Home' Greymouth Star : December 23rd 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, December 23, 2013
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uLetters to the editor
1823 - e poem, A Visit from St Nicholas,
by Clement C Moore ('Twas the night before
Christmas ... ) published anonymously in the
Troy (New York) Sentinel.
1888 - Su ering from depression, Dutch
painter Vincent van Gogh cuts o his left ear.
1920 - French and British approve
convention xing boundaries of
Syria and Palestine.
1947 - e transistor is invented
at the Bell Telephone Laboratories
in New Jersey.
1972 - Earthquake strikes
Managua, Nicaragua, killing 10,000.
1995 - e charred bodies of 16 members of a
doomsday cult, the Order of the Solar Temple,
are found outside Grenoble, France.
1997 - US actor-director Woody Allen
marries Soon-Yi Previn in a small ceremony in
2000 - Death of comedian Victor Borge in
Greenwich, Connecticut, at age 91.
2011 - e Duke of Edinburgh, the
90-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth,
undergoes successful heart surgery.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Richard Arkwright, English inventor
(1732-1792); Joseph Smith, Mormon Church
founder (1805-1844); J Arthur Rank, British
industrialist- lm-maker (1888-
1972); Akihito, emperor of Japan
(1933-); Harry Shearer, US actor-
comedian (1943-); Quentin Bryce,
Governor-General of Australia
(1942-); Silvia, queen of Sweden
(1943-); Susan Lucci, US actress
(1946-); Grace Knight, British born
singer (1955-); Dave Murray, rock musician
with Iron Maiden (1956-); Eddie Vedder, lead
singer of US group Pearl Jam (1964-).
"Christmas is the season when you buy this
year's gifts with next year's money."
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that some have entertained angels
without knowing it." --- (Hebrews 13:2).
reporter who became
an intimate friend of
hundreds of people
throughout the West Coast, died in Auckland
on Saturday. He is Mr Jack McInroe, aged 51,
a recent victim of a serious illness. No one in
West Coast newspaper history made as many
acquaintances as Mr McInroe and his ability
to locate a friend in whatever district a news
story broke made him an extraordinary rival to
others following his calling.
Mr McInroe was born in Ikamatua, where
his mother still resides, and his father was a
coach driver in the early days of the province's
development. He joined the Grey River
Argus's reporting sta in the early 1930s and
soon revealed a talent for making contacts
trhoughout the district that won him a wide
and enviable reputation. Eight years ago he left
for the North Island to marry.
Besides his wife Valerie and two infant
children, Mr McInroe is sur vived by his
mother, two brothers and six sisters, most still
residing on the Coast.
ree yachts capsized on the Grey River
yesterday during Greymouth Yacht Club races.
Lotus, skippered by Ron Winchester, toppled
over two or three times and Ahab, skippered
by Melvin Wilde, and Secret, sailed by Fred
Cain, also aired their keels. A strong south-
westerly wind made conditions tricky for the
Six moth class yachts started in the fth
race for the Messenger Memorial Cup. Line
honours went to Secret with Maggi sailed by
Malcolm Neville, second. e P class trophy,
the Huston-Butcher Cup, was won by Rascal
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
This may be remembered
as the year smartphones
became boring. Although
high-de nition displays
on smartphones are bigger
and their cameras have got
better, the pace of innovation has dawdled.
Smartphone and software makers are
working on ways to snap out of this
technological lull, although it probably
will be at least another year or two before
breakthroughs revolutionise the design
and function of mobile computing devices.
In a foreshadowing of things to come,
LG Electronics is boasting about the
G Flex, a new phone with a curved
display. Previously available in Korea and
Singapore, the concave device has arrived
in Hong Kong.
"We want to claim this as the future of
smart devices," Ramchan Woo, the head
of LG's mobile product planning division,
said during a demonstration in San
If such visions are realised, smartphones
and tablets will be equipped with display
screens that can be rolled up like a scroll
or folded like a wallet.
Making the devices even easier to carry
around will be important if software
makers want to deepen the bond between
people and their phones.
e future smartphone "will be small
enough to carry with you at all times
without thinking about it, and it will be
essential enough that you won't want to
get rid of it", said Silicon Valley futurist
Paul Sa o.
e G Flex provides a peek at the shape
of things to come. Despite its name, the G
Flex isn't pliable.
e device is slightly bowed from top
to bottom, allowing it to curve toward a
person's mouth when used for phone calls.
It also has a cur ved battery, something LG
says is a rst for smartphones. LG applied
a "self-healing" protective coat on the G
Flex to automatically repair any minor
More than anything, the G Flex is
meant to begin the smartphone's evolution
from the primitive state of at screens. In
theory, the curved-screen technology will
lead to bendable screens, which will then
pave the way to foldable screens. If that
progression plays out, it would be possible
to fold a larger smartphone so it can easily
t into a pocket.
