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Upper Hutt Leader : December 21st 2011
24 UPPER HUTT LEADER, DECEMBER 21, 2011 To order your own copy of photos in this paper, or other CCN titles, check out: pix.ccn.co.nz Armed drug dealer trend worries police Armed and dangerous: Detective Constable Jodie Pivott of the Wellington drug squad with some of the weapons and cash police seized in a series of drug raids on December 9. The sawn-off shotgun and homemade .22 calibre pistol were both found loaded. Photo: JIM CHIPP By JIM CHIPP Police raiding premises all over the region netted 17 people on drugs and related charges but also highlighted a growing trend – dealers are increasingly arming themselves. Wellington District Covert Operations Group Detective Inspector Darrin Thomson said searches of properties in Tawa and Paraparaumu on December 9 found a loaded shotgun, a make- shift pistol and a taser. Mr Thomson would not say whether he believed the weapons were intended for use against the police or competing drug dealers. ‘‘I think they [guns] are there for a variety of reasons. In essence they are there to protect their business. Impacts on their busi- ness are wide and varied, includ- ing the police.’’ The trend has increased stead- ily over the last five years, he said. The armed offenders squad sometimes attends drug searches. ‘‘We do a risk assessment on every premise because, obviously the risk is different with every target. ‘‘If the level of risk is at the threshhold we will take the appro- priate response, whatever it is. ‘‘We would be using whatever resources we have got in those situations and on some of those warrants we certainly have [used the AOS] on those operations.’’ Drugs and firearms are a lethal cocktail demonstrating the dangers of organised crime in the community, Mr Thomson said. A dozen search warrants were executed across Otaki, Parapara- umu, Porirua, Tawa, Johnson- ville, Newlands, Strathmore and central Wellington. The people arrested will face a variety of charges, including supply of methamphetamine and cannabis, possession of metham- phetamine, cannabis, ecstasy and LSD, possession of drug utensils, unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. Police also recovered more than $23,000 cash at addresses in Paraparaumu, Porirua, Tawa and Wellington city and quantities of methamphetamine, cannabis, ecstasy, LSD and valium. One referral were made to the Child, Youth and Family service. Vehicle or building? That is the question By BEN STRANG The question of whether a cara- van is a vehicle or a building in Kapiti has taken another twist, with a warning from the Te Puru man at the centre of the original dispute. Te Puru Holiday Park owner Ron Julian is warning people to take note of the Building Act, and understand that if they can prove their caravan is a vehicle, it can- not be a building. Kapiti Coast District Council has informed people living in campgrounds that they will need to pay for building consents in new caravans altered to become permanent dwellings. For such caravans placed on-site after 1992, a certificate of acceptance will be required. The decision comes after a land- mark case between the Thames Coromandel District Council and Te Puru Holiday Park Limited, which went through District Court, High Court and the Court of Appeal. Mr Julian said people needed to understand the court decision before forking out for consent fees to the council. ‘‘We said the process for deter- mination in terms of the Building Act was to go to these clauses that tested if [the caravans] were a vehicle or not, and if they failed those then they became a build- ing,’’ Mr Julian said. ‘‘To cut a long story short, the Court of Appeal accepted our legal argument in terms of what parts of the Building Act should be con- sidered in preference to other parts.’’ Mr Julian said the case showed that if owners could prove their caravan was a vehicle, then it could not be a building. Since the case came to a close in 2010, Mr Julian said he has not been charged ‘‘a single dollar’’ by the Thames Coromandel District Council but he did not rule it out in the future. He said it appeared the Kapiti Coast District Council was enforc- ing laws that were still not entirely clear as to what is a building. ‘‘The way the information has descended through to other councils, the impression has been given that the councils had this huge victory and all of a sudden overnight all caravans need a building consent, which is not right. ‘‘There is no criteria, there is no standard as such. It becomes a subjective case by case thing.’’ Mr Julian said that while his court case resolved his personal case, it fell short of giving guidelines for others to follow in future. He said each person being charged for a building consent needed to take a careful look and decide if they could prove they lived in a vehicle. ‘‘It is a case-by-case thing.’’ There are still no guidelines to define what is or is not a building. KCDC spokesman Roger Foley said the Kapiti council was taking a light-handed approach, and the onus was on the caravan owners to approach council. He said they had given owners until March to apply for the cer- tificate of acceptance or consents, but only if they believed they would require one. The council was not interested in awnings, only fixed structures that could be at risk in high winds or during earthquakes.
December 14th 2011
December 28th 2011