Home' Greymouth Star : March 11th 2014 Contents 3
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TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2014
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Coast Kids Triathlon
Growing up in Waiuta
e Grey District Council has
awarded its chief executive, Paul
Pretorius, a $9585 bonus for
last year and set his new total
pay package for the 2014 year at
$207,404. e pay rise was set at
the in-committee session of the
February council meeting, giving
him a base salary of $172,000
and other allowances, including
a $22,700 car package, adding a
One-way tra c
An eagle-eyed West Coaster
returning from Christchurch on
Sunday said today the proof of the
worth of the Wildfoods Festival
to Hokitika was in the number of
cars on the road. Between Dar eld
and Jacksons, a passenger in his car
counted 860 vehicles going in the
opposite direction and, at a set of
roadworks lights at Castle Hill, the
140 cars waiting at the western end
stretched for over 1km.
Just under a quarter of census
forms lled out by West Coast
residents last year were done
on-line. Figures released today by
Statistics NZ show the Coast has
some of the lowest rates of internet
access in the country, with 68.8%
of houses connected, whereas
Auckland has passed the 80% mark.
Nationally, just over one-third of
responses were led on-line. People
aged in their 30s were most like to
complete the forms electronically,
Morning cloud then fine
(Supplied by Nelson Weather Service)
A council has been slapped down
by health and safety chiefs after
it refused to clear up dog mess in
a playground because of the risk
it posed to workers. O cials at
Tr a ord, Greater Manchester, had
said that telling groundsmen to
clear dog faeces from the play area
in Altrincham, a well-to-do suburb,
could expose them to disease.
Parents who asked the council to
take action over the mess were
told: "Unfortunately, the Council's
grounds maintenance team are not
allowed to tackle dog fouling by
hand (including spades) for health
and safety reasons." Furious at the
refusal, the parents complained to
the Health and Safety Executive's
Mythbusters Panel, which ruled that
Tr a ord had used an "unjusti ed
health and safety reason for not
clearing up the dog fouling".
--- Daily Mail
Students walk as free bus goes
A large number of Greymouth High
School students were late for school
this morning, deliberately missing the
bus in protest at losing their free bus
Of the 50 students from Cobden
who catch the Ritchies school bus,
only six are now eligible for a free ride.
Ritchies is contracted to the
Ministry of Education for school bus
operations throughout the country
including the West Coast.
One parent, Lynne Rodrigue, said
her teenagers had caught the bus from
Cobden for free over the past six years,
but now the family had to pay.
Mrs Rodrigue received a letter from
Ritchies a fortnight ago stating her
two children were eligible for the free
service, but yesterday that decision
"What's changed? I have never had
to pay for the school bus and now I
A distance criteria is used and
students must live 4.8km away from
the school to be eligible for a free ride.
"We live (in Wickes Street), more
than 4.8km away from the (high
school) bus bay. We measured it and
we are 5km away," Mrs Rodrigue said.
On top of changes to the eligibility
Mrs Rodigue said that at the start
of term two all the families with
ineligible students, would have to
stump up $100 to continue to catch
In the meantime, students are being
charged $1 a trip.
One parent claimed a boy was
kicked o the bus because he did not
have the $1 for the trip.
Greymouth High School principal
Andy England said he had been
working with the ministry and
Ritchies to get a "decent resolution".
His main concern was getting the
Cobden students to school.
Mr England said he was trying to
get a 'pay as you go' system in place,
as many families would not be able to
fork out $100 a term for the bus.
"Cobden is one of our poorer
communities and the idea of them
having to pay $100 up front for the
bus service is not good."
Ritchies refused to comment this
cut in outage
Customers on their morning errands
were sent on a tour around town this
morning after broadband services
were cut to part of central Greymouth,
including the banks.
ATMs and eftpos facilities were taken
down about 9.35am.
A Chorus spokeswoman said the
55-minute outage was caused by a
fault in the local exchange, a ecting
broadband and corporate data.
