Home' Greymouth Star : July 26th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, July 26, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1908 - The Federal Bureau of Investigation —
the FBI — is established in the United States.
1941 - President Franklin Roosevelt appoints
General Douglas MacArthur commander of US
Forces in the Far East.
1942 - Two Japanese flying boats
drop bombs near the wharves at
Townsville, the first of three attacks
on the north Queensland town.
1945 - Britain, United States and
China demand Japan’s unconditional
surrender as terms for peace in
World War Two; Winston Churchill
resigns as Britain’s prime minister after his
Conservatives are defeated by Labour.
1952 - Eva Peron, popular leader and wife of
Argentine President Juan Peron, dies aged 33.
1956 - Egypt ’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser
nationalises Suez Canal.
2004 - A fast-spreading computer worm My
Doom disrupts the world’s most popular online
search sites, scanning the vast databases of
Google Inc and others.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer
(1856-1950); Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist
(1875-1961); Aldous Huxley, British author
(1894-1963); Salvador Allende Gossens, first
Marxist president of Chile (1908-
1973); Stanley Kubrick, US film
director (1928-1999); John Howard,
25th Australian prime minister
(1939-); Mick Jagger, British rock
singer (1943-); Helen Mirren,
English actress (1945-); Susan
George, British actress (1950-);
Kevin Spacey, US actor (1959-); Sandra Bullock,
US actress (1964-); Kate Beckinsale, British
actress (1973-) .
“Death is better, a milder fate than tyranny.” —
Aeschylus, Greek playwright (525 BC-456 BC).
“ For in the gospel the righteousness of God is
revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from
first to last, just as it is written: “ The righteous
will live by faith.” — (Romans 1:17).
Reefton is in danger
of losing one of its
very few sources of
the Criterion Theatre. However, the Inangahua
County Council has decided to make every
effort to have the community ser vice retained.
The fact that the theatre was up for sale and
possibly would be shut down was revealed at
yesterday’s monthly meeting of the council.
The county clerk Mr T E Moore said that the
Rev M Smart was concerned with the closing
of the theatre and had approached him on
the subject. If this happened there would be
very little entertainment for young people and
the Rev Smart had suggested that an effort
be made to see if a community drive could
improve attendances and thus keep the theatre
It was decided to write to Kerridge-Odeon,
asking if there was any chance of it carrying on
on a restricted basis.
A 17-year-old Dobson youth received
concussion last night when the motor scooter
he was riding struck the end of the Kaiata
bridge. He is Ian Bruce Kerr of Main Road,
Mr Kerr was returning from football practice
in Greymouth at about 7pm when his machine
struck the Greymouth end of the bridge. He
was admitted to the Greymouth Hospital
where his condition this morning was reported
as satisfactory. The scooter was badly damaged.
A new assistant engineer for the Westland
Catchment Board, Mr J P Kerr BE (civil), BSc,
has been appointed and will take up his new
position in three months time.
Married with two children, Mr Kerr
specialised in geology for his science degree.
uFood for thought
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obert Harrison was enjoying
a drink with a compatriot
in a Munich beer hall a
few weeks before Britain’s
referendum on leaving the
European Union when he
realised he and other Britons who stood
to lose a lot of rights would have to get
The Munich-based patent attorney had
been in Germany for decades, living far
from his country of birth with his mixed
family and enjoying EU residence and
employment rights that he, like many
others, had believed irrevocable.
He joined local clubs, volunteered with
refugees and even served as an election
teller. “I was living the life of a German,
never thought about being British,” he said.
“And then you suddenly have to organise
with other Britons to campaign.”
Britain’s vote last year to leave pitched the
million or so Britons living in the European
Union into deep uncertainty.
Writing letters, using social media and
lobbying politicians, expatriates have
formed groups set on preser ving their
“It makes you think about the rights that
you have taken for granted, pulled from
under you,” said Jane Golding, a Berlin-
based lawyer who chairs British in Europe,
a coalition that groups together the UK
citizens’ groups that have sprung up.
