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MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014
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Drink drivers cite
Stockton job losses
With shades of Goldilocks, a
burglar who forced their way into
a Blackball house at the weekend
also helped themselves to a bed.
Senior constable Mike Tinnelly, of
Greymouth police, said a bathroom
window was forced open. “Nothing
was taken, however the owners of
the property reported that a bed had
been slept in,” Mr Tinnelly said.
Possum pies talks
The Ministry of Primary
Industries (MPI) has hinted that it
might drop charges brought against
a Pukekura couple for making
possum pies without a proper risk
management procedure. A ministry
spokesman said they had been in
discussions with Peter and Justine
Salter, who run the Bushman’s
Centre, for the past month, with
a view to bringing the business
into line with food regulations. “If
improvements are made to MPI’s
satisfaction, then the charges will
be dropped. A resolution along
these lines is looking promising,” a
spokesman said. When the couple
last appeared in the Greymouth
District Court to face the charges,
Mr Salter had said he was prepared
to defend the charges in court, but
noted that mediation was under way
Greymouth police are viewing
sur veillance footage in an attempt
to identify two men captured on the
camera siphoning petrol from the
Westroads yard in Blaketown at the
weekend. Police said the thieves had
left behind two containers, which
had been sent away for finger-
Mainly fine, frosty
A legal firm that made more
than £77 million from miners’
compensation claims has been
dropped by a union after calling
its members ‘thick’. The insult
came in a training manual Raleys
Solicitors wrote for its own staff.
In it, a generic miner making a
compensation claim is named
‘Mr Thikas Toosh Ortplanks’. The
National Union of Mineworkers is
no longer using the firm, saying its
90-year relationship has ‘soured’.
Raleys had been representing
miners in damages claims for
vibration white finger (VWF).
Sufferers have joint and muscle
damage caused by working with
vibrating hand-held machinery.
— Daily Mail
Celebrity horses from the set of two
blockbuster movies will be pulling
historic stagecoach tours in Otira this
Lester Rowntree took over the old
Terminus Hotel in the village at the
beginning of May and plans to restore
the building back to original condition
as a heritage hotel, with stables to be
built opposite to house his replica
stagecoach and famous animals.
He plans to collect Tranz Alpine
train passengers from the railway
station and take them up the valley to
the Otira Tunnel entrance.
A couple of months ago Mr
Rowntree bought an 18-hand Shire
horse which had played the part of
an elk in the first Hobbit movie, The
Desolation of Smaug. In the movie,
the horse was turned into a fictional
elk by way of some clever digital
He already had other animals
which had featured in the Lord of
the Rings film trilogy. One was Bill,
a pack horse, that was ridden in the
Fellowship of the Ring by the Hobbit
character Samwise Gamgee. He also
picked up a working bullock team,
featured in the first film in a scene
showing the Hobbit ’s homeland of
Mr Rowntree said he was able to
buy the animals because he knew the
professional horse wrangler who had
worked on the films.
As well as the stagecoach trips,
visitors to the hotel will have the
chance to ride in a number of different
horse-drawn carts and coaches
featured in the Xena Warrior Princess
Meanwhile, Mr Rowntree’s dream of
a $4 million heritage farm show and
museum at the Cromwell racecourse
is over. The statue of the Clydesdale
horse which marked the entrance to
the site has been relocated to Otira.
He said he was “gutted ‘’ his plans for
Cromwell were thwarted by a lack of
funding. “ It would’ve been absolutely
sensational,’’ he said of the Cromwell
project, which was to include an
agridome, a daily farming show and a
farm machinery museum.
The venture, launched five years ago,
would have employed up to 15 people
and was expected to attract up to 1000
visitors a day. “My dream was not
everyone’s dream, I suppose,’’ he said.
His new focus is at Otira. After
buying the hotel, he and his partner
plan to add the Otira village hall and
18 railway houses to their real estate
portfolio in three years.
“One door shuts and another opens.
Otira for me is a great option. It
probably suits my personality, the wild
West Coast, and I love the history of
Originally from Motueka, Mr
Rowntree’s great uncle’s had worked
as Cobb and Co stagecoach drivers.
