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Positive feedback on Glendhu Bay Motor Camp - survey
Positive feedback on Glendhu Bay Motor Camp - survey

17 June 2024, 5:04 PM

More than 600 people took part in a recent survey about Glendhu Bay Motor Camp and the feedback was mostly positive, its owners say.Ninety-eight percent of respondents said they’d stay at the camp again; 83 percent are happy with the facilities and amenities; 93 percent are content with the camp rules; and 98 percent are positive about their interactions with staff.The survey comes following a difficult period for the camp’s new owners, Hampshire Holiday Parks, after rumours spread that the company would alter the ‘Kiwi camping experience’ at the iconic camp.A camping association was formed to provide a voice for long term campers, but Hampshire Holiday Park CEO Frank Sharley put the rumours to rest at a public meeting in March.Read more: Glendhu owners guarantee ‘affordable Kiwi camp’Frank told attendees it would be “business as usual” as the camp, explaining that the terms of the company’s lease with Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) do not allow for substantial changes.The company had no plans to change the character of the place or upset the Kiwi camping model, and any improvements would be in line with that ethos, he said.This week Frank said he was “thrilled” with the positive feedback in the survey, which was circulated at the meeting.“It reaffirms our commitment to maintaining the unique character of Glendhu Bay  Motor Camp while making thoughtful improvements that enhance the overall experience for everyone,” he said.The company had taken note of suggestions for improvement from respondents, which ranged from upgrading toilet and shower facilities to better WiFi and improving the clarity and consistency of telephone and rollover booking arrangements.“We acknowledge the valuable suggestions provided and are committed to addressing these areas to further improve our guests' satisfaction,” Frank said.“[We] look forward to welcoming you back for many more memorable stays.”Australian-based Hampshire Holiday Parks acquired the lease for the camp - and a handful of others around the district - after receiving Overseas Investment Office (OIO) approval last year.PHOTO: Wānaka App

Winter Games events upgraded
Winter Games events upgraded

17 June 2024, 5:00 PM

The Winter Games NZ 2024 Freeski Slopestyle and Snowboard Halfpipe FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) competitions have been upgraded to Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) Premium events. “The world class quality of the slopestyle course and halfpipe at Cardrona has allowed us to push for this upgrade,” Winter Games NZ park & pipe manager Carly Parker said.“Upgrading to a premium event provides valuable benefits for both our Kiwi athletes competing on home snow and our international athletes travelling to Aotearoa from around the globe.”  The ANC series allows Australian and New Zealand athletes to compete for a Personal World Cup start for the upcoming 2025 Northern Hemisphere season, guaranteeing the athlete who wins the series a start position at any World Cup event in their discipline. This is particularly valuable heading into the 2024/25 Northern Hemisphere season as all world cup events in the 2024/25 season are qualification events for the 2026 Milano Cortina Olympic Winter Games. An ANC Premium event has 150 Cup points available for the winner, a significant increase from the 100 Cup points available at a regular ANC competition, and therefore a crucial event for those athletes hunting for a Personal World Cup start, Winter Games NZ said.  The number of FIS points available to both Kiwi and International athletes is also notably increased at a premium event, with up to 500 FIS points available (up from 350 FIS points at a regular ANC). FIS ANC Premium events are currently only available for freeski and snowboard park & pipe disciplines. “Winter Games NZ is providing an invaluable opportunity for Kiwi athletes to both score additional FIS points and the chance to earn a Personal World Cup start as they begin the qualification journey to the Milano Cortina 2026,” Snow Sports NZ high performance general manager Luke Hetzel said.The FIS ANC Premium Snowboard Halfpipe competition will take place from August 25-28 and the FIS ANC Premium Freeski Slopestyle competition from September 3-6. Both events will be held at Cardrona Alpine Resort.Find the full programme here.

