The notorious criminal threatening Parliament’s powers

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Since being recaptured after escaping from prison in 1998, Taylor has since taken on Parliamentary supremacy in New Zealand.

LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Since being recaptured after escaping from prison in 1998, Taylor has since taken on Parliamentary supremacy in New Zealand.

 This story was originally published in Newsroom.co.nz and is republished with permission.

OPINION: Arthur Taylor is a not a man to be messed with. He has over 150 convictions, ranging from fraud to armed robbery to kidnapping.

In 1998, he teamed up with murderer Graeme Burton and some others to burst out of Paremoremo prison, made it 200 kilometres, and then hid in a fancy Coromandel holiday home.

But this time, instead of running away from the legal system, he’s tackling it head on. Taylor has been serving his current sentence since 2006, and is imprisoned at Waikeria. Yet he has managed to take two legal cases all the way to the Supreme Court – Taylor v Attorney-General and Ngaronoa v Attorney-General.

What makes these two cases truly fascinating is that they could each set a precedent for undermining Parliament’s dominance in our legal system.

Both Taylor v Attorney-General and Ngaronoa v Attorney-General are attacks on the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act – a law passed in 2010 which bans all prisoners from voting. Prior to 2010, prisoners serving a sentence of less than three years could vote.

Taylor v Attorney-General attacks the substance of the ban, alleging that the 2010 law violates the right to vote enshrined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, a law setting out the rights to which every New Zealander is entitled.

Taylor went to court, alleging that banning prisoners from voting was an unjustifiable limitation of the right - ...

LAWRENCE SMITH/STUFF

Taylor went to court, alleging that banning prisoners from voting was an unjustifiable limitation of the right – contained in the NZ Bill of Rights Act – of all people over 18 to vote.

 However, Taylor faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge: Parliament’s power to override his most fundamental rights.

This is because New Zealand’s political system is dominated by the concept of ‘Parliamentary supremacy’, which means that Parliament can pass whatever law it wishes to. Hypothetically our Parliament could pass a law requiring the execution of all blue-eyed children, and no court could strike that law down.

Indeed, in the last three years alone Parliament has considered 15 different bills which the Attorney-General believed could violate the rights contained in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

Parliamentary supremacy is a hard idea to get your head around, particularly for those of us used to the pop-culture image of a United States-esque Supreme Court declaring laws to be unconstitutional and invalid.

As a result of the challenge posed by the concept of Parliamentary supremacy, Taylor didn’t challenge Parliament’s ability to pass a law violating the Bill of Rights Act. Instead, Taylor challenged the appropriateness of passing such a law.

If Taylor could get the courts to acknowledge that there was an unjustifiable violation of rights, it would be a sizeable moral victory – strengthening attempts to get Parliament to change the law back to what it was.

So Taylor went to court, alleging that banning prisoners from voting was an unjustifiable limitation of the right – contained in the NZ Bill of Rights Act – of all people over 18 to vote.

And in July 2015 the High Court agreed – shocking the legal community by issuing a ‘declaration of inconsistency’. In essence, the Court said that the law banning prisoners from voting was inconsistent with rights contained in the NZ Bill of Rights Act, and called Parliament’s attention to the inconsistency. It does not invalidate the law banning prisoners from voting, but it is a strong show of solidarity from the courts.

Notably, the NZ Bill of Rights Act (or any other law) does not provide the courts with the formal power to challenge the merit of Parliament’s decisions. A ‘declaration of inconsistency’ has never been made before.

Nonetheless the High Court took the leap, and challenged Parliament’s decision. It was joined by the Court of Appeal, which upheld the High Court’s judgment.

The Supreme Court has heard the arguments from both sides, and is now deciding whether to uphold it once more.

If the Supreme Court sides with Taylor, it would solidify this new power, allowing the higher courts to freely make decisive judicial acknowledgments that Parliament has erred, and demand that it do better.

It would be a strong move from a branch of government long seen as a weaker younger sibling to our overbearing Parliament – and a huge win for Arthur Taylor.

