Home' Greymouth Star : February 13th 2018 Contents SINCE 1866
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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018
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Bill English quits
The Westport Volunteer Fire
Brigade dealt with three calls
overnight, including this suspicious
car fire in Domett Street at 2.25am.
“The car was found burning in the
middle of the road. The police were
also on site, the driver had done a
runner and no one in the area had
heard or seen anything,” fire chief
Alan Kennedy said. Yesterday at
7.45pm the brigade was called to
the Buller Crossroads after the
driver lost control and ended up
in the ditch. The female driver had
extracted herself and was in the
care of St John when the brigade
arrived. Just before midnight the
brigade was out again to an alarm
activation at Martins Mitre 10,
in Palmerston Street, Westport.
“ Nothing was found. The owner said
they were having problems with the
alarm and it had been checked out
earlier in the day.” Meanwhile, the
Greymouth brigade was called to
deal with a small fuel spill outside a
Pact house about 6.30pm yesterday.
Three whales were spotted off the
Blaketown tiphead yesterday about
7.45pm. Ray Frew was among those
who watched them, initially with
binoculars but then the whales came
c loser to shore. “ They were 50 or
60m off the tip, and there was a
baby,” Mr Frew said. They seemed
to be heading south. He was unsure
what species they were but 10 days
ago a pod of blue whales was seen in
the Hokitika trench. Niwa has been
trying to attach transmitters to the
The sudden resignation of Bill English
will restore Maureen Pugh to Parliament
at the end of the month.
Mr English is a list MP, so his seat
passes to the next on the National Party
list — Mrs Pugh.
She arrived at her Turiwhate home just
as the news was breaking around midday.
She told the Greymouth Star she
greeted the news with mixed emotions.
She was sad to see Mr English go, but
thrilled that West Coast-Tasman would
get “an avid voice” in Wellington.
After a break from Parliament —
Mrs Pugh just missed out on returning
off the list at the last election — and
enjoying one of the best summers in West
Coast memory, she said she was refreshed
and ready to get back to the capital.
Mr English steps down on February 27
so she should regain a seat in Parliament
She was “very, very sad” to see
Mr English go.
“He was genuine and connected with
the New Zealand electorate.”
She particularly praised his handling of
the global financial crisis.
At the same time, she was “ready” to
represent National on the West Coast,
and has the new Conser vation Minister
Eugenie Sage in her sights.
“I have been watching her with interest.”
The circumstances of her return to
Parliament is deja vu for Mrs Pugh.
In 2014 she just missed out on a seat.
Based on preliminary results she would
have entered Parliament, but in the final
results, National’s party vote was lower
and the seat she would have taken was
won by the Green Party.
It was not until Tim Groser MP
resigned in December 2015 that she
gained a seat in Parliament.
The same happened last year. At first it
seemed she was in but in the end National
did not win enough seats.
Mrs Pugh, who had been quiet since
the general election, suddenly became
active again on social media a few weeks
ago, posting photos of herself with Judith
Collins. She also put out a statement
about the proposed Te Kuha coalmine
last week and then attended the National
Party caucus meeting.
The Grey District Council voted
last night to take steps to formally
close lower Tainui Street through the
Greymouth town square.
It confirmed that car parks would
be removed from the shared street
immediately from today, and initiated
a formal road stopping process.
The council received
over whelming 358 submissions
calling for the street to be closed
altogether, against just 32 wanting
it left open to traffic. This followed
reported near-misses and fears for
The numbers clearly swayed Mayor
Tony Kokshoorn and at least three of
his loyal supporters, Crs Murray Hay,
Tony Coll and Patrick McBride.
Cr Tania Gibson made the point
that the council was often at the
mercy of unworkable designs, but she
voted in favour of the road stopping.
Crs Allan Gibson, Anton Becker
and Cliff Sandrey opposed. Cr Peter
Haddock was absent.
Opponents slated the council
for its lack of foresight with the
development, after earlier public
submissions had favoured the shared
Mary Trayes said the council was
picking up “after the fact ” while wider
issues of traffic management around
the town centre had been overlooked.
Bob Smithem said closing the
shared street would only accelerate
the decline of the central business
district, a situation made worse
by the removal of 11 car parks and
people being “hounded out of town”
by a militant parking regime.
