Home' Greymouth Star : November 11th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, November 11, 2013
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and - except for e-mails - your signature. Noms de
plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are o ensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1880 - Infamous bushranger-killer Ned Kelly
is hanged at Melbourne Jail.
1918 - Armistice for World War One is
signed between Allies and Germany.
1920 - Body of unknown British soldier is
buried in Westminster Abbey.
1940 - In World War Two, British
Fleet Air Arm attacks Taranto in
Italy, destroying three battleships
and two cruisers.
1952 - First video recorder is
demonstrated by inventors John
Mullin and Wayne Johnson in
Beverly Hills, California.
1965 - Ian Smith declares Rhodesian
independence, and Britain says regime is
1975 - Australian Governor General Sir
John Kerr dismisses Prime Minister Gough
Whitlam, dissolves both houses of parliament
and appoints Malcolm Fraser caretaker prime
2004 - Palestinian President Yasser Arafat
dies. He was 75.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Louis Antoine Bougainville, French navigator
(1729-1811); George Patton, US
general (1885-1945); Kurt Vonnegut
Jr, US author (1922-2007); Doug
Frost, Australian swimming coach
(1943-); Fuzzy Zoeller, US golfer
(1951-); Demi Moore, US actress
(1962-); Calista Flockhart, US
actress (1964-); Leonard DiCaprio,
US actor (1974-).
"Private opinion creates public opinion.
... at is why private opinion, and private
behaviour, and private conversation are so
--- Jan Struther, English poet (1901-53).
" en the Word of the Lord came to him
saying, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He
answered, "I have been very zealous for the
Lord, the God of hosts, for the Israelites have
forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your
altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword.
I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to
take it away." --- (I Kings 19:9-10).
e prospect of
exported in the raw
state has not been
nally ruled out despite a recent Cabinet
decision con rmimg the ban on the overseas
shipment of the material. is was indicated
by the Minister of Customs Mr N L Shelton,
in speaking from Wellington today to a
Greymouth party closely interested in the
exporting of greenstone. Mr Shelton said that
there might be a chance for the lifting of the
ban once a detailed geological appraisal of the
amount is known.
e major place where a substantial nd of
the jade has been made is in the upper reaches
of the Arahura Valley in a place now known as
White Horse Inn broke every record possible
for the Greymouth Operatic Society in its
week-long run which concluded on Saturday
night. Judged by capacity crowds and the cast
alike as the best e ort ever for the group, the
Inn in its season set a new attendence mark,
provided the largest crowd at a rst night,
resulted in record receipts and also inspired the
largest number of programme sales.
On the other side of the ledger it cost the
society more to put on than any other show in
its 18-year history.
e death of Mrs Mary Cutter, wife of the
late Mr James Henry Cutter, of Seven Mile
Road, Runanga, occurred at Greymouth this
morning. She was in her 77th year. Born at
Gateshead-on-Tyne, Durham, England, she
came to New Zealand in 1921 and settled in
Runanga where she had resided since.
Predeceased by her husband, she is survived
by one daughter, Nora (Mrs J H Wilson,
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Jared Savage, Claire Trevett
and Keith Ng
Several Government politicians
are using a loophole to own
properties which are not
declared and claim up to
$78,000 in taxpayer-funded
subsidies each year to pay o
A Herald investigation of property
records for all 121 members of Parliament
has discovered that six National MPs use
their private superannuation schemes to
own property that does not need to be
disclosed --- unlike assets held in trusts.
is is because of an exception in the rules
of the Register of Pecuniary Interests.
All six --- Chester Borrows, Simon
Bridges, Anne Tolley, Chris Auchinvole,
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Mike Sabin
--- live in the Wellington properties while
working in the capital and claim the
accommodation allowance or expenses.
Ministers get a at annual fee of $37,500
($720 a week) while backbench MPs can
claim up to $24,000 in accommodation
By owning the property in a private
superannuation scheme, the politicians
can also use their taxpayer-funded
superannuation subsidies to pay o the
For every $1 placed in the private
schemes by the MP, the taxpayer
contributes $2.50 to a maximum of
$28,920 --- an annual superannuation total
of up to $40,488.
