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

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Wednesday, December 31

Drownings second lowest on record

While the number of drownings this year is the second lowest on record, there is concern there will be a marked increase in coming years. With just a few hours of 2008 left, 95 people have drowned in New Zealand waters this year. That figure is pleasing Water Safety as it is only the second time since 1980 that the number has been below 100. Water Safety general manager, Matt Claridge is worried however by the recent loss of swimming lessons from most primary schools. He says it means that, 20 years from now, there will be a whole generation without basic swimming skills, something that will surely result in more drownings.
© 2008 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Wetland fire badly affects birdlife

A fire in a Southland wetland has done significant damage to the birdlife in the area, say environmentalists. The fire, in the conservation wetland near the mouth of the Mataura River, was under control by Wednesday afternoon, but is expected to continue burning for many days. It destroyed more than 480 hectares of vegetation, including 200ha of native bush. A farmer at nearby Lake Waituna, Ray Waghorn, says the fire was huge and the biggest in the area for a decade. Mr Waghorn says the fire would have opened up the area to plants such as native orchids but would have killed many young fernbirds and bittern.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Cricket-West Indies washed out

Rain has forced the cancellation of the opening one dayer between the Black Caps and West Indies in Queenstown.. The players were forced off the field just before three o'clock with the tourists 129 for five in the 36th over. They never returned with the game called off just before five. The second one dayer is in Christchurch on Saturday.
© 2008 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Sun safety warning for teenagers

Teenagers are still likely to get burned this summer in spite of a warnings about skin cancer, says a sun safety campaigner. Sunsmart programme manager Wayde Beckman says many teenagers are ignoring the sun safety message by getting burned in order to get a better tan. Mr Beckman says many people still think tanning is attractive, but all tanning and sunburn can lead to skin cancer and there is no such thing as a healthy tan. He says people should always wear sunscreen, even on a cloudy day.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Orcas frolic on Manuakau

A pod of around ten Orca whales is entertaining beach-goers at Glenbrook, south-west of Auckland. Sean McConney says the whales have been basking in the water for the last few hours - and are now swimming back towards the open sea. As well as watchers from the shore, there are more than a dozen boats on the water with people trying to get close enough for a good photo. Sean McConney says the channel's about 15 metres deep, so there is plenty of water for them.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Hydro lakes high

Electricity supply is looking more secure than last year. Meridian Energy says Lake Pukaki - which accounts for 40% of the New Zealand's hydro-electric storage - is close to full. Lake Tekapo is already overflowing. Meridian says it is too early to tell whether this guarantees adequate supply for next winter, but the current levels are a considerable improvement on last year.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Alligator discovered at NSW camp ground

An American alligator has been discovered in New South Wales. The National Parks & Wildlife Service says it was probably an exotic pet. The ABC reports a coastal camp site at Pambula was evacuated while a holidaying snake handler caught the 1.5-metre reptile, which was initially thought to be a saltwater crocodile. Senior ranger Robin Kesby says it has been taken to a zoo. He says experts at Taronga Zoo say it's an American alligator.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, December 30

Marathon journey almost over for charity walker

Determined Wellington student Emma Daken has just seven more walking days in her quest to become the youngest Kiwi to walk the length of New Zealand - and raise money for cystic fibrosis research. Daken will spend New Year's Eve in Dunedin before the heading off on the last leg of her journey. She is scheduled to stride into Bluff next week. It has been an at times painful experience for Daken, who turned 20 on the walk. She has suffered shin splints, blisters, a virus, back pain and has almost worn through three pair of shoes since leaving Cape Reinga on November 1. The Victoria University student has raised more than $25,000 on her Cape to the Bluff walk to raise awareness and research funds for cystic fibrosis. She gave up her Victoria University holiday break so she could complete the arduous walk and has been walking marathon distances most days.

Stingray attack in Golden bay

A 48-year-old woman has been flown to Nelson Hospital by helicopter after being attacked by a stingray in Golden Bay. The Summit Rescue Helicopter was called to Pohara Beach shortly before three o'clock this afternoon. Jon Leach, Richmond Operations Team Manager for St. John ambulance in Nelson says the barb of the stingray is still imbedded in the woman's leg. He says it may need to be removed by surgery, but if it is shallow it can be removed by a small incision.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

South African cricketers win second test

South Africa have beaten Australia in the second cricket Test at the MCG to post their first series victory in the country. The Proteas reached 183 for 1 to win by nine wickets. Hashim Amla hit the winning runs and finished 30 not out, while batting partner Neil McKenzie was unbeaten on 59. South Africa's win gives them an unassailable 2-nil lead in the three-match series. This defeat is Australia's first series loss at home since they were beaten 2-1 by the West Indies in 1992-93.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Biofuel powers jet engine on test flight

