Home' Greymouth Star : December 18th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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uLetters to the editor
1862 - e rst orthopedic hospital was
organised in New York City. It was called the
Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled.
1865 - Slavery was abolished in
the United States.
1898 - A new automobile speed
record was set at 63kph.
1912 - e discovery of the
Piltdown Man in East Sussex was
announced. It was proved to be a
hoax in 1953.
1935 - A $1 silver certi cate was issued for
the rst time in the US.
1940 - Adolf Hitler signed a secret directive
ordering preparations for a Nazi invasion of
the Soviet Union.
1950 - Nato foreign ministers approved plans
to defend Western Europe, including the use of
nuclear weapons, if necessary.
1969 - Britain's Parliament abolished the
death penalty for murder.
1979 - e sound barrier was broken on land
for the rst time by Stanley Barrett.
2001 - In Seattle, Gary Leon Ridgeway pled
innocent to the charge of murder for four of
the Green River serial killings. He had been
arrested on November 30, 2001.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Joseph Grimaldi (1778); Christopher Fry
(1907); Willy Brandt (1913); Betty Grable
(1916); Alan Rudolph, writer and
director (1943); Keith Richards
(1943); Steven Spielberg (1947);
Martha Johnson (Martha and the
Mu ns) (1950); Elliot Easton ( e
Cars) (1953); Brad Pitt (1963);
Robson Green (1964); Tracy Byrd
(1966); DMX (1970); Katie Holmes
(1978); Christina MarÃa Aguilera (1980).
"Happiness is not achieved by the conscious
pursuit of happiness; it is generally the
by-product of other activities."
--- Aldous Huxley
"Repent therefore, and turn to God so that
your sins may be wiped out." --- (Acts 3:19).
before noon today,
the rst de nite
downward probe was
made on the big exploratory project which may
soon answer an all-important question in the
minds of West Coasters: Does oil exist under
the ground at Kumara Junction?
Before the gaze of local dignitaries and
spectators, the drill started rotating inside
the 150ft high rig which straddled the rst
Westland well of Shell-BP-Todd Oil Services
Ltd. e "spudding in" of Taramakau A had
"I'm impressed, but I'll be more impressed
when I see oil shooting up," said the Mayor of
Greymouth Mr F W Baillie. He added that it
would be a "great thing" if it proved successful
and the psychological e ect of this would
inspire a great deal of con dence on the West
ere is a possibility that two seismic survey
ships which are to arrive soon to begin a
search for potential oil-bearing strata along the
Manawatu and Taranaki coasts, may be used in
the water o the West Coast. Mr
J R Humphries, deputy public relations o cer
for Shell-BP-Todd, Wellington, said this on
the site of the combine's drilling operations at
Kumara Junction today.
"But let's see what we nd here rst," he
remarked. Mr Humphries said an o shore
survey was never taken unless land drilling
Well-known West Coast broadcasting
personality Mr Alwin (Hop) Owen is
to transfer to Wellington. He has been
in Greymouth for about four years as
a programme o cer and producer of
documentaries, but has also turned his hand to
parodies and comedies.
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
I read of the visit to Cobden by the last
of the Skeltons, and rang Max to tell him
he had hit the headlines in the Greymouth
Star (November 21).
As organiser of the Canterbury and South
Island jockeys football for over a decade I
came to be good mates of the late Frank
Skelton, who I took to Reefton gallops
after organising rides on Rajah, a horse
trained by Mick Conza. Frank ran third (to
Bob and Bill) in a six-furlong sprint, then
told me he had given the ride to younger
brother Max in the distance race, which
Max duly won, and paid £33. So sometimes
jockeys are poor judges, too.
I am incredulous to see that once again
the Grey District Council is questioning
the desire of the people of Runanga,
Dunollie, Rapahoe, Coast Road etc to keep
their own water supply, i.e. the bore supply
beside the Grey River.
As long as I can recall, the various
forms of council have tried to hook these
households into the very dubious supply
endured by the inhabitants of Greymouth.
As long as I can recall the residents have
said 'no thanks, we enjoy our fresh-tasting
water', and as long as I can recall, the
councils have ignored their wishes with an
attitude of 'we'll get you one day'.
