Home' Greymouth Star : April 16th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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welcome your opinion and suggestions.
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
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Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1746 - Duke of Cumberland's forces defeat
the Jacobite Scots at the Battle of Culloden,
near Inverness, Scotland. e Scots lose more
than 1000 men and most of the remaining
prisoners are massacred.
1850 - Death of Marie Tussaud,
Swiss founder of the famous
waxwork museum in London.
1912 - US pilot Harriet Quimby
becomes rst woman to y across
the English Channel.
1947 - A French freighter with a
cargo of nitrate fertiliser explodes at
Texas City, Texas, killing more than 500 people
and destroying most of the town's business
1953 - British royal yacht Britannia is
1964 - Nine men receive sentences of
between 25 and 30 years for their part in
Britain's 1963 Great Train Robbery.
1990 - South African black leader Nelson
Mandela makes an appearance at a huge pop
concert held in his honour during a visit to
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Charles Chaplin, English-born actor-director
(1889-1977); Spike Milligan, British comedian
(1918-2002); Sir Peter Ustinov, British actor
(1921-2004); Henry Mancini, US
Herbie Mann, US jazz musician
(1930-2003); Dusty Spring eld,
British singer (1939-1999); Queen
Margrethe II of Denmark (1940-
); Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, US
basketballer (1947-); Peter Garrett,
Midnight Oil singer and former politician
(1953-); Ellen Barkin, US actress (1954-);
Jimmy Osmond, US singer (1963-).
" e crisis you have to worry about most is the
one you don't see coming." --- Mike Mans eld,
US ambassador to Japan (1903-2001).
"Everyone therefore who acknowledges Me
before others, I also will acknowledge before
My Father in Heaven." --- (Matthew, 10.32).
e loss of a rear
caused a car driven by
Mrs D A McVicar of
Totara Flat, to run into a ditch near Ngahere
last evening. Mrs McVicar, sole occupant of
the vehicle, cut a nger in the crash which
occurred about 5pm.
She apparently drove the car about 100 yards
on three wheels before it left the road and
overturned in a ditch. e car, a Volkswagen,
was severley damaged.
Queen's Scout certi cates will be presented to
ve local boys in a ceremony in the Greymouth
Scout hall on Saturday evening. It is expected
that the patron of the local association,
Mr J B Kent, will present the certi cates to
Evan Sadler, John Stewart, Alan Emerson,
Warren Inkster and Gary Hopkinson.
e ve boys received their Queeen's Scout
badges last year. e presentation will be held
in conjunction with the annual parents' evening
at the Scout hall.
Members of the West Coast Rugby League
board of control last night stood in silence as
a mark of respect to the late Mrs E C Dutton,
mother of Mr J Newton, an old West Coast
and New Zealand representative, and to
Mr J C Gri n who had sons playing in the
schoolboy competition. Both died recently.
An estimated 6000 deer have fallen to
hunters' bullets and approximately 155 tons of
prepared venison consigned away on the export
market this season. And the killing is by no
means over. Currently the roar season is in full
swing --- and by the end of it one prominent
man in the trade estimates that well over
10,000 deer will have been slain in Westland
--- for pro t.
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
Devika Ganjoor Erickson
holds the small framed
photograph of a
handsome man with a
crafted beard. Her father,
she says, was known for
his beard. It is the only picture she has of
him in her Beachlands house. Before the
birth of her son, Marc, nine months ago,
she did not even have this one.
e constant reminder of what
happened to him, and what happened
to her, her brother, Vivek, and mother,
Sunita, afterwards was too painful. But
with the arrival of a new generation, her
mother insisted she have it.
e families of those on board missing
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have been
waiting for answers. e loved ones of
those who perished on Malaysia Airlines
ight 653 have been waiting 37 years.
Erickson, who emigrated to Auckland
12 years ago, her mother Sunita and
brother Vivek, who live in India, are
among the latter.
Flight 653 was hijacked in 1977 on its
way from the northern Malaysian city
of Penang to the country's capital, Kuala
Lumpur. e Boeing 737-200 crashed
into a mangrove swamp killing all 100
on board. It was the deadliest incident in
Malaysian aviation history until Flight
370 vanished on March 8 en route from
Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239
people on board.
Questions remain despite the cockpit
voice recordings capturing everything
from the breach of the ight deck to the
sound of the gunshots that killed the
co-pilot and the pilot, Erickson's father
captain G K Ganjoor.
