Home' Greymouth Star : May 10th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 5
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows,
cleared of a driving charge laid by
police, says he is frustrated it went all
the way to court.
The 59-year-old was yesterday
afternoon found not guilty by Judge
Stephanie Edwards following a day-
and-a -half trial in Whanganui District
Police had charged him with careless
use of a motor vehicle causing injury
after two anti-TPP protesters suffered
minor injuries outside a Whanganui
motel in March last year.
Mr Borrows was driving the car
carrying cabinet minister Paula Bennett
when it was “swamped ” by a handful
of protesters as it left a chamber of
The former policeman said he believed
he was driving slowly and carefully
enough and that police had moved the
two women away before he accelerated
on to the street.
“I knew exactly what I was doing and
what my role and responsibility was,” he
It was “interesting” to have a senior
Crown prosecutor — Palmerston
North’s Ben Vanderkolk — dealing
with a routine charge, Mr Borrows said.
“I don’t believe the decision was
made locally. I’m a bit frustrated
about that.” He believed the decision
was made by police headquarters in
“I think the police worry about any
accusation or criticism so they ’ve
decided to bring charges as an aversion
to risk.” D uring the trial, the court
was told both Mr Borrows and
Ms Bennett feared another dildo
attack like the one on Steven Joyce at
Mr Borrows also feared stopping
would let protesters jump on his car
a repeat of an incident the previous
year — allow them to throw a batten to
break the windows or even try to open
He had seen an abusive Facebook
post from a local man which indicated
another dildo attack on a politician.
Ms Bennett, who was called to give
evidence, said it was one of the more
aggressive protests she had seen,
although it was small.
She had seen the post of the sex toy
with her name written on it.
“I didn’t want a photo with this thing
hitting me or hitting the window right
next to me,” she said.
She heard someone say “ow ” but
thought it was because police had
moved a protester.
Borrows, who has been an MP since
2005 and is a former minister for the
courts, is not running for re-election
this year. — NZN
The opening of Arrowtown’s restored jail
had a bit of a hiccup on Sunday.
When director-general of the Department
of Conser vation Lou Sanson tried to cut the
chain with bolt cutters he needed a bit of
David Clarke, a Wakatipu Heritage Trust
trustee, stepped in to lend a hand, officially
opening the revamped building.
He joked only one person had ever escaped
from the prison, but he was not aware of
anyone being unable to get into it.
About 150 people attended the opening of
the $215,000 restoration project which is a
collaboration between Wakatipu Heritage
Trust, the Department of Conser vation and
Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Arrowtown ward councillor Scott Stevens,
who spoke at the opening, talked about the
importance of community and congratulated
The jail, originally opened in 1876, had
fallen into disrepair and, while structurally
secure, needed significant work done both
inside and out, including earthquake proofing.
Information panels have been created so
visitors can read about law and order during
Arrowtown’s early days.
The inside will be a walk-in museum with
audio featuring goldrush era stories.
Following the opening, the Q ueenstown and
District Historical Society presented an oral
history at St John’s Presbyterian Church.
Society member Marion Borrell introduced
six characters from the day and explained
what life would have been like.
To open the theatrics, Greg Dorn portrayed
Sergeant Major Hugh Bracken, the town’s
first police officer. He told a tale of being
charged with looking after a 45kg nugget of
gold and some of the drunken shenanigans
from the gold miners.
Mr Bracken left his police role and went on
to open a hotel in Q ueenstown.
It is understood he did not want to be
judged for moving to a more lucrative career.
Mrs Borrell said some things never changed
and remarked it was still very expensive to live
in the Wakatipu area. — Otago Daily Times
Breaking into gaol a struggle
PICTURE: Otago Daily Times
Director-general of the Department of Conservation Lou Sanson addresses the crowd at
the opening of the restored Arrowtown Gaol.
Graphic details of the throat
slash injuries suffered by two
Auckland schoolboys during a
production of Sweeney Todd,
along with other close shaves and
injuries in dress rehearsals, have
emerged in a damning Work
Safe New Zealand report that
found the show had “potential
Two St Kentigern School boys
were taken to hospital on April
6 last year after being seriously
injured during the senior school
musical production’s opening
night in front of parents, pupils,
Work Safe’s report into the
incident recommends that the
school is prosecuted over the
But despite the decision being
backed by the victims’ families
and signed off by the report
writer’s manager and chief
inspector, Work Safe last month
decided against the idea.
The detailed 17-page report
identifies six health and safety
failings by the school board.
