Home' Greymouth Star : June 10th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 5
Disgraced Act MP John Banks
will give up his seat in Parliament
on Friday but is unlikely to be
stripped of the royal honour he
received three years ago if he is
convicted of an electoral rort,
Prime Minister John Key says.
Banks was made a Companion
of the New Zealand Order
of Merit in the 2011 Queen’s
Birthday honours, for ser vices to
local body affairs.
In August, he may be convicted
after being found guilty last
week of knowingly filing a false
electoral return during his bid for
the Auckland mayoralty in 2010.
That has raised questions about
whether he should keep the
Yesterday, Mr Key said he would
give some consideration to that
probably after the September
election — but offered clues as to
what his decision might be.
“I take a very considered and
cautious view of that because
when we bestow an honour on
somebody it’s a very significant
event and I always want to get
a bit of perspective around that.
History tells you there are very
few honours that have been taken
off people. You’ll remember the
debate we had around Doug
Mr Key decided late last year
that Sir Douglas should keep
his knighthood despite the
Supreme Court’s upholding his
conviction for signing off on false
statements in the prospectus of
failed finance company Lombard
while he was on its board.
Mr Key also played down the
need for a stronger investigative
approach to cases of electoral
The John Banks case prompted
Andrew Little to call for a high-
level independent inquiry into
recent police investigations into
politically charged cases, and
for consideration to be given
to establishing a dedicated
But the Prime Minister said
that when a complaint is made
against a politician, “in my
experience the police are quite
thorough in investigating those
because they don’t want to be
criticised that they somehow
apply a different standard to
members of Parliament than
they would to anyone else in
the general public. I don’t have
evidence to support that they ’re
not following things through.”
He played down the extent of
corruption in New Zealand.
3 in the world in terms of being
the least corrupt and having the
“ I personally think there’s a lot
of people that throw around the
word corruption in New Zealand
and they might do it for political
effect for the media to report
but actually New Zealand in my
experience of being here is not
corrupt. Our judicial system, our
police force, our public ser vice
and actually our politicians
are good, law-abiding, honest
Mr Key confirmed Banks’s
resignation would be effective
from Friday. The Act MP sent his
letter of resignation to Speaker
of the House David Carter
yesterday. The Government
is likely to put a motion to
Parliament next week to avoid an
other wise automatic by-election
in Epsom so close to a general
The vote will require a 75%
majority but Labour has yet
to confirm it will support the
motion. A spokeswoman said
it would decide at its caucus
meeting next Tuesday.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Banks unlikely to lose gong
on how tot
Police will not be drawn on how
Wellsford toddler Stevve Lawson
received fatal head injuries, or whose
custody she was in when she was hurt.
Stevve, who celebrated her first
birthday in April, was flown to the
Starship hospital by rescue helicopter
on April 29. She died on May 2 and
police launched a homicide inquiry.
Detective Inspector Kevin Hooper
said Stevve died of “unexplained
head injuries”. However, he could not
elaborate further on how or where the
little girl suffered the injuries.
He said she had been living with her
mother, Ajhalia Trotter, and partner
Todd King at a Wellsford address. He
confirmed that when she was taken to
hospital she was in Ms Trotter’s care.
However, he would not say who was
looking after Stevve when she was
It is understood Ms Trotter shared
custody of Stevve with the toddler’s
father, Steve Lawson.
Ms Trotter’s lawyer, Eb Leary, said
that Stevve had been in Mr Lawson’s
care before she was admitted to hospital.
He said Ms Trotter had nothing
to do with Stevve’s injuries. But last
night, he could not comment further
on the specifics of the investigation, or
elaborate on the custody arrangement
in the lead-up to the death.
He said Ms Trotter, with others in her
family, had been through a “trauma” and
they were not up to speaking publicly.
It is understood police were alerted to
Stevve’s injuries before she died. Their
investigation was then upgraded to a
homicide on May 2.
A homicide investigation begins when
a death is unnatural or unexplained. It
does not necessarily mean the death was
violent or suspicious.
