Home' Greymouth Star : October 7th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
6 - Wednesday, October 7, 2015
New Zealand’s suicide rate has risen for
the first time in four years, according to
provisional data from the chief coroner.
The data released by Chief Coroner Judge
Deborah Marshall shows that 564 people
took their own lives in the year to June, up
from 529 last year.
The suicide rate increased from 11.73 for
every 100,000 people in the year to June
last year to 12.27 this year, breaking a steady
decline from a recent peak of 12.65 in 2010-
In the longer term, Ministry of Health
data show that the age-standardised suicide
rate fluctuated at about 10 for every 100,000
people for about 35 years up to 1985, then
jumped to between 13 and 15 during the
economic reforms and associated high
unemployment in the 1990s.
The rate dropped back to around 12 in the
year 2000 and has fluctuated at around that
level ever since.
The latest figures show a sharp rise in the
male suicide rate to just under 19 for every
100,000 males, the highest rate for four years,
but a drop in the female rate to 5.8 for every
100,000 females, the lowest since former
Chief Coroner Judge Neil MacLean began
publishing the provisional data in 2008.
For the first time in recent years, the highest
suicide rate was in the 40 to 44 age group,
where almost 19 people took their own lives
for every 100,000 people. The male suicide
rate peaked at a fraction under 30 for every
100,000 men in this age group, while the
female rate was just under nine.
However suicide rates were also above
average for all age groups between ages 15
and 64. They were below average only for
children under 15 and older people aged 65-
The Maori suicide rate of almost 22 for
every 100,000 was much higher than any
other ethnic group. Other rates were 14 for
every 100,000 people for Europeans and
others, nine for Pacific people and just three
Auckland’s high Asian and Pacific
populations may explain the fact that only
28% of all suicides were in the Auckland
region, compared with the region’s 34% share
of the national population.
Most people who died by suicide died by
hanging, strangulation and suffocation (62%),
followed by overdoses and poisoning (12%).
Mental Health Foundation director of
programme design Moira Clunie said
research showed that most people who
attempted suicide did not want to die.
“They just want their pain to end or can’t see
another way out of their situation,” she said.
She said family members and friends should
not ignore signs of suicidal thoughts.
“If you’re worried about someone, asking
them about suicide will not increase their
risk, but ignoring their distress can,” she said.
“For a person who is struggling, having a
chance to talk to someone who will listen
without judgment can be a great relief.
“If someone tells you they are thinking
about suicide, keep them talking. Encourage
them to get help and talk about what they are
— N ZM E-New Zealand Herald
Suicide rate up
Man convicted of
murder by car
After hearing eight weeks
of evidence it took a jury just
four and a half hours to find
a Northland man guilty of
murdering his partner by running
her over in his car.
The jury of six men and six
women retired about 11.30am
and returned at 4pm to deliver
their guilty verdict.
During the trial they heard how
Villiami Fungavaka, 47, drove his
vehicle over Georgina Manuel,
28, twice in Kaitaia in August
2013. She died the next morning,
after being flown to Whangarei
Evidence was given that
Fungavaka was seen striking
Ms Manuel with his 1.7-tonne
Holden Commodore as she stood
on Pukepoto Road, Kaitaia, then
doing a u-turn to run over her as
she lay on the road.
Crown prosecutor Bernadette
told the jury
Fungavaka and the victim’s
relationship was volatile and
Fungavaka intentionally ran Ms
Manuel over after an argument.
She told them medical evidence
proved both a brain injury likely
to have been caused by the first
time she was first hit, and a liver
injury, likely to have been caused
the second time, were serious
enough to kill her.
“ If you’re sure he deliberately
ran her over at least one of the
two times — he’s guilty,” Ms
Defence lawyer Greg Bradford
has maintained throughout the
trial that what happened was
an accident. Ms Manuel had
stepped in front of the car and it
— NZ ME-Northern Advocate
Looking out her lounge
window late on Sunday, Fiona
Yarnton was stunned to see
her 11-year-old son Josiah’s
chicken Honey Copernicus
being blown past by the strong
“S he was flying at head height
and, at first, I thought it was a
tumbleweed,’’ Ms Yarnton, of
“I’m from Oz — you see them
over there; they ’re smaller than
the ones you get in America.’’
