Home' Greymouth Star : January 15th 2019 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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TODAY IN HISTORY HARRY NILSSON
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS LLOYD BRIDGES
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honour one another above yourselves.”
— Romans 12:10
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“I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘is-ness’
of man’s present nature makes him morally
incapable of reaching up for the ‘ought-ness’ that
forever confronts him.” — Martin Luther King Jr
Mary MacKillop, Australian nun
now known as St Mary of the Cross
(1842-1909); Aristotle Onassis,
Greek shipping magnate (1906-
1975); Lloyd Bridges, US actor
(1913-1998); Martin Luther King,
American civil rights leader (1929-
1968); Don Van Vliet, aka “Captain Beefheart”,
US singer (1941-2010); James Nesbitt, Irish actor
(1965-); Mary Pierce, Canadian-born French
tennis player (1975-); Greg Inglis, Australian
rugby league player (1987-).
69 - Roman Emperor Servius
Sulpicius Galba, who succeeded
Nero in 68 AD, is assassinated by
the Praetorian guard in the Roman
1535 - King Henry VIII assumes
title of Supreme Head of the
Church in England.
1797 - James Hetherington, a London
haberdasher, is fined for wearing his newest
creation - the top hat.
1834 - Fifty-five convicts are tried after a mutiny
on Norfolk Island; 29 are condemned to death
and 13 are executed.
1892 - A Springfield, Massachusetts, magazine
called Triangle publishes the rules for a new
game — basketball.
1922 - Irish Free State is established under
1936 - The first all-glass office building opens in
Toledo, Ohio. Appropriately, it was built for the
Owens-Illinois Glass Company.
1943 - The Pentagon opens outside Washington
DC. Home of the US Defence Department, it is
the world’s largest office building, covering 13.8
hectares and with 27 km of corridors.
1958 - Darwin gets connected for the first time;
mail is delivered to individual addresses and
direct telephone dialling is introduced.
1967 - The first Super Bowl is played as the
Green Bay Packers of the National Football
League defeat the Kansas City Chiefs of the
American Football League 35-10.
1971 - Egypt’s Aswan Dam is opened by
President Anwar Sadat.
1992 - European Community recognises
Slovenia and Croatia as independent States.
1994 - US singer Harry Nilsson dies of heart
failure, aged 53.
WEST COAST YESTERYEAR
Twenty-one sections on the Lewis Pass near the
Boyle River suitable for the erection of holiday
cottages will be offered by the Crown at a public
auction in Christchurch on February 23.
The sections are close to large areas of scenic
reserve with deer shooting in the headwaters of
the Hope, Doubtful, Boyle and Lewis Rivers, and
fishing in these rivers.
Twelve of the sections are on a new subdivision
adjoining the Lewis Pass road and overlooking
the Boyle River.
In the conditions of offering, the Commissioner
of Crown Lands, Mr N S Coad, says the sections
are being offered to meet the demand from
persons wanting to build holiday cottages at
Lewis Pass, and who wish to build at an early
date. A person who has successfully bid for a
section at the auction may not bid on any of the
Mrs M G E Kelly of Greymouth will attend the
first meeting of the year of the southern regional
programme advisory committee of the New
Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, to be held in
Dunedin early next month.
Mrs Kelly who has been on the committee
since its inception, had her appointment
renewed last February for another three years.
The committee meets four times a year in
either Dunedin or Christchurch.
It has been announced that Father H Costello
has been appointed to assistant parish priest at
the Catholic Church in Reefton.
Hokitika’s new Tourist Centre in Tancred
Street was officially opened today. The centre is
designed to provide tourists and local residents
with all information on accommodation and
tourist attractions in the Westland district.
Dodgy employers beware
As further cases of migrant worker exploitation hit the headlines, officials grapple
with the extent of the problem. LAURA WALTERS of Newsroom looks at what the
Government is doing to stamp out this shameful issue.
hose tasked with detecting
and stopping migrant
worker exploitation have
found it in everywhere
they have looked. Now
the minister is sending a
warning to those who are skirting the law.
