Home' Greymouth Star : March 20th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, March 20, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1602 - Dutch East India Company is
established. During its 96-year history it
becomes one of the world’s most powerful
1727 - Death of Sir Isaac Newton,
British scientist and mathematician,
noted for his discoveries including
that of gravity.
1780 - The company of James
Watt and Co is formed for the
manufacture of the first duplicating
machines, invented by Watt to cope
with the large amount of copying
involved in his steam-engine business.
1815 - Napoleon arrives back in Paris from
Elba to reclaim power at the start of “The
Hundred Days” before defeat at Waterloo.
1933 - First concentration camp is opened in
Germany, at Dachau.
1934 - First practical tests of radar are carried
out at Kiel Harbour, Germany, by Dr Rudolph
1969 - Beatle John Lennon weds Japanese
artist Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.
1974 - Unsuccessful attempt made to kidnap
Princess Anne in The Mall, London.
1976 - US newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst
is found guilty of armed robbery for her part in
a 1974 San Francisco bank hold-up.
2003 - The US launches its war against Iraq.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Ovid, Latin poet (43 BC-17 AD); Dame Vera
Lynn, British singer (1917-); Jerry
Reed, US singer (1937-2008); Brian
Mulroney, former Canadian prime
minister (1939-); William Hurt, US
actor (1950-); Jimmie Vaughan, US
guitarist (1951-); Theresa Russell,
US actress (1957-); Spike Lee, US
film-maker (1957-); Holly Hunter,
US actor (1958-); Dean Geyer, South
African-born Australian singer and actor
(1986-); Ruby Rose Langenheim, Australian DJ
and model (1986-).
“Spring has no language but a cry.” — Thomas
Wolfe, American author (1900-1938).
“The Lord delights in those who fear Him,
who put their hope in His unfailing love.”
— (Psalm 147:11).
uFood for thought
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campaign aimed at
improving the image of
beer has caused a volcanic
backlash from within the
industry, with accusations
of trickery and dirty
It is, Invercargill Brewery’s Steve Nally
says, simply absurd.
No, he is not talking about his latest
experimental beer to hit the market.
This is the newly released marketing
campaign aimed at improving the
beverage’s image in the public eye.
Beer the Beautiful Truth, or BTBT for
short, was launched last month complete
with flashy website and the introduction
of selected nutritional labelling on certain
Pushing a 99% sugar-free message, its
stated aim is to provide the public with
more information about what they are
Behind it is the Brewers’ Association,
which in New Zealand represents the big
players; Lion and DB.
But much to the Association’s surprise,
the campaign has infuriated the growing
flock of independent brewers who found
out about BTBT in an e-mail offering
them the chance to take part the day
before the launch.
Soon after the announcement, social
media was awash with outrage as brewers
attacked their keyboards.
BTBT was likened to a “stealth
bombing” attack, described as sneaky with
claims the true aim was to turn public
opinion against craft beers whose labels
were void of the information about sugar.
Beer writer Martin Craig summed
up the feelings of a good portion of the
craft beer community in a piece in which
brewers raged at the secrecy of the launch.
There were also claims of a conspiracy
theory, with Kereru Brewing’s Chris Mills
calling it an “anti-craft brewing marketing
Nally, from Invercargill, was blunt in his
The sugar-free claims drew attention to
a perceived health benefit from drinking
He was also sceptical about the reasons
behind the campaign and the need for it.
“I read Beer the Beautiful Truth and
I personally think it’s written by some
f***ing six-year-old, there’s nothing smart
Testy brewing waters are not unique to
Friction has also surfaced in Australia,
with Lion throwing its toys and leaving
the Craft Beer Industry Association.
This was a case of jumping before being
pushed, however, with the group already
considering excluding the big players.
Soon after Lion’s announcement CIBA
countered by saying its membership was
now limited to independent breweries
But BTBT was introduced in Australia
back in 2015 and not met with anywhere
near the vitriol it has in New Zealand.
Australian beer writer and journalist
Matt Kirkegaard was doubtful the goal of
the campaign was to target craft brewers.
