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

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Search continues overnight for crew member missing from Sealord vessel off Wairarapa coast


The search for a crew member missing from a Sealord vessel  off the Wairarapa coast is continuing through the night. 

The company says mid-morning this morning crew onboard the Otakou became aware a crew member did not report for duty.

A full muster was conducted to confirm this, and a search was immediately commenced and authorities notified, Sealord said.

The four vessels involved in the search will search overnight, and will review the situation after sunrise tomorrow.

The two helicopters searching were stood down at nightfall.

Weather conditions in the area are fair but are predicted to deteriorate tomorrow.

Source: NZ Topo Map

Sealord said it is making all effort to notify next of kin. 

It said the crew member was not on active duty at the time of disappearance and the reason for the disappearance is not known at this stage.

All other crew are accounted for, however, they are very concerned for the safety of their team member, the company said. 

Sealord is taking this situation very seriously and is providing support to all staff, it said.

The company is also cooperating with all search and rescue instructions, it said.

Earlier tonight Vince Cholewa of the Maritime Rescue Co-Ordination Centre said the centre was advised of the crew member overboard around 11.30am. 

At that time the person had been in the water for 50 minutes or less, he told 1 NEWS. 

Mr Cholewa said there were four vessels and two helicopters involved in the search - Otakou, two other fishing vessels, the police launch Lady Elizabeth IV, a LifeFlight helicopter and an Air Force NH90. 

The estimated location is 11km east of Glendhu Rocks.

Sealord's Otakou
Sealord's Otakou Source: Sealord


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Partner at Russell McVeagh quits after investigation into ‘inappropriate’ drunken comments

Russell McVeagh has today confirmed the resignation of a partner following an independent investigation into complaints over inappropriate complaints made while intoxicated, the law firm said in a statement.

It’s now put the spotlight on the whole legal profession and other industries. Source: 1 NEWS

Russell McVeagh board chair Malcom Crotty said, "A thorough investigation substantiates the complaints and the partner concerned has apologised and tendered his resignation.

"We are deeply disappointed in the partner at the centre of the investigation."

Mr Crotty said the firm "is committed to changing the culture" of their organisation, adding that they "all recognise that change requires collective and long-term commitment".

It found a culture involving “excessive drinking” and at times “sexually inappropriate behaviour”. Source: 1 NEWS

"All partners in the firm agreed to uphold and lead the change," he said.

"The partner concerned let the firm down and we have now lost trust and confidence in him. The Board determined that his conduct has fallen below our expected standards and we have accepted his resignation.

"There is no place for inappropriate conduct at our firm. Despite the circumstances, it is encouraging that our people have spoken up."

Russell McVeagh has arranged to meet with the New Zealand Law Society following the investigation.

The man made inappropriate comments while under the influence of alcohol. Source: 1 NEWS

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Thirty-one people recently treated at Christchurch Hospital after taking synthetic drugs, 12 this week

A total of 31 patients have been treated at Christchurch Hospital for the effects of taking synthetic drugs since September 20, with two people remaining in ICU. 

A spokesperson for the Canterbury and West Coast DHB said 12 more people have presented or were admitted to Christchurch Hospital just this week. 

"Three more patients have received intensive care following synthetic cannabinoid use, but are no longer in ICU. Two of the original three remain in ICU."

It comes a spate of admissions to Christchurch Hospital over the last three weeks of people who had taken synthetic drugs.

"There have been no synthetic cannabinoid-related deaths in Christchurch hospital during this time," the spokesperson said. 

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


Wellington's much-maligned Island Bay cycleway at least a year away from being fixed

Locals enraged by the botched cycleway in the Wellington suburb of Island Bay will likely have to wait another year for it to be fixed.

The Wellington City Council agreed in September last year to revamp the cycleway after locals fiercely opposed the design which saw the cyclists riding between the curb and cars.

However, work has not started yet as the council is hoping the Transport Agency will help cover $24m of the $32m project.

But the agency won't give funding for just the Island Bay section so the council must present a plan that covers the cycleway from Island Bay to the Basin Reserve, council documents show.

Island Bay locals aren’t convinced about the unusual design, labelling it “an accident waiting to happen”. Source: 1 NEWS

It was not clear what the cost of changing the Island Bay stretch of cycleway would be but it was likely to be more than the $6m first budgeted.

Wellington City Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said the delay is the right course of action.

"This to me is really the only responsible approach given that we can access a significant amount more in government investment to connect the Island Bay cycleway through to the centre of Wellington."

The council would use what it had learnt from the Island Bay debacle while building the rest of the cycleway, Ms Fitzimons said.

The council would continue to do maintenance on the road over summer, including repainting markings in the middle of the road, and trying to remove old markings which were still visible.

The cycleway has been mired in controversy since its inception in 2011 with more than 100 people marching through Island Bay in December last year. They were protesting against the council's proposed solution to raise the cycleway to the same level as the footpath so cars can park up against the curb.

The Island Bay Residents Association is pushing ahead with plans to file legal action against the council.

By Laura Dooney

- rnz.co.nz 

The community is calling for a return to the pre-cycleway design that wouldn't see carparks removed. Source: Breakfast