Home' Greymouth Star : May 3rd 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 5
Brownlee will be raising the
Government ’s concerns about
New Zealand’s relationship
with Australia when he meets
his counterpart Julie Bishop in
Sydney next week.
Sworn in yesterday, Mr
Brownlee has chosen Australia as
his first destination and will meet
Ms Bishop next Thursday.
Prime Minister Bill English
has set his agenda.
The catalyst has been a
proposed policy change by the
Australian Government that will
see New Zealand citizens paying
full university fees.
That will be up for discussion,
but the concerns run deeper.
“ We want a serious discussion
with them about where they ’re
headed with these policies, rather
than announcements that are
made either without telling us or
at short notice,” Mr English told
“In the past there has been
a common understanding of
how we were treating each
other’s citizens. Clearly that
understanding is changing in
Mr Brownlee said one of his
first jobs will be ensuring New
Zealand is not in future blindsided
by Australian decisions affecting
New Zealanders living there.
High on the agenda will be the
problem facing New Zealanders
universities, who now face the
prospect of paying full fees
following a $2.8 billion cut to
Australian education spending.
Mr Brownlee was given 24
hours notice about the proposed
changes, as he was on the way
to being sworn in as foreign
minister, he said today.
The university fee issue follows
last week’s uncertainty over
changes to Australia’s citizenship
Mr Brownlee said he would
raise the issue with Ms Bishop.
“ We’d also want to know if
there are more changes coming
down the pipe that changes the
old relationship that we have
where we treated Australians as if
they were our citizens and
Australians treated us as if we
were their citizens,” Mr Brownlee
“O ur relationship is deep and
close. It ’s a bit like a hillbilly
wedding, even if there was a
divorce we’d still be first cousins.
We just want to know what the
extent of it is so we can line up
our own response. ”
Mr Brownlee noted New
Zealanders would now have the
right to pick up a student loan in
However, that would come
with a 25% loan fee, which would
be calculated from the increased
Mr Brownlee says it was not a
“ What we have to understand
is how the relationship is
developing, and is this something
we can continue to expect,” he
“ We need to know what else
they are thinking about. ”
The university fee issue follows
last week’s uncertainty over
how changes to Australia’s
citizenship regime would affect
New Zealanders who are under a
special agreement that puts them
on a fast track to permanent
It took several days to sort that
out, and a conversation between
Mr English and Australian Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
But Mr Turnbull did not
mention the impending tertiary
Opposition parties want the
public to think the Government
“The Australian Government
has walked all over us again,
only a couple of weeks after it
appeared the deal between John
Key and Malcolm Turnbull
was being ignored by new
immigration regulations that
lumped New Zealanders in with
the rest of the world,” Labour’s
education spokesman Chris
New Zealand First leader
Winston Peters saw no real
change in the relationship.
“The cutting edge is that our
people are second class citizens
in Australia.” — NZN
Strain in trans-Tasman
With “a lifelong interest ” in France and
the French, former Dunedin woman Jane
Coombs seems an appropriate choice for
the post of New Zealand Ambassador to
Departing Foreign Minister Murray
McCully announced the appointment of
career diplomat Ms Coombs last week.
As ambassador, Ms Coombs is also
permanent representative to the OECD
and has accreditations to the Principality of
Monaco, Portugal and Senegal.
She will take over from current ambassador
James Kember at the end of August.
Ms Coombs credits her career to “an
excellent Dunedin education” and an
expansive horizon, to the influence of her
parents and teachers.
The daughter of the late University of
Otago emeritus professor of geology,
Douglas Coombs, and his wife Anne,
Ms Coombs accompanied her father
on sabbaticals to the United States and
Switzerland when she was young.
That meant the world did not seem far
away, “even to a girl growing up in Dunedin”,
she said yesterday.
Her father’s extensive travels also meant
the family’s Dunedin home had “a succession
of international visitors”.
In Dunedin this week Mrs Coombs said
she was “delighted” at her daughter’s latest
appointment, even though it took her so far
During her time as ambassador, she will be
accompanied by her husband, Tim Strong, a
jazz singer and actor, whom she met on her
first diplomatic posting, to New York in the
“I am very much looking for ward to
representing New Zealand in France at this
time when there is so much uncertainty
about the direction of Europe,” she said.
— Otago Daily Times
New Zealand’s next ambassador to
France, former Dunedin woman Jane
Dunedin helped shape ambassador
Refugees accepted by New
Zealand will soon be resettled in
The Southland city will join
six existing settlement locations
around the country at Auckland,
Waikato, Manawatu, Wellington,
Nelson and Dunedin.
Immigration New Zealand
manager Steve McGill says the
country’s increasing quota of
refugees and a recent push to
decrease the number settling in
Auckland, meant a new location
to help them settle was needed.
