Home' Greymouth Star : June 16th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, June 16, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1567 - Mary, Q ueen of Scots, is imprisoned in
Lochleven Castle in Scotland.
1903 - Ford Motor Co is incorporated in the
1920 - Council of L eague of Nations holds
first public meeting at St James Palace in
1942 - HMAS Nestor is bombed and sunk in
the Mediterranean north of Tobruk
1943 - Comedian Charlie Chaplin,
aged 54, marries his fourth wife,
18-year-old Oona O’Neill.
1955 - Pope Pius XII
excommunicates Argentine President
Juan Domingo Peron, a ban that was
lifted eight years later.
1958 - Imre Nagy, Hungarian
prime minister during the 1956 uprising
crushed by Soviet tanks, is hanged for treason.
1961 - Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev
requests asylum in France while in Paris with
the Kirov ballet.
1997 - The IRA kills two police officers in
Northern Ireland, and in response the British
government calls off all further contact with
Sinn Fein, the IRA’s political arm.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
King Edward I of England (1239-1307);
Geronimo, Apache Indian leader (1829-1909);
King Gustavus V of Sweden (1858-1950);
Stan Laurel, British comedian (1890-1965);
Jean Peugeot, French car manufacturer
(1896-1966); Erich Segal, US author (1937-
2010); Joyce Carol Oates, US author (1938-);
Roberto D uran, Panamanian boxing
champion (1951-); Peter Sterling,
Australian rugby league footballer
(1960-); Jenny Shimizu, Japanese/
American model-actress (1967-);
Tupac Shakur, US rapper (1971-
1996); Olivia Hack, US actress
(1983-); Phil Mickelson, American
golfer (1970-) .
“ Whatever else may divide us, Europe is our
common home; a common fate has linked us
through the centuries, and it continues to link
us today.” — Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, in
a speech in Bonn in 1981.
“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day
of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in
Him.” — (Nahum 1:7).
Six months ago a
mobile crane delivered
a huge wooden crate
in which Mr Jim
Abelson holds manure. On Saturday night
the wind delivered a lid. D uring delivery it
smashed the front of a glasshouse, careered
across the lawn and came to rest by a hedge —
leaving in its trail £100 worth of damage.
The lid — of a case that normally holds plate
glass and measures 10ft by 8ft, requiring four
men to handle it — was stacked on its side
behind full crates of glass in front of R and E
Tingey ’s Cobden store in Peel Street. The lid
was plucked — as if by a gigantic hand sorting
cards — tossed into the air and whirled clear
of power and telephone lines. It cleared a shed
and one glasshouse, smashed into the front
and top of a second, then appears to have gone
airborne again before it hit the ground.
The path of the “aerial lid” was reconstructed
this morning on the grass-spattered, finely
cut lawn of Mr Abelson’s property at 33 Peel
The near-gale winds were as unpredictable in
force as they were where they struck. There was
little damage elsewhere in Greymouth.
Mr O Phillips, headmaster of the Dobson
primary school for the past nine years will
sever his connection with the West Coast at
the end of the current school term, to take up a
position in Auckland. He came to Westland in
1946 as sole teacher at the Kaiata School. He
spent some years on the staff of the Grey Main
School before moving to Dobson in 1955.
Mr Phillips was the organiser of the primary
schools music festival for a 16-year period.
uFood for thought
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03 755 8422
rendan Horan does not
have any secrets — just ask
his wife, Miranda.
She revealed them all
to the Weekend Herald,
opening up the family
accounts, personal papers and even a
recording of his mother in hospital.
“ You’ve never had a chance to tell your
side of the story,” she tells Mr Horan, of
allegations he spent his mother Olwen’s
lottery fortune as she lay dying. “ We’ve
never had a chance to ever be able to say
to people who are judging you what a
load of crap it is.”
Mr Horan has had 18 months as the
loneliest man in Parliament since the
allegations emerged and he was dumped
from NZ First. He has just months left
as an MP, with the (slight) possibility
he might return under the banner of
the newly created NZ Independent
Coalition. He really wants another term,
yearning to be effective. Miranda Horan
would rather he did not, so bruising was
the first term.
It was meant to be very different. Mr
Horan decided on politics in 2005 after
meeting a group of MPs and realising
instantly ignorance was no barrier.