Bird strikes potentially caused plane engine fire
Bird strikes potentially caused plane engine fire

17 June 2024, 8:22 AM

Reports suggest bird strikes were the cause of an engine fire that forced a Queenstown-Melbourne flight to make an emergency landing in Invercargill this evening (June 17).Flames were seen coming from the Virgin Australia flight - a Boeing 737 with 73 people on board - as it took off over the Shotover Delta at 6pm.Residents in Shotover Country and Lake Hayes Estate also reported hearing loud bangs and a droning, churning sound, similar to the sound of someone doing car burnouts. The noise prompted dozens of people out on to the streets of the subdivisions, near the flight path.X (formerly Twitter) user @DrawyahYT posted from onboard the VA148 after it landed."Can confirm that the BOEING had no fault on its own part, rather several bird strikes as we departed from Queenstown," the post reads."There were a few announcements made. Pilot confirmed us hitting several birds on the way out. We're now sitting on the Invercargill runway as the fire crews check for damage."Virgin Australia Chief Operations Officer Stuart Aggs confirmed the diversion was due to "a possible bird strike on take-off". "The aircraft has been met by emergency services at Invercargill Airport. The safety of our guests and crew is our highest priority."As the American narrow-body airliner continued to ascend during its take off, turning towards Lake Hayes after the northern end of The Remarkables, the droning noise and the bangs stopped and the flames appeared to have been extinguished.The aircraft then circled Queenstown after the incident and flew off towards Invercargill, where there is a longer runway.The flight was met by three FENZ fire units and the airport unit, along with a water tanker and command unit.Queenstown Airport, Fire and Emergency southern shift manager Lyn Crosson told Stuff the engine had been shut down following a fire. Airport spokesperson Sara Irvine confirmed the Virgin Australia flight VA148 "experienced an issue just after take-off" but had landed safely in Invercargill.There are media reports that two people onboard were injured.

The snakes and ladders of Employment Law when selling a business (Law blog)
The snakes and ladders of Employment Law when selling a business (Law blog)

16 June 2024, 8:00 PM

Selling a business can be a very complicated process when it comes to managing your obligations under New Zealand Employment Law.It’s easy to get caught up in all things business but you must remember your legal obligations to the employees, and that includes letting the staff know what is happening. This can be a balance act. Balancing your commercial risk and keeping things confidential so early in the process, with meeting your legal obligations under the Employment Relations Act 2000.It is important that you know the details of all the business’s employees. Check employment agreements and variations, visas, and anything else related to the employees’ terms and conditions, including the relevant notice periods and employee protection provisions. Everything must be legally compliant before the settlement date. Are there any vulnerable employees like cleaners or food preparers? If so, they will automatically be transferred to the purchaser company unless they don’t want to be. In which case, they will need to be made redundant, and you’ll have to explain the process to them. Are there any employees on an Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV)? If the settlement timeframe is too short, the purchaser company may not be able to become accredited in time to keep those employees on, and they will have to be made redundant on the settlement date. Not having a valid visa will mean an employee on an AEWV has to leave the country. You will need to go through a consultation process with each individual employee to explain what is happening and the possible outcomes related to their employment. It’s important that the consultation process is genuine too. That means it needs to start before the agreement is unconditional and a final decision has been made. All information given to the employees must be relevant and in a format that is easy to read and understand. Don’t be tempted to cut corners, even if you know the employees in the business. We can’t stress enough how important it is that you do everything by the book. An employee can raise a personal grievance, even after the business is sold. 