Air New Zealand has flown a test flight over the Hauraki Gulf with a Boeing 747-400 using biofuel to power one of its four engines. The plane took off from Auckland International Airport at 11.30am on Tuesday for the two-hour test flight at various altitudes. One of its four Rolls-Royce engines is powered by a jatropha biofuel blend from seeds grown in Africa. The airline says the flight is the first commercial aviation test flight powered by biofuel.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

NZ's first permanent lighthouse celebrates 150th birthday

Wellington's iconic Pencarrow Lighthouse will celebrate a special anniversary on New Year's Day when it turns 150 years old. The 11.5m prefabricated cast-iron tower atop Pencarrow Head was first lit on January 1, 1859. It was the country's first permanent lighthouse, and home to the first -- and only -- female lighthouse keeper. The lighthouse remained operational until June 1935 when it was replaced by an automated light at Baring Head. It has been maintained by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) since 1966. Mary Jane Bennett took on the lighthouse keeper duties in 1855 after her husband, George, drowned in Wellington Harbour. Before Pencarrow Lighthouse was built the Bennetts shone a light from their cottage window on Pencarrow Head.

Israeli Embassy puts onus on Hamas

The Israeli Embassy for New Zealand is defending Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying it is up to Hamas to end the hostilities. Israel has stepped up its air strikes in Gaza, with a night-time attack that Hamas says destroyed a laboratory building at the Islamic University. More than 300 Palestinians have died in the raids, now in their third day. A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, which is also responsible for New Zealand, Dor Shapira, says it was Hamas that broke the ceasefire, and it is now using civilians as human shields. He says Hamas has the power to stop the fighting, and Israel is protecting its citizens.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Big fall in tourists to Australia in 2009: report

Australia expects to see its biggest drop in overseas visitor numbers in 20 years in 2009 - 2010. An independent forecasting committee for Tourism Australia says the industry will take $US1.8 billion less in the next two years than previously predicted four months ago. The Tourism Forecasting Committee says inbound travel will fall by 4.1% next year because of the global financial crisis. The ABC reports the drop would be the worst since visitor numbers fell by 7.5% in 1989, due to a strike by airline pilots.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Storms batter Gold Coast again

South-east Queensland has again been battered by fierce storms. Forty houses have been damaged on the Gold Coast overnight, mostly due to falling trees and branches. The storms cut power to 28,000 homes from Brisbane to the Gold Coast.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Monday, December 29

Israeli Embassy puts onus on Hamas

The Israeli Embassy for New Zealand is defending Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying it is up to Hamas to end the hostilities. Israel has stepped up its air strikes in Gaza, with a night-time attack that Hamas says destroyed a laboratory building at the Islamic University. A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, which is also responsible for New Zealand, Dor Shapira, says it was Hamas that broke the ceasefire, and it is now using civilians as human shields. He says Hamas has the power to stop the fighting, and Israel is protecting its citizens.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Search intensifies for boat missing with 5 aboard

A helicopter has been called in to help search for a missing boat with five people aboard in the western Bay of Plenty on Monday. Two adults, two teenagers and a child set off from Maketu earlier in the day. They alerted a family member by text message just before 1.30pm that they were lost at sea. The 5.5m fibreglass recreational vessel is equipped with a marine radio and compass, but rescuers have not been able to make contact with it. However, rescue efforts are being hindered by worsening weather conditions, with winds rising above 16 knots and a 1.5m swell.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Pesticides in swan plants killing caterpillars

Butterfly lovers are being urged to be careful when buying swan plants (milkweed) from garden centres. Plants affected with pesticide residue will kill the caterpillars that eventually turn into monarch butterflies. "Every year it happens," Jacqui Knight, secretary of the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust, said today. "People are desperately looking for food for their monarch caterpillars, and end up buying plants affected with pesticide residue. The trust wants people to report butterfly sightings to its website,
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ cautions whalers and protestors

New Zealand officials have reminded whalers and protesters in Antarctic waters that they need to take responsibility for their own safety. The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd and the crew on a Japanese whaling ship are blaming each other for a collision on Friday night, off the coast of the Australian Antarctic territory. Mr McCully warned whalers and protesters last month that it would be difficult to mount a quick rescue if anyone gets lost or hurt.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Australian government pledges $2.3b to fight indigenous illiteracy

The Australian government has confirmed it will spend $A2.3 billion to combat illiteracy and truancy among indigenous students. Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the results of the first, truly national tests to measure literacy and numeracy make it "crystal clear beyond argument" that indigenous children are being left behind. She told Radio National on Monday that while previous governments have attempted to address the literacy and numeracy gaps between indigenous and non-indigenous students, "no-one is underestimating the scale of the problem". The ABC reports the federal government also says practical action against indigenous illiteracy will take priority over any support for a bill of rights for Aboriginal Australians.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Music festival opens

