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Thursday December 21, 2017

inbrief news

Widowed takahe paired up again Three new takahē arrived in Wellington this week and another is moving between pest-free islands. The movements will help provide companions for birds who have lost their elderly mates this year. Department of Conservation staff transferred a male bird,

Noam, from Mana Island to Kapiti Island on Tuesday to pair up with a recently widowed female. Zealandia Ecosanctuary also welcomed a new takahē on Tuesday. Twenty-year-old Ahikaea will be a companion for elderly gent T2, whose partner Puffin died in July.

The addition brings Zealandia’s takahē population to four after new breeding pair Nio and Orbell arrived in August. The Mana population will not be short-changed with two new birds – Mātakitaki and Molesworth – arriving on Monday. They are the first new arrivals on the island

since 2015. “They’ll provide new blood on Mana Island, which is one of the most successful breeding sites in the country,” says Mana Island ranger Chris Bell. Six takahē females currently have chicks on Mana, including two broods of two.

Newtown’s plea: Don’t take away our Kiwibank, post office By Jamie Adams

Tempers flared when representatives from NZ Post and Kiwibank confronted Newtown residents at the suburb’s community centre on Monday evening. The meeting was held in response to NZ Post’s plan to close its only remaining post office in the southern suburbs, along with the Kiwibank branch tied to it, and introduce a new hub in Kilbirnie. The post office’s services would from sometime next year be facilitated by local agencies. It comes after BNZ recently closed their store in Newtown, with Westpac set to follow suit. The corporate visitors – NZ Post’s Paul Hodgson and Kiwibank’s Geoff Waller, along with three other Kiwibank representatives – were repeatedly asked the same question by passionate audience members: “Why?” Paul says consolidation of branches is a symptom of the rapid effect on the company’s bottom line due to customers moving to online services. “Last year NZ Post made $4 million profit from $900 million of revenue. The competition within the private sector is cut throat. We have to change to meet market conditions.” Geoff says research shows bank transactions at Kilbirnie were 31 per cent higher than at Newtown.


Call to report myrtle rust Wellington City Council is asking the public to report suspected myrtle rust infections in the city, after the tree disease was recently confirmed to have infected a ramarama tree in Lower Hutt. “Myrtle rust is a fungal disease which can seriously effect pōhutukawa and rata, which are a significant part of Wellington’s sense of place, particularly around Christmas time,” environment partnership leader Tim Park says “If you think you have seen myrtle rust, please take a photo, while taking great care not to touch it, and contact the Ministry for Primary Industries on 0800 80 99 66.”

Asthma partnerships The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is now part of the Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD), which is housed at World Health Organization. The foundation is also now in partnership with the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, which chief executive Letitia O’Dwyer says brings even more credibility to the foundation’s stances. GARD is a voluntary alliance of national and international organizations, institutions, and agencies committed towards the common goal to reduce the global burden of respiratory diseases.

Cheryl Robilliard asks a question to NZ Post and Kiwibank representatives Paul Hodgson and Geoff Waller at Monday’s communty meeting. With them are Newtown Residents Asooication member Bernard O’Shaughnessy and Rongotai MP Paul Eagle. PHOTO: Jamie Adams

Five of the eight candidates seeking election in the southern ward attended the meeting. One of them, Laurie Foon, says many people in Newtown are beneficiaries who prefer over-thecounter services. “Wellington’s public transport is not the cheapest. This move will add extra cost and become a barrier to people accessing the bank,” she says. Meeting organiser Merio Marsters questioned why Kilbirine was seen as a hub and not Newtown. “The city is moving Newtown. This is where the future is,” she says.

MP Paul Eagle, who moderated the meeting, pointed out that Newtown was uniquely diverse, making social services in the suburb a necessity. Paul Hodgson’s claim that NZ Post had consulted with the community was met with widespread scoffs. When asked if the decision would ever be reversed, Paul eventually confirmed it would not be for NZ Post, while Geoff did offer a glimmer of hope. “If new information was to come to light about the number of customers then we would review it,” Geoff says. Members of the Newtown

Residents Assocation say they were very disappointed with the outcome. President Rhona Carson says contrary to what Paul says, there was no evidence any local residents or businesses were consulted. “Why does the SOE Act have a clause in it about social responsibility if they’re able to ignore it?” Bernard O’Shaughnessy shares her sentiments, saying he is “very angry with the treatment from the two organisations”. “Kiwibank is supposed to be a bank for the people. They should have engaged with us before deciding to do this.”

Council probes rail issues Greater Wellington Regional Council is apologising to customers on the Wairarapa line for a recent spate of breakdowns that have resulted in significant delays and discomfort for customers. “Monday’s issue was caused by a locomotive breakdown however, the overall number of mechanical failures in recent months is unacceptable,” sustainable transport committee chairwoman Barbara Donaldson says. “To get a better understanding of these mechanical faults, we are commissioning an independent investigation into them.” Council will offer a discount on Wairarapa fares in February, in recognition of the poor service customers have been receiving, with 30 per cent reductions in standard fares, monthly passes and 10-trip tickets.

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Cook Strait News 21-12-17  

Cook Strait News 21-12-17

Cook Strait News 21-12-17  

Cook Strait News 21-12-17