Home' Greymouth Star : June 19th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
2 - Monday, June 19, 2017
A car and a flat-deck truck carrying
hay collided near the Kumara
Racecourse about 4pm on Friday.
Police said no one was injured in the
Unmanned Pike mine
re-entry may happen
The unmanned re-entry of the drift
leading into the Pike River Mine
may not happen until November,
families spokesman Bernie Monk
said today. Mr Monk said he wanted
several issues addressed, including
what would happen if the robot did
not work, and also if the way into the
drift was clear, and items of interest
were found, what would happen.
Arrivals: Resolution II, Corsair,
Claymore. Departures: Galatea II,
In port: Cook Canyon, Resolution
II, Corsair, Claymore, Gulf Raider,
Har vester, Sovereign, 17 Greymouth
vessels. Expected departures: Corsair,
Resolution II, today. Expected
arrivals: Galatea II, today.
New Zealand Herald
A catastrophic Alpine Fault earthquake
could leave the West Coast cut off from
the main grid for many weeks — and
now researchers have begun exploring
how the region could sur vive by itself.
The major fault, straddling the spine
of the South Island, poses one of New
Zealand’s biggest natural disaster threats.
It is estimated to generate quakes of
magnitude 7.5 or larger every three
centuries and recent research gave a 29%
chance of a big “surface rupturing’’ event
striking within the next 50 years.
Alongside work looking at what
might happen in a magnitude 8-plus
earthquake, known as Project AF8,
an Auckland University researcher
Associate Professor Nirmal Nair is
investigating how tens of thousands of
homes could cope with being cut off
from the main grid for as long as two
In a new $234,000 two-year study, Nair
is working alongside Westpower, which
has a distribution network supplying
more than 13,000 customers, to map
out a potential “micro-grid’’ that could
operate independently if forced to.
“There’s a sense that electricity and
energy infrastructure is highly reliable
and that ’s true — but no one has
really studied the resilience aspect of
it, and there’s no metrics around this,
especially in very large disasters.’’
In the case of an Alpine Fault quake, the
loss of connectivity from the Transpower
lines coming from the east could largely
cut power to the West Coast, with the
exception of alternate lines coming in
from the north.
“So the scenario we have co-created,
just for a case study, is that it would be
six to eight weeks before electricity could
be connected back to the main grid.
“And if this highly improbable event
does happen, how do you operate in
Nair estimated electricity demand,
from Nelson south to Franz Josef, could
be around 50MW at peak load.
Cut off, the primary source would likely
be local hydropower, along with some
diesel plants and distributed generation.
“It would involve using resources
already there or specifically committed
for this eventuality and trying to do some
smart grid based load management.
“ We also estimate that there would be
some automation facilities that we could
integrate into the system, which could
be a cheap solution.
“But it also depends on what time a
quake occurs, because, if the major source
is hydro, there has to be enough of it in
that instance — it also depends on how
extreme the quake is, and whether the
region is really liveable after that.’’
Nair hopes to come away from the
study, funded through the Resilience
national science challenge, with a
blueprint that could be used in other
areas here and overseas following a big
Monday June 19
Urgent cases only
Phone 769 7493 first
5pm - 8pm
BECKER, Jeanette. —
Passed away two years
ago, June 19, 2015.
Words are few, my
thoughts are deep.
Memories of you are
mine to keep.
Miss you so much.
in our hearts
A gentle giant!
Simon, Nathan and Joel
Norris xxxxx x.
away at home in Black-
ball, peacefully in his
brother of Sharon and
Rodger Norris. Loved
uncle of Tania and
Scott; Michelle and Che;
Lisa and Ian; and
Clinton and Lorelei.
Loved great-uncle of
Bayley, Paige, Simon,
Nathan, Joel, Alyssa,
Lincoln and Isabella.
Now with his best mate,
his Dad Hooky and
Ph 768 0250
Why have your loved
ones taken away
from the Coast for
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in Greymouth offering
services on site
Ensuring you get Expertise
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Two dairy farmers are now heading the
Tai Poutini Polytechnic council.
Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith
on Friday announced 11 appointments to
the governing councils of eight tertiary
Tai Poutini Polytechnic gets a new deputy
chairwoman in Raelyn Lourie, who has
served as a ministerial appointee of the
polytechnic council since 2016.
Ms Lourie is deputy chairwoman of
Westland Milk Products, chairwoman of
Westland Milk subsidiary Easi Yo, and a
director of two dairy farming businesses.
She has a background in rural and urban
lending, having previously held a number of
senior management positions with Housing
New Zealand and the Rural Bank before
coming to the West Coast.
The polytechnic is chaired by Andrew
Robb, a dairy farmer from Greymouth
and West Coast Regional Council
Lacey Haronga chats with Tai Poutini Polytechnic marketing officer Emily Pointon at the open day held at the Greymouth campus,
on Saturday. Tutors and instructors were on hand to discuss training options on the variety of courses available at the polytechnic.
