Pregnant women refusing to seek prenatal care after children taken by social services

More than 6000 children are in the care of Oranga Tamaraki – a 22 per cent increase from six years ago. Source: 1 NEWS



Canterbury University threatened with legal action by one of its students over car parking fees - 'you are going into debt over this'

Canterbury University is being threatened with legal action by one of its law students over car parking.

Canterbury University student Kelly Phillips has accused the university of cashing in on staff and students' parking fees.

Students are currently paying $400 a year for parking, while staff are paying double the amount.

"It just means you've paid for a spot, but you're not guaranteed you're going to get it," Ms Phillips said.

While the parking is fluid, the fees are set - and rising - by 15 per cent a year.

Canterbury University is unique from most universities in that it has the space on its 80-hectare Ilam campus to provide parking, but it comes at a cost.

"If you have to borrow an additional $500 a year to pay for parking, you are going into debt over this," Ms Phillips said.

She claims the university has collected more than $1.3 million in parking fees from students and staff last year alone.

"Where is the money going? What is it being used for or is it just revenue gathering?"

But Canterbury University Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr claims the university "is not seeking to make money out of car parking".

"It is seeking simply to cover the full whole of life cost of providing carparking on campus," Mr Carr explained.

He says the parking fees are going towards tar sealing, drainage, potholes, lighting and security at the university.

However, Ms Phillips says it "doesn't add up".

She claims that when she asked under the Official Information Act for a breakdown of parking-related expenditure, it could not be provided.

"The Local Government Act basically says that where an entity has the ability to charge a fee for service, it cannot exceed the cost of actually providing that service," she said.

Mr Carr responded, "If you've got the opportunity as a law student to get a learning experience at the taxpayer's expense, you should probably seek that out".

Ms Phillips has since engaged a barrister to help find out where staff and students' parking fees are going.

A uni student is claiming the university’s has collected over $1 million in parking fees. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

NZ energy use unsustainable in switch to renewables

A four year study on energy usage in New Zealand households warns current trends will not be sustainable when the country makes the complete switch to renewable energy.

The NZ Green Grid project investigated the energy usage of 45 North Island properties, and isolated the energy use down to what appliances were using the electricity.

The study found increased heatpump use over winter and the increase use of electric vehicles could use more energy than what is presently possible from renewable sources.

It also found the average house had between two and three appliances for refrigeration.

Energy Research Centre co-director Michael Jack said the infrastructure and market structures needed to change.

"Wind is variable. It's only generating when the wind blows.

"Solar is generating during the middle of the day, when there's less demand for it.

"What you need to do is either shift your demand to those time when the renewables are being produced or somehow store those renewables for use at later times," he said.

Dr Jack said one possible option was using heatpumps that were set on a thermostat, where temperatures could be lowered during certain hours of the day.

He said if changes were not made, the switch to completely renewable energy would be a costly.

rnz.co.nz

A four year study on energy usage in New Zealand households warns current trends will not be sustainable when the country makes the complete switch to renewable energy. Source: rnz.co.nz

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Only nine resource consents lodged since council botch-up

The Auckland Council has received just nine new resource consent applications, after it revealed that it bungled more than 400 consents for home alterations.

The council admitted a fortnight ago that it misinterpreted its own rules, and property owners in suburbs like Grey Lynn and Ponsonby where special character rules apply would need new consents.

The problem affected consents granted between December 2016 and December last year.

The council said it has now contacted all potentially affected property owners.

It would now be reviewing each consent to work out whether or not the property was affected by the botch-up.

It was prioritising those consents that have also been granted building consent. It was estimated there were about 150 properties in this position.

There were five properties where building work had already started.

So far the council has received nine new resource consent applications and granted two.

It was urging everyone who it had contacted to get in touch to let the council know where they were at in implementing their consents.

The council has said it would cover the cost of the new resource consent applications.

It would also look at compensation or mediation for those more adversely affected.

The problem arose when the Environment Court disagreed with how the council was applying the extra rules that applied in special character areas.

It said those rules should not take precedence over the underlying zoning rules and both should apply when resource consent applications were considered.

Some homeowners may have to make changes to their plans to comply with the new interpretation of the rules, the council said.

The council said it would look at making changes to the Unitary Plan to clarify the rules, but that process could take at least a year.

rnz.co.nz

"New residential land under development in Auckland, New Zealand. Shortages of housing in the city means new subdivisions are quickly filled. Shortage of housing is also leading to high house prices. This is Kensington Park north of Auckland. Modern infill compact housing."
Houses in Auckland (file picture). Source: istock.com


Armed police at the scene of a fight in Lower Hutt where a man was killed

Armed police are at the scene where a man was killed in a fight in Lower Hutt last night.

The 29-year-old victim was attacked near the intersection of High Street and Burcham Street, in Taitā, at around 7.45pm.

The man's body will be removed from the scene for a post-mortem examination this afternoon while a scene examination on High Street continues.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch said one man, an associate of the victim, was charged with assault and has since been released on bail.

Police are still seeking a second man, who was seen leaving the area in a silver station wagon, in relation to the incident.

Police have since seized the vehicle for testing after is was spotted nearby on Pringle Street.

It's believed items of interest may have been discarded by the occupants of the vehicle, and police are asking residents in the surrounding areas of Burcham Street, Macky Street, Pringle Street and Churton Crescent to search surrounding areas for anything which may be relevant to the investigation.

The man has been described as being of Māori descent with a solid build, dark curly hair and facial tattoos.

He was last seen wearing a black top and pants, and may have received a facial injury in the incident. 

Anyone who witnessed the incident or saw either the silver station wagon or any suspicious activity shortly after 7.45 pm has been urged to contact police.

Armed police are at the scene where a man was killed in a fight in Lower Hutt last night with police hoping to remove the body from the scene this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS