Saturday, 4 December 2021
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Man charged with dangerous driving over Taranaki crash that killed 18-year-old

Police have released the name of the woman who died in a two-vehicle crash in Taranaki today.

Olivia Renee Keightley-Trigg, 18, from Waitara, died at the scene, police have confirmed in a statement.

A 37-year-old man is due to appear in New Plymouth District Court on Thursday 30 August over the crash.

He is facing a variety of charges including Dangerous Driving Causing Death.

There is renewed debate over the use of electric shock collars for training dogs.

Britain is planning to ban their use and now there are calls for New Zealand to follow.

The collars are described to give a short, sharp jolt to train animals.

An animal behaviour expert Elsa Flint says shock collars are cruel.

“I think it’s inhumane and from an animal welfare perspective it’s just not right,” Ms Flint says.

She says there is no benefit to using them and she says she has even seen dogs with burns and absesses from the collars.

“I’ve worked with dogs that have been traumatised by electric training collars, remote training collars and are so bad that they redirect back into owners.  They get aggressive with their owners.  They become much more aggressive.”

As well as being misused to inflict unnecessary harm and suffering, there’s also evidence e-collars can re-direct aggression or generate anxiety-based behaviour in pets, making underlying behavioural and health problems worse.

Britain are banning the collars, they say they inflict unnecessary suffering.

But, other animal experts say it’s an efficient training method.

Shock collars are also used to train dogs not to kill or disturb kiwi and they have backing from the Department of Conservation.

The dogs are fitted with electric collars and if they go near the native birds, they’re punished with a small electric shock.

The Government says it has no plans to ban electronic collars here and the code of welfare for dogs already states training aids must not be used in a way that causes unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

Police say they only use e-collars as a last resort, instead they use positive reinforcement techniques to train police dogs.

Experts say that is the best approach.

Ms Flint says there is just no merit in using them.

“You can totally destroy your dog by using them, there are much better ways of training a dog.”

A law change to give police stronger powers to tackle makers and sellers of synthetic drugs could be on the cards, the police minister says.

Following the revelation last month that up to 45 people had died from synthetics in the past year, the health and justice ministries, police and customs set up a working group to find possible solutions to deal with the crisis.

The Psychoactive Substances Act that regulated synthetics was “inadequate” and moving it to the Misuse of Drugs Act was a possible solution, Police Minister Stuart Nash said.

“The psychoactive substances legislation is not the right legislation to deal with synthetic cannabis,” Mr Nash said.

“This is nasty, incredibly cheap and easy to make but the police just don’t have the powers at this point to go after those who are producing and selling this in the way they do under the Misuse of Drugs Act.”

The maximum penalty for making or selling synthetics under the Psychoactive Substances Act is currently two years in jail.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the maximum penalty for supplying methamphetamine is life imprisonment, and 14 years for natural cannabis, which is up to 70 times less potent than synthetics.

It was too early to say what penalty synthetics might carry if the change was to go ahead, Mr Nash said.

But it would also give police greater powers to search properties and go after dealers, he said.

A police briefing on synthetic cannabis to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in July, obtained by RNZ, said the issue required “a strong health lead”.

“We will not enforce our way out of this problem,” the police briefing said.

“In summary, it is police’s view that an effective response to synthetic cannabis would include both legislative change and a properly resourced multi-agency response led by the Ministry of Health.”

Boarder control was also at the forefront in the battle against synthetics, Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri said.

There were more than 600 different compounds used to make the drug, and Customs intercepted a new one each week.

Staying one step ahead of those who made synthetic drugs was tricky, she said.

Often a single molecule in a compound was tweaked, making it legal, and legislators were forever catching up, but the working group was tasked with finding a solution to this problem, she said.

The working group’s first report was due in the next month.

Meanwhile, more immediate help was being offered to addicts who were struggling to synthetics the drug in Napier’s poorest suburb, Maraenui.

As RNZ has been investigating, residents who are hooked on synthetics say they have given up trying to quit because accessing help is too hard.

Click here to read the full report ‘Maraenui: The suburb swallowed by synthetics’.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s chief medical officer John Gommans said the DHB would investigate setting up an addiction outreach clinic in Maraenui – but only if the community wanted it.

The community would be consulted first on what help it needed, and the DHB would determine what could be provided, Dr Gommans said.

One of the volunteers who used to help run a free walk-in clinic in the suburb last year, Tracey Benson, described the DHB’s response as “fabulous”.

“We definitely need one. I’m a firm believer that the opposite of addiction is connection. If these people have somewhere to go and talk about what’s going on for them and know there is support there, it will really help.”

By Anusha Bradley


The Bark Box

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