Home' Greymouth Star : January 10th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, January 10, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1862 - Death of Samuel Colt, rearms
manufacturer who invented the revolver that
bears his name.
1917 - Death of William Frederick Cody, US
army scout and Indian ghter known as Bu alo
1920 - e League of Nations is
established as the Treaty of Versailles
goes into e ect.
1929 - Tintin and his dog Snowy,
cartoon creations of Belgian artist
Herge (Georges Remi), make their
1967 - Edward Brooke, the rst black elected
to the US Senate by popular vote, takes his seat.
1968 - John Gorton, government leader in the
Senate, is sworn in as Australian prime minister
following disappearance of Harold Holt.
1971 - Death of French fashion designer Coco
1994 - Lorena Bobbitt goes on trial in
Manassas, Virginia, is charged with malicious
wounding of her husband, John. She's acquitted
by reason of temporary insanity.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Michel Ney, French soldier and most famous
of Napoleon's marshals (1769-1815); John
Dalberg Action, English historian (1834-1902);
Max Roach, US jazz drummer
(1924-2007); Frank Sinatra Jr, US
singer (1944-); Jim Croce, American
musician (1943-1973); Rod Stewart,
British pop singer (1945-); Donald
Fagen, US singer-musician (1948-);
George Foreman, US heavyweight
boxing champion (1949-); Pat
Benatar, US singer (1953-); Fran Walsh, New
Zealand screenwriter (1959-); Chris Smith, US
" e force that rules the world is conduct,
whether it be moral or immoral." --- Nicholas
Murray Butler, American educator (1862-
"Extol the Lord our God, and worship at His
Holy mountain; for the Lord our God is Holy."
--- (Psalms 99:9).
Department has hired
a Gisborne tuna vessel
Olwyn for a three-
week programme of research into tuna shing
along the West Coast coastline from Jackson
Quantities of tuna, although they probably
were not the blue n strain, have been sighted
in the Milford Sounds district by Greymouth
commercial shermen, one sherman Mr Fred
Newman said today. "We have seen them in
that area leaping out of the water and in quite
good quantities, too. But I don't think thery
were blue n but a smaller variety. We have seen
them right up Milford Sound as far as Bowen
Falls and in other parts of the sounds," he
Although Mr Newman had never actually
landed a tuna on a shing trip, a Cobden
sherman Mr Dick Marley was known to
have caught them. From what he knew of
tuna shing, it appeared in the light of the
Japanese catches, that tuna might "run" along
the southern coasts of the South Island. " ey
didn't have much success with their research in
North Island waters," he remarked.
Greymouth has produced evidence that
the extended unwelcome wet weather period
on the Coast and elsewhere has not curbed
the travelling activities and certainly not
the appetites of the Kiwi holiday public. An
indication of just how busy the Christmas-
New Year spell was came from the words of
one cafe proprietor who said it had provided
him with his biggest trading time for 17 years.
"It's been my biggest Christmas for 17
years and that's a long time," said Mr Harry
Intemann of the Boundary Street sh and grill
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
The British may have
created the world's rst
postage stamp, but it
was one of its Australian
colonies that initiated its
use for pre-paying the
delivery of letters.
New South Wales Governor Sir
George Gipps, unimpeded by a
doubting parliament, acted on his own
by announcing in November 1838 that
letters a xed with a 1.5-penny stamp
would be delivered free.
A few months later, British postal
authorities issued the famous Penny
Black for o cial use there.
e innovation was a boon for the then
300-year-old Royal Mail and its much
younger colonial cousins, in the business
for only 30 years.
And despite the technological advances
in the 175 years since, we are still sticking
postage stamps on letters.
e trouble for both the Royal Mail and
Australia Post is that we are doing it less
Digital technology has reduced the
demand for letters, placing signi cant
nancial pressure on a service required
by governments to deliver mail to any
domestic location for a xed price.
