Western Leader : December 14th 2010
4 WESTERN LEADER, DECEMBER 14, 2010 NEWS 3166123AE 10 Shamrock Drive, Kumeu Tel: 412 8188 Email: email@example.com Open: Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm Sat 9am - 12.30pm www.flooringxtra.co.nz NORTH WEST Have you heard about our 3 great specials? 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Loop cutting work is taking place on the eastbound lanes. The eastbound lanes between the Te Atatu Road off ramp and Rosebank Road on ramp are scheduled to be closed, and this includes the closure of both the Te Atatu Road eastbound on ramps, and the Patiki Rd eastbound off ramp. The work will be carried out between the hours of 9.00pm and 5.00am, due to reduced traffic volumes and to minimise disruption to road users. Detours will be in place via Te Atatu Rd and Great North Road. Eastbound traffic will be diverted from SH16 at Te Atatu Rd. NZTA advises motorists the detours could add up to 25 minutes to the journey, and allowance for additional travel times should be made. All work is weather dependant. If work can not be carried out on the dates above, it will be carried out on the next available evening. These works are an important part of the maintenance programme to ensure the motorway is kept in a good and safe condition for all road users. For updates and information about these works, or any other motorway issues please call Auckland Motorways on 09 5200 200. Labour picks candidate The Labour Party has named its candidate to contest Prime Minister John Key s seat at next year s election. Jeremy Greenbrook- Held will stand in the Helensville electorate in 2011. The 29-year-old West Harbour resident grew up in the area and works as a manager in tertiary education. The former Victory University student presi- dent stood as a Future West candidate for the Henderson-Massey Local Board in this year s local body elections. Boost for Brothers in Arms Brothers in Arms, the youth mentoring organ- isation based in Hender- son, will receive a funding boost next year. It has been chosen as the recipient of funds from the Auckland regional 2011 Tear Fund Poverty Cycle. The cycle route on March 5 can be tailored to suit different fitness levels. For the more ener- getic, it is a 50km ride around Auckland, begin- ning and ending at One- hunga Bay. Participants are asked to get sponsorship from friends and family. There will be various cycle events around the country on March 5. Thirty percent of the funds raised from the Auckland event will go to Brothers in Arms. The remaining funds will go to Tear Fund s projects to help children and youth living in poverty overseas. Those cyclists who raise the most money will be put forward as possible Tear Fund Ambassadors. One ambassador will then be selected to travel to see Tear Fund projects in the Philippines. See www.poverty cycle.org.nz for more information. As I was saying -- 19 deaths ago Okay, okay. So I ve said it before -- but that was 19 deaths ago. That s how far our crisis over police pursuits has gone in the past 12 months. And before you reach for your keyboard to have me on about it -- maybe rerun the letter you sent last time -- look at it again this way. What would be the official reaction if 19 police had died in those crashes? Or 19 Members of Parlia- ment? Or 19 judges? What would be your reac- tion if, say, three members of your family had died that way -- or even one. I know what some readers are going to ask: Do I want to give hoons and crooks a licence to roar off, leaving frustrated police hamstrung because of a ruling that they can t chase? Well don t bother about that either. Of course I don t. It s just that I can t believe that there isn t some method of stopping cars in their tracks. Maybe I am still fasci- nated by a boys annual I once read which described a scien- tist who had invented a gadget which threw out a beam and froze a car engine solid in a second. Well if at the time I read that you had predicted just one piece of the items we now live with, flights to the moon, unmanned drones, even this computer and the rest, I would have been astonished and more than a little worried about your state of mind. So surely someone, somewhere can produce the equivalent of that engine solidifier. Anything but the apparent present option of continuing deaths. As it stands, you or yours could be the 20th. Think about that. And if you feel I ve got it wrong again, I m not alone. Read this earlier report from the Independent Police Con- duct Authority written after 25 died as a result of pursuits in five years, not 19 in this year -- so far. The authority questioned whether police should start high-speed chases for minor offences such as speeding and property theft or for suspicion of a crime, saying the risk of someone being killed is too high. In one case, three teenagers died after police chased them at speeds of up to 200kmh when they failed to stop. The pursuit was found to be within police pol- icy. That critical report found that at that stage about five people died each year during police pursuits and another 18 were seriously injured. Yet chases rarely uncovered evi- dence of serious crime. The only thing that s changed is the number -- it s just short of multiplying by four. The Independent Police Conduct Authority said police should base their decision to enter a pursuit on known facts not simply speculation about a driver s reason for fleeing. Pursuits can begin over relatively minor offending, or general suspicion, and end in serious injury or death, authority chairwoman Jus- tice Lowell Goddard said. The authority analysed 137 pursuits reported to it during the five years to December 2008 and found that 24 people were killed and 91 seriously injured in those chases. Another 122 suffered minor injuries. One in four of about 2000 police pursuits each year ends in a crash. After the pursuits surveyed, 481 charges were laid, mostly relating to the suspect s driv- ing during the chase. At that stage Wellington motorcyclists Marty Collins and Brent Russell welcomed the authority s concern. They said that too often law-abiding members of the public were becoming col- lateral damage in pursuits. Totally innocent parties, they had good reasons to worry. Marty Collins spent nine days in a coma and nearly died and Brent Russell lost the top of a thumb, fractured his pelvis and right arm and injured his wrist and knees when their motorcycles were struck by a police car as the officer did a u-turn to chase a speeding motorist. Overseas jurisdictions are moving to restrict pursuits, with some areas allowing police to chase only violent offenders. The authority s report said research in North America suggested violent- offender-only policies caused a dramatic fall in pursuit- related injuries and deaths, but no corresponding increase in crime or vehicle offending rates. Shouldn t we be asking them how they did it? Latest figures from police commissioner Howard Broad show that 11,000 drivers have fled from police in the last five years and 33 deaths have followed. Talking about police, what an interesting appointment of the new commissioner. Peter Marshall, a real action man, is coming back from a Solomons secondment to that job after four years in which he apparently gave great leadership in a tsunami with 53 deaths, used a ceremonial sword to beat off 13 machete- waving intruders and has coped with wandering crocodiles. Another publication has reminded readers that Marshall caused waves when he broke ranks over denials that police had blocked protesters off from the president of China on a visit here in 1999. Marshall said their denials were wrong and wouldn t stand up as evidence. There were some who believed his move to the Solomons was a sequel. If that s true, there s a real Lazarus back-from-the-dead quality about his return. If I was a betting man I d have lost a few dollars believ- ing Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope would be the man -- despite the continuing misgivings in some quarters about the jailing of Scott Wat- son for the Sounds murder. He led that police inquiry before promotion. A former NZ Assistant Commissioner, Marshall was at one time an armed offenders squad man, and spent two years after the 9/11 attack to set up a New Zea- land police liaison office on counter-terrorism. Maybe he ll have some ideas about those police chases andthe current pres- sure to give our police guns. The Pansy Wong affair bubbles on but I think a few people may be losing some sleep over it. Somebody is going to lose big time before it s finished. The candidates: If Labour is right that the inquiry was a whitewash when it ended with Pansy Wong and hus- band refunding $474 to meet travel made wrongly on her MP allowance account, then Speaker Lockwood Smith and his public service inquirer don t look good. If that inquiry was kosher, then Labour s Pete Hodgson runs the risk of looking as if he exaggerated in his first allegations of a big time travel scam. The prime minister might wonder if he acted a little too quickly in sacking her as a minister. And Pansy Wong may be wondering when she will get her Cabinet job back. While spending Christmas quietly at home, I presume.
December 10th 2010
December 16th 2010