It also reveals shocking details
of the show ’s disastrous opening
Just after the start of the second
act at 9pm, a student had his
throat cut by a covered straight
razor when his character was
killed by Sweeney Todd.
The victim suffered a laceration
stretching 8cm across his neck
and going 4.5cm deep. He was
operated on at hospital under
general anaesthetic and released
the next day.
A Work Safe health and safety
medical practitioner said it was
fortunate that the “dangerous
laceration” missed the common
carotid artery, which if severed
“ blood is ejected under pressure
and saving the person’s life in an
emergency community situation
would be very difficult ”.
When the throat
onlookers called out that a
second student may also be
injured because he was due to be
“ killed” next.
But teachers, unaware of what
was unfolding, could not act in
time. The second injury happened
at 9.01am, with the student actor
suffering a 5cm deep neck gash
with St John paramedics able to
see “trachea and some cartilage”.
The musical was not stopped
and it ran until the end.
Work Safe was notified of the
incidents the next day at 8.37am.
“The harm involved two victims
and to (one pupil) in particular,
it was significant. There was a
potential for death,” the report
It also found that the student
who played Sweeney Todd had
been left “stressed” and suffering
from emotional harm.
In spite of the damning
report, Work Safe announced
last month the school could use
an “enforceable undertaking
agreement ” instead of facing
The school instead went
through a restorative justice
process with victims, including
paying them compensation, as
well as spending about $80,000
on processes to improve health
and safety standards at St Kent ’s
and across New Zealand. It had
also apologised to the victims’
families. — N ZM E
Students’ throats cut
in school play
making tea with muddy water
rather than starting school early,
Labour leader Andrew Little
He does not back education
reform legislation that is set
to be read for a final time
in Parliament this week and
would allow children as young
as four years and 10 months to
start school as part of a group
— known as cohort entry.
But new Education Minister
Nikki Kaye believes New
Zealand has been an outlier
in not having cohort entry
for too long and says in the
end it would still be a parent ’s
choice when their child starts
Currently children are allowed
to start school on their fifth
birthday but are not required
to attend consistently until they
Cohort means schools could
adopt a system that would allow
children to start school on set
dates with a group of their peers,
up to two months earlier than
the current system allows.
“I don’t think this is going to
be a dramatic shift at all, I think
it’s going to be totally up to
schools and parents what they
do,” Ms Kaye said.
Up to 80% of parent and
76% of teachers asked during
consultation about cohort entry
support the idea, she said.
“The ability to form longer-
term relationships by coming in
in a cohort is very positive, but
also that lack of disruption in
the classroom as well was part of
what the research showed was
beneficial,” she said.
But Mr Little said four
years and 10 months was too
“At the age of four you should
be running around in a sandpit
and the garden making cups of
tea and doing whatever with
muddy water,” he said.
“Kids should be doing that
stuff, exploring their creative
and fun side.” He said the two
months between four years and
10 months and five was “almost
a lifetime” for children that age.
The primary teachers’ union,
however, is more concerned with
a push towards on-line schools
contained in the new legislation,
saying it can potentially have
far more serious impacts on
children than changes to what
age they can start.
“There is a great risk that
children who are considered
‘too hard’ for schools to manage
are going to be herded into on-
line schools, where they will be
at even greater risk of isolation
Education Institute Te Riu Roa
president Lynda Stuart says.
“ Why do politicians think that
a model that has demonstrably
failed overseas will somehow
work here?” — NZN
Little opposes children starting school early
Changes allowing children to start school
when they are four years old appeared aimed
at cutting administrative costs but will not
benefit children, the primary teachers’ union
The proposal is part of an education bill set
for its final parliamentary reading this week
that has been called the biggest update to the
school system in 27 years.
Education Minister Hekia Parata said in
August the Education (Update) Amendment
Bill sets clear goals for schools and then holds
them accountable for their results.
However, New Zealand Educational
Institute president Louise Green attacked
a measure allowing children to start school
up to eight weeks before they turn five,
saying it was too early.
“ What we don’t want is to get children into
formalised learning far too early and lose that
creativity,” she told the AM Show today.
“It does sound in all the conversations I’ve
had (that allowing children to start earlier
is) mostly about (making it) administratively
easier for schools.”
Ms Green said the current system allowing
children to start school when they are five or
six is early enough because New Zealand’s
early learning centres did a great job teaching
“O ur early childhood centres do an amazing
job with children, the teachers understand child
development, and they organise programmes
and opportunities for learning to happen,”
she said. — NZN
Children too young for
school at four — teachers
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