St John calls for compulsory seat belts on NZ buses after three serious crashes in two weeks

St John Ambulance is calling for compulsory seat belts on New Zealand buses following three serious bus crashes in the past two weeks.

Two people died as a result of the accidents. 

St John says all the injuries would have been preventable had passengers been wearing seat belts.

"It's really disappointing for us to attend incidents when we know it's preventable and therefore if those actions had been taken years previously, then there could be people walking about," said Norma Lane, St John director of clinical operations. 

The latest incident saw a school bus crash in Taranaki, leaving the driver dead in what may have been a medical event. Source: 1 NEWS

The Government has launched an investigation into the safety of buses which St John is keen to participate in. 

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House sales drop nationwide, September figures lowest since 2011

The number of new houses listed on market in July meant the number of sales nationwide in September dropped by three per cent, year on year, REINZ says.

That is the lowest number of properties sold in a month since January this year, and the lowest for the month of September since 2011.

REINZ Chief Executive Bindi Norwell said July's listings were down 5.4 per cent year on year and there was an all-time low level of listings in seven regions.

"There simply weren't as many properties for sale resulting in a very quiet start to spring," Ms Norwell said.

While volumes were down, prices were up in many parts of the country, apart from Auckland, which was steady.

Source: 1 NEWS

In total, 14 of 16 regions saw an increase or no change in the median sale price, with Taranaki and the West Coast seeing a slight drop.

Prices in Northland, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu/Wanganui and Nelson are now at or equal to their record high median price.

"With our population growth and demand for properties continuing to exceed the supply of housing stock, prices are likely to continue increasing in the short to medium term," Ms Norwell said.

"In fact, new research issued by AUT earlier this week suggested that at our current rate of supply we won't reach demand until the mid-to-late 2020s.

"This means that price pressure could well be an issue for some time – particularly in our more densely populated cities."

Infographics provided by REINZ as part of their September 2018 Residential Statistics Report
Infographics provided by REINZ as part of their September 2018 Residential Statistics Report. Source: Real Estate Institute of New Zealand

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Bug in IT system used to count euthanasia bill submission costs taxpayers $75,000

A bug in an IT system used to count submissions to the controversial euthanasia bill ended up costing $75,000 to find 700 missing forms.

There were an un-precedented 37,000 submissions to the End of Life Bill and more than half were hard copies and had to be manually scanned in.

During that process 700 went missing and a consultant was brought in to find them and make sure no more got lost.

William Devos from the Office of the Clerk said it was a massive task involving multiple searches on different databases.

The $75,000 cost included a $10,000 audit, $45,000 for the consultant and $20,000 for two temporary staff.

Mr Devos said the bug itself took only $3500 to fix.

The IT system was developed by Parliamentary Service and has only been in use since late last year.

rnz.co.nz

Mr Seymour, author of the End of Life Choice Bill, debated the pros and cons with Dr Peter Thirkell of the Care Alliance, which opposes euthanasia.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Snow in the deep south, rain and gales forecast for central New Zealand

The wintry blast that brought snow to high country areas of the South Island overnight is set to sweep up the country with gales and heavy rain.

Snow fell in high country areas of Otago and Southland overnight, closing roads.

MetService says snow fell down to 200m in Southland.

State Highway 94 between Te Anau and Milford is closed from Hollyford Road because of snow and a rising avalance risk, and is likely to remain closed until midday.

MetService forecaster Heath Gullery said the cold weather system wasn't over yet.

Heavy rain warnings and watches are in place for north west Nelson, the ranges of Buller and the Richmond Range.

Mr Gullery said Up to 100mm of rain could fall in north-west Nelson.

Gales of more than 90 km/h are also expected for the Kaikoura coast and in Wellington.

Yesterday, temperatures dropped rapidly as the front moved up the South Island.

rnz.co.nz

This was a delight for locals as a cold snap hit the lower South Island today. Source: 1 NEWS


Lawyer says limousine driver not guilty after crash killed 20 people

The lawyer for a limo service operator arrested in a crash that killed 20 people says his client isn't guilty.

The attorney, Lee Kindlon, spoke to reporters after Nauman Hussain's arrest. State police said they charged the 28-year-old Hussain with criminally negligent homicide in last weekend's crash in Schoharie.

Kindlon says police "jumped the gun in charging him with any crime."

Police called Hussain the operator of Prestige Limousine, but Kindlon says Hussain handled marketing and phone calls while his father ran the company day to day.

Prestige Limousine has come under intense scrutiny since the wreck.

State officials have said the limo failed an inspection and was declared "unserviceable" September 4. Kindlon has said safety problems were corrected, though the state says that's not so.