'It was really, really disgusting' - teenage girls from circus troupe say Lions fans subjected them to vile sexual comments

Young performers from an Auckland circus troupe say they were subjected to vile sexual comments during a 90-minute performance before the first Lions test.

HighJinx were performing as part of the fan trail entertainment in the build up to the match at Eden Park in Auckland.

The girls are aged between 13 and 16 years old.

Fourteen-year-old Connie Murphy said she was "disgusted" by comments from rugby fans.

"I heard people asking Ella 'how much for a handjob?' And things like 'wow, your butt looks good in that position' and 'can I be on that chair when you’re dancing?',"  she told 1 NEWS.

"Hearing those sorts of comments changed my perspective on what we were doing. I knew we were doing nothing wrong but it does change your outlook on it.

"I did feel slightly guilty about what I was doing."

Artistic director Carlene Newall de Jesus told 1 NEWS most of the people were wearing Lions colours:

"Rugby is a family sport, the event was not an R18 event. In the same way you wouldn't expect young people involved in warming up the field [to be] subjected to this sort of thing, these guys shouldn’t as well."

They were due to perform again this Saturday's third Test, but the Kingsland Business Association has cancelled it due to "health and safety" concerns.

The 13 to 16 year olds say fans at the first Lions Test in Auckland made repeated sexual comments to them as they performed. Source: 1 NEWS

West Auckland wetlands restoration project gets $200k Government boost

A collaborative community project to monitor and restore Waitakere waterways in West Auckland has been given a $281,865 grant from the Government.

Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson said an exciting aspect of the project is the high level of local engagement and cooperation involved.

"This project has schools, community groups, iwi, businesses and council staff working together to collect data about wetland sites, evaluate results and identify opportunities for improvement. Then actively participate in community restoration and mitigation activities," Mr Simpson says in a statement.

Mr Simpson said he is thrilled to see people from all walks of life getting involved in the project. 

"They learn how to do the monitoring, they learn how wetlands work and how to run a restoration project. This is citizen science at its best and I am thrilled to see so many people involved," Mr Simpson said. 

The project, named Nga Puna Manaaki Wahapu, is set to run for three years.

The grant has been provided through the Community Environment Fund to the Community Waitakere Charitable Trust.

The fund has awarded more than $12 million to environmental projects since 2010.

Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson.
Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson. Source: Supplied


Remove criminal penalties for all personal illicit drug use, says Drug Foundation, in radical proposal to treat drug use as a health issue

The Drug Foundation has a radical proposal to treat drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one.

Executive Director Ross Bell unveiled the plan at Parliament this afternoon in an effort to reduce the harm of drugs.

It's estimated illicit drugs cost New Zealand $1.8 billion a year in health, social and economic terms.

The Government has set higher standards that will affect businesses testing and cleaning meth residue. Source: Fair Go

Mr Bell wants to remove criminal penalties for personal possession, use and social supply of all drugs, but says commercial supply and trafficking would still be illegal.

Those caught with drugs by police would be cautioned and given health and medical advice, and if they continue to use drugs they would then be assessed by treatment centres to see if they need addiction help.

The proposal also suggests developing a strictly regulated cannabis market, like we do with alcohol and tobacco.

"Learn from our mistakes that we've made with alcohol and tobacco put in strict controls around price marketing who can sell it and use any tax raised from that to reinvest back into the problem," Mr Bell told 1 News.

The Government's own figures suggest legalising cannabis could collect an extra $150 million a year in tax revenue.

Last week, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne released a list of approved medical cannabis products, most of which are sprays or pills.
Source: 1 NEWS