Judith Collins savages decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants evicted over meth contamination

Compensating Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using methamphetamine or allowing its use in their homes is a “disgrace,” National’s Judith Collins has said.

Mrs Collins said it was unacceptable that taxpayer money was being used to compensate former tenants who were evicted because of their "criminal activity".

“People were evicted from their houses by Housing New Zealand based on the standards of the day which was all around the health testing for methamphetamine contamination,” Mrs Collins said.

“Government had to take the advice of experts which were Housing NZ, Ministry of Health, MBIE, all the people who are the experts on this.”

“To now compensate people, 800 people, who were evicted from homes because they were smoking methamphetamine or allowing their houses to be used for it is an absolute outrage.”

“They’re being compensated with taxpayer money because of their criminal activity and that is not at all acceptable.”

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

This morning, Housing Minister Phil Twyford said the meth contamination scandal was a failure of the previous government and National had already paid for it because “they are no longer ministers”.

“Housing NZ is committed to redressing the hardship these tenants faced. This will be done on a case by case basis and the organisation will look to reimburse costs tenants incurred, and make discretionary grants to cover expenses such as moving costs and furniture replacement,” he said.

READ MORE: Housing NZ board won't be sacked over meth contamination 'fiasco'

Mrs Collins stood by the policies of the ministers in the National government, saying they were acting on the best advice at the time.

“Housing NZ made their decisions based on the evidence at the time and I absolutely support the fact that the ministers had to do what they had to do based on that evidence.”

Certain tenants should not be let back in, including those who had sold P from their homes, Mrs Collins maintained.

“Some people should not be back in state houses because they were using their state houses for criminal activity, not just in some cases smoking methamphetamine or allowing their houses to be used for it, but actually for cooking it and selling it and these are now people who are apparently going to get compensation.”

Mrs Collins rejected the view that addiction was a health issue for those tenants who had manufactured the drug at Housing NZ properties.

“I don’t believe for a moment that using your house for methamphetamine consumption, cooking it up, and selling from it is something that is a health issue, that’s a criminal activity.”

National’s housing spokesperson savaged the decision to compensate Housing NZ tenants who were evicted for using P or allowing its use in their homes. Source: 1 NEWS

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Education Minister announces $10.5 million funding as part of plan to address teacher shortage

New plans to address the teacher shortage will include an extra $10.5 million in funding and efforts to attract over 850 additional teachers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

The Ministry of Education says that 650 extra primary teachers and 200 extra secondary teachers will be needed in 2019 to meet the rising level of demand due to growing numbers of students in schools.

"We know that some schools and parents, particularly in the Auckland area but also in pockets around the country, are concerned that not enough teachers are coming into the system, and we are determined to pull out all the stops to meet next year’s projected shortfall," Mr Hipkins said.

"We're committing an extra $10.5 million, on top of the $29.5 million already announced since late last year, to ramp up teacher recruitment initiatives and increase funding for schools - bringing funding to $40 million this year to fill vacancies."

The new package also includes the introduction of a new grant to encourage schools to employ more teaching graduates.  At present, only 80 per cent of graduates get a teaching job when they finish training.

Chris Hipkins says increasing the employment of newly graduated teachers is important and the grant will support schools to mentor beginning teachers, before they take their own classes.

The overseas recruitment target has also been increased for 2019 from 400 up to 900.

"We're continuing to focus on bringing New Zealand-trained teachers home, while also looking for other teachers from countries with qualifications similar to ours... …and to improve the support available to overseas-trained teachers."

The Plan

- Hire more than 850 additional teachers

- Extra $10.5 million in funding

- Up to 230 grants of $10,000 for schools to get more graduate teachers into classrooms

- Over 6,000 overseas-based teachers targeted in new campaign

- $5 million more available for overseas relocation grants and finder’s fees

- Easier access to up to $3,000 per teacher finder’s fee to help schools offset recruitment costs


Today the Education Minister announced an extra $10.5 million to help stem the current crisis. Source: 1 NEWS

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Police say members of the public helped victim in Canterbury homicide as scene examination gets underway

Police have launched a homicide investigation involving 40 police investigators after a person died in Selwyn, Canterbury yesterday afternoon.

