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Hot compost caused medical event at Wairarapa school where students needed to be treated by medics

The medical event at a Wairarapa school where students and staff had to be treated by paramedics on Friday was caused by hot compost that was delivered to a neighbouring property, and a wind shift.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller said the fresh compost, which was heated to 80 degrees Celsius, caused the strong sulphur smell that people experienced at South End School.

The supplier of the compost, who hadn’t experienced this issue in 50 years in the business, confirmed to police that the product can cause a strong sulphur smell.

Emergency services were called to South End School on Friday afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

“What we have confirmed, just after 1pm on Friday, one of the neighbouring properties next to the school, had a type of fertiliser, compost really, delivered,” Inspector Miller said.

“That compost was fresh and as part of that, was actually hot, part of the process for compost is to heat it up to 80 degrees Celsius.”

“That creates a sulphur smell, that sulphur smell can be very strong.”

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At roughly 1.20pm, the first children began to feel ill as a result of the smell.

Inspector Miller said that most of the children who felt sick were at the rear of the school, closest to the delivery of compost.

He added that there were unlikely to be any lingering effects for the children who felt most ill.

Emergency services were called to South End School on Friday after reports of an unpleasant smell.

Paramedics treated 40 other people, children and adults, with minor symptoms after being called to South End School.

Over 100 people also had to go through a decontamination process.

There were reports of a plane flying overhead at the time, but police ruled that out as the cause.

Meetings have been held at South End School in Carterton after dozens of students reported feeling sick on Friday. Source: 1 NEWS


Hundreds of Fraser High School students stage mass protest after principal's anti-truancy speech

Nearly 150 students have staged a "wagging protest" following a controversial speech by a Hamilton principal.

Students from Fraser High School gathered at the gates and told 1 NEWS how they felt, following comments made by principal Virginia Crawford last week.

Read more: Hamilton principal slammed for speech saying truants were highly likely to become rape victims

Many said the speech had been taken out of context, while others said the principal's message was out of line.

However, another group of students opposed the action taken by their classmates, backing their principal's truancy message.

A flyer for the planned protest.

"These guys don't even know how to protest," one student told 1 NEWS.

"If they were protesting, they wouldn't be smoking, trying to make our school look bad.

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"They didn't understand the message the principal gave - even if it was harsh.

"I'd just love it if everyone goes back to class, gets back to their learning. They're not going to learn anything from protesting if they don't know how to protest."

Students gathered at the gates of Fraser High School to express how they felt about the talk. Source: 1 NEWS



Colin Craig to reveal text messages detailing 'true nature of relationship with' Rachel MacGregor

Colin Craig has told the High Court in Auckland that he will present hundreds of text messages between him and Rachel MacGregor.

The former Conservative Party leader is suing his former press secretary for defamation. MacGregor has a counterclaim against Craig for defamation.

MacGregor was hired by Craig prior to the 2011 and resigned just days before the 2014 election.

She filed a sexual harassment complaint against Craig, and the pair reached an out of court settlement which included a confidentiality agreement.

The Human Rights Tribunal ordered Craig to pay MacGregor $120,000 after it ruled that he had breached the agreement by talking about her in media interviews.

Craig told the court that the pair had a 'close affectionate' working relationship and a personal friendship.

"We shared similar interests and values, including a Christian faith," he said.

Craig said they would often work 50, 60 hour weeks and would correspond positively with each other through hand written letters and text messages.

Craig said hundreds, possibly thousands of text between the pair will show the 'true nature of the relationship'.

Craig said MacGregor had a very different view of their relationship and that led to the allegations that he had sexually harassed her.

After the 2011 election result, Craig claims he and MacGregor went back to the Conservative party headquarters where they kissed and 'things progressed slightly further'.

"It will be my evidence I stopped that, and I went home."

He said they agreed it regretted and they worked to put boundaries in place to ensure it didn't happen again.

The trial has been set down for two weeks.

The former Conservative Party leader says that defending a defamation case taken against him is all about protecting his reputation.
Source: 1 NEWS

Christchurch house-hunters warned not to rely on seller's building reports

A warning has gone out to house hunters in Christchurch not to rely on building reports supplied by those selling homes.

For sale sign outside of house. Source: 1 NEWS

In April the Earthquake Commision (EQC) admitted the cost of fixing botched repairs had hit $270 million and was likely to continue increasing as further problems were identified.

Legal experts said the potential hidden damage meant house hunters should get homes thoroughly checked, now more important than ever.

On the day RNZ visited a Harcourts auction in Christchurch, John Stowell was nervously waiting for bidding to start on what could be his family's dream home.

"You're either going to get a house in half an hour, or you're not."

The home he was bidding on had repairs done to its foundations thanks to a payout from EQC.

Mr Stowell had two weeks to get all of the necessary checks done and on this occasion had decided to rely on the building inspection the seller had made available on the property.

"Otherwise we had to go and get our own building reports done which is a cost factor. You know it's up to $500 depending."

Christchurch property lawyer and chair of the Law Society's property law section, Duncan Terris, said Mr Stowell could end up in trouble if he found problems with the house and tried to sue the building inspector.

"If you're buying at auction and you're relying on a building report that was commissioned by that current owner and there's a subsequent problem, you've got limited rights of recourse against the person that did that inspection report because it must be commissioned by you."

Trying to save on the cost of building inspections was a false economy, he said.

"The irony is everyone is out to cost save, understandably, but it needs to be kept in perspective.

"If you miss something and you have to front the repairs yourself, that could be a very expensive oversight."

Prominent earthquake claims lawyer Peter Woods said the sheer number of botched EQC repairs - about 11,000 - meant extra checks to hunt out defective repairs or undiagnosed damage were essential.

He recommended hiring a structural engineer, costing upwards of about $4000.

"And it is very hard for any inspector to look at the house because a purchaser can't have an inspector do some invasive testing, you can't start taking samples out of the house. They can only be as good as a visual inspection. So it's difficult."

The experience with leaky homes showed the risk was not just theoretical, he said.

"There's no end of inspectors that were sued as part of the leaky homes crisis. I think we're now in a creaky homes crisis and the same thing is likely to happen."

Those who had ended up with a lemon and had then found their insurer unwilling to cover the cost of fixing their quake damage, would want to watch out for a Supreme Court test case against the country's largest insurer, IAG in November.

If it finds in favour of the claimant, insurers across the board could be forced to pay out for quake damage discovered by the subsequent purchaser of a home.

- By Conan Young