'Harden up man' - firm views on school puffer jacket petition

Opinion is running hot and cold on a 15-year old schoolgirl's petition for her school to make puffer jackets part of the uniform as winter bites at the top of the South Island.

Motueka High School Source: 1 NEWS

Motueka High School student Jennifer Guthrie, who started the online petition, says with temperatures dropping many students have started to wear puffer jackets to keep warm.

However they aren't part of the regulation uniform and are often confiscated, she says, with students told to wear poorly made and expensive regulation jackets.

To make matters worse, the school's heating system is turned off before lunchtime and some students even bring hot water bottles, Miss Guthrie says.

On the ONE News Facebook page, Asheesh Gautam is with the students, posting: "The need for conformity and uniformity exceeds common sense.....the students should hire a lawyer and take the school to court for endangering the welfare of the students."

Heather Berge writes similarly: "I am sorry but it is about staying warm and not about wearing what the school says."

Rene Hunia is also defiant, sharing: "If my son's jacket got confiscated because he was wearing it when he was cold I would be down that school before u can say ...someone's head is gona roll!!!!"

But John Tike backs the school, telling the students to: "Harden up man. Follow rules and regulations. Wear an extra shirt under your uniform. More things to moan about then a puffy jacket."

Gail Leonard also thinks the students should obey the rules and suggests: "Maybe they should put a few more layers on under their shirts & wear the school jackets... like the good old days... & respect the rules!! A generation of no respect & soft as!!"

Many commenters wondered why the heaters are turned off, Fay Forman asking: "Why is the heating turned off before lunch time? would be more cost effective to leave it on and turn the temp down a little. No wonder the kids are wearing jackets, it's winter and it's COLD."

As for the school itself, Motueka High School principal Scott Haines has said the petition isn't a representation of the school community.

He added that students have four different types of jackets and jerseys available for purchase. And a uniform review in 2012 showed only 12% of parents, students and staff wanted another type of jacket, the most popular option being a hoodie.

A Motueka High School student’s petition to allow students to wear puffer jackets has become the subject of hot debate. Source: 1 NEWS


Exclusive: Police told not to ticket unlicenced Maori drivers in South Auckland

Unlicensed Maori drivers caught behind the wheel in South Auckland are getting the chance to avoid a $400 fine.

Police are defending the move, saying it's part of their goal to reduce Maori offending and that it's crucial and it's working.

Documents leaked to ONE News show the "guidelines"police in South Auckland say they've been enforcing since last year.

The paperwork spells out that all Maori drivers caught without a licence or in breach of their conditions are to be referred for training and not given a ticket.

"We then refer them to the panel and the panel looks at a whole range of issues that's caused that person to drive without a licence or why that person hasn't had a licence, and then provides some support," says Superintendent Wally Haumaha of Police National Headquarters.

If after that Iwi and community support the driver has not complied within two months, a $400 ticket is then issued.

It's a small part of what is a nationwide wide programme, Turning of the Tide, aimed at reducing Maori offending. And police say they have the discretion to do the same for non-Maori drivers, but that's not spelt in the document.

Superintendent Haumaha says it's not an issue based on race. "It's based on the fact that they are a significant part of the problem so we're working with the problem."

Asked how can it not be based on race he says: "Well it just happens to be that more Maori drivers are unlicensed. So if they're unlicensed, we want to know why."

So how do police determine if a driver is in fact Maori? Police whom ONE News has spoken to in South Auckland say they find this confusing and they have not been with singling out Maori in the first place. They say they've raised concerns with their bosses but have been told it's a new policy and they have to get used to it.

"If that upsets a few people who don't want to do that then that's their conscience to examine," says Superintendent Haumaha.

On the streets where this is happening, the reaction is mixed.

"Either do it for all or don't do it for anybody," says one woman.

A man says: "If people are breaking the law they should be facing consequences about it."

While another woman says: "Nah that's good then. It's better to actually try and get your licence."

The police position remains that the document is simply a guideline and not an instruction to staff, and is not about race.

"I can't emphasise enough to you that to single this out as a race issue in my view is totally mischievous," says Superintendent Haumaha.

ONE News was told there is no data available on the number or ethnicity of drivers that have been dealt with under this guideline.

Meanwhile police sources say in South Auckland staff are still being told not to ticket unlicensed Maori drivers.

Documents leaked to ONE News show South Auckland police have been briefed to not ticket unlicensed Maori drivers. Source: 1 NEWS



Billion dollar bill possible over Christchurch quake class action

Taxpayers could face a billion dollar bill if disgruntled Christchurch customers of Southern Response insurance are successful in a unique class action case.

Lawyer Grant Cameron, who is gathering home owners for the action, says policy holders are "basically being misled" as to the true cost of their property.

Maria De Vries was given an initial assessment by Southern Response of $290,000 for her quake-damaged Redcliffs property, but the office-use-only-version puts the figure at $366,000

"I thought that was ridiculous," she told ONE News. "The difference was so ridiculous."

Government-backed Southern Response says it removes the costs the company would incur to manage the repair or rebuild from what it shows a policy holder, so there is no confusion about what the payout would be.

However Mr Cameron is using that hidden sum as a string in a bow he is aiming at the company.

He is trying to gather enough of its 3000 plus unsettled policy holders into a class action to seek damages for years of delay.

"If you took the whole group that remains unsettled and those in the EQC system, we're very definitely talking hundreds of millions but probably well in excess of a billion dollars," he says.

The Government is standing its ground, however.

"They have I think been doing a good job in honouring contracts that actually were defunct at the time the Government took them over," Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

The earthquake recovery minister says he’s not worried about looming legal action against a Government backed insurer. Source: 1 NEWS