Home' Greymouth Star : July 25th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
Friday, July 25, 2014 - 5
The Government has spent $10,000 in
legal costs pursuing a $250 debt from an
outspoken opponent of road tolls.
Retired lawyer Hans Grueber, 72,
alleges the Northern Gateway Toll Road
was set up illegally, and describes his
stand against it as “a public service”.
Eighteen notices for unpaid tolls have
been issued by the NZTA to Dr Grueber
to date, to the value of $90. Four $40
infringement notices have also been
Figures revealed under the Official
Information Act show the NZTA spend
$9969 in pursuing the case in the District
The legal cost to the Crown of Dr
Grueber’s subsequent appeals is not
In 2010, Dr Grueber said he welcomed
being pursued for arrears so he could
argue in court that tolls were introduced
In 2012, Dr Grueber was found guilty
after a defended hearing at North Shore
District Court on four charges of evading
tolls. He then appealed against the
decision to the High Court.
Dr Grueber’s argument, both in the
District Court and in the High Court,
was that he was not liable to pay the toll
because it had not been lawfully imposed.
At Dr Grueber’s 2013 High Court
appearance he told Justice Patricia
Courtney that the consultation process
on which the Transport Agency relied
was flawed by incorrect information
provided during community consultation.
However at the same hearing, Crown
lawyer Karen Chang warned Justice
Courtney that if she accepted jurisdiction
over Dr Grueber’s challenge there could
be an impact on every toll charged by the
Transport Agency since the road opened.
She also suggested that a judicial review
would have been a more appropriate
vehicle to challenge the scheme.
Dr Grueber has been seeking release
of documents from NZTA through the
courts, and the matter is still ongoing.
He expects it to come to an end later
“I still expect to win, but what I expect
then will happen is that the Government
Dr Grueber said as he has represented
himself throughout the scheme, he has
not accrued any legal fees.
The most recent NZTA operating
report available on the toll road showed
97% of tolls were paid in the 12 months
to June 30, 2013.
The same report showed 37,927 people
owed $584,000 due to outstanding tolls.
Outstanding debt on the road was $193
million at June 30, 2013. The expected
timeframe to repay the debt was 35
years from when the road was opened in
The toll will be removed when the road
is paid for. — APNZ
The Government is being accused
of pork-barrel election bribes if
it fast-forwards a second harbour
crossing in Auckland without doing
a proper economic analysis.
Auckland MP and Labour’s
transport spokesman Phil Twyford
said he had been leaked information
that Prime Minister John Key will
make an announcement on the
second crossing on August 12 —
and it will be roads-only, with no rail
“It’s a $5 billion project, a major
piece of transport infrastructure.
They ’re going to announce that
they ’re going to bring it forward.
“It ’s currently on the books in the
Auckland Plan to be built late in the
2020s. It has a 0.3 benefit-cost ratio
(30c return for every dollar invested).
So it ’s hard to see the numbers
stacking up to build the second
harbour crossing immediately. And
there’s a strong view in Auckland
that it should include rail and
Mr Twyford said his source did
not know how far forward the
Government wanted to bring the
He called it an election bribe.
“This Government has made an
art-form of using transport projects
as pork-barrel politics. We saw that
recently, after starving the regions
of transport projects for the last
six years, they sprinkle $212m on
regional New Zealand weeks before
“It arguably is more of the same pork-
barrel politics, if the decision is being
made on a political whim without
the benefit of proper economic
analysis to determine its value for
money. When they were elected six
years ago, they hand-picked seven
urban motor way projects and gave
them the green light before they ’d
even done the economic analysis.”
the House, said
had no comment
said the project
should include rail.
“The Govern-ment recognises
they are vulnerable on transport
issues. Fixing the gridlock is the
thing Aucklanders most want to
see happen, and it ’s very clear from
recent polling that Aucklanders
want to see an emphasis on public
“If my sources are correct and
National is opting to build a roads-
only second harbour crossing, I think
that would be a real misjudgment
by the Government. Aucklanders
want their roads, but they also want
a modern public transport system —
that second harbour crossing is an
essential link to connect the northern
suburbs with the city rail link and the
rest of the regions’ rail network.
“I note they are not supporting
bringing the City Rail Link forward.”
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Auckland harbour crossing ‘election bribe’
New Zealand will help with the
identification of victims of the MH17
A team of three New Zealand Disaster
Victim Identification (DVI) experts are
due to leave for the Netherlands today to
join international efforts to help identify
all 298 people who perished when the
Malaysia Airlines flight was downed over
eastern Ukraine last week.
The announcement was made by
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully
“O ur DVI assistance, which will be
provided by NZ Police, is New Zealand’s
contribution to ensuring the victims are
returned to their loved ones,” he said.
“ New Zealand is encouraged that a
process is under way to repatriate many
of the bodies from the crash site to the
Netherlands, and that the aircraft ’s flight
data recorders are now in safe custody.
“ But much remains to be done. The
crash site must be properly secured, with
unimpeded access for the appropriate
international investigating authorities.”
New Zealand police had won international
recognition in disaster identification with
their experience in other tragedies such
as the Christchurch earthquake and
the Asian tsunami, mr McCully said.
to help with
The Green Party wants $20
million to be put towards
installing solar energy in
schools, which would save
schools twice as much money
in power bills over 25 years.
Co-leader Russel Norman
said the savings would lead to
more focus on teaching and
“ It ’s effectively increasing
schools’ operations budget, in
a smart, green way,” Dr Norman said at
the launch of the policy at Laingholm
Primary School in west Auckland today.
Laingholm plans to install a 10KW
solar system, which will save it more
than $2500 a year in electricity costs.
“A saving of $2500 on electricity
would enable me to double the amount
of money I allocate in my budget
to literacy,” said principal Martyn
Dr Norman said the programme
would install solar panels in 500 schools
over three years, and the panels would
last for 25 years.
It would see 6.7MW of total installed
capacity, saving $1.64m a year excluding
GST — a total of saving of $41m over
the panels’ lifespan.
In June, Peria School in the far North
installed a 10KW system, which it says
will save it $6,000 a year
money that will go into
upgrading the school pool
and hiring a music teacher.
The system will have paid for
itself in less than four years.
Solar in Schools builds on
previous Green Party energy
NZ Power, which would
create a single buyer and save
families around $300 a year,
and Solar Homes, which
would help households install solar on
“Solar in Schools has the added benefit
of reducing greenhouse gas emissions
and educating students, staff and the
wider community about environmental
sustainability and clean energy,” Dr
The power bills for larger schools can
be up to $85,000 a year, he said.
The policy would complement other
programmes, such as Genesis Energy’s
Schoolgen, which has put solar systems
into over 50 schools.
A Federal Government initiative in
Australia has seen solar installed in
more than 60% of Australian primary
and secondary schools, generating
enough electricity for the equivalent
of 4600 average households every day.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Greens push $20m
solar energy in
laser pointers in a public place
without a reasonable excuse will
soon be illegal, after a bill passed
its final hurdle in Parliament on
Failure to comply with the new
law will incur a $2000 fine or
three months’ jail.
The Summary Offences
Lasers) Amendment Bill, put
for ward by retiring National
MP Cam Calder, had cross-
party support. It aims to protect
pilots and truck drivers from
“ laser strike”.
“ It ’s timely. It’s very important,”
Dr Calder said.
particular relevance to people in
Manurewa (on the flight path to
Auckland Airport), but also for
all of us who travel by air in New
Shining a laser pointer at an
aircraft is already illegal.
“ But it’s not just aircraft that
can be impacted.
“ If you’re driving at night
and someone shines one of
these in your eye, it’s extremely
“ Imagine if you’re a truck driver
on a motor way, and someone is
on an overbridge.”
A high-powered laser is
defined as one with a power
output of greater than one
Some of the higher-powered
laser pointers can project a beam
for 100km or more.
“ Legislation never completely
stops stupidity, but it will render
the misuse of these highly
dangerous instruments less
likely,” Dr Calder said.
“ It sends a very strong message.
Just like you and I don’t carry a
Bowie knife, people won’t be
tempted to put a laser pointer in
their pocket before going out on
a Saturday night. ”
The bill no longer includes a
power for police to seize a laser
without a warrant, because they
already have seizure powers
under a different law.
In May, the Government
proposed new Customs rules to
restrict imports of lasers.
By the end of the year,
stronger than one milliwatt
will be limited to people with
a legitimate purpose, such
as Defence Force personnel,
astronomers or researchers.
— APNZ-New Zealand Herald
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