Police watchdog says Auckland man was pepper sprayed in the cells unlawfully - 'An excessive use of force'

The Independent Police Conduct Authority says police unlawfully pepper sprayed a detainee during an incident on June 23 last year.

In a report released today, the IPCA said an intoxicated Auckland man was taken into custody after crashing his car into a home in Otahuhu.

Handcuffs.
Handcuffs (generic). Source: istock.com

"Mr X behaved aggressively as Police transported him to the Manukau Police Station, and officers had to carry him into a cell," the report read.

Eight police staff carried the man into a cell and restrained him on the ground, but as they left one noticed a pair of handcuffs on the ground next to the man.

The officer went back into the cell to get the cuffs and was grabbed on the leg by the detainee and a struggle ensued.

"Another officer entered the cell and deployed pepper spray at the man’s face. ... the man immediately let go of the officer’s leg and Police exited the cell.

"The Authority found that, although force may have been required to help his colleague exit the cell safely, the officer should have used a lower level of force before resorting to the use of pepper spray."

IPCA Chair Judge Colin Doherty said "the officer was focused on subduing the man with the use of pepper spray, which came at the expense of good, sound, decision-making in accordance with Police policy and best practice.

"The Authority considers the officer’s use of pepper spray was unnecessary and, therefore, an excessive use of force."

The IPCA deemed that the force initially used to bring the man into the cell justified.

A police spokesperson said they "acknowledge the findings" and pointed out that the man "had significant physical strength".

They also said pepper spray aftercare was offered to the detainee "shortly after the incident".

Counties Manukau District Commander Superintendent Jill Rogers said it was a volatile situation that required quick action.

"Had the officer not used pepper spray and instead engaged in further physical or manual restraining of the offender, then it was likely to result in either themselves or the man being injured," Rogers said.

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'About 2000 people short' - meat industry looks overseas as it struggles to fill vacancies

The meat industry, one of New Zealand's largest employers, is looking offshore to fill the gaps of a major labour shortage, a far cry from its heyday when it had no problems finding workers.

Murray Taggart, chairman of meat company Alliance, told 1 NEWS that on any one day the company will have more than 100 vacancies it's struggling to fill at its largest plant, Lorneville, which has 1700 employees.

Meat Industry Association chairman Tim Ritchie said the association has done a survey of its member companies, "and at that peak season we believe we're about 2000 people short".

The shortage has prompted Alliance to look offshore, saying there aren't enough Kiwis to fill the gap, or that those who are applying aren't fit for purpose.

Mr Taggart said New Zealanders are the company's first preference, "but we're in a safety sensitive environment, so they have to be people that can turn up in fit state for work".

While it supports the move in some regions, the Meat Workers Union isn't convinced.

"If we took a look at the Southland area, Alliance had two-and-a-half times more applicants than they had vacancies for the 2017-18 season," said Daryl Carran of Meat Workers Union, Otago-Southland.

Alliance says the move is not about saving money, citing bigger costs to hire overseas applicants.

The company says the fact that it's seasonal work, sometimes employing workers for just seven months of the year has job seekers looking elsewhere.

Tim Ritchie said it's a seasonal industry "and it's not an industry that people naturally want to come and work in".

The union wants more incentives to attract Kiwis. 

"The commentators in Southland that are making those claims seem to have one common denominator, and that is that they actually tend to pay low wages," Mr Carran said.

Alliance is looking for staff overseas, saying there are not enough Kiwis to fill the gaps, or those that are applying aren’t up to scratch. Source: 1 NEWS

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'New set of memories for a new generation' – five-storey, $92 million library opens in Christchurch

Christchurch's new $92 million central library has opened to the public.

Thousands turned out for a first look through Tūranga, which sits next to Cathedral Square.

The five-storey building expands on the traditional idea of a library, adding robots, recording studios, playgrounds and technology to its wide range of books.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says it could be a much-needed boost for the heart of the city.

"Tūranga will create a new set of memories for a new generation in a way I would never have dreamed as a child. It is much more than a library and I think it’s going to transform the central city," she said

"It's a massive game changer in terms of giving people of all ages and interests a reason to come into the centre of town and giving them an inspirational place to meet, learn, create and discover."

