Home' Greymouth Star : May 14th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, May 14, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1943 - A Japanese submarine sinks the
hospital ship Centaur of the south Queensland
coast. Only 64 of the 333 on board survive.
1948 - British mandate in Palestine ends, and
an independent state of Israel is formed.
1987 - Armed troops under Lieutenant-
Colonel Sitiveni Rabuka storm
Fiji Parliament, declaring military
government; Death of actress Rita
Hayworth, aged 68.
1991 - Winnie Mandela is
sentenced to six years in prison;
Jiang Qing, widow of Chinese
Communist Party chairman Mao
Zedong and leader of the Gang of
Four, commits suicide.
1993 - American newspaper magnate
William Randolph Hearst Jr, 85, dies.
1998 - Death in Los Angeles of Frank
Sinatra at the age of 82.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Eric Morecombe, English comedian (1926-
1984); George Lucas, US film director and
producer (1944-); David Byrne, Scottish-born
pop singer (1952-); Robert Zemeckis,
US film director (1952-); Tim Roth,
US actor (1961-); Cate Blanchett,
Australian actress (1969-); Danny
Wood, US pop singer (1969-); Sofia
Coppola, US film director (1971-);
Natalie Appleton, British singer (All
Saints) (1973-); Mark Zuckerberg,
co-founder of Facebook.(1984-).
“Act well at the moment, and you have
performed a good action to all eternity.”
Johann Kaspar Lavater, Swiss theologian
“Happy are those who do not follow the
advice of the wicked, or take the path that
sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but
their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on
His law they meditate day and night.”
(Psalm 1.1 -2).
Just about the whole
valuable fishing fleet
went within an ace
of being swept away to almost certain total
destruction by an act of sabotage by some
person or persons last night. Nine of the boats
had been moored alongside the wharf in the
Blaketown Lagoon area sheltering from the
muddy flood waters rushing down the Grey
River. At some point during the wild, wet
evening their main lines were thrown off the
As a result, one boat, the trawler Moana
owned by Mr Basil Piner, was swept some
400 yards up the lagoon. It ended up tilted
slightly on its side in the mud and rushes at
the side of the lagoon. Apparently all its lines
were dropped but an inspection this morning
revealed that it had luckily escaped damage.
Just as lucky were the other eight further
down the wharf — the Lady Luck, Dolphin,
Muriel, Silver Fern, Melva-S, Mamari,
Giorgina and Bonita.
Not so lucky in March was the Norna which
slipped her mooring lines and was wrecked off
the north tiphead.
CADENHEAD. — o n May 12, 1964, at
McBrearty Annexe, to Pat and John — a son;
JEFF. — On May 13, 1964, at McBrearty
Annexe, Greymouth, to Faye and Bob — a son;
KEENAN. — On May 12, 1964, at
McBrearty Annexe, Greymouth, to Phyllis and
Jim — a son; both well.
Dr W A Bird advises that he has no present
intention of retiring and continues his present
practice as general practitioner and specialist
services for eye, ear, nose and throat complaints,
for the residents of Greymouth and district.
uFood for thought
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03 755 8422
Mayor Kokshoorn’s response to my
letter re heating the aquatic and activity
centres is a little like a man up a dark alley
shooting wildly at anything that moves
(Greymouth Star, May 9).
The European industrial revolution,
fuelled by fossil fuels, coal then oil, has
produced the climate change crisis. Yes,
China and India, now experiencing their
industrial revolutions, use coal and oil and
exacerbate that crisis. But like the rest of
the world, they are aware of the adverse
affects. China is investing $54 billion in
renewables, India $5 billion. India now has
the fifth largest wind power generating
capacity and will, by 2020, be the global
leader in solar power generation. Because
of these investments renewables become
So, we can not throw up our hands and
say, the rest of the world doesn’t give a
damn. Or say, we are so small as to be
irrelevant. O ur annual carbon emissions
for a population of four million are
the same as Bangladesh (161 million)
and Morocco (32 million). Not exactly
Nor, as a last resort, can we blame the
Greens for the crisis. Yes, they were
against Mokihinui, but were all for the
Arnold; once the recreational users (not
necessarily greenies) had negotiated a
But all this is by the by. I asked for
the results of the scoping study which
had investigated the cost (including
maintenance, supplies etc), over a 50-year
period, of different heating methods. Am I
being overly sceptical when I suspect such
a study was never done?