Combined with the taxpayer-funded
accommodation allowances, a minister like
Mrs Tolley could pay o up to $77,988 of
the mortgage each year while also making
a capital gain as the property's value
As well as the six MPs with Wellington
properties in super funds, a further 26
MPs who get accommodation allowances
also have properties in Wellington which
are disclosed on the register. Nineteen are
National MPs and four are from Labour.
e others are the two Maori Party
co-leaders and NZ First's Denis O'Rourke.
Of the six with undisclosed properties
held in their super schemes, Mr Bridges,
Mr Sabin and Mr Auchinvole all
said they would have no problem with
disclosing the properties, but had been
advised by the registrar for pecuniary
interests not to do so.
Mr Bridges said the properties were
in his super fund because of genuine
investment reasons, not to hide them away.
He had listed both the Wellington and
Parnell properties in his initial return, but
was given clear advice to take them out.
"If I'd forced the issue to put them down,
I'm sure I could have, but if the rules don't
provide for that or don't require that, my
role in this is to comply with the rules and
He bought the apartment after becoming
a minister because of the extra time he
had to spend in Wellington. "It literally
is my superannuation scheme. Like a lot
of New Zealanders, it's my way of having
something for the future."
Before that he had stayed in a hotel
while in Wellington.
Mr Sabin said he set his up because he
did not have Kiwisaver, and a personal
scheme gave him greater exibility. He
had bought an apartment rather than
staying in hotels because he had to spend
four nights a week in Wellington due to
the travelling time from his Northland
He said the registrar of pecuniary
interests had instructed them not to
disclose properties in super schemes.
"I have no problem declaring it for
what it is. I'm happy to comply with any
determination of the authority, but they
set the requirements, not I."
Mr Auchinvole said he believed it was
appropriate to put the property in his
super trust, but said the intention was to
give him a Wellington base, rather than to
bene t from capital gains.
"If it had been for capital gain, it would
have been a disappointment."
Mr Bridges also had a property in
Karikari in his name, but explained he was
a trustee for a friend and had no nancial
interest in it, so had not disclosed it.
When told a rule clari cation in 2011
meant MPs had to list all trusts they acted
as trustees for, whether or not they had a
bene cial interest, he said he would put in
a late disclosure of his role as a trustee.
Mr Lotu-Iiga said his apartment was a
superannuation investment. He had had it
for about four years and stayed there when
in Wellington. "It's part of my super fund
--- the way it's been invested."
He too said he did not have a problem
with disclosing it, but was advised not to.
Mr Borrows said he was a bene ciary
of the super trust he established which
owned his Wellington apartment. He
said the arrangement made no di erence
to the amount he got in accommodation
allowance as a minister, and in fact he was
on the lower payment of $30,000 because
it was the same at he stayed in as a
"If I had changed accommodation this
would cost the taxpayer another $7000
per annum if I was renting, in a hotel, or
paying a mortgage myself. As an out-
of-Wellington MP, an accommodation
allowance is payable regardless of the
situation and I receive the lowest rate."
Mrs Tolley would not say why she put
her property into a Super scheme or if she
still stayed in her apartment in Wellington
or rented it out, saying simply that she had
abided by the legal requirements for the
Although most of the six MPs said
they had been advised not to disclose the
property in their Super schemes, other
MPs have disclosed assets.
Labour's Chris Hipkins has listed a
rental property in Paraparaumu as owned
by his super trust, and Labour's nance
spokesman, David Parker, has listed
share ownership and a property in
Alexandra, which are held in his personal
e Green Party was criticised in 2009
--- before the rules changed --- after it
was discovered its super fund owned
two properties which were rented by
Green MPs, who then claimed the
accommodation allowance. e $48,000
claimed for both properties was then
channelled back into the superannuation
e party apologised and repaid $6000
when it was revealed that two MPs,
Catherine Delahunty and Jeanette
Fitzsimons, each claimed $500 a week to
live in the same house --- about double the
Co-leader Metiria Turei later announced
the sale of both super fund properties,
saying the Green Party wished to clear
up all the public confusion that existed
around allowances and expenses.
