South Island prospecting threatens to undermine Government's 'no new mining on conservation land' promise

"No new mining on conservation land." That's was the promise from the government when it took office last year.

That’s according to environmental groups after parts of the South Island have been opened up for exploration. Source: 1 NEWS

But now environmental groups say the recent opening up of parts of the South Island for prospecting threatens to undermine that policy.

More than 40,000 square kilometres of land in the Nelson and Otago regions has been reopened for mining prospecting after restrictions were put in place for the length of a geological survey.

This month, those restrictions were lifted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, much to the surprise of the Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.

The land includes parts of Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes National Parks as well as Otago’s Rock and Pillar Conservation Area.

"These are really important areas to people and the Ministry (MBIE) seems to be wanting to open it up to mining," says Forest and Bird Chief Conservation Advisor Kevin Hackwell.

A prospecting permit holder has the right to look for specific minerals, but only through low impact activities like surveys from the air, studying maps and soil samples.

Under the Crown Minerals Act, applications can be made for prospecting permits on conservation land and in some cases, National Parks. But a permit doesn't guarantee access or the ability to take further action if anything's found.

The Conservation Minister wants to change the law and will present a "no new mines on conservation land" discussion document to the public in September.

But Forest and Bird says miners might try take the opportunity to get started now, before any law change.

"And then what happens is, they've brought their permit, they've done their prospecting and they say 'oh but the government allowed us to do this and the next phase is to start mining', how dare you stop us?" says Mr Hackwell.

Miners say finding a new mine is rare and there are strict rules in place with the Resource Management Act.

"We have a process that provides a very thorough balance of economic and social and environmental issues," Straterra Chief Executive Chris Baker told 1 NEWS.

The minister says she'll be watching the number of new applications for the land, as she puts together her new tougher policy.



Police chastise Canterbury students who didn't intervene in bullying incident

Police today chastised students who opted not to intervene or call for help this week as a bullying incident was filmed at a Canterbury school.

Two students at Darfield High School are expected to appear before the school board today after school officials reviewed the video, which emerged yesterday on social media. In it, a boy lay on the ground as two others kicked and pummelled him.

"Police are particularly concerned that other students who saw what was happening, didn't intervene or get help from a teacher," Senior Sergeant Kelly Larsen said in a statement released to 1 NEWS. "Instead, they watched and took videos."

Darfield principal James Morris has described the incident as assault.

Police said they were alerted about the incident Tuesday afternoon, shortly after it happened.

"Bullying behaviour is not OK and has serious consequences," police said. "Rather than being a bystander, Police encourage anyone who witnesses an assault, or knows about other bullying behaviour to become someone who stands up against bullying, and does something about it.

"Bullying is wrong. We all have a responsibility to do something to stop it."

An outcome of the school board hearing is expected on Monday.

Darfield High School’s principal says police were notified shortly after the incident happened. Source: Supplied

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Auckland woman admits pimping out 14-year-old girl for sex

A 19-year-old woman has admitted pimping out a 14-year-old, accepting money from the client, and driving the girl to and from hotels around downtown Auckland.

Monoka Kelly appeared at the High Court in Auckland this morning where she pleaded guilty to a representative charge of sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly's charge covers four occasions in March and April last year.

According to the summary of facts, she set up a profile for the 14-year-old on a smartphone app used by prostitutes.

The 19-year-old solo mother took the girl to the hotels and then received payment from the client by way of internet bank transfers.

Some of the money went to the 14-year-old.

Kelly was due to go on trial next week but this morning's guilty plea means the trial is not necessary.

Justice Downs remanded her on bail but said there was every prospect she would face a lengthy prison term when she appeared for sentence in November.

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Justice Source: 1 NEWS

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Hamilton principal slammed for speech saying truants were highly likely to become rape victims

A Hamilton high school principal has been condemned for a speech in which she said truants were highly likely to end up in prison, be illiterate, a rape victim or commit suicide.

