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Wednesday, November 30

Mosque vandals jailed.

Two former members of a white supremacist group who desecrated mosques around Auckland have been sentenced to a year in jail. The attacks were in retaliation to the London bombings in July. In the Manukau District Court Jason Molloy, 19 and Ross Baumgarten, 18, were sentenced to 12 months in prison. The pair belonged to the National Front at the time they vandalised the seven Muslim places of worship - causing about $14,000 worth of damage to the buildings. In sentencing the judge said a jail term was required to denounce the behaviour and as a deterrent to others. Auckland's Muslim community found six mosques vandalised and walls tagged in graffiti with the message "Londoners RIP" in July after terrorist bombings in London killed more than 50 people.

Santa joins critics of airlines' seating policy.

The flak continued today over the decision by Air New Zealand and Qantas not to seat men next to unaccompanied children. The consensus from critics is that the ruling is political correctness gone mad. However, the airlines say their rules reflect the concerns of parents, as well as child safety issues. Stratford Primary School principal Kelvin Squire said the chronic shortage of male teachers could be blamed on a society that automatically questioned the motives of men who wanted to teach children. "Our children deserve, require, and in fact demand a better gender balance in their lives," he told National Radio today. "The sad reality is that decisions such as that just made by Air New Zealand and Qantas is driving men further away." Acting Human Rights Commissioner Joris de Bres said that the airlines could be in breach of the Human Rights Act for unlawful discrimination.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Aussies play down apple gains.

Australian apple growers say they are struggling to make a living and New Zealand's fight to enter their market will not necessarily bear fruit, even if successful. Australia has banned New Zealand apples for 84 years on the grounds that they could carry fireblight, a tree disease that can devastate orchards. New Zealand growers staged a two-day protest this week outside the Australian high commission in Wellington to highlight their frustration at delays over a draft risk analysis by Biosecurity Australia, the body that sets rules for imports.
Source:Dominion Post

Tuesday, November 29

Governor General shortlisted for war crimes tribunal.

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam - Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright could be set to take a serious leap onto the international stage when her current role ends next year, after being short listed by the United Nations for a Cambodian war crimes tribunal. The former District and High Court judge is the most high profile of three New Zealand candidates named on the UN website. The others are District Court judges Robert Spear and Fred McElrea. The UN is helping Cambodia set up special mixed courts to try ageing former leaders of the Khmer Rouge regime, accused of killing over a million civilians during the 1970s. It is head hunting five international judges to sit on the trial and appeal courts. The 11 short listed judges will be interviewed in New York next week.

Govt opts out of label ruling.

The Government says it will not buy into Australian moves to force manufacturers and retailers to label imported foods with their country of origin. New Zealand food exports to Australia will have to be labelled as "made in New Zealand", but there will be no similar requirement for foods imported on this side of the Tasman. "Country of origin labelling (COOL) should be a commercial decision for businesses, rather than a matter for the Government," Food Safety Minister Annette King said today.
Source: NZPA

New Potter Grosses Over $2m In Weekend.

The Harry Potter films are just getting more and more popular if local box office records are anything to go by. The latest - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - has grossed more than $2 million dollars in New Zealand over its opening weekend. Roadshow spokeswoman Lisa Hubbard says only the Lord of the Rings films and Shrek 2 have bettered it. She says it is phenomenal that this fourth Harry Potter film has managed to exceed all the previous Potter movies, on a November opening date with no school holiday trading behind it.
©2005 Xtra Limited

France blamed Brit spies for Rainbow Warrior bombing.

The French Government tried to blame the 1985 sinking of the Rainbow Warrior on the British secret service. The Times newspaper in London has reported that documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was infuriated by the campaign of "misinformation and smears" suggesting that MI6 bombed the Greenpeace flagship in Auckland and framed French secret agents, or that MI6 knew in advance of the mission. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, then a Foreign Office minister, told UK diplomats in Paris to demand an end to media reports, but they continued to appear. Sir John Fretwell, the British Ambassador in Paris, wrote of French officials' "desperate attempts to find answers which will somehow satisfy public opinion while keeping the then President, Francois Mitterrand, above the controversy".

Rugby-A quiet welcome for returning All Blacks.

A low-key return home for the Grand Slam winning All Blacks. The first 10 players have arrived back in the country on Tuesday morning, touching down at Auckland International Airport at 5:30. The captain of the 1978 Grand Slam team, Graham Mourie was there to meet them. There were few fans there to greet the team members, who were met by rugby officials and media.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Kindergarten teachers head to stopwork talks.

Hundreds of kindergarten teachers will walk off the job today to attend stopwork meetings as a contract dispute intensifies. Affected kindergartens had told parents to keep their children at home but others will stay open with extra staff. Some kindergartens in Wairarapa, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and parts of Auckland and the South Island will close for two hours for the second day of stopwork meetings. New Zealand Educational Institute assistant secretary Peter Monteith said that more than 1500 teachers from around the country would attend meetings this week to vote on proposed strike action on December 8.
Source:Dominion Post

Big cyclone expected this summer.

New Zealand needs to prepare for a big cyclone that is expected to hit during the summer, MetService meteorologist Steve Ready said today. "Between now and the end of May, nine tropical cyclones are expected to form in the South Pacific. "This cyclone season is shaping up to be one where the equatorial Pacific Ocean is neither having an El Nino nor a La Nina." Mr Ready said the "neutral years" in the past have seen notable cyclones such as Gisele in April 1968, which sank the Wahine, Bola in March 1988, Fergus at the end of 1996, and Drena that hit in January 1997. On average cyclones hit New Zealand about once a year, but Mr Ready warned that "this is the season we really have to be more aware than others"
Source: NZPA

Monday, November 28

NZ trade deficit blows out to record.

WELLINGTON – New Zealand posted a record trade deficit in the year to October, official figures showed Friday, as aircraft purchases pushed up imports and exports were hit by a strong local currency.
The deficit rose to 6.12 billion dollars (4.26 billion US) from 5.77 billion dollars in the 12 months to September and compared with 3.90 billion dollars in the year to October 2004, Statistics New Zealand said.

Te whakarato wheako mahi rorohiko pai ake mo nga Kaikörero Maori.

Ka taea e nga- ta-ngata katoa o Aotearoa te whakamahi i te Office 2003 me te Windows XP i roto i te reo Ma-ori. Kua whanaketia e Microsoft New Zealand, i te taha o Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Ma-ori me Te Pua Wa-nanga ki te Ao o te Whare Wänanga o Waikato, e-tahi Pökai Atanga Reo (PAR) Ma-ori mo- Windows XP me Office 2003. Ma- nga- Pökai Atanga Reo e taea e to- whakahaere te whakauru i te-tahi whakapaparanga reo Ma-ori i runga i nga- whakatakotoranga Microsoft Windows XP me nga- momo taupa-nga Microsoft Office - tae noa ki a Word, Excel, Outlook me PowerPoint. Ka-ore he utu ki te tikiake, a-, ka ma-ma- noa iho ma- nga- kaikörero Ma-ori ki te mahi i a- ra-tou mahi i roto i te reo e hiahia ana ra-tou, ahakoa kei te ka-inga, kei te mahi, kei te whai mätauranga ra-nei. Ka taea te tono kape ko-paepae o nga- LIP ma- te.
(see English language story below for free download link)

Maori version of Office out tomorrow.

A Maori language version of Microsoft Office 2003 will be available free to existing Office users from tomorrow, with a Maori version of Windows XP to follow in two weeks. Microsoft worked with the Maori Language Commission and Waikato University's School of Maori and Pacific Development to create the software, which is a "skin" that sits on top of the English-language versions of Office applications Word, Excel and Powerpoint. It translates most of the text seen on screen by people using the software, such as the contents of drop-down menus, dialogue boxes and error messages.
It is available for download free from CLICK HERE
Source:Dominion Post

Telecom's new shopping site goes online.

New Zealand's newest on-line shopping site goes on-line today - and offers more than a million products. Fifty six retailers - including Hill and Stewart, Marbecks, Noel Leeming and Dick Smith - appear on Telecom's new "Ferrit" site, with dozens more signed up. Ferrit hit the headlines when it was thought that it would be in competition with the record breaking on-line auction site TradeMe. However, Telecom's general manager of Ferrit, Ralph Brayham says that there was no point in duplicating what TradeMe already does so well, so Ferrit only offers new products for sale.
Click HERE for 'Ferrit'

Rain causes concern on East Coast.

Concern is growing at continuing rain on the East Coast. The area, which is still mopping up after Labour weekend floods, is being rained on again, for the third or fourth day in a row. Gisborne police say the rain has been intermittent, but is coming in heavy squalls. The area is also being buffeted by strong winds. Police are keeping a particularly careful eye on the small township of Tolaga Bay in case they need to call Civil Defence officials.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

NZ prescriptions more affordable.

The cost of a prescription is less likely to be a problem for people living in New Zealand than those in Australia, Canada or the US. US-based health research shows those in the other countries are more likely to be put off by the cost of picking up a prescription than New Zealanders. Wayne McNee says 80 percent of medicines sold in New Zealand are government-subsidised, compared with 54 percent in Australia, 37 percent in Canada and 19 percent in the United States.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Clark wins support for democracy rebuke.

Prime Minister Helen Clark has won support for her polite rebuke of Commonwealth secretary-general and fellow Kiwi Don McKinnon's statement on the importance of democracy. Mr McKinnon, a former foreign affairs minister, questioned whether democracy should be top of the agenda during his opening speech at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Malta. "Does democracy put food on our tables, clothe our children, put roofs over our heads, or give us a future? Miss Clark said she disagreed with Mr McKinnon's comments on democracy. The route to prosperity was a combination of trade and good governance. Greens MP Keith Locke said yesterday that he was glad Miss Clark offered a rebuttal to the "silly" comments. It was important for Miss Clark to clarify New Zealand's position given Mr McKinnon's previous role as foreign affairs minister, he said.
Source:Dominion Post

NZ orchardists continue Aussie protest.

