Home' Greymouth Star : May 26th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
West Coast/New Zealand
of the Hokitika Guardian
After 21 Wildfoods Festivals, co-ordinator
Mike Keenan has lost his job with the Westland
District Council in a drastic pull back of the
council events department.
Chief executive Tanya Winter confirmed on
Friday the speculation that had been rife for a
week — that ‘Mr Wildfoods’ had been made
He will finish at the end of next week.
Ms Winter said Mr Keenan’s role as events
manager role had been disestablished as a result
of continued ser vice level reductions within the
The organisation of the 2015 festival would
be contracted for six months in the lead up and
wind down of the event, Ms Winter said.
“For the future a fixed term Wildfoods
co-ordinator will be employed from around
October to March annually. The co-ordinator
will be responsible for ensuring the continuing
success of the festival and the outstanding work
Mike and his team have done previously to
make this the highly regarded local event it is.”
However, Mr Keenan said he had grave
concerns for the future of the Wildfoods
In a final report to the council, he said he felt
the festival days were numbered and if it was to
continue it needed a major sponsor or financial
assistance from the council.
“I think it’s got a future and I think it’s a very
good thing for the community,” Mr Keenan
“ We’ve got a $5 million to $6 million festival
here with no major sponsor, and council don’t
put a cent into it. This might get it through to
2015 — but it needs council funding to continue
or go out for a major sponsor.”
He said the decision to scale back the events
department to run only the Wildfoods Festival
had been “unduly influenced by council’s
financial decisions elsewhere”.
The council decided last year to reduce the
budgets in the events department and have it
focused solely on Wildfoods.
The event ’s budget was cut this year from
$438,291 to $320,267, and the festival returned
to just a one-day event.
That helped put it back in the black with an
overall surplus of $15,438 this year, after an
unprecedented loss of $33,315 last year.
However, Mr Keenan said while the process
may have been “ by the book” it was limited to
options with a financial focus, not the wider
social aspects of the community.
A future lack of involvement in other up
coming events such as the Hokitika 150th
celebrations, Ag Fest and the Spring Challenge
women’s multi-sport event would impact
negatively on the vitality of the community, Mr
2 - Monday, May 26, 2014
Coast slips make
The wild weather that hit New
Zealand late last week, causing
slips at Otira and the Haast Pass,
has made worldwide news. English
newspaper The Daily Mail reported a
story by Australian Associated Press
on their website yesterday. The story
quotes NZ Transport Agency senior
network manager Mark Pinner
about the progress clearing the
30,000 tonnes of rock and material
which fell on State highway 73,
near Otira. The Daily Mail website
receives over 100 million unique
visitors each month.
Croesus loop track
A public meeting will be held this
week in Greymouth to explore the
possibility of creating a Croesus loop
track, near Blackball. Currently, the
track crosses the Paparoa Range
from Blackball to Barrytown, but
that leaves a long trip back to the
Smoke-ho car park, near Blackball.
The alternative track would create a
loop starting at the Croesus Knob,
heading back toward the Blackball
side via Mounts Leitch and Watson.
The Department of Conser vation
said the idea had come from track
users and the local community. The
meeting will be held at the DOC
office in Greymouth at 5.30pm on
Jacksons Tavern remains unsold,
failing to attract a bid at auction
in Christchurch last week. O wner
Mark Tammet said a couple of
parties had expressed interest in the
pub after the auction, and he was
talking to them about a possible sale.
The pub had been on the market
since the previous tenant, who had
been unable to make a success of the
business, had been cleared out 15
months ago. It had been closed for
business since then.
Hague top Green player
in election run up
West Coast-based Green list MP
Kevin Hague has remained one of
the top players in the party in the run
up to the general election, retaining
third place on the party list, just
behind Green co-leaders Metiria Turei
and Russel Norman. Former Forest
and Bird regional co-ordinator for
the West Coast, Eugenie Sage, is in
fourth place, up two places since the
2011 election. The National Party is
yet to announce its list, while West
Coast-Tasman electorate MP Damien
O’Connor said last week he had agreed
to also go on the Labour Party list,
along with the rest of the shadow
The final of the Railway Hotel 45s
tournament yesterday was a victory for
the fairer sex, with Chris Koh and Isla
Woodham defeating Mary Palmer and
Daphne Perrin to win the title. Beaten
semi-finalists were Mel Ryan and
Grant Olsen, and Con Richards with
Kelvin Keating. Millie Sinnott and Les
Allen beat Linda Buglass and Belinda
Skelton in the consolation plate final.
