Thursday, December 7, 2023

Takaka commercial fisher fined $20,000

Commercial Fishing Vessel Jeanette. 

 Takaka commercial fisher who removed a Geospatial Position Reporting device from vessel fined $20,000

A commercial fisher who deliberately disarmed and removed a Geospatial Position Reporting (GPR) device from his fishing vessel, has been fined $20,000.

Tony Peter Phillipson (49) was sentenced today – Wednesday, 6 December in the Nelson District Court after earlier pleading guilty to 3 charges under the Fisheries Act and Fisheries (Geospatial Position Reporting) Regulations 2017, following a successful prosecution by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

"All commercial fishing vessels are required to have GPR technology installed and operating on their vessels. Digital monitoring supports sustainable fisheries by tracking, reporting, and monitoring all commercial fishing activity. Mr Phillipson knew that it was illegal to remove  his GPR device, however, he deliberately went out of his way to do this in order to circumvent the law," says fisheries New Zealand acting regional fisheries compliance manager, Anthony Little.

In April this year, Mr Phillipson left Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay aboard the vessel Jeanette with one crew member, sailing towards Cook Strait for a commercial fishing trip. When he reached the Waitui Bay area, he removed the GPR equipment, placed it in waterproof bags, attaching them to fishing buoys, tied to a rope and anchor. There is no record of where he went to from that point. He returned 3 days later but could not find the GPR device and claimed it had been stolen.

Mr Phillipson sailed to Port Nelson on 1 May after catching 5,948kgs of fish, valued at $11,875,00. The GPR device – a Solar VMS - was found by a member of the public and handed in to MPI, along with the anchor, rope, and buoys.

"When spoken to by a fishery officer, Mr Phillipson admitted removing the GPR device. This is the first time we've encountered this type of offending – someone disabling GPR equipment and there are consequences. The rules are there for a reason – to protect our shared fisheries and ensure sustainability into the future. Mr Phillipson's actions undermined a system based on trust," says Anthony Little.

The Jeanette, the Solar VMS, anchor, rope, and fishing buoys were forfeited to the Crown.

MPI encourages people to report suspected illegal activity through the ministry's 0800 4 POACHER number (0800 47 62 24)

Date: 06 December 2023

Ministry of Primary Industries

Pigeon Post News

Monday, December 4, 2023

Drivers urged to plan for delays. State Highway 1 repairs - Nelson to Picton - Blenheim to Picton

Waka Kotahi Traffic Bulletin: 

4 December 2023

Drivers travelling between Tasman/Nelson and Blenheim to Picton can expect delays tomorrow (Tuesday, 5 December) as contractors continue repair works on State Highway 1 at the Picton Elevation.

The site is about 1km or so outside of Picton.

Basically, anyone catching a ferry will have to go through the site – Nelson traffic could use Queen Charlotte Drive to avoid it – but that route would take much longer than the expected delays at the stop/go


Road workers will be on-site between 8:30 am and 4 pm carrying out preparatory work before drilling to drain groundwater begins on Wednesday, 6 December.


Stop/go traffic management will be in place to keep road workers safe and allow them to get the job done as quickly as possible. Drivers can expect delays of around 15 minutes when passing through the works area.


The work underway is to repair damage to the road caused by a change in groundwater movement under the road’s surface.


Drivers must obey stop/go traffic controls and temporary speed limits and follow all instructions from road crews.


Because the works site is enroute to and from Picton, drivers with ferry connections should allow extra travel time for their journeys.


Plan ahead for a safe, enjoyable journey. Keep up to date with:

Traffic updates:

Wake Kotahi

Pigeon Post News, Richmond.

Monthly Weather Outlook - December 2023


Map showing forecast rainfall for December 2023, relative to the December normal.

November 2023 – O Nino, where art thou?

Following on from a September and October which ran quite true to form for our climate drivers (westerly barrages, strong high-pressure anomalies in the Tasman Sea and low-pressure anomalies in the Southern Ocean), you can be forgiven for asking what happened to our strengthening El Nino in November, where pressure patterns across New Zealand didn’t respond to type.

