New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands ::: A News Blog ::: est 2004

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Monday, July 31

World’s first 3-D travel website for Air NZ.

“Ready to see the world in a new way?” Ground-breaking new 3-D website and integrated campaign launches in New Zealand and Australia /
AIM Proximity, New Zealand’s leading direct and interactive marketing agency, is today launching a unique 3-D integrated campaign for Air New Zealand that includes the world’s first 3-D travel website. The ground-breaking campaign that goes live today, in both New Zealand and Australia, is designed to attract more people to take advantage of Air New Zealand’s range of special offers.

Air Force gets new helicopter fleet.

The Government has announced the purchase of eight new NH90 helicopters to replace the Air Force's fleet of ageing Iroquois. Defence Minister Phil Goff today said the helicopters, which came at a cost of $771 million, would start arriving in New Zealand in 2010. The fleet would be fully in service by 2013. Mr Goff said the NH90s were bigger, faster, more versatile and could travel further than the helicopters they were replacing.

Auckland council funds Congo radio show.

By Wayne Thompson
A Congolese community group with about 80 members has received $13,500 in Auckland City Council grants since March 2000. Much of the money has gone towards helping the group, the Congolese Community of New Zealand and Friends, produce a weekly programme on Planet FM called Allo Congo. The Weekend Herald reported criticism on the Citizens & Ratepayers Now political group website "rateswatch" that the council in May 2006 approved funding of $1500 to the Congolese community to give it "cash for international phone calls back to Congo". Website organiser Aaron Bhatnagar said the $1500 grant was highlighted by the website as an example of wasteful spending by the City-Vision-Labour controlled council.
Copyright © 2006, APN Holdings NZ Ltd.

Smurfs caught stealing trampoline.

Two blue "Smurfs" were left with red faces on Saturday night after they were arrested for stealing a trampoline. Dunedin police said two drunk 19-year-olds, "dressed as smurfs", were seen carrying the trampoline along a street about 1am. They dropped it and ran off when they saw the police. The pair were later arrested.
Copyright © 2006, APN Holdings NZ Ltd.

Some animals and birds could lose protected status.

By Kent Atkinson
Conservation Minister Chris Carter says he is looking at whether some animals, including some native birds, should continue to be protected from hunters by the Wildlife Act. The minister has put canada geese -- loathed by some farmers for eating and soiling valuable pasture -- at the top of the potential hit list. But he said today there were also "issues" over spur-winged plover, peacocks and peahens, shags, harrier hawks, the little owl, eastern rosellas, crimson rosellas and ring-necked parakeets, ring-necked doves, rainbow skinks, banjo frogs, bell frogs and even feral chickens.

Scheme to help first time home buyers.

The Housing Minister says the Government will be providing assistance for first time home buyers to make it easier for them to get into home ownership. Research by AC Nielsen for Wizard Home Loans shows a 12 percent fall in the number of New Zealanders owning their own homes in the year to March. Minister Chris Carter says the increasing scarcity of land has pushed up house prices beyond the reach of some people. He says funding will be provided in the next budget for a shared equity scheme as one way of getting more people into their own homes.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

New coins in circulation.

From today the 50, 20 and 10 cent pieces will be replaced by lighter, smaller versions. The five cent piece will cease to exist after the three month changeover phase. Brian Lang from the Reserve Bank's currency department says there are around a billion of the old coins in circulation. He says the bank wants as many of them back as possible. Around 84 million of the new 10, 20 and 50 cent coins have been delivered to banks throughout New Zealand.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Peters hospitalised in Brisbane.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is in a Brisbane Hospital after contracting a tropical illness during his recent trip to Malaysia. Mr Peters became unwell over the weekend after stopping off in Brisbane on his way back from Kuala Lumpur and was admitted to hospital to undergo medical tests. His office says doctors haven't made a diagnosis at this point but advised against Mr Peters continuing his journey home. He is expected to remain in hospital for up to a week and Michael Cullen will continue acting as Foreign Minister.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

NZ mosques 'split by factions'.

Factions are developing within New Zealand mosques as new immigrants clinging to traditional ethnic ways increasingly dominate leadership positions, a Muslim commentator says. Abdullah Drury, a former Muslim Association of Canterbury (MAC) board member who has also worked with the national Islam organisation, said conflicts were developing because of the huge diversity of ethnic groups and cultures within New Zealand's Muslim communities. "There's just a cultural clash all the way along the road." Drury said many Muslims felt the mosque was the last vestige of their homeland and wanted it to reflect their traditional religious ways, even if this clashed with other ethnic groups involved.
Source:The Press

NZers in Lebanon urged to register with embassy.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry is urging any New Zealanders still in Lebanon to register with the British Embassy if they want to get out. The ministry said there were about 36 New Zealanders still in Lebanon who had earlier indicated they would stay there. Many others have either left the country by crossing the border into Syria or boarding the many ships which have been ferrying people of all nationalities to nearby Cyprus. An updated travel advisory on the ministry's website said the security situation in Lebanon was deteriorating daily and there was extreme risk to safety.

Sunday, July 30

Fathers face resistance.

A Fathers' Union protest took an unexpected turn in Auckland this afternoon. The Union has been spending the day travelling to various Family Court judges and solicitors homes protesting at what it says is unfair rulings against fathers.
Spokesman Jim Bagnall says a protest outside a Mt Albert home became interesting when a woman and boy came out of the house and, he alleges, started throwing water and a rock at the protestors. Police were called to the scene. No one was hurt in the incident and it is not yet clear whether charges will be laid.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

DVD pirates warned.

The New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft is sending out a stern message that piracy will not be tolerated. It follows settlements being reached with 14 people who were selling pirated DVDs via auction websites. One, a young stay-at-home mother, made $80,000 from such sales in just over a year.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Heavy rain warning for Fiordland.

Heavy rain is expected to lash the ranges of Fiordland and Westland on Sunday. The MetService is forecasting heavy falls from 9 o'clock on Sunday morning, with up to 120 milimetres of rainfall during the day. The headwaters of Otago and Canterbury lakes and rivers are also likely to be affected, and there's a warning that water levels could rise rapidly.

Small towns fight to save train service.

Small towns along the main trunk line are lobbying the government to try to save the North Island's last long-haul passenger train. Businesses in the central North Island say they are set to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if the Overlander service goes. The train service has been at the heart of Taumarunui for almost a century but the Overlander will grind to a halt at the end of September because its owner, Toll Holdings, says it's not economically viable.
Source:One News

Tractor driver charged.

Dunedin police have arrested a man for allegedly driving his tractor while drunk. Senior Sergeant Bryan Benn says the man was arrested on Friday night when he was spotted driving erratically just north of the city. Benn says the man was held overnight in police cells and released on Saturday morning. He says police arrested the man again on Saturday afternoon when nine members of the public complained about the way he was driving a car.

Young designer scoops fashion prize.

The South Islands biggest fashion award has been won by a young Invercargill designer with a dress that contained 19 metres of wool fabric. Helen Adam won the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards' top prize on Saturday night - a $10,000 package including entry into New Zealand Fashion Week. The awards are held in Gore every year and are second only to Auckland's Pacifica as an awards show for emerging designers.

Casino lawsuit on the cards.

By Stephen Cook
Auckland's Skycity casino could face a landmark class action from problem gamblers whose lives have been destroyed by pokie machines. The Problem Gambling Foundation is monitoring a test case in Australia which seeks compensation from the Government and gambling industry for losses suffered by gambling addicts. The class-action on behalf of more than 200 problem gamblers claims the Australian gaming industry breached its duty of care in not identifying and discouraging their behaviour. One of the litigants, Susan Pinkerton, who lost $60,000 over three years, will address the Foundation later this year.

Greenpeace arrests.

Three Greenpeace protestors in Nelson have been arrested and are in police custody. The trio boarded the fishing vessel Chang Xing this morning to protest against the practice of bottom trawling. Jo McVeagh, who made it to the top of the vessel's mast, says Greenpeace has documented the vessel causing major destruction to deep sea life. She says although bottom trawling is banned in parts of New Zealand's territorial waters, there should be a complete ban in international waters.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Rugby-All Bleak for Wallabies, say papers.

BRISBANE: Australia's rugby media have lamented the absence of the Bledisloe Cup for another year, praising the strength of the All Blacks in last night's 13-9 test win. "All bleak for Wallabies as Black magic reigns," headlined the Sun-Herald newspaper, while its back page carried a large photo of flanker Jerry Collins being crowned by teammates with the cup, under a heading "Well, if the cup fits...". Rugby writer Greg Growden said while the score was close, in reality the Wallabies were a long way behind, "enabling New Zealand to remain the grand masters of Australasian rugby." "The 13-9 scoreline was not a true indication of this often grim encounter because, for most of the night, the Wallabies were well off their game.

Experts fooled twice by art fake.

One of New Zealand's leading art auction houses has admitted selling a forgery as a genuine Toss Woollaston work. The fake was exposed after the real artist saw it in a sale catalogue. Webbs in Auckland advertised the work, Interior View Through a Doorway, as a Woollaston with a reserve price of $15-20,000 in its September catalogue last year. Its real worth was more like several hundred dollars - it had been painted in 1978 by Nelson abstract painter Errol Shaw under his own name. The painting, which had a Woollaston signature added to it 20 years later, was passed in at the auction.source:Sunday Star Times

Saturday, July 29

Buoyant market attracts New zealanders.

A booming economy and staff shortages are the reasons New Zealanders are making the move across the Tasman. Howard Levako, Manager at Chalkhills Immigration Consultants, says skilled workers are happy to relocate for work and more of them are doing it. Mr Levako's comments come after Finance Minister Michael Cullen said those with brawn rather than brains are choosing to work in Australia. Mr Levako says the New Zealand work ethic is renowned in Australia and there are more opportunities for work there. He says industry is screaming out for skilled labour and therefore New Zealanders are snapping up the chances offered. Levako says as long as the labour market in Australia remains buoyant, New Zealanders will see benefits from relocating and working there.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Aquaculture a govt development priority.

