Home' Greymouth Star : January 24th 2018 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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uLetters to the editor
1895 - Death of Lord Randolph Churchill,
British politician, influential leader of the
Conser vative Party and father of Winston.
1907 - First Boy Scout troop is
organised by Sir Robert Baden-
Powell in England.
1924 - Petrograd is renamed
Leningrad in honour of the founder
of the Soviet Union.
1935 - The first beer in cans,
Krueger Cream Ale, goes on sale in
the US in Richmond, Virginia.
1965 - Death of Sir Winston Churchill,
Britain’s World War Two prime minister, aged
1972 - Japanese soldier Shoichi Yokoi is
discovered on Guam, having spent 28 years
hiding in the jungle thinking World War Two
was still going on.
1989 - Serial killer Theodore Bundy is put to
death in Florida’s electric chair .
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Hadrian, Roman Emperor, born Publius
Aelius Hadrianus (76-138); Ethel Sibyl
Turner, English-born author of Seven Little
Australians (1872-1958); Neil Diamond, US
singer (1941-); Sharon Tate, US
actress (1943-1969); Helen Morse,
Australian actress (1946-); Warren
Zevon, US singer (1947-2003);
Jenny Kee, Australian designer
(1947-); John Belushi, American
actor (1949-1982); Nastassja Kinski,
German-born actress (1961-);
Mischa Barton, US actress (1986-); Callan
McAuliffe, Australian actor (1995-).
“Honesty is the best policy, but he who acts
on that principle is not an honest man.”
— Richard Whately, British theologian
“The Lord gives strength to His people; the
Lord blesses His people with peace. ”
— (Psalm 29:11).
An armed man
played a cat and
mouse game with
police and civilians
last night and caused considerable alarm in
Dunollie and Runanga before he was arrested
by an unarmed detective, J A Howat at
7.55pm. Several charges were preferred against
No one was hurt in the affair though the
28-year-old man fired many shots. He killed
The drama began about 5pm when a volley
of shots were heard from behind a house in
Walker Street where it begins its ascent up the
nearby railway line. A full party of police and
traffic officers were called out, several police
armed with rifles. Road blocks were set up.
At about 7.30pm constable Brian Gough,
who was unarmed, saw the man on the railway
line. A few minutes later constable Gough
walked down Walker Street accompanied by
the young man who was grinning and had his
hands in his pockets. He had given up without
offering any resistance.
The man who occupied the ‘hot seat ’ on the
Christchurch-Greymouth railcar yesterday
afternoon had an unforgettable introduction to
the West Coast.
“ When black smoke began to pour through
the trapdoor to the motor, I knew it was time
I wasn’t there,” the Christchurch man on a
business trip to the Coast said. He rushed
through to the driver’s cabin and said the
engine was on fire.
Just before the railcar reached Kaiata the
number one motor in the front unit caught
alight. The unit was stopped and the guard told
passengers to get out. A call was made to the
Greymouth Fire Brigade but railways crew had
already used extinguishers on it.
uFood for thought
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he modern pharmaceutical
age has granted doctors a
panoply of drugs to help
with a variety of conditions,
but how to ensure the
patient takes them?
The latest hi-tech solution to the
problem is the “digital pill” — a drug that
tells your doctor when you have taken
it. An ingestible sensor within the drug
transmits a signal from your gut to a patch
on your arm. This in turn alerts your GP
that you are sticking to your course of
Such technology could save the
United Kingdom’s NHS millions of
pounds that would other wise be spent
treating patients that have not taken the
drugs they are prescribed, particularly
vulnerable groups such as the elderly or
The idea is not a fantasy — in November
United States medicines regulator the
Food and Drug Administration approved
the world’s first “digital pill”.
The antipsychotic drug for the
treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar
disorder, a digital version of existing
medicine Abilify, was developed by
Japanese pharmaceutical company
Otsuka and US digital medicine firm
It works by incorporating a sensor the
size of a grain of sand — made of silicon,
copper and magnesium — into a pill.
When this hits the acid in the patient ’s
stomach it triggers an electric signal to
a patch on their skin, and then on to
their doctor and up to four other
It is part of a growing wave of digital
medicines that doctors hope can provide
both effective treatments and remote
monitoring of patient health.
Both pharmaceutical companies and
Silicon Valley giants are investing in the
The past few months have produced
not only the world’s first digital pill, but
also the first mobile app for substance-
use disorders and progress towards the
first prescription video game for treating
However, the encroachment of
technology into health care has raised
security and privacy concerns.
Squaring the benefits with these fears is
a challenge for the firms rushing into the
London-based digital health company
Ixico partners with drug firms to help
them develop treatments for neurological
The firm, listed on London’s junior
market Aim, has developed wearable
monitors that can detect changes to
different parts of a patient ’s brain, helping
show the effectiveness of treatments over
Ixico’s Iain Simpson believes remote
monitoring of patients will become “more
common” in health care practice.
