Home' Greymouth Star : March 28th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, March 28, 2014 - 3
Gisborne police have launched
a homicide inquiry after a woman
in her early 50s died at a house in
the suburb of Riverdale yesterday.
Police were called to the house just
after 2pm. "We are treating this
as a homicide inquiry at this stage
pending the outcome of a post-
mortem examination," detective
senior sergeant David Greig said. He
said the woman had been visiting the
house and she did not live there.
--- APNZ-Gisborne Herald
Underage sex admitted
After plying a 15-year-old youth
with alcohol, a 47-year-old man had
sex with him, the Dunedin District
Court heard yesterday. Dunedin
cleaner James Barry Hackett
admitted having sexual connection
with the underage teen in November
2012. He was convicted and
remanded in custody by Judge Kevin
Phillips for sentence on May 15.
Counsel Brian Kilkelly did not ask
for bail for the defendant.
--- Otago Daily Times
Assault victim critical
A man su ered life-threatening
head injuries when he was assaulted
in south Auckland early today.
e man in his 40s was taken to
Middlemore Hospital in a critical
condition after the incident on
Moncrie Avenue, Clendon Park,
shortly after midnight. St John
communications team manager
Norm Ngatai said it was unclear
whether the man's head injuries were
sustained in the assault or from his
head hitting the ground. Police were
investigating. --- APNZ
Dead truckie named
A truck driver who died in a crash
in the Waioeka Gorge has been
named by police. Shane Ihaka, 52,
from Mangere, Auckland, died when
his truck rolled on State highway
2 between Opotiki and Gisborne
early on Wednesday. He had been
transferring a load of empty pallets
at the time, and was on his way
north from Gisborne. --- APNZ
An 87-year-old woman who died
after being hit by a car in a Hamilton
shopping centre car park has been
identi ed as Vera Moss Freeman.
Parachute festival ends
New Zealand's longest-running
music festival, Parachute, is no
longer nancially viable and has been
cancelled. e largely-Christian event
has been running for 24 years, but
this year's festival at Mystery Creek
in January will be its last. "While we
celebrate a great run in this country,
it's important to us that we end well,"
Parachute chief executive and festival
founder Mark de Jong said.
--- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Numbers in Keno draw No 9830: 3,
10, 11, 13, 21, 25, 30, 31, 38, 40, 41, 42,
48, 54, 56, 57, 66, 73, 74, 79. Draw No
9831: 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 21, 25, 28,
32, 39, 41, 50, 54, 58, 60, 65, 73, 80.
Bomb victim remembered by union colleagues
One person has been killed in a rock fall
on to a car in the central North Island.
Emergency services were attending the
incident early this afternoon, on State
highway 3, about 12km from Piopio.
Police northern communication shift
inspector Andy Brill con rmed one
person had died as a result of the incident.
Northern communications shift
manager Jaron Phillips said two people
were in the car, and one person escaped
Police said diversions for both north
and southbound tra c were in place.
Southbound tra c has been diverted at
Aria Road, continuing on to Totoro Road
and then back on to State highway 3.
North bound tra c has been diverted
on to Totoro Rd, before taking Aria and
then returning to State highway 3.
Fatal rock fall
Kim Dotcom's Internet Party has
attracted 600 members just over 12
hours after launching.
Shortly after 9am today, party
spokesman John Mitchell con rmed the
party had passed the 500-member mark.
A party needs 500 paying members to
be registered and Mr Mitchell said that
mark was hit about seven hours after the
online membership process opened at
"We have gone through the 500 mark
which is a really fantastic result for us."
Mr Mitchell stressed that people who
have signed up still needed to be cleared
as eligible by the Electoral Commission.
e party's punt on ground-breaking
on-line and smartphone registration was
launched yesterday by Mr Dotcom at his
Coatesville, Auckland mansion.
Meanwhile, a potential tie-up between
Mr Dotcom's Internet Party and Hone
Harawira's Mana Movement remains a
possibility after he ruled out the unlikely
prospect he could work with National.
He said the "disgusting smear
campaign" of claims he is a Nazi
sympathiser "obviously originates out of
the National Party leadership camp".
at meant he had decided he could
not work with National, he said.
at stance would "absolutely" help
progress his party's talks with Mana.
Mr Harawira, who this week set a
bottom line that any party Mana worked
with had to be committed to ousting
John Key's National Government,
welcomed Mr Dotcom's comment.
"Kim Dotcom has come on board
with that and recognised that it's an
important bottom line for us if he wants
to progress the relationship but it's not
the only thing.
"We need to know there are similarities
in policies, we'd want to know who his
candidates are going to be --- whether
they're standing in seats or just on the list.
"If after some time those conditions
come to a point where there could
be further talks then those talks may
Despite Mana founding member Sue
Bradford this week saying she opposed
such a tie-up, Mr Harawira said: "I
don't get the sense at all that the Mana
membership is violently opposed to a
relationship with Kim Dotcom." Mana's
membership were, however, "a very
challenging bunch and they will demand
to know more".
e matter would be discussed at
Mana's April 12 annual meeting in
Asked about the current electorate MP
he claims has committed to joining the
Internet Party, Mr Dotcom said he did
not want to comment.
"I have a con dentiality agreement and
I don't want to give any hints whatsoever,
but it isn't Hone."
Mr Dotcom also addressed issues
around hundreds of thousands of dollars
owed to former sta and contractors
by the company which runs his large,
He said he had now paid all of those
bills. --- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
"Don't mourn, organise!"
e phrase, rst used by activist
Joe Hill in 1915 and long associated
with the union movement, was called
out at the end of a moment's silence
to commemorate the death of Ernie
Abbott who died in the Trades Hall
bombing 30 years ago yesterday.
About 200 people crammed
into the small central Wellington
building, standing in the foyer where
the suitcase, booby-trapped with
a bomb, had been placed 30 years
e murder of the Wellington
caretaker has never been solved.
Mr Abbott died after picking up
the suitcase to make room for his
His watch marked the moment of
the blast --- stopped at 5.19pm.
"It was a professional bomb maker
that had made a bomb --- so it wasn't
just some Joe-soap walking down the
street with a suitcase," Mr Abbott's
long-time friend and colleague Ray
e unionists believed the targets
were the trade union bosses and Mr
Abbott was in the wrong place at the
Mr Abbott died at the scene and
his dog Patch, which was with him,
was seriously injured but sur vived.
Peter Cranney, who was vice-
president of the Wellington Cleaners'
Union at the time of the bombing,
said he could still smell the smoke
whenever he walked into the building.
" e violence that was done in this
room, the whole place blackened and
destroyed by a bomb of enormous
force in an extremely enclosed area.
" is country stopped work,
unanimously at the time to mark his
Council of Trade Unions vice-
president Richard Wagsta said
1984 was a divisive time in the
country's politics, with then Prime
Minister Rob Muldoon bent on
demonising the unions.
" e bombing was an attempt to
kill as many trade union people as
Wellington Trades Hall secretary
Graeme Clarke said he and
Wellington Trades Council president
Pat Kelly walked past the suitcase,
but did not pick it up because
their arms were full of lea ets that
protested a wage freeze at the time.
"If it had gone o earlier, it could
have taken away the whole of the
management committee of the
Wellington Trades Council."
Wellington Central MP Grant
Robertson said Mr Abbott and his
family were the victims of the "most
It was "extraordinary" the case
remained unsolved, he said.
"It's important to remember
Ernie, who was a stalwart of the
union movement and who died in
his workplace doing his job, and
it's vital that we remember that
and remember the contribution he
made." --- APNZ
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One of two corporate investors
identi ed as potential backers of the
Ruataniwha irrigation scheme has pulled
out, citing low returns and concerns
users will take too long to sign up to take
water from the project.
Listed electricity generator and
retailer Trustpower announced to
the Stock Exchange yesterday it was
withdrawing as a potential scheme
investor because it believed the project
did not t within the company's "risk
and return framework".
Last September, Trustpower and
wealthy South Island tribe Ngai Tahu
signed a memorandum of understanding
with the Hawke's Bay Regional
Investment Company (HBRIC), the
investment arm of the Hawke's Bay
Regional Council, which is promoting
the dam project.
e memorandum formed the basis
for the potential investors making a
detailed assessment of the viability of
part-funding the scheme. HBRIC said
at the time that institutional investors
were expected to fund between 30% and
40% of the $265 million project.
Since then Trustpower sta have
been involved in aspects of the project,
including the development of a contract
for the design and construction of the
dam and associated irrigation network
in central Hawke's Bay.
Trustpower's general manager of
commercial operations, Chris O'Hara,
said the construction contract for the
project had "landed in a reasonable
However, the return the company
would get on its investment had not
reached the required level.