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has given marine farmers cause for optimism, by announcing that aquaculture has been formally added to the government's agenda as a development priority. He told an aquaculture conference in Nelson that a work programme will be developed in partnership with industry to help aquaculture achieve its potential, which he says is aimed at boosting its value to well over $1 billion by 2025. Marine farmers have often battled through the resource management process and the environment court to be granted sea space. But Anderton says he will be taking whatever steps he can, including promoting a change in the government's coastal policy, to encourage greater development.

New gas will extend Maui life.

More gas has been confirmed in previously untapped pockets of the Maui gasfield off the Taranaki coast.
The Shell-Todd joint venture that runs the field will only say the newly-accessed gas will contribute to extending the life of the declining field. A spokesperson says it will be weeks or months before data is processed to give a figure of how much new gas is available. It was already known there was gas beyond the previous northern boundary of the field, but the sand reservoirs were bypassed in the early 1980s.

Cardrona resort struck down by bug.

Health authorities in Southland are investigating the cause of an outbreak of gastroenteritis, which affected more than 80 people at Cardrona Alpine Resort. The Southland Medical Officer of Health, Derek Bell, says many staff were struck down by the bug, which causes diarrohea and vomiting. Bell says up to 30 people in the surrounding area were also affected, with most having had some contact with the resort.

Chch kicks up its heels for 150th.

Christchurch is celebrating its 150th anniversary this weekend and while the city has a reputation for being conservative and staid, that is not how everyone sees it. When the first settlers arrived the idea was to take a little piece of English society and relocate it downunder. "The idea collapsed basically because of the realities of the political and social set-up in a colony," says historian Ed Bohan. But it was the Anglican church's drive to have a bishop based in the South Island that made it the first city. The garden city will kick off celebrations in Cathedral Square on Saturday morning, complete with a 150-metre long cake, in what it hopes will be a big birthday bash.
Source:One News

More channels to watch with free digital TV.

By Martha McKenzie-Minifie
Canwest MediaWorks - owner of TV3 and C4 - plans to launch another channel next year and a fourth in 2008, part of the new offerings to arrive thanks to free-to-air digital television. The company is yet to release programme details, but chief executive Brent Impey said it would be niche content not competing with TV3. Additional capacity provided a chance to expand the business, he said. The free-to-air digital TV service, being developed with Government help alongside a digital satellite service, will be capable of carrying 18 channels when launched next year.

Auckland's top schools ranked.

Metro Magazine has compiled a list of what it believes is Auckland's top schools. The magazine ranks schools based on university entrance rates, teacher turnover and student suspensions and expulsions. It seems co-ed schools are no longer the way to go, as the top eight schools are all single sex, with the top five all girls' schools. St Cuthbert's ranked number one, followed by Diocesan School for Girls', Epsom Girls Grammar, Carmel College, Baradene College and Rosmini College.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Friday, July 28

Consumers flock to cheaper health cover.

By Errol Kiong
New Zealanders are switching in their thousands from comprehensive medical insurance to cheaper, more limited cover. Latest figures from the Health Funds Association show a major reversal in the numbers since 2000. The association's executive director, Claire Austin, said the trend was driven by the Government's move to make primary care more affordable, while access to elective surgery in public hospitals - such as hip and knee replacements - became "more and more challenging". The number of New Zealanders covered by health insurance continues to grow, up 1 per cent in the March 2006 quarter to 1.355 million people, about 35 per cent of the population.

Get involved in running national parks.

The Conservation Authority has released guidelines on how the public can get involved in the running of national parks and conservation land. The new booklet outlines how the Department of Conservation manages conservation land and urges the public to make submissions on plans for future projects, such as the revised Whanganui National Park. The authority says the publication is timely, as DOC will also soon begin work on planning documents for Waikato, Bay of Plenty, the East Coast and Hawke's Bay.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Reaction to Herceptin decision.

The decision by Pharmac not to fund Herceptin for early stage breast cancer is being called short sighted by the Breast Cancer Foundation. Pharmac says cost and a lack of clinical data are the reasons behind its decision, but Breast Cancer Foundation spokeswoman, Belinda Scott says those excuses simply do not stack up. She says it is a big missed opportunity, and she has a lot of heartbroken patients. Dr Scott says Pharmac's excuse is absolute rubbish as a number of other countries are overwhelmingly in favour of the drug.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

NZ gives $1.5m aid for Sudan.

New Zealand is to contribute $1.5 million to the United Nations food programme in the Darfur region of Sudan, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. "A peace agreement was signed by some of the warring parties in May, but it may be some time before it is safe for those displaced by the conflict to return their home areas," Mr Peters said. He said the New Zealand grant would help feed 500,000 people who depend on the UN to provide for their needs."

Immigrants must accept NZ's 'bedrock values' – Brash.

National leader Don Brash has again raised the immigration issue, saying today New Zealand should be cautious about accepting immigrants that don't share its "bedrock values". "Put another way, we should not welcome those who want to live in New Zealand but reject core aspects of New Zealand culture," Dr Brash said. He described bedrock values as "an acceptance of democracy and the rule of law, religious and personal freedom, and legal equality of the sexes". "If you don't accept these fundamentals then New Zealand isn't the place for you."

Govt 'must think about paying for obesity surgery'.

A south Auckland doctor, frustrated at being unable to properly care for grossly obese people, says the Government must now consider paying for obesity surgery. Dr Stewart Hawkins, a radiologist at Middlemore Hospital, said very obese people, many of them Pacific Islanders, often tipped the scales at well over 200kg. They were often not getting the treatment they needed because they could not fit on diagnostic gear such as x-ray tables, scanning equipment or even scales simply because they were too big. He said many of the tables and equipment at Middlemore Hospital were rated to a maximum of 200kg but that was frequently not enough although few manufacturers could supply gear with a higher weight rating. He said stomach stapling or bypass surgery cost $15,000 in a private hospital. If a patient lost 50kg that cost would be recovered in a very short time.

Seasonal workers to be given ID barcodes.

Seasonal workers will be asked to carry identity barcodes so employers can electronically check their work credentials. The system would protect employers from employing illegal labour and employees from exploitative contractors, says Marlborough Regional Development Trust chief executive Tony Smale. A year ago CriticalMas and the Marlborough Regional Development Trust formed a 50/50 joint venture called Regional Networkers to develop the technology and have filed for a provisional patent. It is to be trialled in Marlborough in September. Mr Smale said the cards would be voluntary. Demand for workers who had the cards, however, could end up making it necessary for all seasonal workers to carry one, he said.
source: Marlborough Express

Politicians go live in own TV show.

It may be the driest reality show ever, but taxpayers will soon be paying millions for a continuous live television feed of Parliament. And in further proof of the reality TV phenomenon, broadcasters are lining up for the chance to screen the debates and name-calling. Ms Wilson said the proposal was for a continuous feed from the debating chamber. It would be made freely available to all broadcasters.
Source: Dominion Post

Customs officers' seizure powers to continue.

The Government has rejected a Law Commission recommendation that it should overhaul Customs officers' powers of seizure. A commission report found the Customs regime was too intrusive, could hand out disproportionate penalties and lacked rights of appeal. The Government said the commission's proposals would reduce incentives for compliance and lessen the deterrence effect of Customs. There was no history of complaints or concern about the present system.

Evacuee hits out at NZ govt.

The government is under fire from one of the New Zealanders who has just arrived home from Lebanon.
University lecturer Nabila Jabeer has lived in New Zealand for 18 years and isn't happy about the help she received from the government. Her husband notified Foreign Affairs about her presence in Lebanon and told her they would contact her in Beirut, but they didn't. "I thought what is going on? Am I a second class citizen? That's exactly what I felt and it is extremely disappointing," says Jabeer. She says she waited, but was not contacted. When ships docked in Lebanon Jabeer knew it was her last chance "because he (her husband) told me you better be on one of those ships. And I was panicking." So Jabeer turned up and got aboard pretending to be a member of a British family. In Cyprus she says Australians were treated like royalty.
Source:One News

Zaoui affair costs millions.

The Government has revealed the costs of legal action incurred in the Ahmed Zaoui affair. The Algerian is still locked in a lengthy battle with immigration and the SIS to be allowed to stay in New Zealand. Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen says the case has cost around $2.4 million dollars. Legal aid accounts for over $483,000 of that. Costs to the SIS Inspector General have been $357,000, and the Courts have incurred bills totaling 252 thousand. However the biggest cost has hit the Crown Law Office - almost $1.3 million dollars.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Thursday, July 27

GG performs last official duty.

Governor General Dame Sylvia Cartwright performed her last official duty at Waitangi on Thursday. Dame Sylvia opened a new wing at the Waitangi Visitors Centre in her role as chairperson of the Waitangi National Trust.

Hitching posts cause confusion.

An ambitious plan to get commuters in Lower Hutt to hitchhike to work is getting the thumbs down. Commuters needing a ride stand at colour coded hitching posts - blue for Lower Hutt and yellow for Wellington CBD. But two issues the scheme will have to overcome are drivers reluctance to pick up people they don't know and security worries - especially among women on their own, who may not wish to travel with strangers.
Source:One News

Wood suppliers fighting to keep the home fires burning.

By Errol Kiong
A long cold winter has put the heat on firewood supplies in Auckland with sellers looking further afield to keep their customers warm. Sellers and suppliers have told the Herald of unusually high demand for firewood this winter, putting pressure on rapidly dwindling supplies with months of cold weather left. Last month was the coldest June since 1972, according to figures released by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa). Furniss Firewood owner Dean Curlew said the cold snap had "made it tough on everybody". "A lot of customers have burnt through their normal season's worth of wood already and they've got three or four months of winter still to go."

Next week's coin changes to cost some a pretty penny.

The introduction of new coins on Monday is likely to cost some businesses dearly. The 5c coin will disappear and the 10c, 20c and 50c coins will be replaced with smaller, lighter, coins minted in Canada. It is a move the Reserve Bank ways will save the country $2 million a year. But a vending machine service company says the cost of changing the thousands of vending machines around the country would be felt severely by some operators. Adam Jennings, a technical engineer with Vending Direct, said each machine would cost about $160 to change to accept the new coins and that cost had to be met by the owner.

