Home' Greymouth Star : June 9th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, June 9, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1549 - Church of England adopts The Book of
Common Prayer, compiled by Thomas Cranmer.
1870 - Death of Charles Dickens, English
1898 - Agreement is signed under which
Hong Kong is leased to Britain from China for
a period of 99 years.
1902 - The Automat Restaurant,
the first restaurant with food vending
machines, opens in Philadelphia.
1928 - Charles Kingsford-Smith
and Charles Ulm become the first
people to fly across the Pacific.
1959 - The first submarine with
Polaris missiles is launched by the
1967 - Gamal Abdel Nasser resigns as
president of Egypt after his country is defeated
in war with Israel.
1976 - Dame Sybil Thorndike, British stage
and screen actress, dies.
1980 - US comedian Richard Pryor suffers
near-fatal burns when a mixture of “free-base”
cocaine explodes at his home.
1993 - Japanese Crown Prince Naruhito weds
commoner Masako Owada .
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Peter I (the Great) of Russia (1672-1725);
George Stephenson, English locomotive
designer (1781-1848); Cole Porter, US
songwriter (1893-1964); Joe Santos, actor of
The Sopranos fame (1931-); Jackie
Mason, US comedian (1934-);
Patricia Cornwell, American author
(1956-); Michael J Fox, Canadian
actor (1961-); Johnny Depp, US
actor (1963-); Andrew Symonds,
Australian cricketer (1975-); Natalie
Portman, US actor (1981-); Sonam
Kapoor, Indian actress (1985-).
“ Be the inferior of no man, nor of any be
the superior. Remember that every man is
a variation of yourself. No man’s guilt is not
yours, nor is any man’s innocence a thing
apart.” — William Saroyan, American
“ Who knoweth not in all these that the hand
of the Lord hath wrought this?” — ( Job 12:9).
Rather than be
broken up for scrap
the Kanieri gold
dredge should be
used as a centrepiece for the establishment of
a West Coast museum, said Mr H Donald,
MP for Wairarapa after inspecting the dredge
last week. Mr Donald’s comment preceded
the recommendation just released of the New
Zealand Travel and Holidays Association that
a West Coast historical museum should be
established in Hokitika.
Although a group of persons in Hokitika has
done much towards establishing a museum, it
is recommended that an even more ambitious
scheme be undertaken, the report says. The
establishment of a West Coast historical
museum at Hokitika, which would replace
replicas of buildings as they were during
goldrush days, would be a first-class attraction
to tourists and would induce them to stay
longer in the area.
No more than 25% of the guests at the
Fox Hotel ever set foot on the glacier. The
proprietor of the hotel is quoted saying this
in the report by the New Zealand Travel and
Holidays Association. The report says a new
approach is needed in the publicity given to the
Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.
The traditional views fringed with bush and
easily seen from the main road no longer exist,
and this should be publicised. There are now
two means of access, by air or by the traditional
method of proceeding as far as possible
by motor vehicles and then on foot in the
company of a guide.
“ Less emphasis should be given to the
glaciers and more to other scenic attractions of
Westland, until some easier form of access can
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
The Greymouth Star missed an
opportunity to provide leadership to its
community, and missed an opportunity to
acknowledge the work and commitment
of the more than 1000 staff of the West
Coast District Health Board, by its choice
of focus on its June 4 front page article on
The opportunity missed was to have told
the story of the enviable position the West
Coast and its people enjoy over almost
every other area of New Zealand with
respect to orthopaedic surgery. The Coast ’s
delivery of joint replacement and other
specialty bone surgery is — on a per capita
basis — greater than almost every other
part of the country, including Canterbury.
That in itself is a significant achievement,
considering that we live in a district that
spans the distance from Auckland to
Wellington but has just 1% of the North
Island ’s population and is significantly
more isolated than most other parts of the
Not only do we enjoy a higher rate of
surgery than most other areas, but we are
getting a greater range of more specialised
care from more specialised surgeons than
ever before. The West Coast, working in
trans-alpine partnership with Canterbury,
is punching above our weight; the Coast
has some of the best access to the highest
quality orthopaedic surgery of any
community anywhere in the country, and
the greatest majority of that surgery is still
delivered at Grey Base Hospital.
Ahead of writing your article, your
newspaper simply requested from us
information about the numbers of patients
transferred. We chose, in our written
response to you, to provide you not only
the information you requested but the facts
that I set out above. In order to ensure that
Coasters were given every opportunity
to know just how comprehensive their
orthopaedic ser vice is, we met with your
reporter to identify the opportunity that
existed for your paper.
Let me be clear. We do not dispute that
over the past two years, more West Coast
patients have travelled to Christchurch for
orthopaedic surgery. However, setting out
the full facts of the service in the public
domain was an opportunity that your
Wednesday article could have taken. That
opportunity was to further strengthen the
reputation of the Coast, and make it an
even more attractive place for others to
come to live and work. Moreover, it would
have further assisted our efforts to recruit
and retain the talented clinicians we need
in order to sustain, improve and extend the
delivery of local health services.
Every member of the DHB team comes
to work each day to deliver, and to improve,
the care provided to everyone who needs
our health services. While Wednesday is
an opportunity lost, the opportunity still
before us is how we deliver on the collective
responsibility of making this community an
even better place to be. Health ser vices, and
people’s confidence in them, are essential
for the future and prosperity of the West
West Coast District Health Board
Saving the Miners’
A public meeting is being held at 7.30pm
this Wednesday, June 11, at the Runanga
Workingmen’s Club to discuss the future
of the Runanga Miners’ Hall. This building
has been a part of the Runanga community
for a long time and is associated with many
important historical events and activities. I
would urge the people of the local Runanga
community to attend the meeting and to
fill in and return the postal ballot that has
been sent to them by the council. Make
sure you have your say.
Travelling for surger y
Once again the Star’s Official Information
Act inquiries reveal what is actually
happening to West Coast hospital patients
(‘Hundreds transferred for bone surgery’,
Greymouth Star, June 4).
An effective DHB board system would
enable the public’s elected representatives
to clarify such matters, but when boards are
strictly controlled and dominated by secrecy
only the media are left to try to penetrate
the political-bureaucratic smokescreens.
Regarding the reminder of the DHB’s
2012 complaint that they were paying,
‘$2500 a day for locum specialists and it
was breaking the budget ’, it has to be asked
(again) why management rejected the
request of surgeon Peter Hucker and two
others to change from being employed as
locums to become permanent staff ? They
gave up and left in 2012 but according
to my sources the permanent surgeon
positions that could have been filled had
been available since 2010.
I have raised this question in this
newspaper before but there was a
resounding silence from the powers-that-
be. To my knowledge management have
had a get-rid-of-resident-surgeons policy
for over a decade. Why?
The politically-driven bureaucratic
agendas are typified by West Coast DHB
programme director Peter Frampton’s
description of the hundreds more Coast
patients being transferred to Christchurch
— ‘some of whom are having to travel a
little more’. This is spin-doctoring of the
first degree. For ‘some’ patients travelling
‘a little more’ read, hundreds more patients
a year travelling to Christchurch and
elsewhere — assuming the passes are not
closed and-or bad weather prevents flying
The Greymouth Star’s ‘factbox’ in the June
4 article spells out the ‘startling turnaround’
of patients being increasingly sent over the
hill. Where will it end?
There may be a new hospital planned
but those familiar with government health
agendas over the past several decades will
be wondering what ser vices it will actually
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
Greymouth as a
I could not agree more with the Mayor’s
comment that action is needed to develop
the town as a cycle hub (Greymouth Star,
June 5) before the opportunity slips away.
Unfortunately, the ideal place to have
such a hub, the proposed goods shed
development, went with the last big blow.