At the same time as he was pursuing Taylor v Attorney-General, Taylor was taking a vastly different approach in the second case he is involved in – Ngaronoa v Attorney-General.

Instead of criticising the substance of the law banning prisoners from voting, Ngaronoa v Attorney-General attacks the method by which the law was passed.

New Zealand has no ‘supreme’ law (a law with which all other laws must be consistent). But we do have ‘entrenched’ law. Section 268 of the Electoral Act declares that in order to repeal or amend certain protected sections of the Electoral Act, 75 per cent of Parliament must vote for the amendment.

One of those protected sections is Section 74, which declares that every adult New Zealand citizen is entitled to vote (with some restrictions regarding residency in NZ).

The existence of the prisoner voting ban, which prohibits roughly 9200 New Zealand adults from voting, might appear like an attack on Section 74.

In Ngaronoa v Attorney-General, Taylor asserts that while the law banning prisoners from voting was not a formal amendment to Section 74, the ban undermines Section 74 so severely that it should be viewed as an amendment to the section.

Only 52 per cent of Parliament supported the law banning prisoners from voting – nowhere near the 75 per cent of Parliament required by Section 268. If the Supreme Court accepted that the prisoner voting ban was essentially an amendment to Section 74, the Supreme Court could strike the ban down as an invalid piece of law.

Predictably, the Solicitor-General Una Jagose (the Government’s top lawyer) doesn’t agree with the idea that the prisoner voting ban is an amendment to Section 74. The entrenchment provision is very specific, and could be interpreted as only protecting certain parts of Section 74.

However even Jagose conceded that if the ban was found to be an amendment to the protected parts of Section 74, the Supreme Court would have the power to strike down the ban as invalid.

In essence, Taylor is asking the Supreme Court to strike down a law passed by Parliament, with the justification that it is upholding the will of Parliament. Smart.

It is far from certain that the Supreme Court will decide in favour of Taylor in either of these cases, and the Court still has months to make its decisions. However, even if Taylor can’t surmount this final hurdle, his campaign has already had a major impact.

Andrew Little (the current Minister of Justice) and David Parker (the current Attorney-General) have promised to change the law so that the High Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court have the power to issue declarations of inconsistency when Parliament violates the NZBORA. Further, their proposed law would require Parliament to respond to the concerns of the courts.

Jagose’s concession that the courts have the power to strike down legislation which violates entrenchment provisions is also significant. It is an influential acknowledgement that the judiciary has a role to play in policing the behaviour of Parliament, even if it is within the framework of Parliamentary supremacy.

So whatever you may think of the prisoner voting ban itself, the wider impact of Taylor’s legal campaign is huge. It has helped in slowly shifting the balance of power in our system, adding consistency and constraints to a doctrine of Parliamentary supremacy which has existed unchecked for so long.

– Peter McKenzie is a Law and Politics student at Victoria University.

This story was originally published in Newsroom.co.nz and is republished with permission.

 – Newsroom

 

Source : Stuff

Jacinda Ardern to join Theresa May, Malcolm Turbull at security meeting amid growing concerns over Russian tactics

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The meet will feature the head of four of the Five Eyes countries - everyone but the US.

The meet will feature the head of four of the Five Eyes countries – everyone but the US.

 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will join a security meeting with British counterpart Theresa May and other intelligence allies amid growing concern over “unconscionable” Russian tactics in the Syrian crisis.

The pair will be joined by two other prime ministers, Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull and Justin Trudeau of Canada, in the meeting on Wednesday between four of the “five eyes” intelligence allies.

The talks are expected to consider the danger from further Russian cyber attacks after damage to British and US targets in recent days, Australian media have reported.

Jacinda Ardern to meet with Justin Trudeau, Malcolm Turnbull and Theresa May to discuss Russia.

GETTY IMAGES

Jacinda Ardern to meet with Justin Trudeau, Malcolm Turnbull and Theresa May to discuss Russia.

