Home' Greymouth Star : March 31st 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, March 31, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1837 - Death of English landscape painter
1855 - Death of Charlotte Bronte, British
author of Jane Eyre.
1889 - French engineer Alexandre Gustave
Eiffel unfurls the French flag from atop the
Eiffel Tower, officially marking its
1923 - The first US dance
marathon, held in New York City,
ends with Alma Cummings setting a
world record of 27 hours on her feet.
1936 - Britain and France pledge
to support Poland if it is invaded.
1941 - Germans launch counter-
offensive in North Africa in World War Two.
1980 - Death of former US Olympic athlete
Jessie O wens, who won four gold medals at the
1936 Berlin Olympics.
1988 - Death of Sir William McMahon,
Australian Liberal prime minister 1971-72.
1990 - Thousands riot in central London
against Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s
1993 - Actor Brandon Lee, 28, is
killed during the filming of The Crow in
Wilmington, North Carolina.
2016 - Scottish comedian Ronnie Corbett,
who co-starred with Ronnie Barker in the tv
sketch show The Two Ronnies, dies aged 85.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
R W von Bunsen, German chemist (1811-
1899); Shirley Jones, US actress-singer (1934-);
Richard Chamberlain, US actor (1934-); Herb
Alpert, US trumpeter and bandleader
(1935-); Christopher Walken, US
actor (1943-); Al Gore, former US
vice-president (1948-); Rhea Perlman,
US actress (1948-); Angus Young,
Australian guitarist of AC/DC fame
(1955-); Paul Mercurio, Australian
actor and tv presenter, (1963-); Ewan
McGregor, Scottish actor (1971-).
“One can not conceive anything so strange
and so implausible that it has not already been
said by one philosopher or another.” — Rene
Descartes, French philosopher (1596-1650).
“For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will
be their shepherd, and He will guide them to
springs of the water of life, and God will wipe
away every tear from their eyes.
— (Revelation 7:17).
uFood for thought
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Two people are
believed dead after a
head-on collision on
the bridge over the
Little Grey River at Maimai, south of Reefton
early this afternoon. One of the dead, a man, was
cut from his vehicle and a woman was dead on
arrival at Inangahua Hospital, Reefton.
The dead woman is understood to have been
travelling with her husband when their car
collided with the other vehicle. Her husband
was admitted to the hospital. A single man
travelling in one of the vehicles was also killed.
The condition of the car brought into Reefton,
in which the dead man still lay, was described as
A Greymouth youth was killed early this
afternoon when he was crushed by a rail tractor
which was pushing a hand trolley from which he
fell, in the railway yards of the loco workshop in
Elmer Lane at 1.10pm. The youth fell between
the trolley and the tractor and rolled under the
cow-catcher to be dragged some yards along the
The dead youth was Michael Patrick Quinn,
Preston Road, Greymouth.
West Coast Airways Ltd which has been
operating from Hokitika for over 10 years
ceases operations today. The Dominie aircraft
belonging to the airline will be used for tourist
flights between Q ueenstown and Milford.
Captain Brian K Waugh manager of the airline
at Hokitika said he was not certain whether
his company would continue flights into
Westland. Costs would be a prohibitive factor in
continuing airdrops and ambulance flights.
fter nine months of
preparation, bitter public
argument and a battle
with parliament, British
Prime Minister Theresa
May is launching talks
with the European Union armed with a
plan she hopes will secure a better divorce
deal than many expect.
But what is it? Although May has
published a policy document outlining a
12-point approach to the talks that will
reshape the future of Britain and the EU,
many companies, investors and voters are
not quite clear about her strategy.
The British leader has been reticent
about what she hopes to achieve so as not
to give her hand away. But government
officials, lawmakers and analysts say
privately that May believes she has some
strong cards to play, while also hoping
that EU officials will favour pragmatism
“Now is the time for us to come
together and be united across this
house and across this country to ensure
that we work for the best possible deal
for the United Kingdom and the best
possible future for us all,” May told
Earlier, her letter to European Council
President Donald Tusk had triggered
Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty to
start up to two years of talks on Britain’s
departure from the bloc.
May and her ministers have ambitious
goals in the talks. They want “frictionless”
trade, control over immigration and
restoration of sovereignty while
maintaining as much cooperation as
possible with Britain’s nearest neighbours.
But the 12 priorities she set out in
January are broad enough to allow
room for manoeuvre, and May hopes to
leverage Britain’s strengths in security,
defence, criminal justice and international
aid to help negotiate her main demand
for a free trade deal, several government
She is also willing to pay into EU
programmes that Britain may other wise
be excluded from by Brexit, has signalled
that she expects some kind of transitional
agreement and is preparing to copy
the body of EU law over into British
legislation to minimise uncertainty.
While trying to inspire goodwill
before the talks, the British government
will also try to exploit rifts in the
European Union, making much of troop
deployments on the bloc’s eastern border
against an increasingly assertive Russia.
But while May ’s focus is winning what
she calls the “best possible deal” for
Brexit, her government is also looking
beyond, courting the United States,
India and China while trying to attract
technology and creative industries to a
country which one minister said needed
to market itself.
