Home' Greymouth Star : March 25th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Wednesday, March 25, 2015
A ship captain in charge of a 37,000-tonne
fertiliser carrier who admitted being almost
five times over the alcohol limit has been
sacked by his employer.
Pramod Kumar was in charge of African
Harrier, which was set to leave the Port of
Tauranga on Sunday.
However, the ship’s pilot noticed Kumar
was showing signs of drunkeness and
immediately suspended the departure of the
ship and contacted Maritime New Zealand
who in turn contacted the police.
MUR (Shipping) confirmed the master
of the MV African Harrier was relieved of
his command at the Port of Tauranga due
to a breach of the Standards of Training
Certification and Watchkeeping Regulation,
and the company ’s own drug and alcohol
Mr Kumar was fined $3000 in the Tauranga
MUR’s chief executive officer Robert
Muirhead said he was shocked and
disappointed by this serious breach of the
regulations and has ordered a full inquiry.
“ We will ask independent auditors to
assist us and ensure the investigation is as
comprehensive as possible. An incident like
this has never happened before in our 20-year
history and we will endeavour to ensure it can
never happen again.”
Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark
Cairns said he did not want to contemplate
what could have happened if Mr Kumar had
captained the African Harrier out of the
Port of Tauranga. However, he was proud
of the actions of the pilot who first alerted
Maritime New Zealand.
The pilot ’s actions showed how serious the
port was about safety, he said.
Mr Cairns said over the last few years the
port had been looking at introducing random
alcohol and drug testings on port staff on
top of pre-employment testing already in
place with all management staff having had
training on how to identify people under the
influence of drugs and alcohol.
It was the first alcohol-related offence at
the port in the 10 years he had been there,
Maritime New Zealand Director Keith
Manch said the legislation did not allow
random alcohol and drug testing.
However, many companies would have
their own drug and alcohol policies
which would manage these sorts of issues
“New Zealand-employed pilots are on
board all big ships during arrivals and
departures in our ports. This means we have
“eyes on the bridge” of each ship that visits a
New Zealand port. We have no evidence to
suggest alcohol use is a widespread problem. ”
Mr Manch said testing would be undertaken
when there was reasonable suspicion of
a breach of the law but the Ministry of
Transport was exploring the need for a new
regime to manage alcohol and drug related
impairment in aviation, maritime and rail.
Mr Manch said in 2010, Maritime New
Zealand used its Port State Control powers
to detain the vessel Tasman Pathfinder in
Wellington, after the pilot reported the
master was under the influence of alcohol.The
ship was also kept in port until a replacement
master was flown out by the company.
A replacement master has been appointed
to the African Harrier and the vessel has now
sailed for Marsden Point.
— NZ ME-Bay of Plenty Times
Captain fired for
being drunk on ship
Proposed changes to Cotton On’s collective
agreement with its staff has created a stir on
social media, with many Twitter users calling
for a boycott of the fashion retailer.
Changes to the collective agreement would
mean staff at the Auckland distribution centre
have to individually negotiate a tea and lunch
It follows the introduction in October last
year of a law that took away the legal right
to a tea break. The Employment Relations
Amendment Bill also weakened collective
Urges to boycott the Australian fashion
chain’s New Zealand stores have come from
many Twitter users.
Labour has gone on the attack, saying
responsibility rests with the Government,
but Workplace Relations Minister Michael
Woodhouse said if the workers’ union did
not like the conditions they could simply say
Mr Woodhouse said he would not comment
on specific negotiations, but said recent
changes had simply returned the law to what it
had been before the last Labour government.
“There is a very straightfor ward response
to a vocal and confident union that
doesn’t like the idea of building flexibility
into the agreement — and that is, just say
Labour leader Andrew Little said those
comments showed Mr Woodhouse did not
understand how such negotiations took place.
“Cotton On is doing what big corporate
employers tend to do — look at the law and
see what they can get away with.
“If you write a law that allows employers to
take away rest breaks and meal breaks, don’t
be surprised when employers then apply the
law. The responsibility for this lies entirely at
the Government ’s feet.”
Business New Zealand manager of
employment relations policy Paul Mckay told
Radio New Zealand the law did not prevent
workers from taking lunch breaks at a time
negotiated by the employer and worker.
“It’s not a case of no breaks, it’s a case
of working out when those breaks can be
He said workers who finish their shift
without taking breaks were then entitled to
compensation, he said.