Nats move on no-confidence in speaker.

National leader Don Brash has lodged a motion of no confidence in Parliament's Speaker Margaret Wilson.
The motion -- tantamount to a declaration of war on the Labour MP -- follows Ms Wilson's decision yesterday not to refer a complaint about the dealings of colleague Taito Phillip Field to Parliament's court-like privileges committee. Ms Wilson yesterday told MPs Mr Field's actions did not breach the legal definition of privilege and therefore were not within the committee's jurisdiction. She said only the business in the House and select committees were covered by parliamentary privilege. Horrified National MPs said her interpretation meant MPs could take kickbacks from anyone they helped, and nothing could be done about it.

Whale of a time for Japan's ambassador.

It is hoped a whale watching tour will prove a positive vehicle for changing Japan's position on whaling. Conservation Minister Chris Carter will take a number of Asian ambassadors, including Japan's, on a whale watching trip in Kaikoura today. He says the trip is an endeavour to showcase the first class eco-tourism business that relies on whales. He hopes the message that living whales can be more valuable than dead ones, will sink in. Mr Carter says whale conservation is virtually the only thing New Zealand and Japan disagree on.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Judgement day for piemakers.

New Zealanders eat around 60 million pies a year and those who bake them face a nervous day. Judging for the 10th Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Contest will be held today. There are a record 3,364 pies to be judged this year, compared with just over 2,000 last year. One feature of the competition this year is a dramatic increase in the number of Asian bakeries entering the competition. The country's pie market is worth more than $120 million a year.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Cheal field to be further developed.

Energy company Austral Pacific Energy says the development of the Cheal oil field in Taranaki, will start immediately. Its initial, temporary fields have been producing up to 300 barrels per day. The first oil from the field's permanent production facilities is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2007 with an initial production rate of 1000 barrels per day. Full production of 1900 barrels a day is expected from early in the second quarter of 2007. The company says the Cheal facilities will be capable of producing up to 2000 barrels a day from the shallow Urenui and Mt Messenger formations.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Dog wakes family in burning Te Awamutu house.

A frantic dog woke a man and his three daughters after a fire filled their Te Awamutu house with smoke early today. The four were saved in what firefighters said was a textbook rescue started by the dog, who raised the alarm even before smoke alarms sounded. The man and his daughters were sleeping in the upstairs rooms of the house when he was woken by his dog which went "off his head" shortly after 5am when fire broke out in a downstairs garage and began to fill the house with smoke. Soon after the dog raised the alarm, the smoke alarms went off and the man's wife returned from her paper run. She saw smoke coming from the house and called the fire service.

Doctor settles after failed vasectomies.

A couple who sued a doctor for $400,000 after the wife twice became pregnant after failed vasectomies, have settled out of court. The doctor, who has failed three vasectomies on two different men, settled for more than $150,000, the New Zealand Herald reported today. Dr Johannes Wilson pleaded guilty to two amended charges of professional misconduct before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal yesterday. The case went to the tribunal after complaints he had failed to correctly perform vasectomies. The Northland couple had their third child in 2003 after the first operation the year before failed.

Critics, supporters turn out for 90-day bill.

National MP Wayne Mapp said today his bill providing for a 90-day probationary period for new employees would not be mandatory so employers could agree to hire staff without one. Hearings began today on Dr Mapp's Employment Relations (Probationary Period) Amendment Bill with those both for and against the bill making submissions on it. There is provision for probation periods in existing law, but Dr Mapp's bill would allow employers to terminate jobs during the probationary period without employees being able to file personal grievance claims. Dr Mapp today told Parliament's industrial relations and transport select committee the aim of his bill was to allow employers to "take a chance" with new employees without facing the risk of "expensive and protracted personal grievance procedures".

Wednesday, July 26

Rugby-Henry calls on the A-team.

At last, a test side everyone knows is the real deal.
Even All Blacks coach Graham Henry agrees. He said after the All Blacks beat South Africa last Saturday night that he might not confirm his top side till next year's World Cup in France. Yesterday he conceded the "A" team would play against Australia in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match at a sold out Suncorp Stadium. It was a sensible admission as this XV is the nucleus of the team that beat France in Paris in 2004 and the Lions last year, before repeating the pain for Britain and Ireland with the grand slam in November. They are the side that won the Tri-Nations and retained the Bledisloe Cup last year and – with the exception of lock Ali Williams and reserve halfback Jimmy Cowan – beat Australia in Christchurch earlier this month.
Source: Dominion Post

Netball-Aust shock Silver Ferns but NZ gets series.

Experimentation and injury proved costly for the Silver Ferns when they lost the second netball test to Australia 48-38 in a major shock last night. It was a huge form reversal after the Silver Ferns won by 12 goals in the first test in Brisbane on Saturday night. Though the two teams won a match each, the Silver Ferns were awarded the series on superior goal differential. The New Zealanders had won nine of their past 11 matches, including the last four in a row, against their biggest rivals. It was the first loss for the world and Commonwealth Games champions since the Australians beat them 53-51 at Melbourne in November 2004 and only the fifth loss for coach Ruth Aitken in 51 matches at the helm. It was also Australian coach Norma Plummer's first win over the New Zealanders since that 2004 match in Melbourne and came a day after she described the Silver Ferns as "the best I've ever seen".

New head appointed at Christchurch Art Gallery.

An academic has been appointed director of the Christchurch Art Gallery. Victoria University assistant vice-chancellor (academic) Jenny Harper, 56, will take up the position on October 9. Ms Harper's appointment to replace Tony Preston as head of the $50 million three-year-old gallery was announced yesterday after a three-month search. She has an extensive art-based career, including a term as director of the National Art Gallery in Wellington in 1990, and was part of the planning team for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and director of art and history at Te Papa in 1992.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Son sent to collect firewood chops down protected trees.

By Merilee Andrews
A mother who sent her teenage son to collect firewood has been prosecuted after he chopped down 80 protected native trees. Angela Mackinnon, of Parau, Waitakere, has agreed to undertake five years' tree maintenance ordered by the district court after it was found the trees on her property had been felled in June 2005 without the proper consent. The court accepted she meant him to get the wood off the ground, according to Waitakere City Council contract solicitor Setareh Masoud-Ansari. The tree stumps were discovered by council staff working in a nearby reserve.
source: Aucklander

Bill will remove Waitangi references.

Labour's Maori caucus will today be forced to vote for a bill which removes all references to the Treaty of Waitangi in legislation. The bill was drafted by Winston Peters and failed when it was initially introduced last year. However, as part of the Labour -NZ First coalition agreement, the bill is back, this time with Labour's support. National is bemused, saying it has no sympathy for Labour's Maori MPs. Maori Affairs spokesman Gerry Brownlee says the bill has got public support. He says it is Labour's problem and the public overwhelmingly want the references taken out of legislation. The bill is virtually assured of passing its first reading.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

MP slams overkill on safety.

Tauranga MP Bob Clarkson is astounded after seeing three safety vehicles working alongside one person on a roadside weedeater. He is labelling it a waste of precious roading dollars. Bob Clarkson says he saw the operation on State Highway 29 between Te Maunga and Te Puke. He claims each safety truck costs about $1500 a day, so it was costing about $600 an hour to kill the roadside weeds.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Advertisers fight against liquor rules change.

Advertisers are fighting moves to change the rules for liquor ads. A Parliamentary select committee is taking submissions on proposals to restrict liquor advertising in proposed changes to the Sale of Liquor Act as well as possibly returning the legal drinking age to 20. The Association of New Zealand Advertisers says to move the time for liquor TV ads to after 10 pm would be draconian and would effectively limit advertising to a two hour period.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Parents march on Parliament.

Pressure is being put on the Government to add pneumococcal meningitis to the immunisation register. Around a hundred parents have marched on Parliament today asking it be regarded the same way as the meningococcal form of the disease. Meningitis Trust general manager Fiona Colbert says they want the vaccine on the register by 2008, but sooner would be better.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

PM says Israeli attack "deplorable".

The Prime Minister has accused Israel of indulging in a disproportionate level of violence in the Middle East.
Helen Clark began Parliament today by responding to the Israeli bombing of a United Nations post in Lebanon, which killed four peacekeepers. She says it is deplorable and must not be allowed to rest there. "It is a tragedy that these attacks are claiming the lives of those sent to keep the peace," she says. The Prime Minister says New Zealand joins with the UN Secretary General in calling for the Government of Israel to conduct a full investigation.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Rising fuel prices send new large car sales plummeting.

Sales of new large cars have fallen dramatically as fuel prices shoot through the roof, according to figures released by the Motor Industry Association (MIA). Large cars have dropped from 23.7 per cent of the new car market in 2000 to just 10.5 per cent this June. Micro and light car sales rose from 6.9 per cent of the new car market to 12.6 per cent over the same period. MIA chief executive Perry Kerr said the large car figures were only slightly above the number sold during the 1970s oil crisis, when they were penalised by a 60 per cent sales tax.

Tuesday, July 25

Train service runs out of steam.

The only train service operating between Auckland and Wellington is being axed. Toll says the Overlander service has been making a substantial loss for many years and it cannot keep it going. The final train will run on Saturday September 30.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Fossil exhibition to tour New Zealand.

Fossil hunters and dinosaur lovers are in for a treat, following the announcement of a major fossil exhibition due to tour New Zealand next year. The collection will include fossils of dinosaurs, moa, marine reptiles and other sea creatures, insects, shells,and plants. The multi-media exhibition on fossil hunting (past, present and future) is being developed by GNS Science, with sponsorship from Shell New Zealand. Designed for audiences of all ages, it aims to tell a unique New Zealand story and will tour through museums and science centres for two years, beginning in late 2007. The exhibition tour will coincide with the International Year of Planet Earth (2008) and the International Year of Darwin (2008).

Rugby-NZ say Boks faked injuries.

