Home' Greymouth Star : August 10th 2017 Contents P7
THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017
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Burning bread sparked a callout
for the Westport Volunteer Fire
Brigade early today. Fire chief Alan
Kennedy said they were called to
the bakery at Westport New World
about 4.30am in response to a
smoke alarm activation. “ The baker
burned the bread,” Mr Kennedy
said. The brigade stayed on the
scene for about 15 minutes.
Buller District Council compliance
and emergency team leader Atila
de Oliveira is leaving Westport to
take up a new role in Greymouth.
He has been appointed as the West
Coast principal rural fire officer
with Fire and Emergency New
Zealand (FENZ). The role covers
Westland, Grey and Buller districts.
Mr de Oliveira said the position
was not a new one but rather a “new
direction” for FENZ. Previously the
fire service area manager for the
Coast was also the principal rural
fire officer. However, with the new
FENZ structure now in place the
rural position had been split off
into a separate full-time position.
Originally from Brazil, Mr de
Oliveira has been with the Buller
council for nearly seven years. He
previously worked at Stockton mine.
Westport deputy fire chief Trevor
O’Dea has taken up the role of
deputy principal rural fire officer for
the West Coast. The full-time role is
based at the Westport Fire Station.
Mr de Oliveira said rural fire officer
positions for the three West Coast
districts would be advertised in the
next couple of months.
— Westport News
A police officer received a £12,000
compensation payout after being
bitten by a flea while at work. The
unnamed cop was handed £12,127
in damages after he successfully
sued West Midlands Police which
also had to pay £4185 in legal
fees. The case was just one of a
number of workplace injury claims
to the force which paid £61,131
in compensation between April 1
last year and March 31. The payout
was branded “ludicrous” by former
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and
former officers said compensation
culture is rife in forces throughout
Britain. Mr Farron said: “O ur cops
do an amazing job keeping us safe.
Compensation should be paid for
injuries at work but some of these
claims seem to take the biscuit. It ’s
frankly ludicrous that taxpayers are
footing the bill for when someone
gets fleas on them.” — Metro
A few showers, rain by night
improvement in Reefton’s infamous
winter smog may be because they
moved the sample site, the West Coast
Regional Council heard this week.
The test site was in the former Reefton
Primary School grounds, latterly
occupied by Tai Poutini Polytechnic
before being sold privately.
The monitoring equipment was
relocated in September last year to
Crampton Road, adjacent to the
Reefton Racecourse on the edge of
Reefton has not exceeded the national
environmental standards for air quality
at all this year, according to a report
to the council meeting yesterday,
although periodic measurements were
interrupted in the first four months
of the year due to serious equipment
The town has been under scrutiny for
years due to its propensity to winter
smog, accentuated by the geographical
location, lack of wind, cold temperatures
and its infamous fog.
Since records began in 2006, the
highest number of breaches was 27 in
Work by the council, in conjunction
with Reefton residents, to reduce
emissions during winter is currently on
hold until the Ministry Environment
confirms its new air quality threshold.
Cr Allan Birchfield noted that
the location of the air quality base
in Reefton had been somewhat
contentious previously, when the
council met residents to set up a
working group to address the issue.
“ Way back when we had that meeting
we talked about moving the sample
point because we were worried. We’ve
moved it and the air quality has
improved,” Cr Birchfield said.
Cr Neil Clementson said it was
unusual given the inversion layer above
the township lately due to winter
temperatures. “ There have been some
bloody cold days.”
Chief executive Mike Meehan said
there had been a lot of debate over
the previous location of the testing
equipment, although ultimately it was
moved due to a change in ownership of
the property where it was previously.
“ Technically, the site has to be
located in the worst possible location,”
Mr Meehan said.
Previous concern raised by Reefton
residents was the measurement was
skewed by a truck running close to the
location and with three bad chimneys
Mr Meehan agreed there had been
some very cold days but he was unsure
if the inversion layer had been as
prevalent as in previous years.
“I’d like to think the good residents of
Reefton have taken on board some good
education,” Cr Clementson replied.
Town square furniture unveiled
Tenders close tomorrow for the
construction of bespoke (specially
designed) street furniture to be
incorporated into the Greymouth
town square and shared street
project as well as the canopy for
the shelter incorporated in the
design. Various pieces —
designed by an Opus architect
as part of the overall $1.8 mil-
lion project — are included in
the furniture tender, including
14 pod seats with perforated steel
wrap, nine bench seats with steel
wrap, six timber ‘seating squares’
and six steel movable planters.
