Home' Greymouth Star : May 10th 2017 Contents The most read newspaper per capita in New Zealand
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West Coast tennis P9
improve in rarity
The rare Okarito rowi kiwi
is no longer quite as rare as it
was, moving down the list of
threatened species. The Department
of Conser vation has enjoyed
considerable success over the past
decade in boosting numbers in and
around the Okarito forest through
a programme of egg recovery and
raising chicks on predator-free
islands. Conser vation Minister
Maggie Barry, in launching DOC’s
draft threatened species strategy
today, also released a revised bird
threat classification. “ Four of our
most threatened bird species:
takahe, rowi/Okarito brown
kiwi, Campbell Island snipe and
Campbell Island teal have moved
down from the highest threat class,
nationally critical, to nationally
vulnerable. It ’s the first time a kiwi
species has been moved out of the
highest threat class,” Ms Barry
said. From 200 birds in 2006, the
number of rowi in the wild is now
Rain, easing to showers
Greymouth Star On-line
A Florida man charged with
murder in the asphyxiation death
of his 60-year-old girlfriend is
mounting an unusual defence that
hinges entirely on his purportedly
outsized male anatomy, which he
now wants entered into evidence.
Richard Henry Patterson, 65, of
Margate, was arrested in November
2015 on a charge of second-degree
murder for allegedly choking
to death 60-year-old Francisca
Marguinez — a claim he never
denied. However, while law
enforcement officials have alleged
that Patterson strangled Marguinez
to death, the man has maintained
that his girlfriend accidentally
choked on his large penis while
performing oral sex. Last week,
Patterson’s defence attorney Ken
Padowitz, filed a motion asking a
judge to allow his client to present
his manhood to the jury, arguing
that it is ‘essential’ for the members
of the panel to examine the body
part in order to fully understand
testimony from an expert witness.
He also requested that Patterson be
allowed to strip down in front of a
handpicked group of people, among
them the judge, lawyers, a bailiff and
the jurors. — Daily Mail
A Grey Valley councillor says an
ambulance base for the Grey Valley
is vital with the Paparoa Track ‘great
walk’ in the wings, and he has offered
to lead fundraising for a new one.
The offer from Cr Anton Becker
follows controversy over plans by the
St John Greymouth area committee
to sell the existing ambulance station
St John has assured the sale of the
station will not affect ser vices, but local
volunteers say the Blackball ambulance
will no longer have a roof over its head
and may have to be parked and charged
at private properties.
Cr Becker told the Greymouth Star
an ambulance at Blackball was not
just for the town itself. Developing
recreational opportunities in the area
through the Paparoa Track and the
large rural hinterland meant it was vital
for the whole area.
It was particularly a safety net for
industrial work sites around Stillwater
and the Roa coalmine, and the wider
area from Kotuku to Ikamatua,
especially in the event of a natural
“It’s for the whole valley, not just
Blackball,” Cr Becker said. “ We need
to keep the presence. We’ve got that
great walk (going) in there. Roa Mine
is still going ... earthquake or flooding,
it just gives us that other option.”
The current station, paid for originally
by Blackball fundraising efforts, no
longer meets the seismic code or
St John needs.
Cr Becker said he had ideas about
how to replace the current ambulance
base and “we’ ll get behind this and get
some fundraising under way.”
However, the area also deser ved to
have “transparency ” from St John, he
“They need to get it sorted and have a
meeting ... and clear things up.”
A meeting brokered between the
Blackball Residents Association Trust
and the Greymouth area committee,
set down for April 9, failed. Residents
trust chairwoman Amanda Paton said
the St John area chairwoman Therese
Gibbens pulled the pin at the last
At the time attempts to get another
representative to front failed and the
meeting was canned.
A fresh meeting date has been set for
this Saturday to clear things up.
Details were being finalised so
St John could front about its intentions
in a “less tense” forum.
The possibility of fundraising for
a shared facility for the ambulance
with the NZ Fire Ser vice was being
canvassed by Cr Becker looked
“That is something we would like to
do and I know a list of people in the
area are keen to do fundraising.”
The residents association hoped
all involved in that would be at the
meeting with St John where the
dispersal of funds from the sale of the
current station — originally donated
by the community — was likely to be
canvassed, Ms Paton said.
Mrs Gibbens last told the Greymouth
Star that St John did not engage the
wider Blackball and area community
“ because the service is not being
reduced. It ’s the same ser vice”.
“There’s going to be no change to the
ser vice in Blackball. There will still be a
first response vehicle. It just won’t be
housed in the building.”
Blackball ambulance base ‘essential’ with new track
Brendon McMahon and Viv Logie
Tyres were stabbed overnight on at least
30 vehicles through the Greymouth central
business district, and the turf ripped up at two
West Coast Rugby League officials were on the
warpath after the damage caused to Hargreaves
Park, at Karoro, and Jellyman Park, at Cobden.
Outside the Greymouth Railway Station a
single tyre was stabbed on seven rental vehicles
belonging to Avis, Europe Car and Thrifty.
Across town between six and 12 vehicles each
at Grey Ford, Coast Toyota and the Greymouth
Car Centre had a single tyre stabbed.
