Hopes new app will help Pacific nations battling dengue fever

A new phone app which will help control mosquito-borne diseases is being offered to pacific countries battling dengue fever.

US specialists are in Auckland meeting with regional health leaders who are desperate to address the rapidly increasing number of cases.

Dr Michael Callahan, a US physician-scientist, says the rise in mosquito-borne diseases is due to climate change as they have longer seasons to transfer the virus.

In Samoa five people have died and there’s been more than 1700 cases in a current dengue outbreak.

Other countries around the region are also either battling the disease or trying to keep it at bay.

That’s why new digital tools at the Tech Camp conference, funded by the US Embassy, has attracted much interest from pacific participants.

The free Epi Info Vector Surveillance app has been a hit as workers in the field enter mosquito data on phones or tablets and once it hits wifi that data is sent to the cloud to be instantly analysed.

This eliminates lengthy delays and quick decisions can be made on which areas are priority for mosquito elimination.

Dr Rebecca Levine from the US Centre for Disease Control which designed and tested the app says its already being used in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“We get nothing out of it, we just want it to be useful for communities and the people using it,” she said.

While New Zealand is free of dengue, sixty seven people have returned from overseas with it to Auckland this month – already more than half of all last year’s cases.

Border health security has stepped up at Auckland airport after two dengue fever mosquitos and larvae were discovered last month – however nothing further has since been found.

US specialists are in Auckland meeting with pacific health leaders desperate to eliminate the rapidly increasing number of cases. Source: 1 NEWS

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Christchurch mum walking 300km to Beehive over child and adolescent mental health services

A Christchurch mum on a mission is walking more than 300 kilometres to the Beehive in Wellington with her two children in tow.

Jess Finnigan is making the journey to demand urgent action over the growing waiting lists for children and adolescents accessing mental health services.

1 NEWS reporter Kaitlin Ruddock met Ms Finnigan in Clarence, just south of Blenheim, and learned the family has already been on a journey when trying to get help for a young one.

Watch the full report in the video above.

Donations can be made to Ms Finnigan's GiveaLittle page 

Jess Finnigan says waiting lists are growing for vulnerable young New Zealanders who need help. Source: 1 NEWS

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Warning to avoid the smoke after large fertiliser plant catches fire in Christchurch

A large fire broke out at the Ravensdown fertiliser plant in Christchurch this morning, prompting a warning to residents.

The fire was reported about 10:15am and firefighters are now bringing it under control.

Smoke from a large fire at the Ravensdown fertiliser plant in Hornby, Christchurch.
Smoke from a large fire at the Ravensdown fertiliser plant in Hornby, Christchurch. Source: 1 NEWS

The plant is located in the suburb of Hornby and a large plume of fire was seen across the city.

Ravensdown confirmed everyone was accounted for and there were no reported injuries.

Smoke billows from a fire at the Ravensdown plant in Hornby
Smoke billows from a fire at the Ravensdown plant in Hornby Source: Cityroo/Twitter

Fire and Emergency New Zealand warned residents and people who work in the area to keep their doors and windows closed, and to try to avoid the smoke as best they could.

A large fire at the Ravensdown plant in Hornby.
A large fire at the Ravensdown plant in Hornby. Source: Phillip Meikle

Police have closed a section of Main South Road, Hornby, with the closure extending from Carmen Road to Springs Road.

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Aerial units had to be brought in to fight the fire, which broke out in a large, multi-storey warehouse. Source: 1 NEWS

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Mark Lundy's convictions for the murders of his wife and daughter upheld

The Court of Appeal has upheld Mark Lundy's convictions for the murders of his wife Christine and daughter Amber.

Lundy had twice been found guilty of murdering his wife and daughter and went to the Court of Appeal in October last year in an effort to have his 2015 convictions overturned.

The bodies of Christine Lundy, 38, and Amber, 7, were found by Mrs Lundy's brother in their Palmerston North home on 30 August 2000. Both had been bludgeoned to death.

Lundy was first convicted in 2002 but the convictions were set aside on appeal to the Privy Council.

He was tried again in 2015 and it was those convictions that were under appeal.

His lawyers argued in the appeal that there were significant omissions from the judge's summing up and that the Crown's case had changed compared with his first trial.

But the Appeal Court upheld Mr Lundy's convictions, rejecting all but one of the grounds for his appeal.

In its decision, the court said a number of specific issues were raised for Lundy but, having considered them, the court determined that none, on their own or collectively, undermined the strength of the Crown case.

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The Palmerston North man butchered wife Christine and daughter Amber 18 years ago. Source: 1 NEWS


Scaling of Len Lye water sculpture a 'public display of stupidity,' says Wellington Mayor

The Len Lye waterfront sculpture in Wellington was just about to be reopened before it was broken by a man who attempted to climb it yesterday in a "display of stupidity".

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester told 1 NEWS the scaling of the water whirler was an act of silliness that was "next level".

The disappointed mayor said the wonderful piece is a key part of the city and costs about $300,000 to install.

It had just been restored after it was damaged during the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016.

"Water had got into the mechanics of the water whirler, we were just about ready to open it up again so to see it snapped off in a pretty public display of stupidity really was unfortunate."

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Mr Lester said ideally the perpetrator would pay for the damage, but the council did have insurance to cover it.

"Ideally the perpetrator would pay but I suspect they won’t have insurance, we self-insure for events like this, so it’ll be covered by council."

"We’ll see what happens in terms of following up with the individual."

"We really wouldn’t encourage people to act like this in the future."

In a video posted to social media, the man is seen dangling along the sculpture, before it snaps.

He was taken to hospital where he was in a stable condition.

The 'Wind Whirler' is a motorised pole which emits water from jets set into its length as it rotates to create patterns. It isn't currently operational and is undergoing maintenance.

Justin Lester said ideally the perpetrator would pay for the damage but the council does have insurance. Source: 1 NEWS