Home' Greymouth Star : December 27th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, December 27, 2013
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uLetters to the editor
1831 - Naturalist Charles Darwin sets out
on a voyage to the Paci c aboard the HMS
1949 - e Netherlands' Queen Juliana grants
Indonesia sovereignty after more
than three centuries of Dutch rule.
1956 - United Nations eet begins
clearing the Suez Canal after the
1970 - e musical Hello, Dolly!
closes on Broadway after a run of
1979 - Soviet forces seize control of
1985 - American naturalist Dian Fossey, who
studied gorillas in the wild, is found hacked to
death at a research station in Rwanda.
1997 - Billy Wright, one of the most feared
Protestant guerrilla leaders in Northern
Ireland, is shot and killed in prison by inmates
belonging to an Irish Republican Army
2007 - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir
Bhutto, 54, is killed by an attacker who shot
her after a campaign rally.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Johannes Kepler, German astronomer
(1571-1630); Louis Pasteur, French scientist
(1822-1895); Louis Brom eld,
US novelist (1896-1956); Marlene
Dietrich, German actress (1901-
1992); John Amos, US actor
(1939-); Mick Jones, British
musician (Foreigner) (1944-);
Gerard Depardieu, French actor
(1948-); T S Monk, jazz drummer/
vocalist (1949-); Chris Mainwaring, Australian
rules footballer (1965-2007); Emilie de Ravin,
Australian actress (1981-).
"Some men rob you with a six-gun --- others
rob you with a fountain pen."
--- Woody Guthrie, American singer/
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say,
Rejoice." --- (Philippians 4:4).
Mundy, of Masters
was chosen as Miss
West Coast 1963 at the Cobden-Kohinoor
Rugby League Club's Boxing Day gala
yesterday at Centennial Park, Cobden. She
was selected from eight candidates in the
contest which was the major attraction of the
gala. Before giving their decision the judges
commented on the high standard which had
been attained. Points were given for dress,
deportment and personality.
ree 18-year-olds were placed rst, second
and third. Miss Mundy was placed ahead of
another Greymouth girl, Miss Mer vyl Nelson,
of Milton Road. ird was Miss Gay Carr, of
e district lost one of its pioneering
residents with the death on Tuesday of Mr
Samuel Cameron. Mr Cameron was born in
County Antrim, Ireland, 91 years ago and
arrived in New Zealand, to Southland, as an
infant, shifting to Kaiata 89 years ago. After
working in axmilling at Foxton, he returned
to work in the timber industry on the Coast
before becoming a farmer at Kaiata.
Mr Cameron is survived by his wife Isabella,
a member of the Weenink family, two brothers,
omas (Greymouth), Oliver (Kaiata) and one
sister (Mrs W Stewart, Kumara).
e death occurred in Greymouth on
Tuesday of Mrs Edith Pattinson, formerly a
mayoress of Runanga during the term of her
husband, the late Joseph Falcon Pattinson. She
was in her 83rd year.
Mrs Pattinson is survived by three sons,
Ernest, John and Robert, and one daughter,
Miriam (Mrs L Grogan). Mr Joe Pattinson
(Greymouth) is a grandson.
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
Healy s view
It arrived, as I rather expected it
would, with a whimper --- not a
bang. Just as well really. Changes
in the way we govern ourselves; in
the hardwiring of the state itself;
are not the business of hand-picked
appointees --- no matter how grand.
Constitutions are not made by
e report of the Constitution
Review Panel, a concession
extracted from the National
Government by their Maori Party
ally in 2008, o ered little more by
way of a nal recommendation
than that the "conversation" on
constitutional matters, which the
panel itself had kicked o , should
what else could the panel have
recommended? ere was ---
and is --- no public clamour for
constitutional reform from the New
Zealand people and the very best
e orts of the panel to interest the
public in its work fell spectacularly
at. Indeed, about the only thing
the panel could have done to elicit
the popular buy-in it so desperately
wanted would have been to
bring down a report suggesting
something other than maintaining
the status quo.
Predictably, the worthy ladies
and gentlemen of the panel
attributed this lack of interest to
New Zealanders' general ignorance
of matters constitutional --- a
de cit they proposed to rectify
by encouraging the teaching of
civics courses in our primary and
A good idea? It depends on
whether or not you agree that
New Zealanders are ignorant of
their constitutional arrangements.
