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THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
easy come, easy go
More wharf added
Westfleet has added an extra 20m
expansion to its new Greymouth
port site, but the Grey District
Council is confident that plenty
of room remains at the wharf. The
company needed an extra 12m to
add on-site parking, and an extra
8m for its new fish factory. Mayor
Tony Kokshoorn said it would not
compromise the remainder of the
port, with 18m still left between
the factory and the wharf on the
river side. That would also still
allow access to the berths. He said
the council should take the “bird
in the hand” on the offer to buy
the land. The initial land value was
$90, however the wharf had to be
rebuilt at a cost of $1 million. That
had brought the value down to $49,
and the council had opted to fall
midway with $70.
The chief executive of the West
Coast District Health Board just got
busier. David Meates is also chief
executive of the Canterbury DHB,
and Health Minister Tony Ryall
said yesterday the responsibility for
Chathams health services would
transfer next year from the Hawke’s
Bay DHB to the Canterbury DHB.
He said that would reduce the
impact of travel on patients, increase
access to family support, and reduce
subsequent travel costs.
Behold this hilarious mistake by
council bosses on the cover of this
magazine. Yes, this photograph
of ‘Newsbite’ magazine has been
tickling people on social media
after an eagle-eyed reader noticed
an unfortunate error on the front
page. The ‘oversight ’ on the local
authority newsletter has been shared
dozens of times after the letter ‘b’
was obscured by a woman’s head,
giving the headline ‘Newsh*te’.
An Aberdeen council spokesman
confirmed the magazine in its above
form had indeed been delivered to
its 23,000 tenants. — Metro
Mostly fine, winds dying away
Coast link in Hager book
Shock author Nicky Hager alleges that Prime
Minister John Key phoned right-wing blogger
Cameron Slater to sympathise after Slater was
caught in a maelstrom of public criticism for calling
a West Coast car crash victim “feral”.
However, the Prime Minister’s office said today Mr
Key had never condoned Mr Slater’s comments.
John Key has come under attack in Mr Hager’s
new book Dirty Politics, which paints his National
Government as being obsessed with “dirty politics”.
The book quotes correspondence in which Mr
Slater calls the dead man’s mother a “slut ” and a “feral
In January, Runanga IT student Judd Hall got into
car with a friend; tests later proved he had consumed
no alcohol. Just 15 minutes later his friend sped off
in a police pursuit, and crashed the car opposite Grey
Base Hospital, killing Mr Hall.
Mr Slater ran a story on his Whale Oil blog site
with a disparaging headline about ‘ferals’. He refused
to apologise when challenged by the Greymouth
Star, and in the public outrage that followed our
publication, a ‘denial of ser vice’ attack was launched
on Mr Slater’s website, which was knocked out of
action for days.
Yesterday, Mr Hager revealed that during that
attack, the hackers had obtained thousands of e-mails
from Mr Slater to staff in the Prime Minister’s office,
and other prominent National Party figures.
Mr Hager sent the last chapter of his book to the
Greymouth Star today.
Five days after the ‘feral’ post, he alleges that Mr
Slater was talking to his buddy, Russell Beaumont
(Barnsley Bill) on Facebook about the incident and
Mr Judd’s mother, Joe Hall.
Mr Hager says Mr Slater replied, ‘ Why would I
apologise to that slut?’
Mr Slater also wrote ‘JK’ — which Mr Hager says
is his usual shorthand for John Key — called him.
Mr Hager explains what happened next: “In
Slater’s words, Key had told him that the dead man’s
mother ‘was the same feral f... bitch that screams at
him when he goes to Pike River meetings’.
Mr Hager continues: “It seems unlikely that Key
would have used such language, but it is clear he had
rung to reassure Slater that he should not feel bad
about upsetting the mother.
“ When the rest of the country was feeling appalled
by Slater’s offensiveness, the prime minister of New
Zealand was calling to show his support. ”
A spokeswoman for Mr Key said today he had
never condoned Mr Slater’s comments either
publicly, or to him personally.
“Part of Mr Slater’s approach is to shock people
with his language — that ’s a matter for him, not
the Prime Minister or the National Party,” the
Mr Hager said today he “pretty much knew ” the
feral comments were what prompted the hack, which
was undertaken by more than one person.
That had led to “strange and unintended
“It’s a West Coast story, people have a right to
know,” he told the Greymouth Star.
He did not know the hackers, and did not think
they were from the West Coast.
Ms Hall today heard the new allegations about the
Prime Minister offering a sympathetic ear to Mr
Slater, and also heard the foul language used in the
exchange between Mr Slater and his friend.
She lost her step-son in the Pike River Mine
disaster, but said she had never shouted at the Prime
Minister at Pike River meetings, noting that the
families gave him a Pike River badge, which he
“I feel that everything comes out in the wash if you
wait. I knew I was on the side of right,” Ms Hall said.
Mr Slater and the Prime Minister were going to
The refurbished Greymouth RSA
clubrooms will reopen the doors tomorrow,
almost two months to the day since it was
extensively damaged by arson.
The suspicious blaze started at the back
door of the building on June 14, spreading
through to the bar area, ceiling and roof
RSA president Mick Collins, a Vietnam
War veteran, said Tuesday night was the
first time RSA members had the chance
to look around the refurbishment, and the
response was “pretty positive”.
“ It is pretty good, it ’s spruced the place up
quite nicely. It was just lucky we were well
insured,” Mr Collins said.
The repairs had cost at least $70,000.
“ It ’s probably gone to way more than that
since I last heard. ”
As well as repairing the roof and
re-lining the bar area, which also needed
new cash registers to replace the old ones
that suffered water damage, new carpets
were needed throughout.
Mr Collins said he hoped the refurbished
premises would help the RSA attract more
“ Well hopefully yes, we are working on
quite a few things at the moment, trying to
get things up and running ... but everyone
is struggling, the whole town.”
A function will be held on Saturday for
all the workmen who had helped with the
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Greymouth RSA committee member Frank Benzie is pleased to be back at the bar in the clubrooms with his fellow members. The Tainui Street building has been closed since an
arsonist set the building alight on June 14.
Veterans back home
get what they deserved, she said.
Judd Hall was the fourth son in the family
to die in an accident.
Mr Hager said the feral comments, more
than any single thing Mr Slater had written,
had provoked a furious public reaction.
“Thus an insensitive comment about a
car accident victim may have led to long-
held secrets being revealed about Slater
and his political collaborators: right up to
the level of senior government ministers,”
Some weeks after the feral comment, out
of the blue, Mr Hager received a package —
a USB digital storage device, the contents of
which appeared to have originated from the
attack on Mr Slater’s website.
“I had no part in obtaining the material
and I cannot say anything else about its
origins,” he writes.
West Coast-Tasman Labour
Damien O’Connor said Mr Hager’s book
had exposed a nasty side of politics which
had crept in since National came to power.
Mr Slater’s feral comments at the time
were unwarranted, Mr O’Connor said.
“If the outcome of that sorry saga
is the exposure of this then I hope
Joe feels some good has come from all of
The book launch in Wellington last night
set Twitter alight.
John Small put out a short tweet: “Don’t
mess with Coasters eh? #hagerbook”.
Cameron Slater, who is overseas, did not
reply to an e-mail seeking comment.
Blogger’s ‘feral’ jibe led to mass e-mail hacking
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