 Ardern’s day also includes a town hall meeting with Trudeau and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, before a meeting with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

On her whirlwind European tour she has already held bilateral talks with French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Theresa May is to meet with Malcolm Turnbull to discuss the danger from further Russian cyber attacks.

WPA Pool

Theresa May is to meet with Malcolm Turnbull to discuss the danger from further Russian cyber attacks.

 On Tuesday, GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton confirmed there had been signs New Zealand organisations had been directly threatened by Russian state-sponsored hacking.

“Attributing cyber incidents to particular countries is something that is carefully considered and is a step not taken lightly,” he added.

Minister for Intelligence and Security Andrew Little said New Zealand has been subject to attacks.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and British PM Theresa May are expected to meet to discuss Russia.

Jose Luis Magana

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and British PM Theresa May are expected to meet to discuss Russia.

 “We know our security agencies around the world are constantly monitoring what’s happening in cyber space and state sponsored cyber attacks are now a reality and they’re affecting New Zealand as well,” Little said.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop blasted the Russian tactics and issued a general warning about the prospect of “malicious” attacks on internet services from sources in Russia.

“This pattern of behaviour on the part of Russia is a concern not only to Commonwealth countries but globally,” Bishop said.

The bombardment of British and US networks has moved security concerns to the top of the agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Seeking a Commonwealth outcome on cyber security, May will offer £15 million (NZ$29m) to Commonwealth members to tighten their internet defences.

“I have called on Commonwealth leaders to take action and to work collectively to tackle this threat,” the British leader said in a statement ahead of the meeting.

“Our package of funding will enable members to review their cyber security capability, and deliver the stability and resilience that we all need to stay safe online and grow our digital economies.”

The funding will go to security agencies in Commonwealth nations that are considered to have low or middle incomes.

The UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been formal intelligence allies with the US in the “five eyes” group since the start of the Cold War, using a network of monitoring stations to gather and share information.

The intelligence partners have backed the use of military force to destroy chemical weapons facilities in Syria last weekend even though only two of the five, the UK and the US, launched missile strikes in concert with France.

Bishop noted that Australia had no capacity to launch such air strikes in the region but she said the attacks had to be made after Syrian president Bashar al-Assad authorised the use of chemical weapons on his own people.

Online security was also canvassed in Bishop’s meetings in London with counterparts including Amber Rudd, the UK Home Secretary.

“We are concerned about recent malicious cyber activity that has taken place and we stand in solidarity with the United Kingdom and others in what appears to be a malicious cyber attack emanating from Russia,” Bishop said after her meetings.

“Of course, this reflects a pattern of behaviour over a long period of time on the part of Russia.”

Bishop said the Russian support for the Assad regime was “unconscionable” in light of the Russian veto in the UN Security Council over a proposed investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

She likened the tactics to the Russian objections four years ago over an investigation into the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine, killing 298 passengers and crew including 38 Australians.

“There is a concern that the UN Security Council is being used by Russia to shield Syria from investigation, from accountability,” Bishop said.

“Russia has used its veto in the Security Council on numerous occasions to shield Syria for its own purposes, and this clearly is intolerable.

“We have to have a clear direction from the Security Council on issues like the use of chemical weapons. Australia’s position is that the use of illegal chemical weapons anywhere, any time, by any nation, cannot be tolerated.”

The focus on cyber security and Syria comes amid a debate over the inability of the United Nations to agree on a response, raising questions over whether the Commonwealth should take a collective stance on the issue.

The president of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Lord David Howell, said the member nations had shared values and should be able to back Britain and others in the action to destroy chemical weapons.

“It’s a good example of how you can wheel in a network like the Commonwealth to any situation to amplify its strength, and that’s what can happen in this case,” Howell said in an interview.

Any statement on Syria or Russia is expected to be difficult to attain at CHOGM, however, because it would require a consensus among members ranging from Nigeria and Kenya to India and Pakistan.

“If we’re able to get consensus on issues, we will, but I have to point out that it’s very difficult to get a consensus at any time among 53 nations,” Bishop said.

