Home' Greymouth Star : June 25th 2014 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
Robots take over
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Scientists to drill 1.3km
into Alpine Fault
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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
The overnight loss of cellphone
coverage to Telecom customers
on the West Coast was due to
the upgrade of the internet fibre
network in Wellington. Telecom
communications manager Julie
Wagener said the issue had caused
intermittent cellphone coverage
since 1am yesterday, also affecting
customers in Palmerston North and
Hawke’s Bay. “ Telecom has been
working around the clock to isolate
the problem and we are doing
everything we can to get ser vices
back up and running as soon as
possible”, Ms Wagener said. She
could not confirm how many people
had been affected by the problem as
people were continually moving in
and out of different mobile zones.
Greymouth police last night
arrested a 51-year-old Blaketown
man after a weekend assault
that left another man with a
suspected broken jaw, black eye and
“significant ” bruising.
A Greenpeace senior executive
commutes to work by plane
despite the organisation’s anti-air
travel campaign. Pascal Husting,
programme director, has been flying
250 miles between Luxembourg
and Amsterdam at the charity’s
expense since 2012. Each trip
costs Greenpeace £200 and would
generate 142kg of carbon dioxide
emissions, according to airline
KLM. Over two years this would
amount to 7.4 metric tonnes of
carbon dioxide emissions — the
equivalent of consuming 17
barrels of oil, according to the US
Environmental Protection Agency.
But Mr Husting defended the
arrangement and said he would
rather not take the journey but
it was necessary because the
alternative is a 12-hour round
trip by train. He told the Daily
Telegraph: “I spend half my life on
Skype and video conference calls.”
— Daily Mail
Showers, some heavy
Greymouth Star On-line
Tb Free NZ has won permission
to drop 1080 poison over waterways,
removing the requirement for buffer
zones, in one of the first aerial drops for
the so-called ‘Battle for our Birds’.
Authorities plan to use aerial poison
over an additional 226,000ha of the
West Coast to counter an expected
rat plague that Conser vation Minister
Nick Smith says threatens native birds.
The West Coast Regional Council
approved an application from Tb Free
(Animal Health Board) for a variation
to remove buffer zones from its permit
for poison drops in the Mokihinui
River area of northern Buller.
Council consents and compliance
manager Jackie Adams said that
previously they were not allowed
to discharge 1080 within 20m of a
water way, but the council had agreed to
remove the buffer.
Tb Free northern South Island
manager Matthew Hickson said in the
application the Mokihinui aerial poison
drop was an important component in
the Battle of the Birds operation.
The buffer zones would have left
“untreated corridors” which would have
reduced the “overall efficacy ” of the
Tb Free included about 80 pages of
reports to back its application, including
one from Landcare Research, published
in 1992, which concluded that the lack
of 1080 poison in water samples after a
drop should “reassure the public ... and
The other reports included the
Parliamentary Commissioner for the
Environment ’s report on 1080, which
found not only should 1080 be used,
but more of it.
Mokihinui resident Basil Climo, who
was once in charge of the Forest Ser vice
in Westport, including responsibility
for pest control, was surprised by the
“ We weren’t allowed to go anywhere
near the water,” Mr Climo said today.
When there were houses close to
the water supply, they had to hand
lay cyanide and then remove all the
poisoned possum carcases. They also
had to supply people with temporary
“Now it just seems they think they can
fire it anywhere,” Mr Climo said.
Poisoned pellets dropped from a
helicopter could land anywhere, and if
they were sheltered by bush they could
take far longer to break down, he said.
Buller resident Laurie Collins, of the
Kumara Environment Action group,
said the only people who “think there’s
a battle are the people dropping poison”.
“No one I’ve spoken to seems to have
the same concerns,” Mr Collins said.
Allowing the variation to the consent
showed “human health costs or safety is
not a consideration”.
Ban 1080 party leader Bill Wallace
said it was easy to say 1080 was “safe”,
but harder when it was “a few hundred
metres from (your) house”.
Meanwhile, the Department of
Conser vation has applied to drop
poison over the eastern Kahurangi part
of the Tasman Wilderness Area.