Council underwhelmed by effectiveness of international visitor levy
Council underwhelmed by effectiveness of international visitor levy

16 June 2024, 5:06 PM

The government’s international visitor levy (IVL) is not a replacement for a local visitor levy for this district, Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has told the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). QLDC was responding to MBIE’s call for feedback on whether or not the IVL, a $35 fee most international visitors pay on arrival into New Zealand, should be increased.QLDC said the IVL lacked “the rigour, the scale, and the targeting” to address the real impacts of tourism.“[It] therefore misses the opportunity to ensure that international visitors make a meaningful contribution to support local communities.”Read more: Increase to international visitor levy proposedCouncil’s submission highlighted the well-known challenge of this district in playing a significant role in the country’s tourism industry while also having to fund infrastructure from its own ratepayer base.The challenge “far outweighs the ability of the existing rating model to respond”, the submission said, adding that delivering basic provisions of drinking water which meets standards, wastewater schemes, critical infrastructure and a fit-for-purpose roading network “have become enormous and costly undertakings that have forced the council to push significant projects beyond recommended timeframes”.The council continues to push for a local visitor levy, saying there is strong local support for it. “Following a local referendum demonstrating overwhelming support for a local visitor levy (over 80%), Cabinet agreed in March 2019 to support the local visitor levy through a local Bill. As part of this agreement, QLDC, through the Grow Well Whaiora Partnership has developed and adopted a district wide Spatial Plan which highlights the visitor levy as a priority initiative.”Tourism funding questionedQLDC was also clear that the IVL was not the “sole solution” to tourism funding in New Zealand, saying the levy “must be considered one tool of several to address the shift towards destination management”.The council’s submission said the IVL hasn’t had a meaningful impact on communities affected by tourism, citing the fact the QLDC community has not yet received any support from the IVL.“This lack of investment from the IVL is despite numerous requests for funding to support the critical destination management initiative of measuring optimal visitation that has the potential to be shared across the country,” it said.The IVL must be supported by other funding solutions, QLDC said.QLDC said issues affecting communities such as Queenstown Lakes “can only be effectively addressed locally, on well understood investment needs”, adding it only supports continuation of the IVL with other funding solutions.Council recommended the IVL tourism investment be apportioned between the 30 areas that have destination management plans, by total visitor numbers to each area.“Prior to any increase to the IVL quantum, it is strongly recommended that the accountability and transparency of IVL investment is increased,” the submission said.QLDC did express support for the IVL addressing visitor pressure on the public conservation estate, saying protection and increasing biodiversity must remain a priority.The submission was signed by QLDC mayor Glyn Lewers and acting chief executive Michelle Morss. Councillors would have to approve the submission retrospectively at the next council meeting.PHOTOS: Wānaka App

New preschool may ease pressure on parents
New preschool may ease pressure on parents

16 June 2024, 5:04 PM

A new preschool set to open next January will help to alleviate some of the pressure on early childhood centres around the Upper Clutha.Aspire Preschool and Nursery director Julian Springer told the Wānaka App 60 parents had pre-registered a child for the service within 10 days of its website going live. The new preschool, which will have a focus on low teacher-to-student ratios and getting kids school-ready, will be located at the former Little Wonders Wānaka site on Connor Street.The original daycare closed last September with just a week’s notice, leaving parents scrambling to find suitable daycare in a town where waitlists of a year are not unusual.Aspire Preschool and Nursery director Julian Springer and head teacher Anita Presbury. PHOTO: Wānaka AppJulian said the “huge” shortage of teachers was one of the key reasons Aspire Preschool and Nursery has such a long runway to opening.“Technically we get the lease on July 1 but we have a 6-9 month strategy to recruit teachers because we know part of the reason Little Wonders closed was due to staffing,” he said.Julian said he and head teacher Anita Presbury were looking as far away as the UK and South Africa for qualified teachers “to get the recruitment right”.All but one of the half a dozen childcare centres the Wānaka App called on Friday had waitlists, with most of them described as long or very long.The manager at one centre, who asked not to be named, said their waitlist was anywhere from three months to 18 months and “far beyond what we can take for the next year and a half”. The centre sometimes got calls from expecting parents before they had even shared the news of the pregnancy with immediate family, because they were so anxious to get on a waitlist, she said.A handful of centres said it was difficult to give an accurate timeline for waitlists because many parents sign up for multiple waitlists to increase their chance of securing a spot.This was challenging for the centres, but understandable due to the demands of returning to work and the shortage of childcare providers with capacity. Julian, a lawyer and father, said it was important to him that the new preschool provides the coverage working parents need.It will be open 52 weeks a year with days from 7.30am to 5.30pm “and possibly later if we find we get feedback that parents would prefer us to be open later”.He said the preschool planned to offer a point of difference by focusing on equipping children with the skills they need to enter primary school.“We’re creating a service we think is pretty unique,” Julian said.A ‘meet and greet’ event at Scroggin on August 14 will provide an opportunity for parents to learn more from Julian and Anita.Anita, a local mother and teacher with experience in both early childhood centres and schools, said she was excited to be part of the new preschool.“It aligns with my personal view on teaching and it’s an awesome opportunity,” Anita told the Wānaka App.“We’re hoping to provide something for families down here which gives students a really good start to their education.”PHOTO: Wānaka App

