Home' Greymouth Star : June 11th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1509 - King Henry VIII of England marries
the first of his six wives, Catherine of Aragon.
1955 - Eighty people are killed and more
than 100 injured when three cars crash on the
Le Mans racetrack in France and plough into a
1979 - Death of film legend John Wayne
(born Marion Michael Morrison), aged 72.
1985 - Karen Ann Q uinlan, a comatose
patient whose case prompted a
historic right-to-die court decision,
dies in New Jersey, aged 31.
2001 - Timothy McVeigh is put
to death by lethal injection for the
deaths of 168 people in the 1995
bombing of the Oklahoma City
2004 - A Bosnian Serb government
commission admits that Serb forces murdered
thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995.
2011 - A cloud of ash from a volcano in
southern Chile forces Qantas and Jetstar to
cancel flights across Australia and to New
Zealand and Argentina.
2012 - A coroner in Darwin finds that a dingo
killed nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain while
the family was on a camping trip at Ayers Rock
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
John Constable, British artist (1776-1837);
Julia Margaret Cameron, British photographer
(1815-1879); Millicent G Fawcett, British
suffragette (1847-1929); Richard
Strauss, German composer (1864-
1949); Jacques-Yves Cousteau,
French under water explorer (1910-
1997); Gene Wilder, US actor
(1933-); Jackie Stewart, British
motor racing champion (1939-);
Frank Beard, US musician of ZZ
Top fame (1949-); Hugh Laurie, English actor
(1959-); Geoff Ogilvy, Australian golfer (1977-);
Joshua Jackson, US actor (1978-) .
“Neither in the life of the individual nor in
that of mankind is it desirable to know the
future. ” — Jakob Burckhardt, Swiss historian
“As slaves of Christ, doing the will of God
from the heart.” — (Ephesians 6.6).
of existing parking
parking by business
people away from the main commercial area
— these were the suggestions offered as a
remedy to Greymouth’s traffic problems, at
last night ’s Westland District Progress League
meeting. They came from Mr W D Taylor,
referring to the Greymouth Borough Council’s
invitation for submissions on parking from
He said he noted where Petrie Avenue was
suggested as a special parking area. He felt that
while there was nothing wrong with this, the
remedy lay largely in the hands of the people
who went into town, parked their cars and left
them there all day. “And until the restrictions
are in force, this will continue,” he said. He
said enforcement would lead to a tendency for
businessmen to park “a little bit further away ”.
Mr Taylor considered this reasonable.
“There are wide streets only a matter of three
minutes’ walk away. And the bulk of these are
unoccupied during the day. It is no hardship to
walk. If this problem is not solved then we will
be faced with parking meters, which nobody
A five-year-old Paroa girl, Diana Alexis
Woolhouse, was in a satisfactory condition
in the Greymouth Hospital this afternoon.
She was admitted earlier today suffering from
concussion and abrasions to the forehead.
She was struck by a motorcylce ridden
by Henry James Harding, Camerons, near
Panthers Road, Paroa, at about 8.30am.
Harding was proceeding towards Greymouth
when the mishap occurred.
uFood for thought
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ilk is still our
but a continuing
slowdown in China
could turn things
How worried should we be about the
slump in global dairy prices? After all
these years, New Zealand is still a giant
grass-processing factory and milk remains
the lifeblood of our economy.
In fact, dairy products now account for
nearly 30% of the country’s merchandise
exports, by value. That figure was closer
to 20% when I first started covering the
sector more than a decade ago.
Dairy exports are on track to generate a
record return in excess of $17 billion this
year — about $4 billion more than they
delivered on average across the previous
That big return is due to a historically
unprecedented spike in dairy prices that
peaked in February.
So the 23% fall in dairy prices since then
is certainly significant. It has prompted
Fonterra to lower its payout forecast for
the 2014-15 season and is finally starting
to put downward pressure on the dollar.
The currency traders woke up last week
and the New Zealand dollar slumped
nearly half a cent after Fonterra’s latest
milk powder auction recorded a larger
than expected drop.
That is good. At least it shows the
system is working. Our dollar should
fall when dairy prices do, it provides a
natural hedge for our exporters and will
be blessed relief for exporters in other
Dairy may be ahead of the curve in
terms of New Zealand commodity
export prices. It seems likely that a boom
in log prices will peak this year. Other
commodities like beef and lamb are
also contributing to a record balance of
If they start to fall too, that will add to
the downward pressure. But really, for the
bloke on the Wall Street trading desk who
keeps an eye on this part of the world, the
New Zealand story is all about dairy.
To put the other sectors in perspective,
the $4b fluctuation in dairy returns
between 2013 and 2014 is likely to be
in excess of the total return for all lamb,
mutton and wool exports combined last
So much for New Zealand living off the
Dairy prices are also where the
attentions of the Reserve Bank are fixed.
The bank’s economists will not be
panicking just yet. They will be keeping
the current prices firmly in context. The
giddy heights that dairy prices reached
early this year mean that even now
they are sitting at historically high
I can still recall the excitement in the
dairy sector when Fonterra announced
its first $7 payout — the figure Fonterra
is picking for the 2014-15 season. That
was a record and reflected the peak of the
dairy price cycle in 2005.
If the price plateaus at that level then
that would be a pretty sweet bottom end
to the cycle.
There are good reasons — most of them
to do with Chinese demand — why the
global dairy price now has a much higher
top and bottom than it had a decade ago.
But the trend will become concerning
if it continues, and China is the great
Where the current slowdown in
Chinese economic growth settles is
anyone’s guess. If there were to be a
more serious and uncontrolled financial
economic crisis in China then things
could get ugly fast.