New Zealand called for referees to take a tough line on stoppages in rugby internationals after accusing South Africa of faking injuries to slow down play in their Tri-Nations Test at the weekend. A grim All Blacks coach Graham Henry was not happy with the stop-start affair with his side's 35-17 win. "The thing that frustrates me is the number of times people go down with injury. That makes the game difficult, and I'd like to see the referees more diligent about that." Asked if he was accusing the Springboks of feigning injuries to slow the All Blacks' momentum, Henry was initially non-specific. But he later made clear that his comments were aimed at South Africa. "There wasn't a lot of rugby played at times because the game was slowed down a lot."
© 2006 Pretoria News

NZ could send peacekeepers to Lebanon, says Clark.

New Zealand would be likely to contribute peacekeepers to Lebanon if a truce could be negotiated, Prime Minister Helen Clark says. New Zealand was among 43 countries at the United Nations to make a statement to the UN Security Council calling for a ceasefire in the escalating conflict between Israel and militant group Hizbollah in southern Lebanon. Helen Clark today said New Zealand had contributed to peacekeeping efforts in the region for more than 20 years and was likely to contribute again if asked.

Here comes the cashless society.

By David Eames
From coffee to cars, chewing gum to gumboots, New Zealanders are eftpos-ing everything, and rapidly moving the country toward a cashless society. Paymark Eftpos yesterday released figures showing more than 5 billion electronic transactions have been carried out since the system was introduced in 1989. These days an impressive - or possibly frightening - 2 million electronic transactions are carried out daily. New Zealand now has an eftpos terminal for every 50 people. "For electronic transactions, we would be number one in the world for transactions per capita." A 2002 study - the latest official survey - put New Zealand eftpos usage at "roughly double" that of Australia, Mr Tong says.

NZ lawyer wears skirt to court.

A prominent New Zealand lawyer who is bald and mustachioed turned up to court wearing a skirt and blouse and carrying a handbag in protest of what he says is a male dominated judiciary. Rob Moodie, 67, fronted Wellington's High Court on Monday dressed in a navy blue skirt suit with added female extras, The Dominion Post newspaper reported.
"I will now, as a lawyer, be wearing women's clothing," Moodie was quoted as saying by the Post. "The deeper the cover-up, the prettier the frocks." Moodie says he is a heterosexual and is married with three children. But he says he was born with an innate understanding of the female gender. "I prefer and relate to the gender which is involved in the creation and nurturing of life: giving, sharing and also, I believe, fairness," he said.

Experts clash over drink age limit.

A dispute has erupted within the medical profession over a push to lift the legal drinking age back up to 20.
The Medical Association doubts that raising the legal age would curb youth drinking problems, but researchers at Otago University disagree. Teenage accidents since the drinking age was lowered have come down - part of an overall trend. However Otago University researchers say the numbers probably would have come down much further had the drinking age stayed at 20.
Source:One News

Developing countries set to suffer as talks collapse.

The Government says the developing world will be the big loser from the collapse of world trade talks. Negotiations on the Doha Round have foundered in Geneva overnight because Europe and the United States cannot agree on cuts to subsidies to their farmers. A deal would have been a big boost to New Zealand farmers, who do not receive subsidies. Trade Minister Phil Goff says poor countries will suffer the most from the development as they are in most need of the boost to living standards that would be provided through greater access to the markets of the first world. Mr Goff says New Zealand has been careful not to put all its eggs in the WTO basket and is pushing ahead with bilateral trade deals with China and other countries.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

NZers fleeing Lebanon safe.

Officials in Cyprus say New Zealanders who have fled war-torn Lebanon are now safe. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says 78 New Zealanders have now left Lebanon. Of those, 45 are in Cyprus and 20 of that group will shortly be en route to Australia.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Feline beauties go on show.

Persians battled it out with burmese, domestic and companion cats at the annual Nelson Cat Show at the Trafalgar Centre at the weekend. Nelson Cat Club secretary Trish Trembath said entries were up on last year with more than 260 cats entered. The cats came from as far afield as Auckland and Invercargill. "It's a sought-after show because we have five rings. We had four judges from Australia and the remaining 13 were from New Zealand," she said. Cats of all types and colours competed for the supreme titles in four categories: domestic, companion, short hair and long hair.
source:Nelson Mail

Hotels lined up to be flu quarantine stations.

Hotels will be used to quarantine travellers to New Zealand in the event of a flu pandemic. A top pandemic response planner has confirmed officials are negotiating with hotels and motels in the seven cities with international airports over their use as quarantine stations. John Ladd, operations coordinator for the inter-agency Border Working Group, said hotels were the most appropriate places to hold international visitors who had travelled through at-risk areas but did not show outward signs of flu.
Source: Dominion Post

Australian stumps up $1.5m for Kiwi's VC.

A Victoria Cross awarded to a New Zealand-born soldier for bravery at Gallipoli has sold for a record NZ$1.5 million at a Sydney auction. Australian auctioneers Bonhams and Goodman said Captain Alfred John Shout's Victoria Cross was sold last night to an Australian buyer who aims to put it on display at the Australian war memorial. The medal, along with other service medals awarded to the Anzac soldier, was sold by Captain Shout's elderly grandson Graham Thomas, who is ill and wants to provide for his family. Captain Shout, who was born in Wellington in 1882 but emigrated to Australia in 1905, was posthumously awarded the cross for valour shown during a charge on Turkish held trenches at Lone Pine.
Source: Dominion Post

Gee wins top book prize.

Wellington writers and publishers have dominated New Zealand's most prestigious book awards – including a clean sweep of all fiction categories – with veteran Maurice Gee scooping the biggest prize. Gee's novel Blindsight won the Montana New Zealand Book Awards $15,000 Deutz Medal for fiction or poetry at a ceremony in Auckland last night. Nelson writer Philip Simpson won the $15,000 Montana Medal for non-fiction and environment for Rata: New Zealand's Iron-hearted Trees, from Wellington-based Te Papa Press. Adventurer Graeme Dingle won the biography category for Dingle: Discovering the Sense in Adventure.
source:Dominion Post

Monday, July 24

"The Jetsons" come to Taupo.

A resort for the famous and well heeled is planned for Waihora Bay on the western side of Lake Taupo.
The $45 million six star complex will be marketed to high-profile, wealthy overseas visitors, with room-rates starting at $1600 a night. The development is being designed by international architectural firm X.Pace and will take on a futuristic theme inspired by the Hanna-Barbera cartoon "The Jetsons". The building will feature space age curves and lots of glass to take advantage of mountain, bush and lake views. Guests will only be able to access it by helicopter.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

School programme bears fruit.

Giving school children in poorer areas free fruit appears to be boosting their learning. Twenty-seven thousand students in 114 low decile schools are taking part in the trial free fruit programme. Health Minister Pete Hodgson says an interim survey suggests it is a success. He says children are clearly benefiting with teachers' reporting children are learning better, are more attentive in class and more enthusiastic. He says children are developing more healthy eating habits, and becoming more physically active. Mr Hodgson says the programme will be extended to other schools in the near future.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Houses could have own wind-turbine on roof.

Some householders could generate about a third of their electricity requirements by fitting a small wind turbine to the roof of their home, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment said today. Commissioner Morgan Williams said rooftop-mountable wind turbines with an output of 1.5kW could provide between 2000 and 3000kW-hours of electricity a year. "This is equivalent to one third of the total electricity requirement for the average New Zealand household," he said. Dr Williams used his report, Electricity, Energy and the Environment, to be tabled in Parliament today, to promote a Scottish rooftop turbine which he said could be connected to the electricity supply, or linked to a hot-water cylinder.

Workers plea for more leave and flexible hours.

Workers are asking for more time-off and more choice about when they work, according to a Government report released today. More than a third of employees work extra hours in their own time to get their jobs done, with one in five workers clocking up more than 50 hours a week, the report found. Some 40 per cent of workers say they want more flexible working hours. The report, by Lindy Fursman of the Labour Department, looks at work/life balance and notes that workers want flexible start and finish times and more leave, both paid and unpaid. Forty per cent of workers had difficulty getting the balance they wanted and 46 per cent experienced some degree of work-life conflict.

Travel warning for Israel, Palestine.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a travel warning for Israel, Palestinian territories and Lebanon due to the growing tension in the area. The ministry says there is extreme risk to safety due to Israel's attacks on Lebanon and the occupied territories. It warns of the continuing risk of terrorist attacks in Israel, and says any New Zealanders there should avoid tourist areas and be vigilant in crowded places. It says New Zealanders in Lebanon's capital Beirut or its southern regions should remain indoors.

Group pushes for tree top tourism.

They have been knocked back by the Department of Conservation but a group of West Coast residents are not giving up on a lofty tourism idea. Instead, the group of Hokitika residents are making a last ditch effort to get a multi-million dollar treetop walkway in their region. Although DOC has turned it down, some locals say it is a major opportunity for the region and should go ahead.
Source:One News

Police numbers not as bad as thought.

Recruitment and retention are being highlighted as major issues for police, but official figures indicate the situation may not be as bad as assumed. The numbers show that from 2001 to 2005, between 353 and 378 full time sworn staff left the force each year, but the figures show the number leaving is being outstripped by the number being recruited. Between 431 and 613 have graduated from the Police College each year.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Language week to boost Maori.

The challenge for Te Reo Maori is no longer to rescue the language but to increase its popularity, say Maori language promoters. Te Wiki o te Reo Maori/ Maori Language Week starts today. Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said Aotearoa was in the most "Te Reo Maori-friendly environment" it had ever been. He said there was a growing positiveness towards Te Reo among both Maori and non-Maori. Horomia said during the 1970s, it was thought Te Reo would become a language without native speakers, but that prediction had been turned on its head. "We still have a lot to do to ensure the survival of our beautiful language, but at least the challenge now is a positive one – to do with growing the language, not rescuing it," he said.
Source:The Press

Wanaka model sues for rocker's estate.

