Pike River families continue court battle to make mine boss accountable for tragedy

The families of the 29 Pike River coal miners are having another day in court to continue their fight to hold someone accountable for the tragedy.

Mr Peters had made re-entering the drift a bottom line in any coalition deal. Source: 1 NEWS

Sonya Rockhouse, who lost her son, and Anna Osborne, who lost her husband, have taken their fight against former mine boss Peter Whittall all the way to the Supreme Court in Wellington.

They have been joined in the hearing by Bernie and Cath Monk, who lost their son Michael.

All political parties bar National have vowed to re-enter the mine as soon as possible. Source: 1 NEWS

All have just come from a meeting with Winston Peters to firm up discussions about the next government pushing on with a body recovery effort.

In the hearing this morning lawyer for the families, Nigel Hampton QC, argued the fact that 12 Health and Safety charges against Mr Whittall were dropped by the District Court in 2013 was unlawful.

"This is unprecedented in New Zealand history, unprincipled ... and unlawful," Mr Hampton argued.

He said the $3.41 million paid to families by Mr Whittall, around $110,000 per family, does not amount to reparations.

He compared the payment to being pursuant of a bargain and said the money was used to put an end to a prosecution.

The hearing is set down for the rest of the day.

The video was captured on a camera lowered into the mine four days after the first explosion in 2010. Source: Newshub




Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas misled students, says Massey University Students' Association president

Massey University Vice Chancellor Jan Thomas misled students over the cancellation of the Don Brash speaking event and the student association has no confidence in her ability to do the job.

Student association president Ngahuia Kirton says her biggest concern to come out of the issue was threats to restrict funding to the association.

"As a whole, students seem to have been misled and I don’t think that their views were properly taken into consideration by the senior leadership team," she told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

"MUSA’s position is very clear, we have no confidence in the vice chancellor’s ability to discharge her duties, so I would hope that the university council would take that into consideration," she said.

Documents obtained yesterday under the Official Information Act contain correspondence to and from Ms Thomas in the run-up to the cancellation.

In one email on 9 July, the vice-chancellor said she did not want a "te tiriti led university to be seen to be endorsing racist behaviours".

A day later, she emailed to say she would like to know the options for banning the politics club from holding events on campus.

She said the "racist behaviour of Dr Brash - given te reo is an official language of NZ and we are a tiriti-led university - can't be ignored".

Ms Kirton said the vice chancellor’s concerns that Mr Brash’s views didn’t align with the values of the university were valid but students were still misled.

"I think her concerns were more around the fact that Massey University is a teriti-led and her views that Don Brash’s views didn’t align with that is completely valid."

"I’m more concerned about the way she handled the communication and the events that happened afterwards."

"Personally, I don’t agree with Don Brash’s views, and I think many people at the student association also do not agree with them, however I do think university as the critic and conscience of society is a great place to have those healthy debates and these difficult conversations."

Ms Kirton says her biggest concern to come out of the issue was threats to restrict funding to the association.

"The cancellation of the Don Brash events aside, the student association’s biggest concern is actually the threats to restrict funding to student associations to manage backlash."

President Ngahuia Kirton says the student association has no confidence in Jan Thomas’s ability to perform her duties. Source: Breakfast

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Refugee quota increase a proud moment, Red Cross says, but now it's time to prepare

Jacinda Ardern's announcement yesterday that we will increase our yearly refugee intake to 1500 by 2020 was a proud moment for New Zealand, says Red Cross official Rachel O'Conner.

But there are some things we will have to do as a nation to prepare for the increase, which will result in New Zealand having doubled its intake in less than five years, she told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"We'll need people to respond, we're going to need people to volunteer, to donate items," she said. "But a lot of it is about...having welcoming communities."

Resettlement, she explained, is difficult - away from family and friends, without work and often having to learn a new language.

"Kiwis have this value of showing care and compassion, and that is what helps build that sense of belonging," said Ms O'Conner, who serves as national migration programmes manager for the humanitarian organisation.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Under the Prime Minister's plan, six new resettlement communities will be established so that existing ones in New Zealand aren't over-burdened. The towns, however, haven't yet been chosen.

"We're going to be looking for councils and community groups to put up their hands and say, 'Yup, we want to be one of the new six'," Ms O'Conner said.

Ms O'Conner described yesterday's announcement as "a great start". But with 1.4 million people in desperate need of resettlement, "we're seeing unprecedented needs globally at the moment", she added, explaining that the Government also needs to take another good look at foreign aid and peace building activities.

Even after yesterday's announcement, New Zealand is far from being a leader in terms of refugee intake numbers.

PM Jacinda Ardern made the announcement today. Source: 1 NEWS

"But we are leaders in the terms of the quality of resettlement that we provide," she said, telling the story of a mum who had carried her disabled teen son on her back for his entire life because they didn't have access to health care in their previous country.

After arriving in Auckland, the boy was given a wheelchair and it changed both of their lives, O'Conner said.

"She kept saying, 'I can't believe I don't have to carry him anymore'," she recalled.

Jacinda Ardern’s announcement yesterday means six new settlement locations will be in the works, Rachel O’Conner told Breakfast. Source: Breakfast


Inquiry to look at how NSW police investigated dozens of gay hate killings

The way NSW Police investigated gay hate crimes, which drove men over cliffs to their deaths or saw them brutally bashed in their homes or city parks, will be examined by a state parliamentary inquiry.

The inquiry to be conducted by the NSW Social Issues Committee, will investigate how NSW Police handled gay hate crimes and why the state's justice system may not have protected LGBTQI people or delayed justice for them and their families.

The committee will investigate the almost 90 gay murders between 1970 and 2010 and also call for public submissions from victims and their families.

A police investigation of 88 suspicious deaths of gay men between 1976 to 2000 found 27 of them were likely murdered simply for being gay.

Committee chair Shayne Mallard said the inquiry would look at gay hate crimes perpetrated against the LGBTIQ community and review current policies to identify shortcomings.

Australia police Source: 1 NEWS