Home' Greymouth Star : October 27th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, October 27, 2017 - 3
of the Hokitika Guardian
The strong backing of the Whataroa
community yesterday helped their
councillor Helen Lash keep her role
as deputy mayor, despite efforts by
the Mayor Bruce Smith to demote
Cr Lash was facing demotion at
the order of the mayor, who initially
proposed after the 2016 elections
having two deputy mayors but then
last month wanted just one, Cr
However, the council table was
divided on the matter when it came
up for debate yesterday.
A letter from the Whataroa
Community Association backing Cr
Lash’s advocacy for South Westland
swayed the vote, ultimately leading to
the motion being withdrawn.
Both Cr Lash and Cr Martin left
the room for the debate, although
Cr Lash was invited by her fellow
councillors to speak before leaving
Cr David Carruthers said he
wanted to hear what she had to say so
he could make an informed decision.
Mayor Smith said there were
“financial implications”, which was
why neither should be present for the
However, Cr Lash said for her the
matter was not financial — it was
She was sacked by the mayor at
the start of the year — only to be
reinstated a week later — after
she gave feedback, as requested,
following a fractious council meeting
At the time, Mr Smith said anyone
who did not support him as mayor
would not be his deputy.
This time around, in an e-mail
to all councillors the mayor cited
three instances where Cr Lash
had supposedly not supported him
the decision to do away with a
‘fault rupture avoidance zone’ in
Franz Josef Glacier, the suspension
of former council chief executive
Tanya Winter, and more recently
the process followed around the
emergency works in the Waiho
Cr Lash raised concerns about
the nature of the $1.3 million
works which had “veered off ” what
councillors had agreed to.
Yesterday, she reiterated that the
original motion had never authorised
building a new wall, which was now
Cr Durham Havill said because
of the comments made by Cr Lash
after the resolution was made he had
faced a number of accusations that
put his credibility on the line, and for
that reason he supported the mayor’s
decision to revert to one deputy.
“As a deputy mayor you support the
mayor. When a resolution is passed
by this council whether you win, lose
or draw it’s a decision of council and
you stand behind it. There’s been one
or two things that have happened
that (Cr Lash) hasn’t stood behind,
which upset me because I was in the
middle of it,” Cr Havill said.
Fellow Whataroa councillor Gray
Eatwell disagreed that the three
instances demonstrated a supposed
lack of support for the mayor.
“If indeed to support you, your
worship, means that we have to
breach our oath of office, I think that
is unreasonable,” Cr Eatwell said.
Cr Jane Neale agreed: “I think we
would be foolish to dismiss her as
deputy mayor. I think the freedom
of speech is vital and we’ve got every
right to question ... our job isn’t just
to blindly agree.”
Cr Neale read out a letter from the
Whataroa Community Association
that also strongly supported Cr Lash
remaining in the role.
The letter said Cr Lash was
deeply aware of the issues facing
farmers, local business people and
constituents in the small towns
of South Westland, from Ross to
She had worked continuously to
provide those people with a voice at
the council table.
“ We are aware Helen is outspoken
but her strong, candid voice reflects
the needs of our rural area and her
expressed concerns are those of
the people who elected her, and we
applaud her forthright policy.
“In a truly democratic government,
elected officials are encouraged
to express their thoughts openly
and supporting those with only a
small voice is a critical part of their
“For the first time in many years
our voice is being heard. To remove
Helen from her position as deputy
mayor ... demonstrates a total lack of
concern for the rural and small town
people of South Westland.”
Cr Neale: “I think that says in a
nutshell how highly regarded she is,
especially by communities in South
Cr Carruthers said initially he had
counselled the mayor against having
two deputies as it was not in the
spirit of the Local Government Act
to do so.
However, there was no doubt that
Cr Lash had put in the biggest effort
and achieved the greatest gains for the
“Therefore, it is a shame for her
to be humiliated in this manner
not that that ’s the intention,
I’m not suggesting that, but that
is the inevitable consequence,” Cr
He told the mayor it would be
an “unwise move” given the likely
response from South Westland.
“I think that it’s going to
unnecessarily affect the view of the
constituency towards you and this
Cr Carruthers suggested as a
compromise to defer the issue until
the end of their three-year term and
keep the status quo, but with the
expectation that for the next council
there would be only one deputy
Cr Des Routhan said he did not
know why there needed to be two.
“I don’t believe we need two deputy
mayors. Which one His Worship
wants is entirely up to him. Latham or
Helen — either way it doesn’t bother
me. If it was Latham getting the
bloody chop I wouldn’t worry about
Cr Routhan was concerned about
affordability and questioned how the
remuneration was split and how that
would be affected.
Acting chief executive Robin Reeves
said the remuneration, which was not
set by the council, would not change,
it would just have to be reallocated.
Cr Graeme Olson said the people of
South Westland were clearly behind
“At the end of the day ... I think we
should just let it go. I think it’s been
a learning cur ve for the whole lot of
us,” Cr Olson said.