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
responds: “The scoping study was definitely
done and is available for Mr Maunder
on request at the council offices. The study
clearly shows that coal was by far the most
economical fuel to heat the pools in the aquatic
centre. The electricity bill also costs the council
$140,000 a year and an average of 100,000
people use the facilities every year.”
Pike River protest
On May 8 in Hobart, Tasmania, a
community group for Save the Tarkine
remembered Pike River Coal NZ. We
were protesting against Shree Minerals’
new mine in our pristine cool temperate
rainforest of the west coast, known as the
The group members were displaying
a banner: ‘Shree’s mine = blood money’
and ‘Remember Pike River Coal NZ’,
referring to Shree’s directors Sanaj
Layalka and Arun Kumar Jagatramka’s
directorship at Pike River Coal NZ at the
time of a disaster that caused 29 deaths
We are warning investors and the
Tasmanian public, that we can not trust
this company operating in Tasmania.
Both, our environment and potentially
human lives are at risk. We do not trust
the directorship’s work safety practices
and their removed level of responsibility.
Tarkine Action Group
Given the 13 previous Grey Hospital
proposals (Greymouth Star, May 9)
which came to nothing, I doubt I will be
alone in thinking I will believe it when it
But assuming (hopefully) number 14
does proceed, several key points need
Firstly, given that the DHB have
expressed interest in PPP (public/
private partnership) funding for
Westport — already slashed from $25
million to $8 million — do they harbour
similar ideas for Greymouth? This is of
especial concern given the report in the
Greymouth Star of April 28, ‘Ngai Tahu
Property Ltd has been negotiating as
a possibly private investor in the $60m
replacement Greymouth Hospital’. The
public are entitled to wonder how far
these negotiations have proceeded.
There are two problems with PPP
funding. Not only is it the thin end of the
wedge as regards increasing privatisation
of public services, but it has frequently
resulted in disastrous consequences such
as huge cost overruns and extraordinary
delays in getting projects built.
To quote the Western Australia Perth
Now News (April 10) regarding the new
$4 billion Fiona Stanley Hospital: “The
committee also found the six-month
delay of the hospital as well as ICT issues
had cost taxpayers about $330m”. That is
a staggering one-twelfth of total budget.
Those aware of the realities of PPP
funding will not be surprised to hear that
the international private business empire
Serco (also involved in New Zealand
PPP projects) is heavily involved.
The other point I put — yet again — is,
why will New Zealand politicians not
advocate hospital funding through the
Reserve Bank at minimal (administration
only) cost instead of going to the private
sector with all the problems that involves?
Once again, a key issue is that private
business demands a profit — paid by the
poor old taxpayer and usually sent out of
the country. It is economic madness.
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
The article in the Greymouth Star on
Saturday, May 10, regarding the church at
Shantytown states that salvage windows
were from St Thomas’ Anglican Church at
Runanga, which was being demolished at
I would like to point out that
St Thomas’ was built about 1908 and
remains standing on ‘Church Hill’. The
Presbyterian and Methodist churches
have since now gone.
Barry D Smithson
St Thomas’ Anglican Church
The Mayor and I are having a good
debate at the moment. This is robust
democracy at work in the public arena,
rather than issues disappearing into in-
committee meetings. There is more to be
said about this, but for now I would like to
issue a challenge to the Mayor.
The Mayor has attempted to question
my authority to speak out by interpreting
the facts of my resignation to suit his own
ends. I have already called him out on this
and he agreed, in this newspaper, to release
the in-committee proceedings which led
to my resignation.
I took him at his word and asked him
to do this formally by giving me a signed
letter authorising the use of this material.
