Mangere housing development 'long overdue' - local board

A major housing development in Mangere will revitalise an area that has been neglected for too long, the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board says.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford announced yesterday that Mangere will have 10,000 new houses in a redevelopment of old state housing.

The development will replace 2700 "worn-out" state houses, Mr Twyford said.

In their place there will be about 3000 new state houses, 3500 new KiwiBuild affordable homes, and 3500 market homes.

Mr Twyford said the houses would be built over 10 to 15 years.

Construction of the first new state houses would start in the coming months and were due to be finished mid-2019.

Housing New Zealand would be working closely with affected tenants to find them a new place to live.

State house tenants should be able to stay in the area if they wanted to, Mr Twyford said.

Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board chair Lemauga Lydia Sosene said the development was "long overdue" in a community that had been starved of investment.

The "fantastic programme" would provide hope for families who could not afford to buy a home or rent, Ms Sosene said.

"We've been really pushing the agenda for Mangere-Otahuhu," she said.

Previous governments had neglected Mangere for too long, she said, and this project would revitalise the area.

Ms Sosene said more affordable houses and rentals in the area would also have knock-on benefits for people's health and well-being.

"It's about affording doctors visits, transport and groceries."

Labour MP for Mangere Aupito William Sio said he was satisfied with the plans for moving state house tenants.

Mr Sio said the question of what might happen to the tenants was raised early on.

"It hasn't happened overnight. There's been a genuine discussion right from the outset."

Govt launches housing plans in Mangere
Source: Te Karere


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Baby squirrels in the US freed from tail tangle

Baby squirrels in the US state of Wisconsin have been freed after their tails became dangerously tangled together.

They were handed in at the Wisconsin Humane Society’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre which worked to save the lives of the five young grey squirrels.

They became entangled with grass and plastic strips their mother used to build a nest.

The squirrels were cut free with scissors while under anaesthetic.

"You can imagine how wiggly and unruly this frightened, distressed ball of squirrely energy was, so our first step was to anaesthetise all five of them at the same time," the centre told the BBC.

Then they began unravelling the "Gordon Knot".

"It was impossible to tell whose tail was whose, and we were increasingly concerned because all of them had suffered from varying degrees of tissue damage to their tails caused by circulatory impairment.

"The creatures will soon be free to resume a tangle-free life in the wild," the centre said.

Baby squirrels in Wisconsin have been freed after their tails became dangerously tangled together. Source: rnz.co.nz

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Opinion: Will getting ahead in New Zealand increasingly become a lottery?

After recent struggles to get into the KiwiBuild ballot, it got me thinking what other things we used to take for granted in New Zealand might one day be left up to a lottery system?

Source: 1 NEWS

As the cost of living continues to race away from wages, it becomes increasingly hard to get on the property market, especially in the hyper-inflated Auckland region where I work and live.

In turn, this has led to the Government's KiwiBuild initiative, a noble one indeed, but something that would have been unimaginable back in my parents' day.

Outdated lending restrictions used by the major banks are not helping matters.

Currently, you can't get finance for a brand new affordable apartment with all the mod-cons if it's under 40 square metres, as most are these days.

However, they are more than happy to lend on a old tired more expensive apartment that is falling apart, which just hits the 40 square metre mark, and often look smaller than new builds due to poor layout.

The Government's "watered down" foreign buyer ban still lets overseas investors snap up these brand new apartments, meaning the status quo remains and there is no relief for the many Kiwis desperate to get into the market on any level.

National MP Judith Collins' comments this week criticising KiwiBuild suggest she is out of touch on the issue and gives little hope of any changes coming from that side of the House.

"Kiwi families deserve a home not a measly studio apartment only big enough for a single person and their cat," Ms Collins said.

What does she have against single people and cats? Are they so sub-human they don't deserve a place to live as well?

So, here we are with the lottery system, put your name in the hat and hope like hell you get selected to be hoisted onto the property ladder.

In the future, will other things once thought of as being part and parcel of living in New Zealand also become part of a lottery system?

It may sound far-fetched, but not many years ago so would a housing lottery too.

* Alan Kenyon is a 1 News Now Producer and would-be apartment owner. He does not own a cat.

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Woman lucky to be alive after shark takes 'big chunck' of her leg off Queensland coast

A Tasmanian mother on holiday in north Queensland's Whitsunday Islands region is lucky to be alive after a shark mauled her leg.

Justine Barwick, 46, was snorkelling at Cid Harbour on Wednesday when the attack happened leaving her with a severe wound to her left thigh and minor wounds to her calf.

Ms Barwick, a mother of two, would likely have bled to death without the quick- thinking actions of people in nearby boats.

