Dog owners 'egged dog on' to viciously attack fur seal on New Plymouth beach

The Department of Conservation are appealing for information after someone reported seeing owners "egging their dog on" to attack a female fur seal at a New Plymouth beach on Sunday.

DOC say the report stated the small seal was left injured and distressed, leaving a pool of blood in its wake before swimming into the water at Back Beach.

Department of Conservation Senior Ranger of Biodiversity Callum Lilley issued a warning for people to keep their dogs under control after the incident.

"It's disappointing that these people didn't have their dog under control and appeared to be actively encouraging it to attack the seal," he said.

In a statement today Mr Lilley asked anyone with information about the attack to contact the DOC New Plymouth office.

"We remind people that it's an offence under the Marine Mammals Protection Act to disturb, harass, harm, injure or kill a seal. A dog owner whose dog attacks a seal could face prosecution."

DOC reminded the public that anyone charged under the Marine Mammals Act with harassing, disturbing, injuring or killing a seal faces a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment or a fine to a maximum of $250,000.

Fur seal


Simon Bridges on caucus support: '55 MPs today say he [Jami-Lee Ross] is wrong'

National Party leader Simon Bridges is adamant the party is united under him after now-ousted member Jami-Lee Ross criticised his leadership.

Mr Bridges has addressed media after Mr Ross stepped forward earlier today with his claims that the leader had broken electoral donation law.

It follows on from yesterday when the party leader said an inquiry into a leak on his expenses identified Mr Ross as the likely culprit.

Mr Ross denied those claims and said Mr Bridges was attempting to use his contact with a local police area commander and a journalist as evidence that he was somehow involved.

Mr Ross questioned Mr Bridges' leadership and criticised him heavily. He claimed he was not alone, with other members of the party not satisfied, but said they would remain silent.

After a caucus meeting that was being held during Mr Ross' press conference, the party leader announced that by unanimous vote Mr Ross was expelled.

"As the strongest possible action that the caucus can take and that's because we are united, we are strong in the interest of New Zealanders and we are not going to tolerate that kind of appalling behaviour we've seen from Jami-Lee Ross, where he has put himself above both caucus but also New Zealanders," Mr Bridges said.

"Fifty-five MPs today say he is wrong, 55 MPs today won't tolerate anything about Jami-Lee Ross, he is not longer a part of our caucus, he is irrelevant as far as we're concerned.

In Parliament today Mr Mallard said Mr Ross will now be regarded as independent MP. Source: 1 NEWS

"I have the unanimous support of my caucus, we have dealt with a lone wolf MP, who has leak, lied, made a number of wild allegations, we're now putting a line on that and moving on."

He said the party would continue to be united and look ahead to the future.

"Jami-Lee Ross is no longer part of National in terms of our caucus going forward and we'll be resolutely strong and united and focused on the things that matter to New Zealand."

However, Mr Ross this morning had already announced he will resign from his seat, step down from the party, and will stand as an independent in any by-election for his Botany seat.

Mr Ross said he once thought Mr Bridges was capable of being Prime Minister, "but now that I see what he's really like it is clear that he's not".

Mr Ross made a number of claims about the National Party leader in relation to donations. Mr Bridges has denied any wrongdoing. Source: 1 NEWS

"I believe Simon Bridges is a corrupt politician."

Mr Ross also alleged Mr Bridges asked him to collect a $100,000 donation from a wealthy businessman and was at pains to point out the donation should not be made public. He said the donation was split into smaller amounts below the $15,000 declaration threshold.

However, Mr Bridges said Mr Ross' law breach claims were "baseless, false but serious allegations".

"I invite Jami-Lee Ross to take those matters to the police and I invite the police to investigate them fully and promptly, because they have zero chance of success given that they are false," he said. "I hope [police] get on to it very quickly because I have done nothing wrong."

"He is completely wrong, this is now and should be a matter for the police, for him to put up and for them to investigate it. It has zero chance of success because it's wrong.

Mr Bridges said he would not delve into the details of the alleged $100,000 donation and whether he was aware it was made or not.

"Everything that Jami-Lee Ross has been saying, because we are talking about guy who is lying, who is leaking, who is lashing out... I have done absolutely nothing wrong and that will be shown to be the case."

On the other hand, Mr Bridges insisted that he had been compliant of electoral laws.

"I've complied with electoral laws at every single moment, and nothing will come of this," Mr Bridges said.

"We have followed all of the rules here in terms of the National Party and that will be shown."

Mr Bridges said he would not pursue legal action against Mr Ross. 