“What we are going to do is be
ambitious in our negotiation,” May told
parliament late last year, a mantra to
reassure business she would try to get
the maximum possible access to the EU’s
The message is upbeat despite May ’s
aides saying she will not reveal any details
of the government ’s negotiating stance
before negotiations start.
But behind the scenes, civil ser vants
have been told not only to draft a plan
government department said, aware the
EU is in no mood to offer generous terms
that could encourage other members to
bolt for the door.
The aide said each department has
been told to find areas where they could
compromise. But any hint that May
might break Brexit promises in areas
such as fishing rights could turn public
opinion against the prime minister and
split her party.
For many veteran eurosceptics in
the ruling Conservative Party, this
week’s triggering of Article 50 is the
culmination of years of lobbying against
what they describe as an interfering and
There is little chance they will allow
May to backtrack on her commitment
to break with the European Court of
Justice and end the supremacy of EU law,
possibly tying her hands over what she
can or can not compromise on.
The balancing act is perilous. With the
majority of lawmakers in parliament
pro-EU, May ’s slim majority will all but
depend on the eurosceptic Conser vative
MPs, with additional pressure from well-
financed ‘leave’ lobby groups and the UK
Independence Party promising to be the
“guard dog of Brexit”.
On the other side are nationalists in
Scotland and Northern Ireland. The
Scottish government wants a new
independence referendum, encouraging
calls for a similar vote in Northern
Ireland, which voted to remain in the EU.
May has refused to allow Scotland
a new referendum in the time scale
demanded by First Minister Nicola
Sturgeon and stood firm on her refusal
to share her negotiating stance, which
the Scottish government has described as
On past experience, May is unlikely to
The stakes are high for her personally
as the success or failure of the talks will
determine her political legacy and her
ability to win an election.
She has been riding high in opinion
polls since taking over as prime minister
from David Cameron, who quit after the
Brexit referendum, and the opposition
Labour Party is in chaos, but she has
no experience of leading her party in an
What is as yet unclear is whether she
has settled on her own list of priorities
for the talks. After spending months
asking companies, universities, hospitals
and banks among others what they want,
most have no clue whether their demands
will be met.
“There is a backlog,” the departmental
aide said, adding that May ’s desire for
detail means that all reports are sent to
her office at Downing Street and looked
over by herself and her two most trusted
aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill.
She still has some time to refine her
strategy since the EU will spend the
coming weeks agreeing a negotiating
Before horse-trading starts in earnest,
the two sides are expected to try to settle
two issues — how much Britain owes to
the bloc and the future status of British
citizens living in the EU and EU citizens
living in Britain.
May says she wants the latter to be
settled early in the talks but may face
difficulties over the former as some of
her pro-Brexit lawmakers do not believe
that Britain should pay at all. One has
suggested she should remind Germany
about the cancellation of some of its debt
after World War Two.
But as the leading civil ser vant in the
newly created Brexit ministry said, plans
can always come unstuck.
“The other thing is to have expected
the unexpected,” Sarah Healey, director
general at the Department for Exiting
the European Union, told the Institute
for Government this month.
“External events will have a big impact
on what happens on the department and
we just need to be flexible and able to
respond to that.” — Reuters
May’s master plan
British Prime Minister Theresa May in the cabinet office signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk invoking Article 50 and the United Kingdom’s
intention to leave the European Union.
I was extremely upset when I saw the
Greymouth Star for Tuesday, March 28,
because I saw that someone had put a
rubbish bin in front of the Kumara RSA
Memorial Hall, and it was attached to the
This is so disrespectful to the people who
were in the war and their families. I think
it should be moved to somewhere more
Ella Tacon, aged 9
No recycling at Paroa
I believe everybody who lives in the Grey
district should have a recycling bin.
Firstly, if you do not recycle you will
become lazy and just throw it in the
rubbish, which ends up in the landfill.
Secondly, we are learning about recycling
at school but we can not do it at home
because we do not have the bins. Why
can’t we have the bins too? I feel sad
because we can not help the environment
and all the living creatures.
Thirdly, people coming from all over the
world would think this is a dirty town
because we would have too much rubbish,
especially where I live because we have to
use bags. We do not even have any bins.
I do try to do my own recycling but most
of it goes to the landfill. I wish I had a bin
because I would like to do recycling.
Lotte Marshall, aged 6
Neils Beach erosion
I have just read the latest West Coast
Regional Council newsletter on erosion
at Neils Beach, Haast, taken from a report
done by Niwa for the council.
They say that the Arawata River mouth
has gone to the west and stabilised.
This is at odds with the New Zealand
topographical map, which puts the
westerly direction parallel with Neils
Beach — not the northerly direction the
river is now facing.
Topographical maps are available and
should be used to keep reports accurate.
J A Menzies
100% Pure? Yeah,
So the Government and Tourism
Industry Aotearoa want a 20% increase in
Chinese tourism numbers, to say nothing
from the rest of the world.
