Downed power lines block SH1 north of Wellington after truck hits wires

Downed power lines are blocking some lanes of State Highway 1 south of Otaki, after a large wide load vehicle collected some wires over the motorway this afternoon.

The power lines may be blocking some SH1 passing lanes near Te Horo, 65 kilometres north of Wellington.

A large wide load vehicle and some pilot vehicles are also obstructing the SH1 passing lanes.

Police said in a statement they were on their way to the scene to ensure the area is blocked off while they wait for the services to attend.

Motorists are advised to be wary of traffic backing up and lines across the road near the scene. 

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS



New Zealand should legalise drugs, treat addiction with 'compassion and love' as they have in Portugal, says researcher

When it comes to treating addiction and potentially legalising drugs, New Zealand should look at role models like Portugal where the system is based on "compassion and love", an expert has said.

Journalist Johann Hari spent several years researching addiction for his book, Chasing the Scream and is in New Zealand for a three-day conference in Rotorua where the nation's drug problems will be discussed.

Mr Hari told TVNZ1's Breakfast that he learned the common understanding of addiction is fundamentally misunderstood.

"When I started researching this question about seven years ago now, you know I was in a real state of confusion, I wanted to help the people I loved, but I couldn’t see how to do it, so I ended up going on this quite big journey all over the world," he said.

"The core of what I learned is that I, and many of us, have profoundly misunderstood what addiction is and that's led us to misguided answers here in New Zealand and across the world."

Mr Hari says research by Canadian psychology Professor Bruce Alexander showed that addiction was not simply a matter of a person craving a substance, heroin for example, that has a chemical hook.

The professor did a series of experiments in the 1970s where he gave two groups of rats the option of drinking water or water laced with heroin.

One of the groups was left alone in cages while the others were in a cage dubbed "rat park", where the rats had company, plenty of food and things to play with.

Professor Alexander found that the rats in the cage dubbed "rat heaven" never overdosed on the heroin-laced water.

"When rats have the things they need in life, they don’t find compulsive drug use compelling, and there's a lot of human parallels," Mr Hari said.

"This shows us the opposite of addiction is connection."

Dramatic turnaround in Portugal

Mr Hari said Portugal was the leading nation when it came to adopting this approach after a dramatic turnaround from 2000.

At the turn of the century, Portugal had one of the worst drug crisis in the world, with one per cent of its population addicted to heroin.

"Every year, they tried the American way more, which is followed in New Zealand but not as harshly, imprison people, shame people, give them criminal records and every year, just like here, the problem got worse," Mr Hari said.

On the advice of experts, Portugal legalised drugs and invested money into not only residential rehab but also therapy and job creation programs for addicts.

"The goal was to say to every person with an addiction problem in Portugal, we love you, we value you, we’re on your side, we want you back," Hari said.

The changes saw an 80 per cent reduction in injecting drug use and even those that had criticised the legalisation of drugs were convinced, Mr Hari.

"I went to the places that have the most loving and compassionate approaches, Portugal, Switzerland, what are the results? Their drug crises have massively reduced."

"For 100 years now, we've been singing war songs about people with addiction problems, we should have been singing love songs to them all along."

'We’ve got to start copying the models that have succeeded'

Referencing a potential referendum on the legalisation of cannabis, Mr Hari implored New Zealand to stop following models that have failed.

He said we should look at the nations who have legalised drugs, where he says, "they are not having 40 people die a year from synthetic cannabis the way you are here in New Zealand".

"New Zealand is spending a huge amount of money making people with addiction problems worse, what they did in Portugal, is they took that money and they transferred it to making people better."

"At the moment, what you guys are doing here in New Zealand, what we’re doing in my country Britain, is we’re copying the places that failed."

"At some point we’ve got to start copying the models that have succeeded and they’re based on love and compassion and bringing order to the chaos that we currently have in an illegal market."

Johann Hari, who spent several years researching drug use, addiction and treatment for his book, says we’ve misunderstood addiction. Source: Breakfast


Former Hastings Pizza Hut owner fined for illegally employing work

A Hastings Pizza Hut franchise and its former owner have been convicted and fined today for helping an employee breach visa conditions.

A judge rejected Mahipal Reddy Kolan's request that he be discharged without conviction so that his other franchise, a Subway restaurant, wouldn't be put in jeopardy. He was also fined $1500, while the business was fined $2000.

"The fines were really only incidental," Auckland District Court Judge Noel Sainsbury responded, explaining that it wasn't his job to protect Kolan from the consequences of his actions. "It was the convictions that would bite."

The worker who was unlawfully employed left New Zealand one year ago, according to New Zealand Immigration. Kolan sold the pizza business after the offence.