--- New Zealand Herald
MPs' secret properties
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
I holler it because, well, how many times
in your life do you get to say it?
"Hello Dolly!" I bellow.
"Well hello, Greg!" hollers back a voice
thicker than molasses, "how are you?!"
Dolly Parton is talking to me from
Nashville, Tennessee --- every part of that
statement makes me smile --- and she
arrives on the phone the way I imagine she
arrives on stage: like this is the best, most
exciting thing that has ever happened to
If there is anything that we have learned
about Dolly Rebecca Parton, singer,
songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actress,
author, record producer, businesswoman,
philanthropist, brassy blonde, unabashed
cut-and-tuck enthusiast and country legend
over her long, long career, it is that not only
is she just so gosh darn nice, she is also
so gosh darn enthusiastic! So, even on an
echoey speakerphone on a long-distance
call, the blue-ribbon charm she has used to
ll untold venues is unmistakable.
I have 15 minutes of her fame, because for
the rst time in over three decades Parton
will perform in New Zealand this February.
Or as she puts it: "I've had a wonderful life
with a career that's spanned over 50 years
... but one of the great things is that I'm
going to get to come over and see you after
Why has it been so long, Dolly?
"Well ... I guess it was the promoters or
the bookers ... whoever does all that stu ,
they never could get it worked out. But now
they have and I'm very excited! e last
time I was there was with Kenny Rogers
back when Islands In e Stream was hot
and we were out runnin' about. So I'm really
lookin' forward to seeing my fans there in
Phew! And if the numbers involved in
touring here for only the third time since
1979 are a measure, it will have been
worth the wait for her fans. As part of the
Downunder section of her Blue Smoke
World Tour, Parton will have an entourage
of 80, including band, backing singers,
drivers, roadies and sound and lighting
crews. ere will also be two Dolly tour
buses, she says, which will hold their own
excitement for some; the buses she brought
down to Australia two years ago were like
custom-built hotels on wheels that included
a suite for her --- think queen-sized bed,
bathroom and atscreen tv --- as well as
a wardrobe for her stage costumes and
storage space for her wigs. (Purchasers
of VIP "museum tour experience" tickets
for her show --- an eye-watering $695.90
--- are promised, among other things, a
backstage tour including Dolly's wardrobe
Parton's show will include tunes from her
new bluegrass- avour album, Blue Smoke,
and a few covers including Bob Dylan's
Don't ink Twice, It's Alright and a gospel
take on Bon Jovi's Lay Your Hands On Me.
"But we'll also be doin' several of the
songs we've had number one hits on
through the years."
And boy, there have been a few of those
since she ed the Tennessee backwoods for
the bright lights of Nashville the same year
Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to Mary
e rags-to-riches legend of Dolly Parton
--- and though it's probably all true, there's
a whi of the mythological about her early
history --- truly begins on Friday, June 1,
1964, the day she graduated, "by the skin
of her teeth" she once said, from Sevier
County High School in her hometown of
She announced to the assembled
teachers, classmates and parents at the
graduation ceremony that she was leaving
for Nashville the next day to be a big music
star. ere was, naturally enough, giggling.
She had been born dirt-poor on January
9, 1946 --- the fourth of 12 hungry mouths
--- in the Smoky Mountains in East
Tennessee to Robert Lee and Avie Lee
Parton. Daddy was a tobacco sharecropper
who was so broke, so the legend has it,
that he did not have the money to pay the
doctor, Dr Robert F omas (who turned
up on a horse), who delivered Dolly, and
so gave him a sack of cornmeal instead
(Parton's been "making dough every since",
she has said more than once).
Raised in a one-room shack (which you
can see recreated at Parton's Dollywood
theme park), music seems to be all she
has ever lived for. Her pappy said she was
singing almost before she could talk. She
had been on television and radio in nearby
Knoxville by the age of 10, and by 15 had
a songwriting contract and had recorded
her rst major Nashville song, a tortured
teen number called It's Sure Gonna Hurt.
