Home' Greymouth Star : May 9th 2014 Contents 3
Coast teen makes
NZ yachting history
Plant sinks hopes of
Led Zeppelin reunion
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FRIDAY, MAY 9, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
Pulse power losses
amass to $43m
Auckland-based electricity retailer
Pulse Utilities — of which Buller
Electricity owns the majority
share — has required a waiver from
its banker for breaching its debt
covenants. Pulse has told the stock
exchange it expects to breach the
covenant relating to the income it
has available to meet interest costs.
The covenant was assessed at March
31, the end of Pulse’s financial year.
Pulse said Westpac had agreed to
waive the breach. Pulse trades as
Just Energy, Pulse Energy and Grey
Power. It lost $3.4 million in the
six months to September 30 last
year, taking its accumulated losses
to $43.4 million. Buller Electricity
chairman Frank Dooley, who is also
Pulse deputy chairman, last year
invested $600,000 in the struggling
company. — Westport News
Coast incomes up
32% since 2006
The 2013 census revealed that the
median personal income for the
West Coast is up 32% since 2006
(from $20,400 to $26,900) — and
now officials are coming to the
region to disclose more figures.
Statistics New Zealand staff will
be in Greymouth and Westport on
May 27, and Hokitika on May 28,
to present local information from
the census. People will hear first-
hand about how the West Coast
has changed since the last census in
2006. To register for the West Coast
seminars visit www.stats.govt.nz/
At just 2m wide, and sandwiched
between two terraces, it is hardly an
imposing structure. But London’s
narrowest house is set to be torn
down after its owner lost a legal
challenge against the local council.
A planning inspector ruled that the
property — in Leyton, east London
— looked “singularly out of place”
and was “wholly unsatisfactory”.
He has now given the owners three
months to remove it. — Daily Mail
Fine, apart from morning cloud
The brand new Greymouth Hospital
will be “radically different ” and the
“envy ” of other regions, the West Coast
District Health Board says.
The $67 million project — $62.4
million for the hospital and adjoining
family health centre, and $4.6 million
for a new energy centre to power the
hospital — was confirmed by the
Government yesterday, and today the
DHB said it wanted the West Coast
public to ‘buy’ into the project and feel
It will boast 60 beds, a bigger maternity
unit and three modern operating
theatres, four older person rehabilitation
cottages, an emergency department and
intensive care unit.
In recent years, 13 reports on the
hospital redevelopment have failed to
win approval from the Government; this
one was No 14.
At the board meeting in Greymouth
today, board member Joseph Thomas
said there had been mixed messages in
the community. “Have we got a strategy
to inject some confidence back into the
community, that this will be the envy of
other regions? It ’s something the Coast
should be proud of,” Mr Thomas said.
Chief executive David Meates said
it was too early to say exactly how the
community consultation would be run,
and what topics were up for consultation.
However, one example was the name of
the new facility.
“It’s not been an easy journey, with
lots of twists and turns ... This is a major
milestone for health ser vices on the
Coast for what has been a long journey
over many years. There will be really
extensive community engagement over
the coming months.”
Mr Meates also revealed more about
the new energy centre. He said the
current boiler chimney was unsafe, and
it if came down it would collapse on the
railway line and State highway, or even
the boiler itself. The board had already
done work on the ageing electrical
system, and had put new switchboards in
containers which could be incorporated
in the new building.
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor said the redevelopment was
However, he tempered his comments
by saying the $67m was short of the
$76m requested, and the final proposal
required further scrutiny.
National Party list MP Chris
Auchinvole, who will retire in September,
said he was “extremely pleased to have
this through before retirement ”.
The Association of Salaried Medical
Specialists (ASMS) executive director
Ian Powell said the doctors’ union would
be taking a closer look at the detail of the
announcement but was pleased people
living on the Coast and the health
professionals now had some certainty.
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
said that rather than spending money
maintaining an old building, that could
now be directed into ser vices.
“A $67m hospital will be smaller
but cost-efficient. Sixty beds is what
we lobbied for, and three (operating)
theatres will do the job,” Mr Kokshoorn
Grey High board within months
Greymouth High School should
be returned to community hands
by the start of term four, according
to commissioner Christine Nijdam,
who says she is looking for ward to
The commissioner was put in charge
of the school in 2011 after a critical
Education Review Office report,
but the latest report confirms it has
pulled itself out of the doldrums and
is again ready to run its own affairs.
