Home' Greymouth Star : January 20th 2018 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 20, 2018
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uLetters to the editor
1936 - Death of King George V of England,
who is succeeded by Edward VIII.
1942 - Nazi officials hold the notorious
Wannsee conference, during which they
arrive at their “final solution” calling for
extermination of Europe’s Jews.
1944 - Seventeen die when a bus
is struck by a train at a level crossing
near Brooklyn, NSW.
1958 - The Commonwealth Trans-
Antarctic expedition led by Dr
Vivian Fuchs arrives at the South
Pole, the half-way point.
1984 - Johnny Weissmuller, US
Olympic swimming gold medallist
and Tarzan actor, dies aged 79.
1986 - Britain and France announce plans to
build a rail tunnel under the English Channel.
1987 - Terry Waite, the Archbishop of
Canterbury’s special envoy in Lebanon, is
1993 - Death of Oscar-winning actress
Audrey Hepburn in Switzerland.
2002 - At the Golden Globe Awards, A
Beautiful Mind is named best drama and its
star, Russell Crowe, the top dramatic actor.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Wolfe Tone, Irish nationalist (1763-1798);
George Burns, US comedian (1896-1996);
Federico Fellini, Italian film director (1920-
1993); Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, US
astronaut (1930-); Tom Baker,
British actor who was the fourth
Dr Who (1934-); David Lynch, US
film director (1946-); Pat Dodson,
Australian Aboriginal politician
(1948-); Sophie, Countess of Wessex,
the wife of Prince Edward (1965-
); Skeet Ulrich, US actor (1969-);
Kevin Parker, Australian musician (1986-) .
“America is a land of wonders, in which
everything is in constant motion and every
change seems an improvement.” — Alexis de
Tocqueville, French author (1805-1859).
“For the Kingdom of God is not food and
drink but righteousness and peace and joy in
the Holy Spirit.” — (Romans 14:17).
It may not tell
the time any more
but the Greymouth
Post Office is a good
deal easier on the eye than in its 1968 garb
than it was in 1915 or even in 1930. The
changing patterns in architectural folderols
were reflected in the changing face of the Post
Office building through the century, but its
cleaner, more modern lines of today, achieved
at a cost of $25,000, are infinitely better than
the ‘ Wuthering Heights’ look of 1915.
The principal architecural feature of the Post
Office opened in 1908 was the clocktower
surmounted by a dome and flagstaff. Th e tower
was provided with a four-dial clock which
struck the hours and quarter hours. The clock
tower was removed in 1945.
Though ther main day shift worked at the
Strongman mine yesterday, the first anniversary
of the 19-death disaster the year before, the
back shift did not enter the mine.The men,
after reporting at the mine, returned home
without starting work, taking this action as a
mark of respect for the explosion victims.
The Liverpool State mine at Rewanui did
not work yesterday either, but this stoppage
was due to the loss of rail access to Rewanui
through storm-caused slips on the incline
railway on Wednesday night.
In the meantime, roading troubles in the
Brumnner area created by the same storm
have been overcome, the several slips around
Taylor ville having been cleared to provide
normal road access again. A further slip
occurred yesterday at Twelve Mile on the Coast
Road, but work forces quickly cleared the road.
uFood for thought
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Recep Tayyip Erdogan
is an angry man at the
best of times, but on
Monday he outdid
himself: “ This is what
we have to say to all
our allies: don’t get
in between us and
or we will not be
responsible for the
That was a barely veiled threat that he
will use force against American troops if
they try to stop him from attacking the
The iron law of international politics
in the Middle East is that everybody
betrays the Kurds. It was on display again
in Iraq last October when the Baghdad
government seized almost half the
territory ruled by the Kurdistan regional
In obedience to that unwritten law,
nobody else objected — including the
United States, even though it had armed
the Iraqi Kurds to fight Isis. But now the
United States government has effectively
told the Syrian Kurds they can keep
the huge chunk of Syria they control
for the indefinite future. The Turkish
government, predictably, has gone
In President Erdogan’s book, any Kurd
with a gun in his hand is a “terrorist ”, and
the Syrian Kurds are a “terror army ”. In
fact, they played the main role, under US
air cover, in destroying the Syrian base
of the real terrorists: Islamic State. As a
result the army the Kurds dominate, the
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), now
controls almost half of Syria’s territory.
It is the north-eastern, relatively empty
half, with less than one-fifth of Syria’s
population, but it includes all of Syria’s
border with Iraq and almost all its border
with Turkey. On Sunday Washington
confirmed it will help the SDF create a
new 30,000 “border security force” over
the next several years that will police
those borders — and also the “internal
border” between Kurdish-controlled Syria
and the rest of the country.
The “rest of the country ” is now mostly
back under the control of Bashar al-
Assad ’s regime, after six years of civil war,
thanks largely to the intervention of the
Russian air force and Iranian militias.