It was likely an unintended consequence,
with the main goal of Lion — who ran the
Australian campaign by themselves — to
arrest the decline in beer consumption.
But he was critical by how the positive
aspects of beer were communicated.
While some health information had
been shared, the campaign had avoided
discussing the brewing process of their
beers such as high gravity brewing, hop
extracts and pasteurisation.
“It’s a little like running a campaign
saying how wonderful cheese is and
putting highly processed cheese singles
beside a four-year aged cheddar and saying
they are made the same way. No consumer
would think they are.
“Essentially, this is a marketing campaign
. . . as such, you wouldn’t expect them to
discuss all these issues of course, but that
pretty much undermines the claim that it
is the beautiful truth. ”
In New Zealand, there are two beer
industry groups — the Brewers’ Guild and
The former is open to all breweries, and
includes the association.
This is where things get tricky.
Many smaller members want the bigger
players out, distrustful and disagreeing
with their approach.
But without Lion and DB as members,
there are real questions about whether the
guild could exist in a way to, say, lobby the
Government meaningfully on alcohol-
Currently the association lobbies
the Government on all legislative and
regulatory matters on behalf of the guild
for a nominal fee.
The future could see the two split but
until then the relationship remains and it
was, therefore, a diplomatically-worded
statement released by the guild regarding
Executive member, and Three Boys
Brewery founder, Ralph Bungard
described the campaign as “potentially
Despite the good relationship with the
Brewers’ Association, Bungard said they
represented just two of more than 150
breweries now operating in New Zealand.
“ We work well together on many
challenges facing our industry.
“However, on this campaign the opinions
of the organisations differ.”
There was no mention of the fact
that the Brewers’ Association may only
represent two brewers, but they make
more beer than the rest combined.
The guild’s president, Emma McCashin,
told Newsroom discussions were under
way about how the guild could be
structured in the future.
Essentially, it was an organisation largely
staffed by volunteers and needed more
funding to be better effective.
“In its current form, the guild would be
stretched to deal with all the lobbying/
regulation function like that of the
While there is no way to know for sure
that this was not an evil plot, it seems
far-fetched to assume the main thrust
of the campaign was to take down craft
The big players have invested heavily
in the segment, with lion snapping up
Emerson’s for $8 million and more recently
Panhead for a potential $25 million, while
DB gobbled down Tuatara earlier this year
for an undisclosed sum.
Lion has also long-supported the
country’s biggest beer festival, Beer vana,
supplying all the tap systems for the event.
But equally, while the public have been
demanding more information on their
food products there is little doubt BTBT
is not simply an altruistic answer to their
It is also a marketing campaign, aimed
at boosting the flagging profile of
We are drinking far less beer than we
used to (although the latest statistics show
a levelling out) but a good 85% of it is still
Profile wise, however, craft beer is king.
Media articles abound, people such as
Garage Project ’s Jos Ruffell and Epic’s
Luke Nicholas are the evangelists of
a growing scene, and big beer is, well,
It seems far more realistic to look at
BTBT as a) a move to try and boost beer
sales by appealing to an increasingly health
conscious public and b) an attempt to get
out ahead of the inevitable.
Epic’s Nicholas agrees, doubting the big
brewers were expending that much energy
purely to attack the craft segment.
There was merit in the argument
improving the image of beer would help
all in the industry, but he has real concerns
about the impact any legislative change
around labelling could have on small
Testing and changing labels would be a
real burden on many producers, leaving
them struggling to sur vive.
The Ministry for Primary Industries is
working with its Australian counterparts
on what kind of labelling, if any, alcohol
Targeted consultation by the Australia
New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food
Regulation will happen in June and will
include the Government, public health
bodies, industry, and consumer groups.
Colin Holden, food and regulatory
policy acting director, confirmed both
compulsory and voluntary options would
The Ministry was also aware of claims
the campaign made beer look like a
healthy choice and diverts from the fact
most of the kilojoules in beer comes from
the alcohol content.
