Home' Greymouth Star : February 12th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, February 12, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1502 - Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon,
Portugal on his second voyage to India.
1709 - Alexander Selkirk, Scottish seaman is
rescued after over four years from Fernandez
Island (inspiration for Daniel Defoe's
1719 - e Onderlinge van 1719 u.a., the
oldest existing life insurance company in the
Netherlands is founded.
1818 - Chile gains independence from Spain
1877 - US railroad builders strike against
1882 - Social-Democratic Union forms in
1885 - Carl Peters founds German East-
1894 - Anarchist Emile Henry hurls a bomb
into Paris's Cafe Terminus, killing one and
1914 - In Washington, DC, the rst stone of
the Lincoln Memorial is put into place.
1933 - German vice-chancellor von Papen
demands Catholic aid for Nazis.
1938 - German troops enter Austria.
1942 - ree German capital ships escape
through the English Channel from Brest in
France to northern Germany.
1967 - Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and
Marianne Faithfull busted for drugs.
1980 - Richard Hadlee becomes
New Zealand's top wicket-taker with
1994 - Edvard Munch's painting
" e Scream" stolen in Oslo.
1999 - President Bill Clinton is
acquitted by the United States Senate
in his impeachment trial.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Abraham Lincoln, US president (1809-
1865); Charles Darwin, English
scientist (1809-1882); Anna Pavlova,
Russian ballerina (1881-1931);
Omar Bradley, US general (1893-
1981); Lorne Greene, US actor
(1915-1987); Ray Manzarek, pianist;
Franco Ze relli, lm director
"Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts
bear bad fruit." --- James Allen, British writer.
"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears
My word and believes Him who sent Me
has eternal life, and does not come under
judgment, but has passed from death to life."
--- John 5:24
For the rst time
since the formation
of the Kotuku Surf
Life Saving Club in
1960, reel equipment had to be used to e ect
the rescue of two youngsters swept 150 to 200
yards from the shore by a erce southerly rip
o Karoro beach last evening. Afterwards the
club president Mr J Dixon issued a warning
to all swimmers not to venture more than 20
yards from the shore at Karoro because of the
e two youngsters, Peter Reedy and Bill
Bell, were exhausted on reaching shore and
both admitted they would never have made it
without assistance. e rescue team included
Michael Nolan, Maurice McDonnell, David
Minchin, Kevin Dixon, Barry Sweetman,
Robert Cain and John Fairweather.
e death of Mrs Edith Mitchell occurred at
the residence of her daughter, Mrs H Willis,
Dick Street, Reefton, early this morning. She
was in her 78th year. Mrs Mitchell was born at
Blenheim. She was a member of the Patterson
family of Reefton and went to Reefton as a
child. After her marriage she was one of the
pioneer women of the quartz mining town
of Waiuta. She returned to Reefton in 1919
where she had resided since. She was caretaker
of the Reefton District High School for several
Predeceased by her husband William, she is
survived by four daughters, Mesdames Edith
Ashley, Alta Methven (Blenheim), Milly Brett
(Westport), Hilda Wills (Reefton) and one
son, William (Whanganui). Her younger son,
pilot o cer Bert Mitchell, of the RNZAF, paid
the supreme sacri ce at the Battle of Malta in
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
After running one of
the world's biggest
and most controversial
private military groups,
Erik Prince is starting a
new venture providing
logistics for oil and mining companies in
remote and dangerous parts of Africa.
China is increasingly looking to Africa
to meet its ever growing demand for
natural resources. Trade between the two
reached an estimated $200 billion this year.
With 85% of Chinese imports from the
continent being oil or minerals, Prince sees
He wants to use his experience of getting
people and equipment in and out of
remote places, where there is little or no
infrastructure, to help companies looking
to exploit abundant natural resources in
places like Sudan or Somalia.
e 44-year-old former US Navy Seal
became chairman of Frontier Ser vices
Group (FSG) this month, a Hong
Kong-listed company of which China's
state-backed investment fund Citic owns
15%. Prince himself has share options in
the rm that would convert to a 9% stake.
e appointment is a remarkable turn-
around for a man vili ed by many as a
war-pro teer with blood on his hands.
Blackwater, which provided security for the
US government in Iraq and Afghanistan
and grew from a $6 million investment into
a billion dollar business, gained notoriety
after its guards were accused of killing 14
Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Iraq revoked Blackwater's licence.
In the political backlash that followed, the
US pulled its contracts and the Blackwater
empire which had been heavily reliant
on government work, began to crumble.
Accusations of tax evasion, illegal weapons
and more deaths followed.
