Air NZ staff plan strike
More than 40,000 Christmas holiday plans are up in the air — or grounded — after Air New Zealand staff announced a strike on the busiest flying day of the year. Almost a thousand engineers and aircraft logistics staff will strike on Friday, December 21. Air New Zealand is accusing them of using Kiwis’ holiday plans as a bargaining chip. The airline says it will rebook people closer to the time, if it appears the union will follow through. House of Travel’s Brent Thomas says rebooking won’t be so easy, with flights either side already largely booked out.
Missing backpacker Missing British backpacker Grace Millane was last seen with a man who has since been questioned, police say. Detective Inspector Scott Beard and Grace's distraught father, David Millane, spoke to media yesterday afternoon. Beard said police held grave fears for the 22-year-old tourist's safety, and the investigation was progressing rapidly. The last known sighting of Grace was at 9.41pm on Saturday at the City Life Hotel. She was with a man. Police had identified the man and he had been spoken to. An apartment at the hotel was a place of interest and is the subject of a scene examination by police.
$9m gift for Starship
A family of lifelike medical manikins that can cry and cough have pulled in the largest ever donation to Auckland’s Starship national children’s hospital — $9 million. The gift from a family trust associated with New Zealand medicines firm Douglas Pharmaceuticals has been used to set up an endowment fund for training children’s health workers on the hi-tech manikins. The Starship Simulation Programme has six computer-controlled manikins ranging from a premature baby to a 14-year-old. The manikins can cry, cough, suffer a seizure, show symptoms of a blocked airway, and go into respiratory or cardiac arrest. They help to train children’s doctors, nurses and other staff. The Douglas family have contributed to several Starship projects spanning 23 years.
$60,000 fine over spill
A mining company has been fined more than $60,000 for discharging thousands of litres of diesel into a stream. Locals complained in August last year about contamination of a stream at Taharoa Ironsands’ mine site near Kawhia, on Waikato s west coast. One local says they tracked the rainbow-coloured diesel fuel in the Wainui Stream approximately 400 metres out to the Tasman Sea. Te Kuiti District Court Judge Melanie Harland says the company was careless, and failed to follow isolation procedures.