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Watch live: Minister unveils details of long-promised speed camera signs
Watch live: Minister unveils details of long-promised speed camera signs

15 July 2024, 7:36 PM

The Automobile Association (AA) says the long-promised rollout of new speed camera signs for Northland and Auckland in the coming weeks is a win-win for everybody.The operation of over 100 fixed speed cameras across the country will transfer from police to NZTA in the coming year, and each will get a warning sign, starting with those in the north."Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high-crash areas where speed cameras are located will avoid speeding tickets and the more tragic consequences of speeding," Transport Minister Simeon Brown said."Speed cameras should be about improving safety, not raising revenue. And that's why they should be sign-posted so Kiwis have a fair warning to slow down and avoid a ticket. It's the right thing to do."AA says the signs will get drivers checking their speeds, improve road safety overall and help people avoid speeding tickets.The association said the government is making good on a promise made by Labour while in office more than five years ago. No new warning signs at all had been installed since the promise was made in 2019."We're only talking about permanent speed cameras here, so those are the ones that you know are in place at all times. We're not talking about mobile cameras. They will continue to operate without signs," spokesperson Dylan Thomsen told Morning Report."But by 12 months' time, the middle of next year, all about 100 permanent speed cameras in New Zealand are going to have some white signs with a camera image on them saying 'safety camera area'. when you're approaching a camera, we think that's going to be a really good change."Mobile speed cameras will remain sign-free.Fines collected from fixed speed cameras in recent years has been lower than before Covid-19.Thomsen said the evidence was that sign-posted cameras did collect less revenue than those without signs - but also big reductions in speeding."It is going to give people the opportunity to check their speed. It's basically going to give them an incentive to check their speed and if they need to slow down - and we've seen some really good evidence to show that what that means is we actually see a big reduction in people speeding at those permanent camera sites, which are high-risk locations."Simeon Brown. Photo: RNZ / Angus DreaverHe said while there would be some drivers who only slow down to get past the camera without being ticketed and then speed up again, most were trying to stick to the limit and would appreciate the reminder to slow down so they could avoid a ticket."These are high-risk locations with a history of crashes, so we want more people to be travelling at a safe speed in those locations, and I don't think for a lot of people it's going to mean that they just use them to slow down and then speed up again."A trial in Northland saw tickets reduced by more than 50 percent, he said.Brown said the rollout would be complete by June 2025."Our government is focused on improving road safety by deterring those breaking the law and targeting the highest contributing factors to fatal road crashes, including alcohol and drugs."NZTA's plan was to dramatically increase the number of fixed speed cameras to around 800 over the coming years, but that has since been put in doubt.The latest moves comes amid moves from the government to remove blanket speed limits imposed by councils, which some councils have rejected, citing safety improvements.This story was published by RNZ

Weather Forecast
Weather Forecast

14 July 2024, 9:08 PM

Warkworth / Rodney RegionMonday 15th July - Rain, possibly heavy, clearing to fine spells with isolated showers this evening. The risk of thunderstorms this afternoon. Strong northeasterlies, gusting 80 km/h in exposed places, turning lighter westerly at night.Heavy Rain WatchPeriod: 8hrs from 8am - 4pm Mon, 15 JulArea: Auckland about and north of Whangaparaoa PeninsulaForecast: A period of heavy rain, and amounts may approach warning criteria. Note, heavy showers and thunderstorms are likely to develop following the period of heavy rain. Low chance of upgrading to a Warning.Tuesday 16th - Rain clearing to partly cloudy early morning. Westerlies.Wednesday 17th - Scattered showers developing in the morning, but clearing in the evening. Light winds.Thursday 18th - Partly cloudy. Northerlies developing.Friday 19th - Rain. Northeasterlies.Saturday 20th - Rain with westerlies.Sunday 21st - Showers with westerlies.Mangawhai / Northland RegionMonday 15th - Rain, with heavy falls and thunderstorms possible, clearing to fine spells and the odd shower this evening. Strong northeasterlies, turn lighter northwesterly from afternoon.Heavy Rain WatchPeriod: 6hrs from 8am - 2pm Mon, 15 JulArea: NorthlandForecast: A period of heavy rain, mostly in the east, where amounts may approach warning criteria. Note, heavy showers and thunderstorms are likely to develop following the period of heavy rain. Moderate chance of upgrading to a Warning.Tuesday 16th July - Fine, but becoming cloudy in the evening. Westerlies, easing in the afternoon.Wednesday 17th - Showers, clearing to fine in the evening. Northeasterlies, easing in the afternoon.Thursday 18th - Mainly fine. Westerlies, turning northerly.Friday 19th - Fine, then rain developing. Northeasterlies.Saturday 20th - Heavy rain, easing to a few showers. Westerlies.Sunday 21st - Showers with westerlies.

Trump rally shooting: What we know so far
Trump rally shooting: What we know so far