Asked if that would be publicly
notified, the council said an application
was currently being processed, noting
that some of the area had never been
subject to aerial 1080 before.
Wild weather revisited the West
Coast this morning as gusting
winds lifted loose roofing iron and
floodwaters spilled across roads.
At Runanga, a roof started lifting
on a house in South Street, while
in Greymouth the old Honda F TR
building in Murray Street lost part
of its roof, which was already badly
damaged from Cyclone Ita.
In Hokitika, extreme flash
flooding inundated the Tancred-
Weld street roundabout, and some
low-lying residential areas. Water
lapped at doorsteps but did not
flood any buildings.
Flights at Hokitika Airport were
cancelled due to “severe icing”, Air
New Zealand Hokitika manager
Cori Owen said.
Two flights out and one incoming
were cancelled this morning due to
icing from 1000ft, which he said
was not safe for planes to fly in.
Motorists travelling around
the West Coast were advised to
use caution as strong winds and
floodwaters affected roads around
State highway 73 had significant
surface flooding between Otira and
The NZ Transport Agency did
not expect the road to close but
urged motorists to exercise caution.
State highway 6 was under
caution, with strong winds striking
from Westport to Greymouth, and
Hokitika to Haast.
Canterbury West Coast journey
manager Lee Wright said there was
also surface flooding south of Hari
Near Punakaiki the winds
brought a tree and some small
rocks down on to the Coast Road,
but did not close the highway.
“The storm weather conditions are
starting to ease but we are asking
all motorists to take extra care; we
need everyone to slow down, drive
to the conditions and be prepared
for debris on the roads,” Ms Wright
A month of heavy rain warnings
Yet another severe rain warning
has been issued for the West
Coast, and the news is not good for
spring — scientists say an El Nino
weather event is looking increasingly
The Metser vice today totted
up the number of severe weather
warnings issued for the Coast so far
Meteorologist John Law said the
first warning was for June 4-7, then
June 8, 9, 16, 20, 21, 24 and 25.
It today issued yet another warning
as a trough over the Tasman Sea
brings more heavy rain to Buller and
Westland, though the front was to
ease around mid-afternoon.
“It’s been a pretty unsettled June.
It can be quite a nice month, but it
depends on where the high pressure
is,” Mr Law said.
National Institute of Water and
Atmospheric Research (Niwa)
principal scientist Dr Brett Mullan
said the current wet weather was
not a sign that an El Nino was
However, for other reasons they
were now predicting an El Nino:
“ It does look like we have got one
El Nino weather can bring wet
conditions to the west and drought
to the east.
However, in 1988 — the year
Greymouth was struck by two
devastating floods, prompting the
construction of the floodwall —
was actually a La Nina year, which
is meant to bring settled weather to
The Grey District Council is
keeping mum over which way a
community vote on the future of
the historic Miners’ Hall is leaning,
after a similar vote held previously
was affected by information being
released too early.
Chief executive Paul Pretorius said
votes already cast in the referendum
of Runanga and Rapahoe ratepayers
would not be counted until the ballot
closed, at 12pm on Friday, June 27.
He said information about a similar
vote previously had been progressively
released, affecting the final outcome.
commenting on their preference of
the three options listed in the ballot:
restoration by the Runanga Area
Association, retention of the facade
and replacing the hall with a smaller
structure, or full demolition.
Mr Pretorius said he wanted to
ensure the council was not left open
to allegations of trying to manipulate
He noted that the restoration
option would also include the council
handing over a pending insurance
payout for the hall, after Cyclone
Ita ripped off half the roof and left it
exposed to bouts of torrential rain, in
However, at a special council
meeting in late May, Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn warned that there could
be a significant shortfall in the
insurance payout for the old hall.
Council mum on hall ballot
Wet ‘n’ wild morning
PICTURE: Brendon McMahon
Surface flooding in downtown Hokitika this morning lapped the doorsteps of shop premises in Weld and Tancred streets.
Tarpaulins on the Miners’ Hall roof were again flapping in the wind today.
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