Home' Greymouth Star : November 22nd 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, November 22, 2013
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uLetters to the editor
1497 - Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama
becomes rst to sail around the Cape of Good
1718 - English pirate Edward Teach ---
better known as "Blackbeard"
--- is killed during a battle o the
1906 - e SOS distress signal is
adopted at the International Radio
Telegraphic Convention in Berlin.
1935 - e ying boat, e China
Clipper, leaves San Francisco on the
rst trans-Paci c airmail ight.
1956 - e rst Olympics held in the
southern hemisphere opens in Melbourne.
1963 - US President John F Kennedy is
assassinated as he rides in motorcade in Dallas,
Texas. Vice-President Lyndon B Johnson
becomes the 36th president.
1990 - British Prime Minister Margaret
atcher, after being defeated by John Major in
a ballot for Conservative Party leader, resigns
after 11½ years in o ce.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Charles de Gaulle, French general-statesman
(1890-1970); Benjamin Britten, English
composer (1913-1976); Terry
Gilliam, UK lm-maker (1940-);
Jamie Lee Curtis, US actress
(1958-); Mariel Hemingway, US
actress (1961-); Robbie Slater,
Australian footballer (1964-); Boris
Becker, former German tennis
player (1967-); Scarlett Johansson,
US actress (1984-).
"To conquer without risk is to triumph
without glory." --- Pierre Corneille, French
"Houses and wealth are inherited from
parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord."
--- (Proverbs 19:14).
Tenders for the
lling and metalling
of a new road
deviation at Kumara,
which will obviate the present troublesome,
narrow and slip-susceptible "Zig-Zag"
approach to the bridge across the Taramakau
River, are currently being called by the Kumara
Borough Council, the council's consultant, Mr
L J Holmes, said today.
" e present road is badly aligned, badly
graded, has a rough greasy back, and is hard
to maintain," he said. It had cost substantial
sums to keep open in previous years. ere had
been, in the past, several major subsidences,
and the present greasy back was dangerous and
unstable, the consultanat said.
"It is particularly dangerous and unstable in
view of the fact that the present main ow of
the river impings directly on to the toe of the
greasy back," he said.
" e present road is the main road to
Mitchells, serves the Taramakau Settlement,
two sawmills, a gold dredge and is also an
important scenic drive. It has to be kept
open as a by-pass to the State highway
combined road-rail bridge, which has a height
restriction," he added. He said the deviation
will extend from the production of Fifth
Street sliding down to the Taramakau River,
and approaching the bridge from the opposite
direction from the present Zig-Zag route.
Grand progress is being made on the
repairing of the Brunner Bridge to Taylor ville,
the town clerk of the Brunner Borough
Council, Miss J Warren, said today.
Recently the Mayor, Mr S W Gillman, and
the clerk of works, Mr C H Hartill, carried out
an inspection, and they were extremely satis ed
with the progress to date, she said. e bridge
is expected to be completed well within the
time limit, set at March 31 next, Miss Warren
said. e contract was let to Mr T P Quinn for
£6969, and £2530 has been spent since work
started in August.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
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A couple of issues have arisen over the past week or so concerning
the Pike River Mine tragedy.
Cabinet has rejected atly any notion that it, or more importantly the
National Government, has any obligation to honour the reparations
awarded to the families by Judge Jane Farish in the Greymouth
ere is a great irony with Finance Minister Bill English --- and
quite a few of his Cabinet colleagues --- in saying 'no' to the Pike
River families. ese same ministers voted to disband the mines
inspectorate in 1998, and did so without blinking an eye. e likes
of Gerry Brownlee, David Carter, Nick Smith, Murray McCully and
Maurice Williamson, to name a few.
Even the likes of Peter Dunn and John Banks are in that camp,
though the latter, a icted by brain-fade, denies he was even a
Member of Parliament when he voted for it. ere are others, too, on
the Government benches who should consult their consciences over
why this disaster happened in the rst place.
A number of these MPs then turned up at the Omoto Racecourse
on December 2, 2010, for the Pike River memorial service to express
their regret and sorrow with the rest of New Zealand, for the terrible
event that killed 29 ne men.
