Home' Greymouth Star : April 3rd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, April 3, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1721 - Sir Robert Walpole is appointed
rst lord of the treasury and chancellor of
the exchequer, e ectively Britain's rst prime
1860 - e legendary Pony Express begins a
US mail service between St Joseph, Missouri
and Sacramento, California.
1882 - After more than 15 years of robbing
banks and trains, US outlaw Jesse James is shot
in the back at St Joseph, Missouri by a member
of his gang.
1922 - Joseph Stalin is appointed
general secretary of the Soviet
1933 - First ight over Mount
Everest in the Himalayas is made by
four Britons in two biplanes.
1948 - United States creates the
Marshall Plan, allocating $US5.33 billion
in aid to 16 European nations to help in
rebuilding after World War Two.
1949 - Transjordan signs an armistice with
the newly founded state of Israel.
1987 - e late Duchess of Windsor's jewels
are auctioned, fetching nearly $US45 million.
1990 - Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan dies in Los
Angeles, aged 66.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Henry IV, rst Lancastrian king of England
(1367-1413); Washington Irving, US writer
(1783-1859); James Hertzog, South African
statesman-soldier (1865-1942); Alcide de
Gasperi, Italian statesman (1881-1954);
Camille Chamoun, Lebanese statesman (1900-
1988); Marlon Brando, US actor
(1924-2004); Doris Day, US actress-
singer (1924-); Helmut Kohl, former
German chancellor (1930-); Jane
Goodall, British primatologist
(1934-); Jimmy McGri , US jazz
musician (1936-2008); Marsha Mason, US
actress (1942-); Wayne Newton, US singer
(1942-); Tony Orlando, US singer
(1944-); Alec Baldwin, US actor (1958-);
Shane Connor, Australian actor (1959-); Eddie
Murphy, US actor (1961-); Jennie Garth, US
actress (1972-); Tommy Haas, German tennis
"Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated
by pygmies." --- Honore de Balzac (1799-1850)
"But strive for the greater gifts. And I will
show you a still more excellent way."
--- 1 Corinthians 12.31
development of places
like Auckland and
Lower Hutt tended
to detract from the development of areas like
the West Coast, Lyttelton's MP, Mr N E
Kirk, told a meeting in Greymouth last night.
Mr Kirk, vice-president of the New Zealand
Labour Party and nominee for the presidency
during the forthcoming party conference
in Wellington, is on a two-day whirlwind
familiarisation tour of the Westland electorate.
e Coasts's problem of underdevelopment
was part of the South Island's problem of
underdevelopment, he said. Such problems
would remain as New Zealand had a
government which had taken 20 years to learn
that long-term planning was needed, he said.
Well over 100 Rotarians and their wives
celebrated the "coming of age" of the
Greymouth Rotary Club at a tea meeting at
St Columba Hall last evening. Visitors from
the Christchurch, Reefton, Hokitika, Westport
and Waiuku clubs were present, including Mr
Charles Taylor and Mr Harry Duckworth who
rst visited Greymouth to assist in establishing
the club 21 years ago. e president Mr A L
Sutherland welcomed Rotarians and visitors
and made special mention of the small band of
foundation members and their wives who were
At the time Greymouth Rotary was founded
there were 52 such clubs in New Zealand.
Today there are 124 clubs with 6500 members.
e foundation president, Mr W E J Steer
gave the occasional address and concluded:
" e need of Rotary will always be here and I
feel we can look forward to many more years of
successful Rotary in Greymouth."
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
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'McHospitals' or public health?
In a recent column the veteran political
correspondent, John Armstrong, accuses
the Labour Party of " ghting too many
old battles". e perennial socialist causes,
for which Labour's politicians should still
feel duty-bound to draw their swords, Mr
Armstrong declares, "have long been lost
or are no longer relevant to most voter's
By way of example, Armstrong draws
attention to Labour nance spokesman,
David Parker's, snappish criticism of
Treasury's "investment statement".
is latter document, released nearly
a fortnight ago, was responsible for
raising considerably more than Mr
Parker's eyebrows by suggesting that
public ownership of health and education
services, "should not be seen as the default
Labour's nance spokesman was having
none of it and came out swinging. e
department, he said was "out of touch"
with New Zealanders and accused it of
promoting privately-owned "McSchools"
and "McHospitals" instead of publicly-
owned (and, therefore, accountable)
education and health facilities.
"I can be completely clear", Mr
Parker thundered, "Labour rejects that
philosophy. Public ownership of public
schools and public hospitals is essential to
provide opportunity and protection for all
New Zealanders. is is what people pay
their taxes for."