NZ orchardists lobbying for permission to send their apples to markets in Australia are continuing their protest outside the Australian High Commission. The Australian Apple Access Group from Hawke's Bay has been waiting since February for Biosecurity Australia to release an import risk assessment which outlines conditions for allowing New Zealand apples into Australia. New Zealand apples have been kept out of Australia since the 1920s because of a perceived risk of fireblight. The protesters believe Australia is dragging its feet on releasing the assessment and wants the government to suspend all talks on closer economic relations with Australia.

Sunday, November 27

Kiwis set to tackle Britons' state pensions system .

Britain is once again looking to the other side of the world for inspiration to reform its creaking pension system. The British government and several pension experts have looked at New Zealand's state pension system and now the Pensions Commission, due to report this week, is said to favour a new type of savings scheme modelled on New Zealand's - as yet untested - 'KiwiSaver'. The British equivalent, 'BritSaver', would operate alongside a revamped state pension offering a low-cost, non-compulsory savings vehicle deducting contributions from wages. The KiwiSaver has been developed by New Zealand's Labour-led government because it believes New Zealanders will want higher incomes in retirement than the state can provide. The New Zealand state pension is currently worth about £8,000 a year after tax for a couple and £5,200 for a single person, increased in line with average earnings.

Clark Sets For Afghanistan Showdown.

There will be some tough talking when the Prime Minister meets NATO Secretary-General de Hoop Scheffer tomorrow. Speaking from Malta, Helen Clark says she is due to meet Mr Scheffer to discuss New Zealand's reconstruction teams working in Afghanistan. She says there has been talk of New Zealand's troops coming under the auspices of NATO for a couple of years. But she says New Zealand has resisted it until now, as it has not been satisfied there would be adequate back-up. She says as NATO scales up its operation and America draws down its numbers, it is likely New Zealand troops will work directly with NATO at some stage. Helen Clark says if she does not get the assurances, there will not be a change.
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

Gisborne braces for storm.

The storm which pelted parts of Northland with golfball-sized hail is now lashing Gisborne and northern Hawkes Bay. The MetService is forecasting heavy rain and severe gale force winds for the area and says a low pressure system has stalled over the region and is unlikely to move until late Monday. Forecasters say up to 200 millimetres of rain is expected in the ranges north of Gisborne and about 150 millimetres is due in northern Hawkes Bay.
Source:One News

Big Santa Parade in Auckland.

A New Zealand Idol, a Snow Queen and of course Santa are guests of honour at today's Santa Parade in Auckland. The event, the 58th annual parade, kicks off at two o'clock this afternoon on the corner of Mayoral Drive and Cook Street. Santa Parade manager Pam Glaser says there's a huge buzz around the annual event, which should see about 250,000 people turn out
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

Rugby League- Australia 0-24 New Zealand

New Zealand produced one of the most remarkable performances in rugby league history as they destroyed Australia to claim the Tri-Nations (Rugby League) title in Leeds. Australia, who had not lost a Test series since 1978, were blown away by the Kiwis' awesome first-half display.
click HERE for full story

Rugby-New Zealand wraps up grand slam.

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) - New Zealand beat Scotland 29-10 at Murrayfield on Saturday to secure its first grand slam of the British Isles since 1978. The All Blacks are only the second New Zealand team in 100 years to complete a grand slam of wins over the four home unions - England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The grand slam capped a season in which the All Blacks have won the Tri Nations (Rugby) championship, retained the Bledisloe Cup against Australia and trounced the British and Irish Lions 3-0.

Saturday, November 26

World's first Starbucks strike in Aotearoa. (New Zealand)

Workers from stores across Auckland walked off the job on November 23rd to join the world's first Starbucks strike, held on Auckland's counter-culture café strip, Karangahape Rd. What began as a small protest by workers from one store became a city-wide strike when Starbucks workers heard that managers would be brought in to cover the shifts of the striking K'Rd workers. More than 30 workers spontaneously walked out from 10 different Auckland Starbucks stores to join KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonalds employees, and around 150 other supporters outside the K'Rd store. "Our campaign isn't just about fair pay at work, it's about social justice. Poverty-wages are increasing the gap between rich and poor and increasing other social inequalities. The majority of low paid and minimum wage workers are women, Maori, pacific islanders, disabled, youth, students and new migrants," said a union organiser.

Munitions seized from billionaire's NZ-bound yacht.

Tongan customs officers have seized ammunition from Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich's yacht heading to New Zealand. The Chelsea Football Club owner's 100m yacht, Le Grand Bleu, moored off Tonga's Pangaimotu island yesterday with 37 crew. The Maitangi Tonga newspaper said customs officials removed three boxes of ammunition from the yacht but were still inquiring about the weapons for which the ammunition was intended. Customs officer Felise Tonga Finau said the search was standard procedure and the ammunition would be returned as the yacht left. The yacht was at the centre of an earlier controversy when it was revealed it had a parrot on board. Biosecurity New Zealand is insisting the parrot be kept caged for the duration of the yacht's stay.

NZ pressures Singapore over Nguyen.

New Zealand's Prime Minister says she will make an informal protest to Singapore's Prime Minister about the planned execution of Melbourne man Van Nguyen. The 25-year-old is due to be hanged on December 2, after being caught with nearly 400 grams of heroin in Singapore. Prime Minister Helen Clark has had a formal meeting with her Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsieng Loong on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta.

New software for speakers of Maori.

The growing number of Maori language speakers will soon get a boost to their computing needs with the launch of te reo versions of Microsoft Windows and Office. A Maori version of the world's leading computer operating system and home and office software package will be launched at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Hamilton next week. The enhancement, a development between the Maori Language Commission and the software giant, will allow the download of a Maori language interface which will convert existing Windows and Office versions to te reo. The Office version is available on Tuesday and the Windows software from December 9.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd .

Grape-sized hailstones hit Kaiwaka.

Hailstones the size of grapes hit the Northland town of Kaiwaka, 18km north-west of Wellsford, in a sustained storm this morning. Kaiwaka chief fire officer John Bowmar said the storm hit about 10am and lasted 45 minutes. It left 10-15cm of hail on lawns and up to 45cm on the sides of the roads.

Weather cancels Auckland summer festival.

One of Auckland's biggest summer attractions has been cancelled. The Grey Lynn Park Summer Festival attracts up to a hundred thousand people. It was due to open about 9am, but heavy all night rain has made it a non-starter. There is no alternate day.

Rugby-Snow hits Edinburgh ahead of test.

The forecast snow has hit Edinburgh, with tomorrow morning's All Blacks/Scotland test still likely to be hit by freezing cold conditions. Snow has fallen this morning in the Scottish capital for several hours, settling around the inner city and covering city streets, cars and buildings. Many of the players who have never been in snow have ventured out, but have kept well wrapped up. Skipper Tana Umaga says they will just have to adjust tomorrow to whatever the weather throws at them with the lack of a roof at the stadium. More snow is forecast for tomorrow morning but Murrayfield's under ground heating system will ensure the test is not played under centimetres of powder.
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

Parents to be sued in truancy crackdown.

Truancy rates of 30 per cent a day in some schools have prompted the Education Ministry to take a hard line against the parents of chronic truants - they will be prosecuted. After a successful trial in South Auckland, in which 14 parents were prosecuted, the ministry will extend the approach nationally, as part of an $8.5 million scheme to reduce absenteeism. It has also announced a series of measures to reduce truancy. Schools have found the prosecution process complicated to pursue and truancy cases rarely reach court. Ministry senior manager Martin Connelly said from next year schools in Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt and Wainuiomata would be invited to join a prosecution programme. More Auckland schools would also be involved.
Source:Dominion Post

Friday, November 25

Palmer named Law Commission president.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer has been chosen by the Government to be the new president of the Law Commission. Mark Burton, the minister responsible for the commission, said that as a former prime minister Sir Geoffrey was well known and highly respected throughout New Zealand. "I believe Sir Geoffrey's many years of eminent experience in the law will be a tremendous asset to the Law Commission," he said in a statement. Mr Burton said he had recommended the appointment to the Administrator of the Government, Dame Sian Elias, who will confirm it on Monday. Dame Sian, the Chief Justice, acts for Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright when she is out the country.

Storm forecast, Coastguard warns boaties.

Auckland boaties have been warned to secure their vessels and think about staying on land for the next 30 hours. Coastguard Northern Region said gale warnings had been issued for Waitemata Harbour, Manukau Harbour, Hauraki Gulf, Bream Head to Cape Colville, and the Colville, Brett and Kaipara Sea areas. Metservice warned of heavy rain in parts of Northland, Auckland north of Orewa, and Coromandel Peninsula from late today through to Saturday afternoon.

MP seeks tightening of Marriage Act.

United Future's Gordon Copeland has written to every MP seeking support for his bill to change the law so that marriage can only occur between one man and one woman. Mr Copeland says the Marriage Act "surprisingly" does not make that clear because, until recently, it had always been accepted that there was no other sort of marriage. "When the Marriage Act 1995 was enacted, in accordance with the tradition of several millennia, it was quite unnecessary to include a definition of marriage," the MP said today. His Marriage (Gender Clarification) Amendment Bill would also ensure that a "marriage" between two people of the same gender in another country would not be recognised in New Zealand. Same-sex marriage is legal in Canada, the state of Massachusetts in the United States and some European countries. Mr Copeland said his bill was not discriminatory under the Bill of Rights Act.

Wheelchair access halts treetop trek.

Plans for a walkway high in the forest of Westland National Park have stalled over a requirement to provide access for wheelchair users. South Island tribe Ngai Tahu is behind the $2 million treetop venture, a more than 300m-long looped walk, 14m high and against a backdrop of the Southern Alps' Franz Josef village. The tribe had asked the Department of Building and Housing for an exemption under the Building Act, but was turned down.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd.

NZ's Tamiflu stocks empty.

Commercial stockpiles of the anti-viral medication Tamiflu have run out in New Zealand and will not be available until May next year when the southern hemisphere influenza season starts. Stuart Knight, sales and marketing director of Roche Products New Zealand confirmed commercial stockpiles of Tamiflu had run out. "We supply down to pharmaceutical wholesalers, they then distribute down to individual pharmacies. "We placed our last, very significant, order at the beginning of November, and it would be my belief there is none [currently] available, because there is a significant back order." Mr Knight said considerable amounts of Tamiflu had already been brought into New Zealand.

