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MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
100 years since spark lit
World War One
caught in sting
A Nelson police team nabbed five
drink-drivers between Greymouth
and Westport in a weekend sting
that also resulted in a number of
infringement notices to motorists
driving unwarranted or unregistered
vehicles. Senior sergeant Brent
Cook, of Greymouth police, said it
was disappointing that motorists
were still choosing to drive after
they had been drinking. “O bviously
people are not learning. ”
Another suspicious fire in Cobden
at the weekend has police appealing
for help from the public to identify
and stop the firebug responsible. A
property near a Nelson Q uay house
was set alight on Saturday night and
was doused by alert members of the
public before any serious damage
was caused. Police were conducting
prevention activities in the area at
the time and arrested one person on
unrelated misbehaviour, and spoke
to several other people. Detective
senior sergeant Dan Keno, of the
Greymouth CIB, said investigators
had established the fire had been
deliberately lit. “Unfortunately,
this fire on Saturday night is a
continuation of extremely dangerous
behaviour that could easily lead to
extensive property damage or even
worse, a loss of life,” Mr Keno said.
It is not quite Orange is the New
Black in terms of originality, but a
prisoner has been caught making
a gun from soap as part of an
elaborate escape plan. The inmate
at Her Majesty’s Prison Bedford
confessed to planning a breakout
from prison after crafting the fake
gun using several bars of soap he
had hoarded. A fan of the infamous
1930s US bank robber John
Dillinger, the inmate planned to
emulate his hero and bluff his way
out of prison with his own soap
gun. Dillinger made a name for
himself by breaking out of prison
using violent means, including one
occasion in 1934 when he used a
wooden gun to force the guards
to let him escape Lake County
Jail, Indiana before driving off in
the local sherrif ’s car. His British
fan however had a change of heart
and handed his soap gun into
authorities. — Metro
Showers, heavy at times, snow lowering
The National Party has announced
it will spend $10-15 million replacing
the 125-year-old Taramakau Bridge
and up to $25 million straightening the
highway near Arthur’s Pass, prompting
howls of ‘election bribery’.
The Taramakau road-rail bridge
has only recently undergone a $9.8m
upgrade, which symbolically ended
when it was repainted a bold red.
In 2009 the Mingha Bluff road
nationally significant, but in April 2012
the New Zealand Transport Agency
said the project had been deferred until
at least the 2015-18 works programme.
Now both projects have been
resurrected, with significant funding.
“Currently we have a one-lane bridge
shared between cars, trucks, and trains.
The new bridge would be two lanes
with room for cyclists, and we would
have a separate rail bridge,” retiring
National Party list MP Auchinvole said
in a statement.
Construction could start as early as
2016. Work on Mingha Bluff could
start late this year.
West Coast-Tasman Labour MP
Damien O’Connor today welcomed
the news on the Taramakau, while
noting that it had been at the top of the
list for the past seven years.
National had removed other road
funding from the regions, he said.
Labour’s transport spokesman Phil
Twyford said Transport Minister Gerry
Brownlee must release the analysis that
led the Government to “hand-pick” 14
regional roading projects in electorates
it was targeting as vulnerable.
“Even the Government ’s biggest
fan of road spending, trucking lobby
spokesman Ken Shirley, has raised
concerns about the apparent lack of
analysis behind this announcement,
saying: ‘The danger is that it becomes
pork-barrelled politics and just throwing
money into marginal electorates; that ’s
the old days. I thought we moved away
from that ’. Let ’s see the numbers Mr
Brownlee. How do they stack up?” Mr
Green Party list MP Kevin Hague
said health ser vices were underfunded
but National had consistently chosen
spending on roads.
“And I quite like the (existing)
Taramakau Bridge. The new Arahura
bridge is ... soulless.”
Westland Mayor Mike Havill said
it was “about time” a replacement
Taramakau bridge was announced,
although revealing the plan just out
from a general election was “interesting”
“Let ’s hope it comes to fruition,” Mr
Labour leader David Cunliffe said
that after six years in office and three
months out from the election, the
Government had suddenly decided
to return some of the road funding it
took from the regions to pay for its
$12 billion ‘roads of national
“Labour has made it clear that this
funding needed to be restored, but
I think most New Zealanders will
be wondering why the Government
hasn’t come up with a decent plan to
create real wealth and grow jobs in the
regions,” Mr Cunliffe said.
The Green Party said the upgrade was
an “insult” to the regions, funded by the
asset sales “slush fund”, when investing
in the local roading network should
come out of operational budgets as part
of the normal process of prioritising
Greens co-leader Russel Norman
said National had been underfunding
local roading in favour of a handful of
uneconomic highway projects, leaving
local councils to take on more debt to
try to deal with the problem.
“It ’s a bit of an insult to the people
in the regions to tell them that their
regional transport improvements will
only be funded as an election bribe
out of the asset sale slush fund, rather
than paying for them out of the normal
operating budget, as used to be the
case,” Dr Norman said.
River, land search for Hokitika hunter
A full scale search has been
launched in the Wanganui River
area behind Hari Hari for a 35-year-
old Hokitika man overdue from a
West Coast police search and rescue
co-ordinator senior constable Mike
Tinnelly said the man went into the
area last Tuesday and was due out on
Friday, or Saturday at the latest.
“There was a brief helicopter and
ground search, including a dog team
yesterday, but there was no sign of
the man, although we did recover a
tarpaulin, which his family identified
as the hunter’s,” Mr Tinnelly said.
The hunter had headed to Hunters
Hut, at the head of the Wanganui
“He has an emergency beacon with
him and this has not been set off.”
Three search teams were flown into
the area just before midday today
and another helicopter search was
A whitewater kayak rescue team
was also scouring the river.
Mr Tinnelly said heavy rain in the
area last week had caused rivers to rise
quickly and there was the possibility
the man was holed up because of the
Runanga mother Joe Hall says she
hopes to let go some of the demons
that have haunted her since her son,
Judd, died in a high-speed car crash
in January, with the demolition today
of the house where his life ended.
Judd Hall, 22, was a backseat
passenger in a car that sped off from
police in High Street, Greymouth,
before the driver lost control and
smashed into the house.
Ms Hall, who said seeing the
house was a daily heartache for her
as she worked directly across the
road from it, was “relieved” with its
As she watched the excavator
reduce it to rubble, her husband
Ric D urbridge took away the cross
that had been placed outside the
property as a memorial.
“It is about time this was done,”
Mr Durbridge said as he walked
away, not staying to watch the
destruction of the house, which was
further damaged by an arson attack a
couple of months ago.
The house and a neighbouring
property have been bought by
G J Gardner Homes, and director
Adam Gardner said the intention
was to “clean up the area” with the
possibility of new flats or houses
there later in the year.
The gloves are off and the fight for
the West Coast-Tasman seat just got
The seat has been held by Labour
for every term bar one since it was
formed in 1996; National’s Chris
Auchinvole wrested it off Labour’s
Damien O’Connor in 2008 but lost
it again the next election.
National Party campaign chairman
Steven Joyce said over the weekend
the party was targeting some Labour-
held seats it believed were vulnerable,
including West Coast-Tasman.
The party followed that with the
announcement from the National
Party conference yesterday that
the Government planned to spend
$10-15 million replacing the
Taramakau Bridge, and $20-25
million improving Mingha Bluff, the
last winding section of road on the
Arthur’s Pass highway.
A press release announcing both
road projects was issued yesterday
— jointly in the name of the retiring
party list MP Mr Auchinvole, and
National’s candidate Maureen Pugh.
Mr O’Connor said it was “pork-
barrel politics”, and to be expected.
“I expected the campaign to be
quite dirty and nasty,” Mr O’Connor
“Indications are, that ’s where it is
He said the road funding
announcement was a “blatant
“I’m getting a little tired of being
insulted time and time again by a
party that thinks throwing a few
token gestures at us will convince
voters that they are doing us a
favour. We’ve had massive job losses
under our National Government
management. Now they throw us a
bone in the form of the Taramakau
Bridge and passed legislation on
wind-throw trees that still doesn’t
generate any benefits for our region,”
Mr O’Connor said.
“ We are still yet to get any details
on the Grey Base Hospital rebuild.
They are shallow, empty promises.”
He said National was desperate to
cling to power.
Mrs Pugh, a former Westland
mayor, said today it was always going
to be a well fought race.
“I knew that. And I didn’t enter to
lose,” Mrs Pugh said.
She had been impressed by how
prepared the party was to get behind
her, and the issues, in the electorate.
Green Party list MP Kevin Hague
said the term “election bribe” seemed
pretty accurate when it came to the
weekend roading announcement.
When asked if the gloves were off
here, he said “I think that ’s pretty
well right ”.
“They are going to be pulling
out these sorts of things (funding
National Party West Coast-Tasman
Chapman said she thought National
could take the seat.
“History repeats itself in time and I
believe the time is right and Maureen
Pugh is the right candidate,” Mrs
Gloves off in fight for Coast seat
PICTURE: Viv Logie
Joe Hall watches as the house where her son Judd was killed in a high-speed police chase in Januar y, was demolished this morning.
Demoliton helps ease hear tache
National promises new two-lane
• Personalised funerals
• Written quotes
• Caskets made locally
• Dedicated purpose-
Funerals and Monuments Coastwide
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