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Art theft unsophisticated — ex-FBI investigator

Auckland A former Federal Bureau of Investigation arts theft investigator has labelled the theft of two Lindauer paintings from a Parnell gallery as unsophisticated. Robert Wittman said it was unlikely those responsible had a clear plan when they crashed a utility vehicle through the glass front of the International Art Centre in Parnell. "Ultimately this wasn't a sophisticated robbery, it was more...

Bennett cool on Little’s tourist tax plan

Wellington Labour leader Andrew wants a "tourist tax" charged at the border to help pay for tourism infrastructure, rejecting Tourism Minister Paula Bennett's concerns it risked making New Zealand look like a "rip-off." Mr Little said a "modest" levy would be ring-fenced to pass on to local councils to use on tourism-related infrastructure. "We rapidly and urgently need new infrastructure and infrastructure...

Bus driver charged

Auckland A 68-year-old man has been charged with careless driving causing injury in relation to a crash that injured 14 tourists. The man was driving a bus carrying visitors from North America and Britain through Tongariro National Park on January 15 when the vehicle careered 10m down a bank and into a stream at the intersection of State highways 47 and...

Police name dead man

Wellington Police have named the man who died after being hit by a car at Raumati Beach on Thursday. He was 91-year-old local man Eric Pickering. The crash happened just after 8am on Matatua Road. The investigation is continuing. NZN

New research to tackle rural health, well-being

New research on farm-related suicide and the factors behind it is a progressive step and will enable a more concerted focus on reducing rates, Federated Farmers said. The study by Dr Annette Beautrais was conducted on behalf of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand and funded by Agresearch. As inaugural members of RHANZ, Federated Farmers has advocated for many years...

Morgan goes on Twitter tirade against tourists, PC culture

Auckland When economist Gareth Morgan launched his bid for Parliament last year, he compared himself to Donald Trump because of his anti-establishment approach. The two men now have another thing in common a tendency to be short and sharp on Twitter. Mr Morgan, the leader of The Opportunities Party, was involved in an extraordinary argument on the social media site last night in...

Arrests after ram raid spree

Auckland Four teens have been arrested after a spree of ram-raid burglaries in Canterbury. Police say the Z Energy Petrol Station on Harewood Road in Christchurch and the Ferrymead Bottle Store were both burgled after being driven into by a Mazda Familia in the early hours of Saturday. That followed another ram-raid at a Kaiapoi petrol station at 1.45am on Friday. Following several...

Wellington council cleaners get ‘living wage’

Wellington Cleaners are finally getting a "living wage" while working for the Wellington City Council. Staff working directly for the council already get the living wage, such as those working in parks, gardens, recreation or libraries. But because cleaning and sanitation work was contracted, those workers were not initially included. Now the latest long-term and annual plan committee agenda shows cleaning work will...

Specialist dairy consultants certified

An inaugural group of farm consultants are now qualified under the New Zealand Institute for Primary Industries Management's dairy farm systems certification scheme. The programme assesses the consultants' skills and knowledge of the dairy farm system and best business practices, says New Zealand Institute for Primary Industries Management (NZIPIM) chief executive Stephen Macaulay. "The certification is no mean feat, and we...

Properties flipped for an extra $300,000

Auckland A real estate agent who sold two adjacent homes is adamant he got "top dollar" for his clients, despite a speculator flipping both properties three days later for an extra $300,000 each. One of the families had no idea their old home, which they spent years renovating, had been sold again till approached. "(An investor) making 300 grand on each property...
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