A Wanaka singer and part-time model is fighting for more than a third of Crowded House drummer Paul Hester's estate, saying she wants to be recognised as his fiancee. Kashan Devi Vincent, 26, says in her affidavit to the Supreme Court in Victoria, Australia, that she terminated a pregnancy during her almost three-year relationship with Hester. She is claiming $A100,000 ($120,600), some of his possessions and a third of his net estate - conservatively estimated at $A800,000 ($965,000). Vincent told the Sunday Star-Times yesterday she simply wanted acknowledgement as Hester's fiancee and girlfriend of nearly three years at the time of his death. She declined to comment further.
source:Sunday Star Times

Kiwis' card woes in Britain, France.

Kiwi credit card holders are being turned away by retailers in France and Britain because both countries have switched to new card technology. European countries have started using credit cards with embedded chips, which require users to enter a personal identification number when making a purchase or withdrawal. New Zealand, the United States and Australia still rely on cards with magnetic strips, which require only a signature when making purchases. Some retailers in France and Britain have refused to accept magnetic strip credit cards, even though they are still valid in both countries.
Source: Dominion Post

NZ poultry meat industry free of bird flu.

The New Zealand poultry meat industry is free of birdflu. The completion of a comprehensive testing programme for notifiable avian influenza had clearly demonstrated that the New Zealand Poultry meat industry of the disease, Poultry Industry Association executive director Michael Brooks said today. The testing programme not only sought evidence of the presence of highly pathogenic notifiable avian influenza but also low pathogenic notifiable avian influenza by testing blood samples from thousands of poultry meat birds. Biosecurity New Zealand carried out the testing programme to meet new World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reporting requirements and to demonstrate New Zealand's commercial poultry meat freedom from notifiable avian influenza.

Japanese envoy to go whale-watching in Kaikoura.

New Zealand has locked horns with Japan over commercial whaling, but that hasn't stopped Conservation Minister Chris Carter inviting the Japanese ambassador for a spot of whale-watching. Masaki Saito will join Mr Carter and other Asian ambassadors in Kaikoura on Thursday for a whale-watching tour. A spokesman for Mr Carter said yesterday the trip was part of a programme showcasing New Zealand's ecotourism industry and conservation measures. Ambassadors from other regions – including Latin America, where many nations are key anti-whaling allies – had also been taken out in Kaikoura.
Source: Dominion Post

Sunday, July 23

0 Kiwis still waiting to flee Lebanon.

About 20 New Zealanders registered with the Foreign Affairs Ministry are still waiting to be evacuated out of Lebanon, but a small number have indicated they will stay put. Ministry spokesman Brad Tattersfield said more New Zealanders were shipped to Cyprus overnight as bombing by the Israel Defence Force continued. About 45 New Zealanders who had already made it to Cyprus safely were waiting for transport elsewhere. About a dozen had either already left Cyprus having been evacuated to there, or had managed to get out of Lebanon overland on their own accord.

Pregnant HIV testing going well.

An infectious diseases physician says the routine screening of pregnant women for HIV in Waikato has gone smoothly since being introduced in March. Waikato is the only district health board that screens for the virus. Between mid-March and the end of June around 2,300 women have been tested at between eight and 14 weeks of pregnancy and none have had HIV. Dr Graeme Mills says diagnosing the virus early is essential because a pregnant woman with HIV has a one-third chance of transmitting it to her baby. However when HIV is detected and the mother is treated, the risk of the baby becoming infected is lower than 1%. Mills says Auckland is likely to be the next region to start routine HIV screening of pregnant women. The screening programme will be rolled out across the country over the next three years.

Memorial for Lange.

By Jared Savage
A peaceful landscaped garden where people can sit and relax is among the possible plans being drawn for a memorial for the late David Lange. His widow Margaret Pope is behind the proposed public tribute to the much-loved former prime minister in the humble surroundings of his home town, Otahuhu in Auckland. The David Lange Memorial Trust will be launched on August 16 - shortly after the first anniversary of his death - to fundraise and manage the project. No plans have been set in stone, but the trust has called for artists, sculptors and landscapers to submit ideas to honour Lange, who was best remembered for creating New Zealand's anti-nuclear stance.

Maori Queen home for birthday.

The Maori Queen's health has improved enough for her to be out of Waikato Hospital. There has been concern for Dame Te Atairangikaahu's well-being in the lead-up to her 75th birthday today. She has been undergoing dialysis treatment, and there have been unconfirmed reports her health had taken a turn for the worse. Waikato Hospital says the Maori Queen was discharged to the care of her family earlier this week.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Folic acid proposal flawed.

Bakers and flour millers say a proposal to to make Folic Acid a compulsory addition to bread is flawed. Food Standards officials want a mandatory amount of folate in bread because it can reduce the incidence of a rare birth defect. They say pregnant women ingest only about half the amount of folate they need, and forcing bread makers to put it in their products will fix that. President of the Bakers' Association Laurie Powell says women would have to eat 11 slices of bread a day to achieve their recommended folate intake. He says 30% of women do not eat bread at all, and others eat only 6 to 10 slices a week. Mr Powell says he applauds the initiative, but education and fortifying selected breads would be a better way to go about it.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Netball-Ferns wallop Australia.

The Silver Ferns once again showed they are the dominant force in world netball with a convincing 52-40 victory over Australia in Brisbane. New Zealand were never really troubled in a rematch of the Commonwealth Games final and coach Ruth Aitken will be particularly impressed with Maria Tutaia and Leana de Bruin. A great first-half display from the Ferns, who led 31-17 at the break, proved too big a mountain to climb for the women in gold.
source:One Sport

Rugby-All Blacks beat the Springboks 35-17.

The All Blacks have secured a comfortable yet unconvincing win over the Springboks in a Tri-Nations match in Wellington. New Zealand have come away with a 35-17 win, despite both sides grabbing two tries each. It was the Springboks who got away to the strongest start, with Fourie du Preez scoring a try off a charge-down after just 18 seconds.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Saturday, July 22

Car market crash puts buyers in driver's seat.

By Patrick Gower
Used car buyers are in the driving seat after a dramatic slump in the market. There were more than 10,000 fewer used car sales last month than in May, creating a winter glut in an already depressed market awash with Japanese imports. Although the car market is cyclical, the drop in sales is almost twice the size of the fall at the same time last year. No official tracking is done of price changes in the used car market, but the Weekend Herald used a price analysis done by the Dog & Lemon Guide - a guide for car buyers - that showed recent sellers losing anywhere between half and 87 per cent of their car's value. In some cases, this cost sellers as much as $30,000 on cars less than five years old.

Protestors arrested.

There have been arrests during a protest march in Auckland against Israeli military actions in Lebanon. More than 200 people are taking part in the march. One protester got on the awning above the footpath at the US Consulate, tore down the American flag and started waving the Palestinian one. When he descended, police tried to arrest him, but scuffles broke out as other protestors tried to stop that happening. At this stage details remain sketchy, but it seems some police officers were hurt and there have been several arrests.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Health reforms promised.

More reforms of primary health care are being promised. Health Minister Pete Hodgson says recent initiatives to reduce doctors' fees and the cost of prescriptions are only a first step. He says targeting chronic diseases, and getting New Zealanders to take more responsibility for their own health are immediate goals. Pete Hodgson says other targets include improving access to screening programmes and check-ups.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Mass anti-war protests in Australia.

Senior police are asking extremists to stay away from a mass anti-war protest in Sydney today. Tens of thousands of people are expected to march against the violence in Lebanon. Organisers hope many mothers and children will take part in the march after seeing news images of what is happening in the strife-torn region. Assistant Commissioner Mark Goodwin says police will take a hard line against any troublemakers. Protests are also being held in Adelaide and Melbourne today
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Nats head for Christchurch.

Leadership issues within the National Party are being dismissed as a media beat-up by Don Brash. The party is holding its annual conference in Christchurch this weekend with a record number of delegates in the city to hear the party's plans for the year ahead. As always, there has been speculation about the Party's leadership ahead of the conference, but Dr Brash is brushing it aside. He says people who have been in the party longer than he has are telling him it has been a long time since National's front bench has been as unified and as committed as it is now. Dr Brash says the leadership speculation is a beat-up, and he is happy with what the polls are saying about National's performanc
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

More NZers out of Lebanon.

A growing number of New Zealanders are getting out of war-torn Lebanon, as the fighting between Israel and Hizbollah continues. About 20 New Zealanders made it to Cyprus yesterday, by British naval ship and a UN-chartered ferry. They were amongst nearly 1500 evacuees. Staff from Foreign Affairs in Cyprus are on hand to help evacuees find accommodation and arrange onward travel. Back in New Zealand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff are working around the clock to contact those New Zealanders still in Lebanon, to advise them of evacuation plans.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Seal stops Tauranga traffic.

A seal has stopped the traffic in Tauranga this morning. A resident in 15th Avenue looked up from his breakfast to see traffic backing up while a fur seal loped across the roadway. Motorists were then entertained by police attempts to usher the animal back to the harbour. John Heaphy from DOC says the rough weather probably drove the seal into the harbour for a rest. He says it may come ashore to sleep, and if it does people should not get too close.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Reducing number of teen mothers 'priority'.

A waiting list of more than 90 teenage mothers from Canterbury needing urgent help has prompted agencies to call for a national scheme to reduce young pregnancies. Groups concerned about New Zealand's higher than average teen pregnancy rates and the social problems associated with young women giving birth met in Christchurch yesterday, including representatives from the Families Commission, Family Works and the ministries of Social Development and Youth Development. Gaynor Duff, Christchurch regional manager of Family Works, said reducing teen pregnancies should be a government priority because they often had serious social consequences such as increased risks of abuse and neglect, social isolation, poor bonding with their children and poverty.
Source:The Press

Friday, July 21

New U2 tour dates announced.

Irish rock band U2 announced new dates for the Vertigo 2006 New Zealand tour this morning after cancelling two Auckland performances in March. U2 announced the new dates on their website , and will play Auckland's Ericsson Stadium on Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25. Arthur Fogel, from tour promoter The Next Adventure, said: "We are very happy to announce the rescheduling and appreciate everyone's patience." Kayne West will support the band on the new New Zealand dates. Tickets for the cancelled performances on March 17 and March 18 will be valid for the new dates.

