Home' Greymouth Star : July 28th 2017 Contents SINCE 1866
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FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2017
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Dunkirk war hero P4
West Coast’s oldest book
The Westport firebug has struck
again after a suspicious fire badly
damaged another unoccupied
house in the town last night. West
Coast CIB and Fire Service fire
safety staff were today inspecting
the scene in a wooden former
State house in Wakefield Street.
Fire chief Alan Kennedy said
they spent about 90 minutes at
the scene following a call about
8.30pm. The passerby who noticed
the fire and raised the alarm also
roused a person sleeping in a
neighbouring property. The fire
was “clearly suspicious” given the
house was empty, Mr Kennedy
said. The prevailing wind last night
was blowing the fire towards the
neighbouring house. The brigade
contained the fire effectively but
it resulted in major damage to the
roof space and to one bedroom,
and the house was badly smoke
four times limit
A Greymouth man lost his driver’s
licence on the spot overnight
when he blew nearly 1100mg in a
roadside breath-test — more than
four times over the legal limit.
Police staff said the man was driving
in the Greymouth urban area when
he was pulled over.
Residents of a Southern
California community believe
they have seen the legendary
chupacabras — and it is stalking
their pets. Cary Shuker said he
shooed away a hairless creature
from near his home in Riverside.
He described it as two feet longer
“than the biggest coyote you’ve
ever seen” and with a tail like a rat.
The creature snarled back at him.
“ It was cussing me out, basically,”
he said. “I stole its breakfast. It
was hunting my cat.” The local
newspaper quoted three residents
who say they have seen the creature
and worry it could kill pets or
maybe even attack someone out
for a stroll. But one expert said
the creature is certainly not the
mythical chupacabras, the “goat
sucker” that supposedly stalks
animals and drinks their blood.
Loren Coleman, director of the
Museum in Maine, said it was
likely a coyote with mange or
similar much more common
animal. — Huffington Post
Fine, frosty morning
Revingtons owner cutting through demolition red tape
The Grey District Council says it
is working with the Motueka owner
of the now dilapidated Revingtons
Hotel to prepare it for demolition.
In May, the council ordered owner
Dale Vercoe to secure the building
after it was deemed to be dangerous
and unsanitary. Squatters had invaded
the premises, which were also being
used for parties and drug taking.
Council environmental ser vices
manager Ben Healy said the owner
was in the process of getting the
building ready to be knocked over.
The owner had to “jump through
hoops” to get rid of the eyesore,
with resource consent and building
consent, complicated by the Heritage
New Zealand listing on the building.
“The owner is working with us to
get everything sorted out,” Mr Healy
“We are aware he has had a
structural report done and the
information in that did state that it
was in fact not viable to fix up.”
Asbestos was also complicating
“Mr Vercoe has the contractors
lined up to undertake the demolition
work, but there were still a few things
which need to be done. We realise the
(deadline set by the council) is fast
approaching and we will support the
owner through all of the processes to
benefit the community,” Mr Healy
Revingtons went downhill quickly
after the lease was sold to Monav
Soni in December 2013, followed
by a string of managers. The hotel
came close to losing its licence in
May 2015. It was renewed with
restrictions imposed, but then the
pub closed altogether.
In the 1950s it was the leading
hotel on the West Coast, having
hosted the Queen and D uke of
Edinburgh during the Coronation
Tour, and as recently as four years
ago it was arguably the busiest pub in
Greymouth with a vibrant night life.
Most of 385 Westland Milk Products’
staff members from the Hokitika and
Rolleston sites were bused and railed to
Shantytown today for team building.
Chief executive Toni Brendish said
the ‘One Westland’ meeting was an
opportunity for the company ’s senior
leadership to work with their teams so
that every staff member knew what was
required of them for Westland to be
successful in the coming season.
“ Westland has undergone a lot of
change in the past year. But with a
new senior leadership team in place
we are heading in a new direction and
it ’s important we communicate how
it will affect everyone at Westland,”
Mrs Brendish said.
“ We also want to thank our staff
for their patience, understanding and
professionalism. We will be looking
for ward, but also saying ‘thank you’ to
our staff for the past year. Their hard
work and commitment does not go
unnoticed or unappreciated.”
Part of the “new direction” was sharing
the new company ‘purpose’ which was
borne of a project led by staff.
“ It’s important that all staff know how
their role contributes to the purpose,
and that they share our commitment
to making Westland an innovative,
successful, exciting and safe place to
Mrs Brendish said change to date had
However, Westland Milk had turned
a corner and to build and sustain a
prosperous future, everyone’s input was
“ We can come up with a new purpose,
but it ’s every staff member that will
bring it to life. ”
The One Westland meeting was to
include presentations by Mrs Brendish
and other general managers, and an
It would not be a full muster today as
some staff would stay behind at Hokitika
and Rolleston to keep plant running,
while others are also away on seasonal
Rolleston staff arrived by the Tranz
Alpine train and returned by bus.
