Christchurch senior citizen resolves stoush with EQC, but still feels bullied

A Christchurch senior citizen who has been involved in an ongoing stoush with the Earthquake Commission has finally won, but has been left feeling angry and bullied.

Colin Feneck, 67, was on the verge of being thrown out of his temporary accommodation as EQC halted rent payments in January this year, resulting him being called before the Tenancy Tribunal.

The reason for the dispute was Mr Feneck's refusal to sign a Settlement agreement that included a confidentiality clause preventing him from criticising the government department.

"I've been using the word strong arm tactics for a long time," Mr Feneck says.

He has been out of his Spreydon home for 18 months, while a re-repair is carried out after his initial earthquake repairs were botched.

Now, at the eleventh hour, once Mr Feneck appointed a lawyer, EQC has agreed to settle.

His lawyer, Duncan Webb, says "It's unbelievable that at the eleventh hour after months of ongoing troubles and being taken to the tenancy tribunal that EQC folds and pays the cheque".

He describes EQC's standard contract as "Deeply troubling. EQC is not being run like a government department, it’s being run like a commercial entity and it's wrong".

In a statement, EQC says, "EQC had met Mr Feneck's temporary accommodation costs between 1 August 2015 until 16 January 2017.

"EQC offered to meet the cost of Mr Feneck’s rent until 1 May 2017.

EQC refused to pay a temporary accommodation supplement to the man unless he signed a confidentiality agreement. Source: 1 NEWS

"This was set out in an offer which Mr Feneck declined because of a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. This clause is a standard term in settlement agreements.

"EQC understands that Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise applied to the Tenancy Tribunal seeking rent arrears owed to it by Mr Feneck for the period from 16 January 2017 to 30 April 2017."

Also in the statement, EQC said it "was not a party to those proceedings but was summonsed as a witness to a hearing on Thursday last week".

"EQC was advised that repairs would be completed by mid-April 2017, a fact it considered carefully before making its previous offer and issuing a payment to MBIE last week."

Mr Feneck says he is relieved that EQC has finally made the payment to MBIE, the government department that ran the Temporary Accommodation Village at the time of the dispute.

He says after the lengthy battle "I'm not me anymore, and I want to get back to being me".

He hopes to be back home in two months, when his re-repair is finally complete.



Hamilton high school principal slammed for speech saying truants were highly likely to become rape victims

A Hamilton high school principal has been condemned for a speech in which she said truants were highly likely to end up in prison, be illiterate, a rape victim or commit suicide.

A student secretly recorded the school assembly speech by Fraser High School principal Virginia Crawford and uploaded it to YouTube.

In the speech, Crawford called any truant a “statistic of the worst kind".

"Highly likely to go to prison, either commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim, be unemployed for the majority of their life, have a major health problem, die at an early age, have an addiction, gambling, drugs or smoking,” she said.

"When I drive out of school during class time for meetings, and I see groups of students sitting outside the dairy, fish and chip shop, bus stop, some of the things I am thinking is that is another group of students without a future.

"That is another student who will end up as a statistic, that's another loser, that's another wannabe. Another student desperate for friendship, another we've lost."

She urged students to work hard in school to make better lives for themselves.

One parent commented on the YouTube video, saying they would pull their daughter out of the school.

“This is actually quite disturbing, I'm seriously concerned as my daughter attends this school. Yes she's had days off school, and there's been a time I've forgotten to call...... But wen u say such things like this?” the parent wrote.

“You have failed my daughter as an educator, you have failed the system, my daughter hasn't failed as a student and I haven't failed as a parent. This revolting tormenting speech has only proven that YOU madam principal are the FAILURE in this matter. Disgusting inappropriate accusations. I'm pulling my daughter out until you are replaced.”

Another commenter said his stepson would no longer attend Fraser High School after hearing the speech.

“I'm glad too (sic) say that my wife's son…will no longer be attending 'fraser high school'. After seeing this speech I was literally shaking, this kind of offensive culture should not be permitted in New Zealand,” he wrote.

Board of Trustees parent representative Milton Ngaruhe told Stuff that he had been sent messages about the speech, but hadn't had parents complain to him about it. 

"Personally I haven't had a chance to listen to more than a minute of the video and there is a process that we go through."1

1 NEWS has tried to contact the school. 

A child at school.

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US man charged with putting daughter in game machine to steal prizes

A Massachusetts teacher has been charged with putting his toddler daughter into a game machine at a New Hampshire shopping mall and using her to steal prizes.