Areas of high pressure were often slow-moving across the Southern Ocean during November with our classic westerly signal only showing up for a brief interlude mid-month. Instead, troughs digging southward from the tropics to the northeast of NZ were a recurring theme, and we have seen much more frequent showery southerly to southeasterly airflows across the country than normal.

This has driven another very wet month for the storm-battered regions of Tairawhiti and Hawke’s Bay; Gisborne Airport saw its 3rd wettest November on record. Wetter than normal conditions have also been observed from the Bay of Plenty to the Wairarapa, and in exposed pockets around Gisborne and southern Canterbury. These areas also saw the coolest temperatures compared to normal last month. Conversely, areas we might typically expect to be rather wet in November such as West Coast South Island have basked in much sunnier, warmer and drier conditions than normal. The majority of the South Island had a drier than normal November.

Climate Drivers – MJO will mix up the weather maps once more in December

Whilst El Nino remains an important player for NZ, the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a climate driver tracked across the equator, looks set to help shake up the weather maps early in December, much like it did in November. A pulse of the MJO will move from the Maritime Continent (Southeast Asia) into the Western Pacific during the first half of the month. This will lead to more low pressure across the Australasian/NZ regions, with the belt of higher pressure likely displaced further southwards across South Island, similar to November, at least initially.

El Nino is expected to peak in January 2024, continuing through into the autumn months. NZ typically sees the strongest effects of El Nino during late summer/early autumn.

December 2023 Outlook – An unsettled start, but dreaming of a bright Christmas

As noted above, the MJO looks likely to help drive a rather unsettled opening to December, although the South Island might tap into drier weather under that southern ridge more often than not. A couple separate Tasman Sea low pressure systems from the weekend of the 2nd/3rd into the following week look likely to bring rainfall right across the country, but especially across North Island. If the second of these makes a connection with an increasingly active tropics to the north, we may well see some notably heavy falls for northern and northeastern portions of North Island too, but this remains far from certain at this early stage. Keeping a close eye on tropical developments to our north will be important through the first half of December.


Heading beyond mid-month, higher than normal pressures are gradually favoured to return across the Tasman Sea, and to the north of New Zealand, with a more westerly pattern redeveloping across the South Island. This pattern is much more typical of El Nino, as the MJO pulse departs eastward. This will be welcome news for those of us across central and northern NZ who are hoping for some more prolonged sunshine as the summer holidays get started and hay-making season ramps up. These synoptic patterns even offer some early hope of a dry Christmas Day BBQ in these regions!

Rainfall should become more frequent again for western and southern South Island though. With a predominantly westerly flow, eastern sections of South Island may well be in for some very hot early summer days alongside long dry runs too.


Pigeon Post News, Richmond.

Weather News Release for the week ahead:-



An active first week of summer


Covering period of Monday 4 - Thursday 7 December

As the calendar officially ushers in summer, MetService is forecasting an active opening week of weather; from thundery showers over the North Island to a rain-laden front sweeping the South Island.

According to MetService meteorologist Mmathapelo Makgabutlane, the North Island is set to be the focal point of the week, with intermittent showers forecast. “Most regions will experience a shower or two, especially in the early part of the week. Tuesday, in particular, seems poised for wet weather in eastern areas like Tairāwhiti/Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, although not as intense as recent weeks,” says Makgabutlane.

Thunderstorms will also enter the mix, potentially delivering heavier downpours. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch is in effect today (Monday) from 2pm to 9pm for the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, and Taupo. Thunderstorms are anticipated to resume on Tuesday, with Northland and Auckland likely to experience increased shower activity.

While Thursday and Friday appear more settled under a ridge of high pressure, warm daytime temperatures may spur afternoon shower activity. In the eastern South Island, a temperature dip today will be followed by a recovery on Wednesday, with temperatures expected to reach the low to mid-20s once again.