Misleading ads could cost Air NZ millions in fines.

Air New Zealand could face fines running into millions of dollars after being found guilty of breaching the Fair Trading Act by misleading customers about the real price of its airfares. Auckland District Court released its judgment yesterday on charges Air New Zealand misled customers in its advertisements by not properly disclosing some extra charges, and in other advertisements disguised normal operating costs, which should have been included in the price, as extra charges.
Source:Dominion Post

Lifestyle blocks sell for record prices.

The lure of country living is keeping the lifestyle market buoyant, with record prices set for lifestyle blocks last month. But the median price for farms dropped about $50,000, despite a shortage of land and consolidation keeping competition for farms keen. Figures issued yesterday by the Real Estate Institute revealed that the median price for lifestyle properties reached $385,000 in October, up from $365,000 in September and $312,250 a year ago.
Source:Dominion Post

Kit to raise kiwi conservation awareness.

A national education resource kit was launched in Auckland today to help schoolchildren develop a stronger sense of connection to the kiwi and responsibility for its survival. The Kiwi Forever - Kiwi Mo Ake Tonu Atu kit is bilingual, with text in English and Te Reo, and explains the cultural significance of the iconic species to people, particularly Maori. Launching the project at Auckland Zoo, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said the resource marked a milestone for kiwi conservation and for the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust, which produced the kit.

Thursday, November 24

Wellington to roll out red carpet for King Kong.

Wellington will roll out the red carpet for more than 200 metres at the New Zealand premiere of Peter Jackson's film of King Kong. Jackson, Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor and stars Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis and Thomas Kretschmann will attend the premiere on December 14. The capital's nightlife strip Courtenay Place will be the centre of the action, with the premiere screened at the Embassy Theatre, where Jackson's three The Lord of the Rings films had their world premieres. The world premiere of the US$207 million ($298 million) movie will be in New York on December 5. Even though the three-hour movie is set in New York, Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast considers it to be a home-town film.

Government coy on plan to boost net uptake.

Communications Minister David Cunliffe will take action to accelerate uptake of broadband internet services next year, but has left room to retreat from the prospect of tougher regulation for Telecom to achieve that aim. New Zealand's uptake of broadband, which the Government regards as a key ingredient in the country's economic development, has remained low by international standards. Critics say that is because Telecom's near-monopoly on the phone lines used to deliver most broadband services keeps prices too high.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd .

Iti upset over ad in English mag.

Maori activist Tame Iti is seeking legal advice after an image of him was used in an English magazine to advertise security systems. The advertisement, with the words "How do you warn off intruders?" shows a bare-shouldered Mr Iti wielding a taiaha (spear) and poking his tongue out. Mr Iti said he found the image offensive and was seeking legal advice, an Auckland paper reported today. The photo was taken a year ago by a German photographer who told him it was for a story on ta moko (Maori tattoos).
Source: NZPA

TV stars called before inquiry.

Television presenters Susan Wood and Paul Holmes and senior TVNZ bosses will be summoned to give evidence at a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry into the besieged state broadcaster. If they decline, Speaker Margaret Wilson can be asked to issue a summons to force them to appear. The terms of reference for a select committee probe into TVNZ, issued yesterday, show MPs also want answers from chairman Craig Boyce, director Dame Ann Hercus, departing chief executive Ian Fraser and news boss Bill Ralston. The inquiry was prompted by a string of problems at TVNZ, including Fraser's resignation, slumping news ratings and a public employment dispute with Wood over an attempt to cut her salary by $100,000.
Source:Dominion Post

Peters to lead immigration talks in Malta.

MALTA: Ministers from more than 50 Commonwealth nations will today discuss toughening entry requirements to curb mass immigration in a debate likely to be led by Foreign Minister Winston Peters. Mr Peters again avoided the New Zealand media after his arrival on Tuesday, being taken by motorcade straight to the plush waterfront hotel where he and foreign ministers from other Commonwealth countries are meeting. Afternoon bilateral meetings pencilled in for Mr Peters were postponed because he was tired from the journey and wanted to be briefed properly before the opening of the foreign ministers' meeting today, officials said.
Source:Dominion Post

Kiwis left waiting for the new Xbox.

Kiwi gamers will have to wait till March for the next big thing in games consoles - Microsoft's Xbox 360 - to hit New Zealand shores. The first "next generation" gaming console has just been launched in the United States, Europe and Japan, but Australia, New Zealand and the rest of Asia will have to wait till after Christmas. Until 12.01am on March 2, to be precise. The three-month wait is determined by production of 360s, and to satisfy the Christmas demand in the US and Europe.
Source:Dominion Post

Warehouse ditching Australian stores.

The Warehouse is ditching its under-performing Australian stores. It has announced an unconditional deal to sell the operation to a consortium of Australian companies for almost $NZ98 million. In a statement, The Warehouse says the board considers it would benefit shareholders more by focusing on developing its New Zealand business. The sale is due to be completed early next year and is subject to regulatory approval.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Disability benefits mooted for workers.

The Government is considering extending disability and sickness benefits to people in the workforce, Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope told Parliament yesterday. He said as part of work being done on revamping the benefit system the Government was looking at extending disability payments to people in jobs. "The rationale is that many sick and disabled people have costs that remain constant, whether or not they are working."

Wednesday, November 23

Muslims consider screening new members.

Muslim leaders are considering security checks on all new members of Islamic associations to stop terrorists infiltrating the country's mosques. The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (Fianz) says it fears the risk of terrorist infiltration into New Zealand is greater than ever and Muslim organisations need to be vigilant for members with "ulterior motives". It is urging all associations to consider new screening methods after the Muslim Association of Canterbury (MAC) suggested its members should be subject to security checks. The association mooted the idea after international mosques were shut down because of criminal activity.
Source:The Press

Turkish prime minister to visit NZ.

Turkey's Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will visit New Zealand early next month. Prime Minister Helen Clark said he would be accompanied by several ministers, parliamentarians, officials, a large delegation of business people, and media. Mr Erdogan will hold talks with Miss Clark and other ministers during his visit which will include stops in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

Fast food workers focus on Starbucks.

The fight to bring back trade union power will focus on an Auckland coffee shop this afternoon. Campaign spokesman Simon Oosterman is organising a rally of low paid fast food workers outside a Starbucks branch on Karangahape Road. He says New Zealand is in a low wage crisis, and even after the proposed minimum wage increase will still be well below international standards.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Govt wants to speed up Treaty settlements.

The Government intends streamlining the Treaty settlement process and all historical claims could be met before the 2020 target, Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen said today. He told the Waitangi Tribunal Members' conference in Wellington that during the past six years more claims had been progressed than ever before. Dr Cullen said the target of having all historical claims lodged by September 1, 2008, and settled by 2020 was conservative, and if large numbers of claims could be addressed simultaneously through regional inquiries the completion date could be "significantly earlier".

Giant wind farm considered for Otago.

Meridian Energy is investigating a $1.1 billion to $2 billion wind farm - possibly the biggest in the world. The company has three monitoring wind towers on Rocklands Station, in Otago's Lammerlaw Range, and expects to know possibly within 12 months if the project is feasible. The site has the potential to generate between 600MW and 1000MW in electricity, making its output as big as or even bigger than Benmore Station's.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd

Fashion leader on dope-growing charge.

A fashion-label owner has been charged with cultivating cannabis after police uncovered a "huge and sophisticated" drug operation in the factory housing his clothing company. Jason Campbell Crawford, of Insidious Fix clothing, has been charged with cultivating cannabis and allowing a premises to be used for the purpose of cannabis cultivation. The 35-year-old appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd

Muslims picked out at airports.

Muslims say they are being harassed when they enter New Zealand because of global fears about terrorism. Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand president Javed Khan said he would call on the Government this week to investigate why Muslims had to endure inspections for hours in New Zealand airports without explanation. "The only reason is that they have got Muslim names and beards. It's getting worse and worse. They are asking for all sorts of information from them. It's totally unnecessary. It's tantamount to harassment," he said. Khan had received several complaints from Muslims, furious at what they believed was targeted harassment by customs and immigration officials.
Source:The Press

Tuesday, November 22

Average Kiwi to spend $900 on Christmas.

New Zealanders will spend on average more than $900 each this Christmas, according to an annual survey released today. The second annual Christmas spend survey released by credit card company MasterCard International says national spending over the period would total approximately $2.7 billion. The survey reveals there has been a significant shift in the type of items New Zealanders are likely to purchase this year. They will move away from the 'big ticket' items popular in 2004 and instead treat themselves with food and drink. The average family is expected to spend slightly more than singles, budgeting around $1150 over the Christmas period.

Late spring snow in south.

Snow on the Southern Alps provided a picturesque but cold backdrop to mid-Canterbury this morning. A cold southerly change saw temperatures plummet last night to a minimum of 3.9 degrees celsius at AgResearch Winchmore. The snow, which fell to a depth of 15cm on Mt Hutt, will chill soil temperatures slightly, but is good news for farmers who say it will raise river levels when it melts over the coming days.

Rugby-Expect another mix-and-match All Black team.

The All Blacks have trained in Edinburgh this morning, and have been at their diplomatic best when asked about what they make of Scotland and what they made of their scratchy win over Samoa. The squad trained at a grandiose inner city college in freezing cold conditions with the sun setting on proceedings just after 3.30 local time. Centre Ma'a Nonu was asked about his impressions of Scotland after watching a tape of their win over Samoa and says they are a good side, and so are Samoa!
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

4000 rural workers needed in Central Otago.

Four thousand seasonal vineyard and orchard workers were needed to fill jobs in Central Otago this summer - a dramatic increase on last summer, Seasonal Solutions director Basil Goodman said today. More than 3000 of this summer's jobs would have to be filled by overseas workers with Kiwi employee numbers expected to remain static. Most of the extra demand was because of a huge increase in the number of vineyards in the area with total Central Otago plantings now approaching 2000ha, Mr Goodman said. Seasonal Solutions had been actively targeting the Czech Republic, Germany and Brazil, where most of its overseas workforce came from.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd

Australia passport queues eased for NZers.

