End of retail era as suburban butcher closes

Last updated 12:00 08/01/2014

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Butcher makes clean cut Palmerston North's last suburban butcher's shop gets the chop, with Cridges at the Awapuni shopping centre closing its doors for good on New Year's Eve.

After 25 years at the College St shop, butcher Phil Unsworth decided to give up working 60 hours a week to spend more time on the golf course or at the track, or even take a cruise.

He said as soon as he heard that a supermarket was coming to Awapuni, on Pioneer Highway, "I knew it was time to go".

Spending stats strong It's a Christmas gorge-fest in Palmerston North.

Spending figures for the first half of December show that shoppers in the Palmerston North region, including Horowhenua, are filling their bags 9.5 per cent more than over the same period last year.

It is the highest increase in New Zealand, equal with Marlborough.

The region spent $73.2 million over the two weeks on Paymark's network, which accounts for three quarters of electronic card spending.

Killer's appeal rejected The family of murder victim Marice McGregor say they are relieved they won't have to sit through the anguish of a retrial, after her killer's appeal against his conviction was thrown out.

In 2011 Dean Richard Mulligan, of Feilding, was found guilty in the High Court at Whanganui of murdering Marice "Katrina" McGregor, 45, of Whanganui. Mulliganwas sentenced to serve at least 15 years of a life term in jail.

The Court of Appeal released its decision on December 14.

Living wage rejected Up to 136 Palmerston North City Council workers are earning less than the living wage, and city leaders rebuff calls to improve their pay to $18.40 an hour.

Both Mayor Jono Naylor and chief executive Paddy Clifford reject the idea that ratepayers should have to find another $353,000 a year to adopt the living wage as the minimum for council staff.

Mr Clifford said the move would cost $4.3m a year if other staff received increases to maintain pay differentials. The Wellington City Council decided in December to phase in the living wage for its staff from January 1, at a cost of about $750,000 a year.

Calls for drug tests The New Zealand Defence Force is told to improve its drug testing procedures after a Manawatu military man died after taking a lethal cocktail of steroids and body-building supplements.

And while the Defence Force says it discourages the use of those products, it has refused to confirm if it tests for illegal steroids.

In a report released in December, coroner Carla na Nagara said the man died from a cardiac arrhythmia brought on by the use of steroids and supplements.

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The man, whose name was suppressed, was about to take part in a gym session in September 2009 when he started feeling dizzy and sick. He was given the option to go to a medical centre, but he decided to push on. He collapsed near the end of the session, made choking noises and died.

Homicide inquiry launched Whanganui man Whetu Teaola Hansen, 48, was last seen on November 24, and is noticed missing by police on December 2.

His disappearance starts out as a missing persons investigation at an Akers Rd, Linton, property, but is then elevated to a homicide inquiry.

Mr Hansen's ute was found parked at the house on December 5. His body has yet to be found.

Performance-pay dispute A performance-pay dispute at the NZ Transport Agency flares up in Palmerston North.

About 100 staff from the Engineering, Manufacturing and Printing Union-represented NZTA national call centre in Ferguson St walked out of their offices and into The Square on the first Monday of December.

The two-hour protest was fuelled by an across-the-board no-change pay offer, with pay rises only going to those who had performed effectively throughout the year.

Bad Santa replaced Santa reneges on an offer of a $15 an hour wage to sleigh his way to Levin Mall from the North Pole this Christmas, but luckily a replacement is found.

Gaire Thompson, managing director of Thompson Property Group - the company in charge of Levin Mall - had Santa booked and ready to go for the silly season, until he contacted Mr Thompson wanting to change the terms of his agreement.

"It seems he then got in touch with a few Santas down in Wellington and found that they were on $25 an hour and he did not want anything below that.

"Then he said he wanted to have a sign beside his chair advertising his Santa services for Christmas Day which we thought was a bit cheeky because, for the sake of the children and the illusion, you've got to be a bit discreet about things like this."

The mall said no and the publicity caught the eye of long-time Levin Christmas parade Santa Geoff Denton, who stepped in to fill the void.

Lundy Three Hundy flops A Karamea Cres resident says she felt like her street was invaded by participants in the Lundy Three Hundy.

Leonie George, who lives across the road from the former Lundy household, said the presence of rally participants in the Palmerston North street on December 1 had left her feeling unwelcome in her own home.

With a retrial scheduled this year for Mark Lundy, whose 2002 convictions for the murders of his wife Christine and daughter Amber Lundy in 2000 were quashed by the Privy Council in London in October, emotions were raw in Palmerston North around the case, she said.

Safety pleas after worker dies The death of a Levin forestry worker, the 10th for the industry in 2013, renews calls for change in the sector.

Levin man Lincoln Kidd, 20, was killed when a tree fell on him at a forestry block near Waitarere on December 19.

- Manawatu Standard

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