Daycare teacher admits 'possibly' smacking hands, court hears

An Auckland daycare teacher accused of assaulting nine pre-schoolers in her care has admitted in court "possibly" smacking the hands of some children.

Lynn Abraham is on trial in the Auckland District Court and faces 11 charges. Six charges relate to smacking and three to force-feeding children.

The Crown also says Abraham taped shut one child's mouth and put soap in another child's mouth at Bright Minds in St Johns.

Abraham gave evidence in her defence this afternoon.

She was asked about a boy with special needs, who the Crown says was smacked on his hand and bottom.

"I admit I would have smacked his hand in some circumstances," Abraham said.

"I don't know about smacking his bottom."

She also agreed she "smacked away" a three-year-old girl's hand but said she did so in self defence, and "possibly" smacked the hand of a three-year-old boy to stop him flicking his food around.

Abraham denied other smacking charges, saying she might have tapped children on their hands.

She said she had washed around a child's mouth with soap but had not washed the mouth out, as claimed by the Crown.

"I wiped his face and was talking to him about washing away the bad language."

She also denied putting sellotape over a four-year-old's mouth in 2012, saying she only heard about the allegation last year.

The trial continues.

Lynn Abraham is on trial in the Auckland District Court, facing 11 charges. Source: 1 NEWS

Photo Gallery: Winter has final sting in its tail, blasts Queenstown region with snow

Central Otago woke up to an early spring snow dump this morning, with the white stuff visible across the Wakatipu Basin.

Glenorchy has seen heavy snow, while flurries are light in Queenstown and on the Lindis Pass.

Queenstown. Source: Thomas Martin

Vision captured by 1 NEWS in Arrowtown shows a heavy blanket of snow. 

Arrowtown saw an early spring snowfall overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Sophia Purdon

Nineteen flights, both domestic and international, have been cancelled at Queenstown Airport, although it remains open. 

Source: James Penwell

All schools in the Wakatipu Basin are closed. 

Crown Range Source: NZTA

Power outages caused by snow-loaded tree branches have been reported in Glenorchy, Te Anau, Queenstown, Franktown, Arrowtown and Dalefield.

Arrowtown. Source: Jesse Van Grinsven

"Power will be restored as quickly as is safely possible but extreme conditions are hampering our response," an Aurora Energy spokesperson said.

Bridesdale Queenstown. Source: Kate Tonks

A spokesperson from Metservice has told 1 NEWS of heavy snow fall in the Crown Ranges, with many campervans being snowed in.

Camper vans in Te Anau. Source: MetService

Arrowtown. Source: Jess Van Grinsven

Cardrona Ski Field has had 35 centimetres of snow this morning and counting. However, graders have been unable to clear the road in time for opening today. 

Usually snow is a good thing for a ski field, but it couldn’t clear the roads fast enough to open this morning. Source: 1 NEWS

An early spring dump of snow fell on Te Anau overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Alana Pullar

"Where the snow hasn't fallen, water has. A lot of it," the Queenstown Lakes District Council warned this morning.

"We've got roads affected by surface water from all the rain so watch out for flooding and ponding wherever you're headed today."

Te Anau. Source: Phillip Robertson

Trust Power is reporting an outage in Frankton as a result of the weather. 

Arrowtown saw an early spring snowfall overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Sophia Purdon

Motorists heading over the Crown Range today will need to bring chains with them.

Images from viewers also show thick coats of snow in Arrowtown and Te Anau.

Snow on the Crown Range. Source: NZTA

SH94 from Te Anau to Milford Sound is closed due to a high avalanche risk. 

The road will be closed for some time due to snow and fallen trees.

Arrowtown saw an early spring snowfall overnight, 17 September 2018. Source: Sophia Purdon

Do you have a photo or video of today's snow? Send it to

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS


Teen, 16, handcuffed in back of cop car allegedly steals it when officers leave him in vehicle at Auckland Airport

A teenager has allegedly stolen a police car that he was handcuffed in the back of at Auckland Airport this morning.

