Home' Greymouth Star : March 30th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, March 30, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1822 - Florida becomes a US territory.
1842 - Ether is reputedly used as anaesthetic
for first time, by Dr Crawford Long in the
1856 - The Treaty of Paris is
signed, ending the Crimean War
and guaranteeing the integrity of
1870 - The 15th amendment to the
US Constitution, giving black men
the right to vote, is ratified.
1870 - US Congress readmits Texas
to the Union after it had seceded in 1861 to join
the Confederate States. 1981 - US President
Ronald Reagan and his press secretary James
Brady are shot and wounded
1986 - Death of actor James Cagney, aged 86.
2002 - Death at the age of 101 of Britain’s
Queen Mother, widow of King George VI and
mother of Queen Elizabeth II.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Francisco Goya, Spanish artist (1746-1828);
Vincent van Gogh, D utch artist (1853-1890);
Frankie Laine, US singer (1913-2007); Rolf
Harris, Australian entertainer and
convicted sex offender (1930-);
Warren Beatty, US actor (1937-);
Eric Clapton, English guitarist-pop
singer (1945-); Robbie Coltrane,
Scottish actor (1950-); MC
Hammer, US rapper (1962-); Tracy
Chapman, US singer (1964-); Celine
Dion, Canadian singer (1968-); Norah Jones,
American singer-songwriter, (1979-).
“All mankind is divided into three classes:
those that are immovable, those that are
moveable, and those that move.”
— Arab proverb.
“ When God saw what they did, how they
turned from their evil ways, God changed His
mind about the calamity that He had said He
would bring upon them; and He did not do it.”
— ( Jonah 3:10).
schools in the Grey
County are now in
or approaching their
jubilee year. However, none of these has any
plans at present to celebrate the occasions.
When the Canterbury Education Board
toured the area in 1964, a booklet was
published containing information about the
schools. According to this, the Kokiri school is
75 years old this year and both the Camerons
and Rotomanu schools are 50 years old this
The Cobden school was formed in 1868 and
will celebrate its centennial next year. Another
very old school is the Grey Main School. It
was originally a district high school and was
established 91 years ago. Ahaura is 96 years old
and both Hatters Terrace and Taylor ville are
88, Barrytown 87, Stillwater 79 and Paroa 87
The most recently established West Coast
school is Karoro at 10 years old.
The Greymouth-Karoro bus ser vice is
continuing to prove “a flop”. This is the
description applied by bus proprietor Mr Doug
Coburn after collecting a mere 27s from his
two return trips yesterday — well short of the
minimum target of £2 10s.
Tomorrow fortnight the trial will end and,
unless patronage improves, it is likely that the
ser vice will be abandoned.
The Strongman Mine Disaster Fund is
now very close to the £25,000 mark. Easter
weekend contributions included a generous
£500 contribution from the Alliance Company
branch of the Otago-Southland Freezing
Workers’ Union, and Ministry of Works
employees stationed at Haast have sent the
Runanga Borough Council a cheque for
uFood for thought
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As a guardian of left-wing orthodoxy, Sue
Bradford is without peer. At the first hint
of heresy she can be relied upon to stride
purposefully to the nearest progressive
pulpit and start preaching.
From the moment the Labour-Green
“ budget responsibility rules” were
announced, I knew that a scorching sermon
from Sue was only a matter of time. She
did not disappoint. Barely 72 hours after
Grant Robertson’s and James Shaw ’s
blasphemy had sullied the ears of the
faithful, Sue was on RNZ’s
Morning Report castigating her
erstwhile comrades with considerable
“The Greens have completely sold out on
where they started from in my generation
of MPs in 1999”, Sue thundered. “So what
you see here is the Green Party deciding to
go after votes on the centre and the right
of the New Zealand political spectrum. It
wants business in its corner. It wants your
National blue-green voters in its corner.”
What does this mean? Sue is in no doubt.
It means “completely abandoning the huge
number of people who are in desperate
need in the areas of housing, welfare, jobs,
There is a part of me that inclines towards
Sue’s critique. It is the part that remembers
those original Green MPs, the “magnificent
seven”, as they galloped up the steps of
Parliament and on to the floor of the
House of Representatives like “an invasion
of centaurs” (if I may borrow Theodore
Roszak’s evocative image).
