Home' Greymouth Star : March 31st 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, March 31, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1837 - Death of English landscape painter
1854 - US Commodore Matthew Perry
makes rst treaty with Japan, opening two
Japanese ports to trade with outside world.
1855 - Death of Charlotte Bronte, British
author of Jane Eyre and the oldest of three
1889 - French engineer Alexandre Gustave
Ei el unfurls the French ag from atop the
Ei el Tower, o cially marking its completion.
1921 - Establishment of the Royal Australian
1959 - Dalai Lama, eeing Chinese
repression of an uprising in Tibet, is
granted political asylum by India.
1966 - Prime Minister Hendrik
Verwoerd's Nationalist Party wins
greatest election victory in South
1976 - e New Jersey Supreme Court rules
coma patient Karen Anne Quinlan can be
disconnected from respirator. She dies in 1985.
1980 - Death of former US Olympic athlete
Jessie Owens, who won four gold medals at
the 1936 Berlin Olympics to the annoyance of
1997 - Jury selection begins in Denver for the
trial of Timothy McVeigh, who is subsequently
convicted of the bombing of a government
building in Oklahoma City which claimed 168
lives and sentenced to death.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Rene Descartes, French philosopher
(1596-1650); Franz Joseph Haydn, Austrian
composer (1732-1809); Nicolai Gogol, Russian
author (1809-1852); R W von Bunsen,
German chemist (1811-1899); Shirley Jones,
US actress-singer (1934-); Richard
Chamberlain, US actor (1934-); Herb
Alpert, US trumpeter and bandleader
(1935-); Christopher Walken, US
actor (1943-); Gabe Kaplan, US
actor (1945-); Al Gore, former
US vice-president (1948-); Rhea
Perlman, US actress (1948-); Angus
Young, Australian guitarist of AC/DC fame
(1955-); Paul Mercurio, Australian actor and tv
presenter, (1963-); Ewan McGregor, Scottish
"One cannot conceive anything so strange
and so implausible that it has not already been
said by one philosopher or another." --- Rene
Descartes, French philosopher (1596-1650)
"And we have seen and do testify that the
Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the
world." --- 1 John 4.14
Millerton miners for
the past week have
been ghting a re in
the Old Dip Mine at
Millerton. e re, which broke out last week,
is causing some concern. e Millerton area
has been troubled by res for some years. e
large section of burnt-out hillside is evidence
of the serious loss of thousands of tons of high-
grade bituminous coal.
e men have been busy removing machinery
from the burning section of the mine. the work
may take some days. ere are eight pairs of
miners --- besides truckers and shiftmen ---
working in the mine and there were fears that
the re might force the colliery to close down.
But, according to the inspector of mines, Mr S
Kennedy, that is by no means de nite. He said
that the men would put in stoppings to control
the re. ere was no chance of any man losing
Greymouth and Westland would be sorely
lacking many things today without the e orts
of Rotary. at this as a complete truth is
underlined by the Greymouth group's book
of activities, one which very few organisations
here could ever hope to equal or better.
Starting o with a membership of 33, Rotary
quickly began its e orts in the sphere of public
service. these are still continuing smoothly with
the membership of 56 which exists today.
To commemorate its 21 years of activity, the
club has this year established Rotary Park,
a children's playground in a residential area
at the southern boundary of the borough in
Karoro. Rotary club of Greymouth celebrates
its coming of age this ursday.
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
New Zealand remains
pressure"from pests that
threaten our economy,
despite the billions of
dollars being spent each
year to control them.
A new report launched by the Royal
Society of New Zealand said much more
needs to be done to protect the country's
precious biodiversity, with weeds, wasps,
rats and sea squirts among a swarm of
pests and diseases costing our economy
and environment dearly.
It found "urgent action"was needed to
develop better ways of waging the war on
" e inherent limitations of existing
pest management approaches underline
the need for either new technologies or
ongoing re nement of existing methods,"
the report said.
