Home' Greymouth Star : May 13th 2017 Contents The most read newspaper per capita in New Zealand
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WEST COAST FEATURE
The viewing platform at the
picture-perfect Knights Point,
north of Haast, is to be removed
for safety concerns. The platform
has been closed since 2014 because
of surface cracking as a result
of coastal erosion of the cliff
immediately below. The Department
of Conser vation said yesterday
ongoing land stability issues meant
the platform could be removed.
“ We will continue to monitor the
stability of the site.” The viewing
area is so popular it has its own
page on the travel website Trip
Adviser. “ We had a short 30-minute
stopover at this point and enjoyed
one of the most stunning sunsets
we’ve seen in New Zealand. The
view of the ocean and the rigid
rocks and islets is breathtaking and
combined with perfect weather —
it was a sunset to remember,” one
visitor wrote on Trip Adviser.
The Department of Conser vation
is investigating reports of a possible
bat population at Gladstone. DOC
staff tried one night but the weather
was not right, and will try again
Fine, cloud increasing later
Greymouth Star On-line
A bizarre new hobby-horsing
craze that sees teenagers riding
pretend animals like real horses and
competing in contests is sweeping
Finland. About 10,000 people,
nearly all of them between the
ages of 10 and 18, are estimated to
be involved in hobby-horsing in
the country. Like a real horse and
its rider, the hobby-horse and its
master form a team and become
attached to each other. The sport
also simulates traditional equestrian
events such as dressage and show
jumping. — Daily Mail
closed to public
The Fox River caves, inland from
the State highway, remain closed
after the Kaikoura earthquake. The
Department of Conser vation shut
the caves immediately after wards
due to a slip at the cave mouth. It
said yesterday it aimed to install
barriers and re-route the track,
allowing for access to the caves to
be restored in June or July.
School’s DIY pounamu pendants
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Paroa School kapa haka members Payton Guthrie and Aamaria Beal were busy making pounamu pendants under the watchful eye of tutor Marlene
Trounson, in the school art room yesterday. Pupils will get to carve, sand and bind up to 70 pieces of pounamu for the kapa haka group. “I was at a
kapa haka performance and noticed not many of the children were wearing pounamu,” Mrs Trounson said. “I have two grandsons at the school and in
the group, so I’ve worked with the school and brought the gear in to help. It ’s a good project and the children are really enjoying it.”
The West Coast DHB yesterday laid
out its plans to improve the mental
health system and says it has already
seen a decline in police callouts to
Addressing the DHB meeting in
Greymouth yesterday, head of mental
health Dr Cameron Lacey released local
suicide data he had collected.
National figures, released last winter,
showed the West Coast had the highest
suicide rate in New Zealand on a
Dr Lacey ’s provisional figures show
a spike in the third quarter of last year,
with five suicides, and none in the final
They also showed that most people
who killed themselves had not been
under specialist mental health ser vices.
In the past year, only one of the eight
suicide victims had been under the care
of specialist ser vices.
Dr Lacey said one or two suicides could
send the region to the top, or bottom, of
the national list.
Peter Neame, a retired mental health
nurse and author on mental health and
suicide, questioned Dr Lacey’s figures. In
his 40 years’ experience, 96% of people
who committed suicide had previous
contact with the system.
Mr Neame also pointed out he was
not aware of any additional DHB or
government funding for mental health.
Dr Lacey also talked about how a
reform of the mental health system was
Staff had told them that administration
was a burden, so a computer system using
electronic health records to ease this was
now being used, with “dramatic” results.
Dr Lacey did not mention why things
needed to improve, other than a 2014
review. The Greymouth Star reported
at that time that two of the 3.5 full-
time psychiatrists had left Grey Base
Hospital. There were also two suicides
within a short time of discharge from the
in-patient unit and a “range of incidents
Dr Lacey said the current review was
large and difficult. The initial focus was
on the crisis response team, which had
already been reflected in a 10% reduction
in police callouts.
Staff were now holding weekly clinical
risk meetings and reviewing every case
where someone presented at A and E
after attempting suicide, or self-harming.
They also audited what contact patients
had. In addition, the crisis team had been
told the emphasis was on face-to-face
Dr Lacey stressed throughout his
presentation that suicide was a “whole of
health and community issue”.
