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New approach for controversial Auckland plane route

11:00 AM Friday May 30, 2014

Photo / Paul Estcourt

Photo / Paul Estcourt

Satellite-based navigation landing approaches tested for Auckland International Airport will be restarted in early next year but future aircraft must pass 800 feet higher over Mt Albert and Dominion Roads in order to reduce engine power and noise.

The year’s trial of a continuous curved descent to the north of the airport ended last October after months of residents complaining of noise from lower flying aircraft.

After a long study of the benefits of the “Smart Approaches” flight paths, the trial partners Airways NZ, Auckland Airport and the Board of Airlines Representatives (Barnz) have released a draft report for public feedback.

The second recommendation of the draft report is to increase maximum permitted aircraft speed, thereby reducing the use of speed brakes which are a significant contributor to aircraft noise.

Barnz executive director John Beckett said the environmental benefits of Smart Approaches presented an exciting


for the industry.

“We believe fuel and carbon savings can be achieved, and at the same time noise impacts on the Auckland community can be reduced.”

Auckland Airport’s general manager of aeronautical operations Judy Nicholl said the recommendations in the draft report “respond appropriately to both community concern and the aviation objectives of the trial”.

“We now look forward to receiving public feedback on the recommendations.”

Airways New Zealand‘s general manager systems operator, Pauline Lamb said the trial was part of the Government’s National Airspace Policy to improve safety and efficiency and to align New Zealand with the global shift to satellite based navigation.

“This trial has been an important step in ensuring New Zealand keeps pace with international best-practice, while at the same time limiting the impact of flight paths on the community.”


Analysis of public feedback on the trial found only 24 per cent of flights identified in the complaints feedback were actually operating Smart Approaches.

Most related to aircraft on existing flight paths and a significant amount of feedback was about a certain aircraft procedure known as visual flight approaches, which allow for aircraft to fly lower than Smart Approaches over residential areas.

In order to address this, the draft report also recommends that the practice of visual flight approaches cease for wide-body jet aircraft approaching from the north from September this year and for all jets from September 2015.

During the trial, independent acoustics consultants measured the impact of Smart Approaches on noise levels over residential areas.

The experts determined that while individual Smart flights had marginally higher noise levels (approximately three decibels higher on average), the difference was not regarded as significant and would be expected to be only just perceptible to the human ear.

The one exception to this was at Reinheimer Place in Flat Bush, where the difference was a perceptible seven decibels.

During the course of the trial, aircraft using the northern Smart flight paths (about five per day) flew 25,000 fewer nautical miles, resulting in a 739,000 kilogramme reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and a 234,000 kilogramme reduction in fuel use.

The trial found Smart Approaches reduced flight times and led to a significant reduction in fuel burn and carbon emissions.

The global move towards the satellite based navigation technology used in the Smart Approaches flight path trial is embraced by the International Civil Aviation Organisation which aims to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment and communities, while maintaining safety levels.

Submissions can be made until 5pm on Friday, 27 June 2014 either online or by completing the submission form at the flightpath website here.

Auckland Airport, Airways New Zealand and Barnz will also hold a series of consultation forums to receive submissions.


Source : The New Zealand Herald

Aussie shares down on weak iron ore prices

May 30, 2014 – 12:27PM

Weak iron ore prices continue to drag the Australian share market into the red.

The market largely shrugged off positive leads from the US with price declines in both mining and financial stocks on Friday, Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said.

“Iron ore prices for May are now down 12 per cent for the month,” she said.

“Usually there’s a high-correlation to what’s happening with the iron ore miners and the banks.

“With the two biggest areas of our market in the red, it’s likely it won’t be a good day.”

CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said concern about softness in China’s economy was also weighing on Australian shares.

“The iron ore prices are certainly having an impact and the background softness in China has implications for the wider Australian economy,” he said.

“That’s the second part of the negative tension in our market.”

He said the falls would have been worse if US markets had not performed as strongly as they did overnight.

The broad-based S&P 500 closed on a new high overnight, adding 10.25 (0.54 per cent) to 1,920.03 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index also performed strongly.

On the local sharemarket, the major miners are leading the losses.