Borrowing a line from his predecessor
in the nance role, Dr Michael Cullen,
he characterised the Treasury's highly
contentious statement as yet another
example of its unnerving predilection for
unleashing random "ideological burps".
Mr Parker concluded his media release
by challenging the Prime Minister and
Finance Minister to combat Treasury's
rebarbative ideological o erings with the
same antacid remedy as Dr Cullen.
at neither John Key nor Bill English
accepted Mr Parker's challenge, Mr
Armstrong argued, is attributable to the
National Party's belief that Labour is
trapped in an "ideological time-warp". e
clear implication being that when it comes
to the traditional left-right squabbles over
private versus public ownership --- the
average voter no longer cares.
Mr Armstrong's concluding paragraph
"National argues that if Labour could
not prompt a voter backlash against the
partial oats of the remaining State-
owned electricity generators, it will
struggle to stop the growing trend for
private provision worldwide. e genie is
well and truly out of the bottle. Labour
has little hope of stu ng it back in."
at the right struggled very successfully
to stop the growing trend toward public
provision worldwide, and found it
surprisingly simple to stu the socialist
genie responsible back in his bottle, seems
to have escaped Mr Armstrong.
If he were to recall that, in New Zealand,
the whole privatisation process was
initiated by Labour, then the public's
unwillingness to be convinced by its
re-conversion to the virtues of public
ownership might look less like indi erence
and more like once-bitten-twice-shy
caution. Who can blame them --- given
Labour's repeated refusal to commit
unequivocally to the repurchase of the
Mr Parker's stout defence of public
health and education speaks eloquently
of Labour's determination not to be
caught equivocating on the last remaining
bastions of collectivism in New Zealand
society. Were the right to be successful in
privatising our schools and hospitals (and
nally taming the education- and health-
sector unions) there would be little left for
Labour to defend.
e key strategic question Labour has
yet to answer, however, is: when will it
nally make the transition from defence to
When the right nally realised (in the
mid-1970s) that the last great bastions
of private enterprise --- those the British
Labour rebrand, Tony Benn, described as
the "commanding heights of the economy"
--- were about to come under full-scale
assault by the forces of the left, its more
far-sighted and aggressive advocates
realised that defensive tactics were losing
them the battle. Tory hardliners like Sir
Keith Joseph, Airey Neave and Margaret
atcher did not bleat on about it being
too late to stu the socialist genie back
in its bottle --- they made stu ng the
socialists their No 1 priority.
e greatest enemy any ideology --- left
or right --- will ever face is not indi erence
but equivocation. e achievements of the
Liberal government of 1890-1912 and
of successive Labour governments up to
1984 were not laid low for want of voters
willing to defend them, but by politicians
unwilling to re-state --- unequivocally ---
the reasons why socialists must never for a
moment cease "re- ghting old battles".
Margaret atcher always referred to
her country as "great" Britain, because
reclaiming Britain's greatness was her
What will Mr Cunli e ride forth to
battle to re-claim?
̌ Chris Trotter is an independent
To understand the kea, New Zealand
researchers had to go back to the Ice Age
--- and found a story of recolonisation.
New light has been shed on the
history of one of New Zealand's most
distinctive and loveable native birds, the
kea, and what can be done to protect this
Researchers from the University of
Otago and the University Fribourg, in
Switzerland, studying the genetics of the
alpine parrot, have found that the genetic
variation found in kea populations in New
Zealand is not the result of recent human-
induced population decline as was initially
Senior lecturer in Zoology at Otago,
Dr Bruce Robertson, is one of the
co-authors in the study which has just
been published in the prestigious science
journal Molecular Ecology.
It says their current genetic makeup is
instead due to natural re-colonisation of
the alpine mountains following the last Ice
Age 10,000 years ago.
e kea is the world's only alpine parrot
and is renowned for its intelligence and
problem-solving abilities. Restricted to
the South Island, between the 1860s and
the 1970s, they were considered a pest for
attacking livestock, with some 150,000 birds
killed in a government sanctioned cull. e
species is now protected, but numbers fewer
than 5000 birds and is in decline due to
introduced mammalian predators.
Dr Nicolas Dussex, who undertook
the research for his PhD at Otago's
department of zoology, Dr Daniel
Wegmann and Dr Bruce Robertson,
sought to better understand processes that
shaped the current genetic variation in the
kea, with a view to guiding protection and
conservation management of the birds.
e research team sampled genetic
variation across the kea's range, sampling
genetic material from 473 kea along
the Southern Alps. ey used advanced
population history modeling to tease apart
the impacts on the genetic structure of kea
of glaciations and of human --- impacts
since the colonisation of New Zealand by
"We found that human impacts are not
responsible for shaping the present-day
population structure of kea, which is
instead the result of recolonisation of the
South Island by the kea at the end of the
last ice age some 10,000 years ago,"
Dr Dussex said.
e researchers' ndings also make
an important contribution to kea
Dr Dussex adds: "Kea populations do
not need to be managed separately because
this population structure is relatively
recent on an evolutionary time-scale, thus
allowing conservation managers to move
birds between populations as part of any
conservation attempts to reverse the kea's
Inferring past demography is a central
question in evolutionary and conservation
biology, but it is often challenging to
identify the processes shaping the patterns
of genetic variation in endangered species,
as they have already lost a lot of variation.
