New art exhibition lighting up night sky above Nelson

A Nelson art exhibition is brightening up the darkest months of the year.

Light Nelson is one of the city's largest events, with organisers hoping to see 60,000 people through its gates.

"It's a magical mystery tour. Light in the middle of winter," says featured artist Vincent Ward.

The free exhibition is in it's fourth year, with professional and amateur artists working long hours to get the 66 installations off the ground.

Nelson joiner Bruce Stilwell estimates he's spent 200 hours on his masterpiece, the "Mumbrella".

"Because it's the mother of all umbrellas," he explains.

"It's six metres in diameter. There are 10 laminated ribs and each of them had 250 screws and there’s approximately 10 kilometres of string."

With Mary Poppins not around to fly his project to the finish line, it was a team effort to transport the giant umbrella from Richmond into the city - needing to be lifted onto Mr Stilwell’s roof just to get it onto a trailer.

"It's really cool to hear the 'wow' yeah so makes it all worthwhile that's for sure," Mr Stilwell says.

Some other stand out pieces include a chandelier put together with 3000 recycled swizzle sticks and an illuminated whale made out of 1500 recycled plastic bags.

Artwork from New Zealand filmmaker Vincent Ward is also being showcased as part of the event, with a display projected onto the Suter Gallery.

"The last time the work was displayed was at the Shanghai Biennale, so it's the first outing it's had since then and it's the first time it's been shown on a building," says Mr Ward.

"My work's sort of mysterious in a way. Slightly meditative, it's reflective. And just takes them into another space, another world," he says.

On Thursday night, wheelchair users were given the chance to see the exhibition before its official opening.

"This time they get to have a really good look around, makes them feel special, part of a community that's catering to them now," says Nelson carer Nikki.

Light Nelson runs from Friday July 6 to Tuesday July 10.

More than 50,000 people are expected to check out Light Nelson. Source: 1 NEWS



Man who beat pensioner to death soon after release from mental health unit jailed at least 13 years

A man who stomped a pensioner to death shortly after being discharged from Auckland City Hospital's mental health unit has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim appeared at the High Court in Auckland today for sentencing for the murder of 69-year-old Michael Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland's daughter told the court that the pain of losing her father was immense.

She said her father was just an old man who enjoyed collecting National Geographic magazines and reading. He treasured gifts and letters from his children like diamonds.

Yad-Elohim had been out of Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera for only three days when he killed Mr Mulholland in September last year.

His lawyers argued he had a disease of the mind, was hearing voices at the time and had no way of telling right from wrong.

The Crown said despite having schizophrenia, he knew right from wrong and killed Mr Mulholland for revenge after losing $200 in a methamphetamine deal.

rnz.co.nz

Gabriel Yad-Elohim at the High Court in Auckland today. (Claire Eastham-Farrelly) Source: rnz.co.nz

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New Zealand's GDP rises one percent in June quarter

New Zealand's gross domestic product has increased one per cent in the June quarter.

It's the largest rise in two years, and makes for a 2.7 per cent gain over the June year, Stats NZ said.

Growth was delivered on the back of a bounce back in dairy production and meat processing, higher power generation, and forestry.

House building also lifted, as did activity in the services sector.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

New figures show GDP grew for the last quarter of 2015, political editor Corin Dann says.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Media personality accused of assaulting woman appears in court

A media personality has elected a trial by jury on assault charges they are facing. 

Source: istock.com

He appeared in the North Shore District Court this morning.

He's facing three assault charges - including one of assaulting a woman with intent to injure.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges back in July.

He has been granted ongoing name suppression through until his trial.

He will next appear in court in November.


Legalising recreational cannabis could stem NZ’s epidemic of ‘zombie drug’ deaths, Peter Dunne says

Synthetic cannabis has killed more than 40 people in New Zealand since June last year, a massive jump from the previous five years, the coroner recently reported.

One way to serve a blow to the market for the so called zombie-drug in New Zealand would be to legalise recreational cannabis, former MP and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today on TVNZ1's Breakfast.

But the suggestion came with a caveat.

"It would certainly remove some of the incentive for people to try some of these substances," he said. "But...some of these (synthetic drugs) are so potent and so powerful that people may well feel they'll get a better high from these rather than the real product.

"While on the face of it the answer would be yes (to marijuana legalisation), I don't think it's necessarily that simple."

Cannabis and synthetic cannabis are alike in name only. The synthetic variety, often consisting of dried herbs sprayed with chemical compounds derived from old medical studies, encompasses hundreds of different strains, Mr Dunne pointed out.

Two of the most potent versions, described as up to 10 times stronger that the ones that caused a "zombie" outbreak in the US due to the way users reacted to them, have been targeted by the Government for reclassification as Class A drugs.

That would mean penalties for dealing the drugs would increase substantially, from a couple years in prison to up to 14 years.

"I don't think we ever anticipated we'd get new synthetic drugs that would lead to so much harm," NZ Drug Foundation Executive Director Ross Bell told 1 NEWS yesterday.

They're calling for the drug to be classified as Class A – the most harmful and dangerous. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Dunne agreed that the classification for those two strains should change, but he was sceptical that it would do anything to stem the overdose epidemic.

"They're already illegal, so this doesn't make them any more illegal," he said. "We shouldn't get carried away and assume that's going to resolve the problem...We need at the same time to be beefing up our treatment facilities to deal with the people who are suffering adverse consequences because they will continue to do so."

He also suggested putting in place "a coherent international warning system" and regulating the market for the less potent strains of synthetic cannabis - rather than continuing to outlaw all of them, pushing the market underground.

But even with those solutions, eradicating the drug altogether would be difficult because it's so easy to smuggle, he said.

Police are still trying to identify the men as they want to check on their welfare. Source: 1 NEWS

"The problem is there are hundreds of these, and there are rumours of several hundred more yet to hit the market, so this problem's not going to go away anytime soon," he said.

"If you're seeking to bring this stuff into the country, you bring it all in different bits and bobs so it doesn't look like a finished product. Who knows what's put together to give it its added bite."

But there’s a caveat to the idea, the former MP and associate health minister told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast