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MONDAY, JULY 28, 2014
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Pampered SPCA cat mourned
of the Hokitika Guardian
of f smoke alarms
An over-zealous use of deodorant
set off the smoke alarms at Noahs
Ark Backpackers, in Greymouth
on Saturday night. Chief fire officer
Lee Swinburn said the brigade was
called about 6pm to find no fire, just
someone using a “ little too much
A teenager who set fire to toitoi
bushes at Dixon Park, Greymouth,
yesterday will be dealt with by the
police youth aid section. A police
spokesman said the 15-year-old was
still at the scene when they arrived
and admitted lighting the fire. The
fire brigade was called around the
corner to put out the small fire.
set for spring
The planned aerial 1080 poison
drop around Blackball township has
been set down for spring. Residents
were upset the water catchment
had not been excluded from the
operation. Tb Free said today the
poisoning was scheduled for spring,
depending on the weather.
Periods of rain, some heavy
Car slides on ice
A tourist struck ice and crashed
into a bank just south of Hari Hari
this morning. Hari Hari Volunteer
Fire Brigade chief fire officer John
McIntosh said the driver was not
injured but the vehicle was badly
damaged and had to be towed away.
Mr McIntosh said the road was
“ very icy ” this morning and had
little grit on it.
The former mayor of Westland says
she will defend her record as mayor as
a basis to win a seat in Parliament for
the National Party.
In response to questions, Mrs Pugh
yesterday justified her nine-year track
record as mayor as a “success for
Westland” and that she intended to
campaign on that basis in her battle to
win the West Coast-Tasman electorate
from Labour incumbent, Damien
O’Connor, at the general election in
two months’ time.
Yesterday, Mrs Pugh was named No
52 on the National Party list, lower
than retiring National MP Chris
In 2011, Mr Auchinvole returned to
Parliament on the list at No 43, having
previously taken West Coast-Tasman
off Mr O’Connor by a slim majority,
only to lose it again at the next election.
Mrs Pugh declared herself “pretty
happy” at her ranking as a “first-timer”
but she would be campaigning hard
for the party vote, because without it
there “is no National government ”.
At the same time, she hoped to
unseat Mr O’Connor.
“I intend to fight very hard and win
the seat,” Mrs Pugh said.
Mr O’Connor is No 22 on the
Labour Party list.
Mrs Pugh said her chances of
coasting into Parliament on the party
vote was not a given.
“It ’s very dependent on those people
on the list who are further below me
that are shoo-ins as far as winning
Asked whether she would be
promoting her nine-year legacy as a
basis for political representation in
Parliament, Mrs Pugh defended her
time as mayor and “the team” she led.
She disputed criticism from the
current Mayor, Mike Havill and
others, about the state of the Westland
District Council finances since the
end of her tenure last year.
Instead, she pointed the finger at
the media and asked whether the
Guardian was going to ask the mayors
of Grey and Buller the same question
about their substantial debts.
“ I’ve even heard it said that I’ve
walked away and left Westland in
debt,” Mrs Pugh said.
She planned to counter that,
including the line that the council
had borrowed annually for much
of the past decade to pay costs
such as wages rather than find the
money through rates; and the ‘ lost ’
$8.7 million originally borrowed by
the council to capitalise the council
Mrs Pugh said she had sought
figures under the Official Information
Act which showed Westland district
was at the top of its game.
Critiquing the record of “the team”
she led had been a “very convenient ”
way to justify a rates hike for Westland
this year, she said.
Westland was in the “ best position”
financially of any of the Coast councils,
“ It continues to perform well . . .
we’ve maintained the good decisions.”
Also in the running for West Coast
party votes are former Stockton miner
Hugh Tyler, who is also seeking a
place at No 62 on the Labour Party
list. Sitting Green Party list MP Kevin
Hague is No 3 on his party’s list and is
certain to return.
Pugh vows to stand on Westland mayoral record
The notorious under wear
bomber’s plot in 2009 to blow up
a plane on Christmas Day failed
because the explosives became
‘degraded’ after he wore the same
pair of underpants for two weeks,
according to a US official. Nigerian
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was
on a suicide mission when he
attempted to detonate a bomb in
his underpants as the plane, en
route from Amsterdam, approached
Detroit. The bomb however failed
to detonate aboard the flight, which
was carrying nearly 300 people, but
caused a brief fire that caused burns
to his groin. An official said: “ The
bomber had had the device with
him for over two weeks. ” — Daily
Greymouth police have vowed
to investigate further the poor
behaviour of patrons that forced
the Railway Hotel to close an
hour earlier than usual on Friday
Police were called to the bar
a number of times during the
night to deal with disorder and
Senior constable Mike Tinnelly
said there were fights and at least
three patrons were seen outside
the premises vomiting.
“ We didn’t catch those involved
in the fights as they had left the
hotel by the time police arrived,”
Mr Tinnelly said.