"I really feel for them," Erickson said of
the families desperate that the search in
the southern Indian Ocean will provide
answers to the fate of Flight 370. e
families of the victims of Flight 653 have
had to learn to live without answers.
" irty-seven years on we still don't really
know the truth. It is still known as 'the
Recovery of the black box enabled
investigators to con rm both pilots were
shot while ying the plane.
"But the mystery remains as to what
exactly happened and why," Erickson
said. " e headlines at the time just said
'foreign terrorists'. No one knows who, or
Some details of the cockpit recorder
were made public. "Either my father or
the co-pilot was pleading, 'please don't
shoot', and then shots rang out."
e hijacker or hijackers of MH653
have never been identi ed. e aircraft
was hijacked as it approached Kuala
Lumpur on the evening of December 4,
1977, according to the Malaysian Civil
Aviation Department's report.
Soon after the plane began its descent,
Captain Ganjoor radioed the control
tower: "We have an emergency on board".
Asked to clarify, he said, "We have a
hijacker on board."
Amid confusion over whether it was
to land there, it proceeded towards
neighbouring Singapore. As it descended,
the crew was shot and the aircraft
"carried out some unusual pitch up and
pitch down terminal manoeuvres before
nally impacting into swampy ground at
some 450 knots". Such was the velocity,
no identi able bodies were found.
e report concluded that the crash
was caused by the crew being fatally
incapacitated, leaving the aircraft
Erickson: "He was murdered while on
duty and we just don't know why."
e families with loved ones on board
Flight 370 were unlikely to get the
answers they want.
"People keep talking about closure
but in a case like this, even if by some
miracle, God-willing, they nd the
wreckage or whatever has happened to
that ight, there will never be closure
because you always have that sense of
loss, that grief, that missing person from
"And every year that anniversary, that
8th of March, that 4th of December, will
be a constant reminder as long as you
live. So, where's the closure? ere is no
Her father's death left her mother a
widow at 30 with children aged ve and
18 months and a dramatically changed
life. It occurred the day after their
wedding anniversary and the day after
Ganjoor completed 21 years of ying.
Erickson, who was ve, has memory
" ashes": with her dad at a Disney On
Ice show, a fatherly cuddle, her mother
at home inconsolable while surrounded
by people. She has been told that she
repeatedly asked where her father was.
He was a voracious reader, a keen cook,
who loved squash, tennis and horseriding,
an amateur actor and poet and a
"We lost out on those rich experiences,
as well as missing a father gure.
"It was incredibly hard for my mother."
Ganjoor previously ew for Indian
Airlines and the family had moved from
Lucknow, in India's northeast, to Kuala
Lumpur four years earlier for her father's
job and were isolated from family.
Erickson feels the airline should have
done more to help her mother. She said
that two days after the crash, while in
shock and without legal advice or family
support, her mother signed a document at
the request of the airline that waived her
legal rights. "She was shell-shocked. She
would have signed anything."
e airline gave about a year's salary as
full and nal compensation from which
a fth was deducted in death duties. e
remainder was divided with Ganjoor's
wife and two children from a previous
e family's privileged lifestyle --- they
had two maids --- changed overnight.
"Mum was a housewife, a very spoilt
housewife, and suddenly to go from that
to literally wondering how she would
feed her kids, was very hard. It was a
After pleading with the airline for a
job, her mother was given a low-paid
clerical role and told she could never be
promoted to a higher-paying job because
she was not a Malaysian citizen. Her
mother did that job until retiring at 55
and returning to India where she lives in
a small apartment.
Her mother's requests to the airline for
help to pay for costly English language
schooling in Malaysia were declined,
said Erickson, because her father was
an expatriate. Consequently she and her
brother were sent to India for schooling.
Her mother lost the free travel bene t
that came as a pilot's spouse and though
her job made her eligible for ight
concessions there was never money for
family holidays. A trip to McDonald's
was a treat, Erickson said. "I felt we were
being punished for something that wasn't
" e airline just didn't have any heart to
deal with it properly. It has not been done
right by my Mum. She should not have
gone through what she's gone through;
for a young widow to be struggling so
Erickson last year ew to India on
Malaysia Airlines to visit her mother.
"I found it a bit strange to pay full fare
on an airline that my father died for
while on duty."