The Government is in the midst of
trying to crack down on migrant worker
exploitation — one of its coalition
Putting changes in place to deal with a
problem is difficult when the exact scale
and scope is unknown.
A cabinet paper and briefing documents
to Immigration Minister Iain Lees-
Galloway show despite a growing
awareness of the issue, the extent of
the problem continues to elude policy
Mr Iain Lees-Galloway says what he
has seen since coming into Government
has reinforced his suspicions about the
problem, and is sending a warning to
dodgy and exploitative employers.
“If you’re skirting on the edges of the law,
now is the time to tidy up your game.”
In the hopes of getting a better
understanding, ahead of making further
policy and regulatory changes, Mr Lees-
Galloway has ordered a new research
However, National Party immigration
spokesman Michael Woodhouse is cynical
about yet another inquiry, which he says
will likely ser ve to delay action.
He also suspects this research is likely
to come up against the same barriers that
have stopped officials painting a clear
picture of the issue to date.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Employment-commissioned research,
which will be carried out by researchers
from the University of Auckland and
Waikato University, was initially planned
as a formal inquiry, but was later swapped
for a research project, to sit alongside a
The objective of the project is to reveal
the extent of the issue in order to make
recommendations for changes to the
system and regulations.
Mr Lees-Galloway also hopes using
researchers and a panel of representatives
from advocacy and industry groups will
make those experiencing or witnessing
exploitation more likely to come for ward,
than if it were led my enforcement
So far in its mission to address the issue,
the Government has changed the student
work visa scheme, given Immigration New
Zealand further money through budget
2018 to increase the number of labour
inspectors, and now has a proposal to
change the temporary work visa scheme.
These proposed visa changes, announced
at the end of 2018, include lifting the
threshold to become an accredited
employer. The Government hopes this
will be another tool in the fight against
But it will take 12 to 18 months before
the impact of any changes are really felt.
A briefing paper from MBIE to Mr
Lees-Galloway in November 2017
— two months after the last election
— s ays migrants are more vulnerable to
exploitation, but it is difficult to assess the
scale of the problem.
“ While it is difficult to accurately assess
the scale of migrant exploitation in
New Zealand, it is almost certainly greater
than previously recognised.
“The LI (Labour Inspectorate) and
Immigration New Zealand have
uncovered exploitation in every sector
and region where they have looked for it,
indicating that this is not an issue limited
to certain specific industries or locations.”
Horrific cases of migrant worker and
international student exploitation have
made headlines in recent years.
The first case to capture the nation’s
attention was the Masala case. Between
2012 and 2014 Indian migrant workers
at the food chain were forced to under-
record their hours, return some of their
pay to their employer and were not paid
any holiday pay.
In 2016, the first person in New Zealand
was sentenced for human trafficking.
Since then there has been a raft of
stories, including international students
sold fake dreams and later being forced
home with no qualification and no money,
and a recently uncovered case of a slave
boss who has allegedly been operating in
the Hawke’s Bay for decades.
Last week, a group of Chinese
construction workers were left without
jobs and kicked out of their temporary
The group paid thousands of dollars
for work visas and were given contracts
through a labour hire company. Now the
Government is having to step in to help
the 30 workers who have been left without
work or a place to live.
Mr Lees-Galloway says there is still
an awful lot of work to do in order to
stamp out exploitation, adding that the
Government needs to send a clear signal
of how serious it is about the issue.
So far, most employers have been
supportive of changes, he says, adding
that the majority treat their staff well, and
operate within the law, but a few poor
performers pull the others down.
Tightening rules will make it a more
level playing field, he says.
Mr Woodhouse agrees with Mr Lees-
Galloway that most employers operate
within the law.
“There are a few rotten apples,” he says.
While the exact extent of the problem is
unknown, Mr Woodhouse says he did not
believe it was as bad as the Government is
He warns of over-egging the issue, which
could lead to reputational damage around
the world — something potentially
damaging for a trading nation.
While the Government may want to
gather further data on the issue,
Mr Woodhouse says he believes the new
research will not paint a clear picture.
Barriers to people coming for ward
include fear of authority and possibly
being complicit in breaking the law.