“All of those involved in the
incidents had obviously had too
much to drink. They were all very
intoxicated and we will definitely
be making further inquiries.”
Mr Tinnelly stressed the
importance of bar managers
ensuring they did not ser ve
“ We are referring the matter
to the West Coast police alcohol
harm reduction officer to
investigate what went on.
“ What happened at the
hotel on Friday night was bad
management by the duty bar
manager, who was obviously not
living up to the expectations of
what is required.”
If people arrived drunk at a
hotel they should not be allowed
in, and those who overdid it on
the premises should be given
water, not more alcohol.
“Police will not be tolerating
this type of behaviour at all and
we will be jumping on it. Hotel
managers must remember —
it’s three strike and you are out,
the hotel loses its licence,” Mr
West Coast police alcohol harm
reduction officer sergeant Sean
Judd, while not commenting
specifically on the Railway Hotel
incident, reminded everyone:
premises is not allowed. If you
are drunk you are not to remain
at the hotel.”
Publican Grant Olsen said he
closed the bar about 2am — an
hour earlier than normal — but
did not want to comment further
until talking to the police.
There was a drum and base
music night at the hotel on
An Ikamatua soldier who fought
for the entire duration of World War
One will be commemorated in a new
series of stamps to be launched next
week on the 100th anniversary of the
outbreak of war.
Melville Mirfin is the “ordinary
soldier” chosen as the face of the
official New Zealand Post World War
One stamp and coin programme, to
be launched in Wellington on
NZ Post said it wanted to tell the
wider story of the war through the
eyes of an everyday New Zealander.
Melville Mirfin grew up at Ikamatua
and took his first job at age 17, at
the Bank of New South Wales in
Greymouth. He later moved to
Christchurch and was transferred
to Palmerston North, where he was
living when war broke out in 1914.
He was in the Medical Corp, and
with the NZ First Expeditionary
Force to Samoa, which was occupied
by the Germans but then reclaimed
without a shot being fired.
He went on to Egypt, Turkey then
throughout western Europe. He was
aboard the Marquette when it was
torpedoed in 1915 in the Aegean Sea
with the loss of 167 lives, including
the first New Zealand nurses to die in
Mr Mirfin remained in London for
a year after the armistice, returning
to New Zealand in 1919. He retired
in 1955 as manager of the Bank of
NSW in Oamaru. His son John, who
told his father’s story today, was born
John Mirfin said his father’s
three other brothers went to war,
and all returned. All were born at
the Ikamatua homestead, O ulton,
which still stands today. Four Mirfin
families remain on the West Coast, at
John Mirfin said one stamp featured
a photo of his father outside O ulton
with extended family, while another
was a postcard he sent and the third
was a portrait of him wearing his staff
Members of the Mirfin family will
be in Wellington next week for the
official launch of the stamps.
Melville Mirfin spent four years
and 359 days overseas. O utside of the
officer corps, he must have been one
of the longest serving New Zealand
soldiers during the war.
West Coast solider Melville Mirfin, bottom left, the Mirfin family outside their Ikamatua homestead, and at top right, a postcard he sent home from the front.
More than 100 workers made
redundant from the Stockton open-
cast coalmine volunteered to go, Solid
Energy revealed today.
In late June the State-owned miner
said it would be reducing the mine
workforce by 135, from 521 to 386,
made up of 33 management, technical,
support ser vices and administrative staff,
and 102 mine operators and workshop
manager Bryn Somer ville said today the
numbers had actually reduced by 134, as
there had been one less job lost on the
management and administrative side.
However, he said 101 people had
volunteered for redundancy, made up
of 14 management and administrative
staff, and 87 mine operators.
A total of 33 redundancies were non-
Last week, the company announced
it was looking to axe 28 jobs at its
Christchurch head office, known to
many as “ The Palace”, as part of its
tighter focus on coalmining. It is
consulting with staff over removing 28
of the 88 roles at head office. Some of
those positions are currently vacant.
101 volunteer to go from Stockton mine
The Grey District Council lifted the
boil-water notice on the Greymouth
water supply at lunchtime today noting
that it had no reports of anyone getting
The warning was issued on Friday
morning after a chlorine leak at the
Coal Creek water treatment plant.
Without chlorine in the water, people
were advised to boil their drinking-
water because of the possible presence
of untreated bacteria.
The chlorine fault was quickly fixed
and the council said today it believed
treatment levels were back to normal by
However, as a precautionary measure
and in line with Ministry of Health
protocols, people were asked to continue
to boil the water for three days.
Utilities engineer Kurtis Perrin-Smith
said the council had not counted the
cost yet as the priority was public health.
“ We are still reviewing what happened,”
Mr Perrin-Smith said.
The risk of anyone getting sick was low.
Greymouth water supply gets the all-clear
West Coast soldier on WW1 stamps
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