From Thursday, New Zealand and Australian passport-holders arriving at major Australian airports will be able to queue in the same lanes for customs and immigration checks. The changes were announced yesterday by the Australian Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, and the New Zealand Minister of Customs, Nanaia Mahuta.

Billionaire's yacht may be banned from NZ - because of parrot.

One of the world's biggest privately owned yachts, belonging to Russia's richest billionaire, may be barred from entering New Zealand because of a pet parrot. The 100m-long Le Grand Bleu, worth around $170 million and named as one of the top 10 yachts in the world, is owned by Russian oil tycoon and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich. He is worth around $18 billion but even he may baulk at the $1 million bond it is understood quarantine officials are considering for his African grey parrot living aboard the yacht, which is in Tonga, an Auckland newspaper reports. "The parrot could potentially carry a number of diseases. The diseases could include up to 15 strains of avian bird flu.
Source: NZPA

Monday, November 21

Bad weather likely to linger.

The bad weather being experienced in much of the country today is expected to linger for the rest of the week. Fresh snow has fallen on the hills around Milford Road and Wellington is getting a buffeting from gale force winds, which are reaching speeds of up to 100 kilometres on hour on Mt Kaukau. Forecaster Bob McDavitt says a ball of cold air, pushed from the Southern Ocean, is moving northwest over the South Island. He warns it may trigger some thunderstorms, hail and late spring frosts. It will also keep cold, showery southerlies hanging about in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Last WWI soldier dies.

The death of Greymouth centenarian, Victor (Bob) Rudd, 104, ends a direct link with World War I. Mr Rudd served in the British Army during the war and was believed to be the country's last serviceman from that particular conflict. Born in East Dulwich, London, in April 1901, Mr Rudd served with the 9th Lancers, a cavalry regiment, during the later months of the war. Having put his age up, Private Rudd was en-route from training in Ireland to the front when the armistice was announced on November 11, 1918. Nevertheless his regiment carried on across France and Belgium to serve 15 months as part of the occupational forces in Germany. He came to New Zealand in the early 1920s and settled in Greymouth.

NZ dental teaching sparks US row.

New Zealand dental training for health workers in Eskimo communities in Alaska is at the centre of controversy in the United States. The two-year diploma of dental therapy courses, at Otago University's dental school, have started providing indigenous cultures, with health workers trained to carry out preventative and restorative dental care. The students arrived in New Zealand in February 2003 to begin their training, but are now being criticised by some members of the US Congress -- and the American Dental Association (ADA) -- as having insufficient experience, and having the potential risk of doing permanent harm to their patients.
Source: NZPA
click HERE for full story

Peters describes coverage as treason.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has described the New Zealand Herald's criticism of his performance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit as treason. A Herald columnist criticised his meeting with the United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Peters says, despite not being present at the meeting. He says the Herald has already decided its view of him and won't move on. Peters says the Herald had no business at Apec if all it wanted to do was rehash the post-election result. He says the paper had clearly decided to concentrate on that rather than the affairs of state discussed at Apec, and that decision revealed the paper's true agenda and does the country a dis-service.

NZ greenhouse gas emissions increase - UN report.

A United Nations report on greenhouse gas emissions shows New Zealand's emissions have gone up 22.5 per cent in the past 15 years. The data, collected under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 1994, shows that overall emissions from developed countries fell by 5.9 per cent over the period - from 18.4 billion tonnes to 17.3 billion tonnes. New Zealand had the eighth highest emissions among the developed countries listed in the report. Spain topped the list with 41.7 per cent. Australia recorded an increase in emissions of 23.3 per cent, the United States had a 13.3 per cent increase, Japan 12.8 per cent and Italy 11.5 per cent. National Radio reported yesterday that almost half of New Zealand's emissions come from livestock farming.

Kiwi in line to be Aussie Idol.

SYDNEY: A former forklift driver from Auckland could be singing from the rooftops in Sydney tonight if she beats more than 25,000 other hopefuls to be crowned the third Australian Idol pop star. Brisbane-based Emily Williams has already seen off all but one challenger for the crown, Victorian 19-year-old Kate DeAraugo. Australian bookmaker Centrebet has consistently rated Williams as the favourite after a string of impressive performances on the talent show but the 21-year-old said she was simply looking forward to performing in the finale at the Sydney Opera House.

High stakes behind delay in China trade deal, says Clark.

A free trade agreement with China is taking time because New Zealand is the first Western country to negotiate one and China is sensitive about setting precedents, Prime Minister Helen Clark said today. She met Chinese President Hu Jintao during the Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation) Summit in Busan, South Korea, during the weekend. She said after the meeting the negotiations were "going very well" and officials confirmed they were on track. Helen Clark is refusing to put a deadline on the deal, and said today she had never done so. The negotiations with China began late last year, and the Prime Minister said New Zealand's free trade agreement with Singapore had taken a year to complete.

Sunday, November 20

Reaching out to Kiwis.

I t might sound like a master stroke, this New Zealand Now campaign which kicked off this month, writes The Press in an editorial. With overseas advertising, a website and $850,000 in funding, the campaign aims to reach out to Kiwi expatriates, especially those residing in Britain and Australia, and persuade them to bring their families and their skills back home. An estimated 460,000 New Zealanders live overseas, with some 355,000 in Australia and another 58,000 in Britain. In total expatriate numbers are equivalent to about 12 per cent of the population and among them, according to one report this year, are a quarter of New Zealanders with tertiary qualifications. More than virtually any other developed nation, New Zealand has experienced an exodus of skills which were honed by our education system and are often now in short supply at home.
Source:The Press
click HERE for full story

U2 returning to New Zealand.

Irish rock band U2 have confirmed they are returning to New Zealand after a 12 year absence. The band will play a one-off gig at Auckland's Ericsson Stadium on St Patrick's Day, March 17. "We're really looking forward to playing in New Zealand -- it's been ages since we were there," the band's drummer Larry Mullen told a national Sunday newspaper.

Rugby-ABs beat England 23-19.

The All Blacks have beaten England 23-19 at Twickenham in London. New Zealand posted a tremendous defensive display after having Tony Woodcock, Neemia Tialata and Chris Masoe yellow carded at various stages. For the All Blacks Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu scored tries, with Dan Carter kicking two conversions and three penalties. Martin Corry scored an early try for England, with Charlie Hodgson kicking a conversion and four penalties. New Zealand led 13-10 at halftime.
The All Blacks now need a win against Scotland next week to complete a second grand slam over the home nations, the first since 1978.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Warrant issued for Iraqi refugee.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for an Iraqi refugee who is facing serious fraud charges. Isaac Jago first came to public attention with claims by Winston Peters that he was a member of Saddam Hussein's palace guard. But now he's in trouble for failing to show up in court. Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Jago after he failed to show up to a scheduled court appearance on Friday and hasn't reported to police under the conditions of his bail, for several weeks.
Source:One News

Air NZ sends second plane to Niue.

Air New Zealand is sending another aircraft to Niue on Saturday evening after its flight to Auckland was forced to turn back. The airline says flight NZ75 returned to Niue on Saturday morning at 5am owing to a mechanical problem. The plane is now grounded at Hanan International Airport. A passenger, Salome Guest, says about an hour after take-off, before breakfast was served, the pilot announced the aircraft would have to return to Niue. Mrs Guest says she understands a bird may have struck an engine. About 70 people were reportedly on board. Air New Zealand began a weekly service to Niue just two weeks ago.

Saturday, November 19

Banning Junk Food In Schools.

A petition has been launched to ban the sale of junk food in schools. The campaign group Fight the Obesity Epidemic wants to send a strong message to parliament. Spokeswoman Dr Robyn Toomath says they are concerned about obesity in children, and problems such as type two diabetes. Dr Toomath says they want to ensure no schools are able to sell food or drink of high calorie and low nutritional value. She says they also want the advertising for junk food removed from children's television.
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

PM Meets With President Bush.

The Prime Minister has had a face-to-face meeting with US President George W Bush. Helen Clark is now in South Korea for the APEC leaders summit. She says her conversation with Mr Bush covered natural disaster management, which he is no stranger to following the recent hurricanes in the US. She says there was no need to raise the state of our relationship with the United States as it is a very good one
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

Pacific all smiles at World Cup success.

By Angela Gregory.
The news of New Zealand's success in securing the World Cup in six years' time has delighted Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
The operations manager of the Samoan Rugby Football Union, Seti Asoa, said it would benefit rugby in Pacific countries given their close relationships with New Zealand. He hoped it could increase inbound rugby tours to Samoa as interest built up in the build-up to the Cup. "The attention of everyone will be focused on New Zealand, it will have the focus of the rugby world."

Clark signs film deal with S Korea.

New Zealand and South Korea have signed a bilateral arrangement for co-operation between the two countries' film and television industries. The agreement was signed today by Prime Minister and Arts Minister Helen Clark and South Korean Culture and Tourism Minister Chung Dong-Chea in Pusan where Helen Clark is attending the Apec leaders' summit. The PM also unveiled the New Zealand War Memorial at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Pusan to commemorate of the Kiwi troops who served in the Korean War in the early 1950s.

Ipstar satellite signals broadband service for remote NZ.

A company co-founded by Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is behind the latest broadband solution for New Zealand farmers. Ipstar (New Zealand) Ltd, a subsidiary of Thai satellite operator Shin Satellite Plc, has launched a satellite service to bring higher levels of bandwidth to rural and remote areas of New Zealand. Dr Dumrong Kasemset, the chairman of Ipstar, said New Zealand is one of the earliest recipients of true satellite broadband using Asia's most advanced satellite technology. The satellite was launched in August, and the service is being operated in New Zealand through a gateway constructed in Auckland. Two of the local resellers will be Auckland-based Iconz and rural provider Bay City.

Sky Television buys Prime New Zealand.

Sky Television is buying free-to-air channel Prime New Zealand in a $30 million deal that could shake up the way New Zealanders watch sports. Yesterday, the pay-television company said owning a free-to-air channel would give it the opportunity to showcase Sky's programmes while ensuring viewers could watch delayed free-to-air programmes such as rugby, rugby league and cricket, in prime time.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd .

Migrants let in to pick apples.

The Government is allowing up to 450 migrant workers to pick apples in Hawke's Bay, covering a seasonal labour shortage that has affected the region for years. The migrants will work for two large companies, which will put up a bond of $3000 a worker to guarantee that they will return home when their job is finished. The workers will come from Vanuatu, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, the Czech Republic and Poland. Immigration Minister David Cunliffe has approved the scheme in principle, and Labour MP Rick Barker, of Hastings, welcomed it yesterday.
Source:Dominion Post

Friday, November 18

Auckland windfarm to go ahead

Frustrated residents have given up their battle to stop Auckland's first windfarm going ahead. Genesis Energy's 18 turbine farm is planned for the Awhitu Peninsula, in the south west of the region. Residents have spent more than $200,000 taking their fight to stop the turbines through the Environment Court. A spokesperson Helen Meale says taking their case on to the High Court would have involved arguments over legal issues, rather than the substance of their case - and they were unlikely to succeed. Meale says some residents will apply to the $300,000 community trust Genesis is setting up for funds to help lessen the effects of the turbines. The turbine farm has a price tag of about $20 million.

rugby-Reaction to World Cup decision

The announcement that New Zealand is to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup has been described as a milestone that cannot be underestimated. NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs led the Kiwi delegation in Dublin and he was clearly overcome by the decision. He says it is a very proud moment for New Zealand, and a proud day to be a kiwi. Hobbs says the responsibility is huge but one which New Zealand will meet.
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.
click HERE for full story

Low unemployment makes work harder to find for beneficiaries.

Low unemployment makes it harder to place beneficiaries in work, the Ministry of Social Development says. In its briefing paper to the incoming Government, the ministry says current low unemployment rates have produced changes in the nature of the beneficiary population. "People receiving benefits are more likely to be difficult to place in employment," it said. "Those with low levels of skills, people from a minority ethnic background, young people, mature workers, people with health problems, people with disabilities, sole parents and immigrants face greater barriers to sustainable employment." The ministry said a "more active" approach to helping beneficiaries into work had contributed to New Zealand recently achieving the lowest unemployment rate in the OECD.
Source: NZPA

Paid parental leave credited with increase in births.

Paid parental leave is tempting women back into motherhood, health experts say. Maternity appears to be coming back into fashion with births at a four-year high, according to Statistics New Zealand figures. Births leapt from 54,000 in June 2002 when paid parental leave was introduced, to nearly 58,000 in 2005. "The introduction of paid leave has something to do with it," said former Alliance MP Laila Harre, who championed the bill that led to the introduction of paid parental leave. Lack of parental leave was identified as a factor in falling birth rates throughout the 1990s when they fell from 60,000 to 56,000. Births hit a 15-year low in 2002 and have been increasing since.
Source:The Press

Rugby-World Cup win 'very special' - Mallard.

Winning the bid to host the 2011 rugby World Cup is "the biggest thing that's ever happened to New Zealand," Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard said today. "It's very, very special - it will be economically very important, but it's also a positive reinforcement that even though we're a small nation we can pick up something that's much bigger than we are," he told NZPA this morning. New Zealand was awarded the tournament ahead of Japan and South Africa at an International Rugby Board council meeting in Dublin, Ireland, this morning. New Zealand was an outsider in the running - but with odds of $21, Mallard said he was "tempted to put a few dollars on it". "I knew we were technically in with a chance because I'd seen the early reports, but that meant I was barred from betting!" Mallard said the event would bring an estimated 60,000 overseas visitors to New Zealand and generate $400 million of extra economic activity. About 3.4 billion viewers would watch the games on television.
Source: NZPA

Immigration scam raid finds Islanders waiting for PM.

Police raiding a Hawke's Bay house over an alleged immigration scam found 50 Pacific Islanders who had been told the prime minister was coming to grant them residency. Fifty passports were seized and a manhunt is under way for immigration consultant Fakanonoa Fonua, 24. Police say he has deceived many Pacific Islanders and should give himself up. When police and Immigration Service staff arrived at the Housing NZ property in Kauri St, Hastings, on Wednesday, they found more than 50 Pacific Islanders. A lot of documentation, including the 50 passports, was seized. Detective Senior Sergeant Sam Aberahama alleged that Fonua - also known as Muli Fonua - arranged for overstayers and other Pacific Islanders with soon-to-expire visas to apply for residency through his service. He allegedly offered a fast-track system for $500. Source:Dominion Post

Thursday, November 17

Telecom looks overseas as skill shortage bites.

New Zealand's biggest telephone company will recruit IT staff overseas for the first time as skill shortages here bite. Telecom's chief information officer Mark Ratcliffe says it will probably not start doing this until next year. Telecom has recruited a handful of overseas IT employees "opportunistically" but has not formally set out to recruit from other countries. Telecom is considering recruiting from Britain and South Africa because New Zealand is attractive to people in both those countries for its lifestyle and safe environment.

Maori, Pacific Islanders may get extra protection from pandemic.

Health officials may need to give some population groups – such as Maori and other Polynesians – priority in the rationing of retroviral drugs capable of fending off a future pandemic mutation of bird flu. But the director of public health, Mark Jacobs, said yesterday that the Health Ministry had not finalised its policy on provision of antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu, because it wanted to see whether any particular groups in the community were more affected by the pandemic. In the 1918 pandemic, Maori mortality rates were nearly six times higher than the death rate among Europeans. By December 1918 it had killed 8600 New Zealanders, including at least 2160 Maori. The death rate in 1918 was higher among other Polynesians too: 20 per cent of those who fell ill in Samoa died, and in French Polynesia the flu killed 25 per cent of the people who fell ill.

Woman arrested for assault at sink.

A Whangarei woman has been arrested after she allegedly whacked her partner on the head with a plastic container while he was doing the dishes. She has been charged with assault with a weapon and with breaching a protection order taken out against her by the man. The protection order allowed for the couple to live together but prohibited any violence or abuse. Police say the man was standing at the sink washing up when an argument began over television and the woman attacked him, drawing blood. The man is 59 and the woman in her early forties.

Controversial software not used in NZ.

Sony BMG says few of the CDs that carry software featuring virus-like techniques to stop illegal copies being made, are being sold in New Zealand. The company has used the XCP anti-piracy software on 49 titles from artists such as Celine Dion and Sarah McLachlan, and produced an estimated 4.7 million CDs. They have been recalled because the software leaves computers vulnerable to viruses. However Michael Bradshaw from Sony BMG New Zealand, says 99% of CDs sold in New Zealand do not carry the software. Bradshaw says Sony BMG is looking into anti-piracy measures but has no plans to use the anti-piracy software in New Zealand.

Netball-Ferns Clean Up Jamaica In Tri Series Final.

The Silver Ferns have won the Tri-Series final against Jamaica 67-32 in Kingston, Jamaica on Wednesday. It was the Silver Ferns' final international match before the Commonwealth Games in March next year.
Source: ©2005 Xtra Limited

NZ's Greymouth buys Australian power station.

New Zealand oil and gas explorer Greymouth Petroleum Ltd. said on Wednesday it had bought and would relocate a gas-fired Australian power station, and planned further growth in generation. Privately-owned Greymouth, the second biggest New Zealand owned explorer, said it had acquired the Windimurra power station and associated gas delivery assets in the state of Western Australia for an undisclosed sum. "New Zealand is becoming short of the flexible thermal power generating facilities that are required to sustain economic growth ... in periods of low hydro-lake levels and low renewable energy supply," Chief Executive Mark Dunphy said in a statement.

Wednesday, November 16

No plans to increase Afghan operations.

Defence Minister Phil Goff says New Zealand has no plans to increase its armed forces deployment in Afghanistan and there have been no formal requests from the UK about joining a counter-insurgency coalition. A British newspaper has reported the UK government will ask New Zealand, Australia and Canada to from a force to help in combat operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. It follows the refusal of European allies, such as France and Germany, to allow their troops to become involved in counter-insurgency. Goff says the government will consider any requests made by the UK but none have been made so far. New Zealand currently has a Provincial Reconstruction Team of 120 personnel in Afghanistan and 50 SAS soldiers on a six month deployment.

Rugby-England team praises All Blacks.

The English rugby team continues to talk up the All Blacks. It seems to be the theme of the week in London, with the world champions seizing the underdog tag before Sunday's test at Twickenham. England captain Martin Corry is raving about the New Zealand side, saying it is the ultimate challenge because the All Blacks are the best in the world by a fair margin. He says they pose a threat from numbers one to fifteen so his team must apply constant pressure on defence. Martin Corry is not buying into Brian O'Driscoll's comments that the haka gives New Zealand an unfair advantage. He says if anything it gives the opposition the upper-hand because there is nothing better than being challenged. England names its team tomorrow morning, with Charlie Hodgson expected to be fit to play at first five.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Towel clad woman chases beau up Rimutakas.

A woman chased her former boyfriend up the Rimutaka Hill, north of Wellington, wearing only a bath towel on Monday night after he absconded with her car while she was in the shower. The man took the car after an argument over some of his personal belongings, including some tyres, a couple of exhaust systems and a giant statue of a dragon, which were stored in the car. Constable Steve Goggin, of Featherston, said the woman was driving another car in pursuit of the man when she called police. Officers arrived at the top of the hill to find the pair arguing on the side of the road, with her clad only in a bath towel. Mr Goggin said the dispute was resolved and the car and chattels returned to their rightful owners.
No charges were laid.
Source: NZPA

Closing borders an option in fight against Bird Flu.

To protect against bird flu, New Zealand would most likely close its borders to incoming travellers once large clusters of human-to-human transmission started happening overseas. The Government released its plan for handling an influenza pandemic this afternoon. Border restrictions, like holding all incoming passengers and crew from affected countries while checking for flu cases, could be implemented once small clusters of people were becoming infected overseas with a new sub-type of the flu virus. Schools and all public gatherings could be banned once a single case was detected in New Zealand if not related to birds or travel.