Which was great to see. (Even greater to
be, Sue, I’m sure). But only if your purpose
was (borrowing once again from Roszak’s
1969 best-seller The Making of a Counter-
Culture) to embody “the experience of
radical critical disjuncture, the clash of
irreconcilable conceptions of life”. Or, as
an old-time Maoist like Sue might express
it: only if the Greens were there to make
But even back then, in 1999, the Greens’
revolutionary faction was in the minority.
Alongside Sue, Keith Locke and Nandor
Tanczos, sat Rod Donald, Jeanette
Fitzsimons, Sue Kedgely and Ian Ewen-
Street. Radical and visionary these latter
four may have been, but they had come to
Parliament to accomplish things, not to
turn New Zealand’s capitalist society upside
Twenty years later and the Greens are
still waiting to fulfil even a small fraction
of the “magnificent seven’s” agenda. Most
members of the Green Party are not
interested in being seen as the harbingers
of a “radical critical disjuncture” but as
members of a political party dedicated
to finding practical solutions to global
warming; cleaning up New Zealand’s lakes,
rivers and streams; housing the homeless
and helping to develop a principled and
purposeful role for New Zealand on the
For most New Zealand voters, the idea
of revolutionary Green Party centaurs
rampaging through Parliament is equally
So perhaps Sue should cast her mind back
to the 1999 election and recall just how
narrow was the margin that separated the
Greens from Parliamentary representation
and political oblivion. Rod Donald
delighted in his white shirt and coloured
braces for six years, but by 2005 he was
very publicly having himself measured for
a stylish New Zealand-made business suit.
When the brute arithmetic of political
power kept him out of Helen Clark’s
cabinet it, quite literally, broke his heart.
“At what price power,” Sue demands “if
you sell out everything that your party was
originally set out to achieve? I mean, this
Green Party here is following the same
trail as green parties all over the world —
some of who have ended up in coalitions
and alliance with really right-wing
But in 2014, with just one image, the
National Party destroyed the Green
Party’s (and Labour’s) hopes of achieving
anything for New Zealand. Their depiction
of a red-green government as an unco-
ordinated and unreliable “ship of fools” was
That is the public perception that Andrew
Little, Grant Robertson, James Shaw
and Metiria Turei are up against. It is
the widespread public misgivings about
the left ’s economic realism and reliability
that their “budget responsibility rules” are
intended to allay.
That is because powerlessness also comes
at a price.
A real revolutionary would understand the
importance of inoculating the two leading
parties of the left against the “show me the
money ” ambushes of elections past.
The Greens are not trying to make a
counter-culture, Sue — they are trying to
make a government.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Sue Bradford on the rampage
he American State of
Arkansas is preparing for
an “unprecedented” event
like never before — to
execute eight death row
inmates in just 10 days.
After nearly a dozen years without an
execution, Arkansas has adopted the
“unprecedented ” timetable because one
of the three ingredients in the lethal
injection will soon expire.
Last month, Governor Asa Hutchinson
set about scheduling the executions of
eight death row prisoners all convicted of
Double executions will be held on four
nights over a 10-day period from April
If carried out, the executions would
make Arkansas the first State to execute
that many inmates in such a short time
since the death penalty was reinstated
by the United States Supreme Court in
The State’s hurried method poses
a number of risks, experts say, with
preparations shrouded in secrecy.
Some view the move as odd for
Arkansas; after all, only 27 people have
been executed in the State since 1990 and
because of “drug shortages and challenges
to its lethal injection procedures, the state
has not carried out an execution since
2005”, according to the Death Penalty
The centre claims scheduling two
executions on the same day is also
States have executed two or three
inmates on the same day just 10 times
in the past 40 years, and no State has
ever carried out more than one double
execution in the same week.
Oklahoma attempted to do so on
April 29, 2014, but called it off after the
botched execution of Clayton Lockett
earlier that night, where witnesses
described a scene from “a horror movie”.
The execution made world headlines
after the convicted killer took 43 minutes
— instead of the usual 10 — to die from a
lethal injection using an untested cocktail
of drugs that had not been previously
used in the United States.
While Texas has executed eight people
in a month — twice in 1997 — no State
in the modern era has executed that many
prisoners in 10 days.
The unconventional execution spree
has a morbidly twisted reason; the Death
Penalty Information Centre revealed.
“The hurried schedule appears to be
an attempt to use the State’s current
supply of eight doses of midazolam, a
sedative which makes up one third of the
execution drug, which will expire at the
end of April”.
