'Are they mental or what?' Housing New Zealand comes under fire over threat to bring down pensioner's vegetable garden

Housing New Zealand has been slammed by social media users due to its threat to dismantle a pensioner's vegetable garden because of her using banned garden stakes. 

Mrs Han has been toiling away at her garden plot for the last decade, but Housing New Zealand says the fruits of her labour may soon be gone under tenancy rules.

The battle between Mrs Han and the housing corporation began last month after Housing New Zealand told the pensioner the garden stakes used to support her backyard crops are banned.

The tenancy manager demanded their removal. In a statement, Housing New Zealand told 1NEWS the "super structure" was unsafe and inappropriate.

The housing agency says it's comfortable with some low-level poles to support the plants but the tenant must ask for permission beforehand.

Social media users were quick to criticise Housing New Zealand's stance over Mrs Han's garden on 1 NEWS' Facebook page. 

Lynee Moss wrote: "Are they mental or what, they should be happy that a pensioner is busy looking after a garden rather than living in some government institution because she is bored.

"At least this lovely lady is looking after herself, keeping healthy by eating her veg that she grows so leave her alone and let her enjoy doing what makes her happy."

Shirley Sinclair expressed the situation is "absolutely ridiculous" and told Housing New Zealand to "leave her alone."

Lee Edwards commented: "This was a natural part of NZ, growing your own food and the elders being able to enjoy their hobbies and eating good fresh produce also getting exercise in the fresh air."

However, Few Kamosie said she can "understand both sides" and was "more in line with what Housing New Zealand are communicating."

"You can tell by looking at it that she cares for it, but that is big and would be extremely dangerous is some of the storms they get up."

Mrs Han's son-in-law, Simon Mann told 1 NEWS the garden's bamboo supports have not been an issue in the past.

"They're calling it a structure, and it's what holds up the vegetable garden, so if she takes it down, everything's just going to fall over," Mr Mann says.

Mrs Han's daughter-in-law says the pensioner finds joy in simply working in her backyard.

"She's got sore legs and a sore back. She can't work outside too far so she's happy to stay at home and look after her garden," she says.

The garden was started by Mrs Han's late husband.

None of the bamboo supports are connected the house, and all the stakes are taken down after the harvest.

A David versus Goliath battle between a Chinese pensioner and the housing corporation began last month over garden stakes. Source: 1 NEWS


Time wasters clogging up 111 emergency lines leaving police baffled by some bizarre requests for help

Time wasters dialing 111 are clogging emergency lines and police say that could lead to fatalities. 

The issue's all the more frustrating as unprecedented phone traffic's already putting pressure on call centres, with extra staff being drafted in. 

In November more than 77,000 calls were taken and one of those weeks saw more than 19,700 calls, which is the highest number since records began. 

Only 20 percent of calls to 111 result in an emergency response. 

In recent calls to 111, some wanted help as they couldn't turn their TV off, a woman called as her hair colouring product wasn't the same as the one on the box and she wanted a refund and a caller couldn't stand the smell of her sick husband's vomit and wanted a cleaner. 

"A classic example would be the person who rung up on 111 to tell us somebody had stolen their cannabis," Inspector Mal Schwartfeger told 1 NEWS. 

Inspector Paul Jeremy stated police: "Do have people who will call up who've just been, or are even being, seriously assaulted. That could be recent victims of serious violence offending or even sexual offending and those are the calls that we're really concerned about that can't get through."

With the festive season underway, police are frustrated that a huge number of 111 calls are not emergencies. Source: 1 NEWS



'I can't remember when I haven't wanted to dance' - NZ's oldest full-time dance school revisits roots

The School of Dance has been through a lot over the last 50 years. Source: 1 NEWS