Until then, he did not vote, figuring he
knew too little about what was going on.
At the time, he worked at TVNZ
as the weatherman and asked MPs,
queuing for a political show, for the local
pronunciation of a place in Christchurch
where he was warning of flooding. They
all started arguing — no one could agree.
It was an “oh my God ” moment, says Mr
Horan. “Up until that time I was keen to
leave New Zealand in the hands of the
politicians we had.”
He read party policies and decided
there was not anything that appealed or
seemed as developed as what NZ First
offered. He joined, ran for an East Coast
seat in the 2008 election and worked for
the board as a media adviser.
The party bombed, but Mr Horan was
back in 2011, standing in Tauranga. By
now, he was on the party board, deeply
involved in planning the campaign. NZ
First ’s vote in the city and surrounding
areas were its best results in the country.
His mum Olwen was so proud, says
“S he was beyond proud of him. Brendan
was the golden boy. He achieved well,
travelled overseas, had the tv career. He
always used to take his mum to functions
and she would sit up there (so proud).”
Mr Horan asked questions in
Parliament, made strides with a Kiwi
Rail campaign and learned the ropes. He
also had an eye on taking over when Mr
Peters retired, saying one of Mr Peters’
closest advisers told him he would.
“I trusted when the time was right the
leader of NZ First would pass the mantle
And then it all went wrong.
Mr Horan’s mother died in August. In
December 2012, questions were raised
about spending from her bank accounts
prior to her death. The executor of her
will, nephew and second-
hand-car dealer John
Buckthought, said money
could not be accounted for.
A hand-written amendment
to Olwen Horan’s will also
instructed him to get lawyers
to recover any money loaned
by or “taken” by Mr Horan
or his sister.
Mr Peters put Mr Horan
on gardening leave, and then
asked for his phone records.
The records would show Mr
Horan had made 144 calls to
the TAB line in 10 months.
Less than an hour after
receiving the phone records,
Mr Peters told Parliament
Mr Horan was out of the
Mr Horan says the phone
calls show nothing. “ There
were 144 calls in 10 months.
Most of those days, I was
lying with mum, on her bed,
watching Trackside.” If you
ring on a landline, you go
on hold, he says. He used
his work phone — total cost
“I grew up in racing. I’ve
had shares in race horses. I have a TAB
account. So what? So everyone who
has a TAB account is an out-of-control
The Horans were in Tauranga when
he was dumped. Mr Horan’s phone
“exploded ” with calls from media, Mrs
Horan recalls. “I sat in bed and cried like
a baby and never wanted to go outside
again. Mum (Helen, Miranda’s mother)
was like, ‘You’ve done nothing wrong.
Get out there’. It was absolutely horrible.”
Olwen Horan’s money came from an
Australian lottery draw more than a
She returned to New Zealand with the
remaining $720,000 of her winnings,
buying a house for $400,000 and banking
As the family accounts and record
keeper, Miranda Horan found herself
working line-by-line through her
mother-in-law ’s bank statements
as accusations mounted against her
“ You can see every time her term
deposit came up, she’d take between
$10,000 and $20,000, put it in her
spending jar and reinvest the rest. She
was going through $25,000 to $30,000 a
year in dribs and drabs. Add that up over
11 years, she’d spent a shitload of money.
“Good on her. It’s her money. She was
entitled to do that. It was hers. She didn’t
owe it to anyone. She wasn’t a little old
doddery lady, not until the last eight
months of her life. She was stroppy. She
did her own thing in her own time, doing
as she damn well pleased and didn’t ask
anyone’s permission to do it.
“People seem to think she won some
money, then sat on the couch and waited
for God to come and get her. Nana was
a spendthrift. She loved shopping. She
had all the best makeup. She had Yves
St Laurent and all the makeups and
perfumes You knew that she spent a lot
Some of it went into the TAB.
Olwen Horan was an avid race follower.
A fractured family, time together saw
bonding over the track. “Some families
hang out together and play Scrabble
or go boating,” says Mrs Horan. “ They
would all sit around and have their dollar
each way, dollar here, dollar there. And
it was about being right. It wasn’t about
gambling. It was about who was right.”