Both Moscow and Tehran immediately
accused the US of planning to partition
Syria, and there is some substance in the
Washington is indeed creating a
Kurdish-ruled protectorate in the north-
eastern half of Syria, and has declared
that 2000 US troops will stay there
indefinitely. Or, to be more precise, until
progress has been made in the United
Nations-led peace talks in Geneva
and it is certain that Islamic State is
permanently defeated. Which is another
way of saying indefinitely.
The main purpose of this sudden
escalation in the US commitment in
Syria is presumably to stop the Russians
from winning a total victory in the
country. The Syrian regime, of course, has
denounced the plan as a “blatant attack”
on its sovereignty, but Turkey is the only
country threatening to kill Americans
The Kurds always get betrayed because
what they really want is an independent
Kurdistan including all 20 million
Kurds. To create that, the four most
powerful countries in the region
— Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq — would
all have to be partially dismantled.
They will do whatever it takes to prevent
Erdogan restarted the war with Turkey ’s
own Kurdish separatists two years ago
mainly for electoral advantage, but he
really is fanatical on the subject. He
is convinced that the Syrian Kurdish
organisation, the YFP, is really just a
branch of Turkey’s own PKK (which
does have a terrorist past), and he is
determined to destroy it.
The declaration of a de facto American
protectorate over the Kurdish-dominated
parts of Syria only makes the matter
more urgent in Erdogan’s eyes. “A country
we call an ally (the US) is insisting on
forming a terror army on our border,”
Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara on
Monday. “ What can that terror army
target but Turkey? Our mission is to
strangle it before it’s even born.”
That is nonsense; the Syrian Kurds are
not terrorists. They are American allies —
and when the Turkish army first attacked
Kurdish-controlled areas of northern
Syria last spring, US troops drove in front
of the Kurdish lines flying very large
American flags to protect their allies from
What Erdogan meant in that quote at
the start was that next time, if American
soldiers and flags obstruct Turkish
operations, they will be blown away. Does
he mean it? He may not know himself,
but his army is going to move into several
parts of Syrian Kurdish territory this
week or next. Turkish artillery is already
softening the targets up.
But the likelihood of a shooting war
between Turks and Americans remains
very low. Like Obama before him, Trump
is pursuing a policy in Syria that is not
backed up by enough force to make it
credible. Everybody assumes that he
is bluffing, and that he will betray the
Syrian Kurds in the end.
For the peace of the world, it is
probably better that he does.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Will the US betray the Syrian Kurds?
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his
ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Turkish parliament.
of Right for Life
There are in New Zealand about 100
adoptions each year, down from a peak of
3967 adoptions in 1971, only 20 of these
adoptions are to strangers. There are 600
families registered with the Ministry of
Vulnerable Children wanting to adopt.
These families long to adopt a child and
to provide a loving home. It is sad that for
most of these families their desire to adopt
will be met with frustration, tears and
rejection. Adoption is the loving option
beneficial for the happiness and welfare of
the adoptee and rewarding and fulfilling
for the adopting parents and for the birth
Since 1985 with the passing of the Adult
Adoption Information Act we have had
open adoption with the birth mother being
allowed to choose the adoptive parents.
She now has the opportunity to have an
ongoing caring and loving relationship
with her child and the adoptive parents.
Today most adoptions are open, a far cry
from the trauma and the terrible grief
experienced by unmarried mothers who
had their children taken from them by the
State at birth.
There are fewer babies available today
for adoption because of the availability
of contraception, society’s acceptance of
single parenthood and the availability of
the domestic purposes benefit and access
to abortion. Prior to 1977 when the
Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion
Act was passed, it was the expectation that
pregnant unmarried mothers would choose
life for their child and allow their child
to be adopted into a loving home. Since
then, many vulnerable pregnant unmarried
women have been encouraged by Family
Planning, many in the medical profession,
family and friends to terminate the life
of their precious child. Many women are
also coerced by the father of the child to
destroy the child to avoid having to pay
maintenance for the child.
There were 12,823 abortions in New
Zealand in 2016 and only an estimated
20 stranger adoptions. It is tragic that for
every 1000 abortions there is just over one
stranger adoption, why is this? The Family
Planning Association which is the major
abortion referral agency in New Zealand
does not promote adoption, as it believes
that this is not in the best interest of the
mother or her precious child in the
The District Health Boards in New
Zealand provide abortions and are required
to offer counselling to women seeking an
abortion. Women are also required to give
informed consent to having an abortion.
The Abortion Super visory Committee in
its Standard of Practice for the Provision of
Counselling produced in 1998, states that
pregnancy options-parenting and adopting
should be discussed with the woman as
part of the informed consent process.
Anecdotal evidence reveals that discussing
adoption as a loving option in preference
to the termination of the child’s life is
frequently not discussed. It is believed that
abortion providers should be doing more
to promote adoption.
New Zealand needs more children, we
are facing a demographic crisis with a birth
rate of 1.95 and we need a birth rate of
2.1 to just maintain our population. Why
then does the government refuse to initiate
a campaign to promote adoption? Many
of these children who are being aborted
could be adopted into loving homes. Every
child from conception is a unique and
unrepeatable miracle of creation created
to love and to be loved and endowed with
talents to enrich our community.