There was a big British community in
Germany “long before the hipsters showed
up in Berlin,” Alexander Clarkson of King’s
College L ondon said. “Suddenly, because
of Brexit, British people feel their social
position is under threat.”
Britain and the EU last week held their
first full round of talks on the exit process,
but EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier
said a “fundamental divergence” remained
with Britain on how to protect expats’
rights after Brexit.
Harrison recruited Britons to his cause
through Facebook groups, campaigning
first for a vote to stay in the EU, and, when
that failed, for rights of British citizens.
This year, Mark Whiley, a software
marketing specialist, used sponsored twitter
adverts to attract 450 recruits to British in
Berlin, whose members write to German
politicians to raise awareness of their
Many of the groups have coalesced into
British in Europe, which has member
organisations across the continent. With
European law specialists, marketing experts
and business owners among their numbers,
they are not short of skills.
The sheer range of individual
circumstances defies easy collective
solutions to the problems faced by Britons
in the EU and the three million EU
citizens living in Britain.
The uncertainty is forcing many to take
major steps. Last year 2865 Britons took
German citizenship, a Brexit-driven 361%
leap over the previous year. Yet even that
does not fix all problems.
“ Taking citizenship is one option, but a
bigger issue for me is mutual recognition
for qualifications and the rights of
professionals to practise their profession,”
said Golding, a specialist in EU law.
Since such recognition is not automatic
for qualifications from outside the
EU, “citizenship is not a panacea for
everything,” she said.
For 150,000 retired Britons in Spain,
one fear is that their pensions may suffer
after Brexit, another that healthcare may
no longer be available. Others fear that
pension rights accrued in multiple countries
will be lost.
Some two million British soldiers passed
through Germany during seven decades
during which Britain maintained large
garrisons there after World War Two, and
about 100,000 of them married Germans
and stayed. Their status can be complex.
“I met a soldier who’d been there since
1955,” said John Henderson, the retired
general who shut down most of the bases in
2015. Born to a soldier on the base, he had
signed up aged 18 and remained.
For such people, questions of attachment
and emotional belonging are more complex
than those faced by other expats.
With many feeling that citizens’ rights
have not so far been high on the British
government ’s negotiating agenda, much of
the focus has been on getting the attention
of EU politicians such as Barnier or
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Harrison, part-owner of a business that
employs 25, jokingly asked Merkel at
a recent Bavarian industry conference
whether he could expect “dawn deportation”
when Britain leaves. No, Merkel responded,
advising him to consider taking German
Spain is home to the largest number of
British citizens in the EU, with 296,000
registered there — though the unofficial
tally may be higher — meaning it is
another hotbed of campaigning activity.
A big issue is the rights of families which
include EU citizens, said one campaigner.
“For instance, can I bring my Polish mother
over to the UK to look after her if she gets
In Brussels, there is a particularly active
British community. Brits Abroad Yes to
Europe surveyed 6000 affected people
across Europe in January, using the results
to lobby British and EU lawmakers.
Golding reckons British in Europe
numbers about 30,000 people, and,
collaborating with The Three Million,
a similar grassroots group representing
EU citizens in Britain, has succeeded in
winning the attention of British authorities.
She and her colleagues have five times
been invited to consultations with the
British government as well as to see the
European Commission’s negotiators.
“The coalition is growing fast as new
groups in new countries join,” said Golding,
who lived in three European countries
before moving to Berlin with her German
partner. “It’s unprecedented for UK citizens’
groups to come together and work in a
coalition like this.” — Reuters
Expats fight for rights
PICTURE: Getty Images
British expats in Berlin hold up signs to protest for the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union. A slim majority of British citizens voted for the United Kingdom
to leave the EU on June 23 last year. Thousands of British citizens work or study in countries across the European Union and they all face complications should a Brexit go into
List MP and
The letter ‘MP defended ’ (Greymouth
Star, July 21), needs some clarification.