“Many current measures of neurological
diseases require a clinical assessment
at a hospital,” says Simpson. “ These are
often subjective and cannot be done on
a continuous basis so may not pick up
changes in disease symptoms between the
Simpson argues remote monitoring
holds the potential to save the NHS
money; but he is alive to privacy issues
calling them “our upmost priority”.
Digital monitoring of patients is
becoming more commonplace in clinical
trials. US -based health care tech firm
Medidata develops mobile apps for drug
companies. Patients in cancer trials,
for example, can use the apps to report
symptoms and quality of life, while
an activity tracker can measure daily
movement and sleep.
Joe D ustin, of Medidata, believes this
kind of tracking will move fast from
clinical trials into an everyday health care
“ Today if you have a knee replacement
you are handed a stack of papers and
physical therapy recommendations,”
he says. “ What if instead, a doctor was
able to prescribe an app connected to
your medical records with a personalised
care plan full of daily activities and
The most immediate applications of
digital health could be in areas like
diabetes and respiratory medicine.
In diabetes, Cellnovo is developing a
digital glucose monitoring system linked
to an insulin pump that works essentially
like an artificial pancreas.
Respiratory is another “big area” where
digital health can help patients and the
NHS, according to Panmure Gordon
analyst Julie Simmonds.
“Companies are spending a fortune
developing new drugs, but if you could
get patients to take the old ones properly
it would make more of a difference,” she
She points out that companies like
Propeller Health offer attachments to
inhalers that can tell when they have
been used properly and send reminders to
a patient ’s phone to use them.
The US is ahead of the UK when
it comes to approving digital health
products. Last September the FDA
approved an app developed by Pear
Therapeutics for treating substance-
use disorders. It digitises a form of
therapy known as cognitive behavioural
therapy, with the aim of helping patients
overcome addiction to tobacco, alcohol or
Boston-based Pure Tech Health is
also in the business of developing novel
digital treatments, from voice recognition
software that can tell if you’re ill to video
games to treat ADHD. The Aim-listed
firm was awarded a US patent last
autumn for its voice recognition
It can pick up “vocal biomarkers”
associated with conditions like
Parkinson’s disease and depression
from as little as “six seconds of speech”,
according to the company ’s chief
executive, Daphne Zohar.
Pure Tech is also close to launching the
world’s first prescription video game —
an action-packed tablet game that has
been proven in clinical trials to help treat
children with ADHD.
“Both the traditional pharmaceutical
firms and the consumer tech companies
are converging in this space,” Zohar says.
“It’s very exciting to be at the intersection
of those two areas.”
Consumer tech firms have certainly
demonstrated an appetite for health
care. Google’s sister company Verily
is ploughing money into numerous
health ventures, Apple is beefing up the
monitoring capabilities of products like
its watch, and Amazon is moving into US
The popularity of products like Fitbit
also shows consumers are keen to snap up
gadgets designed to monitor and improve
their health. But analysts wonder whether
consumer tech firms have the stamina
for clinical trials and the rigours of
obtaining regulatory approval for
Mick Cooper, analyst at Trinity Delta,
says Silicon Valley will not be afraid to
wade in: “On the tech side, Google and
Apple are making large investments and
it is hard to imagine that they will not be
at the forefront of artificial intelligence
and app-based digital health.”
But he adds a note of caution. “It is
worth remembering medicine is a
very conser vative profession,” he
“Many people still prefer human-
to-human interaction for all medical
matters, so despite the progress and
increased investment in digital health, it
could take a long time for the approaches
to be adopted.” — AP
Town square tin seats
The so-called bespoke furniture for the
town square, apparently uniquely designed,
includes tin seats.
TEA Ferguson tractors had tin seats at
least 60 odd years ago — a chaff sack was
a necessity because in the summer your
backside sizzled and in the winter the
opposite happened. It appears that the
tin seats have not been supplied with this
necessary accessory — it will be necessary
to acquire chaff sacks so that those using
the tin seats will be protected. A plaque
will be needed to explain why you should
use the chaff sacks. Another 10 chaff sacks
will be required once the autumn/winter
tempered breeze arrives for those who
want to sit on the tin seats.
But there is more besides the gentle
breeze, there could also be a bit of liquid
sunshine that the multitudes who want
to sit on the tin seats will want to bleed
ratepayers to fork out another possibly
million bucks to stop the gentle breeze
and liquid sunshine with a roof and walls.
Whoops. An end wall will then be needed
as well to stop said breeze entering to
protect those who want to sit on the
tin seats. I am sure nearby businesses
will be excited by these maybe further
Now that this has all been sorted there
will be room for History House to be
shifted around the tin seats. This will save
thousands each year — no lease or rental
will be paid as it will be housed on a
public road which is owned by ratepayers
and the structure will be up to earthquake
It is a pity that Roger, Lions and his
Rotary mates’ great effort with the town
clock will not be able to be seen so well.