Blackwater denied wrongdoing.
e rm changed its name to Xe Services
as Prince resigned as chief executive in
2009. He sold the rm in 2010, after which
it changed its name again, this time to
Prince seeks both to emphasise the
similar skills and people involved in
providing logistics in Africa with the work
Blackwater did, while also distancing
himself from the violence and the politics.
Planes are Prince's starting point. FSG
already owns a few planes and airstrip in
Kenya and is on the hunt for acquisitions
this year to build a pan-African network of
"We're starting in the aviation space
because I believe if you're going to operate
in Africa you've got to be able to move by
air. Commercial airlines are limited, roads
get washed out," he told Reuters in an
"If you're drilling in some remote area and
your rig goes down and you need a new
part for your rig; that's 10s if not 100s of
thousands of dollars a day. How do you get
that thing quickly and with no excuses?"
Prince, who has own since he was 16,
said he realised the potential of operating a
safe and reliable air ser vice a year ago when
the aircraft which was ying him back
from a mine site in Burkina Faso nearly
"A scary moment but also one of clarity,"
e planes will start by transporting
people and cargo before moving into
pipeline and route surveillance, and
mapping. Trucking and barging capability
are the next steps. Aviation was an
important part of the Blackwater
business, operating 70 aircraft.
Finding the people to y into and
out of remote and dangerous parts of
Africa is not an issue, Prince asserts,
drawing on some of the people who
used to work at Blackwater.
"I know a lot of people in the
aviation business, particularly ones
who will y to places where your
boots get dirty when you get out of
the airplane," he said.
Since selling Blackwater in 2010
Prince has been working as a fund
manager for his private equity rm,
Frontier Resource Group (FRG),
with investments in a re nery
in South Sudan and a mapping
company for early stage oil and
is gave him a taste for the
growing natural resources story, and a
sense that there was opportunity for
a much bigger player than the small
projects he was investing in.
"As I was moving around Asia
trying to raise money for this private
equity fund, a lot of the big investors
said, 'It's great that you want to be
a fund manager, but what we really
need you to do is to build a business
like you had before. Not a defence
services business, but one that can
help us operate in the challenging
areas and take away a lot of the
It is still very early days for the new
venture, and Prince would not be drawn on
the speci c customers he is courting or give
revenue forecasts. He said he was targeting
major oil and mining companies, as well as
So is this Blackwater part 2?
"It's similar," Prince replied. "But we're
not here to serve government or defence
projects, we're not there to build their
police force, nothing like that. We're there
to move an NGO, an advanced seismic
crew or a drilling crew from a mining
company, or if an oil operation needs their
camp supported and built." --- Reuters
Erik Prince, who is looking to provide security for oil and mining companies in Africa.
I am doing research on old trees in
your area, which have a story from the
early days of settlement. Many of these
stories are in danger of being lost and it is
important that they are recorded.
e trees are most likely to have been
planted by pioneers, but also may be
natives that have been here for even
longer. I would really appreciate any
contact from people who have this
knowledge and can relate the story, plus
let me know where the tree is situated.
Should you contact me, I would like to
meet with you and also to visit the tree
and take photographs. Please contact me
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 021
033 5645 or 03 547 9947.
I recently read on your front page
a liquor licensing application story
(Greymouth Star, January 31) and
wondered why on earth the medical
o cer of health had not objected to it
when the four private objectors had so
much damaging data about the e ects of
e answer came in the article 'Coast
boozing culture in focus' (February 5),
which, by the way, was totally devoid of
balance. It clearly shows that the DHB
did not object because it had no basis to.
e article slamming the '66 drunk'
people reporting to A and E, when
broken down actually paints a positive
story about the West Coast's 'alcohol
Sixty-six presentations a year equates to
just over one a week. Fourteen of these
required a hospital bed, just over one a
month. It hardly seems like a problem
to me. If I were a betting man I would
wager that there would be many more
admissions of pie eaters (obesity) and
smokers (cancers etc), but those gures
were not there for comparison. Why?
e 'alcohol problem' could have easily
been put in perspective had the writer
simply obtained the total number of
presentations to A and E for the year
and worked out a percentage, but these
were absent. Why? And what of a person
who has been drinking but was injured
while a passenger in a car crashed by a
sober driver? Surely the fact that he has
been drinking should not be held against
him but, at the DHB, it is. Similarly,
the housewife who has a glass of wine
with her evening meal and then twists
her ankle while traversing the mine eld
that Shakespeare Street has become
(Shakespeare Street could trip up Ed
Hillary). She goes down in the stats as
'lightly intoxicated'. at is balderdash
and so was the Laura Mills story. I look
forward to a follow up putting the record
To the community at large. Some people
have been making bad statements about
us to our face and behind our backs. is
has been done on Facebook, Twitter and
is has hurt me, others and our
business, people we work with and people
who give up their time to work alongside
us.All of us whom you have hurt have
some sort of disability. We do not hurt
you the way you people have hurt us,
and we respect each other. We are not
prepared to take the blame when it is not
our fault, but it is your fault when words,
and/or actions have hurt us.
