Home' Greymouth Star : May 30th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, May 30, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1431 - After being handed over by the
church, who judged her a heretic, St Joan of
Arc is burned at the stake at Rouen, France.
1588 - Spanish Armada under Duke of
Medina sails from Lisbon for England.
1842 - John Francis attempts to assassinate
Queen Victoria as she rides in her carriage
with Prince Albert down
Constitution Hill in London.
1912 - Death of US air pioneer
1942 - British convoy reaches
Murmansk, despite heavy air
1960 - Boris Pasternak, Russian
novelist and poet, dies in Moscow.
1967 - Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel
Nasser and Jordan’s King Hussein sign a
mutual defence treaty, prompting Israel to
strike pre-emptively a week later, starting the
2000 - Fiji’s army commander imposes
martial law and moves to isolate rebels who
took the prime minister and other government
2011 - Two Australian soldiers are killed in
separate incidents in Afghanistan.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Peter the Great, tsar of Russia (1672-1725);
Benny Goodman, US musician (1909-1986);
Clint Walker, US actor (1927-); Ruta
Lee, US actress (1936-); Michael
J Pollard, US actor (1939-); Marie
Fredriksson, Swedish singer, Roxette
(1958-); Wynonna Judd, US country
singer (1964-); Tom Morello, US
guitarist (1964-); Cee-L o Green,
American musician (1974-); Ahmad
Elrich, Australian soccer player (1981-).
“ To write or to speak is almost inevitably
to lie a little. It is an attempt to clothe an
intangible in a tangible form; to compress an
immeasurable into a mould. And in the act of
compression, how truth is mangled and torn!”
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American writer.
“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of
God, ser ve one another with whatever gift each
of you has received.” — (1 Peter 4.10).
Like the first probe
at Kumara Junction,
the second well of
the Arahura Valley looks a failure. Drilling
operations have been suspended at 5695ft and
the piercing of rock formation this far down
has provided sufficient information to show
further drilling would not be warranted.
Super visor Mr O van Snippenburg said that
depending on the results of two final tests
to be conducted today, the derrick would be
dismantled next week. The equipment will then
be sent north for the sinking of a wildcat well
up the Wanganui River.
The company has no further drilling plans for
the West Coast at present.
A 61-year-old retired railwayman, Mr Jack
Caldwell, of the Westport Golf Club, has
played the perfect golfing shot — a hole-in-
one — on two occasions within the last 10 days
at the Kawatiri links.
Mr Caldwell, who celebrated his 61st
birthday on Sunday, has been playing golf for
36 years but “never managed anything like
West Coast ’s World War Two Victoria Cross
winner, Mr Jack Hinton was beaten in Latimer
Square in the heart of Christchurch on
Saturday night and robbed of £4. Today he still
bears heavy bruises from the attack by a gang
of three youths.
Mr Hinton said that after having a meal in a
city cafe he was intercepted by three youths as
he crossed the square. He said he thought the
youths had seen him in the cafe and followed
him to the square. “I had no idea this sort of
thing could happen to me — I have never
known anything like it,” he said.
uFood for thought
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Well, road safety week was not exactly
a raging success. I wonder who came up
with that brilliant idea?
Every week should be road safety week,
but perhaps while the person responsible
is in this mindset, maybe they should have
a road non-safety week and compare the
I reckon that drivers would be that wary
of what is ahead they would be doubly
cautious, aware that some lunatic could be
just around the corner.
Some time ago I asked Tony Ryall why
the Government does not provide loans
to DHBs through the Reser ve Bank for
building projects instead of saddling them
with loans through commercial banks,
which are going to require total repayment
costs of at least twice the amount of the
loan. The only thing needed for this to
happen is for Parliament to enact the
At management-only cost through the
Reser ve Bank this would be a huge saving
across the DHBs.
I note that in the 2012-13 financial year
DHBs paid well over $100 million in loan
Mr Ryall replied that this will not
happen, “ because it isn’t Government
Could the Finance Minister Bill English
please explain why it is not Government
policy since it is obviously in everyone’s
interest (no pun intended) that freeing up
that $100m-plus would provide a great
deal of health ser vices rather than going
into overseas-owned commercial bank
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
I would like to make comment on a
Herald on Sunday article, carried in
the Greymouth Star on May 26, about
Geoffrey Mehrtens, to clarify a few issues.
As the article stated, I had commented
that the patient may have sur vived if the
mesh had been removed. However, while
Mr Mehrtens undoubtedly had distressing
complication of the mesh, it did not cause
the death directly.