"It's fair to say the returns were always
very skinny --- and they always are with
projects of this kind --- so there was
always a reasonable chance we weren't
going to get there, because it's tight," he
Mr O'Hara said while HBRIC had
structured a xed-cost construction
contract that put the onus on the
consortium building the scheme to
complete it for a set price, there was
always the risk of unexpected issues
cropping up and "large civil projects are
. . . notorious for running over time and
" e level of return we were able to
achieve in relation to those risks just
wasn't enough to get it over the line," he
As well as that, there was not enough
certainty around the speed with which
irrigators would sign up to take water
from the scheme, Mr O'Hara said.
"I'm con dent that over time, if the
scheme is built, it will get full uptake but
it's a matter of how long that takes and
if it takes a reasonable amount of time
it means the cash ows are delayed from
an investor perspective and therefore the
overall investor return goes down."
Hawke's Bay regional councillors are
due to vote in late June on whether to
invest up to $80m in the scheme.
Regional council chairman Fenton
Wilson said the council was still some
way o making its decision over the
investment and no conclusion could be
drawn from Trustpower's decision to
Mr O'Hara said he hoped the dam was
"I hope it's not dead in the water ---
no pun intended --- because I think it's
fundamentally a good project and will
be bloody good for the district. It just
doesn't tick our boxes, unfortunately."
--- APNZ-Hawke's Bay Today
e card sits near jewellery and a photo of slain woman Mei Fan.
A card with a religious message
printed on it and placed in the
house of a murdered Wellington
mother by someone who broke
in after police had processed the
scene could have been left by her
killer, police have revealed.
e clue has come to light
nearly ve months after Rongmei
(Mei) Fan was fatally stabbed in
her Miramar home.
e 37-year-old killed on
November 8, after dropping her
children o to school and her
body discovered by concerned
friends two days later.
Police yesterday said somebody
had broken into her Brussels
Street house after police had
processed the scene and left
behind a small red card with a
religious verse printed on it.
e verse read: "I will trust the
Lord with all my heart and lean
not on my own understanding; in
all ways --- acknowledge Him and
He will direct my paths."
Detective senior sergeant John
van den Heuvel said it was a
"rather bizarre and brazen thing
"We can't rule out the possibility
that Mei's killer has returned to
"If it is the killer, it may indicate
they're experiencing some sort of
personal con ict over Mei's death
and are now looking to religion
e card was left in Ms Fan's
bedroom next to a photo of her.
Mr van den Heuvel said that
action created "a bit of a paradox,
to brutally kill a young mother
and then leave a religious verse of
e card had undergone forensic
examination which strongly
suggested its edges were cut
commercially. e printing on the
card was from an ink-jet printer
which were common in homes.
Police believed someone
broke in to the house between
December 3 and 17 last year and
were appealing to anyone who
recognised the card or could
provide information about why
the verse might be signi cant to
someone they know to contact
e new details were aired on
the show Police Ten-7 last night.
Police were also continuing
to appeal to the public for any
sightings of anyone acting
suspiciously in the Brussels Street
area on the day of Ms Fan's death,
or sightings of a 1992 bronze-
coloured Toyota Corona with a
black strip along the bottom of
the doors and its front left hubcap
Details had earlier been released
of the murder weapon, which
was found at the scene --- a 32cm
knife with a wooden handle with
the word 'CARVER' stamped
into the base.
e knife had been featured as
part of a supermarket promotion
in the early 90s so was relatively
common, police said.
However, the knife used on
Ms Fan had several distinctive
features, including a missing
third rivet in the handle, unusual
scrapes from being sharpened and
a bent tip of the blade.
It was possible the knife, which
was originally part of a set, may
have been disposed of as part of
a deceased person's estate, sold in
a garage sale or been donated to
a second-hand or charity store,
In recent weeks, police divers
had also been searching the
waters around Miramar Peninsula
in a hunt for clues in the case.
Card may be murder clue
e card, which may be a clue to the murder of Mei Fan.
Scientists are to check whether New
Zealand muttonbirds that spend the
winter o the coast of Japan have
been exposed to radiation from the
damaged Fukushima nuclear power
In a new pilot study, University of
Auckland scientists will investigate
whether radioactive caesium has
entered the New Zealand ecosystem
or food chain via the birds.
e wrecked plant and its trapped
contents have loomed over Japan
since oodwaters from the March
2011 tsunami knocked out the
plant's back-up generators that were
supposed to keep cooling its nuclear
e overheating sparked meltdowns
in three reactors and forced 150,000
to ee, and tens of thousands have
been unable to return home to areas
contaminated by radiation.