Now they are at it again. What is it with
these people? Jealousy? As the Mayor
pointed out, the residents made their
desires clear last year, but this council wants
to them to do it all again, which in my
opinion is the height of rudeness. Also very
cunning, as they know full well that while
people can easily tick a yes or no vote, it
is another story wanting them to forward
written formal submissions, the idea of
which will be enough to scare many o .
e council is obviously counting on
getting very few submissions so they
can say, 'see, they do not really want that
supply'. Yes we do, for the umpteenth time.
Keep the foul-tasting, tainted Greymouth
supply --- we do not want it.
Grey District Council chief executive Paul
Pretorius responds: "Council must, as a rst
step, get approval from the ministry to not
have to exercise choices as to the water project
in December 2013. e intended consultation
will take place once the extension of time is
Council has no intention to re-poll the
Runanga area community on the Sid's
Road supply versus the Coal Creek supply.
e community has spoken and, unless the
community comes up with an input that is
markedly di erent from the earlier preference
for the upgrade of the Sid 's Road supply, that
is not going to change. e Sid 's Road supply
certainly did come up in the discussion at
council but only in respect to:
e actual cost of the Sid's Road upgrade
on the community will be lower than initially
e chlorine content in the Coal Creek
supply is overstated and will further reduce
once the ltration plant is operational.
e minister has clearly indicated the
Government's preference for a single supply
It is imperative that the community takes
decisions on its future based on all available
information being available to them.
As stated, council is not consulting on the
Sid 's Road supply versus the Coal Creek
supply. Council has, however, noted the need
among a growing number of residents in the
area for a holistic "picture" of what lies ahead
for that community.
I suggest that the success and ease of the refuse
recycling scheme in Greymouth has resulted
in Runanga residents wanting the service
extended to include them. is represents a
new cost on them and the residents involved
want the opportunity to review their nancial
commitment into the future. at is what
council is consulting the community on.
If the community, based on the information,
indicate the need for a re-prioritisation of
current capital programmes, so be it and
council will have to consider it. Council
nds the focus on informed decision-making
refreshing and is happy to comply. A letter to
each household will go out in the New Year
and this will include an invitation to make
submission to council.
I cannot comment on the references made
to "savings" of $90,000 other than to remind
everybody that the 1989 Local Government
Reorganisation had been forced upon the West
Coast authorities by the Crown. I am unaware
as to the identity of the person referred to and
leave the matter there. I trust that this puts the
matter into perspective."
For crying out loud --- a third try at
getting Runanga-Rapahoe residents to
change their mind about their water supply,
more like it.
During the last stoush in 2012 I
personally conducted a telephone poll of a
large percentage of residents and they told
me over and over that they did not want
chlorine in their water, they did not want
our supply merged with Greymouth and
they did not mind if it cost extra. Similarly,
there was a petition done on which only
one person signed that they did not want to
keep a stand-alone supply.
So why is Cli Sandrey, supposedly
'our' representative to council, making
suppositions about what would 'likely' be
chosen? He was not present at the public
meetings held on the issue and cannot
claim to know such a thing.
A $7 increase per household over the
amount stated in the long-term plan
hardly justi es this revision. When we were
polled the quote was $70 more at $250 per
household, and still the vote was clear.
A submission campaign will predictably
get even fewer responses than that rst
hijacked poll, which was deemed to be
insu cient in numbers, so how can that
be a good way to settle the matter? Why
would people want to engage in such
a process if their wishes are constantly
revisited and undermined?
e Ministry of Health also wants to
uoridate the nation's water supplies,
another matter rearing its ugly head. If the
ministry was really about health they would
be supporting us to have one of the few
supplies in the country that does not need
any chemicals in it, as we are privileged to
have. I for one am very grateful that this is
so. Not everything is about money.
In regard to the Runanga water supply. I
feel the same as our Mayor when he said it
would be a loss of faith to ask Runanga folk
e council can not ask for submissions
after already having three votes on the
water issue --- it would be idiotic. e
people of Runanga should think about
going to Campbell Live on TV3 and let
the rest of New Zealand know what some
council members think of their ratepayers
In the last vote 57% said 'no' to
chlorinated water and the same 57% said
'no' to joining up with the Greymouth
Runanga water issues
A while ago the wheelbarrow of uoride
was trundled out again --- we are beggars
for punishment. Now, their minister
has reappointed two persons from the
Christchurch area to the West Coast DHB,
and a third one from some Maori group,
Rekohu/Chatham Islands, also foisted on
to the DHB. Locals not good enough?