In a second stroke of luck a rescue helicopter scrambled to the region was just 15 minutes away from the scene due to an earlier operation they'd been undertaking.

The hovering chopper drew the attention of John Hadok, an emergency department doctor from Mackay Base Hospital, who was sailing nearby and soon joined the effort to save Ms Barwick's life.

Dr Hadok's direction ensured correct first aid was given to Ms Barwick, allowing her to be safely winched into the helicopter.

RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter crewman Ben McCauley said the doctor and others who gave first aid to Ms Barwick before she was winched aboard had likely saved her life.

"The original first aid was actually really well done," Mr McCauley told reporters today.

"We actually didn't have to do anything with the leg, it was pretty much tourniqueted up, bandaged up and bleeding had stopped. They'd done a really good job."

Although he didn't see the wound, Mr McCauley was told Ms Bariwck had "quite a big chunk of leg taken" and had suffered arterial bleeding.

She also suffered puncture wounds to her calf muscle.

The helicopter then stopped at Proserpine to refuel, allowing blood from a local hospital to be transfused and other medical treatment given.

Just after 8pm Ms Barwick arrived at Mackay Base Hospital where she remains in a critical condition on Thursday morning after overnight surgery.

Her husband Craig is at her bedside.

Ms Barwick works for non-profit Family Based Care in Burnie and had travelled to the Whitsundays on a holiday with her husband and friends.

Family Based Care chief executive Doug Doherty said Ms Barwick and Craig were regular visitors to the popular tourist destination in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

"It didn't surprise me, because she is such a fighter, when she was being taken off the rescue helicopter and taken into hospital she was telling them what she was allergic too and still able to give directions," Mr Doherty told AAP.

"That sounds like Justine to me."

Sharks (file picture). Source: istock.com


US federal agency admits losing track of 1,488 'vulnerable' migrant children

Twice in less than a year, the US federal government has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children after placing them in the homes of sponsors across the country, federal officials have acknowledged.

The Health and Human Services Department recently told Senate staffers that case managers could not find 1,488 children after they made follow-up calls to check on their safety from April through June.

That number represents about 13 per cent of all unaccompanied children the administration moved out of shelters and foster homes during that time.

The agency first disclosed that it had lost track of 1,475 children late last year, as it came under fire at a Senate hearing in April.

Lawmakers had asked HHS officials how they had strengthened child protection policies since it came to light that the agency previously had rolled back safeguards meant to keep Central American children from ending up in the hands of human traffickers.

"The fact that HHS, which placed these unaccompanied minors with sponsors, doesn't know the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 of them is very troubling," Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the panel's chair, said.

"Many of these kids are vulnerable to trafficking and abuse, and to not take responsibility for their safety is unacceptable."

HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley disputed the notion that the children were "lost".

"Their sponsors, who are usually parents or family members and in all cases have been vetted for criminality and ability to provide for them, simply did not respond or could not be reached when this voluntary call was made," she said in a statement.

Since October 2014, the federal government has placed more than 150,000 unaccompanied minors with parents or other adult sponsors who are expected to care for the children and help them attend school while they seek legal status in immigration court.

Yesterday, members of a Senate subcommittee introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at requiring the agency to take responsibility for the care of migrant children, even when they are no longer in their custody.

An Associated Press investigation found in 2016 that more than two dozen unaccompanied children had been sent to homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work for little or no pay.

At the time, many adult sponsors didn't undergo thorough background checks, government officials rarely visited homes and in some cases had no idea that sponsors had taken in several unrelated children, a possible sign of human trafficking.

Since then, HHS has boosted outreach to at-risk children deemed to need extra protection, and last year offered post-placement services to about one-third of unaccompanied minors, according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

But advocates say it is hard to know how many minors may be in dangerous conditions, in part because some disappear before social workers can follow up with them and never show up in court.

The legislation comes as the Trump administration faces litigation over its family separation policy at the US-Mexican border, which while it was in effect sent hundreds more children into the HHS system of shelters and foster care.

Some of those children have since been reunited with their families, while others have been placed with sponsors.

Oakley did not respond to questions regarding whether any of the children who the agency lost track of had been separated from their families before they were sent to live with sponsors.

The legislation is aimed at ensuring HHS does more to prevent abuse, runs background checks before placing children with sponsors, and notifies state governments before sending children to those states, the bill's sponsors said.

"The already challenging reality migrant children face is being made even more difficult and, too often, more dangerous," said the panel's top Democrat, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware.

"This simply doesn't have to be the case and, as this legislation demonstrates, the solutions don't have to be partisan."

The White House has accused Democrats and the media of exploiting the photo. Source: US ABC / 1 NEWS