Lockett ’s prolonged death occurred after
the decision to pump the drugs into his
body via femoral artery backfired and the
product, midazolam, began leaking into
his body tissue rather than into his veins.
Arkansas has had a particularly difficult
history with lethal
2005 after capital
suspended due to the
difficulty in acquiring
the lethal drugs
required to execute.
“The stress on the
prison and medical
staff will be increased,
and the risk of making
mistakes is multiplied,”
said Dale Baich, an
public defender who
Wood’s slow death in
Arizona in 2014.
“This along with
using a drug that has
been used in numerous
should make the
in Arkansas very
Wood ’s 2014
debate over the
death penalty and
the efficacy of lethal
injection. It was the
third execution to go
awry in the US that
to Wood ’s attorneys
show he was
and the painkiller
50mg increments 15
times, for a total of
750mg of each drug.
He was pronounced
dead after gasping more than 600 times
while he lay on the table.
“Those are pretty staggering amounts
of medication,” said Karen Sibert,
a long-time anaesthesiologist and
spokeswoman for the California Society
Sibert, an associate professor at Cedars-
Sinai Medical Centre, said patients who
are sedated before a surgery typically
receive no more than 2mg each of
midazolam and hydromorphone.
“It would be rare that I would use more
than 2mg even for a lengthy surgery,”
Sibert said. “If that is accurate, that is
absolutely a lethal dose.”
At the heart of the rush is the shortage
of the sedative midazolam, which is used
to put an inmate to sleep before receiving
the lethal chemicals.
The Arkansas supply expires at the end
of April, and it is unclear whether the
State will be able to find more.
Arkansas has had trouble obtaining
the three lethal drugs it needs to put the
men to death. Drug makers have stopped
selling it to US prisons because they
object to their products being used in
To address its trouble, Arkansas now
extends secrecy to anyone involved in
A lawsuit filed last week by a Little
Rock lawyer contends Arkansas is
violating the law by refusing to release
documents proving they acquired three
lethal drugs from legitimate sources.
The Arkansas Department of
Correction used to release package
inserts accompanying vials of the deadly
drugs but says it no longer will do so
because The Associated Press in 2015
used their distinct design to unmask the
When asked what assurances the agency
can give the public about its preparations,
spokesman Solomon Graves said: “ We are
implementing procedures consistent with
all applicable state law.”
The lack of information is part of a trend
among states to keep more execution
details out of public view and less
vulnerable to challenges from opponents.
“As states had more and more problems
in carrying out executions, their response
has not been to fix the problems but to
hide behind secrecy to prevent those
problems from being disclosed,” said
Robert Dunham, executive director
of the Death Penalty Information
Correction Department Director
Wendy Kelley has declined to discuss the
But Arkansas has hit an unexpected
snag; there are not enough people willing
to watch these prisoners die.
According to the New York Times,
Arkansas has a “State law (that) requires
that at least six people witness an
execution to ensure that the State’s death
penalty laws are properly followed ”.
But finding six volunteers that fit the
requirements to watch someone die is not
all that easy.
“Under Arkansas State law, execution
witnesses must be at least 21 years old
and a resident of the State, can not have
a felony conviction and cannot be related
to the death row inmate or a victim in the
case,” New York Times reports.
Additionally, finding enough people to
cover all the executions has prompted
Wendy Kelley, the director at the
Department of Correction to personally
set out to look for her own death squad.
Who did she call? The local Rotary
“ You seem to be a group that does not
have felony backgrounds and are over 21,”
Ms Kelley told members of the Little
Rock Rotary Club, according to The
“So if you’re interested in ser ving in
that area, in this serious role, just call my
Members of the club were so perplexed
by Ms Kelley ’s suggestion they initially
thought it was a joke, and some members
even laughed at the idea.
“It quickly became obvious that she was
not kidding,” Bill Booker, a Rotary Club
member, told KARK-Tv.
A spokesperson for Arkansas’
Department of Correction told The
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette he did
not have a “current count ” of citizen
witnesses who had signed up to the task,
but that Ms Kelley was making “informal
inquiries to find more volunteers”.
— New Zealand Herald
The prisoners on death row waiting to be executed: Top row, from left, Bruce Ward, Marcel Williams, Jason McGehee and Kenneth Williams.
Bottom row, Stacey Johnson, Ledell Lee, Don Davis and Jack Jones.
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