“ MPI is working closely with the
Brewers Association to assess whether
these claims meet the requirements of the
Australia New Zealand Food Standards
It is understood many of the team which
worked on the BTBT campaign was
left shocked and hurt by the response it
received from the independents.
But this is big business and they have
dominated the product for years.
During that time they have pushed
particular beers as being healthier
than others, so in a way they only have
themselves to blame for the health
perceptions they are trying to fix.
Kevin Sinnott, external relations director
of the Brewers Association, says there was
no grand plot.
Research had shown 66% of people
believed beer was high in sugar and with
consumption down, this was a move to
improve its profile.
It was also a case of getting out in front
of changing legislation, which would be
happening whether the wider industry
liked it or not.
“ We know that this has been coming,
it’s still coming, it ’s been happening
slowly but we fully expect that voluntary
(measures) will be in place in the next few
years and we fully support that. ”
Lion’s marketing innovation director
Dave Pearce echoed the statement,
describing the company’s reaction as
“genuinely surprised” at the criticism from
The intent of the campaign was to
benefit the entire beer category and results
from the Australian launch had shown a
benefit for all brands, not just Lion’s
“ We believe the more brewers get
involved, the better for New Zealand beer
lovers, so we hope other breweries large
and small jump on board as well.”
One looming question is if BTBT is
consumer driven, why not simply include
an ingredients list like most products do?
The Association’s campaign says beer
generally contains just four ingredients —
malt, hops, water, and yeast.
While this is true for most beers, some
include adjuncts, including those of the
This is another topic that has seen the
“sneaky” term thrown around in small
Sinnott admits there is some validity in
this criticism and the introduction of a full
ingredients list for each beer on the BTBT
website was being explored.
The Brewer’s Association have also
offered to contribute to the costs of testing
beers for small breweries, who were happy
to contribute $1000 for one of their beers
to take part.
But it is not so simple for craft
DB and Lion have massive, automated
brewing systems, ensuring their range of
products are identical each time.
Independent breweries often struggle to
replicate batches due to equipment or the
need to swap out hops when a particular
type is in short supply.
They also brew a huge range of different
beers, some only made once.
The monkey in the room is the sugar. The
fact is that while your Tui or Lion Red
may be almost completely void of it, they
also don’t taste as flavourful.
Brewers say this is because residual
sugars add flavour to beer, removing it
leaves a bland product.
Translation: craft brewers getting
their beers onto this site would be nigh
But Sinnott believes this may not be the
case, although he could not explain the
exact science behind that.
There were different testing methods
available and not all were created equal.
Many craft pale ales and pilsners
could reach the 99% threshold and the
Association was happy to work with any
brewery, obligation free, that wanted to
test its products.
“ We know the public wants to know
and a lot of the craft brewers would be
surprised at how low in sugar a lot of their
products will be.”
Just how many breweries take up
Sinnott ’s offer is moot, but it appears the
rift in the market is far from over.
— n e w sroom.co.nz
Tricks and dirty tac cs
The ‘answer to
may well have been
contained in last
week’s visit to the West Coast by the National
Roads Board. High hopes have already been
expressed that, following the board’s inspection
of the Otira Gorge route, the bus ban on the
road will be lifted.
“ We don’t want Kumara to become a ghost
town,” said its Mayor Mr W H G Stewart,
whose remarks have been recorded by the
South Island Publicity Association. The ban
could have a distrubing affect on the life of the
town, said Mr Stewart. Apart from the bus ban
affecting tourists on bus tours, there had been a
psychological effect on motorists who thought
that if the road was unsafe for buses it must be
unsafe for cars, said the mayor.
The West Coast marching championships
held on Wingham Park on Saturday
were contested by 22 teams of which the
Greymouth team Grenadiers emerged the
outstanding entrant. Described by officials as a
great success, the championships were divided
into three grades. The standard of the junior
section was exceptionally high and the midget
teams also performed well.
In the senior group, Grenadiers scooped the
pool by taking the costume, team and display
awards. Its leader Carolyn McMillan was also
awarded the leader’s prize.