The chicken landed in bushes
near the house, shaken but
unharmed. Its coop was also
blown over by the wind and the
roof ripped off. Th e roof is now
being held on by wooden blocks
and rocks. —Otago Daily Times
Wild wind ruffles feathers
PICTURE: Otago Daily Times
Fiona Yarnton with son Josiah and chicken Honey Copernicus.
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has
lost his appeal against conviction
and a home detention sentence but
has not discounted lodging a further
Tauranga lawyer Craig Tuck said
last night that his client was still
analysing Justice Raynor Asher’s 14-
page judgment released yesterday, and
considering his options.
“ Phil was always realistic about the
possible outcome of the appeal. He
believes he got a fair hearing from
Justice Asher and is being treated well
by Corrections staff,” he said.
Mr Tuck said Rudd was now a
significant way through his sentence,
and he was thankful for the support
he had received from the community
and “making the most of every day ”.
“ Phil is looking for ward to
completing his sentence as he has
got a lot of plans in mind and lots of
opportunities he’s exploring in regard
to his future. ”
Mr Tuck would not be drawn on
what those “opportunities” might be.
Earlier this year, Rudd pleaded
guilty to charges of threatening to kill,
possession of methamphetamine and
possession of cannabis.
On July 9, he was sentenced by Judge
Thomas Ingram to eight months’
home detention, together with six
months’ post release conditions and
ordered to pay $120,000 to the victim.
Rudd appealed his sentence and
convictions on the basis that it was
But Justice Asher dismissed the
appeal. In his judgment he said given
this was a relatively serious threat-to-
kill charge, there was a real need to
denounce Rudd’s actions, and to deter
him and others from re-offending.
“ I agree with Judge Ingram’s
assessment; a penalty that involved
imprisonment or the nearest
sentencing alternative was the
required sentencing response to such
“Anything less would not have
adequately reflected the culpability
of Mr Rudd’s act, even taking into
account his particular circumstances,”
Justice Asher said Judge Ingram
correctly refused a discharge without
conviction, after considering whether
the consequences of a conviction were
out of all proportion to the gravity of
the offence .
“In my view they are not. Even
with the convictions, Mr Rudd may
practise as a musician in session work
and in concerts in New Zealand and
in other countries.”
Justice Asher noted there was
potential for Rudd to lose significant
income because of the convictions, but
said for that to arise two things would
have to happen.
“ First, the band would have to want
him to play with them. Second, the
convictions would have to operate as a
barrier to him travelling with them on
tour. Neither are certain.
“ It is far from clear that, at the time
when the offending took place, there
was any place in the band available to
Mr Rudd, given his drug addiction
and state of mind.”
Justice Asher said also relevant to the
dismissal of the appeal was the fact
that Rudd had two prior discharges
for “similar wrongdoing”.
— NZ ME-Bay of Plenty Times
Rudd looks at fur ther appeal
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd appears in the Tauranga District
Court in July.
Several homes have been evacuated in
rural Otago after a large paddock fire
rapidly got out of control.
Southern fire communications shift
commander Andrew Norris said fire
crews were alerted to the fire just after
The initial paddock fire located off
Stoneburn Road, off State highway 85
near Dunback, has grown to take over a
30-40ha area of rural land.
Mr Norris said at this stage the high
winds in the area meant it was “not
practical” to try to extinguish the fire,
which was still uncontained.
Firefighters, in co-ordination with
police, have evacuated several remote
properties in the area.
“At this stage the focus is on protecting
Mr Norris says once the winds die
down crews will work on extinguishing
There are currently 25 firefighters on
site and a helicopter is on its way.
Strong winds mean helicopters can not
be used to fight the fire.
“ Until weather conditions change there
won’t be a lot of proactive firefighting.
It will be more protection of assets
and things like that,” a Fire Ser vice
Some homes downwind of the fire
had been evacuated as a precautionary
measure, he said.
Crews from Hampden, Waikouaiti
and Palmerston, along with rural fire
staff ,have been deployed to check and
protect houses in the area.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this
stage. — Otago Daily Times
Homes evacuated as
grass fire spreads
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