Maureen Pugh’s predicament has nothing
to do with the West Coast group of
Early last decade, Westland District
mayor John Drylie left office with around
$6 million of the proceeds of the West
Coast forestry package intact and on
deposit with the ASB Bank. Plus other
funds in the kitty as well.
His successor was Maureen Pugh, and at
the end of her reign as Westland district
mayor (nine years), the Westland District
Council had spent that forestry money,
with almost nothing to show for it.
In fact, when she left office the council
debt was around $24m, add the forestry
money and the emptying of various
funds, such as the $250,000-plus that was
supposedly in the Three Mile reser ve fund,
as one example, would equate to well over
$30m and counting, as overspent — and
still nothing to show for it.
It is quite confusing, to say the least,
but $8m was spent setting up the council
controlled companies, namely the property
company, airport company and Westroads,
which the council already owned but still
had to fund the creation/transfers, for very
little or no return/dividends into the future.
There is still $8.3m ‘unaccounted for’ on
the Westland District Council books and
Maureen Pugh’s successor, Mike Havill has
stated this ‘missing’ amount on numerous
occasions when questioned many times by
the Westland Ratepayers Association.
May I also note that Maureen Pugh was
not nominated for the Parliament. She was
nominated and selected by a party which
stands candidates in the election, and if
the party is elected to govern then she may
enter the Parliament by either having a
high enough position on the party list, or by
winning the electorate seat with a majority.
In Maureen Pugh’s case, it would be the
June Briggs’ letter is not helping her
daughter or the National Party chances in
National Party list MP and former
Westland district mayor Maureen Pugh
responds: “Thank you for the opportunity to
respond to your regular letter contributors. It
feels like deja vu as I have done my best in
the past to reassure, at least one author, of the
actual situation of Westland District Council
in 2013, when I retired.
The 2013 audited accounts are for the group
so include council companies. They are publicly
available documents. The comparison of the
three Coast councils for that year confirmed
Westland was per forming well, and in my
opinion it is doing very well today.
In 2013 it had, when measured against
Buller and Grey districts: Lowest average rates
per head of population; lowest average rate
assessments; lowest total debt; lowest debt per
head of population; highest asset value; lowest
debt as a per cent of asset value; lowest number
of full time employees. These statistics are good
news for ratepayers.
We had also completed significant essential
investment in Westland inf rastructure:
$3,500,000 for the district ’s 30-year waste
$2,718,00 on water upgrades.
$1,023,00 on the Franz Josef new water
mains and pump station.
$550,000 capping the Hau Hau Road
$739,018 replacing sections of the Lake
Kaniere water line.
I could list at least another 20 capital items.
Every cent is accounted for, and although
some capital projects were incorrectly funded
from reserves, that was corrected.
I pushed hard for the construction of the cycle
trail, and its positive impact on the district,
especially Kumara, has been outstanding.
While I understand the pure politics of the
letter writers’ comments, they fail when they
are faced with the facts. Westland District
Council in 2013 was a leader and now in
2017 it is still performing very well, as are
Buller and Grey councils. The combined four
councils have just won a Local Government
award, testament to how well the Coast is
ser ved by its local elected representatives. It
was good news then and is now.”
Regarding Mrs Briggs’ (ex-Westland
Mayor Pugh’s mother) letter (Greymouth
Star, July 21). Where on earth the
‘ helicopter’ suggestion came from is
Ex-mayor Pugh stripped the mayoralty
fund on her departure to make donations
to preference groups. In reality, Westland
District Council (and a behind the scenes
team) during Mrs Pugh’s trienniums
worked behind closed doors. People
were unaware of what was going on, the
situation worsening. This was the reason
for new chief executive Tanya Winter, to
contract in a local government council
corrections person (fix it) at the end of
During that time council reserves had
depleted, depreciation was not allowed
for adequately, being a sticking plaster
over what should have been recognised as
Debt increased from $5.864 million in
2006-07 to $15.479 million in 2013. If
companies are included, the debt at that
time was around $19 million, or more if
all liability is included $24 million debt
for only 6500 rateable properties. Figures
and facts are available.