Women deser ve to be valued and
respected and to be encouraged to choose
life for their child to be provided with a
loving home through open adoption.
Why are there not more child adoptions?
of the New Zealand Herald
he price tag of a private-
school education has soared
to $360,000 over a child’s
school career, a new sur vey
has found — almost 10
times the cost of a State
The sur vey by the Australian
Scholarships Group has found that the
expected lifetime cost of a private school
education for a child born this year,
including uniforms, computers and travel
as well as fees, has jumped by $14,000
since last year to $360,074.
In contrast, the lifetime cost of putting
a child through the State system has
actually dropped by $135 to $38,227,
mainly because of cheaper computers.
Sending a child to an integrated school,
such as a Catholic school, has become
$6600 cheaper, at $102,730.
The contrasting trends reflect
higher public spending on State and
integrated schools through former
National Government initiatives such
as Communities of Learning, whereas
the State subsidy to private schools has
been frozen at $41 million since National
increased it by $10 million in 2009.
Independent Schools of NZ director
Deborah James said the freeze, combined
with rising student numbers, would cut
State funding per student in private
schools by 3.6% this year.
“ With limited government support,
private schools have no choice but to
increase the burden on parents,” she said.
She said private school fees last year
ranged from $9150 to $20,460 a year for
primary schools, and from about $11,000
to $24,000 for secondary schools.
The ASG sur vey is based on responses
from 300 of ASG’s 15,000 NZ members,
who mostly start saving through ASG
when their children are born and draw
down their savings as tax-exempt
scholarships for tertiary education or to
pay for other educational costs.
ASG members are likely to have above-
average motivation and financial ability to
pay for extra tuition, computers and other
educational resources, so the sur vey figures
may be much higher than actual average
costs for all NZ families.
However the sur vey shows that, even
though State schools cannot charge fees,
the real cost of educating children can
run into thousands of dollars when all the
extras are counted.
ASG parents with children in State
primary schools paid an average of only
$311 in school fees and “donations” last
year, but total educational costs of $2160
including extra tuition, sports, music and
camps ($884), travel to and from school
($320), computers and software ($286),
uniforms and sports kit ($209) and
schoolbags, books and stationery
The main difference between the State,
integrated and private sectors was the fees
and “donations”: $311 in State primary
schools, $1715 in integrated (mainly
Catholic) schools, and $9815 in private
At secondary level the fees averaged
$569 in State schools, $4642 in integrated
schools and $20,591 in private schools.
For comparison, Ministry of Education
data shows that parents in State and
integrated schools paid averages of
$170 in “donations” and $237 in fees
for “activities” such as sports, music and
camps in 2016.
Catholic Education Office chief
executive Paul Ferris disputed the ASG
figures for integrated schools, two-thirds
of which are Catholic.
“Catholic primary school fees are about
$500 a year and secondary schools are
about $1000 a year,” he said.
Only 11% of NZ schoolchildren attend
integrated schools and only 3.7% attend
private schools, so the ASG sample may
have included only a few in each category.
Sector groups could not point to any
NZ research on whether the extra costs of
private schools are worth it for parents.
School-leavers in 2016 were much more
likely to have at least NCEA Level 3 from
private schools (87.5%) and integrated
schools (75%) than from State
Massey University education
professor John O’Neill said
schools based on agreed values,
either faith-based or socio-
economic, “are more likely to
provide an environment in
which everyone is committed
to a common cause”.
But he said overseas research
showed that achievement
differences disappeared after
allowing for differences in the
children’s backgrounds and
South African immigrants
Amanda and Colin Kennedy
are surprised at how much they
have to pay for educational
extras in New Zealand.
The Kennedys, who came
from South Africa nine years
ago, send their two children
to the local State school,
Conifer Grove School in South
Ryan, 10, and Megan, nine,
either bike to school or get
delivered by their parents on
their way to and from work,
so the family entered “nil” for
travel costs in the ASG sur vey
— mu ch less than families who
pay bus fares or drive extra
kilometres to get their children
Yet the family still spend
about $1000 a year on
educational costs for each child.
Conifer Grove requests a
“donation” of $250 from each
family of two or more children,
which the Kennedys say is about the same
as school fees in South Africa. But the
fees there include extra tuition, sports and
“ We used to put our kids in Kumon for
extra maths lessons. That worked out at
$300 a month, so we had to stop because
we couldn’t afford it,” Amanda Kennedy
“In South Africa, if you need extra
lessons they do it at school for you.
“My daughter did gymnastics last year.
That ’s $150-$160 a term ($600-$640 a
year) through a club. In South Africa all
that stuff is catered for at school, so when
the kids are there they can choose what
they want to participate in.”
This year the family has spent $318 on
school uniforms, $100 for shoes, $80 for
schoolbags and $60 for stationery to equip
the two children for school.
They also paid $150 last year for Ryan to
attend a camp in the Hunuas and $400 for
a laptop for his homework.
“The teacher sends e-mails, they have to
log in by e-mail,” Amanda said.
The family uses Studyladder, an on-
line learning programme provided free
through the school.
Private school costs soar
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