14 July 2024, 3:45 AM

Former US President Donald Trump's face was splattered with blood on Sunday (NZ time) at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania after gunfire erupted and hit him in the ear.The Republican candidate for this year's presidential election was quickly surrounded by Secret Service staff. Trump held a fist aloft as he was escorted to a waiting vehicle and taken to a local medical facility.Here is what we know about the incident so far, as of 2.30pm (NZ time). For the latest updates, follow our live blog here.Trump was on stage speaking to a crowd of supporters in Butler, Pennsylvania when loud shots began ringing out.Video showed the 78-year-old grabbing his ear then dropping to the floor behind his lectern as Secret Service agents swarmed in, one of them shouting "get down, get down". Several more shots were heard.Trump - with blood on his cheek and ear - was then bundled into a vehicle, holding his fist aloft for the cheering crowd.The former president said in a post on social media a bullet "pierced the upper part of my right ear", and he knew immediately "something was wrong".A spokesperson for his campaign said in a statement earlier he was "fine and is being checked out at a local medical facility". He has since left.The shooter was killed, as was an audience member, US media said, citing local officials. Two others were in hospital, both critical.NBC News reports the shooter, a male, has been identified by authorities - but they are keeping his name tightly under wraps for now.Law enforcement officials, including the Secret Service and FBI, are treating it as an attempted assassination.Eyewitnesses have told BBC News they saw a man with a rifle on top of a one-storey building near the event, before the shooting began. Video uploaded to social media showing a man lying on a roof, apparently dead, appeared to back up these accounts, as did anonymous law enforcement officials speaking to CNN.CBS, citing law enforcement sources, reported the gunman fired from about 200 yards (182m) away.Trump's political rival, President Joe Biden, condemned the attack and said he was grateful Donald Trump was doing well. "There's no place in America for this kind of violence." He said he had an opinion on whether it was an assassination attempt or not, but would not speculate without knowing the facts.Trump says he still plans to attend the Republic convention in Milwaukee next week, where he will be formally nominated as the party's candidate.Trump is rushed offstage during a rally on 13 July, 2024 in Butler, Pennsylvania. Photo: AFP/ Getty - Anna MoneymakerVice President Kamala Harris called it a "senseless shooting".Billionaire Elon Musk for the first time formally endorsed Trump, saying the "last time America had a candidate this tough was Theodore Roosevelt".Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said in a statement he was "shocked". "My thoughts are with the former president, his family, and the victims of this attack. No country should encounter such political violence."ACT leader and Acting Prime Minister this week, David Seymour, posted a statement to social media saying New Zealand "condemns political violence in all its forms, wherever it occurs. Nobody should ever be intimidated out of participating in any democracy by violence. We will never let such people win."Former prime minister and Labour Party leader Chris Hipkins said "violent attacks on any political candidate should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. My thoughts are with the American people, former President Trump, and all those at the rally today."Other world leaders have expressed similar thoughts. New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer said: "We condemn all forms of political violence in the strongest terms and we send our best wishes to President Trump and his family at this time."Former US President Barack Obama said he was "relieved" Trump was okay. "Michelle and I are wishing him a quick recovery."Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called it "concerning and confronting".The Biden campaign is suspending advertising and outbound communications.Trump's son Donald Jr said his father was in "in great spirits" and blamed the attack on the "radical left".This story was originally published by RNZ

One year on: Police continue to appeal for information on unexplained death of infant
One year on: Police continue to appeal for information on unexplained death of infant

13 July 2024, 11:10 PM

A year on from the unexplained death of an infant in Dargaville, Police are appealing directly to the family to come forward with information to assist.Detective Senior Sergeant Kevan Verry, of the Northland Child Protection Team, says the sudden death of the 10-month-old girl, Kween Thompson, was reported to Police on 13 July 2023, however it was not until the following days Police were notified of potential unexplained circumstances.“One year on, Police are reappealing to the public for information on what has occurred.“Police are still very concerned about what happened on that night and are frustrated at the lack of co-operation they have been getting from those who were present when baby Kween tragically died.”“Around 5.17pm, emergency services responded to reports of an unresponsive baby at an address on Parore Street,” he says.“Tragically, despite efforts from first responders, baby Kween died at the scene.” Detective Senior Sergeant Verry says the cause of death of baby Kween was determined to be asphyxia, and it was reported that this was due to a port-a-cot she was asleep in collapsing.“However, in the days following her death, Police were contacted following evidence of a non-accidental injury that baby Kween had received prior to her death.“This injury is not directly linked to the cause of her death but is of such nature that Police are troubled about what was happening in Kween’s life at that time,” he says.It was also reported to Police that whānau had observed bruising on the baby’s face after her death and the cause of those injuries is also unexplained.Detective Senior Sergeant Verry says the combination of the death and the non-accidental injuries are concerning for Police and we are working with medical experts to identify how they may have been inflicted.“This is a complex process, which is being hampered by the lack of information that we have from the people who were present on the night of the death and had care of baby Kween in the fortnight before she died.“The focus of our investigation is to identify the cause of the injuries and identify who may be responsible.”Police have approached those persons who had the care of Kween to help gather further information but Detective Senior Sergeant Verry says, unfortunately, they have not been co-operative with staff.“Police have had an expert examine the port-a-cot seized on the night of the death to compare it against the version of events given to attending Police.“The results of that examination give us further cause for concern and we will continue to investigate the cause of Kween’s death until we are satisfied that we know what has happened.“If that is the result of an act or omission by any person, then we will hold those persons accountable.”Wider family members have expressed their concerns to Police about what they have been told of the events on the day of Kween’s death and that they feel something is amiss.Police also share their concerns and feel that the lack of information we have been provided means that the investigation only has a small picture of what may have happened that day.“We are focused to resolving this investigation and identifying the cause of the non-accidental injuries but do need the help of the community,” Detective Senior Sergeant Verry says.“The investigation team believes that there are people who may have been told what happened to baby Kween the day she died and ask that they come forward and speak to Police.“We know that some people have suspicions about what has happened, and we urge them to also speak with us so we can work together to solve this.”Police continue to encourage anyone with information that may assist our enquiries to consider speaking with us in confidence.Information can be provided in person at a local Police station or through our 105-reporting line.Please reference file number 230714/4866.Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

How to raise a good dog: Tips from the stars of The Dog House NZ
How to raise a good dog: Tips from the stars of The Dog House NZ