" e genetic structure of populations and
limited variation can re ect the natural
e ect of past geological or glacial events,
as well as the arti cial e ects of human
activity, such as culls.
"It is quite likely that the kea's habitat
was very di erent during the last glacial
period between 2.5 million years to 10,000
years ago, with birds being restricted to
smaller areas by permanent ice and snow."
With the end of the ice age and the ice
receding, kea moved out of their habitat
refuges to recolonise the South Island
of New Zealand. is, rather than the
impacts of human activity, is the likely
reason for the patterns seen in the kea's
"Kea used to be everywhere, then the Ice
Age limited them to ice-free refuges most
likely at the top of the South Island. At
the end of this cold period, kea were then
able to expand into their previous habitat
over a wider range and into the habitat
they occupy today," Dr Robertson said.
When media report
the method in
ends their own
life, it can result in
copycat suicides ---
which is why details of how people kill
themselves should not be reported, the
Law Commission says.
Commission president Sir Grant
Hammond said the phenomenon was
highlighted in the United States, just after
the widely publicised death of Marilyn
Monroe, when the suicide rate shot up by
He also saw it in a small Bay of Plenty
town which had su ered a number of
"Practically all of them were identical,"
Sir Grant said.
e commission this week tabled in
Parliament its recommendations around
legislation governing the reporting of
suicides, including not divulging the way
in which a person took their life.
In the case of a matter of national
interest, the chief coroner could exempt
that ruling and allow details to be
It also recommended media could
report a death as suspected suicide, if the
facts supported that, but hold o from
announcing the death was self-in icted
until a coroner ruled on the matter.
e paper has been widely welcomed
by the Government, the Media Freedom
Committee and suicide prevention groups,
which said it would encourage discussion
on an issue often seen as a taboo topic.
Chief coroner Neil MacLean said it was
a good balance that achieved more clarity
about what was, or was not, appropriate to
Allowing the media to report a death
was a suspected suicide paved the way for
more discussion around the issue, he said.
"To some extent there has been a bit of
a veil of silence --- and that hasn't made a
blind bit of di erence to the suicide rate."
Media Freedom Committee chairman
Tim Murphy said the commission had
struck a balance between openness and
" e commission's changes would
remove the anomaly where mainstream
media are barred by law reporting on a
death, where social media are e ectively
"Getting the correct information out
to the public in a responsible way is
Mr Murphy said he looked forward to
more discussions with coroners, politicians
and professionals about greater openness
in all quarters about this "vexed social
Lifeline New Zealand chief executive Jo
Denvir said they believed it was a positive
decision, and would replace the current
media terminology of "no suspicious
circumstances", which was generally read
as suicide anyway.
"It also brings suicide into the
conversation in a very subtle way which,
for many, can mean a more open dialogue
between friends and family members."
Casper Suicide Prevention operations
manager Leteisha Cornes agreed, and
said restricting reporting that a death was
suicide was not giving an opportunity for a
frank discussion about the topic.
Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne
said there had been great interest in the
risks and bene ts of reporting suicide in
" e Law Commission's report is an
important opportunity to move the debate
forward in a positive way. e commission
has thoughtfully and sensitively
approached both sides to this debate," he
Police said while the paper was still
being considered, it was too early to say if
they would make changes to the way they
described a suicide death to media.
e Government will consider the Law
Commission's recommendations and
respond by September.
e Law Commission recommends.---
” Limiting reporting the method of the
suicide and the fact that the death was a
suicide. However, a person may describe
a death as a suspected suicide, where the
facts support that.
” e restrictions should apply to any
person who is reporting the details of
a suicide death whether in mainstream
media, social media, blogs, or otherwise.
” e restrictions should only apply to
deaths that occur in New Zealand.
” A person should be able to apply to
the chief coroner for an exemption from
” e Minister of Health should be
required to prepare a new set of standards
for reporting suicide.
” e minister should also be required
to implement an ongoing programme to
disseminate, promote and support the
standards and to evaluate their success at
achieving low-risk suicide reporting.
Law Commission president Sir Grant Hammond, at the presentation on suicide reporting this week.
Lifting the lid on suicide
Kea in crisis
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