Hopefully, those who gleefully spend
ratepayers’ money with ease will remember
that apparently three core bridges now
have 30kph speed limits for trucks.
Hopefully, after all of that, common sense
just might prevail and the bridges are
sorted first, plus other core infrastructure.
Histor y House,
I would like to see History House move
into the Postie building, if that is feasible
I believe the landlord had kindly offered
reduced rent to Postie so hopefully that
might happen for History House. That
way the entire collection could be kept
together and in one place, under cover.
On another matter, I am also concerned
there is a predetermination to close the
town square to traffic.
There is no doubt at the moment it is
dangerous for pedestrians owing to the
lack of planning and clearly defined areas
for pedestrians and vehicles. This does
need to be addressed. Also, the issues
it has created with people stepping out
anywhere on the road getting to and
from the floodwall ... There needs to be a
pedestrian crossing in the meantime.
I do share the current safety concerns but
they are not insurmountable at all with the
If it was possible I would like to see the
old railway walk bridge in the town square
so people can use that to get on to the
floodwall rather than having to cross the
road. I will talk more about that during the
submission process when I appear before
the Grey District Council on February 12.
The faceless people
Let ’s put names and faces to New
Zealand economic saboteurs, not just let
these so-called do-gooders hide behind
the names of DOC and Forest and Bird.
Let the Labour Government (the
‘people’s government ’) explain why
they appoint people who have not
got the intelligence to base comments
and decisions on common sense and a
balance between what is required for the
betterment of communities, the good of
the nation, and personal agendas.
The ministers, DOC and Forest and
Bird oppose mining and sensible timber
extraction. They fabricate insects, birds etc
that will be destroyed.
Yet, these same faceless people promote
the bombing of our forests with one of the
most deadly poisons known to mankind,
one that has no antidote and causes
death in a most horrific way. No bird,
animal, insect or even possums should be
subjected to such horror. Where is the
But history and life have taught us
that there are those who, with their
power, thrive this way. It has also taught
us that the faceless people behind the
manufacture and sale of this 1080 poison
are only concerned with profits.
These same faceless people say that
landscapes will be destroyed visually. Right
along the magnificent Southern Alps
there are slips and scours caused by nature.
These faceless people of great power may
even have a go at God or mother nature
for causing such unsightly slips.
These same people who say they
advocate for the environment do nothing
about pollution etc generated in Auckland,
Wellington and elsewhere by vehicles
alone. They say nothing of land turned
into motor ways (of course, there are no
snails or butterflies or nesting birds).
These same faceless people seem to think
good ordinary New Zealanders do not
need jobs — let them sur vive on social
welfare. New Zealand does not need to
generate wealth through the wide, sensible
use of our natural resources.
To hell with that. These faceless people
are sucking on the wealth generated by
good working New Zealanders.
If these faceless people cared as much
about our Kiwi New Zealanders as they do
about protecting our kiwi birds they may
have some respect instead of loathing.
The mine consented for Te Kuha should
go ahead in the best interests of New
Zealand and the local community. Having
DOC and Forest and Bird appealing
this consent process seems to me to be
squandering public money. But why
worry? They, the faceless ones, are not
accountable to anyone.
Let ’s hope this Government can govern
in a way that benefits New Zealanders
of today and the babies of the future
while maintaining a good environmental
West Coast councils
The answer to Anton Hyman’s letter
(Greymouth Star, January 19), is the
Local Government Commission in early
December, after full consultation, various
applications and processes, determined
its preferred option for local government
reorganisation on the West Coast. That
preference was for the transfer of district
plan preparation from the Buller, Grey
and Westland district councils to the
West Coast Regional Council.
This will include a joint committee
of the four councils to be responsible
for developing and approving a new
combined West Coast district plan. This
decision came after over two years of
consultation and consideration with West
Coast people and organisations.
I urge people to read all information on
www.lgc.govt.nz as there is to be further
consultation aiming for better efficiency
and cost effectiveness for a population
of only 32,000 and only 23,000 rateable
The Local Government Commission
will assist with the process, the
Government will assist with
infrastructure, DWC are looking to
support. Together in collaboration,
West Coast local government can gain
It is 6.30pm on Tuesday evening and we
have just finished our fourth roast meal
from the Runanga Top Shop, which is
available Tuesdays and Sundays, and what
a delight to have access to a quality, well
presented feed — baby carrots, gourmet
potatoes, peas etc and plenty of meat.
The takeaway option means we can eat
in the comfort of our home and the larger
option allows us to divvy up the contents
and have a meal for two.
This new enterprise is a welcome
addition to the options already available in
Runanga and well worth a trip from town.
I am researching the Sulky Gully/Creek
goldmining area. I believe an ancestor,
George Venables, was possibly the first
prospector there in 1866-67.
I would appreciate hearing from anyone
who may have information about the
earliest days. I can be contacted via the
Doctors’ high-tech solution
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