Penalties urged for gas-guzzling cars.

Motorists should be given cash incentives for buying more fuel efficient cars and penalised for purchasing inefficient vehicles, a business group says. The New Zealand Business Development Council for Sustainable Development is calling on the Government to look at ways to get motorists to look after the environment. The Incentivising Greener Vehicles report suggests an incentive of up to $3000 for new and imported vehicles in the top two classes of fuel efficiency at their first registration. A $2000 dollar penalty would apply for cars which were considered "fuel inefficient". Chief executive Peter Neilson said petrol price increases had helped push sales for smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles.
Source: NZPA

PM's flight forced to turn back.

Prime Minister Helen Clark's arrival in Dublin to help present New Zealand's 2011 Rugby World Cup bid has been delayed after a flight she was on was forced to turn back to Auckland. A spokeswoman for Miss Clark said she departed Auckland on a flight to Los Angeles – the first leg of the trip to Dublin – last night, but four hours into the trip the Qantas aircraft was forced to turn back due to some sort of mechanical problem. Miss Clark spent the night at her Auckland home and was due to catch another flight this afternoon. She would still arrive in Dublin in time to help present New Zealand's World Cup bid to the International Rugby Board on Thursday night and Friday morning (NZT). However she would no longer be able to attend a day of meetings with Irish politicians the day before.
Source: NZPA

Tuesday, November 15

German labour attracted to NZ.

New Zealand agencies say they have signed several hundred German workers to fill skills shortages here following a successful employment expo in Germany. Regional development organisations and recruitment agencies have just returned from an inaugural employment expo in Berlin and Bonn. Ross Stanway from the Bay of Plenty's economic development agency says the event was successful in attracting the skilled workers needed in the region, including construction workers, factory staff, engineers, accountants and lawyers.

Job vacancy rate holds steady.

New Zealand's job vacancy rate held steady in October as strong employment growth continued to match growth in job advertising, ANZ-National Bank says. The job vacancy rate for October was at 3%, unchanged from the previous month and compared with a four-and-a-half year high of 3.1% reached in August and July. The rate was also unchanged from a year ago

Pavarotti farewells New Zealand fans.

Celebrated tenor Luciano Pavarotti wowed 15,000 fans in Auckland on Saturday night in what was his last concert performance in New Zealand. People from all over New Zealand flocked to North Harbour Stadium in Auckland to hear the 70-year-old, who is retiring to spend more time with his family. Pavarotti performed with guest Italian soprano Simona Todora and three standing ovations from the adoring crowd dismissed any concerns about the condition of his voice.
Source:One News

All Blacks enjoy Royal reception.

LONDON (AFP) - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William renewed their acquaintance with the New Zealand rugby union squad during a reception at Buckingham Palace. All Blacks captain Tana Umaga introduced the squad's 35 players and backroom staff, dressed in their official suits complete with silver fern motif, to the Queen, who is New Zealand's monarch as well as that of Britain's. The All Blacks are currently mid-way through a tour of the British Isles where they have already beaten Wales 41-3 and Ireland 45-7. Also present at Monday's reception was the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen's husband, and Lady Davina Lewis, the daughter of the Duke of Gloucester, whose husband Gary Lewis is the first Maori member of the royal family.

Clark applies brakes on US talks.

Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday dampened suggestions that New Zealand was willing to take part in a comprehensive review of its relationship with the United States. The possibility of improving relations with Washington has been talked up by the new Foreign Minister, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, in response to a farewell speech by former ambassador Charles Swindells citing US concerns about a lack of trust in the relationship. But Helen Clark yesterday made it clear she was not as enthusiastic as Mr Peters in improving the relationship or embracing the "comprehensive dialogue" sought by the Americans. Helen Clark also dismissed a suggestion that what the Americans were proposing was a mutual review of the relationship. She painted it as a one-sided concern, seated in New Zealand's anti-nuclear law.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd .

Unions urge solidarity with Australians.

Union workers from New Zealand are being urged to step out in support of their Aussie cousins today. Cities and towns across Australia will come to a standstill later this morning as hundreds of thousands of workers rally against the Federal Government's contentious workplace relations overhaul. Many claim the bill will leave them out of pocket and without a leg to stand on over employment issues. They say the new rules solely benefit the rich. However, the Government says the new legislation involves the creation of a single industrial relations system, a simplification of the agreement-making process between employers and workers and a re-balancing of unfair dismissal laws.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Maori heads to be returned to NZ.

Three preserved Maori heads will be returned to New Zealand after decades in a Glasgow museum. The tattooed heads, and a thigh bone, are believed to belong to Maori chiefs killed in battle in the 19th century. They were donated to the Kelvingrove Museum, although they have never been shown in public. A delegation from New Zealand's national museum Te Papa arrives in Glasgow on Monday to return the heads and offer them for tribal burial. In Maori culture the heads are known as toi moko. One was purchased by Glasgow Museums from a Liverpool menagerie in 1906.

Netball: NZ too good for Jamaica.

New Zealand opened their account in the netball tri-series with an emphatic 57-39 win over Jamaica in Kingston, Jamaica, today. The Silver Ferns were never seriously threatened after leading 17-9 at the end of the first quarter. The result was beyond doubt at halftime with the tourists ahead 30-16, affording coach Ruth Aitken the luxury of making three changes to her personnel during the break.

Increase of melanoma risk may be exaggerated - expert.

A cancer specialist at the University of Otago is disputing claims the risk of melanoma has increased in the past few years. Regional data from the New Zealand Health Information Service (NZHIS) on national melanoma diagnoses and related deaths shows consistent growth at about 7 per cent a year over 10 years. Skin screening company, MoleMap chief executive Adrian Bowling said while the statistics showed some surprising results, it was clear reported melanoma incidence is on the rise. However, director of the university's Hugh Adam Cancer Epidemiology Unit, Associate Professor Brian Cox says the claim is "exaggerated" and "simplistic analysis of the numbers of melanoma are misleading". "Almost all of the increased number of cases of melanoma identified have been due to more accurate counting of the number of people developing the disease," he said Statutory notification of cancer was introduced in 1994.
Source: NZPA

Govt starting to think about next governor-general.

The Government will announce the next governor-general in the early months of next year and so far no one has been approached to take over from Dame Silvia Cartwright, Prime Minister Helen Clark says. Dame Silvia's five-year term was extended by four months, taking it to August next year, because the selection process would have clashed with the election if it had ended in April. "Thinking is starting now in the form of names. Someone needs to be approached, agree to do it and then there is a period of notice as they disengage from other activities," Miss Clark said at her post-cabinet press conference yesterday. "We would expect to be making an announcement in the early months of next year.

Monday, November 14

Fingers crossed as school exams start.

Nervous parents and students face a long week as scholarship and NCEA exams for 150,000 secondary school students begin on Monday Scholarship Drama and Physical Education are first up on the timetable, while NCEA Levels One, Two and Three kick off on Tuesday. On Wednesday almost 50,000 students sit English Level One, the highest number for any exam on this year's schedule. The Qualifications Authority says it has prepared two million personalised examination papers for well over a hundred exam sessions.

Peters' first steps as Foreign Minister may surprise.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is concerned about the decline in the number of Chinese students in New Zealand and will discuss the issue with China in one of his first overseas meetings in the new job. Mr Peters arrives for the Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation) meeting in Pusan, South Korea, today along with Trade Ministers Phil Goff and Jim Sutton. The New Zealand First leader has a popular image of being anti-immigration and in particular anti-Asian immigration, but he says this is misconstrued and is concerned about the decline in the number of Chinese students studying English in New Zealand over the past few years.
Source: NZPA

NZ man charged with $1m cannabis crop.

Australian police have arrested a New Zealand man at Ingleburn in Sydney's southwest after discovering an indoors cannabis plantation valued at up to A$1 million ($1.066 million). New South Wales police said that officers from Macquarie Fields searched a house at 8.30am on Saturday, and found a sophisticated hydroponic set up in most of the rooms, and 351 cannabis plants.
Source: NZPA

Big British plans for bio-diesel in New Zealand.

The company that created the world's largest biodiesel plant, is investigating building a biodiesel refinery in New Zealand. Argent Energy vice-chairman Jim Walker told Glasgow's Sunday Herald that the company has scaled up plans to invest in a further two plants in the United Kingdom and possibly a third in New Zealand. The company has just reactivated plans to float in the first half of 2006, following a new ruling that by 2010 about 5 per cent of fuel sold on UK forecourts must come from a renewable source.
Source: NZPA

High skin cancer rates likely to continue.

Skin cancer diagnoses in New Zealand are likely to continue at high rates for several more years before dropping, SunSmart New Zealand says. Regional data released today by the New Zealand Health Information Service (NZHIS) on melanoma diagnoses and related deaths shows consistent growth at about 7 per cent a year nationally over 10 years. The data varies greatly, with Bay of Plenty, Wanganui and Northland DHB regions showing the greatest average increases ranging from 15-20 per cent each year. Almost half the diagnoses were in the 50-75 age group.
Source: NZPA

Sunday, November 13

Rugby-New Zealand gamble pays off in 45-7 victory (just in case you missed it)

DUBLIN, Nov 12 (Reuters) - New Zealand's gamble in playing completely different sides on successive weekends paid off handsomely with a 45-7 victory over Ireland on Saturday. Wings Sitiveni Sivivatu and Doug Howlett presented coach Graham Henry with a dilemma he is happy to accept by scoring a brace of tries each and Nick Evans kicked 20 points in his first test at flyhalf. New Zealand's selectors will sit down on Sunday to discuss their team to meet world champions England next weekend after another outstanding performance by the backs following the 41-3 demolition of Six Nations champions Wales last Saturday.
click HERE for full story

NZ-inspired drug system cleared to go global.