Nothing, as far as I can ascertain, went
through the council and I received no
letter from him.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse and,
in any case, I can not claim ignorance of
the fact that the release of in-committee
material, without due process, would
make me vulnerable to legal action by, for
example, the council’s chief executive.
I believed that a frank conversation that
the Mayor and I had over a cup of tea had
put the matter of my resignation to bed,
but it would appear that the Mayor would
like to continue our discussion about the
appropriateness of the council’s internal
processes in the media.
sense, the public will need access to the
in-committee material that caused my
resignation so that they can see what went
on and make their own judgment.
Accordingly, I challenge the Mayor to
have pages 13 to 19 of the agenda for June
13, 2011, and the relevant in-committee
minutes, placed on the Grey District
Council website where we can all access
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
responds: “Confidential employment issues
between the council as the board of directors
and staff are, as described, confidential. Mr
Morgan, as employer (i.e . the council), made
public criticisms of an employee, instead of
using proper procedures to deal with his issues
that he had with that staff member.
By not using the proper procedure, Mr
Morgan compounded the problem, then on the
day the council was to address the disputed
issues he resigned as a councillor.
The point missed by Mr Morgan is that you
can criticise all you like as a member of the
public but when you become a councillor and
employer, staff have rights so strict procedures
must be adhered to.”
I rather like Nick Smith’s idea of using
helicopter logging to salvage some of the
timber brought down by the Easter storm
(Greymouth Star, May 8). Naturally, the
Greens are very much opposed. They are
concerned that huhu grubs and fungi
would miss out on a feast. Of course,
it would be a shame to see such useful
insects miss out on a treat. However, they
need to remember that helicopters only
carry out the trunks. The tops of the trees
with all the branches would be left behind.
Also, since helicopters only carry trees
short distances, the vast majority of trees
would safely rot in the forest.
Weighed against this would be other
considerations: millions of dollars injected
into the West Coast economy, a big
boost for DOC’s finances and saving our
country millions of dollars importing
timber from overseas.
I am searching for photographs of
Stillwater in its early days. I have one, a
very poor photocopy, showing what could
be the opening of the rail connection to
Christchurch, with hundreds of people
present. I would love to have a better copy
of this photograph. Any others would be
interesting to have as well.
I must draw the public’s attention to
the fire brigade open day, in Hokitika last
Firstly, it was very encouraging to know
what time and training input the team are
continually doing and are on hand 24-7
of the year for the overall areas, making
it safe for all. Not to forget the power
board men, too, in all weathers etc, and
the firefighting equipment demonstration
on stove cooking, and the ‘jaws of life’ car
Lastly, I must say good luck to John
Reed and Kevin Collett heading up the
Sky Tower Challenge in Auckland.
For the fire brigades throughout New
Zealand, I suggest everyone should be
rated a small amount of money towards
these firemen’s skills, time etc.
Jacobs River School
Plea for Miners’ Hall
I write to express my amazement at the
lack of interest shown by the council at
preserving the Runanga Miners’ Hall.
This is a grade one listed historic building
and I find it difficult to believe that a vote
of the local community can determine its
I draw comparisons to Picton’s Edwin
Fox (the last remaining immigrant
sailing ship), which for years lay
beached and uncared for, or the white
stone buildings of Oamaru. Both were
eventually recognised for the significant
contribution they made to the history of
not just their local community but to the
development of a new nation state.
The Runanga Miners’ Hall is without a
doubt of equal historic significance. This
large and complex hall is one of the few
real tangible examples of a community
that worked together to create a structure
that does not serve as monument or
museum but as a very real focal point of
active community life.
I am not unsympathetic to the council’s
limited budget, nor can we really expect
significant expenditure from the current
Government on a building where the
walls are adorned with the faces of
Labour Party prime ministers. However,
I am keen to see the imminent threat of
demolition removed from the building,
for the roof to be made watertight and
for the council to hold on to the heritage
within our community.