Meanwhile, good grass growing
conditions and continued expansion of
dairying in the South Island are driving
increased production volumes which will
prop up overall export returns to New
A major drought next summer would
still have a greater impact on New
Zealand’s economic outlook than the
current dairy price.
What a slowdown in the dairy boom
does do is remind us that we should
maintain a firm focus on diversifying and
expanding the economy into new and less
Ironically, chief among those is the
dairy sector itself. Fonterra is well aware
that lower prices for milk powder will
provide more opportunities to drive the
brands side of the business.
Turning more New Zealand milk
powder into yoghurt and baby formula
before we export it suddenly makes even
Meanwhile, that $4b of extra dairy cash
from the 2013-14 season still has to wash
through the economy and should buoy
domestic growth for a while yet.
Our “rock star” label will not stack up
if our growth is all pinned to dairy and
the Christchurch rebuild. Both of these
factors have been timely in getting New
Zealand ahead of the recovery cur ve in
comparison with other nations — notably
The trick is to have the rest of the
economy firing efficiently when we come
out the other side.
— New Zealand Herald
Dairy price slump?
In the leafy grounds of a centre for the
disabled in rural central Ireland, a small
tombstone hints at the building’s previous
role as a ‘mother-and-baby home’. It reads:
“In Memory of God’s Special Angels”.
No names, no dates, just an
acknowledgement that buried in the garden
of the Manor House in Castlepollard are
children born to unwed mothers at the
Church-run institutions that dotted Ireland
half a century ago.
The discovery of a mass grave at a similar
home, two hours drive to the west in
the small town of Tuam, has prompted
the Irish to ask why so many babies
died, anonymously, in the care of the
Catholic Church that was once a pillar of
“If something happened in Tuam, it
probably happened in other mother-and-
baby homes around the country,” said
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin,
who has seen the Church’s authority
shattered by revelations of sex abuse by
priests and cruelty at so-called Magdalene
laundries where ‘fallen women’ were forced
to work in harsh conditions.
“All the indications are that those who
were running the institutions did not
understand or did not want to understpand
how you looked after children and how you
examined the special care children needed
at that early stage,” Martin told national
The 796 child deaths detailed by an
amateur historian at Tuam from 1925
to 1961 has highlighted a mortality rate
among illegitimate infants that academics
describe as “staggering”.
Government records show that
throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s,
the rate was often more than five times
that of children born to married parents.
On average, more than one in four children
born out of wedlock died.
Ireland was not alone in having a
high fatality rate among this vulnerable
group, however the 295 deaths per 1000
illegitimate births recorded in 1929, for
example, was more than double the 140
in Northern Ireland or 105 in England,
research by University College D ublin
historian Lindsey Earner-Byrne showed.
The revelations have forced modern
Ireland to take an uncomfortable look back
just a generation ago at the treatment of
pregnant single women, who were seen
as deeply immoral, and their children,
regarded as a drain on public finances.
Of the 796 death certificates collated
by amateur historian Catherine Corless,
gastroenteritis, bronchitis and malnutrition
were common causes of death among
newborns and young children. Illness
apparently spread rapidly in the homes.
“There but for the grace of God, I would
have been under the ground too,” Mari
Steed, who was born in a mother-and-
baby home, in the County Cork town of
Bessborough, in 1960, told Reuters by
telephone from her home in Philadelphia.
“In the year I was born things had gotten
a little better and I was actually delivered
by Caesarean section at a hospital so I can
only thank the faiths that they had the
commonsense to realise that my mother
couldn’t deliver me at Bessborough.”
In a memoir of her time at Bessborough
in the early 1950s, midwife June Goulding
described a tough regime where women,
stripped of their identities, suffered through
labour often unattended and almost always
without basic medical treatments.
Recalling their post-natal care, she
wrote how some babies, rather than being
fed by their own mothers, were simply
passed around to any resident capable of
In some cases, babies were subjected
to vaccine trials. Steed said Glaxo Smith
Kline, which took over the drug firm
that ran the trials, Burroughs Welcome,
confirmed to her that she was among the
infants experimented upon.
A spokesman for GSK said the activities,
if true, were “very distressing” and that it
would cooperate with any investigation.
The homes also facilitated thousands of
adoptions, in many cases compelling unwed
mothers to give up their babies. Some 90%
of children born outside marriage were
adopted in the two decades after adoption
was explicitly legalised in 1953.
While run by nuns, the “mother-and-
baby” homes received State funding and,
as adoption agencies, were also regulated
by the State. There was ‘a sort of collusion’
between Church and State, according
to Archbishop Martin, stretching from
Church leaders and government ministers
to powerful civil ser vants.
“The fact that the moral connotations of
the ‘problem of the unmarried mother’ had
real and deadly consequences did little to
spur action,” University College D ublin’s
Earner-Byrne wrote in her 2007 book
Mother and Child.
“ Dereliction of duty in this regard
characterised all administrations until the
1970s. It was cheaper, in monetary terms,
to allow the problem of the unmarried
mother float in a moral never-never land.”
Ireland’s government, whose predecessors
only extended child benefit payments
to unmarried women in 1973, after the
homes had closed, is considering an
inquiry into what it called the “deeply
disturbing” discovery in Tuam.
The Church has called for a
comprehensive independent investigation
into the child deaths and the adoption
system. Public outcry may leave the
government little choice.
“ I honestly believe that governments
have been too afraid to lift the lid,
knowing the type of atrocities they would
likely find,” said Steed, in Philadelphia,
who spent 10 years navigating Ireland’s
archaic tracing system to find her birth
mother who was forced to give her up at
“ Now I think we’re at a tipping point
where there’s just no choice left. You have
to do it.” — Reuters
Lifting the lid on Irish children’s homes
The home in Tuam, Ireland.
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