"In particular there needs to be a trend
away from the use of pesticides to more
knowledge-intensive, biologically based
ere was a need for "intensi cation
and integration"of existing research
e orts --- and doing nothing was not an
e report comes as pest control e orts
have been ramped up to protect 25 million
native birds a year over the next ve years,
in what Conservation Minister Nick
Smith has dubbed the "the battle for our
e new report points to research that
weeds are conservatively estimated to
cost the economy $1.2 billion per annum
in lost animal production and control
costs and could potentially degrade
7% of the conservation estate within a
decade, corresponding to a loss of native
biodiversity equivalent to $1.3 billion.
"Mammal pests including rats, possums
and feral cats are a serious threat to
native ora and fauna, and the cost-
e ective, humane management of
vertebrate pests at very large scales is a
pressing issue," Dr Stephen Goldson,
Fellow of the Society and co-author of
the report, said.
" ere are also very substantial
environmental costs associated with loss
of native biodiversity and New Zealand's
clean green reputation."
e report, Challenges for pest
management in New Zealand, is authored
by a panel led by Royal Society of New
Zealand Fellows and draws on national
and international research to explore
and discuss the current state of pest
management and the unique nature of the
New Zealand situation.
e society is calling for ongoing
targeted e orts to enable new approaches
and technologies, and greater citizen
involvement in order to protect our native
land, aquatic environments and primary
production from the increasing threat of
"Our economy and reputation are
strongly and uniquely linked to our
natural environment and New Zealand
needs to maintain its position for high
quality, residue-free and ethical primary
production on both land and aquatic
ecosystems," Dr Goldson said.
e report highlights the need for
improved tools and technologies, such as
fertility suppression and biological control,
to counter increasing pest resistance and
the loss of older, now less acceptable pest
e report also emphasises the need
for more species-focused biological
research, including population processes
of individual pest species, so that new
approaches can be developed and
"Research into monitoring and
surveillance technologies is also critical,
because early detection of pests is essential
to successful eradication, which is by far
the best option," Dr Goldson said.
" ere are new technologies that are
increasingly being used to help with
this e ort, including the use of various
attractants to uncover the presence and
dispersal rates of invaders." With this,
there was also a real opportunity for more
citizen involvement, he said.
"New Zealanders are very motivated
when it comes to their natural
environment and could probably play a
much greater monitoring and surveillance
"Obviously they need to be armed with
information, and be involved early on."
In January, Dr Smith announced the
Department of Conservation would be
throwing $21 million toward its largest
ever conservation programme.
e problem was particularly urgent this
year, because the country was facing a one
in 10 to 15-year large beech mast, which is
expected to drop around a million tonnes
of seed this autumn.
is would trigger a plague of an
additional 30 million rats and tens
of thousands of stoats, which would
annihilate populations of endangered birds
when the seeds germinate in spring.
e programme will increase pest control
in 35 forests to protect 12 native species,
and mainly involves using 1080 poison.
Pastoral weeds are conservatively
estimated to cost the New Zealand
economy $1.2b per annum in lost animal
production and control costs and there
are more than 300 weeds of conservation
Weeds pose a threat to one-third of all
New Zealand nationally threatened plant
species, and could potentially degrade
7% of the conservation estate within a
decade, corresponding to a loss of native
biodiversity equivalent to $1.3b.
Invertebrate plant pests
Annual production losses have been
estimated to be around $880m per annual
but this does not include the impact of
indigenous species that have become pests,
nor the multiplier e ects of their impact
on economic activity connected with this
e costs and averted economic impacts
from eradications of forest insect pests
in New Zealand over 20 years, have been
"signi cant", the report said.
e total direct economic cost of
vertebrate pests to the primary sector is
estimated at about $1b per year, but with
multipliers included could be as high as
$3.3b, or 1.96% of GDP.
Annual production losses to aquaculture
from a single species of sea squirt were
estimated at $15m per annum in 2005.
More recent estimates suggest that if the
pest spreads to Marlborough, production
losses over the next eight years could
amount to $383m.
e long term costs of loss of native
biodiversity from vertebrate, invertebrate,
freshwater and marine and micro-
organism pests have not been estimated.
Introduced social wasps in beech forests
present a case with extreme consequences
for native insect and bird diversity and
ecosystem ser vices, as well as impacts on
tourism and recreation.
New methods of control are clearly
needed in such cases, and warrant long
term government investment.
ere are only two native land mammals
in New Zealand --- two bat species --- the
result of 80 million years of geographical
In contrast, 32 species of mammals and
35 birds have become established.