Mr Mehrtens was referred to the
hospital with a suspected mesh-related
infection but this was never confirmed.
He was started on antibiotics based on a
suspicion of infection without supporting
evidence. He developed complications to
the antibiotics and he died as a result of
attempts to manage the complications
without relevant medical skills or
knowledge. Telemedicine advice was
requested from doctors in Christchurch
but relevant information was not relayed
to get the correct advice.
The number of treatment actions or
inactions which contributed to the death
were numerous. No valid reasons were
provided for many of the actions.
The sad part is, if someone with relevant
medical competence had seen him within
the first seven days, he probably could have
been saved without the need for transfer
to Christchurch Hospital. Once fixated on
the possible mesh-related complication, no
one saw what was actually happening.
As Mr Frampton said, an apology letter
was sent, some three years after the death.
All the reports and apology letters tried
to put all the blame on a single junior
doctor working in A and E, for not
making arrangements to measure the
blood level of an antibiotic. I believe this
responsibility was a team responsibility.
No evidence was provided to suggest that
the junior doctor had adequate support or
super vision to work in A and E. All that
was required to recognise the drug level
was likely to be toxic was for someone
to look at the prescribed dose in the
medication chart. Renal physicians from
Christchurch reported to the HDC that
this drug alone should not have caused his
kidneys to fail, yet alone his death.
None of the actions or inactions
which led to Mr Mehrtens’s death was
acknowledged as contributing factors in
the HDC report or the apology letters.
The Health and Disability Commissioner
explained the reasons for omissions in a
letter to the Mrs Mehrtens: “It is not his
role to determine the cause of death; that
is a matter for the coroner. ”
I would like to point out that Mr
Mehrtens walked into hospital and died
of multiple organ failure, from kidney
to heart to bone marrow. Each of those
organ failures could be explained by
inappropriate medical actions or inactions.
While the commissioner has no
responsibility in determining the cause of
death, I would have thought the DHB had
a responsibility to identify not only the
causes of the death but also the avoidable
factors contributing to the untimely death.
A specialist physician trained in acute
care and general medicine, managing a
patient like Mr Mehrtens, usually gathers
all the relevant information in a few
minutes or hours at most. It is hard to
believe that the investigators could not
find such a person in the three years it
took to provide the HDC report. Why a
general surgeon who is not expected to
have relevant medical knowledge was used
as the external expert adviser surmising
the case remains a mystery.
Finally, with the issue of the mesh; it
was removed just before Mr Mehrtens
died. There was no evidence of a mesh-
related infection at the time. When there
were surgeons in Christchurch who were
capable of performing the surgery and the
willingness to help, why it was not done
earlier when Mr Mehrtens asked for help
Shortly after Mr Mehrtens’s death in
ICU, the West Coast DHB chief executive
Joel George walked into a meeting with
doctors, muttering, ‘ West Coast DHB
just got a bill from Canterbury DHB for
$500,000 for four patients’.
With the merging of Mana with Kim
Dotcom’s Internet Party, we have a great
example of the aphorism, ‘politics can
bring together strange bedfellows’, which
of course means political interests (for
mutual benefit) can bring together people
who other wise have little in common. I
have an unfortunately suspicious mind
when the chalk and cheese are mixed
together with something of this nature.
It was also interesting to see on the
tv news, Sue Bradford with a face like
thunder resigning from the Mana Party
precincts. One assumes that this rank
and file ex-wannabe politician has had
a grace and favour position in the Mana
establishment as a rent-a-crowd, par venu,
cannon-fodder at the barricades. A good
person to have at your side in a stoush,
but definitely not for the delicacies of
debate and negotiation parts of politics.
One must surely wonder why this sad
woman with her particular work history
does not get herself a real job?
Interesting, too, to hear a Green
co-leader fantacising about a co-PM
Green leadership in any Labour-Green
coalition. Talk about delusions of
grandeur, but possibly no worse on
reflection than PM John Key dismissing
public concerns about current rates of
immigration. With the present Chinese
residential figures running at 11.8% of
the population, the question must surely
be asked if any demographer has looked
into the optimum number of people New
Zealand can comfortably sustain and at
what rate of entry?
Something at least to think about. On
any given day, 4.3 million Chinese or
Indians could double our population
and create chaos for years to come.
These countries would not even miss
these numbers and would make them
up in a very short time. In other words
there is an endless tide and flood of
people waiting to come to this country.
