Wellington crash commuter chaos adds urgency to unclogging capital's roads

A fatal crash that caused commuter chaos in Wellington this morning has added urgency to moves to unclog the capital's roads. 

Transport officials and local councils are investigating ways to make sure Wellington's roads can cope better with unexpected incidents.

The early morning crash at the southern end of the Terrace Tunnel left one person dead and rush hour traffic gridlocked.

Just before 8am the southern end of the tunnel was closed, a main congestion point into the CBD.

Wellington road policing manager Inspector Jan Simpson says the serious crash unit attended to investigate the accident.

"As a result of that we needed to close the road, close the tunnel. So the traffic was diverted which caused quite a lot of delays until it was reopened about one o'clock."

Mark Owen of the New Zealand Transport Agency says the closure "just points to the criticality of these key arterial routes, and access in and out of the city. And obviously while there were some alternative routes, they do struggle sometimes with the volume of traffic, particularly at those busy peak hours in the morning". 

That's something the region's two councils and the NZTA are looking into.

There are very few corridors - Barry Mein of Let's Get Wellington Moving

"Let's Get Wellington Moving" is a project to shore up Wellington's transport system and vulnerability to disruption, such as this morning.

"One of the things with Wellington is the network is quite constrained. There are very few corridors. And so the problem is how we deal with that," said Barry Mein of Let's Get Wellington Moving.

It looked at a number of options. One scenario comprises public transport lanes, improving walking on key routes, and creating connected cycleways.

Another includes a second Mount Victoria Tunnel with new walking and cycle access.

The most costly and most popular scenario includes a second Terrace Tunnel.

"It was the option that I think most of the feedback supported. But there were a number of people who didn't agree with putting so many roads in, including the Terrace Tunnel. So yes, we are working through exactly what we do," Mr Mein said.

It's predicted that by 2043, there will be 46,000 more people living in Wellington City.

Let's Get Wellington Moving says it's vital to get a plan in place to cope.

That plan for the future of the city's roading, and where the money cash will come from, are expected in the coming months.

A fatal crash caused commuter chaos in the capital today. Source: 1 NEWS



'Should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake' - Engineer casts doubt over plane typo

Cathay Pacific are not shying away from a huge mistake – a typo to be exact.

The airline had a Boeing 777-367 on the ground at Hong Kong airport emblazoned with “Cathay Paciic” after leaving the f out of its name.

The airline referenced the error on its Twitter account but an engineer for sister company, Haeco, cast doubt over the typo.

“The spacing is too on-point for a mishap. We have stencils. Should be a blank gap in between letters if it was a real mistake I think,” the engineer told the South China Morning Post.

The Boeing 777 was snapped in Hong Kong this week with the major error for all to see. Source: Breakfast

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Jacinda Ardern says refugee quota gives NZ strength ahead of UN summit

Yesterday's refugee quota announcement, paired with the ban on oil and gas exploration announced in April, will give Jacinda Ardern more credibility and a stronger hand while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, she said.

"Of course, doing your part adds to your weight that you're able to bring to the debate," she told 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay in a one-on-one interview today.

Climate change, big interviews and baby Neve were all on the agenda for the pair. Source: 1 NEWS

During what will be her first UN General Assembly meeting, the Prime Minister has been chosen to deliver a number of keynote addresses, including for the opening of UN Climate Week. In devising her strategy for the week, Ms Ardern said she turned to our past.

"Nuclear proliferation is a great example," she said. "New Zealand's always been looked to as an exemplar because we've always taken a firm stance and we've acted on it. On climate change I hope we'll be seen in the same way. But yes, the refugee quote is about us doing our bit in response to a humanitarian crisis."

Ms Ardern announced yesterday that starting in 2020 New Zealand will help resettle 1500 refugees here per year, 500 more than the current amount and double what it will have been just five years earlier. The move has been hailed by the Red Cross and other humanitarian groups.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Also during her week in New York, Ms Ardern will be appearing on the Today Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and will sit down for an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"It's hard for me really to know whether I'm getting any more or any less (attention) than other New Zealand leaders," she said as Mutch McKay pointed out they're pretty "big gigs".

"They are (big) but I'll be doing my best to make sure that they are in the best interest of New Zealanders as well," she said. "That I use those opportunities to promote New Zealand -- in some cases, as a destination, on others just promote our stance in issues of international significance.

"For me, it's about making sure I'm the best representative for New Zealand I can be while abroad."

The government say the move is to cut rising greenhouse emissions. Source: 1 NEWS

This week’s refugee quota announcement should give the PM a stronger hand in NYC, she told 1 NEWS journalist Jessica Mutch McKay. Source: 1 NEWS

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Man who beat pensioner to death soon after release from mental health unit jailed at least 13 years

A man who stomped a pensioner to death shortly after being discharged from Auckland City Hospital's mental health unit has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim appeared at the High Court in Auckland today for sentencing for the murder of 69-year-old Michael Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland's daughter told the court that the pain of losing her father was immense.

She said her father was just an old man who enjoyed collecting National Geographic magazines and reading. He treasured gifts and letters from his children like diamonds.

Yad-Elohim had been out of Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera for only three days when he killed Mr Mulholland in September last year.

His lawyers argued he had a disease of the mind, was hearing voices at the time and had no way of telling right from wrong.

The Crown said despite having schizophrenia, he knew right from wrong and killed Mr Mulholland for revenge after losing $200 in a methamphetamine deal.

rnz.co.nz

Gabriel Yad-Elohim at the High Court in Auckland today. (Claire Eastham-Farrelly) Source: rnz.co.nz


Tax working group suggests two options for capital gains tax, change to tax brackets

Two ways of taxing capital have been proposed by the Tax Working Group, including extending the current income tax regime.

File image of $50 and $100 notes. Source: 1 NEWS

Tax Working Group has released an interim report proposing two options for taxing capital gain.

The group was established by the government to look at whether there should be any changes to the tax system, including a potential capital gains tax - excluding the family home.

The head of the working group, Sir Michael Cullen, has just presented the interim report.

The group has received about 6700 submissions and spoke with business and community groups in roadshows across the country.

The group is proposing two options for taxing capital gain: any gain from the sale of assets taxed at roughly the marginal income tax rate, and the second a regime under which a portion of the value of certain assets would be subject to tax, for example rental properties, to be paid each year.

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

However, Sir Michael said neither of these options were actual recommendations.

The report found there was "significant scope" to use tax to "sustain and enhance" New Zealand's "natural capital", including options like a waste disposal levy, "strengthening" the Emissions Trading Scheme, and congestion charges.

It also proposed removing the tax on employer contributions to superannuation schemes for those earning less than $48,000 a year.

The working group made no final recommendations about income tax rates, but suggested a progressive approach would be to reduce rates for the lower threshold tax brackets.

Public feedback will now be sought before the working group releases its final report in February 2019.


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