13 July 2024, 8:26 PM

From Saturday Morning, 10:35 am on 13 July 2024 The key to raising a good dog is to remember that they think differently to humans, long-time animal rescuers say.Helen and Gavin Cook, who run Country Retreat Animal Sanctuary in north Auckland, are the stars of TVNZ's hit show The Dog House NZ.In their new book Good Dogs, the English-born couple share advice from their 15 years of canine fostering and rescue.While Gavin grew up in a dog-loving family, Helen tells Bryan Crump she was "absolutely petrified" of dogs growing up, until her Nana adopted a "cheeky but well-behaved" schnauzer.▶ Listen to the interviewAfter settling in New Zealand, she and Gavin got their first dog together and then started fostering other rescue dogs.Eventually, the couple converted their double garage into a kennel, which became the Country Retreat Animal Sanctuary.Helen says when people come to the sanctuary, many assume that if a dog doesn't match their enthusiastic advances, it doesn't like them.The reality is that even sticking your hand out in front of a dog can be quite threatening to them, she says, and a case of too much, too soon."I don't go running up to someone in the street and hug and kiss them. It's just not acceptable. So why do we do it to dogs that we don't know? You shouldn't. It just feels wrong, really."If a dog wants to meet you, he'll come to you. If he doesn't want to meet you, he'll stay back. And that's fine."While it's easy to attribute human emotions to dogs, they don't think like us, Helen says, and can get confused when treated like they do.If your dog is shaking because it's a little bit nervous, for example, the human instinct is to cuddle them to make them feel better.But when you offer comfort at that moment the dog is shaking, she says, you just reinforce that behaviour."You're saying to that dog 'You're doing the right thing. Keep shaking'."What you need to do is redirect him, get him to do something fun, and then treat him and praise him for doing that."When Helen meets potential pet adoptees at the sanctuary, she observes them closely and often tells them to think it over while having a coffee in nearby Warkworth."I tell them to think with their head, not their heart. What do I have to do to make this dog's life good? And can I do it?"In order to be good, dogs need clear rules and boundaries, she says.Helen and Gavin teach these to the dogs they care for by reinforcing positive behaviour and ignoring the negative."When [a dog] does something that I like you'll see me giving him treats but if he does something I don't like, I ignore him. If he jumped up at me, I just turned my back on him."If he's doing something that I don't want him to do, I'll redirect him with something and then get him to do something I want him to do. It's like resetting the button so he knows what I want him to do."If your dog seems intent on jumping up at people, one of the best things to do is ignore that, Helen says."If you [give them cuddles] at the door, it becomes a portal of never-ending love so therefore they're going to run like mad to that door to see who's there and jump all over them."Alternatively, without hurting the dog, you can put your knee up a little bit to to keep them at a distance.Eventually, the dog should look at you and sit down."As his bum hits the floor you say 'yes' and give him a treat. Then he might jump again so you turn your back on him. Bum hits the floor. 'Yes'. Treat. That's a good way."This story was originally published by RNZ

Auckland Overnight Motorway Closures  12 – 20 July 2024
Auckland Overnight Motorway Closures 12 – 20 July 2024

13 July 2024, 1:49 AM

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi advises of the following closures for motorway improvements. Work delayed by bad weather will be completed at the next available date, prior to Friday, 19 June 2024.  Check daily updated closure information: www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz Unless otherwise stated, closures start at 9pm and finish at 5am. Traffic management may be in place before the advertised closure times for the mainline.         NORTHERN MOTORWAY (SH1) Southbound lanes between Orewa off-ramp and Oteha Valley Road on-ramp, 15 July (approx. 09:30pm to 5:00am)Orewa southbound on-ramp, 15 JulyMillwater southbound on-ramp, 15 JulySilverdale southbound on-ramp, 15 JulyNorthbound lanes between Silverdale off-ramp and Orewa on-ramp, 15 JulySilverdale northbound on-ramp, 15 JulyNorthbound lanes between Oteha Valley Road off-ramp and Silverdale on-ramp, 16 JulyOteha Valley Road northbound on-ramp, 16 JulySouthbound lanes between Oteha Valley Road off-ramp and Constellation Drive on-ramp, 14 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Oteha Valley Road southbound on-ramp, 14 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Greville Road southbound on-ramp, 14 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)SH1 southbound to SH18 westbound link, 14 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Northbound lanes between Constellation Drive off-ramp and Oteha Valley Road on-ramp, 17 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Greville Road northbound on-ramp, 17 JulyConstellation Drive northbound on-ramp, 17 JulyNorthbound lanes between Northcote Road off-ramp and Constellation Drive on-ramp, 18 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Tristram Avenue northbound on-ramp, 18 JulyNorthcote Road northbound on-ramp, 18 JulyStafford Road northbound off-ramp, 14-18 July (approx. 9:30pm to 5:00am)Curran Street northbound on-ramp, 14-18 July (approx. 9:30pm to 5:00am) SOUTHERN MOTORWAY (SH1)South Eastern Highway (SEART) southbound off-ramp, 15-16 JulyPrinces Street southbound off-ramp, 14-15 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Southbound lanes between Takanini off-ramp and Drury/SH22 on-ramp, 14-18 July (approx. 9:30pm to 5:00am)Takanini southbound on-ramp, 14-18 July (approx. 9:30pm to 5:00am)Papakura (Diamond) southbound on-ramp, 14-18 July (approx. 9:30pm to 5:00am)Papakura (Loop) southbound on-ramp, 14-18 July (approx. 9:30pm to 5:00am)Northbound lanes between Drury/SH22 off-ramp and Takanini on-ramp, 14-18 JulyPapakura (Diamond) northbound on-ramp, 14-18 JulyPapakura (Loop) northbound on-ramp, 14-18 JulyDrury/SH22 northbound on-ramp, 14-18 JulySH1 southbound to SH2 eastbound link, 17-18 JulyPokeno northbound off-ramp, 15-16 JulyPokeno southbound on-ramp, 15-16 JulyPioneer Road northbound off-ramp, 12-20 July (24/7)NORTHWESTERN MOTORWAY (SH16) Southbound lanes between Waimauku Roundabout and Trigg Road, 14 JulyNorthbound lanes between Trigg Rd and Waimauku Roundabout, 14 JulySouthbound lanes between Lincoln Road off-ramp and Te Atatu Road on-ramp, 14 & 17-18 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Lincoln Road southbound on-ramp, 14 &17-18 JulySt Lukes Road westbound off-ramp, 16 & 18 July UPPER HARBOUR MOTORWAY (SH18) Westbound lanes between Paul Matthews Road and Albany Highway on-ramp, 14 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Paul Matthews Road westbound on-ramp, 14 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Eastbound lanes between Albany Highway off-ramp and Paul Matthews Road, 17 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)SH18 eastbound to SH1 northbound link, 17 July (approx. 10:00pm to 5:00am)Albany Highway eastbound on-ramp, 17 July STATE HIGHWAY 2 (SH2)Koheroa Road westbound on-ramp, 15-16 July