New Zealand's native ora and fauna
are particularly vulnerable to predation
by mammal pests. Rats, mice, weasels
and stoats, hares and rabbits, hedgehogs,
possums, wild pigs and feral cats all
present serious threats.
Strenuous e orts are being made to
create vertebrate pest-free areas on islands
and in predator-fenced sanctuaries.
e take-home messages.---
” Urgent action is needed to develop
new approaches and to improve existing
tools to protect the country's environment
” Ongoing targeted investment is
needed to protect our native land and
aquatic environments and primary
production from weeds, vertebrate and
invertebrate pests and pathogens.
” Changes in the use of pest
management tools have been made
in response to public concerns and
trade issues around the environment,
humaneness standards and food safety.
” Increasing pest resistance is also
making some invertebrate pesticides and
herbicides ine ective, while others have
been phased out.
” New Zealand has already provided
leadership in environmentally and socially
sensitive pest management but there is an
urgent need to do more.
” More emphasis needs to be given
to surveillance and pest monitoring
to increase the chances of successful
eradication of new incursions when pest
distributions are still limited, and prevent
the recovery of existing pests after control
has been applied.
” More trained local and central
government sta are needed to assist
with translating and applying scienti c
research and new technology, while citizen
science should play a much stronger role
in monitoring and sur veillance for pests in
” More species-focused research is
needed because many pests are managed
with little scienti c understanding of their
life-cycle or population processes, and
New Zealand's unique environment means
we cannot presume that the behaviour
of species in their native range will be
--- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Pest problem. e possum is major pest throughout New Zealand.
Archaeologists in Britain said overnight
they had solved a 660-year-old mystery,
citing DNA tests which they said proved
they had found a lost burial site for tens
of thousands of people killed in medieval
London by the Black Death plague.
e breakthrough follows the discovery
last year of 13 skeletons wrapped in
shrouds laid out in neat rows during
excavations for London's new Crossrail
rail line, Europe's biggest infrastructure
Archaeologists, who say the nd sheds
new light on medieval England and its
inhabitants, later found 12 more skeletons
taking the total to 25. ey will further
excavate the site in July to see if more
bodies are buried nearby.
Last year, they said the remains probably
belonged to victims of the plague,
which killed about a third of England's
population following its outbreak in 1348.
Limited records suggest up to 50,000
victims were buried in the cemetery in
London's Farringdon district, one of two
emergency burial sites.
Yesterday, they said DNA testing of
some of the skeletons' teeth had uncovered
traces of the Yersinia pestis bacterium,
which was responsible for the Black Death
plague, con rming that theory.
"Analysis of the Crossrail nd has
revealed an extraordinary amount of
information allowing us to solve a 660-
year mystery," said Jay Carver, Crossrail's
" is discovery is a hugely important
step forward in documenting and
understanding Europe's most devastating
pandemic," he added. "Until Crossrail's
discovery, archaeologists had been unable
to con rm the story."
Some of the victims had been buried in
1348-50, and others in the early to mid
1400s, carbon dating showed.
Testing of the remains showed that
13 of the skeletons were male, three
female, and two children. e gender
was undetermined in the other seven
It also revealed information about their
lives. Many had serious spinal damage,
suggesting they had carried out heavy
manual labour. Some had injuries to
their upper bodies consistent with being
involved in violent altercations.
One of the victims had also been a
vegetarian; many had su ered from
malnutrition. Experts said 40% of them
had grown up outside London, possibly as
far north as Scotland, showing that 14th
century London attracted people from
across the country, just like the British
Crossrail's Carver said the nd had
relevance for modern disease research.
"What's really exciting is the bringing
together of many di erent lines of
evidence to create a picture of such a
devastating world event as the Black
Death," he said.
"Historians, archaeologists, micro-
biologists, and physicists are all
working together to chart the origins
and development of one of the world's
worst endemic diseases and help today's
researchers in ancient and modern diseases
better understand the evolution of these
Crossrail is a £15 billion ($24.96 billion)
railway link connecting east and west
London. --- Reuters
Black Death puzzle solved
Major threat to economy outlined
Medieval graveyards yield answers
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