Police say they were assisting Oranga Tamariki in the transport of a 16-year-old male on a flight from Auckland bound for Wellington when the incident occurred.

The teenager was handcuffed in the back of a marked police vehicle at Auckland Airport police station when he allegedly managed to get into the driver's seat and took off while police were out of the vehicle.

Police say he then drove through a closed roller door and fled the scene.

The vehicle was followed overhead by a police Eagle helicopter, and was located by police abandoned outside an address in Randwick Park.

Police surrounded the address around 11am and the teenager was apprehended and taken into custody.

He will be appearing in the Youth Court this afternoon on charges of unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, dangerous driving and escaping custody.

Police cannot rule out further charges.

Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent Jill Rogers, says this was a serious incident and will be carrying out a review to establish the full circumstances around how this occurred.

"Thankfully no one was injured during this incident.  An internal review will be carried out to ensure the officers followed best practice and to see what, if any learnings we can take from this incident."

The matter will be referred to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS


Foreign buyer ban to impact Kiwi house prices and squeeze more Kiwis out of apartment market - Westpac economist

The Government's upcoming foreign buyer ban will "clearly" impact Auckland and Queenstown house prices and may squeeze locals out of the apartment market, a Westpac economist says.

The bank's chief economist Dominick Stephens told the NZ Herald today that the market may react in a similar way to Toronto, Canada, when a stamp duty on foreign buyers was introduced.

"Toronto house prices fell around 5 per cent soon afterward," Mr Stephens said.

However, he believes that prices in Auckland and Queenstown are unlikely to fall as much as those in Toronto due to the "watered down" nature of New Zealand's foreign buyer ban.

The main reason for this is that the ban still allows Singaporeans and Australians to buy Kiwi homes and other nationalities can buy 60 per cent of apartments available in complexes with 20 units or more.

Mr Stephens told the NZ Herald this may lead to more foreign buyers in the apartment market, effectively squeezing Kiwis out.

We discuss how changes to foreign buyers legislation will impact homebuyers. Source: 1 NEWS

The economist says the areas that would feel most impact from the ban will be the North Shore, Central City, Howick and Henderson, Massey districts in Auckland and the Queenstown Lakes District.

"These are the places in which foreign buyers account for more than 5 per cent of sales at present."

In terms of the overall market, Westpac thinks house prices will decline at a modest rate in New Zealand over the next few years.

"This is because the New Zealand housing market faces a menagerie of negative forces, including tax changes, slowing population growth and the foreign buyer ban," Mr Stephens said. 

Phil Twyford says the new legislation will not affect genuine migrants, and is designed to dampen speculation when the housing market picks up again. Source: Breakfast

Should mānuka honey standards be more strictly regulated in NZ? Consultation closes today

Public consultation on the new standards for mānuka honey closes today.

Since February, all mānuka honey exported from New Zealand has had to meet scientific tests to ensure it's authentic.

Those standards were created in the wake of concerns from international trading partners about the authenticity of New Zealand mānuka honey.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) believes a significant amount of honey is sold as mānuka, with prices ranging from $12 per kilogram to over $140 per kilogram.

MPI wants to protect the industry from counterfeit product, but producers say the DNA test isn't working. Source: 1 NEWS

The test implemented earlier this year involves looking for five markers, four of those chemical and one DNA.

MPI is now considering whether honey sold in the domestic market should meet those strict standards too.

They've released a consultation document which looks at the current system, and assesses whether a voluntary or mandatory testing would work best.

Problems with MPI's testing of Manuka honey is worrying Kiwi producers who don't want to lose reputations. Source: 1 NEWS

The deadline for public feedback closes at 5pm.

You can have your say here.

The Ministry of Primary Industries has today announced a chemical and DNA definition for Manuka honey, to protect its trade reputation overseas. Source: 1 NEWS