A Kiwi-inspired anaesthetics drug delivery system that improves patient safety has won approval to crack a $1 billion international market. Last week the US Food & Drug Administration gave approval for American-based global business Safer Sleep to sell the revolutionary product for use in 42,000 operating theatres in the United States. The Safer Sleep system was developed by Auckland University professor and Greenlane Hospital anaesthetist Dr Alan Merry in the late 90s. His research found drug errors occurred once in every 133 anaesthetics, and 1% of the errors were potentially life-threatening. A drug is scanned, and its information pops up on a computer screen at the bedside to ensure the right drug is being delivered. The system is used in most Auckland hospitals
Source:Sunday Star Times

Sizzling A&P show a success. (Canterbury)

Tens of thousands of people turned out for People's Day on Friday at the country's largest traditional A & P (Agriculture & Pastoral) show. Temperatures soared, reaching an unofficial 30C degrees on the final day of the annual show which boasted 500 exhibitors and more than 5,000 animals. According to A & P Association President Stuart Mclean, this year had a bumper turn-out. "[Ït has been] very, very successful and we're looking at record crowds, yes the show is positive and growing." For many the show is about big business - a chance to showcase products and services. "It's a good way to benchmark yourself against other breeders because it's easy to stay home and think you're doing well," said merino breeder Ron Small. The show is also a good chance for townies to get up close and personal with animals. A&P shows are a well-known institution in New Zealand and if the success of this year's Canterbury show is anything to go by, there is nothing like good old country fun.
Source:One News

Viral infection killed Donald.

Flu-like symptoms were the only warning of the viral infection that caused Green Party co-leader Rod Donald's sudden death. A pathologist's report released yesterday revealed Mr Donald died as a result of viral myocarditis, which can inflame the heart and make it beat so fast it eventually stops. It starts with a viral infection and cannot be foreseen or prevented. Mr Donald had complained of stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting in the days before his death and believed he had food poisoning.
Source:Dominion Post

Aquifers at record low levels.

Predictions of dire low groundwater levels throughout Canterbury have been confirmed in a comprehensive report by Environment Canterbury. The State of the Canterbury Region Water Resource report was released yesterday just as farmers begin the summer irrigation season. It shows some groundwater levels in Canterbury at record lows, with deep aquifers in particular between one and two metres lower than at the same time last year. The lack of recharge is blamed on a dry winter for a second year in a row and the lack of impact from the September snowfall and spring rains. Levels are particularly low in the West Melton-Christchurch zone where partial restrictions are already in force. The report warns restrictions may become more severe depending on abstraction rates.
Source:The Press

Oyster tickets go on sale.

Oyster lovers are being urged to get in quick if they want to be a part of a much-vaunted annual festival. Tickets for next year's Bluff Oyster and Southland Seafood Festival have just gone on sale. Organisers are urging people to book in advance, with the popularity of the event meaning those without tickets cannot be guaranteed to get in. Ever since this year's festival finished, inquiries have been coming in from all over the country. The festival will be held next April.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Navy, Air Force, Army involved in Remembrance Day.

The annual Remembrance Day service in honour of soldiers who died during World War One is being held in at the Cathedral of St Paul in Wellington. Lieutenant Vicki Rendall says for the first time all three branches of the Defence Force, the Navy, Air Force and the Army, are involved. The service also commemorates New Zealanders who have died in conflicts since World War One, and peacekeepers around the world now risking their lives. Vicki Rendall says a peace candle will be lit as part of the ceremony.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Parents refuse to pay pool fees.

Learning to swim at school now comes with a price some parents are not prepared to pay. As the number of school swimming pools declines, more primary schools are sending students to community pools for swimming lessons, charging parents as much as $45 for classes that were once free. One Christchurch mother, who asked not to be named, has refused to pay and is fighting her school board over her son's exclusion from swimming lessons."If this is curriculum activity there should be no payment," she said. "They're transferring basic education to user-pays.
Source:Sunday Star Times

Cash-cow courses facing the chop.

Janice Shiner plans to strip dubious polytechs and wananga of funding. The funding tap for wayward polytechnics and wananga will be turned off next year, says new Tertiary Education Commission head Janice Shiner. In her first interview since being appointed in July, Shiner said there would be no more out-of-control growth in courses of dubious merit. Short courses - often hobbies masquerading as education - would be cut back, growth would be curtailed and some qualifications would not be funded at all.
Source:Sunday Star Times

Home detention in for shake-up.

NZ First will seek to have all violent and sexual offenders banned from home detention as part of a review of the scheme. Labour agreed to the review in return for NZ First's support on confidence and supply, and NZ First spokesman Ron Mark said he was determined to ensure serious offenders could not serve their sentences in the "luxury" of their own homes. His stance could prove a sticking point with Justice Minister Mark Burton, who will lead the review and is expected to take a softer line.
Source:Sunday Star Times

Rugby-ABs thrash Ireland.

All Blacks 45 - Ireland 7
The All Blacks moved a step closer to their grand slam with a 45-7 thrashing of Ireland at Dublin's Lansdowne Road today. With wings Sitiveni Sivivatu and Doug Howlett crossing for two tries each, the All Blacks showed the vast gulf in pace, power and skill between the New Zealand and Irish games. New Zealand thrashed Wales 41-3 last week and have to beat England next weekend and Scotland a week later to secure their first grand slam since 1978.

Saturday, November 12

Mt Victoria blaze stretches firefighters.

Firefighters from across the Wellington district were kept busy on Friday night battling a large blaze in the so-called green belt on Mount Victoria. At its peak, a hundred firefighters were beating back the scrub fire, which threatened Wellington Girls College. Fire crews remained at the site of the fire on Saturday morning and say they dealt with a small re-ignition of the blaze. Every Wellington firefighting team except one was called in to fight the three-hectare fire, which began around midnight on Friday night and could be seen across the capital.

Sinking of frigate Wellington.

Windy weather in Wellington has seen the sinking of the frigate Wellington postponed. The warship, formerly the Royal Navy's Bacchante, was to be sunk off the capital's south coast this afternoon. However, strong northerlies have seen the sinking put off until 3pm tomorrow. The boat will become an artificial reef and is expected to attract divers from around the world. The forecast for Wellington tomorrow is for fine weather and light winds.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Nuclear ball in NZ court says US.

The new US ambassador has little confidence a change of Government would alter New Zealand's nuclear legislation. Bill McCormick is making it clear New Zealand's nuclear-free stance is the only stumbling block in its relationship with the US. He says New Zealand lost the status of ally when it abandoned the ANZUS pact. He says that is clear from the past election cycle where he saw no politician pledge to get rid of the legislation if they were elected. Ambassador McCormick says the US is not about to alter its policy to accommodate New Zealand, so the ball is firmly in this country's court.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Friday, November 11

NZ unemployment falls to 23-year low.

New Zealand's unemployment rate has fallen to a 23-year trough of 3.4 per cent in the September quarter, the lowest rate in the OECD club of rich countries, official figures show. The fall of the unemployment rate from an adjusted 3.6 per cent in the June quarter comes two days after figures showing 2.8 per cent wage growth in the year to September. The number of people unemployed fell 6 per cent in the quarter to 73,000, Statistics New Zealand figures show.

Come home, Kiwis, your country needs you!.

New Zealand expats are being lured home to help plug a skills shortage - using tactics that entice Britons to emigrate in droves. Glorious beaches, wide open spaces, barbecues after work on balmy evenings. Many Brits find it hard to understand why New Zealanders choose to leave their seemingly idyllic homeland and move to the UK. But young Kiwis leave in droves in search of excitement 12,000 miles away. Now the New Zealand government is fighting back with an ad campaign to lure its ex-pats home.
click HERE for full story

Christchurch has false bird flu scare.

The Christchurch medical officer of health has revealed that the city had its first suspected case of avian bird flu last week. Although bird flu was quickly ruled out, authorities say it was a good test of strategic systems . The medical officer was notified of the suspected case by a doctor at a 24 hour surgery. The male patient with pneumonia had recently returned from China, where he said he had seen many dead birds. Authorities say the public can expect more "false alarms" as doctors and health facilities take more precautions over the avian influenza risk.

Science Grads Take Brains Overseas.

Research from the Waikato Management School shows science graduates are leaving New Zealand at an alarming rate. Associate Professor of Marketing Scott Koslow says if left unchecked the country's economic future could be threatened. A report prepared by Professor Koslow for the New Zealand Universities Council is the first to show the extent of the brain drain among science graduates. His findings come on the back of claims by Agresearch's CEO Andy West that New Zealand is not turning out enough scientists to replace those who will retire over the next 20 years.
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

Tanczos will return to Parliament in Donald's place.

Nandor Tanczos has decided he will take the seat in Parliament made vacant by the death of the Green Party's co-leader Rod Donald. Mr Tanczos was an MP in the last Parliament, and just missed being re-elected on the party's list in the September 17 election. Announcing his decision today, Mr Tanczos said: "Rod Donald's death is an enormous blow, personally and politically, but the work continues." The Greens won six seats in the election, and Mr Tanczos was in seventh place on their list.

Anzus is irrelevant, says Goff.

The Anzus security treaty is no longer relevant and New Zealand has no intention of reviving its role in the three-way pact with the United States and Australia, Defence Minister Phil Goff says. New Zealand would like to "move the relationship on" with the US, and sees the 54-year-old treaty – which still forms the cornerstone of America's security relationship with Australia – as outdated. "We've never talked about reconstituting Anzus as such," Goff told The Press. "The nature of that treaty I don't think is relevant to circumstances in the world today." Goff said the security treaty was developed at the insistence of Australia and New Zealand when they feared a resurgence of Japanese militarism at the end of World War 2.
Source:The Press

Anti-whaling consortium strengthens its stance.

An anti-whaling declaration involving 13 southern hemisphere countries is a big step forward in the fight to save the whales, New Zealand's International Whaling Commission (IWC) representative says. On his return from a two day meeting in Argentina, Sir Geoffrey Palmer said Latin American and southern hemisphere nations present at the meeting were determined their voices would be heard. "For too long the whaling nations have simply ignored the anti-whaling sentiment in this part of the world," Sir Geoffrey said yesterday. His comments came as a Japanese whaling fleet was understood to have set out for Antarctic this week on its first hunt after the country doubled its target catch of whales - a move condemned by anti-whaling nations.

$30,000 Lotto rort uncovered.

