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News in brief, June 22, 2023

Train timings not on track

According to regional council documents, just over half of Wairarapa trains arrive at their destination on time – making it the worst service for punctuality in the Greater Wellington Region. The Metlink data is due to be discussed in today’s Greater Wellington Regional Council Transport Committee meeting. The meeting agenda said trains have been arriving at “key interchange stations and the final destination” within five minutes of the schedule only 53.3 per cent of the time – and only 51.8 per cent of the time in April.

Quake training

Training is underway for an international response to a major earthquake and tsunami devastating Wellington and Wairarapa. The 10-day ‘Exercise Tempest Express’ began on Tuesday in Wellington with the Defence Force and 19 foreign militaries and numerous government agencies practising how to respond to a 7.5 magnitude quake in the capital. Among the attendees is a contingent from Nepal, who will share the knowledge and experience they gained in the aftermath of 2015’s 7.8 magnitude quake. Commander Joint Forces New Zealand Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour said, “It’s invaluable to have countries around the table who in recent years have been through natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and cyclones, so we can all learn from each other’s first-hand experience.”

Wetland funding

Fish and Game is urging farmers to apply for funding to support wetlands on their properties. Applications for grants from the Game Bird Habitat Stamp programme close on June 30. Fish and Game chief executive Corina Jordan said the programme raises funds for the protection and enhancement of the habitat of game birds and other wildlife. “Wetlands are an amazing value to properties and they’re critical for the wellbeing of the environment.” She said “protecting and restoring wetlands” for the betterment of indigenous flora and fauna is a key focus of the organisation, noting only three per cent of wetlands remain in New Zealand. “They are a key mitigation tool in a farmer’s toolbox to support the efforts of catchment communities, but also provide a source of stock drinking water in dry weather.”

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