Stevve was farewelled at a “celebration
of life” ser vice at the home of Ms
Trotter’s parents, Perry and Sheree, on
May 7. Mr Trotter posted details of the
ser vice on Facebook, inviting family and
friends to celebrate Stevve’s “short but
His son Zahn Trotter posted that
Stevve was the “new centre of attention
Ms Trotter’s younger sister, Avya, has
also posted tributes on her social media
pages. On June 2, a month after Stevve
died, she published a photograph of
herself with her niece.
“Fave person in the world, now fave
person in heaven,” she wrote.
Avya Trotter is a singer and songwriter
in the Wellsford area. She revealed on
her You Tube page that she had been
writing a song for Stevve when the
“I started writing this song about her
a couple of months ago. I could hear
her laughing in the next room as I was
writing it,” she said.
“Never did I imagine this would
happen. The day
passed away I completed this
song. Stevie was our sunshine. She
was just so happy all the time.”
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
As flames engulfed the crashed car, firefighter
Buddy Har wood knew an explosion was only
Then he saw a terrified little boy peering out
a window and heard his desperate screams for
help and fists banging against the glass. The
20-year-old could not walk away.
Mr Har wood, from Athenree in Bay of Plenty,
joined the New Zealand Fire Ser vice at 16, and
is now living in Canada with his girlfriend,
On Saturday, the couple were driving to the
resort town of Whistler when Mr Har wood’s
rescue skills were called on — just 14 months
after he saved a woman in heavy flooding at
Waihi Beach in April last year.
The drama in Canada unfolded when he and
Ms Saxton spotted a plume of smoke and saw
a car that had flipped, rolled down a bank and
caught on fire. Mr Har wood slammed on his
brakes and ran to the scene.
“The car was completely on fire with five
people inside. As a firefighter, it was natural
instinct to just get in there,” he said yesterday.
“I instantly thought ‘it could blow ’ and so I
stood back. But then I heard banging and I
looked down and it was a young kid screaming.
He was screaming, ‘Help, help’. You just cannot
walk away from that. ” Mr Har wood and a man
named Mike Devine, who had also pulled over,
tried to get a window open to get to the boy.
“ We eventually ended up getting a big rock
and smashing the glass. We pulled him out and
when we were that close, we could see a little bit
more. There were three more people in the back
and the driver in the front.
“By that time the fire was getting pretty bad
on the bonnet. I was screaming out for a fire
extinguisher ... If we didn’t get one we would
have had to pull out. Someone had one and we
used it to buy us some time ... We just needed
enough to prevent it for a couple of minutes.”
The flames eased slightly, but were still burning.
Mr Har wood cut the driver from his seatbelt
using a knife tossed to him by a bystander and
pulled him free.
They then went to work to rescue the three in
the back seat. An elderly man was hunched over
another child, and a woman was trapped.
“The fire reignited — that ’s when it started to
get really ner ve racking,” Mr Har wood said. “It
was really intense. The flames were starting to
travel up and above us, it was pouring through
the dashboard into the car. It was getting really
“ We believed the old man was dead. We had
to get him out of the way to get the boy. That
was more important, to preser ve the other life.
We got him out and started working on the
boy, who had a badly broken arm and leg and
stomach lacerations. As I pulled him out, the
fire was getting massive.
“It was almost too much. I reached in and
grabbed the last person, the mum, and yanked
her out and just ran. Then the car just exploded.
We were just in time. ” Another firefighter and
a doctor had pulled over, and they started to
treat the patients. The elderly man was barely
Mr Har wood spent about 30 minutes doing
CPR but could not revive the man. The rest of
the family sur vived and were taken to hospital.
“ We did everything we could. It was sad
one life was lost but they are lucky they didn’t
get burned alive. It could have been so bad.”
Yesterday, Mr Har wood looked back at the
rescue and recognised the danger he had put
“The focus is the now. It’s a situation that had
to be dealt with. We’ve got to do what we’ve got
to do,” he said. “ It was definitely much bigger
than we thought, looking back. Would I do it
again? Oh yeah, over and over.”
Ms Saxton was proud of her boyfriend,
describing his efforts as amazing. “ Honestly, this
was by far the scariest and most life-threatening
thing I have ever seen,” she said.
“If it wasn’t for Bud and Mike . . . that entire
family wouldn’t be here today. Really proud of
Bud and Mike for literally risking their lives to
save a family.”
Mr Har wood’s mother Lorna and father Peter
the chief fire officer at Athenree — were
thrilled to hear of his selfless actions.
“He seems to just come up in these situations
and he’s a boy with no fear and a real heart for
helping people,” Mrs Har wood said. “ He just
dives in, even if it’s super-dangerous. ”
Last year, the younger Har wood rescued a
woman trapped in her car during heavy flooding
near Waihi Beach.
He had been to several call-outs that night as
a result of the bad weather and had just filled
his car with petrol when he chanced upon the
woman. Her car was partly submerged and Mr
Har wood spotted her trying to get out.
He braved knee-deep rushing water to smash
a window with his elbow and help the woman
climb out. — APNZ-New Zealand Herald
NZ hero saves family
from fiery fate
Auckland supporters of the
Ellerslie International Flower
Show have offered a home for
the event, following an end to
its six-year run in earthquake-hit
The Christchurch City Council
confirmed yesterday the show
would not be held in the Garden
City next year because of
The Auckland Racing Club
has already put its hand up to
hold the event at the Ellerslie
“ We would be more than
happy to work with whatever
organisation, to look at all
options to hold the flower show
back at Ellerslie,” club chief
executive Cameron George said.
The annual show, which shifted
to Christchurch in 2009 after the
Auckland City Council rejected
funding for the event, was held
at the Ellerslie Racecourse for
three years. It was moved to the
Auckland Botanic Gardens in
Manurewa in 1998.
Mr George said the racecourse
“ would be a wonderful location,
not only from a namesake
perspective, but just from being
a centrally located place with
plenty of area”.
The show ’s managing director,
David Mee, said Auckland was a
strong option for a venue.
“There’s a gap in the market in
Auckland,” he said. “Auckland
city is the biggest city in the
country and has probably the
best capability of handling a
show of that scale. ”
Problems in “post-earthquake
Christchurch” such as a lack of
accommodation facilities and
activities for visitors were not
issues in Auckland, Mr Mee said.
Former Manukau mayor Sir
Barry Curtis supported having
the show back at the Botanic
“I think it needs to come back
to the Auckland region. We had
a magnificent home for it at the
Botanic Gardens, none better in
the Auckland region anywhere.”
Funding for the show was likely
to be another sore point, he said.
“Approaching charitable trusts
and other sources of funding
other than the local authority and
trying to come to an arrangement
on a partnership basis with
the private sector” should be
considered, Sir Barry said.
Botanic Gardens manager Jack
Hobbs said with a little bit of
work, the gardens could host
the show again. “ The Botanic
Gardens is still a suitable site to
host the Garden Show,” he said.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown
said he had no comment on the
event “at this stage”.
The council organisation in
charge of city events — Auckland
Tourism Events and Economic
Development — said council
funding for events had already
been allocated for next year.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Call to take blooms back to Ellerslie
Rena application accepted
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has
announced it has accepted a resource consent
application to leave the Rena on Astrolabe Reef.
The application was lodged by the Astrolabe
Community Trust, on behalf of the ship’s
Opponents will now have the opportunity to
make formal submissions on why they believe
the wreck and its debris should be permanently
The regional council released a statement
yesterday afternoon stating it had accepted the
trust ’s application and invited people to make
submissions from Friday, June 13.
Deputy chief executive of the regional council
Eddie Grogan said: “Due to the importance
of this process to the people of the Bay of
Plenty we have decided to double the normal
period for submissions from 20 working
days to 40 working days.
“This means people will have until Friday 8
August to file their submissions,” Mr Grogan
The council has established the website
www.renaresourceconsent.org.nz to provide
all interested people with information on the
process, including the application itself.
“The role of the Regional Council in this
process is to receive any application for a
resource consent and facilitate submissions by
all interested members of the public, including
iwi, community and interest groups, local
government organisations and the residents of
all affected communities,” Mr Grogan said.
“The council’s objective is to be an open,
transparent and excellent source of quality
information to people interested in the
resource consent process,” Mr Grogan said.
— APNZ-Bay of Plenty Times
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