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

Jacinda Ardern says refugee quota gives NZ strength ahead of UN summit

Yesterday's refugee quota announcement, paired with the ban on oil and gas exploration announced in April, will give Jacinda Ardern more credibility and a stronger hand while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, she said.

"Of course, doing your part adds to your weight that you're able to bring to the debate," she told 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay in a one-on-one interview today.

Climate change, big interviews and baby Neve were all on the agenda for the pair. Source: 1 NEWS

During what will be her first UN General Assembly meeting, the Prime Minister has been chosen to deliver a number of keynote addresses, including for the opening of UN Climate Week. In devising her strategy for the week, Ms Ardern said she turned to our past.

"Nuclear proliferation is a great example," she said. "New Zealand's always been looked to as an exemplar because we've always taken a firm stance and we've acted on it. On climate change I hope we'll be seen in the same way. But yes, the refugee quote is about us doing our bit in response to a humanitarian crisis."

Ms Ardern announced yesterday that starting in 2020 New Zealand will help resettle 1500 refugees here per year, 500 more than the current amount and double what it will have been just five years earlier. The move has been hailed by the Red Cross and other humanitarian groups.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Also during her week in New York, Ms Ardern will be appearing on the Today Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and will sit down for an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"It's hard for me really to know whether I'm getting any more or any less (attention) than other New Zealand leaders," she said as Mutch McKay pointed out they're pretty "big gigs".

"They are (big) but I'll be doing my best to make sure that they are in the best interest of New Zealanders as well," she said. "That I use those opportunities to promote New Zealand -- in some cases, as a destination, on others just promote our stance in issues of international significance.

"For me, it's about making sure I'm the best representative for New Zealand I can be while abroad."

The government say the move is to cut rising greenhouse emissions. Source: 1 NEWS

This week’s refugee quota announcement should give the PM a stronger hand in NYC, she told 1 NEWS journalist Jessica Mutch McKay. Source: 1 NEWS


Man who beat pensioner to death soon after release from mental health unit jailed at least 13 years

A man who stomped a pensioner to death shortly after being discharged from Auckland City Hospital's mental health unit has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim appeared at the High Court in Auckland today for sentencing for the murder of 69-year-old Michael Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland's daughter told the court that the pain of losing her father was immense.

She said her father was just an old man who enjoyed collecting National Geographic magazines and reading. He treasured gifts and letters from his children like diamonds.

Yad-Elohim had been out of Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera for only three days when he killed Mr Mulholland in September last year.

His lawyers argued he had a disease of the mind, was hearing voices at the time and had no way of telling right from wrong.

The Crown said despite having schizophrenia, he knew right from wrong and killed Mr Mulholland for revenge after losing $200 in a methamphetamine deal.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim at the High Court in Auckland today. (Claire Eastham-Farrelly) Source:


Tax working group suggests two options for capital gains tax, change to tax brackets

Two ways of taxing capital have been proposed by the Tax Working Group, including extending the current income tax regime.

File image of $50 and $100 notes. Source: 1 NEWS

Tax Working Group has released an interim report proposing two options for taxing capital gain.

The group was established by the government to look at whether there should be any changes to the tax system, including a potential capital gains tax - excluding the family home.

The head of the working group, Sir Michael Cullen, has just presented the interim report.

The group has received about 6700 submissions and spoke with business and community groups in roadshows across the country.

The group is proposing two options for taxing capital gain: any gain from the sale of assets taxed at roughly the marginal income tax rate, and the second a regime under which a portion of the value of certain assets would be subject to tax, for example rental properties, to be paid each year.

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However, Sir Michael said neither of these options were actual recommendations.

The report found there was "significant scope" to use tax to "sustain and enhance" New Zealand's "natural capital", including options like a waste disposal levy, "strengthening" the Emissions Trading Scheme, and congestion charges.

It also proposed removing the tax on employer contributions to superannuation schemes for those earning less than $48,000 a year.

The working group made no final recommendations about income tax rates, but suggested a progressive approach would be to reduce rates for the lower threshold tax brackets.

Public feedback will now be sought before the working group releases its final report in February 2019.


New Zealand's GDP rises one percent in June quarter

New Zealand's gross domestic product has increased one per cent in the June quarter.

It's the largest rise in two years, and makes for a 2.7 per cent gain over the June year, Stats NZ said.

Growth was delivered on the back of a bounce back in dairy production and meat processing, higher power generation, and forestry.

House building also lifted, as did activity in the services sector.

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New figures show GDP grew for the last quarter of 2015, political editor Corin Dann says.
Source: 1 NEWS