Looming gravel shortage could throw housing, roading projects into doubt

Major roading and housing projects across the country could be in doubt because of a looming shortage of gravel.

Big projects are chewing through the country's supplies of the aggregate, forcing up the price as reserves shrink.

“It never stops,” says Gill Construction manager Roger Earl.

“Seven days a week, it constantly goes out the door and I don't think that'll ever change”.

What's not guaranteed is where the Marlborough contractors will get it from in the future.

The amount of gravel the local council uses for roads has doubled following the Kaikoura earthquake and is now restricted on what it can take.

“We're typically guilty in New Zealand of over harvesting, so now you're seeing councils and regulatory authorities controlling the extraction rate from rivers in certain areas,” explains Aggregate and Quarry Association member Antony Clark.

It's estimated New Zealand uses between 40 - 45 million tonnes of aggregate a year. That equates to around one truckload per New Zealander.

The quarry industry says it’s getting harder to gain consents for sites, especially in urban areas.

But residents who live near proposed new sites, like those living in the Christchurch suburb Templeton, say they'll end up paying the biggest price.

“I understand and accept that we need quarries, but the only reason they're putting it there is that it will save them money,” Templeton Residents’ Association Chairman Gary Kilday told 1 NEWS.

“There's a truck coming in or out every 20 seconds and these trucks are huge. When they're empty and go over a bump they sound like an earthquake coming” he says.

But the industry's warning prices will continue to climb if our gravel stocks aren't managed better.

“Every time you go beyond 30 kilometres the price of that material doubles,” says Mr Clark.

"You're gonna pay more for your house, more to make that subdivision, to put your house on, more for the pipes going in there."

The industry is warning prices will continue to climb if our gravel stocks are not managed better. Source: 1 NEWS

Animal activists call for end to shock collars used to train dogs

Animal activists say there must be a better way other than shock collars to train dogs not to attack kiwis.

They want the training programme, which is partly funded by the Department of Conservation, to stop using the devices.

The programme scatters dead kiwi around the bush and uses its faeces to attract the dog.

When the dog shows interest in the dead bird, it’s given a shock.

Jim Pottinger has been training dogs for 21 years and says the collars work really well.

“If [the dog] reoffends you step up the punishment, so you lift the shock basically. It works really good because you want the dog to associate that [it’s] the kiwi that’s hurting it,” he says.

Mr Pottinger says he’s tried the shock himself and it’s a small amount of pain to ensure kiwi remain unharmed.

Rimutaka Forest Trust which organises the programme with some funding from DOC says it’s had no complaints despite training hundreds of dogs each year.

“It's not about being cruel, its not about giving the dog a hard time, it’s being smart about how you use it,” says trust organiser Melody McLaughlin.

A dog attack is the biggest threat to adult kiwi, with statistics in Northland showing dogs cause the average life expectancy to drop by up to 10 years.

However animal welfare groups, including the SPCA, want another method used to train dogs and not shock collars.

“They’re incredibly cruel and painful. If you want to train dogs effectively, what you should use is positive reinforcement,” says Catriona MacLennon from Animal Agenda Aotearoa.

“What [the collars] teach dogs is learned helplessness because the dogs don’t understand why they’re getting the shock and so they learn to be fearful,” she says.

Ms MacLennon says countries such as Austria, Denmark and Wales have banned shock collars all together and New Zealand should follow.

Animal Agenda Aotearoa says there must be a better way to train dogs to not attack kiwi birds. Source: 1 NEWS


Teenage boy dies after two-car crash in Manawatu

A teenage boy has died in hospital following a two-car crash in Manawatu this afternoon.

The incident occurred on State Highway 1 in Rongotea at 2pm.

One other person was injured in the crash and remains in a serious condition.

The Serious Crash Unit is investigating.

Source: 1 NEWS