Please be careful what you say and
do, as words and actions can hurt and
abuse others. Remember, unless you have
walked a mile in someone else's shoes, be
careful who you criticise.
Kea --- who is killing
Predators are unlikely to kill adult
females on the nest ( Josh Kemp, Dr
Graeme Elliot). It is not clear even that
young are taken.
Monitored kea were killed with normal
baits, and modi ed baits and then later
with bird-repellant baits in 2006, 2008,
2011 and 2013. ese operations were
either DOC or AHB/Tb Free/Ospri, or
Kea, whether habitual or not, will eat or
try to eat or play with or destroy, all new
things in their environment, or anything
that could possibly be food --- and this
makes them one of the most likely of our
many bird species killed by 1080 each
year, to be vulnerable to this eco-toxin.
While monitored kea have apparently
not died of 1080 in our beech forests,
several populations are no longer present
and following 1080 drops, populations
in Lake Alexander, up the Tummil River
and Mount Patriarch on the north bank
of the Wairau River (Hansen/Patchett)
Josh Kemp/Dr Graeme Elliot stated
that it was necessary to catch female kea
at the nest site to add monitors, whereas
males could be caught at car parks and ski
elds. erefore, you might be excused in
thinking that male kea are the ones being
killed because they are fed at these sites
(latest excuse for kea deaths). Documents
show that monitored kea of all sexes and
all ages are killed by 1080.
Who do you think is responsible for kea
Kea are considered among the most
intelligent parrots on earth. To suggest
that pellets which contain a repellant will
put the kea o eating food from tourists
or 1080 is absurd (Greymouth Star,
An intelligent bird with a naturally
inquisitive nature will sample anything
that smells palatable, and although it will
quickly learn that anti-kea pellets are not
harmful, there is nothing to suggest that
this will have any e ect on its desire to
scavenge from tourists.
Kea will never have a chance to learn
that 1080 is not palatable because any
kea that consumes this poison will
Blaming tourists for a kea's inquisitive
nature is o ensive, at best. DOC need to
take responsibility for that fact that when
they undertake aerial 1080 drops, they
cannot pick and choose which creatures
consume the bait. Unless they are willing
to put the money into innovative trapping
systems instead of half-baked 'schemes'
which completely disregard the natural
intelligence of the bird, the kea will
continue to perish at the hands of 1080.
e Okarito 1080 trial killed seven out
of 36 kea tracked, as stated by the '1080:
Facts' website. It may be that only 36%
of kea edge a chick in an area with no
pest control, but seven out of 36 adult kea
soon becomes a percentage in itself.
Somehow, tourists are bearing the brunt
of the blame for a kea's natural behaviour.
Why has one endemic native bird become
more valuable to DOC than the other?
Funding the new
Most people would like to see a new
Greymouth hospital, but not at the
expense of existing ser vices.
David Tranter suggested that a new
hospital should be funded from Reserve
Bank credit. e tragedy is that there
is no one left in Labour or National
who would have the slightest idea what
David was talking about. Winston Peters
mentioned recently about changing the
Reserve Bank Act to increase jobs and
New Zealand was the rst country
to peacefully create full employment
following the Great Depression of
the 1930s. We built roads, railways,
bridges, State housing, schools, hospitals,
government buildings, on and on,
so-called infrastructure. For 40 years
the Reserve Bank maintained a policy
of economic stabilisation, maintaining
full employment no matter who the
government was. en, under a Labour
government we got Rogernomics or
neo-liberal economic theory, followed
faithfully by both Labour and National.
What that means to our health ser vices
is that the new hospital will have to be
funded from the existing budget, leading
to a radical rundown in existing ser vices.
Loan and interest repayment on the
Dillmans hydro electric power scheme
led to the highest power charges in the
country. Such a situation in health simply
means fewer services.
Finally, this is election year so where
is Annette King, Labour's health
Health system in
e article, 'Nurses in dark on new
hospital', (Greymouth Star, February 4)
again highlights a tragic consequence of
National's corporatising of public health
system management in the early 1990s,
an approach continued under subsequent
Previously, nursing input was guaranteed
by such means as the senior nurse being
in the hospital management 'triumvirate'
along with the medical superintendent
and hospital secretary. What? No hordes
of executive Pas, planners, managers,
lawyers and computer-twiddlers? Yet
under the previous arrangement, our
public health system was the envy of most
countries around the world.