The mayor said he concurred and
that after listening to feedback from
councillors and the submission
from the Whataroa community, the
matter “should rest.”
“ I’m prepared to go with the feelings
of the Whataroa community, but I
have to tell you if it happens again it
will be raised again,” Mr Smith said.
“ We can not consider all of the
available information and make a
decision and then because you don’t
get your own way go out and debate
it further. Collective responsibility is
just that — collective responsibility.”
He then withdrew the motion with
the consent of Cr Havill, who had
Westland deputy mayor
survives demotion bid
A Westport woman has been sentenced
to six months’ home detention after being
convicted of benefit fraud totalling over
In the Westport District Court
yesterday, Judge Brian Callaghan ordered
the woman’s name and identifying details
be suppressed to protect her children.
At a court appearance in September
the woman was found guilty of seven
charges of using documents for pecuniary
Her lawyer Doug Taffs told the court
on Wednesday that the woman’s former
partner, the father to her children, had
died in tragic circumstances.
Some time later she took in a male
Their relationship later changed but she
did not inform the Ministry of Social
Development (MSD) that she now had
a new partner.
Mr Taffs said her partner had accepted
liability for nearly $32,000 and was
paying that back.
MSD had not charged him.
Mr Taffs noted that this was the
w o m a n’s fi rst offence, she had pleaded
guilty and fully co-operated with
She had made arrangements to repay
the money in instalments.
Her former partner’s tragic death had
had a devastating impact on her and her
children, Mr Taffs said.
Her offending had been an “aberrant
period initiated by a very high degree of
Letters presented to the court showed
her to be a “concerned and proactive
mother”, he said.
Mr Taffs told the judge that a home
detention sentence would mean the
woman could not be actively involved in
her children’s lives.
Nor would she be able to continue her
part-time work, he said.
He sought that the interim name
suppression granted at an earlier court
appearance be made permanent.
If her name was to appear in the local
paper it would very likely cause distress
for her children, Mr Taffs said.
There was “no gain in publishing her
name” as it would not impact on the
deterrent effect of the sentence.
The Crown prosecutor for MSD
said that an aggravating factor of the
offending was that it had gone on for
The woman had signed six MSD
documents without disclosing new
changed circumstances over that time.
Judge Callaghan described the
circumstances as very unusual for what
was colloquially called “benefit fraud”.
He acknowledged the impact of her
previous partner’s death on her and her
He sentenced the woman to six months’
community detention with a curfew
period of 8.30pm to 7am.
The judge ordered suppression of the
woman’s name and any details which
could identify her. — Westport News
Home-D for $92,000 benefit fraud
Hunters, hikers and anglers are being
warned not to enter the east and west
branches of the Matukituki Valley for
the next few days during a Department
of Conservation aerial 1080 operation,
which starts today.
DOC Central Otago district senior
ranger Annette Grieve said a helicopter
would be flying over the east and west
branches of the Matukituki Valley and
distributing the toxic pellets according
to predetermined flight paths controlled
She said the cylindrical cereal pellets
were cinnamon lured and dyed green
to deter birds but were poisonous to
humans and domestic animals.
Poisoning could occur by eating
baits or poisoned animals, including
carcasses, and fishermen should wait up
to seven days before consuming trout.
“All tracks in the east and west
branch of the Matukituki Valley will
be temporarily restricted while the
helicopters are operating and for up to
24 hours during the toxic drop.”
“Immediately after the drop the
tracks will be inspected by DOC staff
and cleared of pellets but it is strongly
recommended that people do not enter
the treatment area until the tracks are
cleared,” she said.
— Otago Daily Times
Arrivals: Galatea II. Departures:
Galatea II, Mako, Jay Elaine,
Fellowship. In port: Robert H, 13
Greymouth vessels. Expected arrivals:
Te Aroha, Cook Canyon. Expected
Cr Helen Lash
PICTURE: Helen Huxtable
Greymouth villa on the move
The second half of an old wooden villa from Shakespeare Street, in Greymouth, made the slow journey
north yesterday to reach its new location opposite Cargill Road, at Barrytown. The children of Barrytown
School have been watching the big move with interest.
Geomagnetic storms can cause
corrosion in New Zealand’s
pipelines, with areas, including
Northland, more vulnerable to
damage, according to physicists at
Victoria University of Wellington
and the University of Otago.
Victoria’s Dr Malcolm Ingham
and Otago’s Professor Craig
Rodger are midway through a
project that focuses on reducing
the damage to electrical networks
from currents induced in the
ground by large geomagnetic
Prof Rodger says as people
become more technologically
dependent, a solar eruption from
the sun can cause changes in
the Earth’s magnetic field — a
magnetic storm — affecting power
and satellites, along with corrosion
“If you’ve got a hole in a
pipeline cladding, variations in
the geomagnetic field will cause
corrosion over time, leading to
containment failure and leakage.”
Areas perpendicular to coastlines,
such as Auckland and Northland,
can have large electrical currents in
the ground, Dr Ingham said.