For now, though, the G Flex's size makes
it too cumbersome for most people to lug
around. It has a six-inch (15cm) screen,
measured diagonally, making it among
the largest phones out there. e cost also
will limit its appeal. LG introduced the G
Flex in South Korea last month for $1146.
LG wants to sell the G Flex in the United
States, but has not set a date or price
or reached distribution deals with any
Another Korean company, Samsung
Electronics, also is selling a concave
smartphone there. Unlike the G Flex's
vertical bow, Samsung's Galaxy Round
curves horizontally from left to right when
it is held upright. With a price tag of about
$1200, the phone is more an expensive
novelty than a mainstream product.
Like LG, Samsung is setting the stage for
bigger things to come. Samsung
vice-chairman Kwon Oh-hyun told
analysts last month that the company
believes it can produce a mobile device
with a foldable display by 2015. Samsung
appears to be working on two slightly
di erent concepts, according to two
analysts who saw prototypes.
An Apple blueprint for making a device
with a curved display was granted a US
patent last week, a development likely to
feed recent speculation that the iPhone
maker is working on a concave model. e
California company declined to comment.
Other device makers may show o
products with cur ved screens in Las Vegas
next month at the consumer electronics
show, where tech companies often unveil
Building smartphones with more pliable
screens will pose several challenges for
e battery, smartphone chips and other
key components will have to become
exible, too, so they can bend with the
e push to turn smartphones into more
intelligent devices appears to be further
along than the attempts to transform the
e technological advances could border
on the supernatural, according to IDC
analyst Ramon Llamas.
He expects the future relationship
between people and their phones to be
akin to ctional billionaire Tony Stark's
connection with the computer-controlled
armour he dons to become Iron Man, a
comic-book hero popularised in a trilogy
of movies starring Robert Downey Jr.
If Llamas is right, future smartphones
will become a person's navigator, security
blanket, counsellor and talisman. --- AP
LG Electronics says its cur ved G Flex phone has a protective coating that repairs scratches.
Smart learning curve
I would like to congratulate the
Andersons on such a fabulous Christmas
display located in Richmond Street.
Last week, when I took my girls to
see the Christmas lights in Cobden, we
received a warm welcome followed by
a tour of the light display through the
backyard and garage. Apart from the
fantastic view, we were grateful that even
during the late night hours, the Andersons
went out of their way to give our girls an
experience they will never forget --- such a
wonderful way to embrace the Christmas
spirit and cheer.
Pike River negligence
Fifty years ago I managed coalmines on
the West Coast of New Zealand. One,
Wallsend Mine, was under the Grey River
and adjacent to the old Brunner Mine,
and the other, Liverpool Mine, was up
in the Paparoa Range adjacent to the
Strongman Mine and not far from where
the notorious Pike River operation was
undertaken many years later.
As the mine manager I was responsible
under the Coal Mines Act and
Regulations for the health and safety of
the mine and all those who worked in
and around the mine. Any accident was
taken as prima facie evidence that I, the
manager, had been negligent.
Peter Whittall was the statutory manager
under the Coal Mines Act at the time
leading up to the Pike River disaster
and at the time of the explosions. e
mine, as is detailed in the ndings of the
Commission of Inquiry, was clearly unsafe
and should never have been permitted to
operate at all. But regardless of the gross
negligence of the Crown through the
Department of Labour inspectors, Peter
Whittall was the manager at that time and
in my view, should have known the mine
was a potential time bomb. Inevitably,
it did blow up and the only redeeming
feature is that there were not more men
underground at the time of the explosion.
It is very wrong that the Crown's
agents, namely, the Ministry of Business,
Innovation, and Employment and its
Department of Labour, can drop charges
against the manager, Peter Whittall. In my
view, under the Coal Mines Act alone, he
is guilty and he should have his coal mine
manager's certi cate revoked and have his
right to manage a coalmine ever again in
New Zealand taken away from him.
In the memory of all those who have
managed coalmines in New Zealand over
the past 150 years and of all the miners
who have trusted them and worked under
them, this is the very least penalty that
Peter Whittall should su er. And it is
clearly not acceptable that he could be able
to buy his way out of this by the payment
of $3.4 million.
rough your column I would rstly like
to pass on my condolences to the Langi
family. My question is, why has there
not been anything done about this bend?
ere have been three needless deaths and
a lot of accidents on this corner over the
e roading on the West Coast is
getting worse. ere should have been
safety barriers put up there years ago but
Transit will do nothing on the Coast. We
pay high fuel costs for roading but where
is our share? It is all going to the likes
of Auckland, while the bare minimum is
spent down here. I now call on Transit to
do something about this road and stop any
more deaths and stop the neglect of safety
on our roads here on the West Coast.