Rio Tinto had dropped 62 cents to $59.45, BHP Billiton had shed 24.5 cents to $37.245 and Fortescue Metals was 10.5 cents lower at $4.435.

As for the four big banks, the National Australia Bank was nine cents lower at $33.32, Westpac was minus 19 cents to $34.33, ANZ had dropped 18 cents to $33.55 and Commonwealth Bank had shed 14 cents to $81.91.


Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

Queensland sniper investigator charged over abuse

May 30, 2014 – 12:35PM

A stood-down Queensland detective sergeant has appeared in court accused of improperly charging the girlfriend of a man later acquitted of shooting a bystander.

Jason Ricardo, 39, briefly appeared in Brisbane’s Roma Street Magistrates Court on Friday charged with an abuse of office.

His Queensland Police Union lawyer Calvin Gnech asked magistrate Paul Kluck to read out his client’s full charge to address “some unbalanced media reports”.

The magistrate told the court Ricardo allegedly abused his authority by laying criminal charges for “improper purposes” against Kylie Cunnington on March 7, 2011.

Her boyfriend Rick El Masri, 37, was this month acquitted by a jury of attempted murder of a bystander from a high-rise balcony at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in December 2010.

Ms Cunnington had lodged a formal complaint with the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) about her alleged treatment by Ricardo at the Southport watchhouse three years ago.

The CMC this month ordered the officer to face court.



David Meredith told the court Ricardo faced a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Mr Kluck granted Ricardo bail on the condition he not contact Ms Cunnington or police prosecutor Jacquelyn Hart.

He is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on July 16.

A Queensland Police Union spokesman said Ricardo would contest the allegations made against him, adding that his lawyer’s request to the magistrate referred to previous media reports relating to an unsubstantiated kidnapping allegation.


Source : The Canberra Times

ASIO boss David Irvine frustrated at delay to moving into new Canberra HQ building

May 30, 2014 – 9:46AM

Phillip Thomson


Long delays: The ASIO building, pictured earlier this year, was officially opened in July, but remains empty.

Long delays: The ASIO building, pictured earlier this year, was officially opened in July, but remains empty. Photo: Melissa Adams

The boss of Australia’s spies is “frustrated” at the delayed wait to get the keys to his $680 million Canberra headquarters.

Director-General of


David Irvine told an Estimates hearing the date his staff would start operating from the building had been delayed by another month.

It is now expected to be the second half of June when spooks will begin fighting terrorists from the five-storey building overlooking Lake Burley Griffin.

And it seems even spies are at the mercy of their tradesmen.

“When we talk about a handover we’re in the hands of the building contractors,” Mr Irvine said.

“They’re now saying the keys, as it were, can be handed over in mid-June.”

The air-conditioning and fire safety systems as well as the automatic doors need remediation work. There has also previously been problems with glass panels falling off, however, authorities now believe the issue is fixed.

Do you know more? Send your confidential tips to ps@canberratimes.com.au

Mr Irvine told the hearing that when the building was opened by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd last July, he had expected to move in at the end of August.

“You might detect a slight element of frustration,” he said, regarding the almost year-long wait.

ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja noted the existing unsightly fence and Mr Irvine said it would be replaced by a low-key “ha ha” fence, which creates a vertical barrier while preserving views.

Mr Irvine said it would fit in with the “Canberra no-fence principle”.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

Tony Abbott courts crossbench senators to save the budget, but one won’t play ball

May 30, 2014

Heath Aston

Political reporter

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has begun personal meetings with the Senate crossbenchers who will decide the fate of the budget – but novice politician Ricky Muir is refusing to play ball.

The elusive senator-elect has declined an invitation for a one-on-one meeting because, he said, he cannot get time off from his job at a rural sawmill in regional Victoria.

Ricky Muir.

Ricky Muir. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

Fairfax Media can reveal Mr Abbott is taking the lead hand in negotiating with the group that will hold the balance of power from July 1.

Democratic Labour Party Senator John Madigan met Mr Abbott on Thursday. The Prime Minister also met Bob Day, the South Australian senator-elect from Family First, in Canberra on Wednesday.

And he will sit down with New South Wales senator-elect David Leyonhjelm in Sydney on Friday.