Right on the cycle trail and with ample
space to have housed bike hire businesses,
among all the other ideas, the old goods
shed had enormous potential.
It is even more of a pity that the council
let them run down to the point that their
demise was almost inevitable. It was short-
sighted not to get behind this project with
some ratepayer money for the sake of the
return to the community in the longer run.
The push to run down the goods shed
came from the council’s administrative side.
Most councillors could see the potential
for a centre celebrating our history, for
a farmer’s market under the goods shed
veranda and for an art and craft market
and studios inside the building. Now we
are heading for more talk and scratching
around for private enterprise solutions
in an unfavourable economic climate.
Nevertheless, there is something concrete
the council can do to make our district
In most New Zealand cycle tourism
areas there are signs exhorting motorists
to ‘share the road’ with cyclists, give them
space and to watch out for them. It is time
to get some signs up from Cobden Hill
to Punakaiki, and further afield, so that
cyclists know that they are welcome and
that their safety is valued.
‘Battle for the Birds’
When I was school age I was taught to
be respectful and tell the truth, not to jump
to conclusions, and to obser ve rather than
make frightening statements. Science is
What is it with this ‘Battle for the Birds’?
Where no poison has been, it is evident
that birds, possums, stoats and rats and
mice are in abundance. Where poison
has not been laid for eight years there
is evidence of increasing bird numbers.
It is a long process and native species
from poison-free areas are significant in
increasing these numbers.
The television report last week, however,
is just hysteria. Sure there has been masting
of several species, not only beech, and it
is geographically, as often, patchy. In the
heavy mast areas, seeds are rotting on the
ground because of heavy rain, there is no
evidence of increasing rat numbers as yet,
and this applies to other species, too. Rats
have gone into the winter at static numbers,
as in most years (DOC figures support
Hysterical ‘masting’ is a non-event
designed to extort money from the taxpayer.
DOC is not protecting our wild things, it
is making clearances in the vain hope of
removing our introduced species and wild
food sources. This concept is dangerous to
the balance of nature and to people living
near our wild lands — and it is not science.
It is unconscionable to remove money
for this beat-up especially, when the West
Coast and other rural areas are already
suffering job losses.
Farmers Against Ten Eighty
I found the comment in the Greymouth
Star on June 4 regarding the orthopaedic
services a bit puzzling: ‘Under the new
‘trans-alpine service’, Canterbury specialists
rather than costly locums were rotated
through Grey Base Hospital’.
A Greymouth Star article stated: ‘ The
surgeons, including Peter Hucker, gave
notice in May that they were withdrawing
their ser vices after the West Coast District
Health Board refused to offer them
To my simple mind, it seems the previous
orthopaedic ser vices were costly, only
because the management had problems
comprehending that it is cheaper to employ
a specialist in a permanent position rather
than as a locum.
Party ‘rort ’
The merger of the Mana Party based
on a reser ved Maori seat, that claims
to represent disadvantaged Maori, with
Dotcom’s party founded by a foreign multi-
millionaire, reeks of hypocrisy.
A reser ved Maori seat has been
exchanged for a $3 million donation
to virtually guarantee Dotcom’s party a
presence in Parliament. Once elected,
these radicals may well be in a position to
achieve their common goal of changing
the government — and, blocking Kim
Dotcom’s extradition to the United States.
What is more astounding about this
MMP rort is that once elected, under their
memorandum of understanding, the parties
may terminate their relationship within a
week and go their independent ways. In
other words, for $3m, the Mana Party will
use a seat reser ved for Maori to ‘coat-tail’ an
independent party bankrolled by a German
fugitive into Parliament to try to bring
down the Government. This calculated and
mercenary move to exploit the Maori seats
and the failings of MMP should not only
be a nail in the coffin of our deeply flawed
electoral system, but of the Maori seats as
The new coffee shop Cafe Plus located at
the old Mer v ‘n’ Kips building is fresh and
appealing. The food is fresh and inviting
and prices reasonable, ser vice is great
and friendly, spacious and a nice relaxing
Congratulations to the new owner Julie
Howe on the opening of the new coffee
shop. I will be a regular customer every
week. Come long and experience it for
Frances Mary Stewart
I would like to take this opportunity to
pass on my sincere thanks to the staff at
Grey Base Hospital.