Supporting Wānaka’s young cross country skiers
Supporting Wānaka’s young cross country skiers

16 June 2024, 5:09 AM

The Waiorau Nordic Sports Club is inviting members of the community to a fundraising evening in support of its Youth Development Programme, which is based at the Snow Farm. The event will feature a three-course dinner followed by a lively quiz night, club member Matty Graham said.“Everyone is welcome, you do not have to be a Nordic skier to join us.”All proceeds from the evening will directly support the Nordic Youth Development Programme, funding essential resources such as equipment, expert coaching, travel, and training opportunities for young skiers.The Waiorau Nordic Sports Club is creating a sustainable programme for young cross country skiers. Since its inception in 1999 by Mary Lee, CNZM, the Nordic Youth Development Programme has nurtured many young cross-country skiers, including Junior World Championship gold medal winner Campbell Wright, who has recently transitioned to the US biathlon programme.Read more: Mary Lee, CNZM: ‘A very rewarding journey’“Plans to continue this amazing work and create a sustainable programme to support New Zealand's young cross country skiers into the future are well underway,” Matty said.He said participation in the fundraising event (offering dinner, entertainment, and community spirit) “will make a significant difference in the lives of our young skiers and help sustain the future of cross-country skiing in New Zealand”.The event will take place on Friday (June 21) from 6pm at Wānaka’s The Stoaker Room. Tickets must be purchased in advance.Donations can also be made online.PHOTOS: Supplied

Kāhu Youth Trust AGM (Youth blog)
Kāhu Youth Trust AGM (Youth blog)

14 June 2024, 8:00 PM

Kāhu Youth Trust warmly invites youth and those who champion for them to attend our annual general meeting where we will be sharing the positive impacts of our work as well as our exciting plans for the future. The AGM will take place at 5:30pm - 6:30pm, Thursday 20th June at Paetara Aspiring Centre.Please RSVP: by emailing [email protected]  About Kahu YouthKahu Youth’s Vision is for ALL Upper Clutha rangatahi to live their best lives.Our diverse range of youth development programmes offer fun and unique experiences for rangatahi to develop their strengths, resilience and self-worth. We offer mentoring, drop-in sessions, after school clubs, holiday programmes and events. Our ProgrammesMentoring - Youth Workers support rangatahi to best manage their way through the inevitable challenges that come with life. Delivered one to one, a Youth Development Plan is co-created to support the rangatahi to develop their strengths, interests and work towards their goals.Drop in - Gives rangatahi a safe space where they can come for fun and general hangouts with friends and access nutritious food and support from Youth Development Workers.After School Programmes & Holiday Programmes - Gives rangatahi the opportunity to get out and about in their community and try new activities with their friends. It provides whanau with safe and affordable after school care.Events - Are a fun way to connect our rangatahi to their community and get involved.  You can find out more here.  We look forward to seeing you all then.The Kāhu Team Photo credit: Deanna Gerlach

Investigation remains open on poisoned trees
Investigation remains open on poisoned trees

