Home' Greymouth Star : January 26th 2019 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 26, 2019
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Editor Paul Madgwick
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TODAY IN HISTORY BILL CLINTON
TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS KIM HUGHES
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves
whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you
rather than God. For we cannot help speaking
about what we have seen and heard.”
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“ What we really are matters more than what
other people think of us.” — Jawaharlal Nehru,
Indian statesman (1889-1964).
Paul Newman, US actor (1925-
2008); New Zealand cartoonist
Murray Ball (1939-2017); Lucinda
Williams, US singer (1953-); Kim
Hughes, Australian cricketer
(1954-); Eddie Van Halen,
Dutch-born guitarist (1955-);
Ellen DeGeneres, US actress (1958-); Li Cunxin,
Chinese-Australian dancer (1961-); Catherine
Martin, Australian costume and production
1788 - After the First Fleet’s
landing at Port Jackson, Captain
Arthur Phillip takes formal
possession of the Colony of New
South Wales and becomes its first
1808 - The Rum Rebellion takes
place in Sydney. Governor William Bligh is
deposed and put under house arrest after trying
to break NSW Corps’ rum monopoly in the
1841 - The British flag is raised on Hong Kong
island, six days after China agrees to cede it to
1865 - Britain announces no more convicts will
be shipped to Australia.
1988 - Australians celebrate the 200th
anniversary of European settlement with a grand
parade of tall ships in Sydney Harbour.
1995 - Alexander Downer resigns after eight
months as leader of Australia’s Liberal Party.
1998 - US President Bill Clinton denies having
an affair with a White House intern, telling
reporters, “I did not have sexual relations with
that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
WEST COAST YESTERYEAR
Mr D J Truman, a member of the family
company for some years, has been appointed
general manager of Truman’s Ltd Greymouth,
in one of a number of top-level changes
announced over the weekend.
Mr Truman spent some years with Milne and
Choyce, of Auckland, and Messrs David Jones
Ltd, of Sydney, before joining the company here
After many years as chairman of directors,
Mr A I Cottrel, of Christchurch, has resigned
from this position. However, he remains on the
directorship, the company announced.
Mr R J Truman, who for health reasons has
relinquished the position of managing director,
has been appointed chairman of directors.
The past general manager, Mr W D Panckhurst,
who will continue actively in the business
pending his retirement, has also been appointed
to the directorate.
Though no site has yet been specified for the
proposed new bridge across the Grey River in
Greymouth, exploratory drilling on the probable
site is currently being investigated.
Advantage is being taken of the present very
low river level to test bore on the probable
bridge site, a Ministry of Works officer said today.
The work is being carried out with a percussion
drilling rig brought from the Christchurch MOW
to test-bore the new Stillwater bridge site.
Access to the first bore-hole, about 200 feet
downstream of the present bridge on the
Cobden side, was developed on Friday and over
the weekend using material from the Catchment
Board’s quarry nearby.
It was expected this hole would be done to the
66 foot mark by lunchtime today, much deeper
than it was likely bridge piles would be sunk.
Work to develop a drilling site on the
Greymouth side of the river was scheduled to
begin this afternoon and drilling, “as far out in
the river as we can get,” will begin tomorrow
About another week’s work will be done before
the two-man drilling team returns to Stillwater to
complete that project.
However, all the work here is “tentative” at
“It is to get an idea of what is there. There
can be no planning on a bridge site till we get
approval on the bridge from head office,” it was
Vegetarians, carnivores and technology
“Right now, growing cells as meat
instead of animals is a very expensive
process,” Yaakov Nahmias, founder and
chief scientist of Israel—based start-up
Future Meat Technologies, said. But it
will get cheaper, and it probably will be
Global population is heading for
10 billion by 2050 (the current world
population is 7.7 billion). Average global
incomes will triple in the same period,
enabling more people to eat meat-rich
“ We need a significant overhaul,
changing the global food system on a
scale not seen before,” Professor Tim
Lang of the University of London, said.