Recently, while visiting Greymouth my
husband suffered a stroke and subsequently
passed away. The care he received was
exceptional from the ambulance team,
accident and emergency, and the staff at
Morice Ward. He was treated with respect,
dignity and compassion ensuring his
comfort during this time, and the support
to my family was tremendous. Thanks also
to the many locals for their support and
condolences since received.
While tinged with sadness, my time in
Greymouth will be a memory to treasure. It
truly is a wonderful place.
Greens are right to claim that New
Zealand’s abortion legislation is dishonest
— it is. In theory, abortion is against the
law but any woman can get an abortion,
provided she claims a mental health issue,
and is willing to submit to some mild
questioning from a couple of avuncular
consultant physicians happily riding the
gravy train all the way home to their
The Greens’ answer to this dishonesty is
to make abortion on demand legal to 20
weeks. Presumably they have done research
which shows that at 20 weeks the mere
foetus transforms magically into a human.
Any parent knows that children do not
actually become human until 17 years of
age, so this is a bold statement on the part
of the Greens.
We have recently seen what legalising
drugs does to ramp demand enormously,
but of course there is no reason to suspect
that this would have the same effect
on abortion. To do so is an outrageous
At the moment, however, the taxpayer
cheerfully picks up the several hundred
million dollar bill for abortion because it is
a ‘mental health issue’. But when it becomes
a simple matter of choice, does not that
mean the woman herself would have to
cough up the $2000 to $3000 needed to
remove this piece of tissue? Or will we have
a new dishonesty, where choice remains
somehow dressed up as ‘health’? And if we
cut out all of the consultants, who is going
to buy all the mansions?
About 9.30am on Saturday, a lightning
strike took out all phone communications
in Kumara. Despite this being reported to
Telecom about 10.30am it took almost 10
hours to restore the phone lines.
We have exceedingly patchy cellphone
coverage in the village, with the exception
of the Coast to Coast and on race day, so
this avenue was not readily available. We do
not have reliable carrier pigeons available,
so we were effectively cut out from the 111
system as a minimum. We do not have a
resident doctor or medical facility. And
unless you lived next door to a firefighter
the problem was further complicated.
Yesterday I was rung by a Telecom
employee who stated they could not find
my number on Saturday to find out if I
had any problems with my phone. How
‘considerate’ of them, given that it took
more than seven hours from the time it
was reported from my home to getting a
connection. And only then were we aware
of the reconnection by a neighbour ringing
us on the landline.
Telecom: you need to get your act
together. Lady luck smiled and the 111
system was not required on that day.
Cycle trail near-miss
My friend and I had a near miss on the
Kumara section of the new West Coast
Wilderness Trail today.
We were cycling near the Dillmanstown
Dam about 2.20pm, when from out of the
blue, three four-wheelers came hurtling
down the track towards us. The first one,
travelling at an excessive speed, almost took
one of us out.
On the way back to Kumara we met one
of them again, just before the start of the
single section of the track; a minute later,
we would have been curtains.
This trail is for mountainbiking. Why
were these people on there?
our years after the World Cup,
Soccer City stadium stands
out against the drab skyline of
south Johannesburg, a multi-
coloured mosaic of steel and
glass set against the yellow-
dust mine dumps of a century-old city
built, literally, on gold.
On many weekends, the 94,000-seater
venue that hosted key games during the
2010 tournament is pumping, either
with the roars of soccer fans or chant of
concert-goers, an example of enduring,
direct returns accrued by host nation South
The stadium, which under went a $150
million facelift for the event, comfortably
pays its own way, according to its website,
with fixtures ranging from Soweto soccer
derbies to concerts by the likes of Lady
Gaga and U2.