The National Party leader today made a statement defending his position and welcoming a police inquiry into claims of electoral donation fraud. Source: 1 NEWS


Check on your elderly neighbours, police urge, after two men discovered dead in their Napier homes

Hawke's Bay police are urging communities to keep an eye on elderly neighbours, following two separate discoveries of deceased elderly men in their homes.

The two men were found dead in their Napier homes over the past two months.

Detective Mike Signal has spoken about the importance of regularly checking on neighbours, especially if you haven't seen them for a while.

"As the weather gets hotter and the holiday season begins, it is a good time to reflect on friends, neighbours and family and to make sure of their welfare, especially those who are known to be in poor health and living alone," he told Stuff.

"It's both sad and concerning to police that there are older members of the community who don't have anyone looking out for their wellbeing."

Both men had been in their seventies and were discovered by neighbours, with no suspicion of foul play in the deaths.

One man was found after neighbours noticed an unusual smell, while the other was discovered after the neighbour checked on the man's house after he wasn't seen for a while.

Senior Woman Alone in Dark Room.


Aucklanders urged to be on lookout for counterfeit $100 notes after charges laid against man

Waitemata Police are appealing to retailers for any information about customers paying for goods with counterfeit money, following the arrest of a 26-year old man.

A number of items, predominantly in west Auckland, have been purchased using fake $100 notes, although Police are concerned that the offending may be wider spread.

Products such as petrol, food and cigarettes are among those to have been purchased using the counterfeit currency.

"The majority of the offending has occurred in the Henderson, Titirangi, Te Atatu and Avondale areas, however we believe there may be more in counterfeit notes currently in circulation and we're urging retailers to contact us if they believe they are in possession of these notes," said Constable Rebecca Brown.

"The notes are very poor quality and relatively easy to spot as counterfeit money, they do not have a clear panel and the paper they are printed on does not feel legitimate.

"On close inspection you can see they have roughly cut edges and black lines - it's not too difficult for anyone to see they are not genuine."

Police have charged a 26-year old man over the offences. He is due to appear in the Waitakere District Court later this month.

File image of $50 and $100 notes. Source: 1 NEWS

Jami-Lee Ross tweets pics of Simon Bridges and Chinese '$100k donor' as MP accuses National Party leader of electoral fraud

The outgoing National MP for Botany, Jami-Lee Ross, has followed through on his pledge to release photos of party leader Simon Bridges and a Chinese businessman who Mr Ross says made a $100,000 donation which Mr Ross claims he was told to cover up.

It's the latest development in a row that has seen Mr Ross today quit as a National MP, forcing a by-election in his Botany electorate, after Mr Bridges yesterday named him as the leaker of his travel expenses.

National MPs today voted unanimously to expel Jami-Lee Ross from caucus, but Mr Ross announced his resignation while the caucus was still meeting to discuss his future.

"I said this morning I would release pictures relating to the May events I outlined. The following pictures are of Simon Bridges at a private dinner on 14 May. I was also there," Mr Ross tweeted, along with photos of Mr Bridges and Chinese businessman Zhang Yikun standing and sitting together.

In another tweet Mr Ross wrote: "It was at this fundraiser on 21 May that Simon Bridges was offered the $100k donation. He called me later that evening with instructions to collect the funds. I was not in attendance."

In an explosive media conference earlier today, Mr Ross lashed out at at Mr Bridges, saying, "I believe Simon Bridges is a corrupt politician."

He said that on Monday May 14 this year, he attended a dinner with Simon Bridges at the home of a wealthy Chinese businessman, Zhang Yikun.

Mr Ross said the following week Mr Bridges called him after a fundraiser saying he had been offered a $100,000 donation from the same wealthy businessman.

Mr Ross alleged Mr Bridges did not want the donation to be public, and asked Mr Ross to split it into smaller donations so it wouldn't have to be declared.

"I duly carried out Simon Bridges' wish."

Mr Ross also said he had a recorded conversation with Mr Bridges about the alleged events and would go to police tomorrow alleging electoral fraud.

In a news conference shortly afterwards, Mr Bridges dismissed the claims as "baseless", and encouraged Mr Ross to report the matter to the police. 

'I have done absolutely nothing wrong," Mr Bridges said, but would not directly address Mr Ross' allegation. 

Mr Ross has not alleged that Zhang Yikun has done anything wrong.

Simon Bridges and Yikun Zhang
Simon Bridges and Yikun Zhang Source: Twitter/Jami-Lee Ross