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Big Coast election
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MONDAY, JUNE 23, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
A 20-second tornado blew through
Rutherglen on Saturday, lifting a shed
completely off the ground and throwing
it into a fence.
Rutherglen resident Nelly Hofman
said she and her husband were inside
when the tornado hit after 10.30am.
“That morning was pretty foul
weather... then out of the blue there was
Their large wooden shed was picked
up and blown 10m into a fence in front
of their house
The wind passed quickly but still
managed to send debris “flying
“It was over and done in 20-seconds,”
Trees next to their property were
uprooted, windows were broken and
their garden furniture blown away, with
some items thrown about 30m up into
“Anything that was not heavily bolted
down, disappeared.” Mrs Hofman said
the mini tornado came from the sea and
carried on for another 100m before it
“It came and went, it stopped just
before it hit the hill behind us.”
She thought they might have been the
only people who got hit by the tornado.
Their house had been hit by similar
events in previous years, she said.
The Grey District Council’s Real
Story campaign has had a rocky
start with the posters ripped off the
three billboards outside the council’s
offices overnight on Saturday.
The blank billboards were tagged
before posters went up on Thursday.
Grey District Council planning
and community manager Quecha
Horning, said it was disappointing
someone had ripped the signs down.
She agreed it was against the spirit
of the campaign, which is being run
to encourage local pride, but said
she was trying not to read too much
into the actions.
Two houses, one in Greymouth
and another in Cobden, had objects
hurled at the windows and police
suspect the same people may have
been responsible. About 7.30pm
on Saturday the occupants of an
Eva Street home heard a car drive
by, then what sounded like a splat
on the outside of the house. Upon
investigating, a hole was found
in a front window. Police believe
a water balloon may have caused
the damage. Then early yesterday
morning the occupant of a house
on Taylor Street, Cobden awoke
to a popping sound. Later in the
morning a window facing the road
was found smashed.
Drizzle early turning to rain later
Frisbee catching has been banned
from a country dog show today on
the grounds of health and safety
amid fears the pets could injure
themselves when taking part. It
is one of three events to be either
dropped or altered at Scruffs Dog
Show in Keswick, Cumbria, after
organisers cited health and safety
concerns. Show organisers took
the ‘bizarre’ decision to drop both
the ‘highest frisbee jump’ and the
‘highest biggest catch’ categories
over fears the competing dogs
could injure themselves. The Kennel
Club, which has named the town
the UK’s most dog-friendly on two
occasions, supported the decision.
Tony Lywood, one of the show ’s
organisers, said a third category —
‘ best biggest catcher’ — had also
been toned down for safety reasons.
Instead of jumping to catch the
biscuit, dogs will instead be sitting
down when taking part.
— Daily Mail
The Buller district is facing a “crisis”
and is in a “period of sustained downturn
that could last for many years” unless
it diversifies, a letter from Buller
Mayor Garry Howard to a number of
government ministers says.
The letter to the ministers of Economic
Development, Local Government,
Housing and Internal Affairs outlines
the “ boom followed by bust ” cycle the
district is caught in, and suggests ways
the economy could be strengthened in
Buller’s economy has been rocked in
recent weeks by 187 job losses at Solid
Energy’s Stockton Alliance coalmine, on
top of hundreds of redundancies last year.
Oceana Gold also recently confirmed
it was cutting the workforce at its Globe
Progress mine near Reefton by 60, with
the mine set to be put into care and
maintenance in the middle of next year.
Holcim Cement is also set to cease
production at its Cape Foulwind plant
over the next few years.
Mr Howard said jobs would disappear,
the local economy contract and property
values collapse as people left town.
“ While we all expect the coal industry
to eventually recover, that recovery is
going to be slow and probably temporary,
as quality accessible coal is a limited
resource,” he said.
Mr Howard said the council had
previously been looking at attracting a
permanent population of 11,000 to the
“After the latest setbacks the new goal
is more likely to be an attempt to stop the
permanent resident population dropping
below 9000,” he said
“The Buller district and the whole West
Coast has many natural strengths, but in
its present economic form it is trapped
in a cycle of boom followed by bust.
We need to make changes. We need to
He said the four Coast councils had
already worked on a joint economic
development strategy, and would do the
best to help themselves, but the region
needed government help to make the
That help included the district being
declared a Department of Internal
Affairs economic development plan
priority territory, and Housing New
Zealand auditing its considerable
regional housing stock, with a follow up
maintenance programme. Mr Howard
said such a programme could provide
employment for people made recently
redundant who had transferable skills.
