Home' Greymouth Star : April 3rd 2017 Contents SINCE 1866
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Police catch eight
Eight drivers were nabbed in
separate incidents on the West
Coast at the weekend. Greymouth
police acting prevention sergeant
Jane Bretherton said four drivers
stopped and breath-tested were
all found to be over the limit.
Two of the drivers were from the
Hokitika area with the other two
from Westport and Karamea. The
highest reading was 513mg. Police
also caught four different drivers
who were driving while suspended.
In total, the breaches picked up by
police at the weekend were “quite
high” for the region and an indicator
that people were not adhering
to either the drink-driving limit
or driving suspension notices for
demerits, she said.
Body believed to
be missing woman
A woman’s body found in bushes
near the mouth of the Buller River
at Westport on Saturday afternoon
is believed to be that of missing
woman Leanne Ryall, 50, who was
last seen on March 17. A member
of the public stumbled across the
body at Shingle Beach, a popular
swimming spot on the northern
side of the Buller River about
500m from the mouth. Police said
the death was not suspicious and
would be referred to the coroner.
Although the woman’s identity had
not yet been confirmed the body
was believed to be that of Mrs Ryall,
given there was no other reports of
persons missing in the area.
You think Boaty McBoatface,
Gritty McGritface and Horsey
McHorseface would have taught
the United Kingdom a thing or
two about trusting the public with
naming something. But some
people never learn. So when the
Isle of Wight Council turned
to the public to name their new
floating bridge, you can only guess
what happened next. Last week
they posted an appeal on Facebook
asking to give ‘F loating Bridge
Number 6’ a more exciting name
(fools). And the people spoke. More
than 2000 people commented and
although there were a few sensible
suggestions, the majority wanted
Floaty McFloatface. To make
sure the council keep their word,
a petition for the name Floaty has
even been launched. — Metro
Mainly fine, high cloud
Greymouth Star On-line
A badly injured motorcyclist
at Barrytown had to wait at
least 90 minutes for medical
help to arrive after a new
St John triage dispatch system
sent a Christchurch-based
rescue helicopter instead of the
just 10 minutes away.
firefighters, with Greymouth
as back-up, were first on the
scene of the crash just before
midday on Saturday and about
5km north of Barrytown on
State highway 6, at Canoe
One motorcyclist apparently
clipped another travelling in
the same direction towards
Punakaiki as they were trying
to avoid a stationary vehicle
in the middle of the road. The
injured biker was part of group
Runanga deputy fire chief
Rick King said what happened
in the aftermath “was
St John, as the lead agency,
was unable to make a response
today. Its South Island
communications adviser Ian
Henderson said at midday they
were still making inquiries into
The new St John Air Desk
dispatch system to centralise
and dispatch national air
ambulance helicopter ser vices
has been up and running in
the South Island for about a
fortnight in a two-year trial.
The new service is staffed by
two St John clinical support
officers with air dispatch
experience for 15 hours a
day, seven days a week at the
St John clinical control centre
Mr King said fire and
local ambulance staff were
left flabbergasted at the
significant delays, firstly in
sending an ambulance and
then dispatching the NZCC
West Coast Rescue Helicopter
only to be stood down as the
helicopter was sent instead.
“It didn’t look good. It looked
as if we were sitting there
doing nothing. No one could
get an answer, a reasonable
answer, why?” Mr King said.
It was clear on arrival the
motorcyclist was in a bad
way with suspected multiple
fractures to his leg, ankle and
elbow and an obvious puncture
wound to a knee.
Luckily, some passing tourists
with medical experience were
able to assist at the scene.
“One minute we had the
West Coast chopper coming
up, then that was stood
down and we were told that
Christchurch was coming
over,” Mr King said.
“ We knew it was 60 minutes
ground, lying in the middle of
the road. ”
It was no reflection on the
local St John ambulance
volunteers, who when they
needed to be done but were
left asking “what the hell is
The decision was taken to
transfer the man into the
stationary ambulance to try to
give him some relief.
Mr King said the decision
taken from afar to dispatch the
rescue helicopter in this case
needed to be reviewed because
it was “a ridiculous situation”.
It was not necessarily a one-
off given previous call-outs
in which the local emergency
services were able to call on the
local rescue helicopter to assist
in lieu of ambulance capacity.
This situation seemed to be
somebody pulling strings from
the other end, which was very
annoying. At the end of the
day, this is someone’s life we’re
talking about,” Mr King said.
Rescue Helicopter local staff
confirmed today they had been
called initially, but declined
further comment as theirs was
not the lead agency.
The Pike River Mine families say
work to send a drone or cameras into
the stone drift leading into the mine
has stalled, and the Government has
refused to release all existing footage
Six weeks ago, Prime Minister Bill
English agreed to consider sending a
robot or drone into the drift, noting
technological advances. Another
option was to lower a camera through
The families have been protesting
a push from Solid Energy to
permanently seal the drift, before
anyone has checked inside for the
possibility of bodies of the 29 victims
of the 2010 explosion, or evidence of
what caused it.
However, the families said today
things had progressed little since the
agreement with the Prime Minister.
Bernie Monk said they had not
even agreed to terms of reference.