Northland iwi 'vindicated' by rejection of plans for major port expansion in Whangārei Harbour
Northland iwi 'vindicated' by rejection of plans for major port expansion in Whangārei Harbour

12 July 2024, 8:22 PM

Peter de GraafA Northland hapū says it has been vindicated by a surprise decision to reject plans for a major port expansion in Whangārei Harbour.This week, commissioners declined a raft of resource consents required by Northport, which operates the deepwater port at Marsden Point, to build a dedicated container terminal.The company sought consents for, among other things, a 12-hectare reclamation, a 250-metre wharf extension, and 1.2 million cubic metres of dredging.The applications were lodged with the Northland regional and Whangārei district councils but the decision was made by independent commissioners.The wholesale rejection of Northport's plans has been described as "disastrous" and "a terrible outcome" by Northland MP Grant McCallum, but hailed as a correct and clear decision by local hapū Patuharakeke.Juliane Chetham, a spokesperson for Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board, said the commissioners' decision came as a pleasant surprise."We haven't often been in the fortunate position of having a decision go our way, but so it was. We definitely feel vindicated," she said.Northport wanted to extend its wharf by 250 metres and carry out 1.2 million cubic metres of dredging. Photo: SuppliedThe commissioners' reasons for rejecting the port company's plans - the loss of public access, and cultural and recreational values if the reclamation went ahead - echoed the hapū's concerns."The key concerns for us were the loss of our takutai moana [foreshore and seabed], the loss of access and the severance of our connection to the beach and the reserve that we consider to be our traditional whenua and moana."Chetham said the reclamation would have swallowed up the only remaining white sand beach on the southern side of the harbour entrance.A pathway included in the proposal would have allowed access to the water, but it would have been sandwiched between Channel Infrastructure's fuel storage facility on one side and Northport on the other."So that last stretch of sand between the current reclamation and the refinery jetty would be gone, and that's the pathway we traditionally take to get to our mataitai, our pipi beds at Marsden Point."Chetham said the area was already heavily industrialised but the kaimoana beds there were a "last bastion".Other beds had been covered by the existing port, and shellfish beds further inside the harbour were badly degraded.The beach was also relatively accessible for people with children or limited mobility, accessible even by wheelchair or pushchair from the car park on Ralph Trimmer Drive.Erosion caused by Cyclone Gabrielle had made access to the beach on the Bream Bay side of Marsden Point difficult.While the commissioners' decision came as a surprise, Chetham said the hapū believed it was correct and clear.This story was first published by RNZ

Controlling weeds without the chemicals
Controlling weeds without the chemicals

12 July 2024, 1:18 AM

By Gianina SchwaneckeNew technology using lasers and artificial intelligence software is helping growers get on top of their weeding, without the need for environmentally harmful agrichemicals.Weed control is a significant challenge for many in agriculture, says Map & Zap founder Dr Kioumars Ghamkhar. It's what prompted him to first look at the issue in 2016."Map & Zap is basically pioneering, innovative technology for weed ID and control, using lasers," Ghamkar explains. "It's goal is to offer farmers a precise, efficient and environmentally friendly solution to weed management and enhancing crop yields and reducing their reliance on chemical herbicides."Founder of Map & Zap, Dr Kioumars Ghamkhar. Photo: SuppliedThe AI software allows it to be "very targeted", he said."How it works is that it uses AI, artificial intelligence, to detect weeds at species level. It even identifies weeds that you want to kill from weeds you don't want to kill and then that AI guides the laser to the exact position of the weed and that laser just kills the weed."Using lasers meant it left no chemical residue in the soil and did not disturb the soil which can lead to carbon being released, Ghamkhar said.It's also more efficient and less costly than labour-intensive alternatives like manual weeding, and minimised crop damage compared to mechanical weeding methods.Map & Zap uses artificial intelligence to detect weeds and then point a laser to kill the unwanted species. Photo: SuppliedThe technology can be mounted to any vehicle including robots or drones, which also helps reduce the cost for growers, he said.The system has been trialed on vineyards in the South Island, but has also been developed for use in pasture settings where some weeds were actually crops."We started this on pasture which is the most complex situation. Rye grass and clover are crops in pastures whereas rye grass and clovers are both weeds in vineyards."Ghamkhar said they had now proven it worked and were looking for further investment to "move this forward in the future".This story was first published by RNZ

