Ramming cop cars becoming a worrying trend say NZ Police; latest offender injures two Taupo

A growing number of wanted persons are ramming police officers and their patrol cars with their vehicles, the New Zealand Police Association says.

The latest incident occurred in Taupo on Wednesday night after a police car was rammed by a fleeing driver in an SUV, injuring two police officers.

When the officers attempted to restart their severely damaged car, the pair were then followed by the offender, Association Vice-president Craig Tickelpenny says in a statement.

The offender was later arrested at a Taupo motel.

"These incidents seriously endanger the lives of the police officers, put at risk innocent members of the public and the offending drivers themselves, and they can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the patrol cars," Mr Tickelpenny said.

"Ramming police offenders and/or their vehicles is only going to increase the severity of the charges against the offending driver when he or she is caught and as we saw in New Plymouth earlier this month, it is a practice that can quickly turn deadly."

It follows an incident last Thursday where a Hamilton motorist, who was driving erratically in a stolen 4WD ute with a horse float and two horses inside, rammed a police car after an officer tried to stop him.

The driver has since pleaded guilty to 12 charges.

And on May 5 in Morrinsville, a stolen truck rammed into the front doors of the Morrinsville Police Station then drove towards officers twice before the truck's front tyre was shot by police.

"There were also incidents in Mangere in March, Henderson in February and Northland and Tauranga in January in which officers were injured and vehicles severely damaged," he said.

"The Association is very concerned at this type of behaviour which shows reckless disregard for the lives of our members and anyone else who may be in the path of the offender. Police are under extreme pressure on the frontlines every day. They can do without adding ramming injuries and written-off patrol cars to their list of concerns on the job."

Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: 'Still brings me to tears' - Emotional Minister David Parker close to crying as he recalls story of homeless 11-year-old girl during poverty speech today

Economic Development Minister David Parker became emotional when remembering the plight of an 11-year-old girl whose family was living in her car last year outside a marae.

Mr Parker was delivering a post-Budget speech when he told the audience about an interview conducted by John Campbell of Radio New Zealand last year.

The interview focused on T.A, an 11-year-old girl whose family could not afford proper housing and had been taken in by Te Puea Marae.

"The hardest part is actually not being able to read in the van, because you don't have space. They're all up in your face," she told RNZ.

"And there's not much light because it would waste the battery [so] I can't read."

"I don't know about you," Mr Parker said, "but when I heard that about a year or two ago ... I heard the story, it actually still brings me to tears, of that girl doing her homework by the light of a van.

"I mean ... really ... in New Zealand ... excuse me."

Mr Parker said he believes the 2018 Budget is "turning the tide on poverty" in New Zealand.

Housing was allocated $634 million in operating funds to increase housing by 6,000 homes over the next four years, to provide more transitional housing "and help for the homeless and offer grants for insulation and heating".

KiwiBuild was previously given $2.1 billion in the government's mini-Budget and in a pre-Budget announcement, $100 million was given to tackling homelessness.

The Economic Development Minister says the new Budget is “turning the tide” on poverty in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

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Jacinda Ardern says Budget 'factored in' upcoming pay negotiations with teachers, nurses and police

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the government factored in looming pay negotiations with teachers, police and nurses into the Budget.

In her first media engagement since the Budget was unveiled yesterday, Ms Ardern was asked about what will likely be tough pay negotiations and the Government's ability to fund wage increases.

"Of course we know that we are facing those incredibly important pay negotiations and we've had to factor that in when we've crafted the budget," she said.

"For obvious reasons we don't make it particularly obvious where we've placed that contingency," she said.

Pressed on the issue, Ms Ardern said further details of the allocation would remain confidential, ahead of what looked to be tough negotiations.

"Yes, of course you'll understand why we don't put a clear headline in the Budget as to where that contingency is kept because of course we do need to go through a negotiation for each but we have factored that in as we have formulated the budget."

During coalition negotiations last year, the cost from collective bargaining and pay equity for nurses over three years was estimated at $750 million.

Pay talks for primary teachers began earlier this month, with the New Zealand Educational Institute union seeking a 16 percent pay rise and improved working conditions, especially with regard to support with special education needs.

Ms Ardern said teachers' expectations about Budget funding were not too high.

“I think they probably understand that we have a huge amount of pressure in the education sector, 17,000 students that there wasn’t funding set aside for, both for teacher needs and infrastructure that we had to make sure we were funding in this budget.”

“I think when you have a 46 per cent increase in funding in the education sector and still, there is that need, that goes to show just the amount of work that we’re having to put to rebuild that sector,” she said.

Ms Ardern said special education was prioritised in the budget because the need in that area was so great.

She added that it was a priority of Education Minister Chris Hipkins to attract people into the teaching profession.

The PM says the government has “factored in” looming pay negotiations with teachers, police and nurses in the Budget. Source: 1 NEWS