We should savour our relatively low
few weeks ago Cyclone Ita
lifted the roof off Runanga
The following week
a drag queen Conchita
Wurst did something
similar when Austria won the Eurovision
In her acceptance speech she said: “ This
is for all those who dreamed of something
better. You know who you are. We are
unity and we are unstoppable.”
That same week heritage, conser vation,
engineering experts, Runanga Area
Association Incorporated officials,
Friends of Runanga Miners’ Hall, and
representatives from a wide range of
heritage and cultural organisations
including NZHPT/Heritage NZ
visited the Miners’ Hall to show support
and solidarity for the restoration and
redevelopment project. We stood outside
for photos, of course, some also wearing
beards. United we Stand, we said.
Such is the cultural resonance of places
like Runanga Miners’ Hall.
We were hoping to organise ‘torchlight
tours’ to show the extent of Cyclone Ita
damage, however a statutory notice means
this is no longer viable. Thanks to the
Greymouth Star photographs, on Tuesday,
everyone can now appreciate in vivid
colour, why restoration is needed.
Sadly, Runanga Miners’ Hall is under
immediate threat of demolition by the
Grey District Council (section 124
deadline mid-August). The other option
being given voters in the current ballot is
untenable to the residents’ association, hall
restoration project and heritage experts.
The council know this, our submission
to the council annual planning process
has been 90% similar over three years.
Our revised funding expectations are 75%
Lotteries community facilities funding to
25% community matched.
The damage of Cyclone Ita is repairable
(insurance covers the roof better than
tarpaulins). Instead, the council is wasting
our time and money on a so-called
‘consultation’ which deems investment
in a new roof (and our restoration plans)
imprudent, if not irresponsible and
not an option to be considered in this
We need the good people of Runanga
and Mawhera to understand the
importance of this building, the restoration
project and expert opinion, before they
Runanga Area Association will be
conducting a consultation asking residents
what they want from their community
facility (and other projects). The shop
opposite the Miners’ Hall will feature
an exhibition about the hall restoration
We are holding a public meeting from
7.30pm on Wednesday, June 11 and the
Runanga Workingmen’s Club, to share
information and show our support for
the restoration project which builds
our resilience, is responsible, viable, and
We are expecting great interest locally
and ask supporters to register their interest
on our Friends of Runanga Miners’ Hall
The residents’ association cannot be
political or advocate which way residents
should vote, or if at all. We will not let
what we cannot do, stop us from doing
what we can.
Visit the exhibition, join in the
consultation and conversation to share your
ideas for our town, reser ve your space to
address our public meeting and help save
our heritage, our meeting place (runanga)
and our future as a community. Speak up
for the Runanga Miners’ Hall. In solidarity.
Paul Kearns is the project
co-ordinator for the Runanga Miners’
Hall restoration, a heritage community
development project of the Runanga Area
Miners’ Hall vote
A low-calorie diet may reduce the
chances of breast cancer spreading to
other parts of the body, a new study
Scientists have discovered that calorie
restriction, whereby food intake is
decreased by a certain percentage,
could prevent triple negative breast
cancers — known as TNBC and one of
the most aggressive forms of cancer, as
well as the least responsive to standard
treatment — from spreading to other
organs by strengthening the tissue
surrounding the tumour.
The study, which was conducted by
the department of radiation oncology
at Thomas Jefferson University in
Philadelphia, and was published
in Breast Cancer Research and
Treatment, involved feeding one group
of mice a third less than another group.
The results showed that TNBC was
less likely to spread to new sites in the
body when the mice had a restricted
“The diet turned on an epigenetic
programme that protected the mice
from metastatic disease,” Nicole
Simone, associate professor at Thomas
Jefferson University, said.
According to the study, microbes
found to increase TNBC were
decreased the most when mice were
treated with both radiation and calorie
This decrease, in turn, increased the
production of proteins involved in
strengthening the tissue surrounding
Dr Simone says it is important to
look at metabolism when treating
women with cancer. Recent studies
have shown that weight gain makes
standard treatments for breast cancer
less effective, and those who gain
weight during treatment have worse
However, patients with the disease
are often treated with methods such
as hormonal therapy to block tumour
growth and steroids to counteract the
side effects of chemotherapy, both of
which can alter patients’ metabolism
and lead to weight gain.
The study will give researchers a
molecular target for diagnosing cancers
that are more likely to metastasise, and
could, potentially, help develop a new
drug to treat the cancers.
— New Zealand Herald
Low-calorie diet could stop cancer spread — study
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