Last month’s damaged fuel
pipeline in Northland is probably
an example of how pipelines can
be affected by geomagnetic storms
if the pipe cladding is damaged, he
“If a digger has previously, even
years ago, scraped the coating of
that pipeline, each geomagnetic
storm since could have caused
a little bit more corrosion and
eventually it would give. That event
also happened a few days after
there was a big geomagnetic storm.
“ To me, the effects of (these)
storms is something that should be
considered when investigating the
cause of the incident.”
More research needs to be done
into how to mitigate corrosion to
pipelines due to changes in the
geomagnetic field, the researchers
said. — NZN
A sleep conference held in Auckland
this week is warning of the dangers
of driving on sleeping pills and the
alarming number of long-term sleeping
The Sleep Down Under conference
will hear from 500 Australian and
New Zealand sleep researchers until
Research presented at the conference
includes results from an Australian
sur vey showing a quarter of sleeping pill
users think it is safe to drive three to four
hours after taking them.
“Since the administration of these
medications can cause significant
impairment on individual’s driving
performance, driving after a few hours
of taking the medication is dangerous,”
lead researcher Fatema-Tun-Naher Sake
Mrs Sake was concerned by the finding
that 70% of sur vey participants had been
taking sleep pills for at least a year when
they were only designed for short-term
Headline speaker Dr Fang Han will
present his research that shows a link
between the flu and the chronic sleep
The sleep disorder affects one in every
2000 people who suffer from sudden
sleep attacks and over whelming daytime
Dr Han’s discovery brings researchers
closer to finding a treatment and
potential cure for the three million
Potholed Grey Valley roads rattle courier
Using the land at Christchurch’s red
zone for food production is not the best
idea, according to chemists.
Regenerate Christchurch recently
released a report identifying uses for the
land, including options such as livestock
grazing and fodder production.
Two environmental chemists, at the
University of Canterbury, say this has
the potential to endanger New Zealand’s
food safety record and potentially
Urban soils frequently contain
unacceptable levels of things such as
lead, arsenic, DDT and organochlorine
pesticides, as well as other toxic
Recent investigations have shown
that many Christchurch soils, including
in the red zone, were above regulatory
limits for these contaminants, Professor
Brett Robinson and Associate Professor
Sally Gaw said.
If any of these contaminants were
detected in our export products, there
would be repercussions for New
Zealand’s agricultural exports, the
“ Vegetables, particularly root crops
and leafy greens, are also at risk from
these contaminants,” Prof Gaw said.
Christchurch residents can provide
feedback on the 10 options Regenerate
Christchurch have released, in regards to
future use of the red zone land. — N ZN
Red zone use for livestock a concern
can corrode pipes
Large potholed sections of backroads
in the Grey Valley have a daily courier
driver up in arms, but the Grey District
Council says its contractor is delivering
the “required level” of service.
Private courier driver Arthur Foster
has been keeping an eye on some gravel
roads and provided the Greymouth
Star with dashcam footage to show the
extent of the potholing.
Large pockmarked sections can be
seen on Lees Ferry Road and Slaty
Creek Road, near Atarau, and one
particularly bad section on Slaty Creek
is by a corner.
Mr Foster said that section of road
was graded just three weeks ago.
He was concerned the roads were not
being maintained properly.
“If you meet a school bus, there’s
nowhere to go.”
He claimed the road carriageway
was narrower than it used to be, as
vegetation had crept in from the edges.
Council road engineer Karl Jackson
said spring was usually a busy season
for potholes on unsealed roads due to
“O ur maintenance contractor is also
aware of this fact and has been working
to provide the required level of ser vice
for our road network,” Mr Jackson said.
For Lees Ferry and Slaty Creek
Road, the expected response time
for potholes was eight days from
“ It would be more helpful for our
customers to come and discuss their
ser vice requests with us at the council
so we are better able to respond to
their concerns directly,” Mr Jackson
West Coast Federated Farmers raised
concerns about road maintenance
levels, during the council’s annual plan
hearing in May.
Katie Milne noted a “notable” decline
in the grading schedule.
Previously, rural residents had
received notice of pending inspection
visits by the council engineer so they
could raise any issues, but she said that
practice had stopped.
Local roads were “a big ticket item”
given they got little else for their rates,
Ms Milne said.
Council staff then undertook to
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn noted that potholes came
up every year in the annual plan and
repairs were budgeted for.
“Council contractors are reminded all
the time these need to be fixed but it
does at times get extremely hard,” Mr
“ I’ve seen those holes. They certainly
do need attention. If I was a regular
driver on those roads, I’d get annoyed.”
The mayor noted that council rates
money for rural roads was currently
subsidised by 59% from the New
Zealand Transport Agency but it was
increasingly hitting local ratepayers
in the pocket, with the Government
siphoning off road funding from rural
areas, mainly for its roads of national
significance projects and principally in
the big cities.
“ What ’s not helping here is we’ve
been told our (NZTA) funding which
was 61% is dropping down 1% every
year over five years, which is causing a
dilemma because we have to find that
However, he acknowledged that
leaving potholes to worsen was a “false
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