14 June 2024, 5:06 PM

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) will remove 47 trees from Beacon Point Road more than two years after they were poisoned.The removal of the poisoned poplar trees will begin on Monday (June 17) and is expected to cost around $20,000.The person responsible for the poisoning has not been identified, QLDC media and channels advisor Sam White told the Wānaka App.The council’s investigation “was effectively closed after we were unable to obtain sufficient evidence to take further enforcement action”, he said.The investigation found that one of the trees within the group had drill or auger holes in it.“...Our arborist concluded it’s likely that the other trees around the drilled one were in decline as a result of either the use of a specific herbicide such as one that could be painted onto bark, or because the neighbouring trees grafted their roots together naturally over time and have thereby all been affected by herbicide administered by drilling a single tree,” Sam said.The trees are at the northern end of Beacon Point Road, metres from the beach and a walking track.QLDC said they were now being removed because they posed a safety risk to track users.There will be a temporary road closure for four days from Monday while the trees are removed.“We’d appreciate any further info regarding the poisoning of these trees on Beacon Point Road and any others across the district,” Sam said. “We take damage, vandalism and unauthorised removal of public trees very seriously. We will continue to investigate and enforce under the appropriate legislation and refer matters to the police where appropriate.”“Anyone noticing suspicious activity is encouraged to report it to QLDC customer services so it can be properly investigated.”PHOTO: Wānaka App

Ambulance service prepares for winter
Ambulance service prepares for winter

14 June 2024, 5:04 PM

Hato Hone St John deputy chief executive Dr Damian Tomic has warned there may be longer-than-usual waits for ambulances across the network this winter, particularly for non-urgent conditions.Winter is expected to challenge the health system as it will bring rising Covid-19 cases, influenza and other seasonal illnesses, but St John is aiming to have sustainable service levels."Our goal is to ensure that we can continue to respond effectively to emergencies while managing the increased demand,” Damian said. “However, despite our efforts, we anticipate that some people…may wait longer for an ambulance.”To effectively manage the seasonal surge, St John has begun to implement its winter plan.“We have developed a range of initiatives to treat patients in their home and utilise appropriate community pathways when we can and direct the transport and flow of patients into emergency departments safely and effectively.“It's about ensuring you and your whānau can access the right care you need from the right place, and at the right time.”The plan includes improving the management of lower-priority calls.“What this means is that if you call an ambulance for a low-acuity problem like cold and flu symptoms, you may be called back by a nurse or paramedic who will undertake additional clinical assessment and either arrange an ambulance, suggest an alternative provider, or provide telephone advice,” Damian said.“In some regions, where telehealth services are available, our ambulance crews may use a telehealth consultation as an alternative to transporting a patient to an emergency department.” Those services are an important tool to support community-based management of patients, where appropriate, he said.Damian said St John is working closely with Te Whatu Ora to share, monitor and respond safely to spikes in demand “and any delays that might be likely to arise along the way.”He said it was also important to understand how and when to access healthcare over winter.“If you, and/or your whānau become unwell this winter there are a range of options you can choose to access healthcare including your own GP, Healthline and local Pharmacy. But remember that if it’s an emergency people should call 111.PHOTO: St John Wānaka

Age no barrier for Wānaka OCR Athlete
Age no barrier for Wānaka OCR Athlete

14 June 2024, 5:00 PM

A 62-year-old Wānaka athlete has returned from Australia with medals, a new personal best and the ‘trifecta’.Karen Neilsen raced in last weekend’s Gold Coast Spartan Obstacle Course Race, achieving first place in the Beast (21km), second place in the Super (10km) and fourth place in the Sprint (5km) for her age group.Obstacle course racing combines speed and strategy, with competitors racing through a series of obstacles: anything from monkey bars to mud pits and rope climbs to balance beams.Each of Karen’s races last weekend featured 75 obstacles and in addition to her podium finishes she achieved the ‘trifecta’ - competing in all three events in a single weekend.“Karen is the epitome of a true sportsperson”, The Fit Collective OCR coach Andrew King said.“At 62 she shows determination to break through any barrier and is an inspiration to our team and so many people out on the course.”Last weekend Karen also completed the Super 1:03 faster than her previous personal best time.She has come a long way since starting OCR six years ago, Andrew said.Karen’s first ever competition was the Sprint at 2018 Gold Coast Spartan Race.She said it was special to complete her trifecta at the event that started her passion for the sport. Andrew said Karen’s results are a testament to the effort and attitude she brings to the sport and her training.“I am thrilled at the results she achieved and deserves.”PHOTO: Supplied