Greymouth Bridge Club results from
last week were. — Wednesday: Tina
Fernando and Sue Holt 60% 1, Diana
Fenson and Cynthia El-Hinsheri,
Gerrard Bardell and Ian Anderson
48% 2 equal. Thursday: Sue Glue and
Stuart Oliver 62.5% 1, Tina Fernando
and Brian Rowlands 61.5% 2, Michelle
Gunn and Joy Willman 55.2% 3.
A 3.9 earthquake was recorded
near Haast at 7.26pm yesterday at a
depth of 5km, and centred 35km east
of the township.
In port: Cook Canyon, Galatea
II, Tainui, Electra, Garraway,
Happy V, Tawera, 26 other vessels.
Expected departures: Galatea II,
Cook Canyon, tomorrow. Expected
arrivals: Ocean Odyssey, tomorrow;
Moon Shadow II, Wednesday.
Aquatic centre contractor ordered to pay court costs
Internet companies will enjoy a reduction in some
of their wholesale costs in December but are not
committed to passing on these savings directly to
Cuts to what infrastructure company Chorus
charges internet retailers like Vodafone and Orcon
for some wholesale copper-line broadband ser vices
are due to come into effect on December 1.
While two different price changes made by the
Commerce Commission will come in on that day,
Chorus has requested a wider review of both sets of
prices from the regulator.
Although it had been aiming to have both reviews
completed by the time the new pricing came into
force, the commission on Thursday said it now
planned to have a draft decision on both sets of
prices by December and a final decision in April.
This means the price change will be in effect for
at least four months before any possible change the
commission could make in its final rulings.
But while internet providers will enjoy some lower
wholesale costs over this time, none are committing
themselves to lower prices for customers straight
away in December.
Orcon and Slingshot last November promised to
pass on savings from the cuts.
Greg McAlister, Orcon chief executive said at
the time that the company would cut broadband
prices “dollar for dollar”, taking into account any
extra costs the company faces.
This could be as high as around $7.50 a month for
each customer, an Orcon spokesman said last year.
Mr McAlister on Friday said there were still
some issues to resolve before the company could
“get too committed”.
These included the possibility the commission
could backdate the price decision it reaches in
“It’s pretty difficult to start putting prices down
and then go, ‘Sorry, we’ve got to put them back up
again’,” McAlister said.
Slingshot last week said it would review pricing
when “there is certainty on costs” — which would
not be until after April.
Snap chief executive Mark Petrie said Chorus
had also announced an unregulated accelerated
copper ser vice and the Christchurch-based
company needed to consider how that would fit
into its “broadband product roadmap”.
“ With so many moving parts, including the
possibility of a clawback scenario with Chorus,
it’s difficult to say at this stage what our approach
will be with respect to the regulated input costs
reducing,” Petrie said on Friday.
Asked if Vodafone would directly pass on
wholesale cuts to consumers, a spokeswoman said:
“Given the competition in the retail market, the
benefits of any wholesale price reduction ultimately
get passed through to consumers”.
Responding to the same question, a Telecom
spokesman said the company was “confident
consumers would get more value”.
Association chief executive Paul Brislen said
internet companies feared they would be stuck
with a bill if the commission backdated its April
Given the uncertainty, Brislen thought it was
fair enough for internet companies to wait
until after April before making price changes.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Cheaper internet will have to wait
The Court of Appeal has ordered
Hokitika-based Evan Jones Construction
to pay costs for one of many hearings in the
long-running court action over the sagging
beams in the $12 million Greymouth
The sag in the central wooden beams
was evident soon after the pool opened in
2009; the repair bill is estimated at $2.36
For almost four years the Grey District
Council, designers and contractor have
been locked in negotiations and court
The council declined to comment
because the matter was ongoing, but
court documents explaining the case say
the council entered into a construction
contract with Evan Jones Construction,
having already contracted LHT Design
Ltd as its engineering consultancy. LHT
had commissioned Andrew Scott Blain
and Kevin O’Connor and Associates to
peer review the design, so they were swept
up in the court action along with Carter
Holt Har vey, which supplied the laminated
veneer timber for the beams.