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Training options highlighted at Tai Poutini Polytechnic open day
of the Westport News
State highway 6 at Meybille Bay on the
Coast Road will remain at one lane until
the New Zealand Transport Agency finds
a tailormade solution for the damage
wrought by last year’s huge slips.
On September 11, two slips brought an
estimated 3000 cubic metres of debris on
to the road, closing the highway for two
days. State highway 6 has been down to
one lane at that point ever since.
NZTA regional performance manager
Pete Connors said on Friday, geotechnical
advisers were still working through
what options were best for a permanent
“It will need to be specific to this
location and the conditions/features at this
rock face,” Mr Connors said.
It was unlikely NZTA would be able to
open the road to two lanes at Meybille
Bay until a permanent solution had been
Another round of rock scaling/removal
was scheduled for July, he said.
PICTURE: Westport News
Solution still sought for Meybille Bay slips
Video footage from Pike River
showing a lack of apparent fire
or blast damage is not new or
compelling evidence for re-
entering the mine’s drift, Prime
Minister Bill English says.
The footage, released to the
families of the 29 men who died
in the mining disaster, was aired
on Newshub last night.
camera lowered down borehole
44, which was drilled after the
explosions. The footage shows
rubber hoses and wooden pallets
that appear unburned, deep in
the mine next to the coalface.
The families say that
contradicts the story they were
told, that everything in the mine
had been burned up.
But Dr Nick Smith, acting
Conservation Minister for Pike
River issues, said the expert
reports never claimed the entire
mine was an inferno.
“There is nothing in the film
released that changes anything
in the technical reports. None
of them claimed that every
corner of the mine was burnt to
a cinder,’’ he said.
“It would only be possible for
there to be fire where there was
both the presence of methane,
oxygen and a source of ignition.’’
“That ’s just not true, my boy
is down there and if pallets and
paper are intact then so is his
body,’’ said Mrs Rockhouse.
Experts spoken to agreed there
had been no fire in the area
around borehole 44. But Smith
said that did not make it safe
to enter, and the question had
always been about entering the
drift — not the inner workings
of the mine.
“Even the families’ experts
who dispute the assessment as
to whether it is safe to re-enter
the drift of the mine conclude
that it is not safe to put men
into the mine workings,’’ he said.
The footage appears to show
glasses that may have belonged
to Ben Rockhouse, one of the 29
men killed in the explosive 2010
underground coalmine disaster.
“New Zealand has been told
there’s nothing but ashes and
dust down there, they ’ve been
told that the drift can’t be made
safe to enter and investigate,” his
mother Sonya Rockhouse said
in a statement.
“That ’s just not true, my boy
is down there and if pallets and
paper are intact then so is his
body,” she said.
“Prime Minister Bill English
needs to stop trying to hide
from this ... He needs to let our
experts work with mines rescue
to enter the drift and find out
what happened down there.”
But Mr English today told
Three’s AM Show there was
“nothing actually new about
the footage”, which had “been
around for years”.
“I’m advised it’s all been
assessed before as part of the
decision making around the
mine,” he said.
Labour leader Andrew Little
says it provides a compelling
reason for re-entry.
“This is creating even further
doubt as to why the Government
stubbornly refuses to consider a
manned re-entry of the drift.
Mr Little said he had
committed to safe re-entry
of Pike and would “clear
the technicalities that the
Government hides behind”.
Mr English has previously
ruled out re-entry, relying on
expert advice that it is too
risky to go into the potentially
explosive methane-filled drift.
“ We want to continue working
with the families and experts to
make an unmanned entry that is
planned to go on very shortly,”
he said. — NZN
Nothing new in Pike River Mine
video footage, says English
Dairy farmers head Tai Poutini Polytechnic
University of Otago anatomy department
head Professor Neil Gemmell is ‘’excited ’’ that
a novel approach using “Trojan females’’ could
one day result in pests such as mice and wasps
Prof Gemmell and co-authors report on their
success in making their theory about Trojan
fruit flies a reality in the laboratory in a paper
outlining a ‘world-first proof of concept’’ and
published by eLife.
There was also a “great deal of interest ’’ in
this approach to help control rats, possums and
stoats as part of the Government ’s Predator
Free 2050 goal.’’
Prof Gemmell, who heads the Otago
anatomy department, says the “ Trojan female
technique’’ (TFT) — in which females pass
on genes that make male offspring infertile
offered pest-control advantages that were
likely to help reach the 2050 goal.
Prof Gemmell had earlier published a paper,
in 2004, showing that this population-control
approach was theoretically possible.
The new technique uses naturally occurring
mutations in mitochondrial DNA that affect
male, but not female, fertility and fitness.
Mitochondria are the ‘’power generators’’ of
“The essence of our idea is to use these
mutations to produce
continuous, self-sustaining biological control,’’
Otago researchers had earlier discovered that,
as a byproduct of the maternal inheritance of
mitochondrial DNA, mutations that affected
only males could occur quite commonly,
potentially contributing to fertility issues.
