'Rotorua lakes are a treasure' – boaties warned to check their vessels in bid to keep precious waterways clean

It took 10 days of hard work, 700 metres of chain and rope, and an old sewing machine, but Lake Rotoma has a new weed cordon just in time for summer.

Geoff and Van Ewert, a father and son duo, were employed by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to carry out the work after a storm damaged the old cordon.

"It was just a high priority job and they asked if we could get it done. It's either that or man the boat ramp here 12 hours a day, seven days a week," Geoff says.

In 2008, Lake Rotoma was the first lake in the Bay of Plenty region to have a weed cordon installed which has since been replicated across the region.

But with summer boaties ready to hit the cleanest lake in Rotorua, work needed to be carried out quickly.

Andy Wills, a biosecurity officer for the council, says despite having the new cordon in place, it's up to boaties to help stop the spread of invasive species.

"We're just trying to promote stopping the spread, so you can do that by looking out and make sure your boat and the trailer is totally clean before putting it in the water," he says.

Trailers with carpet, boats with jet intakes and anchor wells can also spread weeds.

Mr Wills says nornwort is the "most aggressive" and it's "got really high growth rates".

Boat owners are being encouraged to check, clean and dry their vessels before entering the water.

Rotoma is the cleanest of all the Rotorua lakes, but there's risk summer boats may bring aquatic pests. Source: 1 NEWS

Startling video shows woman and child standing in Auckland car park to 'reserve' it, preventing motorist from pulling into space

Video and images have been posted online of two separate incidents where frustrated motorists were blocked from entering parks by people standing in them to reserve the space.

The practice is well documented overseas in countries like the USA, and is now being practiced by some in the increasingly sought after parks in Auckland.

A video posted online shows one such incident, which took place last week at the Westfield St Lukes Mall.

The driver repeatedly sounds his horn, but the woman will not budge, holding her concerned child behind her as she talks on the phone to someone, presumably telling them to hurry up and get to the park.

A commenter on the post said the woman eventually allowed the car to park there after a ten-minute standoff.

Another person posted images to a driver complaints page on Facebook yesterday showing a woman standing in a council car park on Auckland's Hobson Street.

A woman guards a public car park, reserving it for her friend, on Hobson Street.
A woman guards a public car park, reserving it for her friend, on Hobson Street. Source: Andy Chui

The woman reportedly waited there until another person arrived driving a late-model BMW convertible.

A car arrives after a woman blocked other motorists from entering it on Hobson Street in Auckland.
A car arrives after a woman blocked other motorists from entering it on Hobson Street in Auckland. Source: Andy Chui

Auckland Transport's Regional Compliance Manager Rick Bidgood said earlier this year that there is no legal basis for members of the public to reserve a park by standing in it, or by putting cones out.

However, Mr Bidgood urged drivers to consider giving up and finding another park in these scenarios, where the alternative could be an aggressive or even violent confrontation.

However, there are also no specific laws against people standing in a car park and refusing to vacate.

AA spokesperson Mark Stockdale said the AA was not familiar enough with the issue yet to make comment.

Online reactions to the practice were resoundingly negative, with most commenters indicating they thought parks should be 'first-in, first-served'.

"That happened to my wife and I and my wife just inched her way in....I was so proud," wrote one commenter.

"Bloody awful to see and she had her child with her to witness her behavior," said another.

One person pointed out there could be legitimate reasons for the reservation tactic.

"Perhaps someone inside is elderly and cannot walk far ... perhaps they need to load a heavy item ... just sayin," the commenter said.

The incident took place at St Lukes Mall, and eventually led to the woman giving up the park.


Hot compost caused medical event at Wairarapa school where students needed to be treated by medics

The medical event at a Wairarapa school where students and staff had to be treated by paramedics on Friday was caused by hot compost that was delivered to a neighbouring property, and a wind shift.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller said the fresh compost, which was heated to 80 degrees Celsius, caused the strong sulphur smell that people experienced at South End School.