Now we come to uoride's cousin,
chlorine. It appears that there is thought
again of supplying Runanga with
chlorinated water. At the meeting arranged
by concerned locals last year and was
extremely well attended, with both council
and a guest water expert, the issues were
thoroughly thrashed out, and some serious
issues were sorted.
Council was claiming that it cost a large
sum to do water quality checks. e guest
specialist in this eld shot them down ---
a huge hint that things were not right.
Further, council informed those present
that the regional council had responsibility
for the source of contamination, and that
for the Grey council to do anything was
going to cost Runanga ratepayers.
I, and others present, in no uncertain
terms told the Grey District Council
members that it was a regional problem
that the regional council was ignoring
it, due to seemingly con icts of interest.
Anyway, Grey District Council was told
to go to them and tell them to sort it
including costs. Why should Runanga
ratepayers pay for regional council stu
I was told that the chlorine dumped in
our system caused some serious damage.
It caused hundreds of dollars damage at
our place; the uoride used was highly
e Greymouth water is rubbish, and
it looks like once again Runanga will be
asked to cough up to nance something
that looks decidedly dodgy. Has council
got a short memory? Did not a certain gent
assure that with the demise of the northern
ward board Runanga area ratepayers would
save $90,000 a year?
But it was not in our rates? ey keep
going up while the look of the town goes
down. en we have the cheek to expect
Runanga ratepayers to cough up more
money --- council should take it out of the
$90,000 a year saving promised to northern
J Von Hooker
Time to move on
e Pike River Mine disaster took many
lives and destroyed other lives it did not
take. But anger and bitterness and seeking
retribution against the company and its
o cers will break more lives and hearts
and cripple minds and souls.
It is time to forgive and move on.
We live in what is rapidly becoming a
world full of hard atheists. Forgiveness is a
Christian concept. Read a Bible if you do
not know what it means.
e decision by the Department of
Business and Innovation to abandon its
case against Peter Whittall is a further
example of the incompetence of this
department, and its predecessor the
Department of Labour.
I would speculate that the Whittall
defence team would have gathered a
bulk of evidence to demonstrate that
that department's actions, or lack of,
were seriously negligent, and that Mr
Whittall's decisions were in uenced by
them. is embarrassing situation would
have weighted the decision to abandon the
department's case against him.
I have huge admiration for the e orts
of Bernie Monk, and the families' team,
and I wish them success in re-entering the
mine. But I believe court action against the
Department of Labour is a necessity, and
evidence of their gross negligence will be
found in the documents, not in the mine.
e lessons of history have been ignored
by successive governments. An outcome
of the Strongman Mine disaster was the
strengthening of the mines inspectorate,
the Mines Department, and its regulations.
But in the late 1980s and early 1990s
this department and its regulations were
restructured out of existence. e mines
inspectorate was absorbed into the
Department of Labour, which itself was
seriously downsized. e loss of regulations
was addressed by a new Occupational
Health and Safety Bill, introduced by the
then 'Minister of Everything', Bill Birch.
Somewhere in the midst of this were
mining regulations, but there was a lack of
people or money to enforce them.
Immediately after Pike River, the
Government under today's Minister
of Everything, Steven Joyce, replaced
the Department of Labour with a new
Department of Business and Innovation.
Somewhere in the bowels of this is a labour
function, and somewhere in that is a new
High Risk Unit.
How long will it take before budgetary
pressure drives this new unit back to pre-
Pike River conditions? I rmly believe that
the only way to ensure governments take
work place safety seriously is to hold them
to account by dragging them before the
courts, and making them pay.
I would respectfully recommend this
course of action to Bernie and his team, and
would value their feedback.