The library was gifted the name by the people of Ngāi Tūāhuriri. Tūranga was the name where their ancestor lived and now reflects the libraries new home in the heart of the city.

It took an extra three years and millions in funding, but Tūranga will change the face of modern-day libraries. Source: 1 NEWS

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NZ sharemarket stages a comeback after more than a week of losses

The New Zealand sharemarket has closed higher after nine days of falls with companies such as A2 Milk, Spark and Mercury leading the recovery.

The benchmark NZX 50 index rose 1.4 per cent to 8,843 with 28 of the index's stocks gaining, 17 lower and five unchanged. 

The index opened nearly 1 per cent lower as it followed another big fall on Wall Street, but RNZ reported early this afternoon that bargain hunters had emerged and helped turn around the battered local market.

The US President said he thinks "the Fed is making a mistake" with interest rate increases. Source: 1 NEWS

It came after US stocks sank more than two per cent on Thursday, the second day of steep declines around the globe driven by concerns about rising interest rates and trade tensions that could slow economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 545 points after dropping 831 points on Wednesday. The two-day loss of 5.3 per cent is the biggest for Dow since February. 

The S&P 500 is also down more than five per cent over the two days and after falling for the past six trading days is almost seven per cent below its September 20 high.

The recent turbulence in financial markets is a contrast to what investors have grown accustomed to in a bull market that has lasted more than 10 years, the longest in history. A hallmark of the past decade has been ultra-low interest rates, which the US Federal Reserve used to promote growth in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Fed has been gradually raising interest rates over the past two years, after not having increased them since the recession. Those higher rates have been the catalyst for recent selling, stoking concerns that slower growth would impinge on corporate profits.

The selling on Thursday was widespread. Energy companies sank along with oil prices and CVS lead a rout in health care stocks. Technology companies and retailers, including longtime market favourites Apple, Alphabet and Amazon, extended their recent slide.

"There isn't much of a place to hide right now in the equity market," said Willie Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird.

Seeking safety, investors bought gold and government bonds. That pushed bond prices up and their yields down, ending a surge in yields that had touched off the market's current decline. But investors found more things to worry about.

There are ongoing concerns about the unresolved trade dispute between the US and China, the world's second-biggest economy.

Strong earnings reports in the coming weeks could soothe investor nerves, but negative comments from company executives about future profits could have the opposite effect. Recently a larger-than-normal number of companies have warned that their third-quarter results could be weaker than analysts expected.

The benchmark S&P 500 index rose in morning trading, but ultimately gave up 57.31 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 2,728.37, its lowest close in three months. The index has declined 6.7 per cent during its current losing streak. That's its steepest downturn since a 10-per cent drop in early February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 545.91 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 25,052.83 after falling as much as 698. The Nasdaq composite skidded 92.99 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 7,329.06. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 30.03 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 1,545.38.

Thursday's losses in the US followed steep declines overseas. Markets in France, Britain and Germany fell after stocks declined sharply in Hong Kong and Japan.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange has been reacting to global turbulence after dramatic falls on Wall St. Source: 1 NEWS


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Search for crewman missing from Sealord ship off Wairarapa coast called off

The search for a crewman who went missing from a Sealord ship yesterday has been called off following deteriorating weather conditions in the area, the company said today in a statement.

The crewman, named as Patahi Rewi Hawaikirangi Kawana Jnr, 25, disappeared from the FV Otakou at mid-morning yesterday.

Sealord were today advised by Maritime New Zealand that the inclement weather contributing to the decision to call off the search at around 4pm.

Maritime New Zealand suspended their search at approximately 8pm yesterday.

Two Sealord vessels remained searching in the area until the early hours of this morning, when the weather conditions made it unsafe to continue.

Next of kin have been notified.

"Sealord is deeply saddened by this tragic event and extends their sympathy and support to the family and friends of Patahi, crew of Otakou and Sealord staff," the company said.

Sealord has begun its own internal investigation into yesterday's incident.

Sealord's Otakou
Sealord's Otakou Source: Sealord