A West Coast
Once upon a time, in a land bordered
by mountains and sea, the peculiarities
of the voting system saw the small
population get three Members of
Parliament at the same time.
As this land had long received a
raw deal from the nation's nasty old
governments the three Members of
Parliament decided to put aside petty
party di erences, self-seeking ambition
and squabbling and make a united
stand on the oor of the Parliament,
demanding things that had long been
denied their constituents; these included
a disbanding of the awful DOC army,
which had been dropping poison all
over the countryside, and perhaps most
of all, decent health management and
no outsiders or political appointees on
their health board which was, after all,
supposed to be "making a di erence" ---
or at least, that is what an earlier fairy
godmother named Annette had promised.
And so it was that Parliament ---
and indeed the entire nation --- was
astonished by the spectacle of hitherto
bitter political enemies from three
di erent parties demanding better
treatment by government for their
constituents. In fact, it caused such a
hullabaloo that it went around the media
and encouraged other politicians to cease
their futile squabbles and govern sensibly.
And so this nation, whose Members
of Parliament had seemingly lost all the
ethical and moral values held by earlier
generations of politicians, regained the
humanitarian, common sense government
which all people, everywhere, are entitled
to.Well, at Christmas, I can dream, can't I?
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
health and safety
In response to Tammie O'Neill's letter
regarding Neville Rockhouse (Greymouth
Star, December 13).
I feel her pain. Her anger is very clear,
very obvious and has been for quite some
time. I share anger pain and frustration
collectively with all the families, as someone
I loved, died that day, too.
Who is to blame? Neville, she says, in
reading her letter. What was his position?
He was employed to create and write
safety polices, not oversee and implement,
although he did do what he could when he
could with whatever came across his desk
or he heard about.
Whittall. A man who was known that
anyone who did not agree with him, he
always got his way. Add in the Department
of Labour, who had few inspectors for
the whole country, who proved to be
inadequate. Who could shut down the
mine if Pike was not in compliance in their
eyes? No one other than Whittall, and he
was not about to ever do that.
e Department of Labour were the ones
who had the authority to shut the mine
down until the mine was in compliance
with their requirements. ey never set
milestones they would enforce. Who was
Neville to go to if he knew the half of what
so manydid,atthetime . . . theQueen of
Neville had years of daily diaries, along
with others, we painstakingly went through
the lot, agging instances where he "kicked
up a thousand stinks", fought for more than
you know and got nowhere. His evidence
in those diaries, e-mails, les, taken
immediately into evidence right after the
explosion, were in the hands of detectives,
judges and lawyers. It became very clear
very quickly who was not at fault.
e day of the explosion Doug White
knew about it right away, but where was
Neville? In his o ce, unaware there had
even been an incident. He was not even
noti ed by any upper management. At the
end of his shift he headed toward home
back to town on a bus, where his son Ben
was expected for tea. Well after the fact,
the bus was stopped and he was told. One
would think he should have been one of the
rst responders, alerted ASAP if he was 'in
charge'. is did not happen. Not even the
control room made him aware.
e Royal Commission had ample
evidence that, I believe, exonerated Neville.
It is written in their reports. Tammie really
needs to look elsewhere to nd any one
culprit. I realise her anger stems from the
loss of her loved one, I am truly sorry, but
to me she is barking up the wrong tree by
making Neville a target.
She mentions Neville was always in the
news media etc as, if he sought them out.
Neville was in the media trying to get them
to recover the mine and get the bodies out
--- including his son and Tammie's man.
Each time he has gone on (tv) or said
anything, it has not been for any personal
gain, it was and has been always to help
with the recovery, since all the rest of
management disappeared as soon as they
Neville told the truth from the word
go, he was interrogated --- one time I
remember for 15 hours --- his testimony
has never changed. Why is that? e truth
is the truth.
e pressure and grief on this man was,
and is, incredible. If Tammie ever thought
a father would for one minute jeopardise
his two sons, or any others, she is gravely
mistaken. He is a man of moral fortitude
and integrity. He could have left or ed
town, as did everyone else, and secured
another job before all this came before the
Royal Commission, but he did not. To me,
he was crazy to stay, but stay he has.
I do not think Neville should front up for
Tammie or anybody else, or go to media as
she suggests. I hope he keeps silent as to
not fuel this re.
Las Vegas, USA
--- Abridged. Editor.
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