What's wrong with a bit of DIY roadside berm beautification?

Mobility scooter users, those with failing eyesight, parents with prams - these are some of the people who want council rules on berm encroachments to get even tougher.

Geoff Benge, one of 180 or so mobility scooter users in Waikanae, is calling for urgent work in his part of the country. He's fed up with overgrown vegetation blocking his path, and branches that interfere with riding on pavements.

He saw the story on Fair Go two weeks back about a berm encroachment in New Plymouth, caused by a planter edging 60cm or so onto the Council berm. Geoff sympathised with the garden owner that it wasn't much of an encroachment, but felt strongly that if one person is allowed to break the rules, it will lead to others breaking them, and cause further problems for pavement users elsewhere.

Geoff is keen for the Kapiti Coast District Council to start taking action before there's an accident. The response of the council was that they would "investigate all complaints received about berm encroachments and take appropriate action where there are significant safety and accessibility issues".

They added that "when investigating complaints we aim to strike a balance between retaining the historical character of an area, safety and accessibility."

Another Fair Go viewer, David Baker, who is blind, also wants councils to take a harder line. He accused the New Plymouth council who featured in our original story of double standards.

In his view, the council put the spotlight on the encroaching planter because it was a hazard. Yet, they were happy for it to stay if the owner paid an annual fee. This raised a further question in David's mind, "if a blind person falls over and injures themselves with such an approved exempted obstacle will the council compensate them?”

It's a fair point so we asked the council for their response. They said that the fee was charged because the planter in question was "built on public land which does not belong to (the owners), and they have not asked for permission."

They added that "we don't believe there's a safety hazard, and we've looked for a compromise with (the owners) by asking them to pay an encroachment license". It doesn't strictly answer David's question, but highlights the fact that every council faces a balancing act. After all, beautification of an area with greenery is to be commended, but many feel  safety should come first. 

It’s not just councils that are going ape over guerrilla gardeners. Source: Fair Go

'My god she can run' - woman at centre of hilarious Kawakawa dog escape video says Lily is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame

A Bay of Islands woman told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp she is "never going to live this down" after footage of her rescue dog Lily dragging a bakery's flag down the main street of Kawakawa went viral around the globe.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 500,000 times since it was posted to Facebook last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

But the Basset Hound received a fright and bolted despite being tied to a large Coca-Cola flag forcing Lucie to give chase.

"For an animal with just little legs, my god she can run," Lucie told Seven Sharp.

Lily, Lucie and the rogue flag brought Kawakawa's State Highway 1 strip to a standstill, the whole escapade captured on CCTV.

"My partner owns a local CCTV company I got to the office and I told him what had happened.

"He didn't tell me he'd done it, but he edited footage and put the music on and uploaded it to Facebook and tagged me in it.

"I knew it was trouble when basically by the time we'd gone to bed last night it had hit 100,000 views," Lucie said.

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

Lucie does see the funny side of events however.

"They say every dog has their day, so I guess Lily is enjoying her 15 mins of fame." 

Lily made a run for it when owner Lucie Green stopped at a shop in the Northland town. Source: Seven Sharp


Tracking down New Plymouth youth MP candidates after Andrew Little's 'hip' appeal

Labour MP Andrew Little released a tongue in cheek video encouraging young people from New Plymouth to get involved in politics today.

The video inspired TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to travel to Mr Little's old school to find the perfect candidate for its new youth MP.

Judge for yourself if New Plymouth Boys' High students Thomas Foy and Jarrod Wilson have what it takes in the video above.

Tamati Rimene-Sproat is on the case after the Labour MP's piece of political theatre. Source: Seven Sharp


Watch: Take a tour inside Kate Sheppard’s former house where suffragists worked to get women the right to vote

Suffragist Kate Sheppard's old house in Christchurch goes up for auction next month - so Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry took a tour.

Ms Sheppard was instrumental in gaining New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893. She carried out important work for the suffrage movement in the house during the late 19th Century.

Today saw celebrations around the country marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern has indicated the Government is interested in buying the house for the nation. It's expected to fetch in excess of $3 million when it goes under the hammer on October 17.

Hilary Barry met with the home's current owner Julia Burbury who showed her around the dwelling set on one acre of gardens.

The house has a category one heritage listing.

The piece of New Zealand history in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million, is up for auction. Source: Seven Sharp

Mum distraught as son turned away from Hutt Valley High School because he didn't have permanent address

Being homeless has become an obstacle for one mother wanting to give her child an education.

Helen Taitapanui and her son were turned away from Hutt Valley High School last week because they don't have a permanent residential address.

Ms Taitapanui, is currently battling cancer and lives in a motel with her teenage son while they wait for a permanent home.

"We've got to be glad that we've got that when we know that a lot of our families are out there living in cars," Ms Taitapanui told 1 NEWS.

However, this was a problem when she tried to enrol her son at a local school.

"The response was it's against their policy to register children living out of a motel. you had to have a residential address," Ms Taitapanui said.

She complained to the Ministry of Education and shortly after Hutt Valley High School reversed its decision.

Ms Taitapanui says her son's excited about going back to school.

"I know once he steps back into the realm of education he'll be well and truly away."

She hopes by speaking out, another unnecessary obstacle will be removed for the homeless.

Being homeless threw up an unexpected obstacle for a mum wanting to educate her child. Source: 1 NEWS