Having perused the new Health and
Safety in Employment (Mining Operations
and Quarrying Operations) Regulations
2013, an outcome of the Pike River Mine
disaster, could a 'competent person' from
within the Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Enterprise, enlighten me why longwall
mining is mentioned often, yet no longwall
extraction takes place in New Zealand?
It was used at Huntly West years ago,
but that was unsuccessful due to geology.
Much of the new regulations appears to
have been cloned word for word from
Australian regulations. New Zealand does
have di erent issues.
Aside from CMs --- continuous miners
--- hydraulic monitor extraction is the
favoured method in New Zealand's bigger
mines, or it was until Pike River exploded
and Spring Creek was mothballed.
is method and the caving that results
because of the void that is left, was
considered by the Royal Commission as
being the likely source of gas that resulted
in the explosion at Pike River Mine.
Why, then, is there is no mention of
hydraulic monitor mining in the new
regulations, given the tragic lesson and
its now obvious dangers, or did I miss
Another issue was Pike River's single 55m
'escape ladder'. Technically such a structure
is 'walkable,' as described in the new
regulations --- if one 'walks' by climbing.
ere are Aussie --- and were, New
Zealand --- standards for ladders in
coalmines, but with no reference in the new
regulations prohibiting what Pike River
Coal constructed in its escapeway, does
this mean little has really changed and an
operator could still install a similar ladder
in an underground coalmine, far in excess
of what was accepted in the past?
With heights, the accepted standard for
a ladder was 9-10m maximum, before
a platform and then more like-ladder,
Pike River questions
As a visitor to the West Coast I get to
talk to all sorts of people. e last time I
visited I talked to a still employed mining
contractor who was reliably informed
about certain areas of knowledge about
the Pike River Mine disaster that are not
public. One is that very few of the video
images have been released of the pictures
taken via a video camera dropped down
the access holes drilled down into the
mine working areas.
I believe that one of these images shows
dead miners with empty, opened oxygen
cylinders all around them. Could the
authorities controlling these images care
Also, I believe that a certain section of
the workings are only some 40m away
from the surface, and that a Mines Rescue
team wanted to bore an emergency
drive through, but that DOC vetoed the
attempt. Would DOC care to comment?
In reply to Ian Young, manager of
corporate ser vices Grey District Council, re
the article of November 8.
In reply to your article on factual
inaccuracies, rst in my poor old mind this
means telling the truth, well I do not know
who is telling the truth as all my gures
come from the Greymouth Star and are
reported to be written by one or other of
October 30 you can discuss the statement
made by the Mayor, with him. His
statement written in the Star, goes exactly
as: ' e aquatic centre is a major success
story, attracting over 100,000 patrons each
en again, if you go and buy a Star
of November 2 you will nd a written
statement: e ratepayers currently stump
up $50,000 a year to meet minimum loan
repayments required by the development
trust. Not $25,000, as you say. Now this
sends a message to the ratepayer, that you
are only paying the interest on that loan
and the debt of the loan will be a burden to
the ratepayer for always.
Now, once again if you go buy a
Greymouth Star of September 12, 2012,
or maybe 2011, again you will see an
article con rming that the council made a
gift of $85,000 to the West Coast eatre
Sir, it might o end you me calling this
a private trust, but you should hear what
I call it when I am o air. May I suggest
you take the above matter up with those
who supply these gures, also if you require
a dictionary to nd the true meaning of
(factual inaccuracies) I have a spare one you
may borrow. While about it, check on the
words 'charitable trust' and you will nd the
ratepayer is the only one who conforms.
Sir, I do not give a stu about who
tells lies as long as us ratepayers are not
clobbered with the debt. Tell me what
percentage of the council's total income
goes just paying interest on the loans they
have taken out? When will the debt of the
original loan for the oodwall be satis ed?
As we pay to keep this 'private trust' in
pocket money, name those who have their
Sir, the Regent is a 'must have'. It
must be monitored strictly and have the
Please stop treating us like mushrooms,
feeding us the old fertiliser and trying to
keep us in the dark. We demand respect
from you lot.
PS. May I take this opportunity to
wish all a Merry Christmas and become
invigorated for the New Year.