This led Government officials
to choose Invercargill ahead of
Christchurch, New Plymouth,
Rotorua and Tauranga because it
had a wide range of employment
opportunities, Mr McGill said.
“Invercargill also has a strong
set of ser vices and is a well-
connected city where a number
of Government agencies have a
presence,” he said.
“Suitable housing is available
and there is excellent support
from the community.”
The first set of refugees are
expected to settle in the city
later this year.
The settlement of refugees in
Christchurch was suspended —
except for a limited number of
family-linked cases — following
the September 2010 earthquake
due to the impact on ser vices
such as health and housing.
But Mr McGill said he
expected refugees to be resettled
in the city in the future.
prevented from settling in
Auckland unless they have
relatives already living in the
area. — NZN
Invercargill to accept refugees
Experienced helicopter pilot Rick
Lucas thought “this was it” when he was
forced to bring his chopper down into
The pilot had to crash-land the
helicopter into Pauatahanui Inlet after
its rotor was struck and damaged by a
cable it was carrying at about 11.30am
He was ferrying telephone poles over
the inlet when the cable snapped.
“I felt an intense vibration that got
worse and worse, and the machine started
to rotate,” he said after being pulled from
the water by rescue teams.
“I carried out my normal emergency
procedures and got away with it. I
thought this was it, but didn’t panic. I
relied on my basics and training.”
Mr Lucas said it was a significant and
“frightening ” impact and he became
trapped by his seatbelt.
He had been left “a little bit sore” —
with a cut to the mouth — but other wise
Rick Beachen saw the accident happen
from his Seaview Road home’s lounge
and, after calling police, jumped in his
He and another man, believed to be
an off-duty fireman, made it to the
helicopter in quick time.
“I didn’t think about anything too much,
just thought ‘I have to get out there’,” Mr
“I’ve fished around here for a number of
years, so it didn’t take me long to get out
to the chopper, even though it was pretty
windy and choppy.”
“He (Mr Lucas) was sitting on one of
the helicopter’s skids — he seemed okay,
a bit shaken up. I said to him ‘you’ve had
a bad day at the office.’
“He was calm and professional about it
all.” Despite the accident, his worst in 35
years of flying, Mr Lucas said he loved
flying helicopters and had “faith in them”.
Eye witnesses spotted Mr Lucas
standing on the aircraft — which landed
in shallow water — following the crash.
One witness at Motukaraka Point,
tourist Reuben Kunst, said the helicopter
had been towing a cable, which snapped,
flying up and hitting the chopper’s rotor
Police, ambulances, the Coastguard and
the Fire Ser vice were all called to the
scene and promptly rescued Mr Lucas
before he was assessed by paramedics.
Mr Lucas was the only person on board.
A drink-driving vicar was so drunk he
mounted a kerb and blew out one of his car’s
tyres while driving to church, a court has heard.
Reverend Timothy Hurd, 44, appeared in the
Dunedin District Court yesterday where he
pleaded guilty to driving with a breath-alcohol
reading of 892mg — more than three times the
The Anglican Church official who spent
several years at St Lukes in Oamaru, later said
he had stood aside from religious duties “for
the foreseeable future”.
Hurd said he had specifically come back
to Dunedin to focus on his alcoholism and
depression but suffered a “sudden and dramatic
His driving was so bad on the morning
of April 9 — a Sunday — that a concerned
member of the public followed him from
Elgin Road, near his home on the west side of
Dunedin, to the centre of town.
A police summary said Hurd crossed the
centreline on numerous occasions, drove at
erratic speed and continually mounted the kerb
during the 4km journey.
Eventually his wayward driving resulted in
his car’s front left tyre deflating and police
found him in Cumberland Street.
Hurd admitted to officers he had been
drinking the previous night but believed he was
fit to drive.
He told police he was heading to church.
The vicar confirmed he had been worshipping
at a north Dunedin church and was devastated
by the incident.
“O bviously I’m greatly ashamed on behalf of
the community and the church,” Hurd said.
He said he had apologised publicly to the
parish and the congregation had accepted it
The defendant said he was also lucky to
receive the backing of his superiors within the
church, who had provided letters of support to
the court on his behalf.
Hurd said the drinking session was a solo
affair and was reluctant to share more details.
“There are many reasons but no excuses,” he
Judge Kevin Phillips acknowledged the
positive references but said he had to treat the
vicar the same as anyone else who came before
“None of that is an excuse for the crime you
committed,” he said.
The judge highlighted the high level
of intoxication and the poor driving as
particularly serious aggravating factors.
“ You let your profession down,” he told
Judge Phillips banned him from driving for
nine months and fined him $950.
Hurd said he planned to spend the coming
weeks maintaining his sobriety and coming to
terms with his chronic depression.
— Otago Daily Times
Vicar’s Sunday drinking
relapse proves costly
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