A Police spokesperson has confirmed to 1 NEWS this morning that a scene examination stretching 3km is underway in Charing Cross and enquiries are continuing.

Detective Inspector Corrie Parnell said in a press conference today that several members of the public had witnessed the incident and were part of the first response team. The witnesses are still being interviewed by police.

"I do thank those members of the public, as you can well imagine [it was] a traumatic event for them," Detective Inspector Parnell said.

Detective Inspector Corrie Parnell spoke to media in Christchurch Police Station today. Source: 1 NEWS

Detective Inspector Parnell also confirmed the man who died, 28, was found on the side of the road and a firearm was involved in the incident.

The incident is believed to be gang-linked and the suspect or suspects are still at large, but that they do not pose a risk to the public.

"We have a large team assisted by forensic specialists working on this investigation," Detective Inspector Parnell said.

"A number of forensic scene examinations are underway in Grange Road and Telegraph Road, which are expected to extend into next week."

Several cars have been seized and are currently under guard while enquiries continue.

"Members of the public can expect to see a high presence of police in the area over the coming week," he said.

"We acknowledge the public's concerns regarding this incident. We continue to follow positive lines of inquiry and are working towards holding those responsible accountable."

Emergency services were called to the scene on Grange Road about 3.30pm yesterday.

Police believe an altercation took place between two men. 

They say a number of people are assisting them.

Police are working alongside the man's family following the incident.

One person has died in the rural area of Selwyn this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

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One person dead after fatal collision between car and bus near Queenstown

One person has died after a crash between a car and a bus near Queenstown this morning.

Police report the fatal accident happened on State Highway 6 near Devils Staircase, south of Queenstown this morning.

Police confirmed the person who died was in the car but there were no other injuries despite 15 people, including the driver, being on the bus.

A Police spokesperson has told 1 NEWS the person who died in the crash was the sole occupant of the car.

A statement from the bus company involved in the incident, Southern Discoveries, said they would work closely with Police.

"The driver of our bus as well as all 14 passengers on board are uninjured.

"We are currently taking all of the passengers back to their accommodation in Queenstown and providing them, as well as our staff, with any support they may require."

The bus was carrying a group of tourists. Police don’t have any details as to where they were headed at this stage.

Emergency services were alerted of the crash at 7:45am.

The Serious Crash Unit will be investigating and the road will be closed for some time.

One person died after an accident near Devils Staircase. Source: 1 NEWS


Man steals vehicle after being involved in high-speed Lower Hutt collision, crashes again, dies after fleeing scene

A man has died after trying to escape an initial high-speed crash in a stolen car which he then crashed in bush near Wellington.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

Police were called to a crash in Lower Hutt last night after the man crashed into two other cars at around 8pm near the intersection of Cambridge Tce and Naenae Rd in Avalon.

The man managed to get out of his damaged car before attempting to stop other vehicles to steal them.

It is understood the man managed to stop a car and attempted to drag a child out before punching the woman driving and stealing the vehicle.

The man then took off up State Highway 2 on Remutaka Hill Rd, where he crashed into a barrier.

He then ditched the vehicle and headed into the bush off the side of the road where he was later found by police in a near-death state, Police said.

"A male driver in a car crashed into two other vehicles, the female passenger in his vehicle received minor injuries," Senior Sergeant Mark Scott said.

"As well as this, four people in one car received moderate injuries and one person in the third vehicle received minor injuries.

"When emergency services arrived at the scene the man had left the car and run into the bush. Police located him in a critical condition in the bush at around 9:25pm. CPR was performed but he was pronounced dead a short time later."

The man's death has been referred to the Coroner, with the serious crash unit investigating the series of events as well.