According to her biographer Stephen
Miller in his 2006 book Smart Blonde
(to which this story owes a debt), in 1963
a 16-year-old Dolly earned $240 for
recording six songs --- a sum which must
have seemed a fortune to the daughter of a
Her unique sense of style comes from her
hometown too. She modelled her blonde
bombshell looks not on her mother, her
friends or even what she saw on the big
Instead she copied the over-the-top
makeup, hair and heels of Sevierville's
Within a decade of moving to Nashville,
Parton, true to her teenage boast, was one
of the biggest female country stars in the
world. After hitching her wagon to then-
country superstar Porter Wagoner --- who
had his own highly popular syndicated tv
show --- Parton's star slowly rose through
the late 60s and into the early 70s, rst
through her duets with Wagoner (they had
four top 10 country hits together), before
Parton, after initially failing with solo
singles, eclipsed her mentor with a string
of country hits. She had three solo number
ones in 1974 --- Jolene, I Will Always
Love You and Love Is Like A Butter y
--- the same year she ended her working
relationship with Wagoner, although the
legal fall-out dragged on for years ending
with an out-of-court settlement in 1979.
By the early 1980s, Parton was no longer
just a country star, she was a mainstream
hitmaker, thanks as much to her starring
role in the hit comedy movie 9 To 5
(followed by e Best Little Whorehouse
In Texas and Steel Magnolias) as to her
music, including the title track for that
lm. But more importantly she had
become what she still is today: the savviest
businesswomen to ever graduate by the
skin of her teeth from Sevier County High
School, Sevierville, Tennessee.
How much is she worth? "Oh you're
getting into some personal questions!"
Parton hollers at me. "But I ain't worth a
damn, to hear my Pa tell it!" She laughs.
"With a family as big as mine, though, I'm
never going to make enough money. I need
the work, I need the money. It costs a lot to
look this cheap!"
Well perhaps not as much as she must be
making from a sprawling business empire.
ere is her music of course, now released
through her own Dolly Records, and her
regular tours. She also has "Imagination
Library", a non-pro t literacy programme
for East Tennessee children. However,
it is her company Dollywood that is the
rhinestone in her crown.
Centred around a place called Pigeon
Forge in East Tennessee (Pigeon Forge
is not more than a spit from where
Parton grew up at the edge of the Smoky
Mountains), the company controls a couple
of theme parks --- Dollywood and Splash
Country, a "water adventure park" --- and
a theatre-restaurant business called Dolly
Parton's Dixie Stampede, which has
restaurants at Pigeon Forge and Branson,
Business must be pretty good, because
Parton announced last month that she and
her partners would be putting $362 million
into Dollywood over the next decade, to
build a new resort and a hotel.
"Dollywood was probably one of the best
business decisions. I had a lot of people
tellin' me I was makin' a big mistake to
go that route back then. So at that time I
had accountants, businesspeople, lawyers
that were all against it. I went ahead and
did it and, needless to say it was very, very
successful and needless to say, I do not
have those same lawyers, accountants and
businesspeople anymore!" She hoots like an
old barn owl at this.
Still the heart of the business is her music
and the more than 3000 songs she has
What makes a Dolly Parton song?
"Heart, soul, feelin's, attitude," she hollers.
"I try to be uplifting."
Parton claims never to have su ered
from writer's block --- "songwriting is so
natural for me" --- however, she admits to
mistakenly rewriting herself. "I'll be writing
along and then it'll be the same tune or
something ... and I'll think, 'Oh Lord, that's
the tune to so-and-so!' Or 'I already put
that line in another song'. But the good
thing is I can always steal from myself !
My great fear is that I start stealing other
people's songs and not knowing it. But
there's always so much to write about ..."