For the South Island, a ridge of high-pressure is punctuated by a frontal weather system on Wednesday and Thursday, bringing wet weather to the west and brief showers to lower and eastern parts. A sunnier outlook is anticipated as the system moves off, providing ample sunshine to conclude the working week.

Beyond our shores, a Tropical Low near the Solomon Islands is expected to intensify into a Tropical Cyclone later this week. Impacts to Australia's East Coast are expected and MetService forecasters are keeping a close eye on the path of the cyclone, especially once it moves away from Australia’s coast.


Pigeon Post News

Great News from Council that coastline from Mot to Riwaka going to improve

Motueka Coastline. File photo.

Exciting Developments as Motueka's Coastal Environment Receives a Boost

Motueka, 04 December 2023

In a promising turn of events, Motueka's Wastewater Treatment Plant is making a remarkable recovery after two months of dedicated attention and meticulous care.

Back in late September, engineers from the Tasman District Council detected signs of a malfunction in part of the filtration system at the plant. Although it was still operational, it wasn't performing at its peak efficiency.

According to Mike Schruer, Waters and Wastes Manager, the issue lay in the membranes responsible for removing remaining bacteria and minute particles before the water is discharged. Despite the challenge, the council took swift action, temporarily resorting to the pre-2016 system, pumping treated water into an adjacent soakage area where it naturally filtered through the ground.

In response to the situation, a collaborative effort with iwi, Public Health, and the Ministry for Primary Industries implemented a rāhui, restricting the collection of fish and shellfish from the affected coastal area. This joint effort successfully minimized potential impacts.

Mike Schruer delivered the uplifting news that brand-new membranes, generously provided by Marlborough District Council, have been successfully installed and are operating efficiently. This development has allowed the cessation of water pumping into the soakage area.

"We conducted regular water quality testing at various locations around the plant, and we are delighted to report that laboratory results revealed no significant increases in bacteria levels following the emergency pumping program," shared Mike Schruer.

While awaiting results from the forensic analysis of the old membranes to determine the cause of their deterioration, Schruer remains optimistic. The decision on when the rāhui will be lifted is pending, bringing hope for a brighter and healthier coastal environment from Motueka to Riwaka.

Tasman District Council Comms.

Pigeon Post News.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Update on Stoke Homicide

  Second Arrest Made in Stoke Homicide Investigation

Nelson, New Zealand - On Friday the 1 December, in a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the tragic death of James Whitikau Barton in Stoke on Friday, November 10, Tasman Police have announced a second arrest. Detective Inspector Lex Bruning confirmed that a 30-year-old woman is due to appear in court on charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder.

This latest arrest follows the initial charge of murder brought against a 33-year-old man in connection with James Whitikau Barton's death. 

The arrests underscore the meticulous efforts of the police in pursuing justice for James Whitikau Barton and his grieving family. The charges reflect the gravity of the situation and the determination of law enforcement to hold all those involved accountable for their actions.

The community's cooperation and information have played a crucial role in advancing the investigation, and the police continue to urge anyone with additional information to come forward. Collaborative efforts between the police and the community remain vital in ensuring a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.

Pigeon Post News, Richmond.

New wave of concerning emails

Concerning Emails Continue: Police Investigation Ongoing

New Zealand, December 3, 2023 - The New Zealand police are actively investigating a new wave of concerning emails directed at various organisations, including hospitals and places of worship. This comes in the wake of similar incidents on November 23 and 24, 2023.

The emails mirror those received in the previous incidents, prompting authorities to intensify efforts to trace their origin. While treating each threat with caution, the police have not established any actual danger at this time.

Organisations are urged to continue reporting such emails to assist in the ongoing investigation. The police express gratitude for the cooperation received, acknowledging the unsettling nature of these communications. The names of individual organisations affected will not be disclosed to prevent unnecessary alarm.

As the investigation unfolds, the community is reminded to remain vigilant and promptly report any suspicious emails to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.

Pigeon Post News

Looming changes forecast for Tasman District Council's 10 Year Plan

  Changes looming for Tasman District Council's 10 Year Plan   5 May, 2024 Tasman District Council’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Drum...