"Chorus technicians repaired the
fault, restoring services to the a ected
customers just before 10.30am," the
ANZ sta were making manual
transactions while their cash ow
machine was down. Business banking
manager Kevin O'Donnell said they
were helping with basic transactions
such as withdrawals and deposits, and all
the changes would be in place overnight.
Westpac and Kiwibank ATMs were
also o -line, and queues soon formed
when people realised the BNZ machine
was the only one left operating.
e Mackay Street Lotto shop manager
Anthony Baillie said they had lost their
Lotto services for about 45 minutes, but
eftpos had remained available.
Ellerys did not notice any disruption to
their eftpos, however the store uses a dial-
up system for those services.
Mark Owen was among those walking
around town looking for a working cash
machine and was not worried by the
temporary inconvenience: "It's only a
short walk around town to do the circuit."
PICTURE: Viv Logie
Greymouth High School students from Cobden walked to school today to protest against the removal of their free bus ser vice. Chinese auditors
to inspect Hokitika
Council suspends loan to
e Grey District Council has
agreed to put on hold its interest-
free loan to the cash-strapped Paroa
After losing its original base due to
ooding three years ago, a $463,000
replacement was built on higher
ground. e building fund included
a $35,000 loan from the council,
payable over ve years.
e playcentre repaid $7000 for
each of the rst two years, but was
unable to raise the 2013 instalment,
which the council last year agreed
to defer for 12 months on the basis
that $14,000 would be paid this year.
In a letter to the monthly
council meeting, Paroa Playcentre
president Andrea Stevenson said
circumstances had conspired against
Core families had moved o the
West Coast to nd employment,
while other families, baulking at
the high cost of enrolling children
at Paroa --- the highest fees of any
playcentre on the West Coast --- had
enrolled their children elsewhere.
" e reduced roll has a snowball
e ect as our bulk funding is reduced
with every child that leaves, as
the ministry fund us per child per
session," Ms Stevenson said, asking
the council for further relief from
"I cannot stress enough how hard
our families have worked, and are
still working, to keep our centre the
great place it is for our families and
families of the future, but it is taking
She said great e orts had gone
into reducing costs. Paid positions
had been wiped, parents were
donating a lot of the resources and
putting "hours and hours of work"
into working bees, but even with
the income from the higher fees, the
lack of numbers meant it was
a struggle to meet the loan
"I have concerns that, if we keep
tracking along this path, we will
continue to lose our most valuable
resource --- our families," Ms
Councillors last night rubber-
stamped the sta recommendation
without discussion, agreeing to defer
the loan for another year, making
the playcentre liable for $21,000 in
Chinese o cials will spend just two
and a half hours at the Westland Milk
Products Hokitika factory on Sunday
as part of a wider audit of New Zealand
It is the rst time their o cials have
conducted audits here and the industry
is reportedly on edge about the possible
outcome. It is part of major changes
in China as its government pushes to
restore consumer con dence through
Westland Milk is considering investing
$100 million in an infant formula dryer
at Hokitika, and last year opened a $28
million nutritional plant.
e Ministry of Primary Industries
and Westland Milk Products both
con rmed yesterday that o cials would
y in to Hokitika on a strict timetable
Ministry spokesman Brad Young
said the entire New Zealand audit was
expected to take about a week and a half.
A speci c date for feedback was not
available at this stage.
Asked if the West Coast should be
worried --- the regional economy is now
heavily reliant on dairying --- Mr Young
said audits were part of the normal
interactions between the regulators of
di erent countries, providing assurances
to regulators that the systems New
Zealand used to produce food products
and ingredients were robust.
"We welcome audits from other
countries as they ensure that we and
other countries can continue to be
con dent in our systems."
e new measures being put in place
by China include requirements for
all overseas dairy and baby formula
manufacturers to be registered with
its Certi cation and Accreditation
Administration by May 1.
e registration process also involves
the accreditation administration visiting
New Zealand to audit dairy production
and regulatory systems.
Nine businesses will be visited by
Chinese authorities, consisting of
manufacturing premises and two farms.
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