Rescue of stranded 4WD motorists in Otago cost taxpayers nearly $60k

Police have put the cost of rescuing 38 people off Old Man Range near Roxburgh in Otago in May at $56,927.53.

The group of four-wheel-drivers were on a day trip on Waikaia Bush Road when snow came in thick and fast, trapping them.

Police launched a rescue mission, but the group, which included children, were stuck in their vehicles overnight.

They were finally brought down to Roxburgh the following evening, almost 26 hours after police were notified.

Hear from Daniel who was among the 36 stuck on a Central Otago road, Chris Coory from Dunedin Search and Rescue and Inspector Olaf Jensen who has some advice for the adventurous Source: 1 NEWS

Inspector Olaf Jensen, Otago Lakes Area Commander, says police's prime objective in any search and rescue operation is always the welfare and safe recovery of those who are missing.

Police provide SAR services as part of their normal business, and are funded to do so. Because of this, the rescued group will not be charged.

"Cost is never a factor over the safety and welfare of those needing assistance when determining the appropriate course of action or which resources to use," Inspector Jensen said.

A breakdown of costs shows the fee for a local helicopter was $16,226.71. Other resources including two snow cats, two snow mobiles, snow groomers and a chartered bus totalled $14,924.57.

The remainder of the $56,927.53 price tag accounts for police staff, SAR squads, transport, accommodation and meals.

The NZ Defence Force NH90 helicopter was also used in the operation, although couldn't land at the site. There was no cost to police for its use.

TVNZ has requested a breakdown of costs for the NH90's use on that day from the NZ Defence Force.

The mission is on to rescue 36 people stranded in the hills in Central Otago. Source: 1 NEWS

Man chased from 21st birthday 'unlikely to survive' serious assault

A man is unlikely to survive injuries inflicted on him in a serious assault in Lower Hutt at the weekend, police say.

The man was found on the early hours of yesterday morning with serious head injuries on Seddon Street in Naenae.

Police said the man was chased by a group of people from a 21st birthday party on Cleland Crescent.

He is in a critical condition in Hutt Hospital and police said he is unlikely to survive.

A 27-year-old male has been arrested and charged with assault. He will appear in the Lower Hutt District Court today.

Police believe more than 30 people were at the Cleland Crescent party, and are looking to speak to the attendees and other family members. 

Anyone with information should contact Lower Hutt Police (09) 560 2600 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police car Source: 1 NEWS


'Disgusting... absolutely no respect' - Rotorua locals outraged after vandals perform burnouts in cemetery

Vandals have ripped up a Rotorua cemetery by doing burnouts on a clean piece of land assigned for future headstones.

Tyre marks at Kauae Cemetery.
Tyre marks at Kauae Cemetery. Source: Wiremu Harris / Facebook.

A local woman went to visit the grave of her grandmother yesterday morning, only to find Kauae Cemetery ripped up by car tracks.

A number of headstones were also reportedly narrowly missed, the Rotorua Daily Post reports. 

Rotorua locals have taken to Facebook to express their upset.

"Disgusting. Absolutely no respect...might need to go check out my aunties grave is ok," posted Ellen McEwan.

Tyre marks left by vandals in a Rotorua cemetery. Source: Wiremu Harris

A post by Tony Todd read: "Seriously what is wrong with our society nobody has respect anymore. The younger generation need a good swift kick in the ass."

Heather Hodge commented, "I hope you whoever yous are picked up some very angry passengers up in Kaurae and I'm not talking about the live ones!"

Tyre marks on concrete reserved for headstones. Source: Wiremu Harris

Rotorua Lakes Council staff are reported to be heading to the cemetery to evaluate the damage.