Home' Greymouth Star : October 19th 2017 Contents P2
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017
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Bathurst’s lost e-mails
in $40m court case
Shantytown gears up for
witches and warlocks P2
The most read newspaper per capita in New Zealand
Readership of 11,000
Divers find ‘pieces
of boat wreck’
The police national dive squad was
back in the water today to search
for signs of missing Greymouth
fisherman Kieran Lynch, 22, who
has not been seen since the Wendy J
sank in rough seas at Smoothwater
Bay on September 14. West Coast
area commander Inspector Mel
Aitken said divers found pieces of
the boat while they explored the area
yesterday. “ We haven’t really got an
update from yesterday other than
they are back in the water today.”
DWC helps fund
Development West Coast has
helped Northern Buller residents
take over some of the assets left
behind by Solid Energy. DWC chief
executive Chris Mackenzie said it
had helped negotiate the purchase
of the Granity Museum site and
building across the road. “ We gave
money to purchase it,” he said.
The museum trust would take over
responsibility for the property.
Free rugby tickets
With West Coast through to the
semi-final of the Lochore Cup in
the Heartland rugby competition,
Griffen and Smith Mitre 10 Mega,
in conjunction with the Greymouth
Star, has eight tickets to give
away for the match against North
Otago, at Rugby Park at 2.30pm
on Saturday — but you will have
to be quick! E-mail your name
and daytime phone number to
‘Rugby Tickets’ in the subject line,
before midday tomorrow.
Cloud increasing, patchy drizzle
A man in Arizona set his mobile
home on fire after trying to kill
spiders with a blowtorch. The
Tucson Fire Department was sent
to the scene on Sunday night to
stop the fire from spreading. When
firefighters arrived, an elderly
woman had already been carried
out of the home by her son and
neighbours. She sustained minor
injuries while being rescued from
the home, but no other injuries were
reported. It took 23 firefighters 11
minutes to put out the fire. While
the cause of the fire is still under
investigation, officials said they
suspect that it was started by the
use of a propane torch. A male
resident had been using a propane
torch to kill spiders and burn
webs underneath his home before
the flames spread throughout the
structure. — Daily Mail
Brendon McMahon and
A Ruatapu home was razed by
fire early yesterday evening, the
latest in a string of house fires
that have gutted properties in
Greymouth and Westland in the
past 10 days.
The Butlers Road, Ruatapu,
house was well involved in flames
when the Hokitika Volunteer Fire
Brigade arrived about 4.15pm
yesterday, fire chief Harry Collett
The old wooden former mill
house was too far gone when fire
crews from Hokitika, Ross and
Instead they focused their
neighbouring houses, which were
“They knew they couldn’t save
the house so concentrated on
saving the other houses around
it,” Mr Collett said.
“ Water was also an issue so we
had to get a (20,000 litre) tanker
in from Westland Milk Products
Christopher Stewart, who lives
nearby on Butlers Road, was on
hand as fire volunteers battled the
“It took about an hour or so
before the house was completely
flattened,” Mr Stewart said.
Fire crews, police and emergency
personnel remained on the scene
until early evening.
Mr Collett said the house was
not occupied at the time.
“I believe a guy had been using it
as a holiday home. We believe the
house was not insured, that ’s what
we’ve been told.”
Prevention sergeant Andrew
Lyes, of Greymouth police, said
police and fire investigators were
undertaking a scene examination
this morning to determine how
the fire started.
“A sole elderly occupant wasn’t
home at the time,” Mr Lyes said.
Police would have a better idea
later today about how to proceed
once the cause was established.
It is the fourth fire within a
fortnight to destroy residences in
the greater Westland area, with
investigations still under way into
three other fires.
At Kumara Junction a vacant
wooden cottage was destroyed on
The owner of the property had
recently died and relatives had
been visiting the property but
were not present when the fire
broke out. An electric heater was
thought to have been a possible
cause but police appealed for
unusual at the property, adjacent
to State highway 6.
on Tuesday a vacant house
in Ranfurly Street erupted
into an inferno in suspicious
The neighbours fled as the
flames got close to their house
and firefighters fought the blaze,
which gutted the older wooden
That fire is subject to an ongoing
In central Greymouth early
yesterday a house bus was torched
in suspicious circumstances.
Mr Lyes said that fire was subject
to investigation to determine the
The bus was also not occupied
at the time, with the owner
apparently staying elsewhere for
the night. The fire was regarded as
Police were aware of speculation
in the community, Mr Lyes said.
“ We’re hearing all sorts of
rumours but until someone can
come and tell us, it ’s hearsay. It
would be nice to get a good lead
in the inquiry.”
PICTURE: Janna Sherman
The smoking ruins of the Ruatapu house fire yesterday evening.
Winston’s waiting game ...
Twenty-six days after the election,
Winston Peters was keeping everyone in
New Zealand waiting with bated breath
for the New Zealand First decision this
afternoon on who will form the next
As soon as the announcement on the
new government is made, it will be
uploaded to our website:
Around town, some were convinced
Mr Peters, as a former National Party
MP and cabinet minister, will go with
National, while others were just as
convinced he will choose Labour, “a
natural bedfellow ”.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn,
who claims to be apolitical, was brave
enough to go on the record with his pick
that a Labour-Green-NZ First alliance
seemed most likely.
“He sees himself having more influence
with the Labour Party, especially with
Jacinda Ardern ... he would be more
presidential,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
NZ First MP Shane Jones — a former
Labour MP and cabinet minister — said
cryptically when arriving at Parliament,
“today is the day of the pipipwharauroa,
the shining bronze cuckoo”.
It seems even Jacinda Ardern’s partner,
fishing host Clarke Gayford, is in the
dark: “In an odd twist — supposed to be
filming Fish-of-the-Day in Whananaki
today, instead bound for Wellington
(I have no idea either),” he tweeted.
It is possible at the time of writing,
that Mr Peters himself did not know, as
last night he said he still had not made
up his mind!
Four th house fire
in 10 days
Woman rescued after tumbling down bluff
A Grey Valley woman who went for
a walk with her dog at Nelson Creek
about midday yesterday found herself at
the centre of a rescue effort all afternoon
after she became bluffed on a short bush
The woman eventually walked out,
with police assistance, early last evening.
Police said the woman had gone for
a walk on the Callaghans Track, on the
opposite side from the Nelson Creek
reser ve and swingbridge, when she got
Detective constable Matthew Tailby
said her dog had wandered off the
1.3km-long track and the woman
got stranded after trying to retrieve
it, tumbling down a steep slope in the
Mr Tailby said the woman was “very
lucky” to have escaped with minor
bruising and strains in the fall.
However, in trying to get back up the
slope she became ‘bluffed’ and with no
obvious way out she called emergency
It took some time before police were
able to mount a rescue.
“ It was just slow because we had to
assemble a cliff rescue team,” Mr Tailby
Nine volunteers with three police staff
eventually mounted a technical rope
rescue to help the woman to safety.
Air B n Bs soaking up rental properties
Air B n B listings are growing rapidly
on the West Coast as homeowners let
out their properties for overnight tourist
stays, taking a large number of rental
houses off the market.
There are currently about 20 listings
each in Franz Josef Glacier, Fox and
Punakaiki, while Greymouth has about
30 and Hokitika 20.
Air B n B is a worldwide phenomenon,
people book private
accommodation on-line directly with
At Franz Josef it has removed rooms
once leased by businesses to house
Some businesses have been appealing
for rooms on social media, concerned
their workers could end up living in a
Tourism West Coast data shows 14
entire homes are listed in Greymouth, as
well as private rooms.
Occupancy rates are best in Westland,
at 30% with an average daily rate of
$140. In Grey, occupancy is at 27%,
while Buller lags at 17%.
Schramm owns and manages several Air
B n B properties, and he said it could be
Tourists — especially Asians —
turned up expecting a reception and at
times they struggled with the written
instructions left for them.
“Then the neighbours are ringing
up, saying there are people wandering
around outside,” Mr Schramm said.
Occupancy rates were good in summer,
but not so good in winter.
He thought Greymouth picked up
trade when Hokitika was full.
He said the alternative of leasing a
house to long-term tenants also brought
problems. Some tenants did not look
after the property well, and wear and
tear was higher than with tourists, who
arrived late afternoon, often ate out, and
were gone fairly early in the morning.
However, as more people list their
homes on Air B n B, the housing stock
available for long-term rentals reduces,
and that is putting pressure on rentals
“Air B n B makes owning a property
more viable than long-term tenants,
but it definitely has its challenges. Is it
economic over 12 months? Debatable
— it depends on the property and what
end of the market,” Mr Schramm said.
Franz Community Council chairman
Graham Berry said staff shortages were
an ongoing problem at Franz, as in all
tourist centres, and not just this year.
Air B n B was probably one part of the
problem, he said.
“Thinking about that next Car?”
138 Mackay Street, Greymouth
Ph 03 768 5421
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