Mrs Nijdam said her role now was
to plan to get a new board of trustees
in place, and determining an election
date with the school advisory group.
She said the school was ready to
The new board would be made up
of five parent representatives, a staff
member, student trustee and the
“All going well, the election will
take place toward the end of term
three, and I will be gone from the
school seven days after the election,”
Mrs Nijdam said.
She would leave a robust set of
governance documents for the new
board “so they can get straight into
The trustees and principal Andy
England would continue to receive
support from the Ministry of
Education and the New Zealand
Schools Trustees Association to keep
them on track, and it was also critical
that Mr England received support
from the mentoring programme for
first-time principals, Mrs Nijdam
In the build-up to the parent
elections, information would be
made available to the community on
the role of the board, with a seminar
for those interested in standing for
“ I am confident that it is time for
me to leave,” Mrs Nijdam said.
“There will be close support for the
board and Andy to keep everyone on
Mr England said the staff and
students appreciated everything that
Mrs Nijdam had achieved in her
time as commissioner.
“ We are ready and excited to work
with a board,” he said.
Three weeks after their hall was
blown apart by Cyclone Ita, the
Greymouth Municipal Band hopes
to rebuild on the Blaketown site.
The stage and facade were all that
remained standing after the winds
died down on Good Friday, April
17; they were pulled down that
Bandmaster Lynn Welsford said
they wanted to rebuild, if possible,
but investigations of the Packers
Quay site were first needed to find
out if the ground was suitable.
“If we can rebuild, it is where we
want to be,” Mrs Welsford said.
The ground had previously been a
dump site and so they had to wait
to hear back from engineers.
A new hall could be built to
earthquake standards, while the old
hall was not.
The band had considered the
possibility of using an existing
building, but they needed a place
where they could leave their
instruments set up and safe.
“ We’ve got to have a home. We’ve
got to have a place to play,” Mrs
They had received messages of
support from people in Blaketown
who wanted to see the former
community hall rebuilt; some had
even offered to donate pianos.
“People want to help, which is
What they had managed to
salvage from the wreckage had
been stored with the Grey District
Council and among band members.
They had been unable to save
chairs and tables, while the wind
had blown away a lot of their sheet
music, which cost about $150 a set.
In the meantime, the band has
taken up temporary residence in
the Copper Room at the Union
Members had not had the chance
to practise since the storm, but
were planning to meet on May 18.
In fact, the last time the band was
together for practice was in the hall
the night before the windstorm.
“It was windy on the Wednesday,
too, it was howling,” Mrs Welsford
One West Coast dairy farmer
expects to be $100,000 worse off due
to a reduced milk payout forecast
from Westland Milk Products.
The Hokitika-based co-operative
announced last night it had lowered
its milk payout predictions for 2013-
14 from a range of $8 to $8.30
a kilogram of milk solids before
retentions, to a range of $7.60 to
Chief executive Rod Quin said
the lower predictions were down to
volatile world dairy prices and the
strong New Zealand dollar, noting
there had been “a serious decline in a
short amount of time”.
Buller dairy farmer John Milne
said the lower payout would cost
him about $100,000 in lost income
by the end of the current milking
season, and that would make it tricky
to budget over the next few months.
“If you are involved in any business
and you have to take a hit ... when
you start getting, say 20% less for
your products, there are probably
only a few businesses that would be
able to survive that. There’d be more
that would fold than would survive,”
Mr Milne said.
However, he was pleased that
Westland Milk had been “straight”
with farmers about the price
“It’s great that they have actually
put their hand up and said ‘look, we
have to realign what we are looking
at now ’, rather than say, waiting for a
Since the dairy industry had been
deregulated, prices had generally
become a lot more volatile, he said.
A representative of West Coast
dairy farmers said the recent
fluctuation in predicted milk payouts
from Westland Milk Products
would make it hard for farmers in
the region to budget in the coming
Federated Farmers West Coast
dairy chairwoman Renee Rooney
said that for her, the reduced forecast
would mean $20,000 less coming
in next month, which would be a
significant loss of revenue for any
operator to have to contend with.
She said there had been a general
trend for good dairy prices, then
suddenly a big drop.
It was also another example of “over-
promising and under-delivering” on
milk payouts from Westland Milk in
recent times, Ms Rooney said.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Bandmaster Lynn Welsford stands in front of the Greymouth Municipal Band Hall site, where they hope to rebuild.
Farmer loses $100,000 with milk payout cuts
Band looks to rebuild
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