Hamilton unveils NZ's first fully accessible disability bathroom

The first fully accessible disability bathroom in the country was opened in Hamilton yesterday as it's revealed that many ordinary disability loos don't actually live up to their name.

"The irony is that with disability toilets is that you've actually got to be quite able in order to use one," caregiver Jenn Hooper says.

The new fully accessible loo in Hamilton Gardens is changing that for those nearby.

But the usability of most disability loos has been an issue for caregivers throughout New Zealand wanting to take their charges out.

"You've got to lay them on the floor of a public bathroom, I'd challenge you guys to walk on floor of public bathroom in bare feet, let alone lay down on it," Jenn says.

First hand experience with one of Jenn's patients, Charley, led her to create Changing Places NZ modelled on a similar campaign in the UK.

"Charley is gorgeous. She had a massive brain injury at her birth. It was a botched birth, She's 12 and a half now she can't move a muscle and doesn't know who we are,” Jenn says.

And after three years she's finally ready to show off the results of her efforts with the Hamilton Gardens loo.

"It's a height adjustable toilet," Jenn says.

"It also has space either side for a caregiver to assist. Everyone retains their dignity and privacy."

Curtains give privacy no matter who needs the loo, the carer or the cared-for.

A height-adjustable and fully automated sink has somewhere to hold on to.

But an adult-sized changing table might just be the best feature, because it enable someone with Carley's level of disability to be showered.

And if you think that's not that big a deal, it is.

"I can't shower Charley even in Starship, there's not one DHB I know of that has this system,” Jenn says.

"If I want to take my family say to Taupo for a week, Charley wont get a shower. I would take a picnic table. I'd put a yoga mat on it, and I'd bucket and ladle her."

So that all users can use all of it, there's even a hoist.

Jenn worked with the Hamilton City Council to get this funded and built, and now she’s shown what’s possible, it's hoped more rooms will follow.

"Councils haven't not built them because they've been remiss, they didn't know there was a need," she says.

"The DHBs knew there was a need though, and I'm disappointed that after decades upon decades of having high needs folk, didn't do better.

"Let's start with every city, suburb, bus stations, and train stations and airports.

"I want to be able to go with Charley everywhere that you can go, it's as simple as that really."

Seven Sharp's Carolyn Robinson went to check it out. Source: Seven Sharp

'Some links to the Mongrel Mob' – seven charged after BOP police sting sees guns, Hilux vehicles, $21k cash, drugs seized

Police have arrested and charged seven people after executing a number of search warrants in the eastern Bay of Plenty as part of Operation Notus II.

Speaking to media today Senior Sergeant Richard Miller said the operation had "some links to the Mongrel Mob".

Operation Notus II is the second phase of a long-running investigation, led by the National Organised Crime Group, into organised crime and the supply and supplying of methamphetamine and cannabis in the eastern Bay of Plenty region.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller briefed media today. Source: 1 NEWS

Search warrants were conducted this morning in properties in Kawerau, Whakatāne and Te Teko.

The seven are facing a number of charges, including possession for supply, and supplying, methamphetamine and cannabis, as well as firearms-related offending.

They will appear in Whakatāne District Court this afternoon.

Along with methamphetamine and cannabis, 26 firearms and more than $21,000 in cash has been seized.

Three stolen Toyota Hilux utes were recovered from one address in Kawerau, along with a number of power tools.

A stolen Toyota Hilux Surf and trailer were recovered from another address.

Operation Notus, launched in October 2017, revealed the Kawerau Mongrel Mob's involvement in the commercial distribution of meth and cannabis to the community.

As a result of the investigation, 48 people were arrested and almost $3 million in assets were frozen in March 2018.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller, said, "This was a major disruption to organised crime and methamphetamine supply in EBOP".

Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty
Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty Source: NZ Police


Man, 26, charged over weekend stabbing of another left with life-threatening injuries in Napier

A 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm over the stabbing of another man in Napier at the weekend.

Police say the incident occurred on Bledisloe Road, Maraenui, about 9.45pm on Saturday. 

Police were advised a short time later when a 42-year-old man arrived at the Wellesley Medical Centre with life-threatening injuries.

He remains in Hawke's Bay Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The man arrested has been remanded in custody and is due to reappear in Hastings District Court in four weeks.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information relevant to the investigation is being urged to contact Hawke’s Bay Police on (06) 873 0500, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police car at night Source: 1 NEWS


Midwives met with silence on pay equity funding model

New Zealand midwives are heading into a "make-or-break" pay talk meeting with the Government today.

The focus of the meeting will be on a funding model co-designed by midwives and the Ministry of Health, as part of a settlement reached when the College of Midwives dropped an earlier pay equity court challenge against the Ministry.

The College of Midwives described the settlement as a legally-binding certainty that addressed their long-standing concerns, and the Government's failure to act on it was a breach of the terms of mediation.

College chief executive Karen Guilliland has hinted at the possibility of starting new legal action over pay equity before a meeting later today with Health Minister David Parker.

Ms Guilliland told Nine to Noon the college believed it had an agreement in principle over the model and was awaiting sign-off, but had since been met with silence.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show that as far back as December last year the Health Ministry was recommending against implementing the funding model.

The documents showed the funding model would cost up to $353 million a year - three times the current funding level, which was considered unaffordable.

It was also likely to impact on wider healthcare funding.

Ms Guilliland said they never expected overnight results, and while community midwives welcomed an 8.9 per cent "catch-up" pay increase announced in Budget 2018, it did little to address the gender pay gap.

Ms Guilliland said it was not unrealistic to expect a trebling of funding, as that was what they believed had been agreed upon.

"It was agreed this was what it would cost, and this was what the value of the work that midwifery did.

"You know, people... when they talk about pay equity seem to forget it will require quite a large injection of funds."

Ms Guilliland did not think they exited the earlier legal action too early.

The Human Rights Commission facilitated the mediation, after the historic gender equity case was filed by the New Zealand College of Midwives in 2016.

Ms Guilliland said the action through the Commission was a principled one based on gender discrimination. She said the college thought it would be a quicker process and because it believed the Ministry, it signed up to the agreement.

"Our problem is one of constant reassurances, constant hope, and false promises."

Ms Guilliland said today's meeting was about ensuring faith within the workforce and getting the Minister's backing.


A petition is being handed over to parliament carrying more than 13,000 signatures. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's female MPs, including Jacinda Ardern with baby Neve, recreate 1905 Parliament photo

New Zealand's female MPs have today recreated a 1905 photo of former Premier Richard Seddon and his colleagues. 

It comes as the country celebrates 125 years since women won the right to vote. However, women were not allowed to stand in Parliament until 1919. Elizabeth McCombs was elected as the first female MP in 1933. 

Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905.
Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905. Source: Supplied

Jacinda Ardern cradles her baby Neve in the photograph. 

Mr Seddon was New Zealand Premier from 1893 to 1906, winning five consecutive elections. 

Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905.
Richard Seddon, the 15th Premier of New Zealand, sits with his colleagues in 1905. Source: Supplied

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, baby Neve and New Zealand's female MPs.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, baby Neve and New Zealand's female MPs. Source: Supplied