The Weekend Herald has obtained
documents showing Olwen Horan’s will
was changed three times a few months
before she died, culminating in the final
will that raised so many questions. The
three changes were the first real changes
since 2007 and included clauses which
focused on Olwen Horan’s other sons
— sickness beneficiary Mana Orsmby
and recently discharged bankrupt Peter
Mana Orsmby had a long-held belief
that he was entitled to a share of his
mother’s winnings. A will of his from
2008, obtained by the Weekend Herald,
stakes a claim on the winnings on the
basis of helping buy the ticket when he
lived with her.
“This is a family scrap about money,”
says Mrs Horan. “ They figured out they
weren’t going to get their money because
Nana had spent her money. So it had to
be someone’s fault. It’s a family fricken’
thing that ’s gone mental.
“I was gutted for Brendan when this
happened. He doesn’t deserve that.” No
doubt, she says, he leaves his socks lying
around and sometimes leaves a mess.
“That does my head in sometimes.”
But not this. “He’s a really good guy.
He’s a really good person.”
Despite the pressure, Miranda Horan
says she never asked her husband to
quit politics. She harassed him, she says.
“ You’re the one who wanted to go into
politics,” she recalls saying to him.
“Good one — how ’s that working out for
“ When it all blew up, I would have
liked to have walked away. But at the
same time, it was like an admission of
guilt — ‘ we did do something wrong so
we’ ll go away ’. If you’ve done nothing
wrong, you say, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong
— stick it up your bum’.”
But when Mr Horan went off to work,
she would catch up with friends and
wonder with them whether the pressure
would ease if he quit.
“I would never expect him to do it. How
would I feel if he wanted me to give up
my dream? I’d resent him for the rest of
The money does not make it
worthwhile. There’s the MP ’s salary of
$140,000. “ We made more money in
business,” she says. Politics is too hard on
the family and too much work.
A year after Olwen Horan’s death,
the executor of her will reported on his
investigation. “I have made inquiries
and investigated all matters raised by
family members and others. I can find
no evidence which would enable me to
found a claim against Mr Horan.”
With an eye on the ongoing police
investigation, Mr Horan says: “Part of me
says, yeah, I’d love the police to charge
Then I could say, yeah, let ’s go through
Occasionally, new allegations crop up.
The couple suspect Mr Horan’s former
colleagues are peddling rumour. “ Hell
hath no fury like a Winston scorned,”
intones Mrs Horan.
When Mrs Horan mentions Mr Peters,
her husband says: “It’s not about that
egg. Don’t even mention his name.” And
throughout the inter view, he does not,
preferring to call Mr Peters “the leader of
NZ First ”.
“I don’t really care. Less than 95% of
New Zealanders care about NZ First.
“ When it comes down to it, I can put
up my record. I can show the legislation
I’ve passed. I can show the ministers I’ve
worked with. NZ First can not because
they have not done anything.”
For Mr Horan, it has been a long slog
trying to get back to where he wanted
to be when he first entered Parliament
almost three years ago. He says he was
ostracised, but now claims acceptance
from many on the basis of the work he
The “Mondayisation” bill, giving public-
holiday Mondays when statutory days
fall on weekends, passed with his vote.
He says he has worked with ministers to
insert clauses in legislation, and met with
ministers to further other causes.
“I believe I’ve earned their respect. I’ve
worked with a lot of National ministers.
I’m coming from a space of genuine
And he is going at it again this year.
Mr Horan has created the New Zealand
Independent Coalition. The party’s
catchcry is a set of binding principles
guided by polling of the electorates
throughout the three-year term to
guide its successful MPs. Simply, Mr
Horan believes party politics have
isolated politicians from the people
and the NZIC will return power to the
The oppositional Westminster system
of Parliament has failed, he says. “It’s just
parties taking stances and defending their
viewpoint, and the people of NZ are the
“It ’s a great challenge. I will give it what
I give everything. I will give it 100%. If
that ’s not good enough on the day, so be
it. I’ll go fishing.”
Horan’s side of the story
MP Brendan Horan has cut a lonely figure since his sacking from the NZ First caucus amid
allegations he took money from his late mother’s bank account. He and his wife, Miranda, tell
DAVID FISHER of the New Zealand Herald how the crisis has affected them and why they
plan to fight back.
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Miranda and Brendan Horan
Islamic extremists have seized control
of Fallujah, Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and
Tikrit with what seems bewildering speed.
