Home' Greymouth Star : January 25th 2018 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, January 25, 2018
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uLetters to the editor
1878 - Turkish steamer becomes the first ship
to be sunk by a torpedo, fired from a Russian
1915 - Inventor of the telephone, Alexander
Graham Bell, inaugurates US
transcontinental telephone service.
1919 - The L eague of Nations is
1924 - First Winter Olympics
opens at Chamonix, France.
1942 - Full mobilisation ordered
in Australia because of the threat of
1947 - Italian-born gangster Al Capone dies
of syphilis in Miami, aged 48.
1964 - The Beatles hit the top of the US charts
with their single I Want to Hold Your Hand.
1971 - In Uganda, army officers depose
Milton Obote and Idi Amin becomes president.
1971 - Charles Manson is found guilty of
masterminding the killings of actress Sharon
Tate and six others.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Robert Burns, Scottish poet (1759-1796); W
Somerset Maugham, English author (1874-
1965); Virginia Woolf, English
author (1882-1941); Corazon
Aquino, former Philippines
President (1933-2009); Etta James,
American blues singer (1938-
2012); Tobe Hooper, US horror
film director (1943-2017); Princess
Charlene of Monaco (1978-); Xavi,
Spanish footballer (1980-); Alicia Keys, US
singer (1981-); Robinho (Robson de Souza),
Brazilian footballer (1984-) .
“ If the whole human race lay in one grave,
the epitaph on its headstone might well be: “It
seemed a good idea at the time. ”
— Dame Rebecca West, Irish-born author and
“ By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
— (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Greymouth Fire
Brigade was right on
the job this morning.
At 5am a power pole
caught fire on the corner outside the
Dominion Hotel, the licensee of which is
Mr G W Nelson the chief fire officer. A fuse
box caught fire and flames leapt up the post.
Damage was confined to the electrical fittings
which will be replaced today. There was no
interruption in the power supply.
The Railways Department is losing too
much money on road services now to consider
extending its ser vices to Cobden. But a
deputation of prominent citizens will still meet
with the Minister of Railways Mr
J B Gordon, in Greymouth next month.
Westland MP Mr P Blanchfield has been
turned down by the Railways Department in his
attempt to have the recently withdrawn Cobden
ser vice replaced by Road Ser vices buses.
McGlashan Motors withdrew its Cobden
suburban ser vice at the start of the new year,
forced out of business by the prohibitive cost
of replacing all the windows in the buses with
safety glass. Now Mr Blanchfield has received
no official response to his representations. “ They
just wouldn’t wear it at all,’ said Mr Blanchfield
A substitute board has already been found
for the 10,000 feet of Stramitboard to have
provided the ceiling for the Greymouth Civic
Centre gymnasium, which was lost in a factory
fire at Christchurch yesterday.
The fire swept through a two-storey factory
section of the Stramit and Brownbuilt division
of Fletcher Industries Ltd in Woolston. It
destroyed two-thirds of the factory and caused
damage estimated at $50,000.
uFood for thought
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Is it real news, or fake news? In the end,
it all comes down to sources. The people
and the institutions we most trust, are
the people and the institutions we most
For those who lived through World
War Two, the words ‘London calling,
London calling’ which prefaced the BBC
World Ser vice’s news broadcasts, signalled
accuracy, reliability and dignity in a world
awash with bombastic propaganda.
President Donald Trump’s followers
place their faith in the “fair and balanced”
reporting of Fox News. His opponents rely
on the Washington Post, whose intrepid
reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl
Bernstein, covered the Watergate break-in
and contributed to the fall of President
Why were Woodward and Bernstein
so sure of their ground? Because their
most valuable anonymous source — Deep
Throat — was none other than Mark Felt,
the associate director of the FBI. Good
sources make for good stories. The rule is
as old as journalism.
What, then, should we make of the latest
stories, sourced to “Australian intelligence”,
of a “spike” in the number of “boat people”
intercepted on the way to Australia and,
allegedly, New Zealand? Are such reports
to be taken seriously? Should the National
Party Opposition really be using them as a
stick against Jacinda Ardern’s handling of
the Manus Island refugee crisis? Just how
good a look is it to rely upon leaks from
a foreign government, in order to have a
crack at your own?
The first thing to obser ve about these
“ intelligence” leaks is that they should
not be happening. Just recall the repeated,
blank-faced refusals of Helen Clark and
John Key to share even the tiniest scraps
of “operational” intelligence with the New
Zealand news media. Even when the
details of New Zealand’s involvement in
special forces operations overseas were
published in foreign newspapers, the
politicians remained tight-lipped. As
for the directors of our own intelligence
agencies, the SIS and the GCSB, their
mouths appear to have been sewn shut.
Which can only mean that “Australian
intelligence” is leaking information to the
Australian and New Zealand news media
under instruction and on purpose. Which
immediately raises the question: What can
that purpose be?
Before we attempt to answer that
question, however, there are one or two
other things to note about these Australian
intelligence-sourced stories. The most
important of these is a disturbing lack of
detail. Apart from the improbably precise
figure of 164 intercepted asylum seekers,
New Zealanders have been given precious
little in the way of incontrovertible
The Royal Australian Navy and its coast
guard are equipped with video cameras
to record any and every interception
in Australian waters. If a small flotilla
of “boat people” had indeed put to sea,
inspired by Jacinda Ardern’s international
displays of compassion, then it would be
a straightfor ward matter to release the
video recordings of its interception to the
news media. What better way to make
Australian Immigration Minister Peter
Dutton’s case than to record an asylum
seeker naming New Zealand’s prime
minister as the reason she and her children
are risking their lives in a leaky boat?