The accusation against Carter Holt was
one of ‘negligent misstatement ’ in the
instructions relating to the installation
and use of the beams, or alternatively,
misleading and deceptive conduct under
the Fair Trading Act.
The council alleged that all parties, except
Evan Jones Construction, had failed in
their respective duties of care, so excluded
the contractor from its lawsuit.
However, the other parties alleged the
builder was at least partially responsible and
therefore filed a ‘third party’ application,
alleging in the District Court last year that
the company had:
Failed to allow a sufficient pre-camber
when making up the beams.
Left the materials unwrapped and
exposed to the weather for an excessive
Failed to sufficiently prop the beams;
Removed the propping prior to the
construction of the roof cladding.
Evan Jones Construction had argued that
it was working on instructions from the
engineer and could not be held responsible.
The District Court found in its favour and
ordered that the third party application
should be struck out.
However, last November the Court of
Appeal overturned that decision and, earlier
this month, ordered that the company
should pay the costs the other parties
incurred in opposing the application.
Monday May 26
Urgent cases only
Phone 769 7493 first
5pm - 8pm
My life, my funeral
At some time in life
you will go through a
Make the decisions
around this difficult time
easier for your loved
Make them for yourself.
This FREE easy to
follow pack is available
Visit or call us for your
“My Life, My Funeral”
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May 25, 2013.
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Like every other.
My brother, My Angel,
Forever in my heart.
The Shed youth group and Greymouth High School students hang out together for a weekend of doing without on the 40-Hour
Famine, clockwise from left, Mikayla Milne, Grace Perkins, Ben Owens, organiser Nicki Mora, Caitlin Briggs, Jesse James, Blaze
James, Liam Douglas, Cherie Halsey and Anna-May Smithers. They all chose to go without different things for the 40-hour period
such as food, technology, sleep, talking and using a camera. Mrs Mora said there had been a lot of laughs as everyone tried to
communicate with each other. Activities to while away the weekend included playing pool, movies, and plans to build a mattress fort.
Funds raised will go toward those living in poverty in Malawi.
PICTURE: Lisa Rangi
Students go without in 40-Hour Famine
A medical specialist has linked
controversial surgical mesh implants
to the death of a former Hokitika
It is believed to be the first fatality
reported in New Zealand connected
to the implants.
Geoffrey Mehrtens, 54, died at
Christchurch Hospital in February
2010. The father-of-three had
endured significant health issues
since polypropylene mesh was
inserted into his abdomen during an
operation to repair a hernia six years
Mr Mehrtens died from multiple
organ failure following a reaction
to antibiotics and complications
from other treatments after he
was thought to have contracted an
General physician Dr Lasantha
Martinus, who for a period treated
Mr Mehrtens at Grey Base Hospital,
said his patient might have survived
if the problematic mesh had been
“I believe ongoing problems caused
by the implant could have been a
contributing factor to his admission
to hospital,” said Martinus, who
no longer works at Grey Base. “Mr
Mehrtens might still be alive if he
had received appropriate treatment
when he needed it ... I believe this
is a death that could have been
Mr Mehrtens’ family complained
to the Health and Disability
Commissioner about the level of
care the West Coast and Canterbury
Initial findings from a subsequent
investigation by the commissioner’s
office, issued in April last year,
concluded circumstances around the
death were complicated by a history
of other contributing illnesses.
The report noted, however, key
areas of concern included a failure
to reassess the patient ’s suitability
for surgery “in a timely manner”
as well as a failure to monitor his
progress and manage his treatment
complications in the days leading up
to his death.
In 2009, doctors at Christchurch
Hospital decided it was too risky for
Mr Mehrtens to have an operation to
remove the mesh, which was leaking
faecal fluid and causing considerable
pain and distress, because he was
significantly over weight.
Despite his shedding 42kg over a
few months, the operation did not
go ahead and Mr Mehrtens later
West Coast and Canterbury DHBs
to provide Mr Mehrtens’ widow,
Heather, with letters of apology.