Personally, I think the New Zealand
people have a pretty good grasp of
the way their system works.
As far as most New Zealanders
are concerned, their rights and
freedoms; their ability to e ect
political change; the resilience of
their democratic culture; all ow
from the same source: a House of
Representatives directly elected by
the people for a three year term.
at is it. Popular sovereignty via
Parliament. No more need be said.
Luminaries like Sir Geo rey
Palmer may lament this state
of a airs and call for "A written
constitution, including the Bill
of Rights entrenched so that
Parliament cannot ride roughshod
over it, meaning the courts can
enforce it against the Government"
but, as the Constitutional
Panel discovered to its obvious
dismay, New Zealanders are
not in the least bit interested in
curbing Parliament's powers to
"ride roughshod" over anyone
and anything that stands in its
Government's way. Nor are they
willing to cede to an unelected
judiciary the power to second-guess
and/or overrule the will of the
ose who seek to complicate
New Zealand's constitution do so
for reasons that have little to do
with democracy. On the contrary,
it is precisely with its radically
democratic e ectiveness that most
"reformers" take issue.
New Zealanders No 8 wire
constitution may be inelegant and
lacking in checks and balances ---
but it is ours. Meddle with it at
your own risk.
̌ Chris Trotter is an independent
Aquatic centre hours
I would like to register my utter dismay
at the reduction in opening hours at the
Greymouth aquatic centre during this busy
holiday period, December 24 to January 5.
While I appreciate that sta cost extra
money on statutory holidays, the argument
cannot be used on any of the other days
that have been shortened. I rst thought
these hours were organised to suit sta
and management at the pool, but when I
mentioned it to one sta member, they had
not been consulted and were happy to work
whatever hours were o ered to them.
In the space of 24 hours, three pool users
commented negatively to me about the
restricted Christmas hours, simply because
they know I am a user myself and proud
of our facility. It seems no consideration
has been given to regular pool users who
come after their normal working day, or the
many visitors and holiday makers who will
descend upon our area, starting today (ask
any tourist operator).
Basically, the last entry for a swim is at
4pm, unless you arrive and leave in your
togs, do not use the showers/toilets and just
go for a quick dip.
Considering the volunteers' input in the
original development of this multimillion
dollar facility and the yearly ratepayers'
contribution to keep it going, every e ort
should be made to facilitate its use. I
believe reducing the opening hours at the
busiest time of year will not increase the
numbers and will have no noticeable e ect
on the overall yearly cost of running our
I trust this is a one-o that will not be
repeated and that every e ort will be made
to encourage locals and visitors to regularly
use this brilliant facility by o ering user-
friendly opening hours all year round, but
particularly when numbers in our district
swell. A closing time of 8pm in the summer
would not go amiss.
e statistics re road deaths and accidents
are quite clear --- 98% plus of accidents
are due to human error. We, as a nation,
are lumbered with people whose driving
standards are deplorable and leave a lot to
Spend any time where vehicles are driven
and this will become abundantly clear.
ere is a lack of concentration to the
task in hand, few drive according to the
conditions that their limited skills can cope
with, and at least half lack anticipation.
Bad habits developed in town driving
are taken into the country, where greater
speeds and slow reaction times spell disaster
in many cases. Many readily lay the blame
elsewhere, refusing to accept responsibility
for their own inadequacies.
e Road Code is quite clear: 'Drive
according to the conditions'. Failure to do
so, be it weather, road conditions or skill
levels, will turn around and bite you double
As I write this, a stationwagon crossed the
railway line, ignoring the stop signs, which
may possibly be excused given that a brown
dog, sitting in the driver's seat and hanging
out the window probably can not read and
no doubt has not got a driver's licence.
Bill van Halewyn
I agree with Mr Neame (Greymouth Star,
December 21), the GPs I have spoken to
do not want a 'one stop shop'; I do not want
I have su ered the consequences of this
idiotic scheme in the United Kingdom.
You cram all the sick people in one room
with all the healthy people, and that is how
epidemics start. ere are people coughing
and spluttering all over the place, babies
crying, children running about all over the
place --- not the sort of place we oldies
want to be in. I would be going down to
Hokitika to the doctors.