He is one of the 37 scientific co-authors
from 16 different countries who wrote the
a report by the EAT-Lancet Commission
on Food, Planet and Health that launches
in Jakarta on Friday. But we have heard it
It takes 7kg of grain to grow 1kg of beef
and 70% of the world’s fresh water is used
to irrigate crops. We have appropriated
three-quarters of the world’s fertile land
for food production, and we will need the
rest by 2050. The world’s stocks of seafood
will have collapsed by 2050. It is all true,
but we are sick of being nagged.
Still they bang on. The EAT-Lancet
Commission even has a diet that
will save the planet. Cut your beef
consumption by 90% (i.e., one steak
a month). Eat more beans and pulses
(three times more) and more nuts
and seeds (four times more). Going
vegetarian or vegan will help even more.
That is all true too, but I do not think it
is going to happen.
At least, it is not going to happen by
everybody turning vegan, vegetarian, or
just “flexitarian”. No doubt there will in
due course be high taxes on meat and
fish, and official propaganda campaigns
to persuade people to change their eating
habits, and some people will change.
Some people already have: The Vegan
Society in Britain claims that the number
of vegans in the country has quadrupled
in the last four years. But not enough
people will switch to a plant-based diet
soon enough, or maybe ever. We need to
bring the rest of the population along,
and few things are more persistent than
cultural dietary preferences. Like eating
India is home to almost one-third of
the world’s vegetarians, but the local
variations are immense and deeply
entrenched: 75% of people are vegetarians
in the north-western State of Rajasthan,
but fewer than 2% are in the southern
States of Andhra Pradesh and West
The most enthusiastic meat-eaters
are in the richer countries, and as other
countries join their club (like China), they
start eating more meat too. So clearly
there would be a huge market for real
meat that did not come from cattle, pigs,
sheep and chickens, but tastes right, feels
right in the mouth, and does not trash the
We are not talking about the famous
$325,000 hamburger patty made from
beef cells immersed in a growth medium
that was triumphantly cooked on
television six years ago.
We are talking about a proper steak
with muscle and fat cells and the right
shape, taste and texture — but not one
produced by the familiar process that
uses huge amounts of fertile land, releases
large amounts of greenhouse gases, and
involves slaughtering live animals. That is
Yaakov Nahmias’s goal, and he is pretty
Future Meat Technologies produces its
“cell-based meat ” in bioreactors, growing
it on lattices that give it shape and texture,
but we are not talking about giant vats
in a laboratory. He plans to give small
units to existing farmers, who might still
be rearing some beef cattle for the luxury
end of the market.
“ With these two plays — a more
efficient bioreactor and a distributed
manufacturing model — we can
essentially drop the cost down to
about $5 a kilogram ($2.27 a pound),”
Nahmias said. Meat giant Tyson Foods
recently put $2.2 million of seed money
into his company, and a dozen other
start-ups are chasing the same goal:
Memphis Meat, Just, Finless Foods,
Meatable — a total of 30 labs around the
How big a threat is this “cell-based
meat ” to the traditional cattle industry?
Big enough that the US Cattlemen’s
Association has petitioned the
government to restrict the words “meat ”
and “beef ” to products “derived directly
from animals raised and slaughtered”. A
tricky definition, since it would mean that
wild deer are not made of meat, but the
ranchers are clearly running scared.
Coming up behind cell-based meat
there is the even newer concept of “solar
foods”. A Finnish company called Solar
Foods is using electricity from solar
panels to electrolyse water and produce
hydrogen. The hydrogen is fed to bacteria,
and the product is an edible food that is
half carbohydrates, half fats and protein.
It is just as good as soya as an animal
food, and it uses no land at all. No
greenhouse gas emissions either, and the
first factory producing it opens in two
years’ time. Technology alone cannot save
us, but it can certainly shift the odds in
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
It was with a sense of sadness last
weekend that we farewelled Fr Tien Cao
from our Greymouth parish. As a priest
he has made many friends in ser ving this
community over his two and a half years
with us and will be missed.