– Sydney Morning Herald and Stuff

Air NZ safety checks on Rolls-Royce engines disrupts 6500 passengers

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Air New Zealand Boeing has 11 787-9 Dreamliners.

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Air New Zealand Boeing has 11 787-9 Dreamliners.

 Thousands of Air NZ passengers will be affected by an international aviation order issued due to faulty engines fitted to some Dreamliners.

The national carrier is carrying out checks on some of its engines, and on Wednesday rescheduled a number of international services and cancelled a small number of services through to mid next week, impacting about 6500 passengers in total.

Air NZ said it was working with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce on a global issue involving some Trent 1000 engines that power its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet made up of 11 aircraft.

Airlines that operate a type of Trent 1000 engine known as ‘Package C’ have been ordered the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) to carry out earlier than usual maintenance checks on a specific part of the engine compressor.

Further disruption to Air NZ’s schedule would be determined after engine checks had been completed on Friday evening.

Has you been affected by this? Email newsroom@stuff.co.nz

Air New Zealand customer experience general manager Anita Hawthorne said the airline was doing all it could to minimise the impact on its customers.

“This is a particularly busy time on our network and we are conscious many Kiwis are heading away for the school holidays.,” Hawthorne said.

“We sincerely apologise for any disruption to our customers’ travel plans and we thank them for their patience.”

Customers affected by the changes were being contacted directly by Air NZ or by travel agents they booked through.

Air NZ was expecting a high demand for its contact centre and advised customers to avoid calling unless necessary.

Civil Aviation Authority air transport and airworthiness deputy director Mark Hughes said it was working closely with EASA.

​It was also working with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding another order affecting Air New Zealand.

The FAA directive was expected to place limitations on Boeing 787 aircraft equipped with Trent 1000 engines to prevent them from being operated in conditions which would accelerate compressor blade deterioration, Hughes said.

The EASA directive requires operators to conduct additional inspections on engine compressor blades and remove from service any engines that are outside specified limits.

“We’re confident that the action taken is appropriate to mitigate the issue and ensure the continued safety of B787 flights,” Hughes said.

 

Source – Stuff

Killer driver sentenced to home detention

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Family and friends of four people killed in a crash caused, in part, by a 20-year-old Hamilton man during a high-speed street race have reacted with outrage that he has avoided a prison sentence.

“Well that’s a f…ing joke,” someone in the public gallery exclaimed as Dylan Cossey was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention, 400 hours community work and disqualified from driving for seven years.

Cossey, who had been found guilty by a High Court jury in Hamilton in February of four counts of manslaughter, was sentenced in the same court on Friday.

Dylan Cossey, pictured arriving at the High Court in Hamilton at the start of his manslaughter trial in February.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Dylan Cossey, pictured arriving at the High Court in Hamilton at the start of his manslaughter trial in February.

 He had fled from the scene of a head-on smash near Hamilton Airport on the night of June 24, 2016, with his co-defendant Stephen John Jones, 20, in the front passenger seat.

Cossey was racing Honda Integra against a Nissan Skyline at estimated speeds of more than 150kmh.

The race came to a sudden end when the Nissan lost control and collided with an oncoming van about 10pm. In the doomed vehicle were Hannah Leis Strickett-Craze, 24, Lance Tyrone Robinson, 28, and Paul de Silva, 20, all from Waipa, and Jason McCormick Ross, 19, from Taranaki.

Stephen John Jones, pictured arriving at the High Court in Hamilton before the start of his trial.

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Stephen John Jones, pictured arriving at the High Court in Hamilton before the start of his trial.

 Cossey was found guilty of the manslaughter charges, while Jones was found not guilty on all four manslaughter charges.

Both Cossey and Jones were also charged with causing injury to the van’s driver and failing to stop to ascertain injury. The van driver suffered multiple leg fractures and had to be cut from his vehicle. Cossey was found guilty of this also, while Jones was not guilty. Both were guilty of the failing to stop charges.