Grey District Council corporate services
manager Ian Young responds: " e previous
response provided the clari cations to a
misinterpretation of council 's nances. To
answer Mr Molloy's speci c questions:
'Tell me what percentage of the council's total
income goes just paying interest on the loans
they have taken out?' e additional funding
provided of $50,000 per annum covers interest
and principal repayments of one of the loans
taken out by the West Coast eatre Trust.
$50,000 represents 0.18% of council's total
income for 2012-13.
'When will the debt of the original loan for
the oodwall be satis ed?' e Grey District
Council does not carry any debt associated with
the original construction of the oodwall. As
the West Coast Regional Council is responsible
for the structure, any queries regarding this are
best addressed to them.
'As we pay to keep this 'private trust' in pocket
money, name those who have their hand out.'
I can only reiterate that the Regent eatre
operates as a charitable trust, and any support
from the council does not provide any private
bene t to a trustee. As a charitable trust, it
is publicly available as to who the trustees
are. Grey District Council currently appoints
two of the trustees and these are currently Cr
Brown and Cr Hay."
Cleaning up Cobden
rough your column I would like to
ask the top bosses of the Grey District
Council how often do they do road
inspections for pothole and other road
maintenance in Cobden? We have a
hole that is starting to appear in the road
outside my house, where they dug up the
road to x a broken water pipe and not
sealed it properly. Also, footpaths need to
them are full of holes as well. ere has
not been any road sweeper around to clean
up our gutters and they are getting very
untidy. Why has this stopped?
I would like a reply from the chief
executive please, as we are ratepayers over
Re the article in the Greymouth Star
of December 5, in which Bradley James
Wall was ned $1500 and ordered to
pay Westpower $5700 reparation for the
pole after he admitted charges of driving
with excess breath-alcohol and dangerous
How drunk was he, as the breath test
is normally revealed allowing rational
debate on drink-driving limits? Surely
he is one of the most irresponsible of
young men and can hardly be called a
'good man' when risking others' lives at
twice the legal speed in a residential area.
Is this symptomatic of West Coast binge
drinking or simply that his brain has not
developed su ciently to allow rational
decisions regarding his and others safety?
e debate last year regarding 18-years-
old as old enough to ght for their
country, thus buying a few beers was their
right, is fatuous. Once more we see how
Professor Sir Peter Gluckmann is dead
right. Young men do not have su ciently
developed brains to have 'responsibility' for
Of course, if a driver was on the ugly
drug 'P' he would be a scurrilous bad boy.
It is acceptable to nearly kill someone on
good old alcohol and be ned a measly
$1000, but hit a power pole and you get
Well done to Mary Molloy for keeping
on trying to get community issues aired
(Greymouth Star, December 6), despite
an ungrateful public having voted her
o the board while returning several
members who could, at the most kindly,
be described as nodders to anything
placed before them by the o -the-Coast
e endless in-committee (i.e. secret)
discussions of DHB matters recalls again
the statement made by an o cial speaker,
Wayne Brown, at the Wellington meeting
with the members of the inaugural boards
elected in 2001. At this meeting Mr
Brown stated that in-committee board
discussions, 'should not be necessary', one
of his reasons being that it was public
money that funds the health system so
the public were entitled to know what
e farcical situation which has seen
some Coast board meetings conducted
more in secret than in public is a sad
re ection on the entire proceedings over
the past 12 years. e Coast may well
have the only DHB board which has
never had a local person as chairman.
One has to ask why not --- and hopefully
Peter Neame may have that question on
Mrs Molloy made many e orts to
raise matters which the Christchurch-
Wellington authorities obviously wished
to suppress. She has my respect for her
e orts but she deserved better from the
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
rough you column we would like to
congratulate all those responsible for the
organisation of the Greymouth Christmas
parade, it was certainly a great occasion for
all concerned --- well done.
As we went around the town with our
buckets selling mystery envelopes the
smiles from the children and adults said it
all, great community spirit. A big 'thank
you' to all the retailers who supported our
Big Brothers, Big Sisters supports
children who may be at risk or need a big
brother to help them along the way, and
this exercise certainly helped us greatly.
If anyone still has a mystery envelope
ticket with a number on please call me on
768 6947 and I will arrange to have your
prize delivered. ank you to everybody
who supported our fundraiser, we will be
back next year.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
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