In preparing this column, our parish
now awaits the arrival of our new priest,
Fr Larry Miijares. Fr Larry arrived in
New Zealand from the Philippines earlier
last year and has been stationed in the
Ashburton parish. As such it will be a
new beginning for Fr Larry, and also our
parish. He will bring his own gifts and
strengths to the life of our parish.
God has given each of us special gifts
and talents. In looking at to others in our
lives it has me thinking as to how readily
do we accept fresh or creative ideas or
changes to our way of living or to our
What are the things I need to let go in
Certainly it is good to care for and
maintain what we have and what is truly
ours. There are many important things,
including gifts and values in our lives that
we need to hold on to.
But there are other things we need
to learn to let go of or discard. It is
surprising what we hang on to. We
prefer the old to the new, the familiar
to the unexpected, the predictable to
the creative. We hold to our behavioural
patterns or ways that are not very helpful.
We continue the pursuit of goals and
objectives that we know will not provide
the happiness or satisfaction we seek.
Letting go of the unhelpful or wrong will
free us and open up new possibilities and
even better things for us.
So how do we respond or react when
a new initiative is put before us — or
even in our parish? How do we respond
or react to changes in our lives? This
prayer comes to mind: “God grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change, courage to change the things
I can, and the wisdom to know the
Fr Peter Costello
Catholic Parish of Greymouth
Changes in the parish
uHong Kong’s rural hinterland may hold key to chronic land crunch
ong Kong’s government
says it needs to build
billions of dollars’ worth
of artificial islands to
give the city’s glittering
skyline room to grow,
but critics say developers are hoarding
unused land that could solve the problem.
Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam,
estimates the 1111-square-kilometre city
needs another 1200ha, or about 12 square
kilometres, and has proposed creating new
Her plan, which would cost up to $64
billion, could exhaust half of the financial
hub’s sizeable financial reser ves.
Major developers, including Henderson
Land, New World Development and Sun
Hung Kai Properties , are sitting on “no
less than 1000ha” of agricultural land,
according to government estimates.
None of the three developers would
clarify exactly how much rural land they
hold, either directly or through shell
companies. Two declined to comment on
their plans for it or why they were sitting
on the land.
Sun Hung Kai said it has been working
to convert its agricultural land for
“appropriate developments to help address
the shortage of developable land and
housing in Hong Kong,” but offered no
Holding on to the land until it is rezoned
for private development is potentially
lucrative. Property prices have more than
doubled in the last decade, and many city
centre private flats sell for at least $25,000
per square foot.
Augustine Ng, a former senior
government town planning official for
nearly three decades, is sceptical the city
and developers are doing all they can.
He argues that taking over agricultural
land held by developers using a powerful
colonial-era ordinance would meet the
city’s land needs many times over.
“In a way, the developers are holding
Hong Kong for ransom,” he said.
Ng, who recently wrote a detailed
proposal on solving Hong Kong’s land
woes, says developers conceal their
acquisitions through shell companies and
middlemen, then sit on the land, betting
prices will rise.
“There’s no way you can identify who
owns the land. This is a business secret,” he
said. “ I would not be surprised if they each
Groups including Liber Research, an
NGO advocating equitable land usage,
have investigated hundreds of such shell
companies, finding some shareholders to
be senior staff of big developers.
The government gave no direct response
to an inquiry on whether it had looked
into developers’ rural land holdings.
A task force on land supply, including
senior officials, academics and experts,
has spent more than a year analysing how
to resolve the land crunch but has only a
“rough estimate” of such land banks.
“ We do have a shortage of land,” task
force chairman Stanley Wong said. “ This
has (been) jeopardising the development
of Hong Kong in the past 10 or 15 years.”