A student secretly recorded the school assembly speech by Fraser High School principal Virginia Crawford and uploaded it to YouTube.

In the speech, Crawford called any truant a “statistic of the worst kind".

"Highly likely to go to prison, either commit domestic violence or be a victim of domestic violence, be illiterate, be a rape victim, be a suicide victim, be unemployed for the majority of their life, have a major health problem, die at an early age, have an addiction, gambling, drugs or smoking,” she said.

"When I drive out of school during class time for meetings, and I see groups of students sitting outside the dairy, fish and chip shop, bus stop, some of the things I am thinking is that is another group of students without a future.

"That is another student who will end up as a statistic, that's another loser, that's another wannabe. Another student desperate for friendship, another we've lost."

She urged students to work hard in school to make better lives for themselves.

One parent commented on the YouTube video, saying they would pull their daughter out of the school.

“This is actually quite disturbing, I'm seriously concerned as my daughter attends this school. Yes she's had days off school, and there's been a time I've forgotten to call...... But wen u say such things like this?” the parent wrote.

“You have failed my daughter as an educator, you have failed the system, my daughter hasn't failed as a student and I haven't failed as a parent. This revolting tormenting speech has only proven that YOU madam principal are the FAILURE in this matter. Disgusting inappropriate accusations. I'm pulling my daughter out until you are replaced.”

Another commenter said his stepson would no longer attend Fraser High School after hearing the speech.

“I'm glad too (sic) say that my wife's son…will no longer be attending 'fraser high school'. After seeing this speech I was literally shaking, this kind of offensive culture should not be permitted in New Zealand,” he wrote.

Board of Trustees parent representative Milton Ngaruhe told Stuff that he had been sent messages about the speech, but hadn't had parents complain to him about it. 

"Personally I haven't had a chance to listen to more than a minute of the video and there is a process that we go through."1

1 NEWS has tried to contact the school. 

A Hamilton high school principal has come under fire for a speech in which she said truants were highly likely to end up in prison, be illiterate, be a rape victim or commit suicide. Source: Dick Tater


New law in California limits plastic straws in restaurants

People who want straws with their drinks at California restaurants will have to ask for them under a new state law.

The law signed today by Governor Jerry Brown makes California the first US state to bar full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. It takes effect next year.300

The law doesn't ban plastic straws outright like some cities have.

Restaurants that don't comply will get two warnings before being fined up to NZ $450 per year. It will apply only to full-service restaurants, not fast food establishments.

Democratic lawmakers who support the law call it a small step toward reducing ocean pollution.

Plastic is bad, including straws, but the trouble is other options don’t always do the trick. Source: Seven Sharp

The law comes as cities and businesses around the world experiment with ditching the plastic products.

In April, 26 bars, restaurants, cafes and food trucks along Wellington's waterfront pledged to go plastic straw free.

"Our primary position is no straw if we can get away with it, but if somebody request one we will put one in the glass," Munchen Bar owner John Henderson told 1 NEWS at the time.

Businesses in Rangiora in North Canterbury have made similar moves, and politicians in the United Kingdom have announced straws will be banned there as early as next year.

Critics argue California's new law is government overreach that won't significantly improve the environment. Some say restricting straws hurts disabled people who rely on them.

Allison Franklin from Christchurch is passionate about the environment, but she also wants to use a plastic straw. Source: 1 NEWS

But straws are an eyesore that litter beaches around the world, and banning them is a step in the right direction, advocates in New Zealand agree.

"If you walk along beaches, especially Oriental Bay and Evans Bay (in Wellington), you'll see plastic straws strewn around the beaches," Oliver Vetter of Sustainable Oceans told 1 NEWS after the voluntary business ban in Wellington.

"We pick up about ten thousand straws a year just as part of our Love Your Coast program in Wellington."

Twenty-six bars, cafes, restaurants and food trucks on the waterfront are trialling a plastic straw-free future. Source: 1 NEWS