UPDATE: Save Our Sand Mangawhai Pakiri
UPDATE: Save Our Sand Mangawhai Pakiri

11 July 2024, 9:55 PM

A message from Save Our Sand (SOS)...Dear Supporters, We are reaching out to you with an important and heartfelt request for your support. As many of you know, Te Whānau o Pakiri has been engaged in a prolonged and challenging battle to protect Pakiri sands from further sandmining by McCallum Brothers. This struggle, spanning over 80 years, has now escalated to the High Court following an appeal by McCallum Brothers against the recent Environment Court decision. A Significant Victory In a landmark decision on April 11th, 2024, the Environment Court ruled in favour of our position, declining all consent applications by McCallum Brothers. This victory was achieved through the collective efforts of the community and by compelling evidence presented by Te Whānau o Pakiri, including expert testimonies on coastal processes, marine ecology, cultural fishing, and more. However, McCallum Brothers has appealed this decision, necessitating our presence and participation in the High Court. The Path Forward To date, Te Whānau o Pakiri has covered legal costs exceeding $98,000. We now need to find additional funding to cover approximately $50,000 in legal expenses (excluding pro bono contributions) for the High Court hearings which will take five days. Our legal team, led by the amazing lawyer, Vicki Morrison Shaw, is prepared to continue this crucial fight, and we need your help. How You Can Help We are seeking contributions from our community and supporters to assist with these legal costs. Your support will enable us to ensure that the significant adverse cultural and environmental effects of continued sand mining are fully addressed in the High Court. [DONATE HERE] The Importance of Our Case Te Whānau o Pakiri opposes the appeal on several critical grounds, including the significant adverse cultural effects of sand mining, inconsistency with Treaty of Waitangi principles, and the lack of information on the long-term effects of sand mining on coastal processes. As tāngata whenua we believe it is imperative that Te Whānau o Pakiri is a party to this appeal. Your Contribution MattersPlease consider making a donation to support these new legal costs. Your contributions, no matter the size, will make a significant difference in our ability to defend the environment of Pakiri and Mangawhai. Donations can be made through the Endangered Species Foundation as a koha to the Te Whānau o Pakiri High Court case legal fees. [PLEASE DONATE TODAY] Thank you for your continued support and for standing with us in this crucial fight. Ngā mihi nui e hoa ma, thank you friends, Jessie Stanley, Save Our Sand Mangawhai Pakiri 

Kid Friendly Activities for the school holidays
Kid Friendly Activities for the school holidays

10 July 2024, 7:06 PM

Puhoi Heritage MuseumCome and explore the unique history of Puhoi from its Bohemian/Maori foundations in the 1860s to the present day.Open 11am – 2pm DailyThe Range Multi-purpose sports facility for visitors of all ages, including our automated golf driving range with TopTracer, 9-hole mini golf course, baseball and softball batting cages, and an air rifle range.Saturday - Wednesday 9.30am - 6pmThursday - Friday 9.30am - 7pmWarkworth LibraryVarious daily activitiesMonday - Thursday 9am - 5pmFriday 9am - 6pmSaturday 9am - 3pmSunday 10am - 3pmWarkworth Museum A local history museum with exhibits suitable for kids.Sheep World, Dome ValleySheepworld was formed with the purpose of giving visitors a practical hands-on New Zealand farming experience. Visitors of all ages get the opportunity to hold, pat, feed, and truly encounter farm life first-hand. The interactive farm park north of Auckland features sheep and dog shows along with animal feeding sessions. Surrounds include an eco-trail through New Zealand native bush, playground facilities, and an on-site family-friendly Cafe. Open 7 days a week from 10am to 4pmHighfield Gardens ReserveLovely walks with views of Algies Bay, Snells Beach and Scandrett Regional Park from the lookouts. Meet the resident donkeys who live there.Brick Bay Wines & Sculpture TrailBrick Bay Sculpture Trail is FREE for all young explorers, weekdays through the July school holidays!Explore incredible kauri forests, lakes and farmland abundant with native birds; discovering over 60 sculptures from NZ’s leading contemporary artists.Kids love the complimentary Young Explorers maps, inspiring their learning, creativity and love of nature.Free entry for up to 3 children with every paying adult.Monday to Friday during the July School holidays.Open 10am–4pm everyday. Kiwiness Tours, TawharanuiEvening Kiwi Bird Watching Tour5pm – 8pm During the WinterCharlies Gelato GardenOpen 7 days a week during the July School Holidays with some awesome kids activities planned, and not forgetting the delicious award winning gelato!Matakana Country Park Offers a range of activities including animal encounters, mini train, pony rides and playground and a great choice of places to eat onsite.SculptureumKids get free entry to Sculptureum these school holidays. T&Cs are maximum 3 kids per paying adult, kids free are up to and including 15 years old.Open daily from 10am to 4pm.Also pizza making activity at Sculptureum with Perfectly Imperfect, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during school holidays.Dates: 9th & 10th , 16th & 17thCost: $25pp – cost includes all ingredients to make pizza and have it cooked to eat for lunchBookings available: 12pm till 2pmOmaha BeachEnjoy a walk along the beach or a play at the playground.Point WellsEnjoy the playground, good for bike riding and afterwards finish off at the Point Wells General Store for some great fish & chips.Ti Point Reptile ParkTi Point reptile Park holds New Zealand’s largest and most diverse collection of Reptiles including American alligators, Turtles and Tortoises, Tarantula Spiders, Green iguanas, Tuatara and many more!Glass Bottom Boat Tours Kayak & Snorkel HireEnjoy a 45-minute eco-tour on the glass bottom boat. You will see the fish, fauna, marine life and birds that thrive in this protected reserve, as well as the mysterious caves and sea-battered rocky cliffs of Goat Island.Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre, Leigh Get up close with Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine life, through our range of displays and interactive activities for all ages. Our microscopes will allow you to get up close with live animals and walk through the sound corridor to hear an acoustic symphony of shrimp snapping, kina munching and whales singing in our big blue backyard. Then head out back to explore our living aquaria where you can hold a live kina or seastar, observe kōura and much more.Open daily from 10am – 4pm.  1. Two holiday programme days in collaboration with our friends at Young Ocean Explorers. These will be run on Friday the 12 th and 19 th of July, from 9:30am – 3pm.2. Discovery Centre Workshop on our winter theme; seaweeds. This will be a day-long event run on Thursday 18 th July, from 9am – 3pm.Both the Young Ocean Explorers Holiday programme and Discovery Centre workshop will be suitable for children 8-12 years old. Wellsford Library, WellsfordVarious daily activitiesOpen Monday to Friday 9am to 5pmSaturday 9am to 1pmTe Hana MaraeExperience Maori Culture at Te Hana Te Ao Marama; regular Maori Village tours, authentic Marae stays and awe inspiring Maori cultural performances. Bookings essential.Mangawhai MuseumA local museum showcasing the history and heritage of MangawhaiMangawhai Activity ZoneThe Mangawhai Activity Zone (MAZ) is a great playground for all ages. It has children's playground, flying fox, pump track, state-of-the-art skate park, tennis courts, walking tracks and more. There's even a BBQ area for the parents to enjoy a family picnic while the kids enjoy what this wonderful area has tooffer.Mangawhai Heads Beach, MangawhaiA beautiful beach with safe swimming and picnic areas.Mangawhai Sand DunesThe sand dunes at Mangawhai Surf Beach are awesome for the kids to be sliding, rolling, running down, while the parents sit and have a picnic under the trees. This is only a 15 minute walk from the park or an easy 2 minute drive.For more giant dunes, you can cross the estuary and spend all day exploring the dunes right across from the park. You can go all the way down the estuary and even walk over to the surf beach on the other side.Kauri Museum, MatakoheCelebrating everything to do with kauri and the people of northern New Zealand/Aotearoa, the Museum has stories of the Māori of the north eastern Kaipara, of European pioneers, of foresters and sawmillers, gum diggers and farmers, and of business people, fishers and the families who have made thisarea their home. They are offering half price entry for the July School Holidays and new scavenger hunts available for the kids.Easy, medium and hard options are available to accommodate all age groups.Just ask at the front desk and receive a piece of kauri gum on completion.Open Daily from 9am to 5pm.Waipu Cove Glow Worm Farm and ClimbingExplore glow worms and enjoy climbing activitiesBookings essential.Alpaca Farm Experience, WaipuVisit this Alpaca farm and learn about these unique animals. This is best experienced when it is not raining and must be pre-booked. One family group at a time makes this experience very personal and unforgettable. By appointment only.One Tree Point, Marsden CoveEnjoy family friendly walks, check out the Marina and nearby Ruakaka Surf Beach. This area is also popular for fishing and diving.Kiwi North, WhangareiA cultural and heritage centre featuring a museum, kiwi house, and heritage park. Open 7 days from 10am to 4pm.Action Zone, WhangareiTen pin bowling, Laser Tag and Arcade games. Open 7 days from 10am.HeadUp AdventuresNorthland’s most diverse mountain bike park and home to New Zealand’s first and only monster scooters, and they offer authentic forest paintball too.Whangarei Indoor Climbing at McKay Stadium, KensingtonThe Northland Climbing Club currently operates the McKay Stadium Climbing wall on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5pm - 9pm depending on availability.https://www.facebook.com/groups/519509866288146Whangārei Quarry GardensBotanical gardens with walking trails suitable for families.Open 7 days from 9am to 5pm.Whangārei Art MuseumNorthland’s public art gallery, and the permanent home of the city’s art collection, which embraces both heritage and contemporary artworks.Open 7 day from 10am to 4pm.Clapham’s Clock Museum, WhangāreiTake a walk through the history of time. From ancient sun, sand and water clocks, to rare antique clocks, and wacky, zany, unbelievable clocks – there’s something to entertain everyone in one of the largest and most historically significant collection of clocks in the Southern Hemisphere.Open 7 days from 9am to 4.30pm.Packard’s Motor Museum, Maungatapere, WhangāreiThe Packard Motor Museum provides an informative educational experience based around the automobiles, machinery, stories and lives of those who led the industrial revolution and created and shaped our modern way of life.Open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Thousands sign up for benefit, as grim business data points to further job losses
Thousands sign up for benefit, as grim business data points to further job losses

09 July 2024, 11:36 PM

Almost 4500 more people have signed up to the Jobseeker Work Ready benefit since the start of May - and more grim data about the state of the country's businesses could foreshadow more job losses.Stats NZ released data last week that showed that non-financial businesses were spending more than they earned in the March quarter, a continuation of a trend that had been seen in four of the past five quarters.This calculation includes non-cash factors such as depreciation, but paints a similar picture to other data released in recent months showing sharp declines in gross domestic product per capita and in business profits.ANZ senior economist Miles Workman said that in better times, it could mean that the economy was on the verge of a resurgence and businesses were borrowing to invest in new plant and machinery."That's not what is happening right now. What is happening right now is consistent with where we think we are in the business cycle - businesses are facing still high costs to produce goods and services, high labour costs, interest costs, transport costs, fuel costs. Some are still rising at a relatively healthy clip."Meanwhile, consumers are tightening their belts and watching pennies, they're more choosy about where they spend their money and how much. Businesses are wearing these costs and profitability takes a hammering in that world."He said eventually businesses would have to readjust how much they spent on things like staff. It was just another example of the recession playing out that the Reserve Bank had engineered, he said.Data from the Ministry of Social Development shows that there were 13,668 more people on Jobseeker Work Ready in May than a year earlier, an increase of 14 percent. Another 2052 went on to the benefit in the month of May alone.Since then, weekly reporting data shows another 2450 signed up to the benefit through June.'Hard to increase productivity'ASB senior economist Mark Smith said it showed how much the non-financial corporate sector was losing."That is important because these firms tend to employ people and if they are losing money, if they cannot see scope for them to increase sales or prices, given we are in a policy-induced recession, it's hard to increase productivity - that's the key but our track record hasn't been good. The last thing they can do is look at cost-cutting."He pointed to the recent quarterly survey of business opinion which showed businesses were under considerable margin pressure and looking at cutting hiring. Treasury data also showed the corporate tax take was still well below where it was last year."That will flow through… which will hit the household sector."He said the weakness in corporate profits was why ASB had brought forward its forecast for the first official ash rate (OCR) cut to the end of this year instead of February next year."The other thing is the impact on wages… we've got a much weaker corporate sector, it's not going to be in a position to offer wage increases to the extent it had."He said the public sector job cuts had attracted a lot of attention but were "small beer" compared to what was happening in the wider corporate sector.Westpac chief economist Kelly Eckhold said the Reserve Bank had seemed surprised at its last monetary policy update that households and businesses had not adjusted more quickly to the tighter monetary environment."They thought because people had been expecting there might be interest rate cuts coming around the corner for a while, it might have meant people just held on and had not got rid of people they don't currently have something to do with."He said the labour market had proven to be more resilient than the Reserve Bank had forecast, but that would have to change if activity did not pick up for businesses.This story was originally written by Susan Edmunds, Money Correspondent for RNZ News