People and groups who do share their
experiences are likely to be those affected
by exploitation, which can lead to a
skewed view of the problem.
The research, which kicked off in
November, is expected to return results
Briefing documents and correspondence
between Mr Lees-Galloway and MBIE
show the ministry initially recommended
an internal inquiry but later suggested a
statutory ministerial inquiry if it were to
hear directly from workers, in order to
protect their information and the natural
justice recourse of those involved.
A letter to the prime minister from
the minister in June 2018 shows Mr
Lees-Galloway initially settled on a
non-statutory inquiry, saying it showed
the Government was serious about the
issue, without the cost and lengthiness of a
Late in the piece, a formal inquiry was
canned altogether in favour of a research
This is a Government which has been
heavily criticised for its number of
inquiries, which are costly and have the
propensity to delay action.
Mr Lees-Galloway says the Government
can be “more nimble” with a research
project and react to any findings or
He hopes people will still take the
research seriously, even if it ’s not a formal
Meanwhile, Mr Woodhouse says he’s
“ very cynical” about essentially another
inquiry which is unlikely to get clear
data, and in the process delay immediate
This story first appeared on
Newsroom (www.newsroom.co.nz) and is
reproduced here with permission.
Genetics link to how bodies store fat
Gene variations that reduce the ability
to store fat around the hips have been
linked to higher risk of diabetes and heart
People who are less likely to put on
excess fat around their hips due to their
genes are at an increased risk of type 2
diabetes and heart attacks, according to a
It has long been recognised that an
“apple-shaped” body is associated with
an increased risk of diabetes and heart
disease, but scientists say the new research
sheds light on the specific genetics linked
to this body shape and the potential
mechanisms behind the increased risk.
The team, from the Medical Research
Council Epidemiology Unit at the
University of Cambridge, suggest their
findings may help to better identify
individuals at risk of developing these
conditions and inform their subsequent
Researchers studied the genetic profiles
of more than 600,000 participants from
several large British and international
They identified more than 200 genetic
variants that predispose people to a higher
waist-to-hip ratio, a measure of the “apple-
Using this data, they identified two
specific groups of genetic variants that
increased waist-to-hip ratio — one
exclusively via lower hip fat and the other
exclusively via higher waist (abdominal)
Senior author Dr Claudia Langenberg,
programme leader at the MRC
Epidemiology Unit, said: “ We found that
both of the genetic variants we identified
were associated with higher risk of type 2
diabetes and heart attacks.
“The concept of an ‘apple-shaped’ figure
has been understood for some time but
our research considers how this body
shape alters fat distribution in the body.
“Genetics which specifically change
fat distribution by lowering fat storage
around the hips increase risk of disease
independent of, and in addition to,
mechanisms that affect abdominal fat
The study, which is published in JAMA,
saw the team conduct detailed assessments
of fat distribution in different regions of
the body of 18,000 people using DEXA,
a low-intensity x-ray scan that can
distinguish body fat, bone composition,
muscle and lean mass across the whole
Lead author Dr Luca Lotta, senior
clinical investigator at the MRC
Epidemiology Unit, said: “It may seem
counter-intuitive to think that some
people with less fat around their hips are
at higher risk of diabetes or heart disease.
“ We believe that this is due to a
genetically-determined inability to store
excess calories safely in the hip region as
opposed to elsewhere.
“This means that individuals with this
genetic make-up preferentially store their
excess fat in the liver, muscles or pancreas,
or in their blood in the form of circulating
fats and sugar, any of which can lead to a
higher disease risk.”
The team said they hope their findings
will help to better understand the ways
in which fat storage in different body
compartments affects metabolic health
and leads to disease and suggested their
work could refine the way we detect and
treat people at risk. — PA
How Trump’s reign ends
I have been writing about United States
presidential politics for roughly 10 years, so
it is one subject that comes up as reliably
as the weather from friends and family
during the holiday season. Of course, this
is especially true of the Trump era, during
which even New Zealanders with little
interest usually have become obsessed
about what the hell is going on America
today. So I thought I would summarise the
questions which cropped up this time, and
do my best to provide some answers, as
well as some low-stakes prognostication.
