Three teens charged over vicious central Auckland assault in May

Three teenagers have been arrested and charged over an alleged assault on two men on May 5 on Auckland's Queen Street.

CCTV footage was earlier released of the attack, where the two men were left unconscious on the ground.

Three 17-year-old males have been charged with two counts of intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and one of the males also faces a charge of assault with a weapon.

Two of the teens have since appeared in Auckland District Court where they were remanded on bail until their next court appearance on 13 June 2018.

The third male will be appearing in the Youth Court.

In a statement police thank the public and Police Ten 7 for assistance in identifying the teens.

Police are now looking for the people involved, who set upon two people on May 6 outside the Mecca Maxima store. Source: Police 10/7

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Police to begin nationwide drug-testing of waste water

Police will begin testing wastewater networks for several types of drugs across the country after a pilot programmes were conducted in Auckland, Christchurch and Whangarei.

Testing for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, MDMA and Fentanyl has been conducted at treatment sites in the three cities since 2016, police said, and they are now expanding the programme to include a total of 38 sites across 12 police districts.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said testing like this gives good intelligence on the prevalence and usage of various drugs in different communities, which gives police guidance on where they should concentrate their efforts.

"Over the past 18 months, 1.5kg of methamphetamine was estimated to have been consumed on average each week across the three test sites," Mr Bush said.

"This translates to an estimated $2 million a week in social harm.

"Expanding the number of sample locations will help us identify differences in drug use between geographic regions and will act as an early warning system for emerging risks."

The testing will be carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research and is expected to capture data from about 80 per cent of New Zealand's population.

Testing for cannabis will also be introduced in Northland and Auckland regions, and testing for ephedrine/pseudoephedrine will be introduced nationwide.

Police expect to begin the nationwide testing scheme by the end of October.

The information included methods of smoking meth safely, advice on avoiding a jail term and more, but was necessary, Ross Bell said.
Source: 1 NEWS

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Jacinda Ardern uses Mental Health Awareness Week to encourage Kiwis to be more 'open' regarding struggles

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has encouraged New Zealanders – and particularly Kiwi men - to be more open with each other regarding their mental health struggles.

Asked to share her thoughts today during Mental Health Awareness Week, Ms Ardern called for Kiwis to speak more openly about day-to-day issues.

"There's something to be said for us speaking more openly around just the issues that people face day-to-day...being much more open with each other around the stress and strain that people feel in a modern environment," she told media.

"The large majority of people never come to the attention of our mental health services and yet take their own lives and so the first step is seeking help and encouraging people to be much more open particularly, males in our community."

Ms Ardern said the stress and strain she felt were largely related to her job.

"Without wanting to overstate it, whatever I experience it probably just reflects the job that I’m in and not necessarily more than that," she said.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7)

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7)

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (7pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 children's helpline (1pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-10pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

Safe to talk National Sexual Harm Helpline - 0800 044 334, www.safetotalk.nz

Victim Support National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 842 846, www.victimsupport.org.nz

·         Rape Crisis National 24 Hour Helpline 0800 883300

The Prime Minister spoke about the issue during Mental Health Awareness Week. Source: 1 NEWS

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Government set to crack down on loan sharks with fines of up to $600k for lenders who break rules

The Government is set to crack down on loan sharks, introducing a range measures designed to stop the lenders exploiting vulnerable or financially-naive people.

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi announced the measures today, which include a cap on the amount of interest that can be charged, as well as a cap on fees.

There will be "stiff" penalties for lenders who break the rules, Mr Faafoi said, and lenders, door-to-door salespeople and truck shop operators will now be vetted with a "fit and proper person" test.

"The 2015 amendments to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) did not go far enough in protecting our most vulnerable consumers from loan sharks," Mr Faafoi said.

"The introduction of an interest and fees cap on high-cost loans will prevent people from accumulating large debt from a single small loan.

"For example, if you borrow $500 you will never have to pay back more than $1,000 in total, including all fees and interest.

"The changes also lift the level of professionalism across the industry, by requiring directors and chief executives of lenders offering consumer credit contracts to pass a 'fit and proper person' test in order to register as a Financial Service Provider.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"Any lenders breaching the responsible lender principles will face stiff new penalties of fines up to $600,000 under the strengthened enforcement provisions in the CCCFA.

"We listened to consumer advocates and the finance sector's feedback and will also be seeking increased resources for enforcement and monitoring to ensure lenders who break the law are detected and stopped."

The new measures will also strengthen the legal status of "do not knock" signs on premises, to combat uninvited salespeople.

Mr Faafoi said the new measures will come into effect from 2020, subject to Parliamentary timeframes.

The Government is cracking down on loan sharks and truck shops who sometimes prey on financially-vulnerable people. Source: 1 NEWS


Cold snap to bring snow to low levels in South Island, chilly weather set to hit further north

A wintry blast expected to hit the country later today could affect travellers on some South Island roads.

MetService is warning the cold front set to move over the lower South Island will bring snow to low levels.

Inland parts of Otago and south Canterbury are under a heavy snow watch with snow levels dropping to 400m, and snow is expected down to 200m for Fiordland and Southland today.

MetService issued snowfall warnings for several roads, including the Crown Range and Milford roads where snow showers are expected from mid-afternoon. On Lindis and Haast Pass light snow is expected later this evening.

The road to Milford Sound has been closed because of avalanche risk.

Heavy rain and low-level snow are forecast as a front moves north-east over Fiordland and Southland this morning.

State Highway 94 from Te Anau is likely be closed all of today at this stage.

The weather front producing the snow only reaches upper South Island at midnight, so the North Island is forecast to be mainly fine and dry today.

Heavy rain is due in the ranges of Buller and Nelson, and the Richmond Range tomorrow.

Later in the week the strong, cold south to southeasterly flow is expected to spread across the North Island, bringing high winds to parts of Wellington and coastal Marlborough, and possible snow above 600m in the central North Island high country and the ranges of Hawke's Bay.

The Desert Road and the Napier to Taupo Road are likely to be affected.

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Source: istock.com