First Union secretary Robert Reid said the
retail workers union was currently negotiating
a collective agreement for staff at Cotton On’s
distribution centre in Auckland.
“The Prime Minister reassured New
Zealanders that ‘post the passing of this law,
will you all of a sudden find thousands of
workers who are denied having a tea break?
The answer is absolutely not ’. We now
know the Prime Minister’s assurance was
misleading,” Mr Reid said.
“Negotiations began in July last year and
both parties agreed to paid tea and meal breaks.
But after the government ’s law changes came
into force Cotton On has submitted a late
claim to remove tea and meal breaks.
“Cotton On is trying to take advantage of a
law that was always meant to strip workers of
Mr Reid vowed that the retail chain’s
workers and the union would resist the
proposed change and that strike action was
Cotton On had not finished bargaining the
collective agreement and the outcome would
be known once the process was finished.
Company’s collective agreement
changes create a stir
A crash that injured four
people — including two
children — and closed
a busy Auckland road
yesterday was caused by
a stolen car driven by
15-year-olds wanted by the
The vehicle failed to
negotiate the intersection
of Browns and Orams
Roads, off Great South
Road, and crashed into
three parked cars about
A St John spokeswoman
said four people were
transferred to Middlemore
Hospital. Two patients
had minor injuries and two
had moderate injuries, she
Police said two 15-year-
olds ran from the crash
scene but were stopped at a
nearby petrol station.
“Police had previously
attempted to pull the car
over in nearby suburb
Weymouth and had been
following the vehicle
with sirens and flashing
red and blue lights
for approximately two
minutes,” a statement said.
“The pursuit was
1km before the crash due
to the dangerous manner
Inspector Julia Lynch,
central area commander
for Counties Manukau
police, said both offenders
were in breach of their
bail conditions and had
been wanted by police in
relation to other matters
before the crash.
The two boys will
face various charges at
the Manukau Youth
Court and the incident
will be referred to the
Ms Lynch said the
incident demonstrated the
tragic consequences that
could result from people
having a blatant disregard
for public safety and the
“There have been a
number of incidents
Auckland recently where
young people have been
found driving stolen
vehicles, some children as
young as 13.
“This is a hugely
dangerous practice and
today has shown that it
is only a matter of time
before someone is seriously
injured or killed ...
“ We urge all parents
and caregivers to take
responsibility for your
children and ensure they
are safe at home or in
school rather than putting
themselves and the
public at risk in stolen
“O ur thoughts are with
those motorists who have
been injured in today ’s
crash and we wish them a
— New Zealand Herald
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Four people were injured when a stolen car hit three cars in Manurewa.
Four injured after
A father-of-two suffering from head,
shoulder and ankle injuries is lucky to be
home after being targeted in an alleged road
rage incident that claimed the life of his
family’s puppy in Canterbury yesterday.
Police became aware of the incident,
which involved a dark grey Nissan four-
wheel-drive and a family of four near
Eyreton, 20 minutes north of Christchurch,
At the time, the man was out walking with
his wife, their two children and the family’s
“ We understand that the man signalled the
driver of the Nissan to slow down when he
exited the Eyre River crossing onto Downs
road,” detective sergeant Rex Barnett said.
The driver appeared to take offence at
being signalled by the man and tried to
knock him over.
To avoid being run down, the man “took
evasive action”, which included leaping a
barbed wire fence — however he appeared
to have been hit at least once, Mr Barnett
The Nissan was also described as doing
It is believed the family’s puppy was hit as
the vehicle fled the scene.
The dog had to be put down because of the
severity of its injuries, Mr Barnett said.
The man was treated at Christchurch
Hospital for cuts to his hands, cuts and
bruises on his head and injuries to his
shoulder and ankle.
He has since been released and was
recovering at home. No other members of
his family were hurt.
A 51-year-old man from Ohoka has been
arrested in relation to the incident.
“This was an extremely serious incident
and it is lucky that the man was not more
seriously injured and that his family escaped
injury,” Mr Barnett said.
“ It is particularly upsetting for the family’s
two children to have witnessed the incident
and ultimately lost their new family pet.”
The 51-year-old man has been charged
with injuring with intent to cause grievous
bodily harm and cruelty to an animal. He
is due to appear in Christchurch District
— N Z ME-New Zealand Herald
as road rage
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