1. Will Trump be impeached?
It is hard to imagine how Democrats in
the House of Representatives can resist
efforts to initiate impeachment proceedings
against the president. There are certainly
more grounds for doing so than in the case
of Bill Clinton, whose conduct, unseemly
though it was, barely reached the threshold
of high crimes and misdemeanours as laid
out in the constitution. In Trump’s case,
acts of apparent collusion, self-dealing, and
obstruction of justice all point to a level
of malfeasance far greater than Clinton
managed. Unlike the Lewinsky affai r,
Trump’s crimes directly relate to his duties
as president, not least to preser ve and
protect the constitution. Take the case of
Stormy Daniels and the payment to the
National Enquirer to “catch and kill” hers
and other stories of marital indiscretion.
These payoffs have already been deemed
campaign finance violations; in other words,
a court has decided the payments were
designed to suppress damaging news stories
to directly assist Trump’s election prospects.
These were crimes against democracy itself,
far more egregious in nature than anything
the ill-disciplined Clinton did.
Add to that the likely findings of the
Mueller investigation, which will include
elements of obstruction, collusion, money
laundering, illegal computer hacking,
pay-for-play policy trade-offs, adding up
to conspiracy against the United States.
Mix in offences against the emoluments
clause of the constitution, which prohibits
presidents from enriching themselves
in office, and the case to commence
impeachment will be unavoidable for
Democrats even if the political advantage
of doing so is dubious.
2. Does that mean he leaves office?
To be impeached, 67 senators — a two-
thirds “super-majority” — would need
to vote to convict the president based on
the articles of impeachment passed by
the lower chamber. As with previously
scandal-plagued predecessors Andrew
Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton,
this bar may prove simply too high for
Democrats. They would need the support
of more than a dozen Republican senators,
a next to impossible ask when you
consider that Trump retains over whelming
support among their voters.
In summary: Yes, Trump will be
convicted by the House, but, no, he is
unlikely to be convicted by the Senate.
3. Why will Republicans not stand up
This is an easy one. In order to win
re-election, senators must first keep their
name on the ballot. To do so, they must
prevent, or prevail in, primary challenges
from fellow Republicans to their right.
This forces them into an invidious corner.
Even if the general voting public despair
at the state of affairs, these politicians
have little choice but to pander to Trump’s
supporters since doing other wise will
likely spell the end of their careers before
they face a general election. All it would
take is one sharply-worded tweet from the
president, and most Republican senators
would lose a primary challenge to a more
Trump-friendly contender. In essence,
cowardice and ambition explain the
deafening silence from Republican elected
officials. Do not expect that to change
barring a cataclysmically bad Mueller
4. When will Robert Mueller issue his
NBC News reports with growing
confidence the special counsel’s office
will issue findings as early as next month.
There are plenty of Trump-Russia experts
who express scepticism that such a wide-
ranging, multi-pronged investigation will
wind up quite so soon. They point, for
example, to the recent extension by six
months of the Mueller grand jury, as well
as the many loose ends that seem months
away from being tidied up. I tend towards
the sceptical view, but second guessing the
famously leak-proof special counsel has
proven time and again a fool’s errand.
5. Will we see the Mueller Report, and
how bad will it be?
With Democrats in the House majority,
it is tough to see how the White House
could successfully bury the report. That
said, the public version (via Congress)
may be heavily redacted, and court action
over questions of executive privilege
and national security could hold it up
for months. In any event, we should not
have to wait long: While Mueller himself
never leaks, the same cannot be said of the
Justice Department, let alone Congress.
As to how bad the report ’s findings will
be, I will resort to pure conjecture: It will
be very, very, very bad.
Phil Quin is a former Labour staffer
in New Zealand and Australia.
This story first appeared on
Newsroom (www.newsroom.co.nz) and is
reproduced here with permission.
PHIL QUIN for Newsroom offers some conjecture on whether United States President
Donald Trump will be impeached and how bad special counsel Robert Mueller’s report will be.
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