Letter volumes in Australia reached a
peak in 2007-08 with 4.6 billion items,
but in the ve years since they have fallen
by more than a billion. You have to go
back to 1994-95 for volumes so low.
In the United Kingdom, the number of
letters sent daily fell from from 82m in
2004 to 58m in 2013.
It is a global trend, with letter volumes
falling even faster in Europe, Scandinavia,
Korea, the United States and New
e parcel business, on the other hand,
is going through the roof on the back of
But unlike the letter business, Royal
Mail and Australia Post run their parcel
operations in a competitive marketplace.
And unlike the letter business, parcel
delivery is very pro table --- provided you
keep up with the competition.
Parcels generated $355m pro t in the
last nancial year for Australia Post,
compared with its regulated mail business
which reported losses of $218.4m.
To remain competitive in parcels, postal
services need capital to invest in new
technology and on delivery logistics such
as parcel lockers.
e Cameron government's reluctance
to provide Royal Mail with capital led to
its partial privatisation late last year.
In Australia, there are renewed calls to
consider a similar path.
Graeme Samuel, a former chairman
of the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission, has no doubts
about what should be done with Australia
"Of course it should be privatised, and
of course it will be subject to the mother
of all scare campaigns," he said this week.
His comments followed those of his
successor Rod Sims who, while not
naming Australia Post speci cally,
said remaining government assets
should be sold to improve
Its former chairman David Mortimer
concedes the postal service's letter
business will su er increasing losses
unless radical change is accepted by the
e Cameron government tried to
bridge the gap separating radical change
and initial community concerns about
It set a 90% limit on private holdings in
Royal Mail with at least 10% to be held
by its employees.
It also quarantined the post o ce
network from privatisation, keeping it in
a government-owned holding company
that itself retains a 38% share of Royal
Which is just as well, because the
British government appears to have
undersold its multi-billion dollar asset.
Royal Mail shares are fetching nearly
70% more than their oat price, short-
changing the government by about $1b.
Fortunately, its own stake is now worth a
Analysts estimate that Australia Post
could return the government as much as
$4b in a sell-o . But Treasury would also
lose the annual income stream that comes
from owning it.
In the ve years up to 2012-13, the
cumulative dividend amounted to $881m,
not as much as the $1.5b the government
received in the ve-year period before
e decline in letter volumes, combined
with the rising cost of maintaining a
huge network of post o ces and agencies,
threatens not only to reduce dividends to
government but also to inhibit Australia
Post's ability to grow the pro table parts
of its business.
To o set losses in its letters business, it
wants the government to allow the cost
of a basic stamp to increase from 60c to
70c in 2014.
It also wants approval to o er a wider
range of trusted services
--- especially Centrelink
transactions --- and for
an easing of limits on its
It's not hard to see why
Australia Post needs
more revenue for its letter
While volumes are
declining, it has to fund
a statutory universal
obligation that requires it
to be reasonably accessible
to all Australians on an
equitable basis, wherever
they reside or carry on
It also needs to ensure
standards reasonably meet
the social, industrial and
commercial needs of the
In metropolitan areas,
that means a daily week-
day delivery service to
every home and business;
in remote rural areas, it
means a weekly roadside
delivery at the least.
To do that it needs 4400
retail outlets, including
about 2500 in rural and
remote areas, and 2446
Australia Post argues
that the cost of postage
has not kept pace with
in ation, creating a 20c
gap between the price of
a stamp and the consumer
Despite its public
organisation, under its
chief executive Ahmed
Fahour --- a former
banker --- has been able
to invest heavily in its logistics network
and digital platforms.
It has bought Qantas out of the
StarTrack express freight joint venture
and is at the leading edge of the digital
environment, introducing 24/7 parcel
lockers and trials of digital mailbox
It has also outsourced many of its
post o ces to private licensees, an
arrangement that is being scrutinised by a
But Australia Post believes that various
interpretations of its enabling legislation
have caused the shelving of potential
commercial opportunities complementary
to its core business.