What to do about winter bugs - a GP's advice
What to do about winter bugs - a GP's advice

09 July 2024, 1:09 AM

Sneezing, coughing, a runny nose and sore throat: Thousands of people are falling sick every week.As we navigate the depths of winter and ride the back end of a Covid wave, what can be done to keep bugs away - and how do you tell whether a sniffle is serious?Rotorua GP Dr Cate Hill told First Up that there were some concerning symptoms people should look out for."Things that would worry me are like a super high fever that doesn't come down with paracetamol, really severe headache or a lot of pressure in your face, super sore throat that makes it really hard to swallow. And any breathing difficulties, so feeling really short of breath with your cough."She said often, the signs of something serious were hard to miss and using over-the-counter remedies would not mask the problem.Hill recommended heading to the GP as soon as things felt unusual."Most GPs will have some sort of emergency service where they will see people who are really unwell as soon as they practically can, or at least give you a phone call or some sort of triage process to help you decide whether you need to be seen or not."She said taking vitamin C and zinc supplements could help fight infection, but it was better to include them as part of a healthy diet to prevent illness."If you're not getting enough in your diet, then that's going to make you more vulnerable."Using nasal rinses was a good idea because they helped clear the nose, she said.She also recommended nasal sprays."We know that those are helpful. One, because they help with symptom control and two, because they help you breathe and recover faster as well."She said pseudoephedrine, which recently returned to pharmacy shelves, was effective if used responsibly.But it was not just a healthy diet and the right medications that helped, she said - it was also important to have a clean and dry living space.And people who were unwell were better off staying away from the workplace to avoid the spread of bugs, she said.This story was originally posted by RNZ News

Hundreds of thousands struggling to pay for electricity - report
Hundreds of thousands struggling to pay for electricity - report

08 July 2024, 8:35 PM

An energy hardship expert says there are likely to be hundreds of thousands more people struggling to afford electricity than what is estimated by the government.A report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), on energy hardship measures for the year ending June 2022, found 6 percent of households could not afford to keep their home adequately warm.Dr Kimberley O'Sullivan, a senior research fellow in the Department of Public Health at Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo ki Pōneke, said that was just the tip of the iceberg.Analysis using that same data set showed at least 18 percent of households, about 360,000 across the country, were unable to pay for the electricity they needed.O'Sullivan said the size of the problem had not decreased in recent years, given the cost of living pressures.MBIE defines energy hardship as the situation when individuals, households and whānau are not able to obtain and afford adequate energy services to support their wellbeing in their home or kāinga.In January, Consumer NZ reported an estimated 40,000 households had their power disconnected in the past year because they could not pay their power bill.Power outages: What to do - and what not to do - when the electricity goes outPower use: It's the little things that add upTo turn your heatpump off or not?The three key factors to heating your home and saving moneyO'Sullivan said there were many more people who received a notice and borrowed money to pay a bill or make a payment arrangement with their energy retailer."There are a lot of people who are in quite significant hardship before they are actually disconnected."People responded to energy hardship in different ways; some people would run up an electricity debt to keep themselves warm, while others would drastically limit their use, she said."Other people will sit there with basically nothing but the lights on, they will be freezing at home, they will be limiting their use of hot water and living in a really miserable situation, but they might not ever get a disconnection notice, because they are trying to manage this problem in really different ways."Renters were at higher risk of experiencing energy hardship because they often lived in poorer quality houses which were difficult to heat."New Zealand still had remarkably low building quality standards, what the Building Code specifies, even for new builds, is homes that are still going to need heating now and into the future so that's part of our problem, we have built ourselves into this."Then we have the cost of electricity as well and the fact we mostly rely on electric heating."Common Grace Aotearoa has started a petition calling on the Electricity Authority to ban disconnection and reconnection fees. A petition against electricity disconnection fees durationCo-director Kate Day said the fees disproportionately affected the poorest customers."We think a fee that hits people when they have already shown they are not able to pay for electricity is inherently unreasonable and should be banned."Day said there were voluntary guidelines stating that fees should be reasonable, but there was no definition of what that meant. The current charges varied between companies, some did not impose a fee, while others charged up to $300 for disconnecting and reconnecting power.The campaign, which is supported by 16 organisations including the Salvation Army, Child Poverty Action Group and Consumer NZ, also wants to ensure retailers' prepay prices are no more expensive than their cheapest plan.Day said it wanted power companies to do the right thing for customers in hardship, and not to impose disconnection or reconnection fees.This story was originally posted on RNZ News

Northland power cut investigation ramps up as businesses cry out for compensation
Northland power cut investigation ramps up as businesses cry out for compensation