In the study, researchers will test
the birds' feathers for gamma rays
that indicate the presence of the
radioactive isotope caesium-134.
Feathers will be collected from
prime muttonbird sites in the South
Island, particularly Stewart Island.
New Zealand sooty shear waters or
titi migrate annually, spending the
summer mating and raising their
chicks in New Zealand before over-
wintering o the coast of Japan.
Dr David Krofcheck, of the
university's department of physics,
said the research was "very much
about taking a precautionary
approach"as there was no evidence
to indicate that the birds had been
vectors of radioactivity.
"But detection of gamma rays
would tell us whether the birds spend
su cient time near Fukushima
to accumulate caesium-134 from
nuclear ssion," he said.
"Obviously the issue would then
become whether that radioactivity is
being absorbed into local ecosystems
or the food chain."
Paci c Blue n tuna caught o
the west coast of the United States
showed only a minute trace of
caesium-134 from Fukushima, 100
times less than normal radioactive
elements found in sh.
e sooty shear water was of cultural
and economic value to Maori, who
sustainably harvested the nearly
edged chicks during the annual
e season runs from April to May
and was restricted to Maori and their
whanau who use the birds for food,
oil and feather down.
Dr Krofcheck said consultation
with Maori, the Rakiura Titi Islands
Administering Body, about the
research would begin as soon as
"We will need to go through a
number of approval processes and
engage in consultation with local
people before anything can happen as
there are sensitive issues to consider
before work can begin."
e research is being done in
collaboration with the Department
of Zoology, University of Otago.
Previous tests on muttonbird
exposure to radiation from Fukushima
found no evidence of caesium being
passed from parents to chicks.
"Our study is complementary to
that earlier work but tests feathers
instead of the birds themselves," Dr
"Obviously what we are hoping
to nd in this latest research is that
cesium levels in muttonbirds do not
exceed exposure levels you would
expect from natural sources."
--- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Scientists to check muttonbirds for radiation
Muttonbirds face radiation checks.
Police are seeking information on
the driver involved in a hit and run
in Auckland this morning.
A 36-year-old woman, walking
along Stadium Lane behind New
World supermarket in Papatoetoe,
was hit by a light grey car which
veered o the road and on to the
footpath about 6.30am, police said.
e woman involved was taken
to hospital for x-rays and an
assessment. Her injuries were
currently unknown, police said.
"It is believed that there were two
to three people in the car at the
time but the reason for veering o
the road at the victim is not known.
It is possible that it was a drunk
driver," constable Corbin Elliott
said. --- APNZ
Woman injured in hit-and-run
Professor Stefano Pampanin with the earthquake simulator at the
University of Canterbury.
Quake-resistant buildings the goal
New Zealand researchers have
simulated some of the world's shakiest
earthquakes in a ground-breaking
quest to design fully quake-proof
A structural engineering team at
the University of Canterbury invited
reporters to a dusty laboratory
yesterday to show o a design they say
has already withstood more than 100
ey have erected a two-storey
concrete building prototype, with
columns held together with simple
steel hinges and bolts.
e system, which can "plug" in
at key structural points, absorbs the
shaking created on a earthquake
simulator which tosses the building up
and down, and side to side.
So far, they have subjected it to
the same shaking --- and bigger ---
than the magnitude-7.1 shake of
September 4, 2010 that sparked the
devastating Canterbury earthquake
sequence, the deadly February
22, 2011 jolt, as well as major
quakes from history, including the
Kobe earthquake of 1995 and the
" is is not an earthquake-proof
building, but it is close to it,"
Professor Stefano Pampanin, from the
university's department of Civil and
Natural Resources Engineering, said.
He has been overseeing the
simulated shakes as New Zealand
leads a global charge towards nding
the best new design and technology
for a post-quake era.
e steel bolts, or di users, are easily
checked for damage after a quake and
are easily replaced.
e team has also secured parts of two
multi-storey Christchurch buildings
that were badly quake-damaged and
have since been demolished --- the
Hotel Grand Chancellor and the
e team is testing the recovered
pieces to see how they performed in
the quakes, how many aftershocks
they would be able to sustain and
what repairing techniques could be
implemented. --- APNZ
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