Home' Greymouth Star : May 15th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
The truck is prepared to be towed away.
An unmanned rubbish truck
smashed through the front of a
heritage building in Auckland
The truck rolled into a historic
building on Normanby Road in
Mount Eden at 5am.
There was no driver in the
vehicle at the time, police said.
The building has been home to
the Normanby Road Vet Clinic
for 10 years and owner Chris
Laurenson said it was the first
time an accident had occurred
Major brickwork and glass was
smashed when the truck came
through the front entrance, he
The business still opened and
customers just needed to use the
back door, he said.
“It ’s major brickwork and door
work so it could take a while. It’s
been here for a while, it’s one of
the older buildings in town.
“ We don’t know yet (when
it will be fixed), we’re still just
sorting it out.”
Vet nurse Louise Dilly said the
vehicle had brake problems and
rolled into the brick building.
No one was injured and the
truck was towed away.
Ms Dilly says one cat was in the
c linic at the time but it was not
The brick building was
originally built as an office for
an ammunition manufacturing
Ammunition Company, in 1916.
It was scheduled on the New
Zealand heritage list in 2014
as a Historic Place category 1
Inspector Tony Wakelin said it
appeared the handbrake was still
on but there was no driver in the
vehicle at the time.
A police commercial vehicle
investigation unit would be
investigating. — NZ ME
Rubbish truck crashes into historic building
PICTURES: New Zealand Herald
Chris Laurenson checks the damage after the rubbish truck struck the historic brick building.
6 - Friday, May 15, 2015
Conflict of interest claims against
former National MP Katherine
Rich will not be investigated by
the Office of the Auditor-General.
The Green Party had asked the
Auditor-General to investigate
what it called “serious conflicts
of interest ” over Mrs Rich’s roles
as chief executive of the Food and
Grocery Council, and member of
the board of the Health Promotion
The Health Promotion Agency
(HPA) is a Crown entity charged
with promoting health, well-being
and healthy lifestyles.
The Food and Grocery Council
is an industry association that
represents manufacturers and
suppliers behind New Zealand
food, beverage, and grocery brands.
Kevin Hague, the Greens’
health spokesman, said the
agency ran campaigns to limit the
consumption of unhealthy food,
tobacco, and alcohol.
At the same time, the businesses Mrs Rich
promoted, as head of the food and grocery
council, profited from the sale of those products.
Yesterday afternoon a letter from the Office
of the Auditor-General (OAG) to Dr Lee
Mathias, the HPA chair was released.
Noting complaints from members of the
public, the OAG said it had considered the
issues raised, obtained and reviewed relevant
documents, and spoken with the HPA chair
and chief executive.
“ We are satisfied that there are no matters
we need to investigate further. We have not
identified problems with the management of
conflicts of interest by the HPA.
“ We consider it would be too simplistic to
assume that the aims and activities of the
HPA and FGC are incontrovertibly opposed
and utterly incompatible, such that a person
who was associated with one organisation was
impossibly compromised from any association
with the other.
“Similarly, it would be too vague and indirect
to conclude that it is impermissible
for Mrs Rich to participate in any
matter relating to a broad general
subject-matter, such as alcohol or
The OAG said that its review of
HPA’s minutes had not identified
any matters or decisions that
might raise serious concerns about
its management of conflicts of
“O ur office does not have a role in
ruling on whether a person should
or should not be a member of the
board of a Crown entity. That is a
matter for the Minister’s (Health
Minister Jonathan Coleman)
“The people who wrote to us also
mentioned allegations in Nicky
Hager’s 2014 book Dirty Politics
about things Mrs Rich is said to
have done in her private capacity.
However, those are not matters
we would investigate. They do not
relate to Mrs Rich’s conduct on
the HPA. ”
Mr Hague said he was disappointed the OAG
had declined to investigate further.
“There is a fundamental conflict in Ms
Rich’s two roles, but the problem is that the
management of her conflict is left to her, and
to the chair of the HPA, who is also a political
“If the system is going to allow for political
appointments, there needs to be better, clearer
guidelines about what constitutes a conflict and
what is appropriate management of it.
“Given the level of concern by the public, the
opposition and the public health sector, I’m
asking the Minister to reconsider his earlier
decision and ask the State Ser vices Commission
to investigate,” Mr Hague said.
Mrs Rich said she welcomed the clear outcome
of the OAG’s review.
