Thousands of West Coasters protest against Government's 'anti-mining' position

Thousands of West Coasters turned out for a massive protest today against what they say is the Government's anti-mining stance.

The march coincided with the opening of a new $25 million Taramakau Bridge south of Greymouth.

But most who turned up were voicing anger over the Government's reluctance to allow new mining on conservation land.

Protesters were the first to set foot on the new bridge, many critical of the Conservation minister, and the West Coast MP Damien O'Connor not escaping the attacks.

But he says it's premature to panic following the Government announcement that it won't issue new mining permits on Department of Conservation land.

"It will always be part of our West Coast economy. Clearly the announcement in relation to conservation land is of concern to people. That's why we've got to go through a very thorough process [about] what is a no-go area and what can be utilised," Mr O'Connor said. 

One-thousand trucks, representing hundreds of West Coast businesses, also protested. 

"We're not angry people, but they are concerned and they won't lay down for this. As you can see today, people are standing up for their rights," said Peter Haddock, rally organiser.

The march coincided with the opening of a new $25 million Taramakau Bridge south of Greymouth. Source: 1 NEWS



Would-be Hamilton dairy robber stabs counter with kitchen knife right in front of the shop assistant

A would-be robber stabbed the counter of a Hamilton dairy with a kitchen knife in front of the shop assistant before fleeing empty-handed today.

Police are appealing for public assistance to identify the offender following the incident at the Ellicott Road Dairy at about 1.20pm.

A man entered the store and approached the counter with his face partially covered, carrying a black handled kitchen knife, Acting Detective Sergeant Michael Handley said.

He struck the blade of the knife onto the counter twice, directly in front of the attending staff member.

The staff member told the offender police were on their way, and the offender promptly left the shop empty-handed heading in a westerly direction on Ellicott Street, Mr Handley said.

The offender is described as Maori or Pacific islander, 5ft 6in (167cm) tall, of solid to fat build, and he was wearing distinctive clothing.

Police say anyone who recognises who the man pictured will need to come forward and speak to police as soon as possible. 

Anyone who witnessed the incident is being encouraged to contact Constable Justin Hamilton, on 021 191 1215, or Hamilton Police on (07) 858 6200.

The suspect in the Ellicott Road Dairy attempted robbery. Source: Supplied

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New database to help give electric car owners confidence to travel long distances

A new database to verify electric vehicle charging stations will help give drivers confidence to travel long distances says the Associate Transport Minister.

EVRoam provides information across various apps and websites to let drivers know where they can charge their cars, what equipment is available and how long the charge will take.

There have been instances overseas where drivers have been caught out by charging stations marked on maps that don't actually exist.

Julie Ann Genter said one of the things stopping people choosing electric vehicles was concern over the charging network.

Electric Vehicle in Park Charging station.
Electric Vehicle in Park Charging station. Source: istock.com

"It's really important that if people are driving an electric vehicle they know where they can charge it, they can plan their trip accordingly.

"The data sharing is a really phenomenal move that will make it easier for people to be confident when they go to make their electric vehicle purchase."

Transport Agency spokesperson Harry Wilson said the information sharing platform meant charging infrastructure for electric vehicles was no longer limited to single purpose apps.

"From a Transport Agency perspective, understanding where we have charging infrastructure helps us identify potential gaps, so we can continue to work together to ensure the transport system, and technology, responds to the needs of EV customers all over the country."

There are currently 117 charging stations nationwide, with another 61 in the planning or construction stages.


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