Looking after alpine community the focus of conference
Looking after alpine community the focus of conference

13 June 2024, 5:06 PM

Alpine professionals from all over New Zealand congregated in Wānaka for the Southern Hemisphere Alpine Conference (SHAC) over the past two days, learning from fellow experts in industry talks, panels and workshops.Subjects ranged from practical information like patient management, the application of snow anchors and the use of explosives for avalanche mitigation, to personal stories of resilience after tragedy and information on scientific advances and findings.Listen to Ken Wylie, a guest speaker at SHCA, talk about his life-altering experience surviving an avalanche that killed seven in an interview with The Outlet Wānaka.The biennial event is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, Mountain Safety Council (MSC) operations manager Nathan Watson said, and it provides an unmatched opportunity for knowledge sharing. “There are other get-togethers with various parts of the alpine community but this is the only one that gets all the cohorts together under one roof,” Nathan told the Wānaka App.He said resilience, preparing for adversity and community-building had emerged as strong themes over the course of the conference.A panel discussion on using explosives for avalanche mitigation with (L-R) Connor Glynn, Andy Hoyle and Ryan Leong.As well as the technical side of things it was about “looking after our community.”Nathan said the 215 people who attended the event on Wednesday (June 12), who travelled from as far as Northland and Taranaki, made up a “high proportion” of the country’s professional alpine community.It was a “fantastic turnout” and attendees had appreciated the diversity of speakers, the chance to learn both inside and outside of the talks, with lots of connections being built informally. The SHAC is an initiative of the MSC, a non-profit organisation of more than 50 years which aims to encourage safe participation in land-based outdoor activities.Read more: SAR workshop an opportunity to ‘get in the same room’PHOTOS: Wānaka App

Some ski field operators poised to welcome season's first skiers
Some ski field operators poised to welcome season's first skiers

