Residents of sinking Porirua street unsure 'how long we have to go through this'

It could be another seven months before frustrated Porirua residents can drive through the main entrance to their street.

In the last two months, the northern part of Albatross Close has sunk by a metre, with a total drop of 1.6 metres since June.

While it looks like the aftermath of an earthquake, or a cake that hasn't risen, it's a change of direction in underground water that's caused the drop.

Residents of Albatross Close still need a solution to the problem. Source: 1 NEWS

"The situation's certainly got worse in the last few weeks, we've seen the deterioration," Porirua City Council transport manager Mike Evans told 1 NEWS.

The main entrance to the Whitby street was closed in June when cracks appeared at the top of a bank next to the road, which has slumped.

Since then the water main has burst and has been temporarily replaced above the ground.

This follows the first major drop and repair in October 2016 and the second slump in March 2017, which is believed to be linked to seismic activity from the Kaikoura earthquake.

A temporary repair was put in place, along with monitoring equipment.

"The typography in Porirua is vulnerable to slips, there certainly have been a lot more slips with the recent flooding events," Mr Evans said.

He said the road was made with average material from a nearby hill in the late 1970's, but the slip source has been confirmed as deeper so the cause is water movement.

Some residents say the removal of old trees is behind the sinking road.

Mr Evans said the council has assessed this as having a minor impact.

He said the council is now investigating what other suburbs could be vulnerable to slippage.

Residents with driveways that are directly next to the slip cannot drive into their garages.

Resident Marina Wall said her family is trying to stay optimistic about the situation but some residents are frustrated by the situation.

"Of course no one wants to be inconvenienced by something like this, especially with the amount of times that we have to travel in and out of our house so it has caused a lot of extra kilometres on our car, an extra petrol use.

"We're still quite uncertain how long we have to go through this," Ms Wall said.

Designing a solution for a changing situation has been challenging, but the council’s Mike Evans says it’s now ready for the design to be put out for contractors to apply to fix the road.

"We’re going to build a 70 metre palisade wall, which is a series of 23 metre deep reinforced concrete piles… and will basically hold the road and link into the bank to some extent," he said.

The bank will be planted with deep-rooted trees in the hopes this will provide further stability.

The work is expected to be completed by mid-January to mid-March next year.

The council's built a temporary road through a sports field at the end of the street so residents can still use their cars and park nearby.

But some residents say there are safety issues with the temporary road.

"There are some times when the lights are working and you don't know whether to go or stay," Marina Wall said about the traffic management for the temporary road.

"We obviously all have to take great care because some of the  three lanes of through traffic through the car park do sometimes travel at speed," Nicola Dickey, head teacher at Mana Montessori Preschool said.

Ms Dickey said parents of children who attend the preschool have accepted that the sinking road can't be helped.

"I think everyone's a bit shocked when you see it but we know that what’s being done is being done as fast as it can," she said.

Finding a solution to the Albatross Close problem has been complicated. Source: 1 NEWS



Tracking down New Plymouth youth MP candidates after Andrew Little's 'hip' appeal

Labour MP Andrew Little released a tongue in cheek video encouraging young people from New Plymouth to get involved in politics today.

The video inspired TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to travel to Mr Little's old school to find the perfect candidate for its new youth MP.

Judge for yourself if New Plymouth Boys' High students Thomas Foy and Jarrod Wilson have what it takes in the video above.

Tamati Rimene-Sproat is on the case after the Labour MP's piece of political theatre. Source: Seven Sharp


Watch: Take a tour inside Kate Sheppard’s former house where suffragists worked to get women the right to vote

Suffragist Kate Sheppard's old house in Christchurch goes up for auction next month - so Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry took a tour.

Ms Sheppard was instrumental in gaining New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893. She carried out important work for the suffrage movement in the house during the late 19th Century.

Today saw celebrations around the country marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern has indicated the Government is interested in buying the house for the nation. It's expected to fetch in excess of $3 million when it goes under the hammer on October 17.

Hilary Barry met with the home's current owner Julia Burbury who showed her around the dwelling set on one acre of gardens.

The house has a category one heritage listing.

The piece of New Zealand history in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million, is up for auction. Source: Seven Sharp

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Mum distraught as son turned away from Hutt Valley High School because he didn't have permanent address

Being homeless has become an obstacle for one mother wanting to give her child an education.

Helen Taitapanui and her son were turned away from Hutt Valley High School last week because they don't have a permanent residential address.

Ms Taitapanui, is currently battling cancer and lives in a motel with her teenage son while they wait for a permanent home.

"We've got to be glad that we've got that when we know that a lot of our families are out there living in cars," Ms Taitapanui told 1 NEWS.

However, this was a problem when she tried to enrol her son at a local school.

"The response was it's against their policy to register children living out of a motel. you had to have a residential address," Ms Taitapanui said.

She complained to the Ministry of Education and shortly after Hutt Valley High School reversed its decision.

Ms Taitapanui says her son's excited about going back to school.

"I know once he steps back into the realm of education he'll be well and truly away."

She hopes by speaking out, another unnecessary obstacle will be removed for the homeless.

Being homeless threw up an unexpected obstacle for a mum wanting to educate her child. Source: 1 NEWS


More chlorination likely with water services set to be centralised

The Government is set to strip councils of their power over water following Havelock North's 2016 gastro crisis which was a wake up call for the country.  

Speaking to Water New Zealand's conference today, the Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, gave her strongest hint yet of change. 

Havelock North's gastro outbreak prompted a review of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater nationwide.

The estimated cost of ensuring drinking water is safe is $500 million, and to fix water infrastructure, at least $2 billion. 

"The Government doesn't have a bottomless pit of money to throw at this," Ms Mahuta said.

But water won't be privatised. Instead, services are likely to be moved into a national water regulator and responsibility for water service stripped from the 67 councils and handed to a small number of entities.

Water NZ chief executive John Pfahlert said that would mean "you get better quality water and it doesn't cost as much to provide". 

But change for the water industry is unlikely to be without controversy.

Any change is likely to see authority over water taken away from local councils, and Local Government New Zealand will not be happy about that.

"We would have issues if it was compulsory because we believe bigger is not always better. New Zealand is incredibly diverse from the Far North to the Deep South," said Stuart Crosbie of Local Government NZ. 

Twenty per cent of drinking water is unsafe - so a national agency is likely to mean more chlorination.

"It's there for a good public health reason. So it'll take time for the communities like Christchurch and Geraldine and other parts of New Zealand which have traditionally not had treated water, to get their head around that," Mr Pfahlert said.

Back in Hawke's Bay, the health board is studying the long-term impacts of the campylobacter outbreak.

John Buckley's family believe he could be the fifth victim of Havelock North's gastro outbreak.

The 78-year-old died three weeks ago of a stroke, but prior to the crisis, they say he'd been healthy.

"He's spent a lot of time in hospital. He's had a lot of unexpected surgeries and bleeds and heart problems, kidney problems, all due to the campylobacter," said Kat Sheridan, Mr Buckley's daughter.

Ms Sheridan says the family wishes, "you can turn your tap on again and trustfully drink the water. Surely that's all we want".

Before any changes can happen Cabinet will need to approve the recommendations made in the review of water management. 

It comes after Havelock North's gastro crisis was a wake-up call for New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS