Dairy near Rotorua pledges to stop stocking Coca-Cola products

A Bay of Plenty dairy is taking a stand against Coca-Cola, banning the soft drink giant's drinks from its shelves on environmental and health grounds.

How can orange juice come out of a Coca-Cola can? Only the Band of Magicians know how.
Source: Breakfast

The Okere Falls Store, near Rotorua, has put up a sign for customers, which it has also posted online, saying "If you like fizzy drinks we want to leave a better taste in your mouth. From mid-October we will no longer be stocking Coca-Cola products".

The owner, Sarah Uhl, told ONE News the store has already stopped using plastic bags.

"We sat down with the staff and said what else can we do."

The sign informs customers that plastic bottles take centuries to decompose and are poisoning the environment.

The sign the Okere Falls Store has posted about banning Coca-Cola. Source: Facebook

It also says fizzy drinks should be "as good for you as much as a fizzy drink can be" and should not be loaded with preservatives or certain ingredients.

Ms Uhl says a stocktake of the store identified Coke as the company creating the most unsustainable products.

She says the store will continue to stock fizzy drinks in future, but she will try to provide products that are low in sugar and artificial ingredients.

And, drinks will only be sold in glass or biodegradable plastic.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Amatil New Zealand is tomorrow opening a new beverage manufacturing plant, which it says is the largest in New Zealand at 10,000 square metres, at the Landing Business Park near Auckland Airport.

The new plant will produce a range of products from the company's range including juice range, locally owned flavoured waters, cordial and sports drinks, including the zero sugar range launched last year.

Coca-Cola says the new plant houses state-of-the-art production technology and specialty manufacturing lines that also allow for world-leading innovations in design, packaging and sustainability, with improvements in efficiency and energy use.

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Thirty-one people recently treated at Christchurch Hospital after taking synthetic drugs, 12 this week

A total of 31 patients have been treated at Christchurch Hospital for the effects of taking synthetic drugs since September 20, with two people remaining in ICU. 

A spokesperson for the Canterbury and West Coast DHB said 12 more people have presented or were admitted to Christchurch Hospital just this week. 

"Three more patients have received intensive care following synthetic cannabinoid use, but are no longer in ICU. Two of the original three remain in ICU."

It comes a spate of admissions to Christchurch Hospital over the last three weeks of people who had taken synthetic drugs.

"There have been no synthetic cannabinoid-related deaths in Christchurch hospital during this time," the spokesperson said. 

They're calling for the drug to be classified as Class A – the most harmful and dangerous.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Wellington's much-maligned Island Bay cycleway at least a year away from being fixed

Locals enraged by the botched cycleway in the Wellington suburb of Island Bay will likely have to wait another year for it to be fixed.

The Wellington City Council agreed in September last year to revamp the cycleway after locals fiercely opposed the design which saw the cyclists riding between the curb and cars.

However, work has not started yet as the council is hoping the Transport Agency will help cover $24m of the $32m project.

But the agency won't give funding for just the Island Bay section so the council must present a plan that covers the cycleway from Island Bay to the Basin Reserve, council documents show.

Island Bay locals aren’t convinced about the unusual design, labelling it “an accident waiting to happen”. Source: 1 NEWS

It was not clear what the cost of changing the Island Bay stretch of cycleway would be but it was likely to be more than the $6m first budgeted.

Wellington City Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said the delay is the right course of action.

"This to me is really the only responsible approach given that we can access a significant amount more in government investment to connect the Island Bay cycleway through to the centre of Wellington."

The council would use what it had learnt from the Island Bay debacle while building the rest of the cycleway, Ms Fitzimons said.

The council would continue to do maintenance on the road over summer, including repainting markings in the middle of the road, and trying to remove old markings which were still visible.

The cycleway has been mired in controversy since its inception in 2011 with more than 100 people marching through Island Bay in December last year. They were protesting against the council's proposed solution to raise the cycleway to the same level as the footpath so cars can park up against the curb.

The Island Bay Residents Association is pushing ahead with plans to file legal action against the council.

By Laura Dooney

- rnz.co.nz 

The community is calling for a return to the pre-cycleway design that wouldn't see carparks removed. Source: Breakfast

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Person airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after two-car crash in Canterbury

One person has been airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after a two-car crash in Canterbury today.

The incident occurred between a truck and a ute on Bealey Road, near the intersection with Greendale Road, Selwyn, at around 12.30pm.

The Serious Crash Unit is in attendance and traffic is being diverted around the scene.

Source: 1 NEWS


Māori cultural centre for Whangārei hopes for $5 million council grant

The long-held dream of a Māori cultural centre for Whangārei is hanging on hopes of a $5 million council grant.

Work has just begun on the first stage of the project - a big carving workshop and waka shelter, east of the Town Basin in the Hihiaua Peninsula.

But stage two, a theatre, will be competing for council funding with hotel developers across the river.

Master Carver Te Warihi Hetaraka can visualise exactly what the Hihiaua Cultural Centre will look like.

The trust he's a part of has been planning it for ten years, but it's been the dream of his elders for much longer.

"The vision of it started back in the 1980s when the kaumātua realised that kids were losing their culture fast - real fast. They saw a cultural centre as a place where they could retain a lot of the knowledge that used to be handed down and is no longer with us."

Some of those arts and skills - carving, weaving and waka building - would finally have a home in Whangārei by next April.

A former boat-building shed on the Waiarohia Stream is being converted into an art workshop space, with a waka shelter and launching gantry.

Half the $2 million cost has been covered with a grant from the Provincial Growth Fund, and the rest from the Whangarei District Council, Foundation North and Te Puni Kokiri.

But it's the next stage that will be the big one: A 700 seat theatre for the performing arts, a facility Whangārei has needed for years.

It will cost between $10m and $15m according to Hihiaua Trust secretary Janet Hetaraka.

The theatre would be versatile enough to handle many community events, Mrs Hetaraka said.

But the priority for the Trust was kapa haka.

"We have many kapa haka events throughout the year and there is no adequate venue.

"They have to use stadiums or gyms and there's never enough space for the audience. What we've designed is an indoor/outdoor stage, so we can have thousands of people seated outside on the grass with the stage open to the outdoors."

The Hihiaua Trust will apply for resource consent for the theatre in the next fortnight. It hopes to persuade the council to back the project with a $5m grant.

If it succeeds, it would be able to apply to other charities for the rest of the funds, Mrs Hetaraka said.

The Whangārei District Council has long had $10 million budgeted in its long term plan for a theatre but developers planning to build a hotel across the river are also pitching for council funding for a conference centre.

Another Hihiaua Trust member, lawyer Ryan Welsh, said the Hihiaua theatre was more in line with what the city needed.

"Not to say that a hotel wouldn't provide jobs but we are looking to showcase Māori culture and also be inclusive of the whole community in terms of its use."

Both developments are intended to work in with the Hundertwasser Art Centre now under construction at the other end of town.

The Hihiaua Trust said the cultural centre would complement the Hundertwasser, which included a Māori fine arts' gallery.

Hihiaua trustees held off applying for council and charitable funding for several years, to let the $28m Hundertwasser take precedent.

But the trust and the hotel developers could yet be in for a wait.

Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai said the council was in the process of developing a new events and venues strategy and would not be handing out any money until it was decided where the venue gaps were in the city.

- By Radio New Zealand's Lois Williams

Boats moored at Whangarei Marina in the town basin. Northland, New Zealand, NZ.
Whangārei's Town Basin. (file picture). Source: istock.com