INZ Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy said today he hopes the judge's decision "sends a strong signal" to employers who illegally hire workers.

"Kolan shows a regard only for himself, entering a guilty plea to the charge, and yet swearing and filing an affidavit denying the offending," Mr Devoy said.

Pizza Hut sign
Pizza Hut. (File) Source: istock.com

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Fonterra's interim CEO admits performance must improve as $196 million loss announced today

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra has just announced a massive $196 million net loss, after tax.

The Fiscal Year 2018 results come after a tumultuous year for the company that saw CEO Theo Spierings announce his resignation in March and chairman John Wilson step down after a health scare in July.

Interim CEO Miles Hurrell, who was appointed last month, said of the results that the co-operative's business performance must improve.

"There's no two ways about it, these results don't meet the standards we need to live up to," he said in a statement announcing the loss. "We needed to deliver an outstanding third and fourth quarter, after an extremely strong second quarter for sales and earnings - but that didn't happen."

The company's woes over the past year have also included a $232 million payment to French food giant Danone following years of legal wrangling over the 2013 botulism scare. The international arbitration tribunal decision last December first prompted Fonterra to cut its earnings forecast.

The botulism scare stemmed from Fonterra quarantining several batches of whey protein concentrate after there were concerns they could have been contaminated with clostridium bacteria.

Danone, then a buyer of Fonterra products, began a large-scale recall which they said cost about $610 million, and ceased doing business with Fonterra. It was later confirmed there had been no food safety risk to the public.

"We have learned from this experience and as a result have made improvements to our escalation, product traceability and recall processes, and incident management systems," Mr Spierings said in December.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"Fonterra is in a strong financial position and is able to meet the recall costs," he added.

Mr Hurrell said today that there were four other reasons, in addition to the Danone decision, for the gloomy year-end results. The company's forecasting was "too optimistic", butter prices remained higher than anticipated, there were increased operating costs in some parts of the business and the company was hurt by an increase in the forecast Farmgate Milk Price late in the season, he explained.   

However, the silver lining of the report today was the business' performance in China, Mr Hurrell said.

"Of particular note, our Consumer business in China broke even this year, two years ahead of schedule," he said. "A big contributor to this success is the popularity of Anchor, which is now the number one brand of imported UHT milk in both online and offline sales in China."

Fonterra's Darfield plant.
Fonterra's Darfield plant. Source: Fonterra


Photos: Sneak peek at the 25 new KiwiBuild homes announced today for Auckland's Onehunga

Construction on 25 new KiwiBuild apartments in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga starts today. And balloting for the highly sought after dwellings begins next week, officials announced this morning.

Apartments priced up to $600,000 are available, but the opposition says it’s not the kind of housing families want. Source: 1 NEWS

"This is a unique opportunity for those who have been locked out of the property market to buy a modern, new home in an increasingly popular area that might otherwise have been out of reach for first home buyers," Housing Minister Phil Twyford said in a statement.

An artist's rendering of the @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild development planned for Auckland.
An artist's rendering of the @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild development planned for Auckland.

The homes, which are expected to take a year to build, include six studio apartments, 12 one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bedroom apartments. They will range in price from $380,000 to $600,000, and include washer/dryers and dishwashers – "high quality fittings" described by Mr Twyford as "often hidden costs for first home buyers".

The Government has set a goal of building 10,000 KiwiBuild homes, targeting first time homebuyers or people deemed
"second chancers", by June 2021.

The planned interior for apartments at @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild, a new KiwiBuild development in Auckland.
The planned interior for apartments at @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild, a new KiwiBuild development in Auckland.

Earlier this week, the ballot began for the first 18 homes in Auckland – stand-alone dwellings in Papakura selling for $579,000 for three bedrooms and $649,000 for four bedrooms.

The 18 homes at the McLennan development in Papakura will be sold through a ballot. Source: 1 NEWS

"Our Government is opening the door to families locked out of home ownership by building affordable starter homes where the market failed to do so," Prime Minister said earlier this week.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The latest development, named @340 Onehunga, has been praised for its central location and it's proximity to public transportation – including a planned light rail route.

Open days at 340 Onehunga Mall begin this weekend. They will remain open from 11am to 2pm daily until the ballot closes on 15 October.

Those who win the ballot will be required to pay a 10 per cent deposit while the homes are being built. Only those who have an income of less than $120,000 for a single buyer, or no more than $180,000 for more than one purchaser, are eligible.

An artist's rendering of @340 Onehunga apartments, a KiwiBuild project in Auckland.

They must also be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, or a resident visa holder who is "ordinarily resident in New Zealand" and must intend to own and live in the home as their primary place of residence for at least three years.

Construction has started on 25 apartments in Auckland’s Onehunga. Source: 1 NEWS