He said Tai Poutini Polytechnic had
shown a willingness to get involved in
such a project.
Mr Howard also said that the district
had previously attracted firms involved
in IT, but had lost them because of poor
quality and slow broadband.
“It is simply not possible to do modern
business with the current sub-standard
ser vice. If we are to diversify the
shortcoming has to be addressed.”
Mr Howard called for a planned third
stage of the Rural Broadband Initiative
to be brought for ward to address the
Kaleb Allum shovels coal, while coal shovelling world champion Brian Coghlan holds the wheelbarrow, during the coal scuttle at the Blackball
Winter Coalstice, on Saturday. Competitors used a banjo shovel to fill a wheelbarrow and shuttle it a short distance as fast as they could.
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
“ We need to diversify.”
Labour to take stance on logging
The Labour Party will discuss at
caucus tomorrow whether it should
join its political opponents and
support the harvesting of timber,
mainly in Karamea and South
Westland, blown over in the April
National has the backing of United
Future and the Maori Party.
West Coast-Tasman MP Damien
O’Connor said today that Labour
would need to take a position
tomorrow, with the new legislation
to be passed under urgency later this
Conservation Minister Dr Nick
Smith said on Friday that special
legislation was to be passed urgently
by Parliament to enable the recovery
of native timber on West Coast
public conservation land over the
next five years.
spokeswoman Eugenie Sage said it
was illegal to log those forests, and
a storm was no reason to change the
“It’s a bad precedent to change the
law on a case by case, storm by storm
basis. The public are not even going
to get a say, the law will be pushed
through under urgency.”
It would not create sustainable long
term jobs, and removing the trees
would take away precious nutrients
to feed the next forest giants.
Forest and Bird advocacy manager
Kevin Hackwell said the idea may
sound superficially sensible.
However, flooding the market
with large volumes of timber from
the conservation estate would pose
a direct threat to the established
sustainable native timber industry.
But Jon Dronfield, production
(NZSFP), told the Westport News
it was a win-win for the timber
industry and for conservation.
The cash-strapped Department
of Conservation (DOC) would
benefit from the financial return, Mr
He warned that gaining access to
the windblown timber would not
result in a “mega gold rush”.
“The market won’t suck it up. We’ve
lost all our furniture makers — it ’s
Also, most sawmills were now
geared up for exotics, not natives,
he said. NZSFP employs about 18
at Reefton and is New Zealand’s
biggest rimu miller.
reporting the Westport News
Tornado rips through Rutherglen property
The four West Coast councils are
set to look at the possibility of a
shared insurance policy for some of
their most important infrastructure.
The agenda for this week’s Buller
District Council meeting says that it
is in the “early stages” of negotiating
a shared approach to the insurance
of council assets with the Grey and
Westland District Councils, and the
West Coast Regional Council.
Buller council had previously
been part of the Local Authority
Protection Plan (LAPP), a cash pool
set up in 1993 to help local authority
members pay for uninsurable
essential infrastructure such as
sewerage, water and other services,
in the event that they were damaged
by natural disaster. Beyond a certain
threshold, central government paid
60% of restoration costs, while
local authorities paid 40%. Buller’s
insurance currently covered $158.2
million of assets.
In the wake of claims resulting from
the 2011 Christchurch earthquake,
LAPP did not have enough funds to
cover a major natural catastrophe, so
some councils such as Buller looked
at a self insurance model. D ue to the
burden such a policy could place on
ratepayers in its early years, council
decided it might be better off in a
group insurance programme.
The region’s councils have been
investigating the possibility of a
shared policy. Towards the end of
this year they will seek expressions
of interest from insurance brokers
to create a shared approach to
insurance negotiations in 2015/16.
Buller Mayor Garry Howard said
one of the councils renewed its
insurance every three years, which
created a bit of a timing issue in
working out a joint policy. However
that time could be used to create a
joint strategy, he said.
“The collaboration between the
councils is increasing all the time.
“ We are supporting one another, as
is shown with civil defence at the
present time, and our economic
development strategy for the whole
of the West Coast.”
In 2011 council suspended
earthquake cover for a number
of assets which, if damaged or
destroyed in an earthquake, council
would not rebuild. Reefton’s Cinema
building was unable to be insured
as it was currently on 34% of the
Councils may share asset insurance
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