A recent request for the airline to help
her with ights was declined, she said.
"I feel very strongly about it," Erickson
said. "It's not too late to right what was
” Flight 653 was hijacked in 1977 on
its way from the northern Malaysian city
of Penang to the country's capital, Kuala
” e Boeing 737-200 crashed into
a mangrove swamp killing all 100 on
board. It was the deadliest incident in
Malaysian aviation history until Flight
” Recovery of the black box enabled
investigators to con rm both pilots were
shot while ying the plane.
” e aircraft was hijacked as it
approached Kuala Lumpur on the
evening of December 4, 1977.
” As it descended, the crew was shot
and the aircraft crashed into swampy
ground at 450 knots. Such was the
velocity, no identi able bodies were
” e hijacker or hijackers of MH653
have never been identi ed.
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Devika Ganjoor Erickson says she will never get over not knowing why her father was shot, leading to his plane crashing.
Pilot's family suffers
e daughter of the pilot killed in what, until Flight 370, was Malaysia's deadliest aviation
crash talks to PHIL TAYLOR of the New Zealand Herald about living with the disaster.
ere is neither the space nor the need
to answer the Grey District Council chief
executive's lengthy obfuscation on waste
management problems (Greymouth Star,
April 9). Why obfuscation? Because it has
little to do with the issue. e issue is the
policy of not rating at an appropriate level,
over time, to meet community needs; then
having to make steep, catch-up rate hikes
that hit those least able to pay.
ere is nothing sudden or unexpected
about the infrastructure issues that we
face. We have long known that we have
a harbour to maintain for our shery
industry, that our sewerage management
and waste management have not been
up to scratch, that our water supply is
sub-standard, and that tourism supporting
activities like the arts, events and the
museum are underfunded.
e list goes on, and the reason is one for
which we all bear some responsibility. We
have allowed ourselves to believe that we
could pay rates below both the in ation
rate and below the present and projected
future needs of our community.
As to the council chief executive's reply
to my letter, why is he commenting at
all? e decisions to accept tenders and
have a particular waste management
system are, or should be, policy decisions
not administrative decisions. As such,
the Mayor and the waste management
portfolio-holding councillor should have a
good understanding. Either or both should
be capable of responding. How else could
they make policy decisions and accept
e chief executive should stick to his
administrative knitting and let the Mayor
or councillors speak for themselves on
matters of policy.
Is this Kokshoorn City or Pretoriusville?
Will the real mayor please stand up and
debate rating policy?
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
responds: " e chief executive responded
to your letter because it was sent to him
personally by the Editor of the Greymouth
Star. Mr Pretorius runs the day to day
operations of the Grey District Council, so
cut the sarcasm Mr Morgan and stick to the
Over the past 10 years we have completed
all overdue infrastructure that was put o
in the past. In doing so, we have kept the
average rates in the Grey district under the
average rates charged by the other 67 district
councils throughout New Zealand. It was
hard work and took a lot of good planning
and discipline by councillors and sta . We are
now in an excellent position to plan ahead for
the redevelopment of the Greymouth central
business district over the next ve years
now that the funds have been raised for the
e council is addressing the port issues,
and new drinking-water standards have
been budgeted for in this year's annual plan
at a cost of $1.2 million for Greymouth,
$650,000 for Runanga and $1.2 million for
Taylorville, Dobson and Stillwater.
anks to collective teamwork, we are
heading in the right direction, and we plan to
keep it that way."
e recent government decision to
allow oil exploration on public land in
north Westland's Victoria Forest Park is
It represents a snub by Government
to public property and to public values
in scenery, environment and outdoor
recreation. Public recreational values such
as sightseeing, trekking, tramping, trout
shing, hunting, 4WD driving and all
other outdoor recreation are all features of
Did Key, Bridges and the Government
confer with the public on their planned
Incredibly, Bridges who signed the deal
o , admitted publicly that he had never
even heard of the Victoria Forest Park. at
indicates not only complete indi erence
but gross incompetence. Prime Minister
Key, who backed Bridges and the decision,
probably did not know of the park at the
time either. Both should now.
Oil exploration is the prelude to
letting exploitation-driven speculators
in on public lands. Otherwise why allow
e disregard for public lands and values
is shameful. Voters, particularly the one
million-plus outdoor recreational public,
should remember the issue of public land
grabs at the ballot box on September 20.