12 June 2024, 10:01 PM

Snow guns are going full bore as southern ski fields prepare to welcome onto their slopes.With the mercury dropping in the South Island, ski field operators hope they can get the lifts running this week.And while North Island skiers will have to wait a little longer before they can take to the slopes, the operators of the financially troubled Whakapapa field are cautiously optimistic about this year's season.A dry autumn and a recent warm patch down south have not been the best for snowfall.NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson has been keeping a keen eye on the weather forecast as Coronet Peak, the Remarkables and Mt Hutt fields get ready to open."We're keeping all of our fingers and toes crossed. At the moment, it's a bit of a day-by-day watching brief," he said."But the weather has got very cold in the last week and we've had some fantastic snowmaking so we're going all guns blazing and still hopeful to get there for Friday for Mt Hutt and Saturday for Coronet Peak."Mt Hutt ski field pictured in May 2023. PHOTO: Mt Hutt / Nicole HawkeThe new multi-million dollar Shadow Basin chairlift would be a gamechanger for the Remarkables this season, with the six-seat express unlocking more terrain and runs, he said.On Mt Hutt, its snowmaking machines can create 400 tonnes of snow an hour.Staff were prioritising investing in snowmaking as part of their climate change planning, as it was denser and far more resilient on the trails, Anderson said."What it allows us to do from our perspective is make sure there is snow on the ground so we can get our business operating."From a customer's perspective, it means they can book with confidence and still turn up knowing that we will mostly likely be open from when we say we'll be open."Cardrona and Treble Cone Experiences general manager Laura Hedley said June was always a bit unpredictable."Sometimes we get a really early June storm and it sets us up really well. Other times, it's a slower start and we really rely on making snow. But we're prepared for that," she said.Both fields were getting good bookings through, but she said they were managing daily numbers at Cardrona to ensure it didn't feel crowded.Skiers and snowboarders line up in August 2022. PHOTO: RNZ / Tess BruntonThey were also looking at their emissions and have added a new hybrid electric groomer this season."That's a good step in the right direction so it's understanding what our impact is, trying to reduce how much impact we have whilst also investing in technology to keep the skifields up and running," Hedley said.She was looking forward to next season when they planned to open the Soho Basin and its 150 hectares of terrain.Whakapapa 'locked and loaded'In the North Island, Whakapapa has already opened for sightseeing and sledding but it isn't expected to open for skiing until Matariki weekend at the end of this month.It has been a tumultuous year for the ski field after its owner Ruapehu Alpine Lifts was put into liquidation last year, receiving $7 million from the government to ensure the 2024 season could go ahead.Whakapapa skifield. PHOTO: Unsplash / Matthew BuchananChief executive Travis Donoghue said active bidding remained underway, but Whakapapa planned to run for 150 days this season."Whakapapa is locked and loaded, confirmed for 2024 so we're also systems go, able to recruit up to 300 team members to come and work here at Whakapapa," he said."We'll be opening everything as soon as mother nature and the snowfall allows."Managers were re-establishing the size of their snow school, targeting 20 to 30 more instructors than in the last few years.The ski field has offered free season passes for children under 10, with thousands of kids signing up."But in a paid sense, we're actually able to grow our revenue by 67 percent year-on-year for a season pass sale so we're really positive, taking a lot from that, that that's a good, strong indicator for a successful 2024 season."Boosting the field's snowmaking capability would be a large priority into the future, he said."There's no reason why improved snowmaking technologies couldn't have you making snow and achieving coverage to the same degree in 2090 as what was falling naturally from the sky in 1990."

Lessons learnt from fatal helicopter crash - report
Lessons learnt from fatal helicopter crash - report

12 June 2024, 5:06 PM

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) has released its final report on the helicopter accident which killed three people in October 2018.The crash killed pilot Nick Wallis and Department of Conservation employees Paul Hondelink and Scott Theobald, who were travelling to Haast in a Hughes 500 (MD500D) for tahr cull operations when their helicopter crashed just after takeoff near the Wānaka Airport.In its report, made public this morning (Thursday June 13), the TAIC said when a door of an aircraft opens in flight, it should be reported."Door openings during flight should be regarded as abnormal and dangerous,” deputy chief commissioner Stephen Davies Howard said. “However, investigators found that the risk associated with doors opening in flight had become normalised to too many New Zealand pilots and operators.”Stephen said the TAIC could establish from the evidence what happened during the 2018 crash, but not exactly why. Nick Wallis, Paul Hondelink and Scott Theobald were killed in the 2018 helicopter accident. IMAGES: SuppliedThe helicopter’s left-rear door very likely opened in flight and unsecured clothing flew out of the rear cabin and TAIC found that the clothing quickly became entangled in the tail rotor, causing a tail rotor blade to break off. The tail rotor assembly then became severely imbalanced, detached and struck the main rotor disc, breaking two adjacent main rotor blades, and putting the main rotor assembly out of balance, the commission said. Another main rotor blade then struck the tail boom and the tail section separated, after which the helicopter became uncontrollable and was destroyed when it hit the ground and caught fire. The accident sequence started about a minute after take-off and lasted only around 14 seconds, Stephen said."The risk of a door opening in flight is greater if unsecured cargo is in the cabin,” he said.“Restraining the cargo in this instance could have prevented the subsequent chain of events and the loss of life."It is very likely the door opened because its latch was worn and outside the manufacturer's tolerances, Stephen said, and the door opening might have been prevented if the manufacturer's maintenance manual had clearer instructions and these had been followed during routine maintenance. Manufacturer MD Helicopters has responded positively to TAIC's finding and revised its manual and guidance, he said.Stephen said the “normalisation” of doors opening in flight meant it was seen by many pilots as “not especially hazardous and therefore not worth reporting to the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA]”.“If an unusual or hazardous event occurs in the air and it's not reported, maintenance engineers and operators won’t be aware there's a problem to rectify,” he said."Everyone should have a shared understanding of the risk and take responsibility to address it.”One of the other lessons from the tragic accident was that operators need to enforce stringent cargo securing practices, Stephen said.TAIC’s final report recommends that the director of civil aviation revise the rule, notes and guidance provided for Civil Aviation Rules ‘Part 12: Accidents, Incidents, and Statistics’ that a door opening in flight is a safety issue and to take steps to address occurrences that are not being promptly reported to the CAA. Stephen said this report augmented TAIC's interim report recommendation (in December 2018) for education work by the CAA to remind aviation participants of the hazards of door-openings and to report all incidents.Read more: ‘Their loss is profoundly felt’: Community in mourning after fatal crash