The West Coast annual women’s fours
bowling tournament concluded on Friday
afternoon with Mrs P MacDonald’s
Greymouth rink winning the title.
The winning team was: Mesdames
MacDonald, R Deans, G Sutherland,
J Rathbun (lead).
It is a drug that confuses you, causes
amnesia and puts you at risk of date rape,
but ketamine is becoming one of the most
popular party drugs of 2017.
The drug known as “Special K” has been
around for decades and has been used as
anaesthesia and for pain management. Vets
commonly use it to sedate pets.
But it is now a popular recreational drug
and there are increasing concerns about its
This week Melbourne DJ Michael Musca
was fined $12,000 after he pleaded guilty
to one count of drug trafficking. According
to Fairfax Media, he claimed ketamine
helped him meditate and it was different to
other drugs. But the magistrate said it was
dangerous and could leave a person in a
vegetative state for the rest of their lives.
In May last year, another prominent
Australian DJ, Kasey Taylor, was accused of
swallowing a kilogram of ketamine while
trying to smuggle it through an airport.
Between 2005 and 2013 there have been
more than 100 deaths globally.
Deaths are not often caused by
overdosing, but ketamine can be a
catalyst for drownings, traffic accidents
and suicides. It can cause abnormal heart
rhythms, nausea and even respiratory
According to the Good Drugs Guide,
ketamine makes talking, moving and even
going to the toilet difficult.
“At high doses, ketamine can be
physically incapacitating, even paralysing,”
the Good Drugs Guide says.
“Using this drug can make the user
feel cloudy. It has been described as a
disconnection between the mind and
the body. If the dosage ingested is high
enough, the user may lose consciousness.
“After use, a ketamine user may
experience unusual dreams. He or she
may also find that thought processes are
cloudy. Thinking clearly can be difficult,
and can lead to the user harming him or
herself. The person who uses ketamine is
at a higher risk for being involved in an
accident than a non-user.”
According the Good Drugs Guide,
ketamine becomes a club drug when it is
mixed with alcohol and could cause people
to become aggressive.
It is an odourless and tasteless drug and
it has been used as a date rape drug like
“The victim would likely remain
conscious after ingesting the drug. He or
she would appear intoxicated, and people
nearby may assume that the person is
drunk,” the Good Drugs Guide said.
“The victim will not be aware of the fact
they have been drugged and will have little
or no recollection of the sexual assault
Ketamine can also result in a user having
a bad trip, causing mood swings and
A man described his experience with
ketamine on education and harm reduction
He had a bad trip and felt he would be
stuck in it forever.
“I have no concept of love, which,
considering my girlfriend of a year was in
the room is abadthing.I am notinmy
body. I have no concept of friendship. I am
struggling to remain conscious, because I
am convinced that if I fall unconscious, I
will never wake up,” he said.
“My parents are going to find me in a
As he began to come around, he said he
simply felt like he had been tranquillised.
Louise Cattell is one woman who was
killed after she took ketamine in 2011.
According to the Hackney Gazette,
the 21-year-old fashion worker tragically
drowned in the bath in her Upper Clapton
apartment, in the London Borough of
Hackney, after taking ketamine.
Dr Selena Lynch said in the coroner’s
court during an inquest into her death
that young people knew the risks and
consequences but never thought it would
happen to them.
“Ketamine is a particular risk because it
is unpredictable. Like some other drugs of
abuse it is very difficult to know what the
consequence might be. In this case a young
woman has lost her life and her family are
bereft,” she said.
The Hackney Gazette reported Ms
Cattell’s parents, Ross and Vicky, have
fought to raise awareness of the dangers of
“This is a drug that is taken by
hundreds of thousands of people
according to statistics, many of whom
regard it as relatively safe,” they said in a
“ We hope that by telling people about
ketamine they will see that it is far from
“It is not only addictive but can cause
permanent damage to the brain and other
organs like the bladder.
“It may be cheap and easy to get hold of
but does that really make it worth the risk
of not being able to get or hold down a
decent job or spending the rest of your life
through a plastic tube?”
— New Zealand Herald
The dangerous club drug becoming more popular
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