Now, emboldened, they are talking of
marching on Baghdad. The United States’
belief of a “sovereign, stable and self-
reliant ” Iraq, enunciated less than three
years ago by President Barack Obama
when the last American troops left the
country, lies in tatters.
Yet neither the success of the Islamic
State of Iraq and al-Sham forces nor
the swiftness of their advance should
come as big surprises. The seeds for such
a development were sown as soon as
Saddam Hussein was toppled.
The creation of a stable and thriving
Iraq was always going to depend on the
country’s ethnic and religious groups
being persuaded that compromise and
consensus was in their interests. Much
of that, in turn, relied on the new Iraqi
administration being able to demonstrate
that it could govern strongly and
effectively. While the Americans were
propping up that government, limited
progress was made.
However, a virtual civil war in 2006-07
between the Shi’ites, who comprise 60% of
the population, and the Sunnis, who have
ruled Iraq for most of the past century,
re-emphasised the inherent potential for
With the withdrawal of the United
States forces, it soon became clear that
neither of the prerequisites for a stable
Iraq was being met. Prime Minister Nouri
al-Maliki has been a failure.
In parliamentary elections in April, his
Shiite-dominated political bloc failed to
gain a majority, prompting paralysis. The
degree of his impotence was demonstrated
last week when he could not assemble a
quorum to ask parliament to declare a
state of emergency. His administration
is riddled with corruption and, most
damagingly, has ruled increasingly in the
interests of the Shi’ites.
This has effectively ruled out the
opportunity for reconciliation. Disaffected
Sunnis have come to see armed
confrontation as their only means of
reclaiming any degree of power.
This has laid the foundation for the
takeover of much of the Sunni heartland
by Isis, an al Qaeda splinter group. The
Iraqi army has scarcely put a fight, hobbled
by the desertion of Sunni officers and men
and a panic engendered by the brutality
of the Isis forces. But if Isis is now just an
hour’s drive from Baghdad, that does not
indicate the fall of the city is imminent or
The Iraqi capital lies in Shi’ite territory,
and Isis will face much stiffer resistance,
not least thanks to the inter vention of
Iran, a fellow Shi’ite state. This may
come either directly or through the
strengthening of Shi’ite militias.
This reinforcement does not mean,
however, that the Iraqi Government will
easily be able to reclaim the territory
lost to Isis. Nor will the Kurds readily
relinquish the northern oil city of Kirkuk,
which they have long claimed as their
capital. Probably the likeliest scenario,
as has been the case since the demise
of Saddam Hussein, is that Iraq, always
an artificial construct, will break up
along ethnic and sectarian lines. Most
worryingly, this would see a radical Sunni
state extending across Iraq and areas of
Syria already seized by Isis.
The group’s imposition of a strict
version of Sharia law in Mosul suggests
obvious comparisons with the Taleban in
Afghanistan and the potential for that state
to become a breeding ground for terrorism.
This has alarmed the US sufficiently for
President Obama to state that no options
have been ruled out. But there will be no
appetite for further embroilment in Iraq.
That reinforces the likelihood of a break-
up. Only the emergence of a strongman
able to unite the country in the manner
achieved by Saddam Hussein may stand in
the way of this. — New Zealand Herald
Results of toppling Saddam evident
Captured Iraqi soldiers.
Cat owners are putting their pets at risk
of obesity by not measuring portions or
encouraging exercise, a sur vey has found.
The Royal Canin sur vey of 315 New
Zealand cat owners found three in four
thought cats are over weight because they
are fed too often or do not get enough
exercise, however owners do not do much
The sur vey found 75% of people leave
food out for their cat during the day, 58%
do not measure the portion they ser ve
their cat and 77% do not make sure their
cat gets exercise.
The sur vey found 69% said taste was
the most important factor when buying
food for their cats, but cats were looking
for smell and texture, veterinary technical
consultant Mark Edwards said.
“Cats have less than 500 taste buds, as
opposed to 10,000 in humans, so while the
taste of food is important to humans, it’s
just not the case for cats.”
Eighteen per cent of respondents
admitted they had tasted their cat ’s food
and 2% said they would do it again.
There are 1.4 million cats in New
Zealand an 699,000 dogs.
New Zealand owners contribute to cat obesity
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