Earlier computer modelling showed this
approach looked “very promising’’ as a
potential form of pest control but this recent
“ world first ’’ development showed it was now
moving closer to reality.
The continuing study reflects a close
collaboration with scientists at Landcare
Research, Ag Research and Monash University.
Prof Gemmell says broadening the technique
to introduce Trojan females into wasp and
pasture weevil populations was already under
way, with funding from the Biological Heritage
National Science Challenge and the Ministry
of Business, Innovation and Employment.
This new approach could become an
“ important part of a growing arsenal’’ of tools
to control pests, he said.
Pests are estimated to cost New Zealand
about $3.3 billion a year through lost
productivity and heavily damage native fauna
and flora. — Otago Daily Times
Trojan fruitfly research could
help eliminate pests
A decision on the controversial
seabed mining application by Trans
Tasman Resources has been extended
several weeks by the Environmental
Protection Authority (EPA).
committee advised last week it
would be extending the deadline for
delivering its decision to the EPA
from June until July 27.
The decision would be publicly
released “as soon as practicable after
In late April, anti-seabed mining
groups Kiwis Against Seabed Mining
(Kasm) and Greenpeace threatened
the EPA they may yet seek a judicial
review or court action over its
handling of Trans Tasman Resources’
Trans-Tasman’s first seabed mining
application was turned down in early
2014, but last August it reapplied to
the EPA, seeking to mine five million
tonnes of iron-rich sands offshore in
the Taranaki Bight for export.
General manager of the EPA’s EEZ
applications team general manager
Siobhan Quayle said time extension
was made to allow preparation of
a “fully reasoned decision’’ for all
At issue for the environmentalists
was the EPA having last September
formally accepted Trans Tasman’s
application as ‘’complete’’, but since
then it had requested a wide range of
new information for the application,
which the groups claimed would
leave it disadvantaged.
The groups have said they rallied
a record 17,000 submissions to the
EPA against the application.
Last November, Kasm
Greenpeace were successful in the
Environment Court in overturning a
decision by the EPA that would have
allowed Trans Tasman to redact 190
pages of its application.
— Otago Daily Times
Seabed mining decision extended several weeks by EPA
A young woman from the
Westport area who crashed her
car on the road to Tauranga Bay
on Saturday evening was not
found for about 30 minutes.
police, said the woman’s car hit a
tree after leaving the road, about
20km south-west of Westport.
“She was actually discovered by
her brother 30 minutes after the
crash,” Ms Bretherton said.
The woman was taken to
Buller Hospital suffering a neck
injury and was later transferred
to Christchurch Hospital by air
rescue ser vices early yesterday.
Meanwhile, a 70-year-old
Christchurch woman suffering
dementia and visiting Westport
at the weekend sparked a police
search and rescue on Saturday
The woman went “walk about ”
but was located by a member of
the public safe and well within
a couple of hours of her being
Police staff said the woman
ordinarily wore a tracking
that had been left behind in
Two bicycles were stolen from
a Ward Street, Cobden, property
on Saturday night. Police staff
said details of the bikes had yet
to come to hand but residents
in the area who heard or saw
anything suspicious were urged
to pass on information.
The tyres were slashed on
three vehicles while parked in
Franz Josef Glacier overnight
on Saturday. Constable Brent
Whittington, officer in charge at
Franz Josef, said at least one of
the vehicles were local but details
of the vehicles and inquiries
made by weekend police staff
were being collated at this stage.
The vehicles with their tyres
slashed were parked in Murray
South Westland police are
urging motorists to be wary of
black ice and ice grit on the road,
with a cold snap due this week.
Constable Brent Whittington,
officer in charge at Franz Josef
Glacier, said police had dealt
with a couple of crashes in the
past week with links to winter
stretches of the shady parts of
State highway 6 south from the
Waitaha Valley to Haast were
now subject to winter permafrost
and ice grit driving conditions.
With a cold snap forecast,
motorists were advised to check
the conditions before setting out
and to slow down and be extra
cautious while driving.
The West Coast NZCC Rescue
Helicopter was called out three
times yesterday, all to transfer
medical patients. The first call
was at 1am to Westport to
transfer a patient to Grey Base
Hospital. At 8am the helicopter
took off for Christchurch from
Greymouth to transfer a medical
patient and then later yesterday
afternoon it was called to Hari
Hari to transport a patient to
St John in Greymouth reported
a busy weekend — mainly due
to rugby dates and the street
sprint car racing in the town
on Saturday. Acting territory
manager Emma Kay said they
fielded seven calls on Saturday
and six yesterday. St John
handled one patient on Saturday
night and was also involved in
the transfer of a spinal patient
from Westport following a
vehicle crash. The rugby games
and street racing event added
to what would other wise be a
normal weekend workload, she
The Westport Volunteer Fire
Brigade was called to a Colvin
Street house late yesterday
afternoon when the occupant
discovered a fire on top of the
washing machine. The fire was
out on arrival and it appeared to
have been caused by something
left sitting on top of the machine.
Police, emergency services kept busy over weekend
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