Senior sergeant Paul Watson said several other
private vehicles parked across town were also
targeted — including some in the Greymouth
Police Station yard.
“ We had a couple of vehicles targeted;
nowhere near what ’s gone on around the place,”
Mr Watson said.
“Certainly members of the public and
businesses have been absolutely hammered.”
The vandalism was “abhorrent ”, he said.
“At the moment we’ve got staff out talking to
the victims, dealing with these complaints.
“ We have a reasonable idea who is responsible
. . . we just need to gather that evidence to firm
Mr Watson urged individuals and businesses
to check today and report any other vandalism
straight away. Police were particularly interested
in security camera footage shot by businesses
or residents in the central Greymouth area —
particularly where cameras ranged over public
footpaths and car parking areas.
Mr Watson said police believed a link was
possible to reported vandalism earlier this week
of the Strongman Mine Memorial and other
incidents, including hoons driving over the
rugby league fields.
Meanwhile, a 26-year-old Greymouth man
stopped shortly after 1am this morning blew a
Mr Watson said inquiries into the vehicle
involved were ongoing, with a possible link to
some of the vandalism.
Suburbs Rugby League Club president Brad
Tacon was angry at discovering this morning
that Hargreaves Park, the club’s playing field,
had been driven over for the second time in two
“There are some idiots out there with nothing
better to do,” Mr Tacon said.
The second incident last night was worse than
the vandalism on Monday night.
The offender had to drive through a drain and
over rocks to get on to the paddock.
“ We have just spent $90,000 on developing the
playing field and this is what happens.”
The field was repairable, “ but the kids are going
West Coast Rugby League development
officer Paddy Byrne arrived at Jellyman Park this
morning to set up for a primary schools’ league
tournament, only to find both fields had been
“The people responsible are ruining things
for everyone else and this kind of behaviour is
totally unnecessary,” Mr Byrne said.
Cobden-Kohinoor Rugby League Club
schoolboy league president Tony Gurden said
the committee had met only last night at the
clubrooms to discuss fencing the whole area
off to avoid exactly what had then happened
“ We were at the grounds until around 9 o’clock
last night, so whoever vandalised the fields came
after we were well and truly gone,” Mr Gurden
“There are some idiots out there, and those who
did it won’t be the ones who are using the fields. ”
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Constable Zac Monro, of Greymouth police, photographs some of the vehicles that had their tyres stabbed overnight.
There are now more jobs
in Westland than in Buller,
according to data extracted from
the country’s tax figures.
Infometrics senior economist
Benje Patterson, who was in
Greymouth yesterday to address
a Development West Coast
business breakfast, said he had
used publicly available taxation
records to analyse the region.
After the mass layoffs of four
or five years ago, the Coast
faced almost 600 more job
losses in 2016. Of those, 255
were in mining and many of
the others were a flow-on result,
in professional, science and
technical ser vices.
Figures also show that 84 Coast
dairy farm jobs went last year as
the payout went south and more
farmers did work for themselves.
A further 43 went in education,
possibly due to the declining
population last year.
However, Mr Patterson stressed
the situation was not all negative.
“Buller and Grey had very sharp
job losses, but Westland actually
grew. Westland has more jobs in
it than Buller. It has overtaken
Westland created 350 jobs since
2013, 250 of them in tourism.
processing also grew last year,
due to global demand, and also
the drop in the New Zealand
dollar against the United States,
and that had “lifted margins
Big commercial projects had
also helped the Coast, such as
the new Greymouth Hospital
and Taramakau Bridge.
Mr Patterson said he did not
believe coalmining would ever
return to what it was.
“This is not just the usual boom
and bust cycle,” he said, noting
how much power other countries
were producing energy from
“The Coast is going through a
Some of the blow from that
had been offset, and businesses
needed to react and diversify, and
take the opportunities available,
“It doesn’t happen overnight
but there are positive signs.”
other economic data, is on
Development West Coast ’s
Westland overtakes Buller in jobs
A Greymouth man who stole
$20 from an SPCA charity box
at Noah’s Ark Backpackers was
told he had insulted both the
charity and the community.
James Castlehouse, 22 admitted
the theft along with a charge of
driving while disqualified when
he appeared in the Greymouth
District Court yesterday.
Castlehouse put the charity box
under his jacket and walked out
of the backpackers on March 22.
On the driving charge, he told
police when stopped that he
needed to get some milk.
Lawyer George Linder said
Castlehouse had two jobs and
when a lift to one of them did
not arrive he risked it and drove.
As for the theft, he was “very,
very apologetic ”.
“He visited a friend at the
backpackers and had brain fade.
He saw the charity box and took
Judge Robert Murfitt said
“brain fade” was a good way of
describing the crime.
“Theft of donation boxes is
always an offence which gets a
lot of public recrimination — it
was an insult to the community
and the charity.”
The judge ordered Castlehouse
to pay reparation to the SPCA
of $200, “which is 10 times the
amount you stole”.
He was convicted on both
charges and sentenced to 50
hours of community work and
disqualified from driving for six
months from October 7, when
his current disqualification ends.
Man pays dearly for $20 charity box theft
Spor ts fields wrecked in night of vandalism
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