“I’m pleased with the result, which vindicates
my position. Accusations that I had broken
the law and not declared interests were
disappointing, wrong and defamatory.”
— NZ ME -New Zealand Herald
‘mumbo jumbo’ plan
High school students will be sitting exams
on computers by the end of this year. The
New Zealand Qualifications Authority is
offering an NCEA maths paper in a digital
format, following a successful pilot last year.
The NZQA plans to get rid of paper-based
exams for some subjects by 2018, with all
subjects — minus a few that are incompatible,
like art — on -line by 2020.
“Things are happening so fast in the digital
space,” the new head of digital transformation,
Richard Thornton, said. “ This year we are
pushing it quite hard — it is something we
would like schools to do.”
The first assessment to be offered will be
MCAT (maths common assessment task).
Last year 75 students participated in a
practice exam, but this year it will be offered
in 100 schools.
Students’ grades in the paper will be counted
Mr Thornton said while last year the
students trialled the test on a computer,
this year they were also trying touch-screen
tablets that could change finger scribbles to
He said 30% of schools had tablets, while
others used systems based around a keyboard
“O ur thinking down the track is that the
input needs to be device agnostic. It shouldn’t
matter what you’ve got — the software must
be capable of taking on any of those.”
The NZQA would also trial a digital
listening test for languages this year. Another
project was looking at special assessment
conditions for students with learning issues
like dyslexia who would normally use a reader
or a writer.
It meant they could highlight and replay
text as many times as they wanted, and
eventually would be able to sit in the same
exam room as other students.
Eventually, digital exams would be
compulsory across schools.
Secondary Principals’ Council chairman
Allan Vester said there would seem to be
some advantages to going on-line, but the
sector needed to ensure it was used as an
opportunity to move to assessing 21st century
“ We need to make sure that the assessments
are driven by the curriculum and learning,
not by the ability of the technology to carry
out the full range of assessment tasks.”
Mr Vester and Secondary Principals’
Association New Zealand president Sandy
Pasely were concerned about access to
Ms Pasely said the policy needed to be well
resourced and right for all schools, not just
those with good technology access.
“Have they considered the hardware
needed, the tech support, Wifi speeds around
the country, and the skill levels of different
children?” she said.
“ We already have issues with listening just
with CDs. So there are a huge number of
issues that have to be worked through.
“The sector needs to be reassured about
NZQA will embark on an information
campaign in schools this term.
— N ZM E-New Zealand Herald
High school exams moving on-line
Labour has slammed the
spending of more than $500,000
on a programme that uses
colours to try to change thinking
within the Ministry of Social
“The Government is never
slow to call everyone else on
wasteful spending — tightening
others’ belts is a favourite
pastime,” Labour’s State ser vices
spokesman Kris Faafoi said.
“ Yet here we have a department,
whose clients are queuing at food
banks, squandering taxpayer cash
on a programme that has all the
hallmarks of mumbo-jumbo.”
The consulting firm Human
Synergistics has been hired to
implement a programme at the
ministry called Building Blue.
The colour blue is used to
illustrate desirable behaviour
such as achievement and self-
and green represent negative
behaviours like dependence,
About $320,000 was spent
on the project in 2013-14, with
another $220,000 budgeted for
“ Managers are being asked to
reflect on their behavioural style
by ‘colouring’ their thinking
blue,” Mr Faafoi said.
improving staff morale and
changing workplace culture is
to ensure staff know they are
trusted and valued. That takes
leadership, not misuse of public
In February, MSD defended its
spending after a grilling by MPs
Labour MPs on the Social
Ser vices Committee asked
whether the ministry was being
careful enough with its budget
given it worked with the poorest
people in the country.
They cited several areas where
bills had increased in the
last financial year, including
contractors, and international
— NZ ME-New Zealand Herald
Boys playing chicken
A 20-year-old D unedin student
has admitted importing internet-
sourced drugs with an estimated
street value of up to $167,000.
Daniel Patrick McKechnie,
now unemployed, was one of
several young men charged with
drug offences, some of them
with a maximum penalty of life
Two of McKechnie’s flatmates
— Taine Edwards, 18, and Jacob
Moore, 20 — and 20-year-old
Mitchell Charles Connor-Dagg,
of Green Island, helped import
the class A, B and C drugs by
allowing the defendant to open
post office boxes under false
names, the Crown summary
Edwards and Moore pleaded
guilty in March to importing and
conspiracy charges and are for
sentence later this month.