DHB chief executive David Meates
said the approach to mental health was
getting a “fundamental rethink”.
Board member Nigel Ogilvie, who
manages the Westland Medical Centre,
said the Hokitika GP practice referred
anyone at risk generally to the Primary
He asked for clarification on what
the suicide data actually showed — for
example someone under their GP would
not show up as being under the mental
Variation to the 2015 agreement
covering bonds for Solid Energy’s
West Coast mines took twists and
turns at the West Coast Regional
Council resource consent committee
meeting, on Tuesday.
after councillors questioned legal
advice to the council regarding the
appointment of an agent to manage
the fund, and the ability to opt out.
Cr Peter Ewen, concerned about
a previously reported $20 million
shortfall in the bonds, was worried
at how that might affect the council’s
future financial liability, particularly
at Stockton with its known acid mine
Council chief executive Mike
Meehan said the variation to the terms
of the bond agreement — to address
the cost of future rehabilitative work
covered “technical changes” to
enable the agent to invest the bond
funds in different ways.
“Legal advice was the changes
wouldn’t have any negative impact on
the council finances, going forward,”
Mr Meehan said.
Cr Ewen said through media
reports he understood there was a
$20m shortfall in the figure originally
quoted for the fund.
The residual liability was “a big
blank” in the written agreement
presented to councillors in the agenda.
It also looked as if residual liability
would end by 2022, when everyone
knew the acid mine issue at Stockton
would be ongoing as a generational
issue, he said.
Mr Meehan said the Government,
as owner of Solid Energy, had taken
responsibility for acid mine drainage
“into the future” under a separate
Cr Ewen said the wording was “just
Cr Terry Archer said he shared a lot
of those concerns.
An unequivocal statement was
needed “that we don’t have any
“I’d be expecting a lot more
comprehensive statement from our
lawyers,” Cr Archer said.
“I’m really quite nervous ... we’re
very reliant on our lawyer, that they ’ve
got it 100% right.”
Mr Meehan noted that previously
councillors had been able to directly
ask questions of the council lawyers
at the council table about similar
agreements. The variation needed was
more a technical matter and not one
directly impacting the sale of Solid
Energy assets, at this point.
Cr Allan Birchfield said it was only
about how the fund was managed,
and he was prepared to move the
However, Cr Archer countered, “it ’s
not that small”.
“ You can’t just say in five years time
they opt out,” he said.
The meeting was later reconvened
with the council lawyer in a
conference call to answer questions
The lawyer told Cr Ewen that
although the fund was said to be
“$20m short on the liability score,”
following an independent assessment,
there was no dollar figure they were
Cr Birchfield, in moving the
recommendation that the agreement
be signed, said there was nothing new.
“This is only housekeeping for an
agreement we signed back in 2015.
Really, we are continuing on with an
Cr Ewen was the sole dissenter and
voted against the motion.
Solid Energy mine bonds test regional council
Alternate highway stretches Reefton brigade
Reefton fire volunteers have seen a
surge in callouts this year — mainly
due to increased traffic in the wake of
the Kaikoura earthquake.
The Reefton Volunteer Fire Brigade
has been attending more vehicle
crashes than usual, often to assist the
Murchison brigade in the Maruia
Valley since the Lewis Pass became
the alternative route to State high-
way 1, or the Buller Gorge.
Fire chief Miles Cutbush said the
way the year was shaping up it would
put pressure on their small brigade.
By Tuesday, the brigade had
attended 28 callouts in the four
months from February 7. Ordinarily
it averaged a total of 55 calls a year,
about 80% of which were vehicle
With winter around the corner and
drivers unfamiliar with winter driving
conditions the brigade’s work would
only increase, particularly with the
higher traffic volumes on the Lewis
Pass route, Mr Cutbush said.
“I’m not looking for ward to the
winter months through there because
we are going to have high traffic flows
and a lot of them are unfamiliar.”
Mr Cutbush said plans were afoot
to put some Fire Service capable crew
on to the Nelson Rescue Helicopter
to undertake extractions of patients
from vehicle crashes in more remote
locations, such as the Maruia Valley.
They would also have their own ‘ jaws
of life’ extraction equipment to be
used where a ground fire crew was
“ It will be helpful. Touch wood, it
doesn’t eventuate too much.”
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