Apropos of this I noted in the
media some time ago that the present
Canterbury-West Coast DHB supremo
entered the health sector from an
unrelated occupation in 1993 --- the very
year that National's 'new way' became
Given their obsession with nance I
wonder if anyone told him that during
the previous decade the Canterbury Area
Health Board compiled a major study of
their rural hospitals, which found that
to run health services from small local
hospitals was 60% cheaper than running
similar services without a local hospital. I
also wonder whether any health minister
or party health spokesmen are aware of
that study? I doubt it.
It is obvious that politicians and
bureaucrats unaware of New Zealand's
health system history simply do not
understand there are other ways of
running health than burdening it with
self-ser ving bureaucratic empires while
ignoring nurses' crucial knowledge.
In my opinion, every health bureaucrat
should be made to read the biography of
that great New Zealand medical man,
Fred Hollows. ey would learn much ---
if only they brought an open mind to it.
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
e Grey District Council states that
it is the registered guardian of the land
in Blaketown for municipal purposes
(Greymouth Star, January 24), a
document written up by the council itself
as it does not come under a registered
government act. is is supported by
a letter from Land Information New
Zealand. How can our leases be governed
by a document that I believe has been
falsi ed and is therefore null and void?
e Sea Tow company provided the
Greymouth Port with both the tug and
the barge. e tug and the barge were the
responsibility of the council's port. As a
result of unquali ed negligence the barge
slipped its moorings, went down the river
and ended up on the beach. e Sea Tow
company took the council to court as a
e council were under-insured, as
stated by Mr Pretorius, and money had
to be located to fund the di erence.
Although this debacle was many years
ago it is still relevant to this day. As
our Mayor said, an up and coming rate
increase is to support our ailing port.
In regard to rates versus rentals, both
a ect the ratepayer. e council building
for a start is on leased land, whereby a
rental is paid. e ratepayer no doubt
contributes to these rentals and for land
that it does not own.
Furthermore, a former/ongoing dispute
between the council and ratepayers is
another cause for concern. As stated in
a previous letter, the council paid about
$600,000 in consultant/lawyer fees to
address a dispute whereby, as stated
above, our leases have been governed
by a null and void document. Based on
this, I believe the ratepayer has a right
to demand a refund of $600,000 for
What it comes down to, I believe, are
two words at the heart of the matter ---
perpetual leases. Perpetual leases being
set leases over a 21-year period following
which the leaseholder has the right of
Is this a case of Pinoccio between the
council lawyers and consultants where,
with every lie, the nose grows longer?
is letter was referred to Grey District
Council chief executive Paul Pretorius,
who responds: "My reply to Mr Curtis'
previous letter (Greymouth Star, January
24) covers the current letter. Mr Curtis
raised the same points as before."
Iona College centenary 2014
e centenary of Iona College will be
held on March 28-30. Opened in 1914
as a girls' boarding school, Iona College
is the oldest Presbyterian school in New
Zealand. e school was built on land
donated by Hugh Campbell and has been
a signi cant presence in Havelock North
throughout these 100 years.
Over the reunion weekend there will be
a celebration for all the students, sta and
families who have attended this school,
along with the changes that have taken
place in the buildings and environment.
In the week of the centenary, a dinner
for current students will be held in a
marquee set up on the playing elds. On
the Friday evening, the o cial opening
will take place, followed by a cocktail
party. e opening will include the
dedication of the Paul Dibble sculpture,
which has been gifted to the school by
the Iona College Foundation to mark the
centenary. Entitled 'Moving Forward,
Looking Back', the sculpture of the Iona
Girl welcomes visitors as they enter
the school grounds and symbolises the
students of the school making their own
passage from child to adult, moving
from the sanctuary of the school into the
world, with the possession of knowledge
Over the two days of the weekend, there
will be a centenary dinner in the marquee,
a photographic display encapsulating 100
years of life at Iona, decade photographs,
examples of uniforms through the
decades, student art displays, activities
and performances, a variety of on-
screen memories and a wide range of
memorabilia for sale.
Tours of the Performing Arts Centre
and the Information Resource Centre
will be be arranged so that visitors can see
how fortunate Iona is to be adding these
state-of-the-art buildings to the already
impressive facilities that make up the Iona
campus. e centenary will conclude with
a chapel service on the Sunday morning.
Registrations close on Friday, March
14. More information regarding the
Iona centenary and registrations can be
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