Graeme Hart, Todds top NBR Rich List.

Graeme Hart has regained his mantle as the richest New Zealander. The entrepreneur tops the 2006 National Business Review Rich List, with a personal fortune of $2.75 billion. He was usurped after three years in the top spot by Waikato-raised expat brothers Richard and Christopher Chandler last year. The Dubai-based investment bankers share a wealth of $4 billion and drop to second place on this year's list. Businesswoman Jan Cameron is the richest individual woman on the list with $220 million, after she sold a portion of the outdoor clothing chain Kathmandu earlier this year. Peter Jackson ranks an equal tenth in the lineup with an estimated fortune of $400 million. Actor and winemaker Sam Neill is among the nation's richest, credited with having $40 million.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Telcos have big plans to rival Telecom.

There are plans to create a telecommunications business to rival Telecom. The Australian owners of ihug have put the internet service provider on the market. New Zealand-owned Orcon Internet is the first to publicly announce an interest. Orcon General Manager Scott Bartlett says it makes sense to combine the businesses, which sit in third and fourth places in the telco sector. He says the prospect of bringing a real kiwi success story like ihug back into New Zealand ownership is very exciting. Mr Bartlett says if the deal goes through, customers are likely to see faster broadband sooner, as both ihug and Orcon have plans to build a new broadband network.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Ten NZers out of Lebanon.

At least ten New Zealanders have managed to safely escaped war-torn Lebanon. Around 90 kiwis have registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Lebanon, most of them requesting to be helped out. Spokeswoman Helen Tunnah says around 10 of them have already been evacuated to Cyprus. She says another three ships are on their way there, with a number of New Zealand families on board. Meanwhile a New Zealander living in Israel under the threat of attack from Hizbollah rockets says he backs the assault on southern Lebanon. Missiles fired by the militant group have landed within ten kilometres of the kibbutz in northern Israel where Peter Pezaro lives. Mr Pezaro says no-one can live like that for very long and he has no reservations about the Israeli government's actions in southern Lebanon.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

US ready to move on from nuke row.

Winston Peters has ended his first Washington visit on a high note after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signalled a desire to move on from the anti-nuclear standoff. The signal from one of President George Bush's most powerful officials comes amid signs of a rethink around Washington about New Zealand-US relations post 9/11. Mr Peters said the nuclear issue was not raised directly at their meeting yesterday – but Dr Rice had suggested that both countries should put the "problems of the past behind us". While that would not be interpreted as a breakthrough, it is an indication that the US may be focusing more on other aspects of the relationship. It allows Mr Peters, the Foreign Affairs minister, to return home claiming an important step forward in improving relations. Well-placed former Republican officials have told The Dominion Post about both countries working closer together, particularly as concerns rise about failed Pacific states and the rising influence of China in the region.
Source: Dominion Post

Cervical vaccine approved.

A vaccine that prevents most forms of cervical cancer could be available from GPs as early as September. The vaccine, manufactured by Merck under the name Gardasil, was approved yesterday by Medsafe – the body responsible for assessing the safety of medicines and vaccines. Medsafe's decision was in line with other regulatory authorities around the world, including the US Food and Drug Administration which gave Gardasil the green light last month. During clinical trials Gardasil proved effective in killing the four most common forms of the virus.
Source: Dominion Post

After the deluge - a blast from the pole.

Hunker down and crank up the heaters, a "polar blast" is coming. Yesterday's heavy rain, on already-saturated soils, flooded roads and pushed some rivers to alert levels. Today the rain is due to give way to a "polar blast". Bitterly cold air will bring snow showers to near sea level in the eastern South Island, and unusually low in the south and east of the North Island. MetService warned that snow and stinging southerlies were likely to put extreme stress on newborn lambs and calves, and recently shorn sheep.
Source: Dominion Post

Thursday, July 20

Wind farms approved.

The Environment Court has given the go-ahead for two wind farms to be built in Hawke's Bay. The court met in Hastings in May to consider appeals against Hawke's Bay Wind Farm Ltd's plan for a 75 turbine farm and Unison Networks proposed 15-turbine farm. The 75-turbine farm will be the largest in New Zealand and will produce 220 megawatts of electricity, or 2% of New Zealand's current electricity consumption.

Yet more rain heads for North Island.

MetService is warning there is a threat of flooding on the east coast of the North Island as heavy rain is forecast from Hawke's Bay to Wairarapa. A deepening low off the North Island's east coast is forecast to bring heavy rain and strong winds to eastern areas. MetService forecaster Liz Haslam says up to 100 millimetres could fall in the hills and ranges of Hawke's Bay and the Tararua District. Sustained rain is also predicted for parts of south Taranaki, the Wanganui hill country, Taihape and Rangitikei. Rain over the Central Plateau and Hawke's Bay ranges is expected to turn to snow above 700 metres early tomorrow morning.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

ihug up for sale.

iiNet Limited, the Australian owner of ihug, has just announced that it has initiated a formal sales process for its New Zealand ISP business. Chairman Peter Harley said the decision had been made following a large number of unsolicited approaches to purchase ihug. Mr Harley said that the Board has decided to take advantage of the opportunity to realise an enhanced value for the business in the light of the Government's decision to unbundle the local loop. ihug is New Zealand's largest wholesaler of ADSL broadband and Mr Harley says it therefore has the scale to take advantage of local loop unbundling.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Waitomo caves flooded.

Waitomo's tourist caves have been flooded by heavy rain overnight. Robert Tahi is the manager of attractions at Waitomo for Tourism Holdings Limited. He says they hope to be able to open the Ruakuri blackwater rafting cave and the Glowworm caves this afternoon. The Aranui Cave was closed because the road leading to it flooded.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Biggest British evacuation since World War 2.

Plans are being drawn up for as many as 90 New Zealanders to leave Lebanon aboard Royal Navy ships as part of the biggest evacuation of British nationals since World War 2. British troops have arrived in Beirut to help with the evacuation as ships prepare to take frightened expatriates and tourists trapped by Israeli air raids and shelling. A New Zealand child and his mother have already been evacuated from Lebanon on a British navy ship travelling to the nearby Mediterranean island of Cyprus. British authorities told the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) that the child is a New Zealand passport holder and is on the HMS Gloucester. Mfat said Kiwis would board British ships bound for Cyprus.
Source:The Press

Valuable Maori stamps sent out in NZ Post blunder.

Stamp collectors could get a potential windfall after banned Maori stamps were sent out by accident. The stamps, with a face value of between 45 cents and $2, were now worth hundreds of dollars each, The New Zealand Herald reported today. New Zealand Post said more than 500 of the cartoon-style stamps, depicting Maori in kapa haka stances, were issued by mistake. They were to be released in May but the design outraged some Maori who said they were ugly and depicted their culture in a bad light. Ivor Masters, NZ Post stamps and collectibles general manager, said eight customers had received the stamps before the issue date. He urged those who had got the stamps through "human error" to return them to NZ Post.
New Zealand Stamp Collectors Club president and stamp dealer Steven McLachlan said he would not advise anyone to send them back. He said demand and the small number of stamps available could see prices rise to $2000 each.
Stamp collectors could get a potential windfall after banned Maori stamps were sent out by accident.

Oxfam critical of NZ intervention in Solomons.

Aid organisation Oxfam is warning Australian and New Zealand intervention in the Solomons might not be working. "Helpem Fren" and the new Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) took over the Solomons in 2003, ending a three-year-long ethnic civil war. But it hit a crisis earlier this year when rioters in Honiara burnt down Chinatown. Oxfam warns that too much money and resources is going towards reconstructing Solomon's government institutions rather than reaching those most in need. "Unless this issue is addressed effectively, there will remain a risk of repeated incidents of violence and dissent," the report says.

NZ in basketball win over Australia.

New Zealand made basketball history on Wednesday with its first win against Australia on home soil to claim the Ramsay Shield for only the second time. The Tall Blacks won the game 79-71 to tie the four-game series 2-2, thanks largely to a dominant 25-point, eight-rebound haul by Kiwi big man Craig Bradshaw.

Paua haul found near Titahi Bay.

Wellington fisheries officers have discovered an estimated $25,000 worth of paua hidden under bushes near Titahi Bay north of the city. Many of the 2,500 paua were under-sized, and the quantity is more than 200 times the daily quota for a recreational fisherman. Fisheries officers said the haul was probably bound for the black market and would have ended up in restaurants in New Zealand or Asia.

More NZers heading across the Tasman.

Economists are warning a further surge in the number of people moving to Australia could be imminent. Already almost half the New Zealanders moving overseas are heading across the Tasman. Statistics New Zealand figures show the net outflow of people going to Australia long term increased from 19,300 to 20,500 in the year to June. ANZ economists are attributing the trend to the diverging business cycles between the two countries with the difference in personal tax policies making Australia look increasingly attractive.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Headmaster makes it home.

Nelson College headmaster Salvi Gargiulo is still planning to take a job in Middle East despite his narrow escape from the violence in Lebanon. Mr Gargiulo was back at work on Tuesday, and said his students were having a good laugh at his experience of being caught up in a war zone. Mr Gargiulo was visiting Beirut for a job interview last week when the city's airport, which was next to where he was staying, was bombed. The road he took out of the country was also bombed within hours of him travelling on it.
source: Nelson Mail

Wednesday, July 19

Rugby-Springboks make five changes for NZ.

The Springboks have made five changes to the team smashed by the Wallabies for Saturday's Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks in Wellington. The halves combination of Ricky Januarie and Jaco van der Westhuyzen was dumped in the wake of the 49-0 loss in Brisbane last Saturday. In their place come Fourie du Preez at halfback and either Meyer Bosman or new arrival Butch James at five eighth, with those two players bracketed. A decision on who starts in the No.10 jersey will be left until Saturday.

New documentary channel for Sky.