Jones was also found guilty of one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice – a charge that relates to his alleged editing of the video he took of the crash and the moments leading up to and after it, removing 20 seconds of evidence before handing his phone in to police.

The Nissan Skyline the four victims were in was ripped apart in the crash on the night of June 24, 2016

GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

The Nissan Skyline the four victims were in was ripped apart in the crash on the night of June 24, 2016

 The pair returned to the same court on Friday morning to learn their fate, which was determined by Justice Anne Hinton, who had presided over their trial.

Jones’s sentencing was adjourned to May 3, because the Probation Service had not had time to assess whether his home was suitable as a venue for either home or community detention.

More soon.

 

 Source- Stuff

‘Rot in hell’: Sainey Marong jailed for 18 years for murdering Christchurch woman Renee Duckmanton

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A butcher who brutally murdered a Christchurch sex worker has been jailed for at least 18 years.

Sainey Marong, 33, was sentenced in the High Court at Christchurch on Friday to life imprisonment with the 18-year non-parole period for the murder of Renee Duckmanton.

The Crown said the killing was driven by his “unhealthy desire for necrophilia”.

Sainey Marong, 33, was found guilty of murdering Christchurch woman Renee Duckmanton in May 2016.

STUFF

Sainey Marong, 33, was found guilty of murdering Christchurch woman Renee Duckmanton in May 2016.

 Marong strangled 22-year-old Duckmanton during a dispute after having sex in the back of his car on May 14, 2016.

He dumped her body on the side of a rural Rakaia road the following day and set her on fire. A passerby found her burnt body.

Renee Duckmanton's mother Tracy (centre)  is surrounded by supporters and family after the sentencing of her daughter's ...

Martin van Beynen

Renee Duckmanton’s mother Tracy (centre) is surrounded by supporters and family after the sentencing of her daughter’s killer Sainey Sarong.

 Duckmanton’s mother, Tracy, reading a victim impact statement in court, told Marong she hoped he would “rot in hell”.

She described Renee as “beautiful, goofy, bubbly, loving, sweet, trusting, and naïve.” She had suffered cerebral palsy at birth which made her vulnerable physically and emotionally as she grew up.

Her death had “devastated my life and my family’s life”, she said. “Nothing will ever be the same.”

Renee Duckmanton's (from left) sister Maddie, father Brent McGrath, sister Tarnisha and brother Sam after the sentencing ...

Martin van Beynen

Renee Duckmanton’s (from left) sister Maddie, father Brent McGrath, sister Tarnisha and brother Sam after the sentencing of Sainey Marong.

 Renee’s grandmother, Patricia Duckmanton, said her granddaughter had been “precious to so many people”. Despite the pain, they had fond memories of her. To her nieces and nephews “she was their funny, young, goofy auntie”.

Family members remarked that Marong showed no remorse and demanded that he look at them as they read victim impact statements.

CCTV footage and cellphone tracking showed Marong, who is from Gambia, was with Duckmanton when she went missing.

Christchurch woman Renee Duckmanton.

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Christchurch woman Renee Duckmanton.

 His DNA was found on a lighter and a beanie at the spot where Duckmanton’s body was dumped and burned, and her hair was found on the back seat of his car.

In the weeks leading up to Duckmanton’s death, Marong searched what chemicals kidnappers used, how to kidnap someone, escorts, necrophilia, how to track a phone and videos relating to kidnapping and raping girls.

He visited a pornography website for videos involving necrophilia and read stories and Wikipedia entries about the murders of Christchurch prostitutes Suzie Sutherland in 2005 and Mellory Manning in 2008.

Renee Duckmanton was last seen alive walking down Peterborough St, as captured by a private security camera, on May 14, 2016.

Renee Duckmanton was last seen alive walking down Peterborough St, as captured by a private security camera, on May 14, 2016.

 In defending the murder charge, Marong claimed he was suffering from a “disease of the mind” when he killed Duckmanton. The jury rejected this.