Anyway, who is this Dr McCormack?
Is he trying to emulate John Key? I have
news for him, we the people do not like his
attitude. Taxpayers have rights.
Pike River health
Re Maggie Ney's letter to the editor
(December 23). Just to clarify my letter, I
did not blame Mr Rockhouse, what I said
was 'not one person was to blame for what
happened at Pike River'.
I thank Maggie Ney for clarifying Mr
Rockhouse's job, although I can not
really understand how you can 'create and
write safety policies' but not 'oversee and
implement' them. I do not profess to be a
health and safety manager, but it seems to
me there is something very wrong with that
But as we have learned over the past three
years that 'something wrong' list is extensive
at Pike River, probably longer than the list
of names at Pike River under the heading
'all care, no responsibility'.
Cradle of Christianity
For 1700 years, a church has stood over
the cave where Jesus is believed to
have been born.
e Church of the Nativity is
Christianity's holiest site after
Jerusalem's Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, built on the believed site of Jesus'
cruci xion and resurrection.
Located in Bethlehem, in the southern West
Bank, the historic, fortress-like limestone building
has seen no serious maintenance done in recent
times, prompting UNESCO last year to place it on
its list of endangered world heritage sites.
But this Christmas, the Church of the Nativity is
enjoying a special present. It is undergoing the rst
ever restoration in modern times of its ancient roof,
walls and windows.
Started in September, the renovation is essential
to prevent damage to precious mosaic art or, worse,
total collapse, warned the Palestinian Authority
(PA) which was instrumental in moving for the
e three Christian denominations that have
ownership of the church --- the Franciscan, the
Greek Orthodox and the Armenian --- have
constantly failed to agree among themselves on
renovating the church, and so they let it deteriorate,
year after year.
e PA, which has sovereignty over Bethlehem
under the Oslo peace accords of 1993, was forced to
"We told the three denominations, 'you either
agree among yourselves to renovate it, or we will do
it,'" says Ziad Bandak, a Christian Palestinian from
Bethlehem, who heads the PA committee charged
with the renovation.
When they failed, the PA told them, "'Step aside
and we will do it.' ey were happy," adds Bandak,
who is also President Mahmoud Abbas's adviser on
Christian a airs.
e renovation committee, which was set up in
2008, has so far collected 2.5 million euros ($A3.86
million) of the 15 or 16 million needed to renovate
the church from oor to ceiling.
Most of the funding comes from the nancially
strapped and donor-supported PA and some from
the Palestinian private sector.
Several countries such as Hungary, Russia, Greece,
Spain and France o ered only symbolic contributions,
most likely because they rst wanted to see if the
Palestinians were serious about the renovation and
transparent with the money, says Bandak.
So the PA went ahead with at least a rst phase,
scheduled to take one year to complete and cost about
3 million euros ($A4.63 million). An Italian company,
Piacenti, won the tender.
"We wanted everything to be by the book and
100% transparent," says Bandak. " is is the cradle
of Christianity and an international monument that
should be respected."
e church was rst built some 300 years after
Christ by Saint Helena, the mother of the rst
Christian Byzantine emperor, Constantine I. But it
was burned down in a revolt between the Jews and the
Samaritans some 200 years later.
e current basilica was rebuilt in 565AD by
Emperor Justinian I, and later added on to by the
Over the years, water has been leaking through
the ceiling and into the inner walls, leaving serious
damage, which was exacerbated by the snow storm
that struck the region last week and dropped more
than 50cm of snow over Bethlehem.
e walls and ceilings will be the rst to be repaired,
says civil engineer Imad Nassar. A wall painting of the
Virgin Mary has been covered for protection as the
entire ceiling is lined with metal and wood to hold it
up during the restoration.
e artwork and columns --- covered too --- will
come later when more money becomes available, he
"Our work in the rst phase concentrates on
preserving and safeguarding the archaic structure,"
As thousands of pilgrims from all over the world
descend on Bethlehem for the season, the work is
scheduled to pause from the day before western
Christmas Eve until January 8, the day after
Christmas under the Eastern Church.
en work is scheduled to resume again. At least by
next Christmas, Nasser hopes the walls and ceilings
will have a new and refurbished look. --- DPA
Our radically simple constitution
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