Canterbury University threatened with legal action by one of its students over car parking fees - 'you are going into debt over this'

Canterbury University is being threatened with legal action by one of its law students over car parking.

Canterbury University student Kelly Phillips has accused the university of cashing in on staff and students' parking fees.

Students are currently paying $400 a year for parking, while staff are paying double the amount.

"It just means you've paid for a spot, but you're not guaranteed you're going to get it," Ms Phillips said.

While the parking is fluid, the fees are set - and rising - by 15 per cent a year.

Canterbury University is unique from most universities in that it has the space on its 80-hectare Ilam campus to provide parking, but it comes at a cost.

"If you have to borrow an additional $500 a year to pay for parking, you are going into debt over this," Ms Phillips said.

She claims the university has collected more than $1.3 million in parking fees from students and staff last year alone.

"Where is the money going? What is it being used for or is it just revenue gathering?"

But Canterbury University Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr claims the university "is not seeking to make money out of car parking".

"It is seeking simply to cover the full whole of life cost of providing carparking on campus," Mr Carr explained.

He says the parking fees are going towards tar sealing, drainage, potholes, lighting and security at the university.

However, Ms Phillips says it "doesn't add up".

She claims that when she asked under the Official Information Act for a breakdown of parking-related expenditure, it could not be provided.

"The Local Government Act basically says that where an entity has the ability to charge a fee for service, it cannot exceed the cost of actually providing that service," she said.

Mr Carr responded, "If you've got the opportunity as a law student to get a learning experience at the taxpayer's expense, you should probably seek that out".

Ms Phillips has since engaged a barrister to help find out where staff and students' parking fees are going.

A uni student is claiming the university’s has collected over $1 million in parking fees. Source: 1 NEWS



Members of the public rush to save stranded whale at Auckland beach that turned out to be a fake

Members of the public flocked to Browns Bay in Auckland after spotting what looked like a stranded whale close to the shoreline, many people ran down to the waters edge to see if they could help.

However, it wasn't a real whale, but rather a life-like replica used by rescue charity Project Jonah.

"We thought we saw a whale in the water, so we stopped, got out and had a wee look," one onlooker said.

This weekend Project Jonah is holding two training sessions for volunteers.

"We're teaching people the basic skills needed to help keep stranded whales and dolphins alive," Project Jonah general manager Daren Grover said.

The trainers explained how to handle the mammals when they are in distress.

Two mammal replicas were used; a training dolphin, which when filled with water weighs 150 kilograms and a training whale which takes 2000 litres of water and can weigh up to two tonnes.

New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world, with more than 300 dolphins and whales coming ashore each year.

However, sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Source: 1 NEWS

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Community demands answers over what caused kids to become seriously ill at a Carterton school

The Wairarapa community are demanding answers to what caused children at Carterton South End's school to become sick, after a strange smell wafted over the school yesterday afternoon.

Police ruled out initial reports that a plane flying overhead may have dropped a toxic substance on the school.

Parents at the school are angered and want answers as to what caused the illnesses.

Cody Pratt's daughter was one of the students who vomited after smelling a sulphur like substance.

"It was scary having my daughter in the school premises and being told I couldn't go in to get her was pretty daunting," said Mr Pratt.

"I definitely want to know what has gone on.

"Children came in after lunch and reported feeling unwell after the substance, or smelling a smell," he said.

Ten students were taken to hospital but returned to their homes last night.

The school was cleared to be re-opened for classes on Monday.

Police say they have conducted a thorough examination of the school and still haven't found a point of cause.

Police inquiries will now focus on the surrounding neighbourhood.

Police now believe they can rule out initial reports that a plane flying overhead may have dropped a toxic substance on the school. Source: 1 NEWS

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Council trees in central Otago being chopped down by people helping themselves to the timber

The Central Otago council has called on police help to crack down on people illegally cutting down council trees.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan argues that the stumps in central Otago are evidence of illegal felling of trees by members of the public.

"Randomly coming up and knocking trees down without taking any safety measures in a place that the public walk their dogs, ride their bikes and so forth is actually really dangerous, as well as theft," said Mr Cadogan.

Culprits have been forced to hand the wood over to local charities when they have been caught.

But the council now says they will be handing the thieves over to police.

"We can't just keep taking that attitude so from now on it's going to be prosecutions, no questions asked, no warnings."

Families in need of timber in Alexandra are urged to use other sources, like the Salvation Army who hand out free and low cost wood, with the Rotary Club helping to split donated costs.

Alexandra Rotary president Charles French says this option is much safer.

"It is available here and there isn't really any need for people to go their own way with this," said Mr French.

The council says their concern is the safety of the public and the thieves.

It's becoming such a problem across the region the council's now cracking down and involving police. Source: 1 NEWS


Man dies after falling into Mt Ruapehu's Crater Lake

A man has died after falling into Crater Lake at Mount Ruapehu.

Emergency services were flown to the scene via helicopter at around 1.50pm.

The man was recovered from the lake by members of the group he was with before emergency services arrived.

An eyewitness told 1 NEWS that the man and a friend were having lunch, when their personal items began to slide down the hill.

They both slid down the ice to retrieve their items and one of them managed to stop, but the other couldn't and fell into the crater.

The death will be referred to the Coroner.