Good Sorts: Primary school teacher devoting spare time and money to kids cycling team

Kaitaia Primary School teacher Phil Gibbs is dedicated to his Far North Flash team who keep him poor and happy. Source: 1 NEWS

MOST
POPULAR STORIES


Search for crewman missing from Sealord ship off Wairarapa coast called off

The search for a crewman who went missing from a Sealord ship yesterday has been called off following deteriorating weather conditions in the area, the company said today in a statement.

The crewman, named as Patahi Rewi Hawaikirangi Kawana Jnr, 25, disappeared from the FV Otakou at mid-morning yesterday.

Sealord were today advised by Maritime New Zealand that the inclement weather contributing to the decision to call off the search at around 4pm.

Maritime New Zealand suspended their search at approximately 8pm yesterday.

Two Sealord vessels remained searching in the area until the early hours of this morning, when the weather conditions made it unsafe to continue.

Next of kin have been notified.

"Sealord is deeply saddened by this tragic event and extends their sympathy and support to the family and friends of Patahi, crew of Otakou and Sealord staff," the company said.

Sealord has begun its own internal investigation into yesterday's incident.

Sealord's Otakou
Sealord's Otakou Source: Sealord

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

Road closed after large sinkhole found in South Auckland

A South Auckland road has been closed after a large sinkhole opened up.

Manurewa's Alfriston Rd is closed between Saralee Dr and Porchester Rd until further notice after it was discovered around 6pm, Auckland Transport said on Twitter.

An Auckland spokesperson told 1 NEWS the sinkhole is believed to have been caused by a failed water culvert half a metre under the road, but investigators will confirm the exact cause when repair work begins on Monday.

"Contractors will be on-site to conduct traffic control," the agency said.

Alfriston College students have been advised to allow for extra travel time early next week, while all other motorists have been advised to consider using an alternative route or avoid the area if possible.


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

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

More than $200 million in welfare fraud committed, including $614k by one person

More than $200 million of the $1.5 billion debt beneficiaries owe the Ministry of Social Development is down to fraud, raising questions about the ministry's oversight.

1 NEWS has been leaked details of the 10 largest welfare frauds as at the end of last year.

The largest individual amount stolen from the ministry that's yet to be paid back is $614,000.

ACT party leader David Seymour is not surprised.

"I'm not surprised one person's done $600,000 of fraud in a culture when the taxpayer has unlimited responsibility and beneficiaries have no ultimate consequences," he told 1 NEWS.

Former Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei became the face of benefit fraud when she admitted claiming payments she wasn't entitled to.

She wasn't prosecuted - but that's not usually the case.

Nine of the ten people with the highest debt have been convicted and sentenced to prison or home detention for benefit fraud as at the end of last year.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said, "We don't want to be in the game of prosecuting people. But the reality is we have legal obligations, and where people have done wrong, where they've claimed money where they shouldn't have knowingly then it leads down the prosecution track."

Half a million people now owe the ministry $1.5 billion.

But it's not just fraud, as $729 million is for overpayments and $486 million for 'recoverable assistance'.

National's Social Development spokesperson, Louise Upston, says National "would want to see that MSD are working closely with them".

Ricardo Menendez March of Auckland Action Against Poverty said, "If benefits weren't so low people wouldn't be needing so much additional supplementary assistance to begin with."

The welfare system is now under review and the minister in charge admits it needs work.

"We've got the technology now to try to make things a lot more tighter than what they've been in the past. And we've got to work towards doing that. As a Government we're focused on a fairer welfare system," Ms Sepuloni said.

Mr Seymour says there's only one way to tackle welfare debt and fraud.

"The only way to do this is to have cashless welfare. Give people a card that can be used for select purposes only. Otherwise all you can do is hand out more and more money," he said.

The Government has promised a more compassionate approach, though beneficiaries will have to wait to find out exactly what that means.

The largest individual amount stolen from the Ministry of Social Development that’s yet to be paid back is $614,000. Source: 1 NEWS


Topics


Live stream: 1 NEWS at 6pm


Make sure you stay ahead of the latest news, both nationwide and internationally, from the 1 NEWS team. Source: 1 NEWS

Topics