell into a wretched condition. Now we
seem to be returning to the past.
Secondly, going on about the number of
taxpayers in ratio to retirees ignores the
real process of wealth and credit creation
and distribution. Per head of population,
we have more wealth than ever but most
people are not seeing it. Consider the
awesome implications of this conversation
between a Reser ve Bank financial manager
(RB) and a citizens’ advice group (C).
C: Is it true that all New Zealand dollars
are created under the authority of the
Reser ve Bank?
C: Is it true the registered (commercial)
banks have created more than 98% of the
New Zealand dollars in existence?
RB: Yes, more than 98% of the M3
measure of New Zealand’s money supply
has been created by commercial banks.
(M3 is the most commonly used broad
measure of the money supply in New
C: Is it true that commercial banks create
new money by lending, by creating new
Not only is 98% of our cash created
out of thin air by banks, the government
borrows from these banks, thus ensuring
that we stay in debt, and stay poor. This
lunatic system should be shouted from
the rooftops, yet politicians seem afraid to
make a squeak.
In 2000 the group New Zealand
Banking Reform talked to outspoken
economist Michael Reddell. Brian Dodds,
of Golden Bay, challenged Damien
O’Connor publicly but Mr O’Connor
said he could do nothing and changed the
subject. Why exactly could he do nothing?
Why do I get the impression that
politicians seem so afraid of something
not generally known to the voting public?
Waiuta Lodge stay
I was a trip leader for recent trip to the
South Island. It was a privilege and a
pleasure to be able to stay at the Waiuta
Lodge during the 2016-17 Christmas-
New Year holidays.
lodge over three days. We were fascinated
with the history of Waiuta. We loved the
photo board sign in the lodge and also
opportunity to have such a memorable
time as we did staying in the lodge over
those three days, but if I ever return or
am passing through I will definitely make
an effort to come up the road again and
spend more time to explore and relive the
‘Thank you’ also to all involved in making
the area and lodge available to use.
Village beats drought
n a hot, dry afternoon
at Ralegan Siddhi
in India’s western
State of Maharashtra,
Ansar Shaikh climbed
effortlessly to a hill
top and pointed at the vast expanse of
farmland all around.
A local guide, Shaikh uses the summit
as a viewing gallery to showcase not the
village’s idyllic setting, but the trenches
and stone barriers on the hill’s slopes, and
earthen dams on the ground to trap each
raindrop that falls.
This tiny village — with a population of
2500 and spread over 900ha — is located
in Ahmednagar district, where the average
annual rainfall is about 500mm, the
lowest among all districts of Maharashtra,
according to weather officials.
But Ralegan Siddhi has remained water
sufficient for four decades, even in the
severe droughts of 2014 and 2015 that
triggered nearly 7000 farmer suicides in
Maharashtra — the highest in the country
— over crop failure and mounting debts.
Nearly 24,000 farmers committed
suicide in India in 2014 and 2015.
Ralegan Siddhi’s water sufficiency dates
back to another drought in 1972 when
social activist Anna Hazare started a
project that would insulate the village
from dry spells.
In the years to come, Hazare emerged as
a rural development mascot and the face
of a massive anti-corruption crusade.
The drought project was his first step
Barriers were erected on Ralegan
Siddhi’s slopes to stop rainwater run-
off which was collected in an intricate
network, channelled to a giant well, then
pumped into streams that fed farmlands.
“Rain is the only source of water here
and we don’t waste it,” Shaikh said.
Over the years, the groundwater level
went up to a few metres below ground
from about 60m to 75m earlier, according
to Thakaram Raut, former headmaster of
the village school, who now oversees water
conser vation training.
The number of wells used for irrigating
farmland has gone up to 135 from 35,
and cultivable land has doubled to about
So has the quantity of farm produce.
Women do not have to trek long distances
for water, which is supplied through taps
in all households once every two days, then
stored in big, bright-blue cans.
“The Ralegan Siddhi watershed model
is intuitive, organic and is rooted in
compassion and empathy, not as much in
science,” groundwater expert Himanshu
Kulkarni, who heads a non-profit that
deals with groundwater research and
“The model shows how changed human
behaviour can be linked to how we
manage our natural resources.”
Wearing sunglasses, Dhondiba Ethoba
Authi, 74, sat cross-legged on his 1ha
farmland, next to a pile of har vested millet,
keeping a watch on his grazing cattle.
This was the second har vest of the year
and Authi said he expected to make
35,000 rupees ($764) from the yield. He
inherited this land from his parents, but
recalls it being barren for a good part of
“Farming was erratic then. There were no
schools. There was nothing here,” Authi
said. But that was before “Anna’s water”
started flowing into irrigation wells and
“I make money from my farmland and
also from the milk my cows produce.”
Most people in Ralegan Siddhi live in
concrete houses. Some households have
washing machines. Most have cars or
“ We get Anna’s water and I operate
the washing machine at least five times a
week,” said Swati Bhalekar, who lives in a
brightly painted house, a washing machine
at its entrance.
Within a decade of the project taking
off, neighbouring villages started
implementing various versions of Anna’s
model. So far, 86 villages have joined in.
“Thirty kilometres from Ralegan Siddhi
is Hiware Bazar village, which was inspired
by the model but went a step ahead and
also started water audits,” Rishiraj Gosaki,
a senior geologist with the government ’s
groundwater department, said.
Every year, village heads at Hiware Bazar
budget the water collected for irrigation
and consumption, and decide the crop
pattern farmers will follow through the
year — the latter a lesson they learned
from Hazare’s village.
Farmers in Ralegan Siddhi do not grow
sugarcane — a water-guzzling crop often
blamed for Maharashtra’s drought — but
millet varieties, maize and vegetables that
require less water.
“ With watershed development, farm
yield has improved. People now live in
good houses, own vehicles,” Hazare, the
brains behind the village project, said at
his hostel-like accommodation.
On a weekday evening, as the time
neared for 79-year-old Hazare to emerge
from his nap, a motley group of school
students, farmers and admirers gathered
outside and waited under a tree to meet
him, or simply see him.
A Gandhian, Hazare lives the simple life.
Now he has another battle on his hands
— the village reported drinking water
scarcity, a first in many years, and supply
tankers had to be called in from the local
“ Why have we reached this stage of
ordering tankers? That ’s because people are
digging bore wells,” Hazare said.
Hazare closed more than 100 bore wells
last year and imposed a fine of 10,000
rupees on those digging fresh ones. The
water level in the village’s recharge well
has already improved, he said.
But there is a cost to this progress.
“The financial status of villagers has
improved. They are standing on their feet
— n ow they don’t have time for the village
which they had earlier,” Hazare said. “ The
village has produced doctors, government
officers and lawyers. ”
Babban Baburao Bhalekar, for instance,
was among those who dug trenches on the
hills when Hazare started working on the
watershed project. “ I do whatever Anna
says,” he said as he made a wooden handle
for a farmer’s hoe.
Bhalekar sent his daughter to school and
she now works in a State-run industrial
unit in Ahmednagar. She visits her parents
once a week.
But migration of young people
notwithstanding, Hazare is hopeful the
water project will continue.
“ I could do so much despite not having
a good education. The youth of the village
is better educated, and will take this
for ward,” Hazare said. — Reuters
Social activist Anna Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi in the western state of Maharashtra draws admirers across age groups every
evening when he steps out of his room.
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