Sky Television is to launch a homegrown documentary channel. The pay-to-view broadcaster says the new channel will feature the best of New Zealand documentaries, as well as the latest from award winning international film makers. The 24-hour channel will be available to all subscribers from November.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Peters incident won't affect trade - Cullen.

The Government is playing down today's incident in Washington involving Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters as a misunderstanding. The Opposition is slamming the performance of Foreign Minister after he interrupted and cut off Republican Senator John McCain during a press conference. Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen is playing down the matter. He says New Zealand's trade with the United States will not be affected by the slightly hurt feelings of two or three journalists who were asked to leave the interview as a result of a misunderstanding.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Smart cards puzzle NZ tourists.

The introduction of smart cards in Europe looks like posing a few headaches for New Zealand tourists. The warning is being issued by United Future Leader Peter Dunne who says because New Zealand-issued credit cards do not have the computer chips which are now needed in Europe, they are being challenged by retailers. He says this means travellers may be in for a rude shock as simply signing for a purchase might not be accepted. Peter Dunne says card holders have not been advised of the changes and he is calling on credit card companies to publicise the situation better.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

New Zealand band almost brings down house.

New Zealand rock band the Mint Chicks won't soon forget the night they brought the house down _ or at least part of it. The four-member group was playing at the historic St. James Theater in the northern city of Auckland last week when chunks of plaster fell onto the heads of two audience members, the New Zealand Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.
One 17-year-old youth required stitches in a head wound and the other, a young woman, was brought to a hospital with a concussion, the report said. St. James manager John Griffiths said vibrations and sound waves from the music had dislodged plaster in the building, according to the report.

More checks to prevent passport fraud.

Internal Affairs has upgraded security checks on passports, in an effort to prevent fraud. The move comes as a judge sentences Timothy Selwyn to jail for 15 months for obtaining a passport under a dead baby's name 10 years ago.
Passport manager David Philp says online verification with the Births, Deaths and Citizenship registers will now take place. He says crimes such as those committed by Mr Selwyn are emotionally disturbing and very distressing for the bereaved family. Anyone convicted of a passport offence committed since 2002, faces 10 years in jail or a fine of up to $250,000.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Queen, glitterati to see Kiwi polo players.

Royals, rock legends and Hollywood starlets will have their eyes on Simon Keyte and three other Waikato polo players next week when New Zealand take on England in the Coronation Cup at the Windsor Castle gardens. The cup is contested on International Day, one of the highlights of England's social calendar, being rated alongside the Royal Ascot horse races for "the place to be seen". New Zealand has not played for the Coronation Cup since 1986 and the invitation to contest it 20 years later comes at an opportune time. In the history of the Coronation Cup, New Zealand has faced England three other times with the hosts holding a 2-1 advantage.
source:Waikato Times

PM hits back at Geldof.

Prime minister Helen Clark has struck back at Bob Geldof after his rebuke of the Government for its alleged aid stinginess, suggesting he look in his own backyard before criticising others. The 54-year-old rock singer and humanitarian, in New Zealand last week to speak at a business leadership conference, attacked the Government's foreign aid contribution as "pathetic" and "a disgrace". He said the 0.27 per cent of gross domestic product that went to impoverished countries was stingy. Miss Clark said Sir Bob had to look at the full picture. "On those three issues, New Zealand scored extremely highly. "I think Mr Geldof comes from the European Union which does not in many ways respect or reciprocate for Third World labour markets," she said. "It has many, many trade barriers. "I have no doubt we more than pull our weight."
Source: Dominion Post

Tuesday, July 18

NZ family survive tsunami.

A family of four New Zealanders living on the Indonesian island of Java have made contact with authorities for the first time since the overnight tsunami. The Ministry of Foreign had held fears for the family's safety after 1.5 metre high waves struck the island's beach resorts and shoreline villages. A Ministry spokeswoman says the family, who have lived in Indonesia for many years, is safe and unharmed. The tsunami has killed more than a hundred people, and the death toll is likely to rise. Thousands more are homeless.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Old US plan to invade NZ revealed.

The United States planned to invade Auckland almost a century ago if the emerging superpower had gone to war with Japan, then a British ally, a US intelligence document reveals. The document includes intelligence reports on North Head, Fort Takapuna and Mt Victoria. It recommends the Manukau Harbour as the best invasion point. The plan involved landing heavy guns on Rangitoto Island to shell forts on the North Shore. Although the document was declassified by US authorities in 1972, little has been reported up to now. Military historian Peter Corbett has published an article in the February 2002 edition of Forts and Works, a specialist military historian journal. The document - titled: Naval War Plan for the Attack of Auckland, New Zealand - includes information on the water supply, public transport network and climate.
source: North Shore Times
click HERE for full story

NZ couple rescued after yacht hits rocks off Tonga.

Two people have been rescued from a New Zealand yacht after it hit a reef near Tonga last night. It was one of two search and rescue operations initiated by the Rescue Coordination Centre overnight. The stricken 9m yacht, Tamujin, hit a reef off Eua Island, about 20km southeast of the main Tongan island of Tongatapu. The second operation involved an 8.2m fishing boat overdue from a fishing trip northwest of the island of Kao, also in the Tonga group. An Air Force Orion aircraft has been dispatched to the area and was expected to arrive and begin radar searches over a large area late this morning.

Three New Zealanders evacuated from Lebanon.

Three New Zealanders, including a pregnant woman, have been evacuated from Lebanon to escape the Israeli bombardment, Prime Minister Helen Clark said today. Helen Clark told reporters she had been advised of this by Defence Minister Phil Goff. Arrangements to evacuate the three New Zealanders would have been done either through the United Nations and the New Zealand Defence Force or by the British, she said.

Govt debates lowered drinking age.

It has been seven years since the legal drinking age was lowered from 20 to 18, but politicians are still sharply divided on whether it was a smart move. They are now considering a reversal of the decision later this year. Police, drug and alcohol groups and the Salvation Army are adamant a lower drinking age was a backward step. They blame it for an increase in youth crime, road accidents and hospital admissions as well as a surge in teenage binge drinking.
Source:One News

NZ fur seal found on Gold Coast.

A New Zealand fur seal has been found in waters behind the Gold Coast, thousands of kilometres from home. Far from its usual habitat on the icy New Zealand coast and southern extremities of Australia, the 12 to 18 month-old fur seal was plucked from Mariner's Cove, on the Broadwater side of The Spit near Southport, by staff of Sea World. Several reports from locals alerted Sea World staff to the location of the seal. "It is quite common for New Zealand fur seals to be found around the Gold Coast area at this time of year, after being caught in the strong Tasman Sea currents or chased by predators," Sea World's manager of marine sciences Steve McCourt said.

Monday, July 17

Company fined $14,000 for hacking kowhai tree.

A Wellington development company that ordered the hacking of the branches off a protected kowhai tree has been fined $14,000 and ordered to replace the tree. OEC, owned by brothers John and Michael Chow, had all the branches cut off the tree in Wellington's Tory St by the time police and council officers arrived to stop them on December 6 last year. In Wellington District Court today, Judge Gordon Whiting fined OEC $14,000, ordered it to pay $452 to Wellington City Council and $130 in court costs. The company was also ordered to replace the attacked tree, maintain it for five years and install a plaque at the foot of the new tree outlining its history.
The kowhai tree was 70-years-old and heritage-listed.

New Zealand attracts strong film industry interest.

Ongoing government support for large budget films continues to draw international film productions to New Zealand, says Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard. "This winter has been one of the busiest for the New Zealand film industry since the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy," Trevor Mallard said. "The Warner Bros. Film, 10,000 BC, directed by Roland Emmerich completed a six week shoot in the Wanaka region last month, Walden Media, Revolution Studios and Beacon were shooting the family movie, The Water Horse, in Queenstown last month and are now completing the production in Wellington. A Ghost House Pictures film, Thirty Days of Night, produced by Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi will commence shooting at the end of this month in Auckland and later in Central Otago.
Press Release: New Zealand Government

51,000 new residents.

The Government admitted 130,000 temporary workers and just over 51,000 new residents into the country in the past year. Immigration Minister David Cunliffe said 51,236 new residents came in the June year. Nearly 32,000 of these people were skilled and business migrants. The minister last week raised the target for new residents to 52,000 a year. Mr Cunliffe also said the number of people working temporarily in New Zealand had increased from 71,484 in 2001-02 to 132,360 in the 2005-06 year.

Rugby-Henry stunned over Springbok debacle.

The All Blacks are not writing off the Springboks, even after Saturday's 49-nil record hiding from Australia in the Tri-Nations. Coach Graham Henry flew to Brisbane and watched the game with his fellow selectors, and says there is no denying the South African performance was a disappointment. He is not sure why the South Africans had such a terrible game, but they know better than to write off the Boks in Wellington this Saturday as they have played them enough times to know the South Africans are an extremely tough, physical side, and will be looking to restore damaged pride. Henry has no doubt the Springboks will bounce back, although the South Africans have injury concerns, with lock Danie Rossouw out of next weekend's game with a hamstring tear. The All Blacks head back into camp this morning in Wellington, with the first training of the week scheduled for later this morning.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

New initiative to make children more active.

There is to be a further focus on getting school children into physical exercise, The Government is spending more than $2 million to appoint 15 new Active Schools Facilitators nationwide. The facilitators are to promote and support physical activity in schools and to encourage children to choose and participate in long term physical exercise. The initiative is part of a Healthy Eating-Healthy Action Strategy aimed at improving child health.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Public lacks faith in Government.

When it comes to trust, it seems the general public has a lack of faith in the Government. A Statistics New Zealand Survey reveals just 32 percent of people believe the Government can keep their personal information confidential. Thirty eight percent were neutral and almost 30 percent were sceptical. When it comes to confidence in organisations, police seem to instill the most faith with 74 percent of respondents saying they had confidence in them. However politicians fare badly - only 25 percent of those surveyed said they had confidence in political party organisations.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Teachers under attack on website.

