Increase in sexual assault allegations shows shift in culture, survivors able to come forward, says charity

The increase of sexual assault allegations did not mean that there is more sexual assault, but instead more people were able to come forward with their stories, says Sexual Abuse Prevention Network manager Fiona McNamara.

"We know a lot of people don't speak out about sexual assault, what it actually means is there has been a bit of a shift in our culture now," she told TVNZ 1's Breakfast. 

"People are starting to feel more comfortable coming forward, more comfortable going to police... their bosses, and talk publicly about it, and ultimately that is a good thing."

Ms McNamara said "absolutely something that can change" about the current culture. 

"There's a huge amount of work to do to change all those attitudes and behaviours that are making sexual abuse happen."

She said the increase in conversation around sexual abuse and harassment was helping to raise awareness on the issue and empower people to speak out about their experiences. 

Ms McNamara said it would be better to see the onus on perpetrators to come forward about sexual assault, instead of the survivors/victims, "but I do think it shows amazing strength from all the survivors who have spoken up and it is really good to see this coming into public conversation more". 

A lot of people did not want to report incidents because "they don't want to go through the process of having to re-tell it again and again, and also we know conviction rates are really, really low in New Zealand". 

"For a lot of people they just don't see the point."

Ms McNamara said development of sexual education in school was needed and happening, but adults also needed to be educated over consent as that was where a lot of the present issues lay. 

The Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says the increase in conversation around sexual abuse and harassment was helping to raise awareness on the issue. Source: Breakfast



Net - not blood poisoning - may have killed rare, pregnant dolphin, expert says

A marine mammal expert is casting doubt on a report that says a rare dolphin most likely died from blood poisoning.

The pathology report in to the death of what is believed to be a critically-endangered Māui dolphin, was released just over a week ago by the Department of Conservation.

It said a still-born foetus found inside the mammal most likely resulted in the mother developing blood poisoning.

But Otago University professor Liz Slooten said the report did not delve in to detail on whether the animal could have drowned in a fishing net, something she thought was a distinct possibility.

"We can't be sure that it has been caught in a net but we can't be sure that it has not. Only half of dolphins caught in gill nets have those kinds of markings so we can't rule it out."

Professor Slooten, who had carried out about 120 autopsies on dolphins, noted the mammal was healthy, indicating it had not been hungry or sick in the weeks leading up to its death.

She said Maui dolphins were teetering on the brink of extinction and wanted the government to implement the recommendations of the International Whaling Commission from three years ago.

This asked for fishing nets to be banned less than 20 nautical miles from shore from Northland to Whanagnui.

"It's really sad in this case to have these two deaths because with this very small population of Maui dolphins of only about 55 individuals one year and older only half of those would be expected to be females, so that's about 28...and half of those would be expected to be mature. So we are talking 14 breeding age to lose one, especially one that was pregnant is really really bad."

A Department of Conservation spokesperson said there were no signs the Gibson Beach dolphin was entangled in a net and this was not something it was looking at.

There is an estimated 63 Maui dolphins left in the world.
Source: 1 NEWS


Man who drowned at Hot Water Beach was trying to save child, church group says

A man who drowned yesterday at Hot Water Beach reportedly trying to save a child was a member of a Tauranga Christian organisation.

Couples for Christ New Zealand confirmed on its Facebook page that Angelo Tuyay had died while trying to save a child shortly before 4pm.

“Brothers and Sisters, it is with sadness to inform you that Bro Angelo Tuyay passed away today,” the page wrote.

Source: Facebook/Couples for Christ New Zealand

“Let us all say our prayers for Bro Angelo who died while saving a child drowning in Coromandel area.”

Tuyay, aged in his 50s, was pulled from the water and given CPR but died at the scene.

Shortly before 4pm, the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter responded to reports that a man was struggling in the water.

Hot Water Beach lifeguards were packing up after training on the other side of the beach and were not made aware of the incident for six or seven minutes after Fire and Emergency New Zealand had been notified, NZ Herald reported.

"We need to be there as soon as other people. If we get stood down that is fine, but seven to eight minutes, in a life-saving situation, is crucial,” chairman Gary Hinds said.

Two weeks ago, a similar incident unfolded, with lifeguards only made aware of a near drowning when the fire truck responding called Mr Hinds.

"I've been working on this for four or five years. We are like the poor cousins, we have the same training and assets and we are the ones at the beach and know it well,” he told the NZ Herald.

"It is disappointing, we don't know if we could have changed anything, we have to sort this out, so it doesn't keep happening."

The man's death had been referred to the coroner, a police spokesperson said.