At the same time, other international
postal organisations, freed from
government-imposed limitations and
obligations, have been able to grow
substantial commercial businesses.
e Royal Mail experience is being
watched closely in Australia, especially in
light of various government reviews now
under way into competition policy, the
nancial services system and a commission
Graeme Samuel concedes that
privatising Australia Post is not something
that can be "thrust down the electorate's
"We will hear about how it will remove
ser vices from the bush, but if people look
at the arguments rationally, they just don't
Another former ACCC commissioner,
Stephen King, believes that the national
broadband network eventually will make
Presumably the postage stamp as well.
e rst postage stamp, the Penny Black.
Both my father and uncles always told
me that when the Chinese rst came
to Greymouth they lived in what were
known as dens around Arney Street.
ey were apparently very good workers
and years later, when some of them
passed away, they were buried at Karoro
A while later a ship was chartered,
which arrived in Greymouth direct from
China, the purpose of which was to take
several of the early dead --- and, I expect,
prominent Chinese folk back to be laid to
rest in China.
Unfortunately, the ship was wrecked,
either on the Greymouth bar or around
that area somewhere, and went down
with all hands, including those already
deceased. My dad was around 10 years
It would be good in what is planned to
happen to honour these early pioneers, as
well as those in Ross and Kumara, so that
Greymouth is not lost in the vision of the
early Chinese community and the part
they played in helping to establish our
town as well.
e ship referred to was the steamer
Ventnor, which set sail in October 1902
with 499 co ns of Chinese who had died
in New Zealand, as well as 5357 tons of
Westport coal. After leaving the West Coast,
the Ventnor sailed from Wellington bound for
Hong Kong, but was holed by a submerged
rock o Cape Egmont. e captain headed to
Auckland via North Cape for repairs, but the
ship was overwhelmed by water and sank o
Hokianga Harbour, with the loss of 13 lives
and its entire cargo of bones.
Greymouth . . .
I would like, through your pages, to
congratulate the three Greymouth dairy
owners who have taken a decision to no
longer sell tobacco products. As the article
in Tuesday's edition indicates, each had
their own reasons for this decision.
However, there is no doubt from a public
health perspective that their choice to stop
selling tobacco will bene t the health of
ese retailers are to be commended for
playing their part in helpng to bring us
closer to a Smokefree Aotearoa in 2025.
Dr Cheryl Brunton
Medical o cer of health
is letter is to acknowledge with much
appreciation the many donations and
ongoing support shown to us over this past
year, especially in regards to community
ministries, foodbank and budget ser vice,
family store and hotel ministries, annual
food drive and Christmas hampers 2013.
To the many members of our
community, retailers and bulk traders,
civic leaders, essential services, service
groups, schools, hoteliers, NGOs and
government agencies, we cannot express
enough the value placed on our developing
and growing relationships, along with your
kind generosity as we continue to assist as
many as is practical within our community.
As we as a community continue to move
forward into 2014, we pray that you will
each be abundantly blessed, and we again
o er our heartfelt thanks for supporting
us in our ongoing holistic care for our
God bless and kind regards always.
Captains Mark and Avis Owen and team
Salvation Army Corps
I read with interest the article about
the Blaketown lease row legal costs
(Greymouth Star, January 7).
Grey District Council chief executive
Paul Pretorius said the current case
had now cost ratepayers over $600,000.
is, however, is an extension of an
earlier challenge which would have
cost $200,000. e gures quoted do
not include sta costs, which have been
In my opinion, both parties are to
blame, being pig-headed instead of
sitting down and nutting something out.
It should not have got to the stage it did.
ese lawyers and advisory people are
While we are on the subject of
ratepayers' expenses Mayor Kokshoorn,
in reply to my letter 'council challenges',
says the Civic Centre is on expensive
Mawhera Incorporation land and is fast
approaching the end of its useful life. e
council intends building a new sports
stadium behind the aquatic centre, which
is on freehold land.