Police in Salem say 34-year-old Anthony Helinski, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, turned himself in Wednesday, five days after witnesses at the Mall at Rockingham Park recorded video of a man encouraging the girl to hand out prizes from within the KeyMaster game.

The video then shows the toddler climbing out of the machine.

Andover Public Schools told WCVB-TV that Helinski has been placed on leave from his job as a middle school teacher.

Helinski is charged with theft, trespassing and child endangerment.

A Massachusetts teacher has been charged with putting the toddler into a game machine at a shopping mall and using her to steal prizes. Source: Associated Press

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1080 case goes to Māori Land Court as two Northland men challenge DOC's right to drop on Russell State Forest

Two Northland men challenging DOC's right to drop 1080 on Russell State Forest say it needs to show it has consent from Māori and the community.

Riki Ngakoti and Hayward Brown have applied to the Māori Land Court for an injunction to stop the pesticide drop that's set to happen in the next fortnight.

Auckland opponents of 1080 trying to stop a drop in the Hunua Ranges, have taken their case to the Environment Court.

But Mr Ngakoti said he had sought advice from the Tikanga Māori Law Society and believed the Māori Land Court had jurisdiction.

"There will be arguments by the settlers of New Zealand - our fellow Kiwis - and government officials, that the Department of Conservation manages Crown land. We had that argument from the court when we applied, but we...interpret that land to be Māori customary land."

Mr Ngakoti said he and Mr Brown were not so much anti-1080 as anti-risk and DOC had not provided a forum in which that risk could be publicly evaluated and debated.

"We have tried to do a bit of research but some of the risks we haven't been able to satisfy ourselves about are the effect of 1080 on the environment below the ground... the micro-organisms, the works, the bugs - there hasn't been thorough research."

The Māori Land Court will hold the injunction hearing on Monday in Whangarei.

Meanwhile the lawyer acting for the Auckland 1080 opponents, Sue Grey, said further court challenges to the use of 1080 were inevitable.

"There has been no forum for public conversation and it got much worse last year when the former Minister for the Environment Nick Smith passed...regulations exempting 1080 from all the usual resource consent processes.

"You need resource consent if you want to extend your fence - but DOC doesn't have to get a consent or have any public consultation for dropping poison into public areas."

That had led to a build-up of pressure because people had genuine concerns and nowhere to air them, she said.

DOC has linked the anti-1080 spam campaign on Facebook to threats against its staff, based on misinformation about the toxin

But Ms Grey said she stood by her advice to 1080 opponents to use social media to promote their cause.

"I would never advocate any threats or violence. My view is that the court processes are there and we need to use them and that's what I encourage my clients to do."

Ms Grey said there had been a lot of allegations made about threats but she had her doubts.

"I've just seen an OIA response from the police and it seems that very few of those alleged incidents did happen," she said.

"There seems to be a pattern of exaggeration of these threats."

However DOC and Forest and Bird sources told RNZ there had been very serious threats made and staff were worried.

By Lois Williams

rnz.co.nz

Source: rnz.co.nz


Suge Knight, once one of gangsta rap's biggest moguls, agrees to 28-year sentence after murder charge reduced

Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight pleaded no contest today in a US courtroom to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.

The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.

Knight was charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run after fleeing the scene of an altercation in January 2015 outside a Compton burger stand. Knight and Cle "Bone" Sloan, a consultant on the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton were involved in a fistfight that ended with Knight clipping the man with his pickup truck and running over businessman Terry Carter, who died from his injuries.

Knight's attorneys have said he was acting in self-defence and was fleeing armed attackers when he ran over Mr Carter and Mr Sloan.

During today's hearing, Knight answered Judge Ronald Coen's questions, loudly and quickly saying "no contest" when the judge asked for his plea.

The plea deal calls for Knight to serve 22 years in prison on the voluntary manslaughter count, and another six years because it is a third strike violation.

Former music mogul and founder of Death Row Records Suge Knight

Knight, 53, was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, and his label once listed Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg among its artists. Knight lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy.

He has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. He pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

He was sentenced in February 1997 to prison for violating terms of that probation by taking part in a fight at a Las Vegas hotel hours before Shakur was fatally wounded in a drive-by attack as he rode in Knight's car just east of the Las Vegas Strip. Shakur's slaying remains unsolved.

He had faced life in prison if convicted of murder for killing Mr Carter.

FILE - In this July 7, 2015, file photo,  Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.
The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.  (Patrick T. Fallon/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight sits for a hearing in his murder case in Superior Court in Los Angeles in 2015. Source: Associated Press