Justice Cameron Mander described the murder as “particularly callous and cruel” before he jailed Marong.

Family of the victim shouted abuse at Marong as he was led away. One man tried to rush the dock, but was stopped.

Crown prosecutor Pip Currie pointed to the Ilam butcher’s planning and his internet searches about murder, kidnapping, and necrophilia before the murder.

She told Justice Cameron Mander that Marong had conducted detailed and determined searches about how to kill someone, and about his “unhealthy and unpleasant” interest in necrophilia.

Currie said: “The intention to kill was directly related to this unhealthy desire for necrophilia. There are no charges but it is clear that sexual activity took place.”

“It would appear the inference to be drawn is that the defendant killed Renee to carry out a sexual fantasy or desire. It is a clear inference from the fixation on necrophilia that this is what he was interested in,” she said.

Justice Mander said: “There is a lingering question of whether sexual intercourse took place before or after the murder. The Crown acknowledges that because it cannot prove that aspect, it must be put to one side.”

He said it had been a callous and cruel murder. His premeditation involved deliberate strangulation to leave the victim’s body intact for his “depraved motivation to kill”.

His depraved aim was to kill a sex worker to fulfil some sexual ambition, the judge said.

Defence counsel Jonathan Krebs repeated the defence at the trial that Marong’s actions needed to be seen through the lens of mental illness. “He accepted he caused the death, but he did so at a time when he was insane. The jury plainly rejected that.”

He pointed to evidence that Marong had not been taking his insulin for his diabetes for three or four weeks, and a doctor’s evidence was that hypoglycaemia could have an effect on the mind. Marong’s internet searches had been becoming more and more bizarre over that time.

Outside court, Tracy Duckmanton said she was happy with the sentence and pleased Marong would never be a free man in New Zealand again.

“It won’t bring Renee back but at least we get some closure.”

It had been extremely difficult hearing some of the evidence in court, she said.

“Imagine the things that go through your mind. But justice has been done.”

Renee Duckmanton’s father Brent McGrath said he was also happy with the sentence and wanted to speak to Immigration authorities.

“I’m ropeable. If Immigration had done its job Renee would still be alive and if wasn’t Renee it would have been somebody else. I want Immigration to explain to me why he was in this country. I’ve been deported before and it was done like that. The whole of New Zealand needs to know.

Sarong had shown no remorse from day one, he said.

Sarong came to New Zealand in 2014 through Hong Kong and tore up his passport at the airport. The Immigration Act prevents publication of further details relating to his immigration status.

Source – Stuff

Dog with ‘special’ abilities rescued by NZ police overcomes stroke

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NZ Police dog Tasman "Tas" is the only cross-breed animal in service with (inset) her police officer Matthew Fage.

NZ POLICE/SUPPLIED

NZ Police dog Tasman “Tas” is the only cross-breed animal in service with (inset) her police officer Matthew Fage.

 Three years ago, she was leading a life of crime, stealing tennis balls from a court in Blenheim and mastering the game catch me if you can.

Now, a stray, cross-breed saved from a life of homelessness has overcome a stroke to become one of the country’s best drug dogs.

Tasman never thought her life would lead her to serving her country, as a Wellington District Police Facebook post explains.

Then living under the name Banjo, she belonged to no-one and knew no-body when she was eventually caught and taken to a pound. There, she was given a seven-day death sentence.

But something unique about this brown and white pooch gave her a D-day extension and that’s when the police dog handlers received the call.

The pound explained they had a stray who seemed to have the qualities of a detector dog, but she wasn’t what the force was used to. All detector dogs are either labradors or shepherds.

Put through some simple drills the police took her on the spot and she was later flown to the police Dog Training Centre at Trentham, Upper Hutt.

At the same time, Senior constable Matthew Fage was about to begin a nine-week drug course. He would be partnered with a new dog after his last working companion suddenly died.

Fage was asked to train a German shepherd and Banjo who was set for a future in Rarotonga as a drug detection dog.