Like the mystery man in her life: her
ere are, I'm led to believe, only a few
publicly known photos of her husband,
e only one in Smart Blonde is grainy,
black and white, and was taken on the
couple's wedding day, May 30, 1966. He
looks tall and lean, and has side-parted hair
and wingnut ears (she is wearing a knee-
length wedding dress and a big smile). e
legend has it that they met at the Wishy-
Washy laundromat the day Parton arrived
in Nashville (his opening line was "You're
gonna get sunburnt out here, little lady")
and they were married not quite two years
after that. Dean has shunned the limelight
ever since. Parton has always maintained he
is not interested in showbiz. However, his
absence has led to speculation by some that
he does not exist, while others suggested
that the true love of Parton's life is lifelong
friend and constant companion Judy Ogle.
If Dean exists --- and Parton insists he
does --- he turned 71 in July. "He's never
been in a hospital," Parton hollers at me.
"So he's actually done really, really well.
He's pretty healthy considerin' he's an
older fella. But he's a good guy. He's the
best partner I could have had for all these
"He's not in business anymore. He still
dabbles a little bit in real estate. He grew
up here (in Nashville). His father had an
asphalt paving company, but they gave that
up years ago. And we live out on a farm
and now he mainly just keeps up the barn,
keeps the back eld mowed and keeps up
the tractors and some of his equipment.
He's a mechanic as well."
Parton's life is her career and her career
is her life. is is why one will not end
until the other does. It is also explains why,
when I ask why, at 67, she has not retired,
she laughs and says "Why would I?"
You must feel like you've earned it?
"Well I may have earned it but I don't feel
like that. I always liked to work. I just don't
know what it would really mean to say 'I'm
retired'. I can't imagine just sitting home
doing nothin' or just thinkin' 'I'm going to
travel'. I already travel. My life has been like
a paid vacation.
"I love my work, I've always loved it and
I hope that I stay healthy enough and my
husband stays healthy enough so I never
really have to retire and so I just keel over
one day and that's that."
Besides her voice is still good --- "I sing
all the time ... I'm actually doing really well
with that for an old bird like me!" --- and
there are plenty of things she would still
like to do. She dreams of having a cosmetic
company of her own and she would love to
see her life's story on lm. In the meantime
she is working on possibly the campest
thing in history: Dolly Parton: e Musical.
Parton claims that her only regret is not
having regrets. ough she has certainly
had her down times, particularly during
her 30s. "Back many years ago when I was
kinda goin' through a change of life ---
and possibly the change of life --- I had
some down times. I was overweight and
had personal and emotional and family
problems. You get that.
Nobody deserves to be happy all the time
--- you'd be a very shallow person. I hurt
a lot of times. Most people just think I'm
always happy, but you're not. But I work
at being happy. I work at having a good
"As a songwriter, as a creative person, you
kind of have to live with your feelings out
there, otherwise you're just kind of hard
on yourself. But I really su er. I'm just
one of those kind of people. I've not left a
rhinestone unturned, as I often say."
So no regrets. Not even not having
"I do love children; as you know, I'm
from a big family. But now that I've been
so involved with the Imagination Library,
I was thinkin' about how God has his
reasons for everythin' and I thought 'well,
maybe I wasn't meant to have children so
everybody's kids could be mine'. So that's
how I kind of look at that.
e week before we talk she was involved
in a fender bender in Nashville. Her old
friend Judy was at the wheel. Did Parton's
exciting, unbelievable life ash before her
"Well you got that right! I've never been
in anything like that and it was like all of
a sudden, 'bam'. Even though the airbags
didn't in ate I was afraid mine were going
to de ate! My greatest fear was puncturing
my airbags! I'm feeling a little bit sore, but
Judy my friend, she's okay too. We mostly
just got bruises with the seatbelts. But
it does make you think, I tell ya, it really
No rhinestone unturned --- the life of Dolly Parton
She has sold more than 100 million records, won seven Grammy awards, has her own theme park
and is a multi-millionaire. But there's no way on God's green earth that country music legend Dolly
Parton is ever going to retire, she tells GREG DIXON of the New Zealand Herald
Links Archive November 8th 2013 November 12th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page