Now these same people, ministers of the Crown, have joined New
Zealand Oil and Gas at the fountain, and they too have done a Pontius
Pilate and washed their hands of the ideal of paying reparation.
e Crown joins their corporate mates and smirk at the suggestion,
or prospect, of paying.
What a disgraceful situation.
'We won't pay because of precedence,' says Prime Minister John Key.
'Let them sue us,' he advised. When you are in a hole, Prime Minister,
For the savings of less than $1 million a year, the Crown ultimately
allowed/permitted this tragedy to occur, with the sloppy legislative
changes of June 1998.
Even John Key, belatedly, admitted Pike River Coal would never
have been permitted to construct its mine if it was in Australia.
Who whispered in his ear, because only a few days before that he had
no concerns at all over the way the Pike River Mine was developed?
e reason Pike River Coal did what it did is because idiots within
the Beehive gave corporate coalmining wannabes, such as New
Zealand Oil and Gas, Gordon Ward and others, a blank book to the
do as they pleased.
e so-called government mining regulator that replaced the mines
inspectorate essentially looked up Google for its code of practice;
it had to gure out from somewhere any number of mining issues
because it was so inept in its new role.
Now that it has been swallowed up into a new body --- 'MOBIE' ---
those managers who called the shots before 29 men died underground
at Pike River, carry on as though that 'incident' was but a training lesson.
Not only did a Government that Bill English was part of lurch us
back to a third-world mining regulatory regime in which health and
safety accountability became a cosy word for corporate cop-out, they
now lurch us back to a third-world, non-ownership regime as far as
holding some party to account for the deaths of 29 people in the
MPs, though, are far more interested in making sure the rules about
their rental properties in Wellington, return to them the capital gain,
so to hell with the Pike River families.
e moment this mine exploded there was a pretty widely held view
that a move into receivership was only a matter of days away, given
the nancial pressures Pike River Coal Ltd were under. And so it was.
NZ Oil and Gas, likewise, have taken the view that reparation is
nothing to do with them.
So where does that leave the state of play for the future? Well, it
appears to be this: Any corporate entity can essentially operate as it
sees t, as it wants, with the knowledge there is a way to avoid the
onerous responsibility of any potential payout, should a court come to
that awkward decision that the families of those left behind are due
some compensation due to the gross negligence of the employer.
e recipe is this: Secure inadequate public liability cover in the
event of a major event; if loss of life is great, declare receivership in
a short time; secured creditors will be ne; rely on the generosity of
New Zealanders to have a nationwide collection for the victims; and
any later reparation order, should it be found that the company is at
fault, is avoided because --- bugger --- there is no money left in the
e New Zealand ACC system, without question, is not what it
was and many view it as a joke. While the Royal Commission was
sitting in Greymouth, a man lost a nger at work and his employer
was ordered to pay $40,000 reparation to him for the injury, as well
as a ne.
NZ Oil and Gas and Pike River Coal Ltd received neither.
Twenty-nine men died at Pike River and a short-cutting/sloppy
operator got away with it. e 'employer' pays nothing. e fat-cats
who formed it are laughing into their bubbly.
All power and speed to the families in taking out a class action
against the Crown for the woeful handling of this situation by the
mining regulator. Bring it on, that's what the Government is more or
less saying. So be it.
e Cave Creek situation and outcome looms large on the horizon
to see where such a move would place the Crown.
ose deaths at Pike River were completely avoidable if the
Government's regulator had been doing its job. Patently it was not on
watch or up to the job, and that is a fault of the Crown.
e other matter related to Pike River is the news that TV One has
an image purportedly showing a body lying within the mine.
e news that there is a photograph is not a revelation, but it is
reprehensible that any party would release such an image publicly.
ere is no need for it. We hope cool heads and common sense
prevails at TVNZ.
It would serve no purpose to have such an upsetting image aired on
national television, and whoever is releasing such information to the
media should stop and re ect on their decision to pass on this image
to a television station. It was the wrong one.
Any person who genuinely wants to progress the reparation issue for
the families should contact their MPs and make their feelings known
in no uncertain terms. Shame them, remind them of the history of
what led to this disaster. eir memories need a jolt and some need to
be shown the record of their vote.