McKechnie and Connor-Dagg,
also of Dunedin, appeared in
the Dunedin District Court last
week and admitted a variety of
drug-related offences committed
between January 2014 and
January this year.
Both were remanded in custody
for sentence in July.
McKechnie was initially spoken
to by police in March last year
after LSD, MDMA and cocaine
from Germany, the Netherlands
and England were intercepted at
the International Mail Centre.
Two of the pack ages were
addressed to the defendant, the
other two to friends who had
agreed McKechnie could have
parcels posted to their addresses,
his excuse being other packages
were “taking ages”, the summary
from Crown counsel Richard
The defendant said nothing
during the March 2014 search
of his flat when police seized
computers and cellphones. An
examination of the computer
showed websites known to
supply controlled drugs had been
There was also a Skype
message in which McKechnie
reassured an unknown person
that sending drugs through the
mail was safe and that was how
he got controlled drugs delivered
An analysis of his cellphone
data from January to March last
year revealed he was offering to
sell cocaine and had supplied
cocaine on at least one occasions
had supplied ecstasy at least
twice and regularly offered to
sell “tabs” of the psychoactive
substance 251-NBOMe, at least
twice supplying $2000 of tabs.
The 18g of cocaine intercepted
by Customs had an estimated
street value of $6300, the 15
tablets of MDMA between $759
and $1200 and the single tab of
As a result of that operation
McKechnie admitted 11 charges
two of importing the class A
drug, cocaine, one of importing
LSD, one of importing the class
B drug MDMA, three of offering
to supply cocaine and one of
supplying it, one of supplying
MDMA and two of selling a
While on bail on those charges
McKechnie continued sourcing
drugs from overseas though the
internet and arranging to have
them sent to various post boxes
opened in false names.
January, he arranged for Connor-
Dagg to open post boxes at the
Moray Place and Gardens Post
Shop and for Edwards and
Moore to open post boxes at the
Green Island and Gardens Post
As a result of those later
offences, McKechnie admitted
seven more charges — a joint
charge (with Edwards) of
importing LSD, three charges
(jointly with Connor-Dagg and
one with Edwards) of importing
methamphetamine, two joint
charges (with Connor-Dagg) of
importing ecstasy and two (with
Moore) of conspiring to import a
class C drug.
The various drugs seized from
that offending were estimated to
have a street value of $157,700
— Otago Daily Times
Three schoolboys “playing
chicken” with a train in Oamaru
have traumatised its driver and
horrified Kiwi Rail.
The train driver’s
appealed to Oamaru residents
on Facebook yesterday to teach
their young people about rail
track safety “before a pointless
death of a stupid young person
She did not want to be named
or comment when contacted
yesterday for fear it could affect
But Kiwi Rail echoed her
concerns about the danger.
The company said the driver
had been involved in two level-
crossing incidents in the area
during his career and the incident
had traumatised him.
The train driver’s wife said
were “playing chicken” with her
husband’s train about 8.35am on
“Three kids, who clearly don’t
value their lives. They need to
realise the train can’t just stop. ”
The driver was forced to apply
In a separate incident, the
driver also applied emergency
brakes when a teenager with
headphones on, oblivious to the
train behind him, was walking in
the middle of the tracks.
It scared “the hell out of the
driver”, his wife said.
Kiwi Rail zero harm manager
Aaron Templeton said the
with the three
schoolboys in uniform occurred
on the main trunk line near
Waitaki Boys’ High School.
“These boys are very lucky.”
Their behaviour was incredibly
foolish, he said.
“ People need to think about
the potential ramifications from
foolish actions such as these.
“This kind of behaviour could
resulted in people being killed. ”
Kiwi Rail struggled to reconcile
how people continued to ignore
the dangers of walking on
railway tracks, given the recent
tragic sequence of fatal accidents
involving trespassers on its rail
“The public must understand
that it is illegal to be walking
in the rail corridor in the first
instance and that it is extremely
dangerous to do so.
“A train is travelling about
80kph and will take at least half a
kilometre to come to a halt. ”
Kiwi Rail had spoken to
Waitaki Boys’ High School
rector Paul Jackson and the
school would address the issue
with pupils at today’s assembly,
attempting to identify the boys
involved. — Otago Daily Times
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