Training wasn’t smooth sailing but Banjo was meeting her targets. In the end, she ran rings around the other dog, graduated, and Fage decided to take her on.

She needed a name and Fage settled on “Tasman” – Tas for short – as a reminder to her beginnings in Blenheim and as a token of support to the Tasman Makos.

Having been a dog handler for 19 years, working with German shepherds, Fage said the pair received some sideways glances. Colleagues would tease, “It’s not bring your pet to work day”.

“Tasman is a little bit different,” he said on the Facebook post.

She’s a real character with a zest for life but Fage could tell she was a victim of abuse.

“[For] some of our commands, we raise our hands and the sight of that used to make Tasman cower and urinate herself as she thought that she was about to get hit.

“She’s well-loved now and grown out of it but it’s very sad to know what she potentially went through in her past life.”

Tasman had only been working with the police for under a year when she became paralysed one morning, dragging her back legs.

“I let her out of her kennel one morning, I went inside to make a coffee and when I came back outside I found her.”

Fage rushed her to the vet who weren’t sure what had gone wrong. It turned out Tasman had suffered a stroke of the spinal cord and there is no cure.

But there’s hope that in time she will overcome her disability. The movement in her right leg came back about an hour after Tasman’s stroke.

With a lot of dedication and care, Tasman is on the mend. Her left leg now 90 per cent functional and she was missing her work finding drugs and money after just six weeks.

She’s now been working for several years in searches not possible without her savvy wits and, of course, her nose.

Last September, Tasman and Fage were selected to compete at the NZ police dog’s national trials where the top two detector dogs from the police, customs and corrections compete for the title as the best drug dog in the country.

“We placed second.”

Fage said his little, brown and white stray had come a long away.

“I have absolutely loved every minute of being her handler.”

​Tasman is now only non-pedigree New Zealand police dog as all other dogs are either German shepherds or labradors.

Source – Stuff

Canterbury District Health Board issues measles warning to people who flew between Queenstown and Christchurch

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People who flew between Queenstown and Christchurch earlier this month may have been exposed to measles, health authorities say.

A woman in her 20s, who is the latest person to be confirmed having measles, travelled on two Air New Zealand flights while infectious:

– Flight NZ 5642 from Queenstown to Christchurch, departing 8.20am on Saturday April 7

The Canterbury District Health Board is asking parents to get their children immunised against measles.
SUPPLIED
The Canterbury District Health Board is asking parents to get their children immunised against measles.

– Flight NZ 5653 from Christchurch to Queenstown, departing 3pm on Monday April 9

There have been six confirmed cases of the infectious disease. over the past week in Queenstown, Wanaka, Canterbury and Nelson. Two of the patients were hospitalised. A baby was among those struck down.

Health authorities have warned of an outbreak.

The Canterbury District Health Board said in a statement the public health unit was alerting all passengers and crew on the two flights to see if they were exposed to measles.

“Anyone who travelled on either of these flights should check their immunisation status with their General Practice team or family doctor.”

Medical professionals have warned of a high possibility of more cases, and urged those with symptoms to call, rather than visit, their doctors.

The CDHB sent an advisory notice to schools and early childhood centres in the region on Friday.

“Measles is a serious and highly infectious disease, and these new cases show how easily it can spread,” medical officer of health Ramon Pink said.

Parents were asked to make sure their children were immunised against the disease or make sure they were aware of the symptoms if they and their children were not immunised.

“For the best protection, people need to have two MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccinations,” Pink said.

“The MMR is available from your family practice and is free to eligible people.”

Pink said children were at risk of of being exposed to the disease during the school holidays, which start on Saturday and finish on April 29, especially if they were travelling, attending events, and visiting friends and family.

“Anyone who is not immunised and gets exposed to a case of measles will need to stay home for at least 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread.”

People who suspect they have measles are asked to avoid contact with other people, especially those are not fully immunised, and should phone their GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116.

Further information can be found online at www.health.govt.nz/measles or by calling 8 IMMUNE.

Source – Stuff