Election year nears --- only then will they will sit up and take notice.
Five decades after shots rang
out from the Texas Book
Depository, the United States
today will honour President
John F Kennedy, whose
assassination is often said
to mark the death of American
Kennedy was the fourth US president to
be killed in o ce, but the rst whose death
was caught on lm and replayed repeatedly
to a shocked nation.
An acclaimed orator and the rst
president of the television age, his death
part-way through his rst term at the age
of 46 froze him in time as a great symbol of
promise never realised.
e o cial account, based on four
detailed investigations, records that he was
felled by shots red by Lee Harvey Oswald,
a troubled 26-year-old Marine Corps
veteran turned Soviet defector.
But to this day, many remain unwilling
to accept that a lone gunman's seemingly
deranged act could have had such a historic
Many believe Oswald was either framed
or working for a broader conspiracy, and
their doubts have fed a sizeable industry
of conspiracy-themed books and
But, while Americans remain divided
over the cause of Kennedy's death, they are
remarkably united in seeing him as a great
gure despite his limited time in o ce.
A Gallup poll to mark the anniversary
found that three-quarters of voters still
rate him positively, placing him rstamong
the presidents between the time of his
immediate predecessor Dwight Eisenhower
and that of his current successor, Barack
And although Kennedy died when the US
was in a nuclear stand-o with the Soviet
Union, playing catch-up in the space race
and mired in a war in Vietnam, many look
back with nostalgia on the glamour and
promise of his administration.
His wife, Jackie Kennedy, seen by millions
on that November 22, 1963, distraught in
a blood-spattered pink Chanel suit, has
remained an iconic gure, and his surviving
family members are leading characters in
the American drama.
While many gures in his wealthy
Boston Catholic clan have been touched
by scandal, others achieved immortality of
One of the slain president's brothers,
his attorney-general Robert Kennedy, was
himself assassinated in 1968 and the other,
Ted Kennedy, was a veteran gure in the
Kennedy's daughter Caroline will be
absent from the anniversary ceremonies,
but only because she has just set o for
Tokyo as Washington's ambassador.
Events large and small, public and private,
respectful and conspiratorial will mark his
passing, focused on three cities, the Boston
of his family power base, the Washington
of his White House victory, and Dallas,
where his assassin struck.
Yesterday, leading Democratic Party
gures --- Obama and First Lady Michelle
Obama and former president Bill Clinton
and former rst lady Hillary Clinton,
Obama's heir apparent --- honoured him
during a ceremony at Arlington National
Cemetery just outside Washington.
Both presidents have already paid
Kennedy the most telling tribute of all
by co-opting his legacy in their own
campaigns for o ce.
Clinton had the good fortune to be
photographed meeting Kennedy in the
White House Rose Garden in July 1963,
and has reminisced about how he set his
own eyes on the presidency after shaking
Obama accepted Kennedy's torch of
Democratic idealism in a key moment
of the 2008 campaign, receiving the
endorsement of Senator Ted Kennedy at
American University in Washington.
In Dallas, where Kennedy nostalgia
remains a mainstay of the tourist economy,
bells will be rung at 12.30pm, the moment
of the shots, and a ceremony will be held at
the scene in Dealey Plaza.
Americans who cannot make it to the
ceremonies, or who are not among the tens
of thousands who visit Kennedy's grave in
Arlington each year, can at least enjoy an
explosion of the already vast cultural output
trading on his name.
Even though an estimated 40,000 books
have already been published on the young
leader, dozens more hit the shelves this year
in the run-up to the anniversary, and at least
two more television series are due to air.
Some deal with his behind the scenes
life in his mythic household, the so-called
"Camelot", including his many marital
Others deal with the alleged conspiracy
behind his death, and one full-blown
historical counterfactual imagines the
America of today had he lived.
e Pike legacy US still in
How events unfolded in the run-up to, and
aftermath of, the shooting of US President
John F Kennedy on November 22, 1963:
11.39am - Air Force One arrives at Dallas's
Love Field with the president and his wife
Jacqueline Kennedy and Texas Governor
John Connally and his wife aboard. Vice-
president Lyndon Johnson and his wife arrive
on a separate plane. During the 16km tour of
Dallas, the president and Mrs Kennedy and
the governor and Mrs Connally ride in an
open convertible limousine.