Crimeline: Arrested drug dealer was selling to youth
Crimeline: Arrested drug dealer was selling to youth

12 June 2024, 5:04 PM

A Wānaka man was arrested last Thursday (June 6) for dealing drugs.The man has been charged with a range of charges relating to drug dealing, including supplying cannabis to people aged under 18.He was dealing drugs in the Eely Point area, which was where he was arrested, Senior Sergeant Fiona (Fi) Roberts said.“What we’ve done is disrupt a really decent supply of drugs into the area,” she said.Family harm - a constant themeA Hāwea man made a series of poor decisions in a single day this past week.The man had a car accident, was issued an EBA (evidential breath alcohol test) by police, and was suspended for driving. He was also issued a PSO (a police safety order; these are issued to protect victims and give them time to make decisions about their ongoing safety and access support).He came to the police’s attention later that day when he breached the PSO and was arrested.The PSO was issued to give the man a “cooling off period”, Fi said, but “he failed to take the police’s good advice”.The man was arrested and held in custody until he appeared in court on Monday.Family harm is a constant theme in our community, Fi said.Family harm includes a range of behaviour from psychological abuse, coercive behaviour, stalking, and violence.“We see the full range of behaviour here. There’s a lot of stuff happening in our communities which is hidden,” she said. “If you see or hear anything then let us know.”Road policing Another cold front is expected this weekend, and Fi said “with the rain comes the black ice”. Black ice forms after sunrise, when people are up and about. Fi said key areas to watch out for are crossing bridges (such as Albert Town, Cardrona, the Camphill Bridge) and the Sir Tim Wallis Drive roundabout, which doesn’t see much sun at this time of the year.Fi said there was a disappointing number of drink drivers over the weekend, with eight EBAs issued.The police impairment prevention team will be back here over the weekend, she said.Scams, shopliftingPolice are still receiving reports of online scams, Fi said,“People are still pushing the envelope heaps on Facebook,” she said, and police are starting to see more scams on TradeMe.She said shoplifters should be aware that high tech cameras have been installed in premises around town, including at Mitre10 and New World.“We’ve got some really good, elite cameras around. If you’re going to steal anything your next visit might as well be the police station,” she said.“The team here loves tracking you down; we’ll connect the dots. Just don’t do it.”Lost propertyWānaka Police station support officer Tania Harnett has advised locals to enter any lost property via 105. She will check those entries against property which is dropped off at the station. There is a lost property box outside the station if the doors are locked.Call 111 when you need an emergency response from police, fire or ambulance.Call 105 to report things that don’t need urgent police assistance.Call *555 to report road incidents that are urgent but not life-threatening.To make an anonymous crime report contact Crime Stoppers.PHOTO: Wānaka App 

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