Haven’t they got the message from
struggling local bodies that this sort of
influx is degrading that which we hold so
The likes of Nick Smith, Paula Bennett
and Bill English want a reality check if
they keep on the path they are on, unless
they themselves deposit some tens of
millions to the sparsely populated ‘tourism
regions’ like ours so we can ensure the
picnic spots and water quality does not slip
even further with muck from freedom
Presently, the old night-cart is well in
front of the horse.
It is time some got their heads out of the
passes and dished out some meaningful
finance so councils can deal with the
Government ’s increasing and self-inflicted
The much championed New Zealand
brand that ministers and industry
often crow about is rapidly going
west. The big lie — 100% Pure, is
Quality of health care
In a Greymouth Star article (March
27) about the West DHB board meeting,
Mr Meates stated the West Coast health
ser vice was “ light years” from where
it was, in terms of quality and sustainability.
Data relating to suicides, released
by the coroner last year, support the
comment about current ser vices being
“ light years away”. The data shows that
suicide numbers on the West Coast were
improving until recent years, and were
trending to levels better than the national
However, the recent increase in numbers
are ‘ light years’ worse than what they had
Many individuals and organisations
have stepped in to try to fill the gaps
within DHB ser vices to prevent suicides.
However, it would be impossible for
primary health, volunteers and non-
government organisations to fill all the
gaps in mental health ser vices, created by
Comments made by the chief executive
at a recent meeting about home help
ser vices, and words such as “reliability” and
“sustainability”, used at the recent board
meeting, suggests the disruption of mental
health ser vices and the other ser vices are
part of organised strategy.
The chief executive stated that they
are trying to create a system which is
less reliant on individuals. By removing
talented people, a poor standard of ser vice
can be created. Without talented people
and the necessary skill mix it is easier to
sustain a reliably poor ser vice.
Serious disruption in scope and quality
of secondary care may not be easily
detectable in the early stages. Most elective
surgery can be done with minimal risk of
complications. Reported complication rates
can be further decreased, by performing
lower risk procedures and creating barriers
for reporting complications. Most people
used to sur vive life threatening conditions,
such as pneumonia and ‘heart attacks’, even
in the days before modern medicine. Much
of the benefits of modern treatments are
related to improving quality of life.
Sometimes even delays of minutes or
hours can compromise quality of care.
Timely access to appropriate level of
expertise is an important part of quality of
For our bumblebees, it seems being
smart comes at a cost.
Odd findings just published by New
Zealand, United Kingdom and Canadian
researchers show that bumblebees that
learn faster have a much shorter foraging
lifespan than their slow-learning co-
They also found that the fast-learning
bumblebees collected food at rates
comparable to the less cognitively able
in the colony and completed a similar
number of foraging bouts per day.
“O ur results are surprising, because we
typically associate enhanced learning
performance and cognitive ability with
improved fitness, because it is considered
beneficial to the sur vival of an individual
or group,’’ said study co-author Dr Lisa
Evans, of New Zealand’s Plant and Food
“This study provides the first evidence of
a learning-associated cost in the wild.’’ The
researchers evaluated the visual learning
performance of 85 individual foraging
bumblebees across five different colonies
— s ubjecting them to an ecologically
realistic colour and reward association task
in the laboratory and then monitoring
their performance in the wild using
radio frequency identification tagging
Obser vers were also on hand to monitor
the quantity of nectar and pollen brought
back to the nests.
The results, published in the journal
Scientific Reports, reveal that slower
learning bumblebees collected more
resources for the colony over the course of
their foraging career.
“This is particularly interesting because
we know that learning is really important
for bees,’’ said professor Nigel Raine, of
the University of Guelph in Canada.
“They learn which flowers provide the
most rewards, when and where to find
them — often in habitats containing
dozens of flower species.’’ According to the
researchers, the shorter foraging careers
of the fast-learning bumble bees may be
due to costs associated with their higher
“ Neural tissue is metabolically expensive
to produce and maintain,’’ Evans
“ Foraging is energy demanding, but so is
learning. This may explain the significantly
shorter foraging lifespan of fast-learning
bumblebees.’’ The findings raise the
question as to why fast-learning is still
an attribute found in bumblebee colonies
rather than having been bred out of the
population over time.
“This may relate to the range of
environments a colony could find itself
in. We conducted our research in an
environment where the ability to learn
quickly may not confer an advantage,’’
“ In a more complex or changeable
environment, these enhanced learning
abilities may be vital to ensure colony
“Then it could pay to have some smart
heads in the room.’’ The findings go
some way to support research into the
conser vation of pollinators that assist with
the production of commercial crops.
Determining how pollinators are adapted
to their environment can provide insights
into aspects that are important for colony
success, which contributes to habitat and
pollinator conser vation.
Bumblebees make great pollinators
as they perform “ buzz pollination’’, an
effective technique used to free pollen
from anthers, and can forage in poor
weather conditions that keep honeybees
Further, their large size and hairy bodies
mean they can collect larger quantities
of pollen — it is estimated a single
bumblebee can do the work of 50 honey
bees — and they visit a wider diversity of
flowers, increasing pollination.
Plant and Food Research pollination
scientists are now using them in trials
to investigate whether they could play a
larger role in orchards around the country.
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
The plight of the brainy bumble bee
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