Secondary school teachers are being singled out for personal attack on a new website where pupils rate their teachers. "I would rather eat broken glass than sit through (her) lesson," writes one pupil about a Wellington College teacher. "I can't look at her for more than a few seconds before I have to hit something," says another. "I genuinely hate her. I have nothing but contempt for this woman." The comments have confirmed fears raised that would lead to uncensored, anonymous personal vendettas, putting skilled candidates off the profession. The secondary teachers' union says it is "horrified" at the website's content. The site, which started in New Zealand last month, has already attracted 165,000 visitors and 80,000 ratings on more than 18,000 teachers at nearly 1500 schools.
Source: Dominion Post

Mother angry about poolside changing rule.

A North Canterbury mother who received a warning not to dress her toddler beside a swimming pool believes it is political correctness gone mad. Amanda Crozier was dressing her 16-month-old at the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre when she was issued with an anti-nudity notice. She says she changed the child's clothes beside the pool so that she could keep an eye on her other children. Ms Crozier says a lifeguard issued the notice which stated there was to be no poolside changing of children of any age.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Maori chief to head UN body.

Ngati Tuwharetoa paramount chief Tumu te Heuheu has been appointed chairman of the United Nations' World Heritage committee, the global watchdog for cultural and natural heritage areas. Mr te Heuheu has been on the committee since New Zealand was elected to it in 2003. He has a personal interest – Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's first property to be added to the World Heritage List in 1993, was gifted to the Crown by Mr te Heuheu's ancestor Te Heuheu Tukino IV in 1887.
Source: Dominion Post

Sunday, July 16

Live worms sought for ravenous kiwi.

Desperately seeking worms – and huhu grubs.
Mohua, a great spotted kiwi who broke her beak, is able to feed herself again and is consuming up to 500 worms a day. Willowbank Wildlife Reserve staff are digging flat out, but they cannot dig fast enough to match her appetite. The rare kiwi – only an estimated 10,000 remain in the wild – broke her beak in 2004 while being released in the Lake Rotoiti area, near Nelson. Mohua's beak broke at the tip near her nostrils, making it impossible to sense worms and grubs underground. Two Willowbank staff are digging all day to find enough earthworms for the hungry kiwi, and management is appealing to the public for help. Willowbank director Kathy Rangiwananga said anyone with earthworms or huhu grubs to spare should either deliver them, still wriggling, to the reserve or phone in with the grubby fare.
Source:The Press

First-timers to get cheap homes.

Cheap, government-funded homes will be on the market within a few years after Labour rolls out a new policy to help first-home buyers struggling to get on the property ladder. The government is developing 500 "affordable homes" in Auckland, agreed to almost four years ago as part of the 3000-home Housing New Zealand development in Hobsonville, a north-west suburb of the city. The initiative, which follows years of soaring house prices and pressure on the government over Australia's tax cuts and higher wages, has remained under the radar amid controversy about state housing in the area. Housing Minister Chris Carter has been investigating overseas schemes to decide how the "affordable homes" idea will work. One suggestion is to put covenants on the titles ensuring the homes could be sold to first-time buyers only. There could also be time limits on reselling so they could not be flicked on for short-term profit.
source:Sunday Star Times

Dixon seals second win of season.

New Zealand's Scott Dixon won IRL Firestone Indy 200 in Nashville on Sunday by beating his teammate Dan Wheldon. It was the second victory this season and sixth career for Dixon, who beat out his Ganassi Racing teammate and moved into second place in the series points standings.
source:One Sport

Rich and famous in line for $30m island property.

By Stephen Cook
A major global marketing campaign targeted at some of the world's richest people is about to be launched in a bid to sell the country's most exclusive waterfront property. Waiheke Island's sprawling Cowes Bay estate with its spacious eight-bedroom waterfront mansion and caretaker's residence has so far attracted only six responses from Kiwi rich-listers. The 36ha estate is going for more than twice the $14 million record that Auckland financier Mark Hotchin set in November when he bought a 4ha Boathouse Bay property on Waiheke. With an asking price of $30 million, Cowes Bay estate appears to be out of the reach of most New Zealanders, so it's now going global with a major overseas marketing push.

NZ in contact with UK embassy about Lebanon evacuation.

By Marcus Brogden
New Zealand is in contact with the British Embassy in the Lebanon about any possible evacuation preparations for its citizens, as Israel continues to bombard the country. New Zealand has around 30 nationals in the country, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. MFAT spokeswoman Helen Tunnah told NZPA as New Zealand has no representative in the region, all nationals should get in touch with the British embassy. "We are staying in touch with the British authorities and asking New Zealanders there to contact the British Embassy and leave their details with them."

Rugby-Wallabies beat embarrassed Boks 49-nil.

It was an embarrassing day in Springbok rugby history. The Wallabies have beaten South Africa by a record 49-nil in last night's Tri-Nations match at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, dominating from start to finish with a born-again Australian outfit who led 30-nil at halftime. Things do not get easier for the Boks, who now face the All Blacks in Wellington next weekend.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Middle East violence will escalate.

Lebanese people living in New Zealand are concerned violence in the Middle East will escalate before it declines. President of the Cedars of Lebanon Club in Dunedin, Richard Joseph, says the troubles go back to 1948 and will not be resolved overnight. He says it is going to need the intervention of a third party. Mr Joseph says negotiations will not happen until both sides get things off their chests.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Illegal immigrants costing health millions.

It is claimed illegal immigrants and overstayers are costing the New Zealand health system millions, and forcing health authorities to dump kiwis from waiting lists. Foreign patients have racked up more than $10 million in unpaid bills since 2003. The Sunday Star Times says there are hundreds of cases currently going through the health system. In one example, a Kiribati woman was given a $500,000 liver transplant, despite being an illegal overstayer. She was then granted residency and receives $1,000 worth of drugs every month.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Toast festival attracts thousands.

Big crowds of ex-patriates have turned out for a showcase of the best in New Zealand food and song at the Toast festival in London. The hot sun sent temperatures into the mid-20s with a refreshing breeze wafting through as 8,000 New Zealanders and a handful of curious others flocked to Regent's Park. It is an annual chance for kiwis to sample the tastes and sounds of home as they work through their OE. Dave Dobbyn and Hayley Westenra have performed on stage while crowds have lined up for a drop or two from the vineyards of Marlborough and Hawke's Bay. They have also indulged in lamb, mussels, confectionery and even the humble steak and cheese pie.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

Exodus of South African prison officers to NZ jails.

Up to 40 South African prison officers in pursuit of better working conditions are looking for jobs in New Zealand. South African media reports suggested as many as 40 officers from one province will soon take up positions in New Zealand prisons. Rampant racism within South Africa's corrections department was blamed for the exodus, the reports said. "We need 1800 staff in the next two years. We would like to see jobs go to New Zealanders but right now that's not happening."

Weight loss 'miracle' pill not far away.

Hope might be on the way for hundreds of thousands of obese New Zealanders in the form of a new "miracle" weight loss pill that reportedly works by blocking food cravings. Medsafe is considering an application to put Rimonabant on the market here. It recently went on sale in the UK and throughout continental Europe and is also before Australian authorities for approval. Those who endorse it describe it as a miracle drug because it works by blocking receptors in the brain responsible for food cravings. They are known as "cannabinoid 1 receptors" because they are the ones that stimulate the "munchies" in cannabis users.
source:Sunday Star Times

Saturday, July 15

Petrol price may not soar.

The latest bout of violence in the Middle East might not make fuel here more expensive. The price of crude oil has skyrocketed to $US77 a barrel. But according to oil industry analyst Richard Hale, it might not push up the price at the pump in New Zealand. He says the Singapore gasoline market is the primary driver of any price rise here. Mr Hale says that market does not always follow the lead of crude oil prices. Mr Hale says usually, for every dollar the price of crude oil rises, prices at the pump will go up a cent.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

New Zealanders in surf record.

New Zealanders are among surfers in Bali who have set a world record for the most people to ride a single wave. 53 surfers from Bali, New Zealand, France, Australia, Brazil and Hawaii rode the wave at the popular Halfway break on Kuta Beach. They broke the old world mark of 46 people set at Sydney's Manly Beach in May. The new record was set in near-perfect conditions and it will be registered with the Guinness Book of Records.
© 2006 Newstalk ZB News

NZ woman may sue 'Dr Ozone'.

A New Zealand woman who was admitted to hospital in Thailand after receiving an alternative cancer treatment is considering suing the man behind it. Austrian born Hellfried Sartori has been jailed in Chiang Mai and is facing charges of fraud for giving terminally ill foreigners false hope of a cure. He appeared in court on Wednesday. Thai police allege Sartori injected patients with a dangerous chemical, ozone gas, at a cost of more than $60,000 each. They say several of his patients have died in hospitals in northern Thailand. Satori was convicted in the United States of illegally administering the treatments, and stripped of his medical licence. New Zealander Melissa Taylor, who has terminal adrenal cancer, was treated by Sartori in Thailand last month and ended up in intensive care. She has only received a small amount of her money back and is considering suing Sartori.
Source:One News

Peters confirms Washington date with Rice.

By Paula Oliver, NZPA
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters confirmed yesterday that he will head to Washington next week to meet senior United States political figures. Mr Peters - who had been coy about revealing details of his trip - will make a two-day visit next Tuesday and Wednesday. He is scheduled to have a formal meeting with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The meeting with Dr Rice on Wednesday was expected to last around an hour, Mr Peters told Radio Live yesterday. Yesterday Mr Peters' office said that during the trip he would also meet National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, the chairman of the Senate's foreign relations committee, Richard Lugar, Senator John McCain, and a range of senior congressional representatives with an interest in East Asia and the Pacific.

Ministry says Lebanon too dangerous for travellers.

By Wayne Thompson
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is warning New Zealanders against travelling to Lebanon, saying there is extreme risk to their safety. Six New Zealanders in Beirut have registered with the ministry and have been told to exercise caution, stay indoors and follow any instructions issued by the authorities. The ministry advises against all travel to the southern suburbs of Beirut and areas south of the capital after Israel launched as offensive following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbollah guerrillas two days ago. It also advised against non-essential travel in any areas within 25km south of Israel's northern border because of missiles being fired from Lebanon.


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