“This is just dragging on,”
Mr Monk said.
The Government held all existing
footage — a portion of which was
played during the Royal Commission
of Inquiry — and the families were
now asking to see it all.
What has been seen shows the self-
rescue box, which appears to be open,
and the location of some bodies.
“ We are asking for all the footage
so our experts can have a good look
down the borehole, and work out
where to put the cameras,” Mr Monk
The terms of reference submitted by
the Government included the likes
of ‘no man may go down the drift’
which the families had already
accepted, he said.
Mr Monk said Environment
Minister Nick Smith agreed with him
the other day that the families’ terms
of reference were not unreasonable.
Mr Monk said they were trying to
prove the way inside the draft was
clear for things to happen but the
Government was not listening to the
“ We want action before the
However, Dr Smith said today the
terms of reference for the unmanned
entry had been determined by the
Government in consultation with
the families and Solid Energy and
finalised last week.
“The key issue of difference is that
the families want manned entry
options to be referred to in the terms
“The Government ’s well-known and
longstanding position is that manned
entry cannot be undertaken safely
as concluded in the comprehensive
risk assessment undertaken by Solid
The next step was for Solid Energy
to assess the technology options
for unmanned entry with the
involvement of the families’ advisers,
and to put costs to the Government.
The terms of reference had specific
provision for the families’ advisers to
have the opportunity to comment
on any final report that went to the
Government, Dr Smith said.
“The Government has not made
any decisions on how much it is
willing to spend on these alternative
“The decision will be made after
Solid Energy has assessed and costed
“The Government is prepared
to fund the reasonable cost of
unmanned entry options if they are
assessed as feasible and safe.”
A 200m section of the drift has not
yet been seen.
Pike River families to PM: ‘This is just dragging on’
PICTURE: Tim Winter
This drone photo gives a bird’s eye view of the Cobden Gorge and bridges. The scene is dominated by The Warehouse, once the site
of a busy railway shunting yard and the prehistoric site of the Mawhera Pa. The pa, or village, occupied the once-sloping ground be-
tween the Cobden Bridge and the Greymouth Railway Station. The urupa, or burial ground, was situated in the quarried area between
the two bridges. It was blasted away in 1880, whereupon the remaining Ngati Waewae people at Mawhera relocated to Arahura.
Cyclone Debbie remnant heads towards NZ
Almost three years to the day since Cyclone
Ita flattened swathes of forest on the West
Coast, and destroyed the Blaketown Hall,
numerous houses and the R and N Trading
premises, another cyclone is heading towards
the West Coast.
However, the Metser vice said today
Cyclone Debbie was a “different beast ”.
Forecaster Cameron Coutts said it was not
actually the cyclone itself headed for New
Zealand mid-week, although the low came
from the same air mass as Cyclone Debbie,
which has already caused chaos in north-
“It’s still going to be a pretty deep low,”
Mr Coutts said.
As this stage the weather watch is for
Buller, which can expect easterly gales from
tomorrow evening into Wednesday morning.
In his annual weekly on-line forecast,
Hokitika weather obser ver Mark Crompton
said it was hard to call, but there could be
strong or near gale force winds in exposed
parts of Grey and Buller.
View over old pa site
A Haast employment stoush has
inadvertently exposed claims that fishermen
have not been reporting seabird deaths.
The Employment Relations Authority has
ruled that Vincent Smith was unjustifiably
dismissed by Impulse Fishing, owned by the
Robson family of Neils Beach, at Jackson Bay.
The case was partly around whether
Mr Smith had abandoned his employment
in August 2014, or if Impulse dismissed
him, when he went on a six-week Nelson-
Marlborough Institute of Technology course
to upgrade his marine engineer certificate.
However, the case also brought to the fore
alleged cruelty to seabirds by crew members,
that occurred during Mr Smith’s South
Westland voyages as skipper.
The authority ruling says a friend of
Mr Smith’s obser ved one of the crew
deliberately hitting a bird with a gaffe.
“There is no evidence at all that Mr Smith
ever took part in any inappropriate handling
of the birds, either when skippering or when
crewing. Mr Smith vehemently denies ever
mishandling or abusing birds. He also denies
encouraging the crew to do so or laughing or
egging them on.
“However, he did say that he encouraged
the crew to use a plastic crate to put over a
bird and lift it and put it into the water from
The ruling said Andrew Robson “was
candid in his evidence that he estimated that
there would have been approximately 20
accidental, or incidental, deaths of seabirds
per year over the combined trips that he and
Mr Smith skippered”.
“He was also candid in admitting that
although he was aware that their deaths
had to be reported no seabird deaths were
reported at all during the time Mr Smith
worked for Impulse, no matter whether he or
Mr Smith was the skipper.
“Andrew ’s evidence at the investigation
meeting was that as far as he was aware it was
commonplace within the industry to fail to
report seabird deaths, and the deaths of other
non-quota species. ”
Most of the employment dispute hearing
was around Mr Smith’s employment
contract, pay, record keeping, public holidays
and whether he left the job, or was dismissed.
Haast seabird fishing deaths ‘unreported’
Canterbury dispatched to Barrytown crash
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