But the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party said Mr Muir, a 32-year-old father of five, had no time to talk until he becomes a full-time politician in July.

”He has to work for a living. He has a mortgage, he has to feed his family. He just can’t take time off at the whim of the Prime Minister,” said Keith Littler, the founder of the Motoring Enthusiast Party.

As part of the four-member Palmer United bloc in the Senate, Mr Muir is also at loggerheads with the government over Clive Palmer’s request for official ”party status” and the extra financial resources that bestows.

”There was a request to the PM for resources and that was declined, and yet the PM expects everyone to be at his beck and call,” said Mr Littler.

”Mr Abbott has to understand there’s a whole other world out there where people have to work for a living.”

On July 1, Mr Muir will swap the $500-a-week basic wage for a timber process worker for the $190,000 salary of a senator.

Mr Palmer, who was seen dining with Liberal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasury boss Martin Parkinson in Canberra on Wednesday night, is still refusing to talk to Mr Abbott over the Coalition’s refusal to grant party status.

”It hasn’t happened and it doesn’t look like happening,” said a spokesman for Mr Palmer.

Senator Madigan said he had had a broad discussion with Mr Abbott in which he outlined a list of concerns with the budget, including health, education and jobs.

”The budget, we believe, is not good for families and jobs,” he said. ”It’s one thing to say go and get a degree, but there isn’t the jobs out there.”

He handed Mr Abbott three pages of questions on the Murray-Darling basin and water for irrigators and raised issues with intellectual property rights and patents.

Mr Leyonhjelm said he was resolutely opposed to any new taxes, including the deficit levy and raising the petrol excise.

”We’re just going to get to know each other a bit. It is a nice thing for the government to be talking to the minor parties,” he said.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

David Eastman inquiry: police in court bid over report’s publication

May 30, 2014 – 11:28AM

Michael Inman


David Eastman.

The Australian Federal Police have launched a last gasp bid to prevent the imminent publication of at least some parts of the report into the Eastman Inquiry.

Inquiry head, Acting Justice Brian Martin, delivered his findings in the inquiry to the registrar of the ACT Supreme Court on Thursday. The inquiry examined David Eastman’s conviction for the murder of assistant Australian Federal Police commissioner Colin Winchester in 1989.

The court had planned to release the report on Friday, until the AFP made an


about the publication.

A hearing will be held before Chief Justice Helen Murrell late Friday afternoon.

It is unclear at this stage whether the police are trying to prevent the publication of the full report, or if they are seeking to have some sections withheld. It is also unknown what grounds the AFP will rely on in its objection.

It is understood the report could be published immediately after the hearing, depending on the result of the AFP’s eleventh hour bid.

The report is before the full court for consideration. It will decide whether to confirm or quash the conviction.

Even if the court decides to confirm the conviction, it could choose to pardon Eastman and release him from custody.

An order to overturn the guilty verdict could result in a retrial. It could also effectively reaffirm the conviction.

Acting Justice Brian Martin delivered his findings in the inquiry to the registrar of the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Court officials confirmed they had received the report, but would not disclose its contents.

“The report and documents accompanying the report are now in the custody and control of the Supreme Court,” the court said.

“No comment will be made about the contents of the report.”

Eastman has spent almost 19 years behind bars for the assassination of assistant commissioner Winchester, who was killed in Deakin in January 1989.

He was convicted by a jury in 1995 of the murder, on a circumstantial case that included claims gunshot residue from the murder scene matched samples found in Eastman’s car.

But he has always maintained his innocence, unleashing waves of litigation in a bid to clear his name.

It comes a week after the full bench of the ACT Supreme Court threw out an attempt by the Director of Public Prosecutions to halt the Eastman inquiry.

The DPP had applied for judicial review of two decisions that had helped create and shape the inquiry.

The DPP took exception to an order creating the inquiry, made in September 2012, and a second decision by Acting Justice Martin not to limit its scope.

The challenge came before the full court about 14 months after the 2012 decision and months after the inquiry had heard evidence that raised “serious issues” with Eastman’s conviction.

The court, led by Chief Justice Murrell, used its discretion to dismiss the DPP’s challenge last week, despite finding errors with the decisions.

Source : The Canberra Times