The task force concluded in a recent
report that far more than 1200ha was
needed. It supported the artificial
islands, converting former industrial
“ brown field” sites in Hong Kong’s less-
developed northern regions, called the
New Territories, and developing part of a
golf course that is home to rare trees and
Yet it was lukewarm on taking
developers’ rural holdings, given the risk of
protracted legal disputes and protests.
Instead it strongly endorsed teaming
up with developers, who would help
build public housing in exchange for
development rights on rural sites, while
the government would provide costly
infrastructure like roads.
The proposal has stoked accusations that
authorities are ceding power and profits to
developers, according to some politicians,
land rights groups and experts. The result,
they say, would be lower public housing
density and more private flats.
Hong Kong provides public housing
to more than two million people for an
average monthly rent of $US230 ($340)
Before Hong Kong returned from
British to Chinese rule in 1997, the
colonial administration often deployed
a powerful “land resumption” ordinance
to take property for public use, offering
compensation to landowners.
In this manner, the city built mini
metropolises called “new towns” in the
New Territories that have housed millions,
many in public flats.
The Development Bureau said in a
e-mail that it planned to take back
about 500ha of private land for a “public
purpose” in coming years.
Since 1997, however, new towns have all
but stalled amid a freeze on public housing
and a scaling back of land supplies — both
meant to prop up real estate prices.
Those policies made Hong Kong homes
among the world’s most expensive. In
a city of 7.4 million, the average wait
time for public housing is five and a half
years, and the average living space for
households is 40 square metres.
All land in Hong Kong is government
owned and leased to buyers.
“The chief executive has not got a policy
which takes hold of the land which is,
and could be, available,” Leo Goodstadt,
a former head of Hong Kong’s Central
Policy Unit, who last year addressed the
issue in a book, A City Mismanaged, said.
“This is the most serious problem in
Hong Kong,” he added.
Some land rights activists, villagers
and experts say aggressive rural land
acquisition is commonplace.
A businessman surnamed Tang, whose
family owns ancestral land in Yuen Long
district, says he has seen many instances
of villagers’ being hounded to sell land,
sometimes by local gangsters.
“The developers don’t do the dirty work
themselves. In each district, they have
people who buy land for them,” Tang said,
declining to give his full name, that of his
village or the developer for fear of reprisal.
“They try to distance themselves from
the thugs who could use violence to force
people to sell the land,” he said.
None of the developers responded to
questions about such claims.
Tang said he was pressured to sell one
10,000-square-foot field for $HK200
($37) per square foot. It ’s hard now to find
any Hong Kong flats for less than $10,000
($1888) per square foot.
Chan Wai-ming, a villager in the Shap
Pat Heung district, said he was forced off
a plot now held by Henderson Land.
Chan said unknown people scared his
family by swearing at them frequently,
placing an effigy of a devil outside his
house, and scratching his car. Henderson
did not respond to repeated requests for
Wu Chi-wai, the chairman of Hong
Kong’s largest opposition party, the
Democratic Party, said developers are
generous political donors, and have
tremendous influence over the elite
committee that selects Hong Kong’s
Lam’s office did not respond to a
request for comment, saying only that
“finding land is the pressing problem
that we need to tackle urgently.” None of
the developers responded to requests for
Wong of the government task force said
simply rezoning and taking land from the
developers had its own risks.
“They have leverage over the economy,
over the community as a whole, because
land is a scarce resource,” Wong said.
In the idyllic hamlet of Ngau Tam Mei
near the Chinese border, village chief
Chau Kwei-yin, 63, shrugged when
speaking of developers who have been
circling his fields and fish ponds for
years, trying to get him and others to
“I understand the need for
development. The developers are just
trying to make money, that ’s their aim in
life,” he said.
“The government needs to do more to
control them and our land, for the people.
After all, we’re talking about Hong Kong’s
future. ” — Reuters
An aerial of land in Hong Kong’s rural New Territories.
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