12.20pm - e presidential limousine
enters Dealey Plaza.
12.30pm - Shots are red from a sixth-
oor window as the limousine passes the
Texas School Book Depository. Kennedy and
Connally are both wounded and rushed to
Lee Harvey Oswald is confronted by an
armed Dallas policeman, Marion Baker, in
the depository second- oor lunchroom up
to 90 seconds after the last shot was red. In
the lunchroom Oswald is identi ed by the
superintendent of the building and released.
12.33pm - Oswald leaves the Texas School
Book Depository before it is sealed o .
12.40pm - A Catholic priest performs the
last rites for Kennedy.
1pm - Kennedy is pronounced dead.
Oswald arrives back at his boarding room,
and according to housekeeper Earlene
Roberts, leaves three or four minutes later.
1.07pm - News of the shooting causes the
New York Stock Exchange to halt trading
after an $11 million ood of sell orders.
1.15pm - Dallas police o cer J D Tippit is
shot dead about a kilometre from Oswald's
rooming house, witnessed by 13 people. By
that evening, ve witnesses identify Oswald
in police line-ups, and a sixth identi es him
the following day.
1.22pm - A ri e is found on the sixth
oor of the Texas School Book Depository
1.33pm - Acting White House press
secretary Malcolm Kildu makes the o cial
announcement of the president's death.
1.35pm - Oswald is seen by Johnny Brewer
going into the Texas eatre.
1.40pm - Almost two dozen policemen,
sheri s, and detectives in several patrol cars
arrive at Texas eatre because they believe
Tippit's killer is inside.
1.55pm - Oswald is arrested at the Texas
2.04pm - A bronze casket carrying the
president's body, accompanied by Jacqueline
Kennedy and the Johnsons, leaves for Love
Field to be carried to Washington DC on
board Air Force One.
2.25 pm - Oswald is interrogated for
more than 90 minutes, taken to a line-up,
interrogated for another hour and forty- ve
minutes, taken to another line-up, then a
third line-up, then interrogated again.
2.39pm - Lyndon Johnson is sworn in on
the runway of Love Field aboard Air Force
One. Witnesses include Jacqueline Kennedy
and Johnson's wife, Claudia "Lady Bird"
6pm - Air Force One arrives at Andrews
Air Force Base, Maryland. e co n bearing
the president's body is taken by ambulance to
Bethesda Naval Hospital for an autopsy.
7.05pm - Oswald is charged with "murder
with malice" in the killing of police o cer
11.26pm - Oswald is charged with the
murder of Kennedy.
Oswald is interrogated.
9.30am - Oswald is interrogated again.
11.21am - As Oswald is being transferred
from the Dallas city jail to the county jail,
nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoots and
kills him in the basement of Dallas Police
headquarters. November 25
President Kennedy is buried at Arlington
National Cemetery with full military
honours and representatives from more than
90 countries in attendance.
Jack Ruby is indicted in Dallas for the
murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. He is later
convicted, has the conviction overturned on
appeal and dies of cancer in 1967 awaiting a
new trial. November 29
Johnson appoints the President's
Commission on the Assassination of
President Kennedy, called the Warren
e Warren Report is released with the
following conclusions: " e shots which
killed President Kennedy and wounded
Governor Connally were red from the
sixth- oor window at the south-east corner
of the Texas School Book Depository", and
"the shots which killed President Kennedy
and wounded Governor Connally were red
by Lee Harvey Oswald".
e US House of Representatives Select
Committee on Assassinations (HSCA),
established in 1976 to investigate the
assassinations of Kennedy and Martin
Luther King Jr, publishes its report,
concluding that Kennedy was very likely
assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.
How events unfolded:
United States President John F Kennedy, centre, rst lady Jacqueline Kennedy, right, and Texas Governor John Connally, left, and
his wife are pictured riding in the presidential motorcade moments before Kennedy was shot in Dallas,Texas, in this image taken on
November 22, 1963.
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