Additional reporting, Otago
Movie star horses find new work in Otira
Residential rates in central
Greymouth, once the highest
on the West Coast, are now
the lowest, in a clear reversal of
fortunes among the three West
The Greymouth Star asked the
finance manager at each district
council what the rates for 2014-
15 were for a $200,000 property
close to the centre of Greymouth,
expensive, and Greymouth the
Buller: general rates $1085,
Westland: general rates
$1074 to $1475, overall $2155 to
Grey: general rates $982,
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn said that 10 years ago
Greymouth had the highest rates
“Myself and the councillors have
worked really hard to keep rates
down,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
That was partly achieved by
fundraising; for instance, by the
time the Westland Recreation
Centre is built on to the aquatic
centre in a combined $20 million
project, only $1.5 million would
have been rated for.
Keeping rates down made
Greymouth attractive to live in,
Mr Kokshoorn said.
Westland Mayor Mike Havill,
who only took over the reins from
Maureen Pugh last October, said
he accepted rates had gone up.
“The long and short of it is, the
council has been losing money
year on year, between half a
million and $2m every year. They
only posted one surplus in the last
14 years,” Mr Havill said.
The council was now on the road
to sustainability, but it had had to
take a deep breath. Ser vice cuts
were made last year and a rates
review was also under way.
he said rural,
commercial and lifestyle rates
were “pretty comparable”.
He also suggested the average
property in Hokitika was now
worth more than the average in
Buller Mayor Garry Howard,
who also inherited the previous
the high rates were the result
of infrastructure — water and
sewerage replacement, the Solid
Energy Centre, NBS Theatre and
new Coaltown museum.
The rate increase was inevitable,
after projects were “held back and
held back” until they could be
delayed no more.
The high rates were a “concern
for our community”.
PICTURE: Lisa Rangi
Marlo, left, Maea, Leo and Crispin Novaro were among dozens of people to take advantage of the rare opportunity to take a good look inside and out of the new
Greymouth sewerage treatment plant, before it is commissioned. People had the chance to climb all over the plant, with Grey District Council and MWH staff
on hand to explain the workings of the Preston Road facility. More photos, p5.
Buller ratepayers are footing the bill
for their council chief executive’s wife
— whom most of them have never seen
to attend social functions at a local
Joyce Wylie does not live in Buller.
She does not attend Buller District
Council functions and few councillors
or ratepayers have ever seen her.
Her husband, Paul Wylie, hung up
when the Westport News tried to
ask him why Buller ratepayers were
paying for her to socialise at the Nelson
The social programme features dinner
($155 each), a cocktail party ($60 each)
and breakfast ($40 each). Partners are
also charged a $40 registration fee.
Buller Mayor Garry Howard said he
had no say in Mrs Wylie’s attendance.
Council rules allow the chief executive,
mayor and councillors to take their
partners at ratepayers’ expense.
Mrs Wylie lived “just down the
road” from the Nelson conference and
ratepayers would not have to pay for
accommodation for either her or her
“It only seems reasonable that she
attends. It’s one of the few opportunities
she has to be with Paul in a council
situation,” Mr Howard said.
He confirmed Mrs Wylie had not
attended any Buller council activities
since he became mayor nine months
ago. He said he had met her once.
Her husband is the highest-paid
council chief executive on the West
Coast, earning a salary of $237,674 a
year. Mr Wylie is also the only Coast
council chief executive who does not
live in the region. He commutes weekly
from his home in Richmond, Nelson, at
The length of his commute will
extend when the Wylies move to a new
home they have bought in Amberley, in
— Westport News
The Grey District Council has to
convince the Ministry of Health that
Runanga drinking-water is safe to
drink without chlorination, otherwise
the community will be faced with the
option of chlorinated water or forking
out more for an expensive upgrade of
In 2012, Runanga-Rapahoe residents
voted against chlorine in their water and
after consideration, the council agreed.
However, the Ministry of Health
has been pushing the council to assure
that the water quality without chlorine
would be equal to Greymouth’s
Should they fail to meet these
assurances, a drinking-water subsidy of
$264,000 offered by the ministry will be
rescinded. The entire project will cost
Sutherland said the ministry had been
asked to reconsider due to the fact that
a good filtration system would be used.
If funding was declined, the council’s
options would be to reconsider
chlorination or continuing without the
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
said staff were compiling data for the
ministry and he was confident that
would satisfy their requirements.
“The water is of a high quality,
hopefully that will cancel out the fact
that chlorine is not in the water,” Mr
The town supply was “perfect at the
source” where a filtration system was in
place, but was open to contamination
when travelling through the pipes to
the tap, in an event such as a pipe break.
“At the end of the day, Runanga people
voted for no chlorine in their water —
no one can force them to put chlorine
in the water.”
Buller ratepayers pay for wife’s socialising
Ministry puts hard word on Runanga water
Tour before sewer
Three councils compared
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