08 July 2024, 1:18 AM

More than two weeks after a workplace mishap toppled a power pylon, an investigation into the region-wide outage that followed is stepping up a gear.On Monday, the Electricity Authority announced the appointment of Sarah Sinclair, a top lawyer specialising in the infrastructure and energy sectors, to head an independent inquiry ordered by Energy Minister Simeon Brown after the 20 June blackout.Businesses still want compensation after Northland power cut durationThe inquiry team is already gathering information from electricity retailers, lines companies and national grid operator Transpower, with the finished report due by 13 September.Its findings will be made public 15 days later at the most.Transpower is conducting its own investigation, which is due to be completed by the end of July.After refusing to be drawn on the cause for days, chief executive Alison Andrew revealed on 24 June the pylon toppled when contractors carrying out routine maintenance unbolted three of its four legs at once.A Transpower spokesman said a "Lindsey tower" - designed for emergency restoration of power networks - was installed three days after the pylon fell.Three temporary single-pole towers, carrying the second 220 kilovolt circuit supplying Northland, were completed three days later.The spokesman said no date had been set as yet for building a permanent, replacement pylon.All four temporary structures were, however, robust and provided a secure power supply.Meanwhile, Northland businesses are continuing to count the cost of the outage.Most households had their power partially restored within seven hours, but the region's biggest power users - such as Fonterra's dairy plants at Kauri and Maungaturoto, and Golden Bay Cement at Portland - were unable to resume production until the following Monday.Even many small businesses that had their power restored relatively quickly still lost two to three days of income.Krishant Amin, of Paihia's Blue Door Restaurant, says the power cut had a huge effect on his business. Photo: RNZ/Peter de GraafKrishant Amin, of Paihia's Blue Door Restaurant, said the power cut occurred on a Thursday, ahead of what should have been a bumper weekend."We were scheduled for three back-to-back functions, but because of this huge power cut - from morning to the next day - all our stock which was stored in the fridge and the freezers was lost. It probably cost us $15,000 to $20,000," he said.Amin said insurance would cover lost stock but it would not make up for three days of reduced trade.The outage also meant restaurant staff were unable to give their guests the kind of experience they usually prided themselves on.Amin hoped Transpower would step up and help businesses like his."Winter is already a tough time, and with the Brynderwyn closure it got even tougher. Something like this is the worst that can happen. Compensation would definitely help us to at least get back on our feet."The iwi-owned Ngāwhā Springs hot pools, near Kaikohe, also lost significant income.The pool complex, which is ironically next to Top Energy's geothermal power station, had its electricity restored at 8.30pm on the day of the outage.However, operations manager Moana Cross said that did not mean the pools could reopen the following day."People think when the power goes off it just affects lights and things like that, but for us here at Ngāwhā it affects our pumps and the way we operate our pools here," she said.Operations manager Moana Cross says the hot pools at Ngāwhā Springs lost up to two days’ worth of bookings. Photo: RNZ/Peter de Graaf"We have pumps running all the time and when the power goes out everything just starts to overflow and mix together. And not only do we have to close, we have to take another day to clean the pools out and then they take half a day to fill."And while they're filling they get very hot, so we need at least another eight hours for them to get down to a temperature everyone can enjoy."The pool complex had a backup generator but that was good only for outages of a few hours' duration.Cross said many guests booked the following day were from out of town and did not have the option of returning another day, so they had to be refunded.In winter, the busiest time of year, as many as 350 people per day could visit the pools - so closing could mean losing $10,000 or more a day.Cross' message to Transpower was simple."Please keep the power on. It's vital to use here. Between our roads, our power and everything else, it's quite hard to operate businesses up here in the North. But we get by, we just push ahead for our communities," she said.Northland's Chamber of Commerce has been spearheading the push for compensation for affected businesses, which, unlike households, are not covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.NorthChamber chief executive Darryn Fisher said members were still feeling frustrated when they met last Thursday for an update on compensation, and legal advice should discussions with Transpower falter.Fisher said he had heard from restaurants that had lost major bookings in the days after the outage due to uncertainty over the power supply and the communications from Transpower."So while we might hear, 'Hey, you got your power back on seven hours later', the actual business impact was three or four days."Discussions with Transpower were progressing well so far, Fisher said.NorthChamber chief executive Darryn Fisher says businesses are still counting the cost of the blackout. Photo: RNZ/Peter de Graaf"We're talking about multiple topics. One is what does direct compensation for business look like, and how can we get to a fair and reasonable number on that."There's also recognition of the ongoing brand damage to Northland and negative impact on business and investor confidence, and that's what we really need to reinvigorate. I think we'll get good support from Transpower on that in time as well."For too long, Northlanders had accepted third-rate infrastructure as normal, he said."I know some people say, 'Hey, that's the compromise you have to put up with to live in such a beautiful place', but in this day and age I think that's really unfair and we need to shake that perception by creating a more robust and reliable region to live in."Fisher said Northland businesses' message about the need for quality infrastructure would be reiterated when senior government ministers Chris Bishop and David Seymour visited the region this week."We know the government doesn't have a lot of money to throw around, but what we're looking for is the support to get on and do the work. It's a hand-up sort of conversation, not a hand out."The terms of reference for the Electricity Authority inquiry are wide-ranging.The inquiry, among other things, will look into the immediate causes of the outrage; risk assessment and mitigation; communication from Transpower to the public; the way power companies looked after medically dependent customers; and any lessons from the incident that could prevent it occurring again.Sinclair, who will lead the independent review, chairs the law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and is on the board of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga.A spokesman for the authority said the review team was analysing and assessing information it had requested from Transpower, lines companies and electricity retailers.Information sought from Transpower included all information provided to its investigator, a detailed timeline of the event describing events, actions, and factors, its response and remediation, and planning and risk documents.Initial estimates for the losses incurred by Northland businesses as a result of the outage range from Infometrics' figure of $60 million to NorthChamber's $80 million-plus.This story was originally written by Peter de Graaf for RNZ News

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