What we have been shown, instead, is
a seven-year-old photograph showing
Sri Lankan refugees displaying a sign
which reads: “ We like to go to Newsland.”
Interesting, but hardly relevant to the
situation in 2018.
This promiscuous mixing of dated
imagery, emotive language, and
uncorroborated assertion is almost
always evidence of an unreliable source.
Which raises, once again, the question of
whether or not there is any method to the
Australians’ madness? Why is the Turnbull
Government persisting in its attacks on
New Zealand’s new prime minister?
The most probable cause of this spike
in Australian pique is the deteriorating
situation on Manus Island. There, the
already deplorable conditions into which
hundreds of male asylum-seekers were
pitched, following the forcible closure
of the New Guinea government-owned
(but Australian government-controlled)
detention centre, have continued to
The Turnbull Government ’s latest leaks
would, therefore, appear to be pre-emptive
in intent. If Manus erupts in riotous
violence, attracting global scrutiny and
condemnation, as well as a reiteration of
New Zealand’s willingness to take at least
150 of the refugees trapped on the island,
then the Liberal-National Government
has primed its trans-Tasman soulmate
in the National Party to step for ward
and entertain New Zealand voters with
“Australian intelligence’s” grim fairytales.
Chris Trotter is a left-wing
Unreliable sources lead to ‘fake news’
of the New Zealand Herald
Odd behaviour among snapper this
summer has been put down to a lingering
marine heatwave that last month made
the Tasman Sea the warmest on record
Fishers have told of the fish n’ chip shop
favourite spawning more than a month
earlier than normal.
Motueka commercial fisherman Chris
West has been trawling for snapper since
“They ’re our target species — our bread
and butter, I suppose you could say —
and we’ve studied them and watched
them closely for all of that time.’’ Each
year, there was a consistent build-up
starting in October and carrying on
through November, making the end of
the year the best time for fishing.
After weeks of good catches, one
morning, West noticed snapper had
vanished far earlier than normal.
“It was quite amazing really ... they
just disappeared overnight, just, see ya,
From his years of obser ving snapper
populations, West estimated snapper had
spawned about six weeks earlier than
normal this season, before leaving fishing
West said the change had also been
much discussed by recreational
There were other reports of people
catching snapper in Milford Sound and
Doubtful Sound for the first time, and
bluebottle jellyfish washing up on beaches
a month early.
Previous New Zealand studies have
indicated snapper spawning began in
water as low as 15degC, and as early
as September, with the peak occurring
around November and December.
Backing up the fishers’ anecdotes with
hard data was not straightforward.
To confirm those reports, scientists
would have to take monthly samples of
fish and look at their gonad stage, which
was not done currently.
Scientists might also be able to infer
an effect from the spatial and temporal
pattern in commercial catch rates, but
this data was not made available until
But climate scientist and marine
heatwave expert Dr Jim Salinger said
early spawning would have been triggered
by the warmest Tasman Sea in more than
a century of records.
Between September and November, sea
surface temperatures in the Tasman were
0.9degC above average.
“Schools of kingfish have also been
sighted in the Fiords,’’ Dr Salinger said.
In Otago Harbour, warmer waters
were suspected to have been behind an
increase in stingray sightings.
Having set in strongly over late spring
— around the same time effects of a La
Nina climate system began being felt here
— the marine heatwave was lingering on,
with sea surface temperatures this so far
running at least 2degC above average.
Waters were as warm as 16-17degC off
the Otago coast, and 20degC off Taranaki
in the west and Hawke’s Bay in the east.
“The big factor in this has been a
combination of global warming, with sea
surface temperatures now 0.7degC to
0.9degC warmer than 100 years ago, and
a very positive Southern Annular Mode,’’
Dr Salinger said.
“This has meant that the anti-cyclones
or highs have been well south of their
normal track across New Zealand —
instead passing over the South Island and
to the south, keeping the door shut to
cold blasts up from the Southern Oceans.
“As a result unusual easterly winds along
their northern flanks have kept the swells
down in the Tasman Sea reducing the
mixing, and that to the east of the South
Island.’’ The warming of the ocean’s top
layer had prevented the normal upwelling
of cold water, something known to bring
up krill to the east of the South Island.
“Red billed gulls around Kaikoura have
not caught the usual krill with which to
feed their young, and have had to feed on
jellyfish instead,’’ Salinger said.
The marine heatwave was expected to
last into next month, and then dissipate.
Lingering marine heatwave
The first worldwide checklist of invasive
species has been compiled through an
international collaboration led by a New
The Global Register of Introduced and
Invasive Species (GRIIS) is described an open-
access, evidence-based information platform.
The register deems an introduced species to
be invasive when it has had a negative impact
Auckland University honorary academic
Shyama Pagad says it has been a huge project
involving scientists and government staff from
“It is vital to helping countries track and
monitor how invasive species are impacting
biodiversity and fragile ecosystems and the
main pathways for invasive species,” she said.
While they aim to have a complete global
register by the end of 2018, the researchers
have completed their baseline of data for 20
countries and three territories.
They found that, on average, a quarter of the
6400 invasive species catalogued have had
a negative impact on biodiversity and
Cross-border trade and transport are
seen as the principal driver of new species
The researchers say knowing which species
are where is central to evaluating their risk,
identifying priority species and slowing the
rate of new invasions.
The register will be updated regularly.
NZer leads global invasive species project
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