The West Coast has had some
wonderful publicity from the works
of writers such as Jenny Pattrick and
Eleanor Catton. Both the visitors who
read these authors’ works and the future
generations of the community should
experience as much of the real creations
of early generations of West Coasters, not
just pictures in the books.
Jacobs River School
Waitangi Day Weekend 2015. A reunion
for ex-pupils, teachers and anyone
associated with the Jacobs River School
will be held over Waitangi Day weekend,
6-8 February 2015, at the school, Bruce
Bay Hall and the marae. Details to follow.
Contact Helen Rasmussen, 03 750 0030
or the Makaawhio office 03 755 7885 for
ast glaciers in west
Antarctica seem to be
locked in an irreversible
thaw linked to global
warming that may push
up sea levels for centuries,
scientists said this week.
Six glaciers, eaten away from below
by a warming of sea waters around the
frozen continent, were flowing fast into
the Amundsen Sea, according to the
report based partly on satellite radar
measurements from 1992 to 2011.
Evidence shows “a large sector of the
west Antarctic ice sheet has gone into
a state of irreversible retreat”, said lead
author Eric Rignot of the University
of California, Ir vine, and Nasa’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
The coastal ends of the glaciers rest on
bedrock below sea level, holding back
a vast weight of ice and making them
vulnerable to melt, he said. He likened
the process to uncorking a full bottle of
wine while it was lying on its side.
This part of Antarctica would be a
major contributor to sea level rise in
coming decades and centuries since the
glaciers hold enough ice to raise sea levels
“It ’s passed the point of no return,” he
told a phone news conference.
Ice-penetrating radars showed no
mountain ranges entombed under the
ice, for instance, that could halt the flow.
The fastest retreat was 34-37km over the
period in the Smith/Kohler glacier.
Even so, cuts in greenhouse gas
emissions, part of efforts to rein in global
warming, could at least slow the slide of
the Pine Island, Thwaites, Haynes, Pope,
Smith and Kohler glaciers.
“ We do think this is related to climate
warming,” Rignot said. The scientists
believed that a build-up of man-made
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
was affecting wind patterns around
Antarctica, driving warmer waters
towards the continent.
Almost 200 nations have agreed to work
out a United Nations pact by the end of
2015 to combat global warming, which
the United Nations Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says
will cause more floods, droughts, heat
waves and higher seas.
Monday’s findings may also mean that
scenarios by the IPCC for sea level rise
are too low. The IPCC said last year that
sea levels are likely to rise by between 26
and 82cm by the late 21st century, after a
19cm rise since 1900.
“The major ice sheets of this planet will
have a larger and larger role in sea level
rise in the decades ahead,” said Sridhar
Anandakrishnan, professor of geosciences
at Pennsylvania State University, who was
not involved in the study.
Last week, another study also suggested
a part of the far bigger ice sheet in east
Antarctica may also be more vulnerable
than expected to thaw. The IPCC says
it is at least 95% probable that warming
is caused by human activities, led by the
burning of fossil fuels.
The study, to be published in the journal
Geophysical Research Letters, adds to
signs of climate change under way.
On May 6, the Obama administration
issued a study saying that warming “once
considered an issue for a distant future
has moved firmly into the present.”
And the IPCC said in March there
were signs of irreversible changes to
tropical coral reefs and to the Arctic.
A separate study of the Thwaites glacier
by the University of Washington in the
journal Science also said it may have
begun an unstoppable collapse that could
last from 200 to 1000 years.
A disappearance of the Thwaites alone
would raise world sea levels by 60cm
but the “glacier also acts as a linchpin on
the rest of the ice sheet, which contains
enough ice to cause another three to four
metres of sea level rise”, it said.
The findings contrast with a paradoxical
expansion of the extent of ice floating
on the sea around Antarctica in recent
winters that the scientists said may be
part of natural variations. “ The changes
in the glacier reflect much longer-term
processes,” Tom Wagner, a scientist with
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in
Washington, said in the phone briefing.
Ice collapse unstoppable
The Thwaites Glacier in the west Antarctic.
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