The only real activity in the shared
street part of the square was with
Ali’s Cafe, Mr Smithem said.
“ You are going to kill the town ...
you are going to create a snowball
meteorological analysis showing the
town square would be effectively
useable for only 60 days of the year.
The mayor described “a long
process”, but said the weight of
submissions in favour of closing the
street sent a clear message.
“ To go against the wishes of the
public in a public submissions process
would be very wrong of the council,”
Mr Kokshoorn said.
“ It’s too dangerous. It’s not just the
shared street but the intersection.
I heard speakers say that it’s hard
to get parking in the CBD. I think
that ’s a good thing.”
Cr Allan Gibson was unconvinced.
“The whole concept was it was to
be a shared street, with a square on
More planning should have taken
place and closing the street now was
“a terrible waste of public money ”.
The real issue of pedestrians
mingling with traffic outside the
Greymouth Railway Station was an
obvious parallel, yet evidence put up
for the shared street was fairly thin,
Cr Gibson said.
“A look over a couple of days is not
good enough to make a judgment.
“The whole project was poorly
designed and I don’t want to see
more money spent on it.”
Cr Sandrey said he had made no
secret of his opposition to the project
from the start, and noted that it was
“supposed to be designed” as a shared
“That has failed, with a lot of money
“This has become an embarrassment
for the amount of money being spent
... for the life of me it’s a project that
Cr Hay said he personally favoured
keeping the street open one-way but
would back the majority.
Cr Becker said it was all “a sheer
waste of money ” and he would be
Cr Tony Coll cited safety and the
area being a community gathering
space, while Cr Tania Gibson said
the council should go with public
opinion on the town square.
The council should have ensured its
consultants met the original brief.
“ I think we’ve had all these guys
come in from out of town. They
design things but don’t work to the
design,” Cr Gibson said.
A giant 20-pound rodent in
California has been discovered
in Stanislaus County. The giant
nutria, also known as coypu, is two
and a half feet long and is capable
of destroying roads, levees and
wetlands. They live in or near water
and they can be very destructive.
The California Department of
Fish and Wildlife issued a warning
this week about the influx of
these rodents as they were caught
reproducing within the San Joaquin
Valley. Nutria can cause major
wildlife destruction and they can
consume 25% of their body weight
each day in vegetation.
— Daily Mail
Traffic, parking banned from square
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Greymouth cancer sur vivor Kay Wilson will be behind the wheel of this 1965 Massey Ferguson tractor this Saturday for the inaugural Ladies
Tractor Trek from Greymouth to Hokitika, in the lead up to the Cancer Society’s next Relay for Life. A team from Hokitika called the ‘Vollie Dollies’
spotted a tractor trek in the United Kingdom and thought it would be a good fundraiser for the relay. Six tractors and drivers will meet at the Cancer
Society rooms in Greymouth at 10am for a bake sale before taking to the road, stopping for lunch at Kumara Junction before rolling into Hokitika.
Sponsors are being sought for the fundraiser. At least six decorated tractors with female drivers — most with farming backgrounds — are expected to
make the journey. The Relay for Life will be held in Hokitika on March 17.
The State child protection agency
Oranga Tamariki has confirmed it is
involved in a current police operation
concerning the care and protection of
children at the Gloriavale Christian
declined to specify the number of
individual care and protection cases
on its books for Gloriavale, what had
sparked its current interest in the
community, or if any prosecutions
MacDonald said they were working
with the police on a number of
issues related to the remote Haupiri
community of about 500 people.
“Oranga Tamariki has been
assisting police with a multi-agency
approach in providing advice and
support when addressing any
identified risks that either police,
Oranga Tamariki or the community
become aware of,” Ms MacDonald
said in response to questions from
the Greymouth Star.
West Coast police yesterday said
they are regular visitors to Gloriavale,
in response to queries about why
they had been at Gloriavale daily in
numbers in the past week.
The Greymouth Star understands
33 people have been inter viewed in
the course of police inquiries in the
past week, with a number of charges
laid in the Greymouth District
Agency coy on Gloriavale sting
Girls’ only tractor trek
10 Boundary Street Greymouth
Ph 03 768 5720
fax 03 768 0907
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