Ex-Mayor Pugh stood against myself,
to gain money from Development West
Coast funds for a cycle trail. This project
had no due diligence or feasibility. A
consultant ’s report is available on the
council website to show anomalies. That
project is now up near $9m cost for the
Westland District Council, and is still not
Other priorities, i.e. rest home facilities,
would have been advantageous. Sewerage
ponds at Franz Josef Glacier were left
unprotected, putting ratepayers at risk.
The Franz heliport issue was on the way
to the High Court, as were other court
cases due to poor consultation. Not to
mention costs of Haast-Hollyford road
investigations. Ratepayers and others who
had information were left out. Expense is
still being endured.
Council records and information are
absolutely available as evidence, and our
letters have no ‘helicopter’ talk.
The West Coast needs reality going
for ward with respect to our people and
our environment. Ensure we are heard.
National Party list MP Maureen Pugh
responds as above.
I was disappointed to read the front page
story on Friday (‘Greymouth floodwall art
The way it was written could easily
have been read like I was in cahoots with
Tony Kokshoorn, this is simply not true.
That the cost of the job was purely profit,
again not true, and the paint would fade
‘almost immediately’, not true again. The
story also focused hugely on the negative
comments made by a few councillors such
as Anton Becker, who clearly had a bee in
his bonnet regarding street art, and only
briefly mentioned that “staff accepted the
artwork would liven up the floodwall”.
For the record, I pride myself on working
to a high standard using only top quality
materials and applying them correctly to
manufacturer’s instructions, and assume
Anton’s comments must have been taken
out of context while referring to other
I do not think these comments should
have been published in the same story as
my name, let alone on the front page of
the newspaper that I give so many positive
articles to. From the comments I get on a
daily basis I know the majority of people
like what I do, so would have thought you
could have had the decency to contact me
for my opinion on this controversial story.
Shouldn’t we be working together for
the greater good of bettering the town for
everybody rather than putting stepping
stones in the way of local business owners?
Finally, ‘thank you’ to the councillors
who were in favour of this project
and to everyone else who gives me
Life-savers before art
Surely the money voted for painting the
floodwall would have been better spent on
a clutch of defibrillators sited in rural areas
of the Grey district (life-saving equipment
as is rural firefighting).
I am sure it would make a lot of people
very happy, even if only one life was saved
through the use of a unit. A far wiser
spend of “surplus funds”.
It is good to see the continuing
community voice questioning the planned
downsizing of Westport health facilities.
Two recent Auditor-General’s reports on
DHB functions provide sufficient grounds
to question the validity of information
used to justify the downsizing of West
In a 2013 report, the Auditor-General
stated: “ There were not enough skilled
people to give DHBs advice when making
critical decisions and found there was a
lack of reliable data which boards could
use for planning.” A 2017 Auditor-
General’s report on discharge planning
in mental health ser vices explained some
of the limitations of available data. The
report stated that annually, approximately
20% of New Zealanders contact the health
ser vice about mental health issues. The
majority are managed in primary care and
approximately 17.5% of those who access
health ser vice for mental health issues are
seen by the mental health ser vices. Only
1.5% those presenting with mental health
issues are admitted to hospital.
The report focused on the outcome
of 1.5% of those with mental health
issues who were admitted. There is
little information about the outcome
or satisfaction of the other 98.5% of
people who accessed primary care
regarding mental health issues. There is no
information about the number of people
who did not ask for help or ask about the
adequacy of management of any associated
In planning for future in-patient
facilities, it is important to know the
extent of unmet health care needs in the
community. Those with complex clinical
needs, those with treatment complications
or unexplained symptoms, have greatest
difficulty in accessing secondary care. A
higher level of local clinical expertise,
skill mix appropriate for the location and
adequate in-patient facilities are important
in providing ser vice. Downsizing the
facilities without knowing the current
ser vice needs does not seem logical.
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