In December, it hosted a mass memorial
for late anti-apartheid leader Nelson
Mandela, and last month was the venue
for a massive rally by the ruling African
National Congress (ANC) to crown their
However, Soccer City stands out in
another, crucial way.
Of the nine other venues built or
renovated for the World Cup, all are in the
red, unable to attract regular top sporting
clashes or international rock stars.
The bill for their up-keep falls on cash-
strapped municipalities, a salutary lesson for
Brazil, where hundreds of thousands have
protested, sometimes violently, against state
spending on this year’s tournament, which
starts on June 12.
Brazil’s anti-World Cup movement
argues that the $11.7 billion earmarked for
Cup-related spending — three times South
Africa’s budget, even though only $7 billion
has actually been disbursed — would have
been better used on hospitals, schools and
Many in South Africa, the continent ’s
wealthiest country but still a middle income
country, feel the same way.
“If 50% of the collective resources
deployed around the World Cup were
deployed around these critical issues, I
think the country would have made a big,
big leap for ward,” said Achille Mbembe,
a social scientist at Johannesburg’s Wits
The Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in the
decaying industrial city of Port Elizabeth
supports the case.
The current tenants of the state-of-the-art
47,000-seat venue are the Southern Kings,
a second-tier rugby side excluded last year
from the lucrative Super XV competition.
The Port Elizabeth region has also not
had a team in the Premier Soccer League
(PSL) since 2006, and even if a local
side clawed its way into the big time, the
turnstiles will not be overworked — the
average PSL game attracts crowds of just
Since it opened its doors before the
World Cup, the stadium has been attracting
on average just over 300,000 visitors a year,
only three times the record 94,700 who
turned up on one day at Soccer City to
watch the South African Springbok rugby
side play New Zealand in 2010.
Its owners decline to reveal annual up-
keep costs, but they concede that it runs
at a loss of $14.4 million — a bill that the
municipality has to pick up.
With so many other social demands
in one of South Africa’s poorest regions,
turning it round is a low priority.
“Sports development competes for
resources with other service delivery
priorities, like sanitation, electricity,
economic development and waste
management,” said council spokesman
In their final report on the 2010
tournament, FIFA and the South African
Football Association (SAFA) urged people
to focus on “non-tangible” benefits such
as an improved national team and the
rebranding of a country plagued by violent
Whereas tourism numbers have boomed
since the tournament, a reflection of both
South Africa’s burnished international
image and — in the last 18 months — its
weak currency, the sporting benefits are
The national soccer team, Bafana Bafana,
failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup
and are currently languishing at 65 in the
world rankings, having slid from a short-
lived post-World Cup high of 38th in 2011.
Since 2010, the side has also struggled
in the bi-annual African Nations Cup,
qualifying for only one tournament by
virtue of being the host. The under-20 and
under-23 teams have also failed to get in to
any major events.
There have been ructions off the pitch too,
with in-fighting in the SAFA boardroom,
allegations of pre-World Cup match-fixing
and a scandal over the spending of 48
million rand of FIFA money.
SAFA officials say, however, that the
worst is behind them.
“It ’s been a slow process. Last year was
difficult for SAFA generally as we were
going through elections and uncertainty in
leadership,” said SAFA development head
“It was quite clear that we weren’t going
from success to success. We had to go
through the fire of failure.”
South Africa’s post-World Cup
development plan is nothing if not
ambitious — propelling Bafana Bafana into
the world top 20 by 2020 — but with a
population of 53 million people and more
resources than most African countries it
could be achievable.
There are also signs that the $50m paid by
FIFA in 2012 into the World Cup Legacy
Trust — the post-tournament soccer
development fund — is kicking in to gear.
A national database that goes live in July
will track all of South Africa’s 2m registered
footballers and SAFA has established
country-wide under-13 and under-15
leagues for boys and girls. It also plans to
train 10,000 coaches a year. — Reuters
World Cup legacy
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth.
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