A former dairy owner facing seven years' prison for allegedly defrauding a $30,000 Lotto winner is claiming a "Robin Hood" defence. It is understood the man has told police that he gave the winning second division ticket away to another regular customer – a man whose wife was battling cancer. Police confirmed the former owner of Village Lotto and Dairy in Raumati is facing charges. A customer had complained he got a $642 payout for a winning second division ticket worth $30,587.
Source:Dominion Post

New Zealand is the easiest country to do business in .

Washington - New Zealand ranked at the top of a list of 145 countries for ease of doing business in 2004, while Slovakia and Colombia made the most improvement, a World Bank survey showed this week. Botswana was the highest-ranked African nation, coming in among the top 20. New Zealand, the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia were the top five in the survey, which indicated that wealthy countries undertook three times as many investment climate reforms as poor countries last year, portending a potentially wider gap between rich and poor nations.
click HERE for full story

Thursday, November 10

NZ has lowest unemployment rate in dev'd world.

New Zealand now boasts the lowest unemployment rate since records began, and by far the lowest in the developed world. The rate is down 0.2 to 3.4 percent. In all, 2,093,000 New Zealanders are employed, the most in the 19-year period of the Household Labour Force Survey. Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope was not expecting it to drop again, and says a lot of work has gone into getting people off benefit support. Korea is second on the OECD list with an unemployment rate of 4.1 per cent. But it is a different story across the Tasman, with Australia's unemployment rate up to 5.2 percent last month.
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

Unemployment At Record Low.

Unemployment has fallen to its lowest point since the Household Labour Force Survey began in 1986 with 2,093,000 New Zealanders now in employment. New Zealand added a bigger than expected 26,000 new jobs in the third quarter, taking unemployment to its lowest level in 23 years and suggesting the tight labour market will increase pressure for a rise in interest rates. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4 percent from a downwardly revised 3.6 percent in the previous quarter, official data issued on Thursday showed.

Pavarotti In New Zealand.

"Everything must come to an end" - the words of Luciano Pavarotti, reminiscing in Auckland about his long career spanning 40 years. The world's most popular tenor is in New Zealand as part of his Worldwide Farewell Tour. The 70-year-old says he was originally inspired to become a singer at the age of four, by his father. Pavarotti says he will most miss the full opera stage and audience when his final tour ends next year. His final New Zealand performance is in Auckland on Saturday
Copyright 2005 Newstalk ZB News.

Chinese tourists.

Tourism is New Zealand's highest export earner with over 2 million visitors a year spending $6 billion. But the tourism industry is becoming increasingly worried about Chinese visitors who are going home unhappy. Last year 84,000 Chinese visited New Zealand, and they are the least satisfied of all our visitors. Some operators say the Chinese visitors are being exploited by their own. They say the Chinese tourist stays in New Zealand for only 2 or 3 days, see very little of the country and can pay big prices in the Chinese run souvenir shops they get herded into.

No NZers known to be affected by Jordan blasts.

There have been no reports of any New Zealanders being injured or killed in the terrorist attacks in Jordan which have killed at least 57 people, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) says
Source: NZPA

Wanaka man apologises for registering dog.

The man who registered his jack russell dog on the electoral roll has said sorry and will not face charges. Queenstown Police Detective Sergeant Grahme Bartlett said its investigation into Wanaka man Peter Rhodes for breaching the Electoral Act by registering his dog Toby was complete. Mr Rhodes was found to have acted illegally and has been officially warned for his actions. Mr Rhodes apologised to the Electoral Office and the police for enrolling Toby and for saying there was a paw print. "The form has a definite signature of `Toby R Rhodes' and there is no visible paw print on the application form," he said.
Source: NZPA

Male Maori youth the justice system's big issue.

Male Maori youth are the single biggest challenge facing the youth justice system, Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft says. Mr Becroft told a policing conference in Nelson yesterday the number of male Maori being dealt with in the Youth Court was concerning. "The challenge is how to influence these people. How can we respond now? We know what works and what doesn't work. We know brat camps and scare tactics don't work." Mr Becroft said 14- to 16-year-olds committed about 45,500 offences each year - about 20 per cent of all offending. Half of those youth offenders were Maori males. More than 150 police staff and Maori leaders from throughout New Zealand are attending the conference to discuss ways of reducing Maori offending and victimisation.
source:The Nelson Mail

Ancestral remains returning to NZ.

The Dutch culture ministry has agreed to return a mummified, tattooed Maori head to Te Papa. The head has been part of the collection of the National Museum of Ethnology of The Netherlands since 1883. It was previously part of King William I collection of curiosities. Te Papa asked for the object to be returned to New Zealand in 2002 and officials say it will be finally handed over this week. It will be placed alongside other returned Maori heads in a specially created sacred area. A number of other Maori ancestral remains are also to be returned to New Zealand this month from museums in the United Kingdom.

Population growth continues slowdown.

New Zealand's population growth has continued to slow due to a continuing drop in net immigration and a fall in birth rates. Statistics New Zealand estimates that there were just over 4.1 million people living in the country at the end of September. That is an increase of nearly 35,000 from the same time last year and a rise of 0.9% compared to the previous year's increase of 1.2%. Statistics New Zealand says the lower population growth was due to falls in the number of permanent and long-term arrivals to New Zealand and a drop of 2,000 in the rate of natural increase.

Travel companies working to establish if any New Zealanders are in Jordan, after suicide bombings.

Travel companies are working to establish if any New Zealanders are in Jordan. It follows suicide bombings in Jordan which have killed more than 50 people. Three hotels popular with westerners have been struck - the Radisson, the Hyatt and the Days Inn. New Zealand's Adventure World general manager Kate Gohar says they are running off reports now to see if any travellers are over there or due to arrive in the coming weeks. She says the hotels targeted are not usually frequented by New Zealanders. She says it is coming up to the popular season for travelling to Jordan.
© 2005 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Millionaire faked own death.

A Kiwi millionaire who faked his own death to collect a $3.8 million life insurance payout has been nabbed returning to Australia. For five years Harry Bentley-Gordon, 56, had fooled everyone – his friends and even a coroner – when it appeared he had died while sailing after a lavish lunch and champagne. But he had in fact been living under an assumed identity in New Zealand and had even remarried. Bentley-Gordon's five years on the run ended when he was arrested at Sydney Airport after arriving from Auckland on Monday night. He appeared in Waverley Local Court yesterday charged with conspiracy to defraud, obtaining a financial advantage by deception and passport offences.
Source:Dominion Post

Wednesday, November 9

Terror charges follow Australian raids.

Australia's biggest anti-terror operation has foiled an imminent bomb attack by a group committed to killing innocent women and children in the name of jihad, it was alleged. At least one of 16 men charged following coordinated raids in Melbourne and Sydney was prepared to martyr himself in a suicide attack, a Melbourne court was told. Police raided another house in Sydney as part of the operation overnight on Tuesday, but no-one was arrested. Members of two groups in Sydney and Melbourne had undergone military training, had guns and had gathered chemicals like those used in suicide bombings on the London Underground in July, it was alleged. Fearing a looming attack, hundreds of ASIO, federal and state police officers raided properties in the two cities early on Tuesday, seizing chemicals and computers. One suspect was shot and wounded in Sydney after opening fire on police.
click HERE for full story

Wage rises add to rates hike fears.

Wage increases have hit all-time highs, strengthening the prospect that the Reserve Bank will again raise interest rates. Statistics New Zealand's Labour Cost Index shows salary and wage rates rose 1% in the September quarter and 3.1% for the year - the largest quarterly and annual increases since the series began 13 years ago.

More Maori police wanted.

Police look likely to take on up to 800 Maori recruits in a bid to stem soaring Maori crime rates. Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Long made the call outside a national police hui launched in Nelson yesterday aimed at reducing Maori crime. Maori make up about 15 per cent of the population but account for 67 per cent of all offending and more than half the country's prison population. Mr Long said greater involvement from iwi, hapu and whanau were also seen as a key way to lower crime rates. More Maori police were a way of achieving this and ensuring police reflect the diversity of the community. At present 12 per cent of the country's 10,000 police force identify as Maori.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd .

NZ alert level still set at low.

Police say there is no evidence any of the men arrested for suspected terrorist activities in Australia have ever been to New Zealand or have links here. NZ's terrorist alert remained low yesterday - below Australia's medium risk warning - despite the arrests across the Tasman. However, an anonymous internet claim that there is a threat to the Australian High Commission in Wellington next Tuesday is not being dismissed, although its authenticity can not be judged. The Australians are due that day to co-host a function at Parliament for new MPs.
Copyright © 2005, APN Holdings NZ Ltd

NZer has head grazed by gunshot.

A New Zealander ambushed in a northern Ugandan national park by rebels from Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) escaped with a gun shot graze to his head. Garth MacIntyre's wife, Sue, said today he required stitches to the wound but was fine. Ms MacIntyre received a phone call about 4.30am telling her Garth was safe and had been airlifted out of the area. Fellow New Zealander Cam McLeay was also safe, despite earlier concerns that he had been kidnapped. The two New Zealanders were part of a team of five men and a woman attempting to make the first complete ascent of the Nile River.
Source: NZPA
click HERE for full story

Water shortage hits Westport, Nelson regions.

Buller District Council has imposed water restrictions on Westport and nearby Carters Beach as dry weather hits Westport's water reservoir levels. It's believed to be the first time the restrictions have ever been required in November. Westport has had 58 per cent less rainfall to date this year than the same time last year - 1422mm compared to 2247.4mm. Meanwhile, farmers on Waimea Plains in the Nelsion region are now being forced to slash their water use by more than a third and hosing restrictions are being imposed on residential areas because of drought conditions.
Source: NZPA

Hamburgers cause asthma, NZ research says.

Eating hamburgers more than once a week nearly doubles the risk of asthma attacks and wheezing in children, according to research carried out on 1300 New Zealand school pupils. Other takeaway food and fizzy drinks also increase the chances of getting asthma, doctors found. Youngsters who eat at least one hamburger a week are 75 per cent more likely to have asthma and almost 100 per cent more likely to suffer wheezing problems, according a study published yesterday in the international scientific journal Allergy.
Source: NZPA
click HERE for full story


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