Couples for Christ New Zealand confirmed on its Facebook page that Angelo Tuyay had died while trying to save a child shortly before 4pm.


Transport Minister slams NZTA for 'not properly doing its job' in regards to companies that check heavy vehicles

The Transport Minister has slammed the New Zealand Transport Agency for "not properly doing its job", after it was found to not be adequately checking in on companies that certify heavy vehicles as safe for the road. 

"When problems with these companies were identified there was often no follow up. This was due to process failures and under-resourcing over the last decade," Phil Twyford said this morning. 

"I am disappointed as Transport Minister that the transport agency has failed to carry out its regulatory responsibilities to the standard that I expect."

The Housing NZ board will not be sacked over the methamphetamine contamination “fiasco”, the housing minister said.
Source: 1 NEWS

However, Mr Twyford was pleased at the board's "swift action" and the cases were being urgently reviewed. 

"The NZTA board has acted decisively, calling in independent lawyers to review the cases," he said.

NZTA chief executive Fergus Gammie said major improvements were needed. 

"We know we have to do better and we accept our responsibility to fix it," he said. 

The agency has appointed two additional heavy vehicle engineers and two more auditors had been appointed. Seventeen additional WOF and Certificate of Fitness inspectors were being recruited. 

The external independent review, led by law firm Meredith Connell, began in September.

"Based on preliminary findings, the Transport Agency is immediately strengthening its enforcement regime by increasing suspensions, with other legal actions expected to follow," Mr Twyford said in a statement.

"About 152 files require urgent legal or investigative review and that work is expected to be completed by early November."

It was found NZTA was not properly checking on the companies that certify heavy vehicles as being safe for the road. Source: 1 NEWS

NZ moves to stamp out faux environmentally-friendly 'greenwash' branding

Consumer advocates have produced guides offering clarity to stop shoppers paying extra for products that aren't as environmentally friendly as these seem.

This practice is called greenwashing and some warned the problem was only going to get worse, as shoppers look to make more sustainable choices with their wallet.

Since 2013, two companies have been fined through the Commerce Commission for making unsubstantiated environmental claims.

Waste management body WasteMinz chief executive Paul Evans says greenwashing can take many forms.

"There are products which heavily use the colour green, to infer some environmental standard, they use tag lines, or logo which suggest there's an environmental benefit, some have cute little creatures on them.

"There's certainly a number of products out there, in my opinion the average consumer would look at that and think this has got a really good environmental benefit to it," he said.

Mountains of paper and plastic are building up in recycling centres around the country. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Evans said there was now a working group creating advertising guides for companies, so they met consumers' expectations.

The guides will be ready by the end of the year, but if that did not work the group would take the matter further.

"In the first instance we will be contacting a number of manufacturers asking them to substantiate their claims, where they're not able to substantiate them, we'll look at gathering the data required to see if that needs to go to the Commerce Commission," he said.

RNZ contacted company Bonson SavPac who was using a green tree and brown paper for their food containers.

On their website it said the product meets the increasing demand for environmental-friendly food packaging options.

However chief executive David Tsui told RNZ the packaging can't be recycled or composted in New Zealand, due to its plastic lining.

"We're from the angle, it was made from renewable resources, from trees, so we interpret that as an environmentally friendly product," he said.

Mr Tsui said they are now looking at changing the wording on the website and alternative linings, so it can be recycled.

Tauranga's landfills have nearly 2000 tonnes of glass, deemed a danger to waste management staff. Source: 1 NEWS

Lyn Mayes from the Packaging Forum said some companies had been tripped up by the changes in how New Zealand dealt with its rubbish.

"Things have changed with the impact of the China swords, that has really changed the markets for a lot of products that were once recyclable because we sent them off shore.

"With those markets drying up its a lot more difficult to find viable markets here in New Zealand or even off shore," she said.

She said some companies are now setting-up collections to make sure their products can be disposed of in the way they are advertised.
Consumer NZ spokesperson Jessica Wilson said greenwashing could become a growing issue as the market increases for sustainable goods.

"We do need in this area around packaging better standards around what companies can and cannot claim, rally if they're making claims they can't substantiate then that is a potential breech of the fair trading act, and they could be prosecuted by the commerce commission," she said.

In the meantime, Ms Wilson said there were ways consumers could protect themselves from paying extra for a faux environmentally-friendly product.

"Our advice is to be sceptical about environmental claims, if the manufacturer isn't providing good information to back them up.

"If it can't tell you for example where you can get rid of your compostable material, than avoid doing business with them," she said.

By Charlie Dreaver

Gill Higgins gets the preview of the Wellington plant that’ll finally be big enough to deal with all the plastic Kiwis throw away.
Source: 1 NEWS