New Zealand Dairy Workers national
secretary Chris Flatt said it was now
common in the dairy industry to have
It was particularly important in a
co-operative like Westland to counter “a
them and us” mentality between the sites
at Rolleston and Hokitika, he said.
Meanwhile, at least two jobs in the
Hokitika dairy factory laboratory are set
to go in the latest staff review.
Mr Flatt said discussions with
Westland Milk Products were ongoing.
“At this point we know that there
are two members who are included
under the collective that are affected.
They ’re going to be redeployed to
other production work within the site,”
Mr Flatt said yesterday.
The union was aware the laboratory
review also affected “one or more”
salaried staff members.
Step inside new hospital
The union representing some
workers at Granger House wants
assurances that holiday pay and
redundancy will be paid at the
troubled Greymouth rest home.
Kiwiannia Care, which owns
Granger House and its former sister
home Kowhai Manor, was placed in
receivership in March.
The receiver Victoria Toon today
hit back at the union, and says staff
have had a pay rise and that her time
is best spent securing a buyer for
The National Union of Public
Employees said yesterday it wanted
assurances that workers were next in
line for a payout after Ms Toon said
most of Kiwiannia’s secured debt had
The union said staff had been on
tenterhooks since their employer was
placed in receivership.
Ms Toon had personally written to
staff on April 11 and told them they
were preferential creditors and would
be paid once the funds became
Quentin Findlay said the union
had written to the receiver several
times requesting assurances about
conditions and had only received one
response which did not deal with the
substantive issues raised.
The union was disappointed to
receive an update about the finances
of Granger House through the
“Staff just want to know when they
will be receiving the holiday and
redundancy pay that they are owed,”
Mr Findlay said.
Ms Toon said either Mr Findlay
had not read the original article in
the Greymouth Star correctly or “he
doesn’t understand the priority of
creditors in a receivership”.
She confirmed she had written to
all staff members advising them that
they were preferential creditors and
would be paid “if and when funds
However, there was a strict order of
priority, as dictated by the Companies
“The actual funds available for
preferential creditors such as
employees may not become known
until after the business is sold.”
She noted that the rest home could
not remain open without the support
of trading creditors.
medical suppliers etc had “quite
rightly” refused to continue the
supply of goods and ser vices until
they had been paid what was
previously owed to them.
The majority of those suppliers
were from Greymouth, she said.
Ms Toon also noted a Greymouth
Star report about the shortage of
available rest home beds in the town.
“I am keenly aware that the wider
Greymouth community not only
needs Granger House to remain
open for the residents’ benefit, but
that employees and trading creditors
are reliant on the income that
Granger House provides to them.
“I am currently employing 99
staff, which makes Granger House
one of the largest employers on the
Coast. To be able to remain open
and thereby to keep staff in paid
employment it was necessary to pay
trading creditors. ”
All staff had been offered re-
employment and those who had
accepted then received a small pay
Forty-six caregivers had also
received a pay rise of between
$2.75 and $7.25 an hour as from
July 1, under a national agreement
negotiated with the union E Tu.
“ Had Granger House closed these
caregivers may have been out of
employment instead of receiving a
significant increase,” Ms Toon said.
“ I note that Mr Findlay has
chosen not to make mention of
this fact, nor that all employees
who were employed at the date of
my appointment were paid their
actual wages owing at that date and
continue to be paid. ”
Only holiday and redundancy pay
Since her appointment the number
of staff who paid the National Union
of Public Employees by deductions
from their pay had dropped to 10.
“Of course, other members may pay
directly but I believe there has been a
drift to E Tu.
believe (this) press release
is simply a counter reaction to
the publicity that E Tu has been
enjoying,” Ms Toon said.
On a brighter note, she had been
dealing with several inquiries from
potential purchasers of the business.
“ Far better I spend my time on
securing a buyer and thereby securing
ongoing employment for my staff
and trade for Greymouth businesses.
But that might sound like too much
common sense for some people.”
Union pushes for rest home pays
PICTURE: West Coast DHB
Margo Kyle and Mark Newsome, from the West Coast District Health Board Facilities Project Team, talk with construction project manager
Allan Shortland, right, inside the new Greymouth Hospital yesterday. Internal walls are now going up and the last of the concrete for the northern wing
was poured this week.
BT Mining Ltd has received approval
from the O verseas Investment Office
to purchase the Stockton open-cast
coalmine and the two Waikato mines,
Solid Energy announced today.
The failed State-owned miner said
it was looking for ward to settling the
transaction at the end of August.
Solid Energy chief executive Tony
King said the milestone was the last
major transaction in the company’s asset
sale process and effectively signalled
the beginning of the company ’s wind-
down process as it headed into solvent
liquidation. Solid Energy operational
and administrative activities will end by
December 2017 prior to the company
going into liquidation by next March.
Stockton sale approved
12 Herbert St, Greymouth
Phone: 03 768 0822
Sales A/H: Alastair Hamilton 768 7300
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