She declined to comment about the
Dr Martinus, who has been
providing advocacy for Mr Mehrtens’
widow, said: “No explanation was
given why he hadn’t even received
an appointment after losing 42kg
to make himself fitter for
“The cause of suffering of
patients with surgical mesh-related
complications is more than the
mesh. It is due to a failure of the
quality assurance system and the
lack of duty of care for victims of
A spokesman for the Health and
Disability Commissioner said it did
not comment on individual cases.
West Coast DHB programme
confirmed letters of apology were
sent to the Mehrtens family but he
stressed neither DHBs, nor any of
its staff, were found to be in breach
of the Code of Rights.
“Since Mr Mehrtens’ death in
2010, significant work has been
undertaken and new models of care
implemented to embed the level of
support provided by the Canterbury
District Health Board to the West
Coast community for patients who
have complex needs,” Mr Frampton
Mr Mehrtens’ mother, Doris, was a
long-ser ving elected member of the
former West Coast Hospital Board.
The matter was last month referred
to the coroner, whose investigation
has been adjourned, a spokesman
for the Ministry of Justice said.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Controversial surgical mesh implants linked to Coast death
Westport’s $4 million water upgrade
has hit a host of time and construction
delays, a report to the Buller District
Council meeting this week shows.
Operations manager Steve Griffin said
the design drawings for the upgrade
infrastructure, supplied by Opus,
needed changing after the contractor
had found differences
the design and the actual on site
Mr Griffin said there were sometimes
differences between a generic design
on paper, and the actual layout of
infrastructure on site.
Opus engineers had to supply extra
information over the design, which also
needed to be altered, and those changes
had resulted in a knock-on delay in the
construction of the new plant.
Mr Griffin said that as it was an
“ongoing issue”, the precise time
extension for the project had not been
confirmed. However, engineers would
be on site this week to discuss the issues
with the contractor.
He said the contractor had also
referred to delays with the supply of
materials, some of which were due
to the pressure on supplies resulting
from the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.
However, there were also further delays
with pipes and fittings being sourced
from suppliers overseas.
Mr Griffin said the design alterations
and supply issues would mean extra
costs and time delays, but he was not
expecting either to be significant. He
also hoped delays could be compensated
by reductions in other areas.
Westport water upgrade
An elderly woman lay trapped and
badly injured overnight next to her dead
husband after their car left a driveway
and rolled up to 30m down a steep bank.
The vehicle and was found this
morning overturned in a ditch on a rural
property north of Napier.
Both victims are understood to be in
their 80s and the vehicle apparently hit
Police confirmed this morning the
couple, from Taradale, were visiting the
property on Puketapu Road yesterday
evening. It is understood they had left
the property to head home sometime
The man was found dead and his
wife had been trapped in the car
overnight. She is currently in Hawke’s
Bay Hospital with serious injuries.
— APNZ-Hawke’s Bay Today
Pensioner trapped overnight
next to dead husband
Maurice Williamson will meet
political expenses watchdog Sir
Maarten Wevers next week over a
top-of-the-range smartphone he did
The Pakuranga MP claims the $899
Samsung Galaxy S4 was a long-term
loan and not a gift, which would have
to be declared on the register of MPs’
Prime Minister John Key and
Communications and Technology
Minister Amy Adams also received
phones. Mr Key got three but declared
Sir Maarten, the Registrar of
Pecuniary and Other Specified
Interests, said Mr Williamson
contacted him after a story on May
“He set out some matters for me and
I just need to have a discussion with
him about the nature of the response
he gave me and we’ ll have a talk about
the provisions of the register. I want
to do that in person with him.”
Sir Maarten said the two would
meet this week.
“ My role is to provide advice and it ’s
up to members to make the decisions
themselves and that ’s what I abide by.”
Mr Williamson did not respond
to requests for comment but has
previously said Samsung contacted
him through a public relations firm
to offer him an “extended trial” of the
“ It will go back to Samsung and
hence, no gift occurred. ”
An internal Samsung e-mail
showed Mr Williamson inquired
about the company
products to politicians. The e-mail
shows Mr Williamson wanted
a phone “urgently” before an
overseas trip in May last year.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Williamson to talk about undeclared gift this week
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