By their vote, they should remind any
government committing public lands to
private exploiters that ultimately they are
responsible to the electorate.
Bill Ben eld
Council of Outdoor Recreation Assns
ere is a bizarre notion among
bureaucrats, politicians and others that if
they say something then it must be so ---
despite all evidence to the contrary.
e latest instance for the West Coast
is DHB chief executive David Meates'
statement (Greymouth Star, April 10):
"Now we have got all the bits lined up",
this in response to a board member's
question, "What processes were in place
to ensure things went smoothly for the
Quite apart from the strange wording
("all the bits"), numerous West Coast
cases demonstrate the emptiness of Mr
Meates' assurances. If he really believes
his organisation responds appropriately to
the needs of patients who have su ered
traumatic consequences from surgery
which has gone dreadfully wrong, why
does he use expensive corporate solicitors
to endlessly delay the most persistent
patient inquiries regarding their cases?
Remember, this DHB has a long and
continuing record of getting rid of health
professionals who dare to question
Now Mr Meates claims that moves
are afoot to improve the care of South
Westland patients by keeping them longer
in their homes. Given the DHB's history
of empty assurances regarding South
Westland I doubt that many residents will
be holding their breath.
e approach of politicians, bureaucrats
and others recall the words of the noted
writer on the English constitution, Walter
Bagehot. Regarding the attitude of the
rich towards those less well o he said: "It
is very di cult to make them understand
why people who want dinner do not ring
Authorities on fat salaries who make
lofty pronouncements need to spend a year
on the average income to re-focus them on
what real life is about for those they treat
with such lofty disdain.
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
e letter by Chris Coomber
(Greymouth Star, April 11) refers. His
statement re the comment credited to Mr
Meates, I believe really does sum up the
attitude of the Ministry of Health and our
executive management toward the West
Where has democracy gone? Mr Meates'
statement, I believe, is a threat to those in
Reefton to 'back o and take what we give
you', a dictatorial attitude.
We have not long read a statement
made by the chairman of the DHB that
he was not prepared to have a debate
on the matter brought up by a board
member. en it appears that same person
commandeered an open letter to the
board. How can democracy work under
Let us go back to the laundry. I will
not believe it should have been torn
down because of its condition. It had no
earthquake damage. Why? It was a callous
decision knowing that approximately 20
workers were tossed on the scrapheap.
Furthermore, I do not believe the
engineers who sur veyed the hospital said
it was cheaper to rebuild than to repair
the existing building. I had a look at a
fair piece of our hospital. ere were no
cracks in the foundations, there was no
separation of the cement paths connected
to the entrances. e 100mm rimu
panelling in the stair well had perfect
alignment, the interior was clean and
tidy, and the oor coverings still had the
original joins undamaged.
However, the exterior maintenance
would rate 0 out of 10. e wooden
framings around the windows, doors etc
showed no attention for many years, there
was aking of the cement because of rust
expansion of the reinforcing steel, which
should have been repaired years ago. e
roof, well this has been a problem for a
long time. Su cient time to be repaired.
Mr Frampton wrote me a letter dated
March 24 stating: "I read your open letter
of January 2014, and I note the numerous
concerns that you express. I am happy
to meet with you and step through the
programme of work under way across
the West Coast health system." I replied,
"okay". I wait.
Mr Frampton mentioned the one letter,
when I had previously written several over
the past three years. Were all the other
letters commandeered? I doubt I have a
secret admirer obsessed with collecting my
No person responsible for the lack of
maintenance of our existing hospital should
expect to retain their position whether we
have a new hospital or not. No person who
cannot abide by the rules of democracy
should be tolerated on any board.
It has been stated that the known
amount of tax avoidance in New Zealand
is equal to half our health bill. What is
hidden could clear our national debt,
I believe. So why is John Key holding
up the long-awaited amendment to the
Companies Act? It has been languishing
on Parliament's order paper since 2011.
New Zealand once led the world in its
forward thinking on these two subjects,
--- one of knowing when to stop and the
other of abolition.
From the media articles over the past
two days and yesterday ('Mayors sign for
Hollyford', Greymouth Star, April 15),
it is clear New Zealanders have lost their
way and gone back to their unenlightened
e district councils and councillors
should hang their heads in shame, along
with those who continue to employ at
slave labour rates.
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