May I ask Mayor Kokshoorn how
much Greymouth ratepayers are paying
for rental on our Grey District Council
chambers and surrounds (water fountain),
both being on expensive Mawhera
Incorporation land also.
Having just extended the council
chambers there is no likelihood of
moving in the not-too-distant future to
more reasonable freehold land. Pity really.
Maybe the High Street Business Park
could well have been an option. But I
will not hold my breath, with Mawhera
Incorporation land prices forever
Do not spare the local ratepayers of
our district extra expense. Moving out of
town could well have been an option.
Grey District Council chief executive
Paul Pretorius responds: "Mr Dewar
raises three separate issues. I deal with them
Council as a local authority by law has
no option but to take all steps to recover
money owing to it. ere is also the issue
of fairness to other lessees but, because the
matter is still before the court, it would be
irresponsible for me to elaborate further at
e total amount of land rental payable
to Mawhera Incorporation as landowner for
council 's o ces, fountain, yard, parking and
Civic Centre comes to $112,814 (incl GST)
per annum. I do suggest that this would
have been higher had it been a commercial
landowner, as Mawhera Inc applies only
a 6% return on valuation, with the rental
xed for seven years.
Council indeed considered a new council
building on freehold land but discarded
this as an option because of the cost of a
green elds development. e High Street
Business Park is a quality development
on freehold land but these qualities were
re ected in its development costs in that it is
more expensive than in mid-Greymouth."
In reply to the letter of Michael Millar in
your paper of January 8, Mr Millar raises a
Council's actions in relation to
swimming pools is of course the result of
the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act, with
council being the regulatory authority.
Creeks and open drains (and there are
so many within the district) have no
recreational function and local authorities
have no legal responsibility to fence them.
On the same basis the Grey River and
every other creek and waterway in the
district is unfenced.
is, as Michael rightly points out, does
not prevent a toddler from drowning in
a creek or open drain. With fencing of
all water ways in the district nancially
and practically impossible, it reinforces
the reality that parents must at all times
exercise control over their children.
Like Michael, we do not want to have
Chief executive o cer
Grey District Council
It is with great interest I read that
something is nally going to be
done about the Mobil service station
intersection in High Street (Greymouth
Star, January 9).
What I do not understand is why a
roundabout has to be installed, as it would
be more logical to close the section of
Marlborough Street past the high school,
and close the northern exit from Mobil on
to High Street and make them go on to
Marlborough Street. is would be a hell
of a lot cheaper and could be done a lot
at way they could spend the money
on something that is begging for help, like
resealing Shakespeare Street that is in a
bloody mess and a disgrace to our council.
In response to recent news items
referring to Blaketown leases, readers
deser ve to hear both sides, yet neither Lee
Scanlon nor the Greymouth Star asked us
e Blaketown lease issue involves nine
lessees; a positive determination within
the Court of Appeal may see many more
present and past lessees getting involved.
Lessees consistently and repeatedly
o ered to meet with the council as
no lessee wished the council to waste
ratepayers' money on legal action. e
council rejected this in favour of expensive
and personal legal action against Doug
and Christine Banks only. Readers are
welcome to make their own minds up
as to whether the council was personally
motivated in taking this action against us
All rate arrears were paid by us to honour
our repeated assurance that, if proven
wrong, we would pay up; our word was
We are appealing the council's legal
action, as we believe the High Court
made serious errors in law and in fact that
a ect the rental. While it is complex, the
appeal includes but is not limited to the
High Court ignoring legal property rights
contained within the Land Transfer Act
1952, as these leases have been repeatedly
registered and provide the right of renewal
to lessees since the 1930s.
e council and their legal
representatives chose to argue in court in
2013 that these leases are not renewable
by lessees; this is in spite of overwhelming
evidence to the contrary, including Mr
Pretorius' own sworn a davit before both
a High Court and a Court of Appeal in
2002 and 2003.
As the council chose expensive legal
action against us alone, it will now be
for the courts to determine. All we can
promise is that we will not be bullied or
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