Other elements not included in
the contract include a cycle rack,
drinking fountain, litter recycling
twin bin, a bespoke hardwood and
steel wheel stop, boundary screen
and a ‘shared zone screen’. Stage
one of the town square contract
($1.1m) covers all the under-
ground ser vices, paving, and the
yet to be installed poles for the
The remaining $700,000 is for
the following two stages,
including the street furniture and
canopy, with other touches such
as planting yet to be allocated.
PICTURE: Grey District Council
Clockwise from bottom left — a timber seating square, pod bench seat, pod seat and a moveable planter box.
Govt quiet on polytechnic merger option
The Government says it is
committed to supporting tertiary
education on the West Coast,
but is keeping quiet on whether a
polytechnic merger is on the cards.
Labour says the Tai Poutini
Polytechnic has slipped under the
present government funding model.
The polytechnic said this week
that joining with another tertiary
education organisation was one of
two options it has put to Tertiary
Education Minister Paul Goldsmith,
as it looks to its sur vival.
The other option is to develop a
new model tertiary organisation with
a strong community focus.
The Greymouth-based polytechnic
has been saddled with debt
that earlier this year required a
Government bailout, coupled with
declining student numbers. It now
has a Crown manager at the helm.
Mr Goldsmith, who recently met
with polytechnic staff, was asked if
he believed the polytechnic could
continue as a stand-alone institute,
and if training should remain on the
“The Government is committed to
supporting the provision of tertiary
level education on the West Coast.
My priority is ensuring that students
receive a quality tertiary education,”
the minister said yesterday.
Asked about funding, he said:
“The short-term funding announced
in April allows for a new business
model and operating structure to be
developed. That process is still under
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
said Tai Poutini
Polytechnic was set up in 1990 by
a Labour government and was then
regarded as a huge achievement for
With the need now to re-train
coalminers and to train people in
tourism and dairying, it should be
Instead it had suffered under a
Mr O’Connor said.
“I’m concerned about Tai Poutini’s
future under the Government ’s
funding model and oversight — for
the last nine years it seems to have
slipped right back. It’s one of the
jewels in our West Coast economy
The absence of the polytechnic
from the economic action plan
for the West Coast showed the
Government ’s failure to recognise
the value of the polytechnic to the
region, he said.
“passionate energy” of polytechnic
staff to make things work.
A leading New Zealand businessman who
lost his battle with cancer last year will be
remembered with a $270,000 scholarship
specially for West Coast students.
The John Waller Scholarship was
announced this week by the BNZ and
PwC New Zealand, which will pay the full
Mr Waller started his education at Grey
Main School, later moving to Christchurch
and heading to university there.
He went on to chair the Bank of New
Zealand, was a noted receiver, and chaired
the Eden Park Trust Board during the
2011 Rugby World Cup.
For five years from 2018, the BNZ
and PwC will fund three competitive
scholarships each year to West Coast
school leavers choosing to study commerce,
science or law at Canterbury University.
The scholarships provide $18,000 to
each recipient over three years, as well as
summer internships at the BNZ and PwC,
and mentoring from their staff.
“John’s outstanding career was
characterised by the exercise of a brilliant
mind, achievement and influence and he
was passionate about helping young people
to succeed,” BNZ chief executive Anthony
Healy said. “John recalled his studies for
a bachelor of commerce at the University
of Canterbury as a stepping stone for his
success and this scholarship programme is
an appropriate memorial. ”
The scholarship has been notified in
The selection committee picking the
successful students will consider academic
achievement; location of the applicant ’s last
year of secondary study with preference will
be given to those who studied on the West
Coast; personal or financial circumstances
restricting the applicant ’s ability to enter
tertiary education; evidence of leadership
potential; and involvement in community
or cultural activities.
$270,000 new scholarships for West Coast students
A Greymouth man is in custody
after he was caught with an extendable
weapon when stopped by police in
Mackay Street yesterday afternoon. The
26-year-old man, who was already on
court bail, was spotted in a vehicle at
12.50pm. Senior sergeant Paul Watson,
of Greymouth police, said the man’s
vehicle was stopped because he was in
breach of his bail conditions. It was then
that they found the baton in his vehicle.
It was classified as an offensive and
restricted weapon. The man was charged
with possession of the baton and
remanded in custody in Christchurch
Prison until next week when he was due
to appear in the Christchurch District
Court for a bail hearing.
Man caught with baton
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