The supplier of the compost, who hadn’t experienced this issue in 50 years in the business, confirmed to police that the product can cause a strong sulphur smell.

A plane is suspected of accidentally spraying the school with pesticide and several children have been hospitalised.
Source: 1 NEWS

“What we have confirmed, just after 1pm on Friday, one of the neighbouring properties next to the school, had a type of fertiliser, compost really, delivered,” Inspector Miller said.

“That compost was fresh and as part of that, was actually hot, part of the process for compost is to heat it up to 80 degrees Celsius.”

“That creates a sulphur smell, that sulphur smell can be very strong.”

At roughly 1.20pm, the first children began to feel ill as a result of the smell.

Inspector Miller said that most of the children who felt sick were at the rear of the school, closest to the delivery of compost.

He added that there were unlikely to be any lingering effects for the children who felt most ill.

Emergency services were called to South End School on Friday after reports of an unpleasant smell.

Paramedics treated 40 other people, children and adults, with minor symptoms after being called to South End School.

Over 100 people also had to go through a decontamination process.

There were reports of a plane flying overhead at the time, but police ruled that out as the cause.

Meetings have been held at South End School in Carterton after dozens of students reported feeling sick on Friday. Source: 1 NEWS


Tauranga man ordered to pay over $700 after shooting neighbour's dog with shotgun

A Tauranga man has been prosecuted by the SPCA, after shooting his neighbour's dog with a shotgun.

Logan Bragg was found guilty in the Tauranga District Court on September 12, and on Friday was ordered to pay $721.50 to the family, $221.50 towards costs and $500 in emotional reparations to the family.

The incident dates back to 26 March 2017, when Mr Bragg shot the eight-year old boxer named Bourbon in the rear end.

Bourbon's owners found him walking with a bleeding rear and back leg. Veterinary examinations found numerous small entry hole wounds, consistent with that of a shotgun.

Due to his age, Bourbon's owners made the decision to have him humanely euthanised.

Mr Bragg then left a voicemail message on the owners' answering machine, saying that he had "pissed on my furniture again," describing the weapon used to shoot him.

Mr Bragg claimed that Bourbon had charged him in an aggressive manner, a defence that was thrown out by the judge due to the age and docile nature of the dog.

"SPCA is pleased that this sentence includes payment of emotional reparations to Bourbon's family, who were distraught at what their beloved family pet went through," SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen said in a statement.

"It is unacceptable to inflict this level of suffering on an elderly animal simply because they walk onto your property. The defendant should have spoken with his neighbours about Bourbon's behaviour rather than resorting to violence."

Eight-year-old Boxer Bourbon after being shot by his neighbour's shotgun
Eight-year-old Boxer Bourbon after being shot by his neighbour's shotgun Source: SPCA


Jacinda Ardern says she's not the gold standard for raising a child

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has downplayed a portrayal of her as trailblazing mother and national leader in New York, saying she is “not the gold standard” for raising a child.

After delivering a speech about child poverty at UNICEF's social good summit, Ms Ardern appeared on a panel where she was praised for inspiring women juggling motherhood and a career.

“Thank you for putting in that caveat, because anytime anyone remarks on the fact that I’m only the second leader in the world to have a child in office, I’m reminded I’m lucky, I have an incredible support network around me,” she said.

“I have the ability to take my child to work, there’s not many places you can do that, I am not the gold standard for bringing up a child in this current environment because there are things about my circumstances that are not the same.”

Ms Ardern told the panel flexible working arrangements, extended parental leave and spaces at workplaces for breastfeeding made it easier for mothers but there needed to be a cultural shift.

Ultimately, we can provide all of that but unless there is a culture that accepts that children are part of our workplaces, then we won’t change anything,” she said.

“If I can do one thing and that is change the way we think about these things, then I will pleased we have achieved something.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has downplayed a portrayal of her as a trailblazer, telling a panel in New York she is “not the gold standard” for raising a child. Source: 1 NEWS