The gates to one of New Zealand's largest music festivals opened on Monday afternoon. About 20,000 people a day are expected to attend Rhythm & Vines at the Waiohika winery in Gisborne over the next three days, ending with a concert on New Year's Eve. The festival is now into its sixth year.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Black Caps level Twenty20 cricket series

The Black Caps have leveled their two match Twenty20 series one-all in the second game against the West Indies in Hamilton. Chasing New Zealand's total of 191 for nine the Windies managed 155 for seven from their 20 overs. Openers Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum blazed half centuries for the home side, with Ryder scoring 62 and McCullum 59.
© 2008 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Oil companies drop fuel prices

Shell and BP today dropped their petrol and diesel prices, the day after Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee accused major the companies of being slow to react to the falling prices of crude oil. Shell and BP announced a 4c a litre drop in petrol and diesel prices, taking unleaded 91 to 135.9c a litre, unleaded 95 140.9c and diesel 107.9c. Mr Brownlee yesterday called for petrol companies not to wait until after the lucrative peak holiday driving period was over to drop prices.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Sunday, December 28

Commissioner back in NZ today

New Zealand's Acting High Commissioner to Fiji comes home today. Caroline McDonald was told to get out of Suva last week, after the military government accused her of meddling in Fiji's politics. The allegation has been flatly denied, and in retaliation Fiji's High Commissioner in New Zealand has been told to go. Ms McDonald is on a commercial flight.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Anti-whaling group forces whalers into NZ waters

Japan's whaling fleet has been forced into New Zealand's Antarctic waters by anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. In a statement on its website (, the US-based group said its ship, the Steve Irwin, had forced the fleet out of Antarctic waters claimed by Australia and into waters off the Ross Dependency, which is a New Zealand possession. It was continuing to chase the whalers and had enough fuel and provisions to stay at sea until the middle of January. The New Zealand public and the Government strongly opposed Japanese whaling, however Japan does not recognise the zone and says its whaling fleet is in international waters.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Heavy rain to hit East Coast ranges

Trampers are warned to watch out for rapidly rising streams and rivers in the ranges around the East Coast over the next two days. The MetService has forecast heavy rain to soak ranges of the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. Heavy rain was expected to hit the Coromandel and western Bay of Plenty from late tomorrow morning until the evening. It was then predicted to move to the ranges from of eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, north of Ruatoria and last until Tuesday morning.

Road through Molesworth Station now open

The Acheron road through Molesworth Station - which is normally closed to the public - is open for the summer. New Zealand's largest farm covers 180,467 hectares and the route is open only a few months each year. The Department of Conservation says the six hour scenic drive between Blenheim and Hanmer Springs will stay open until April. DoC says 7500 people make the trip through Molesworth station each year. It warns drivers to be careful on the narrow, unsealed road and says there is no cellphone coverage.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Yachting-Winner takes line honours in Hobart for 4th time

Wild Oats XI has taken line honours in the 2008 Sydney to Hobart yacht race for a record fourth consecutive time. Skipper Mark Richards steered across the finishing line in Hobart at 9.34am (AEDT) on Sunday, followed by dozens of spectator craft. The fleet of 100 in the 64th race left Sydney at 1pm (AEDT) on Boxing Day. Wild Oats XI took the lead at about 7pm (AEDT) on Saturday and completed the race in the unofficial time of 1 day 20 hours and 34 minutes - a couple of hours outside its own race record.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Man feared taken by shark

The search for a man feared taken by a shark off a West Australian beach has so far failed to find him. Brian Guest, 51, was snorkelling for crabs with his son off their local beach near Rockingham, south of Perth, when he suddenly disappeared from view shortly after 7am on Saturday. His 24-year-old son, identified by Perth Now as Daniel, swam to shore and raised the alarm. Witnesses told police they saw flashes of fins in the area and the water was coloured by blood.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, December 27

Lower North Island rattled by earthquake

People in the lower North Island were jolted by a moderate earthquake this morning. GNS Science said the tremor, which hit at 8.49am, measured 5.1 in magnitude. It was centred 60km north of Porirua and was 50km deep. GNS said the quake was felt widely across the lower North Island and upper South Island.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Eastern regions drying up

Restrictions may be placed on open fires for people living or holidaying in eastern regions. As January approaches so does the peak time for fire danger. The National Rural Fire Service says total fire bans are already in force in parts of Canterbury and there are restrictions in eastern parts of the country. Spokesman Murray Dudfield says the weather leading up to Christmas has helped keep the risk down, but the country is expected to get much drier over the next few weeks.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Whaling ship rammed in Antarctic

The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd is being accused of attacking the Japanese vessel Kaiko Maru in Antarctica. The Kaiko Maru claims protesters used their vessel the Steve Irwin to ram and throw bottles of butyric acid onto the Japanese ship. The Japanese crew allege the Steve Urwin spent three hours in dangerous close-quarters harassing them by repeatedly overtaking and circling the research vessel. The Director General of the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, Minoru Morimoto, says under the International Whaling Commission Japan has a legal right to conduct scientific research in the Antarctic.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Deadbeat dads flee Aust for NZ

New Zealand is harbouring more than 8,000 fathers who have left Australia without paying child support, according to a newspaper in Melbourne. The Herald Sun claims the men owe an average of $200,000 each. However, a new data exchange system is on the way, which will allow immigration authorities on both sides of the Tasman to prevent separated and divorced parents from leaving the country until they have made arrangements to support their children.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ set for lowest road toll in more than 50 years

Unless something "catastrophic" happens between today and Wednesday, New Zealand is set to enjoy its lowest annual road toll in more than 50 years. A toll of 349 road deaths between January 1 and yesterday was 60 below the same time last year. "Unless something catastrophic happens, we are looking at a much reduced road toll," national road policing manager Superintendent Paula Rose told The New Zealand Herald. The last time the toll was as low, was in 1956 when there were five times fewer vehicles on the roads than today's 3.2 million.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Bereaved father warns travellers over safety standards

The father of a woman killed while on her honeymoon in Fiji is warning intending holiday makers to research safety standards before booking at resorts. Mark Crawley established the Forever 26 trust to promote better safety standards after his daughter was killed just over a year ago. She was hit on the head by a boat propeller at a luxury resort in Fiji. Mr Crawley says tougher safety restrictions on water activities such as diving and boating could have prevented his daughter's death. He says the trust aims to educate people about safety issues at Pacific Island resorts. Many of these do not have safety restrictions or adequate medical care, he says.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Friday, December 26

Music in Parks

Aucklanders will be spoilt for choice this summer with more than 40 free concerts around the city. The City Council's 16th Music in Parks series showcases local music talent set against the backdrop of the city's stunning parks and reserves. The programme is in four parts... Telecom Summer Sounds features award-winning artists like the Opensouls and Katchafire, The Culture Garden highlights niche genres including folk and opera, then there's Drake Jazz and Movies in Parks. Organiser Kingsley Melhuish says the concerts will be all over the city, including Waiheke Is and Great Barrier Island.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Sydney to Hobart yacht race features 2 NZers

Two New Zealand challengers line up for this afternoon's 64th edition of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Bavaria 50 yacht Time Lord and Farr 46 Mustang Sally feature in the 100 strong field. Time Lord crewman Kevin Lidgard says the luxury yacht is well-designed and very well equipped. The 628-nautical mile race starts at 3pm New Zealand time.
© 2008 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Workers in Aust told to get with the times

Unions for shop workers in Australia are angry that employees are having to start work especially early today but bosses are telling them to get with the times. Across the Tasman, big stores such as David Jones and Myers are fighting so fiercely for customers, that they opened at 5am to launch their Boxing Day sales. The unions for shop workers are unhappy their members have been called in, but retailers' spokeswoman Margy Osmond says it is just competition at work. "Nobody is forced to work on a public holiday. Anybody who is working in a store today is doing it voluntarily. I think it's time for unions to wake up to the fact that we do live in the 21st Century and the shopping environment tends to be 24/7."
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Balmy New Year's Eve for most

New Year's Eve is shaping up to be a scorcher in many parts of the country. TRN weather analyst Philip Duncan says temperatures could reach 25 to 30 degrees in eastern parts of both islands and in central areas such as Queenstown and Taupo. He is also predicting strong northerlies in Wellington, where winds could reach gale force. Rain or showers are possible along the South Islands western and southern coastlines where cooler air is also expected.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Horse racing-Best dressed head to Ellerslie

Ellerslie Racing Club opens its gates this morning for the start of its annual Christmas Carnival racing season. The first race is just before 1pm and the venue expects more than 20,000 people to take part in the Boxing Day tradition. Racing Club CEO Chris Weaver there is something for everyone. Mr Weaver says the Fashions in the Field event is a big draw card and the event is marking its 20th anniversary. The supreme award for the best outfit includes a shopping spree worth thousands of dollars, a spa package, a portrait sitting and a Fiji cruise.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Much of North Island misses out on morning paper

Holidaymakers wanting to kick back and have a relaxed peruse of their morning paper today are out of luck if they are Dominion Post readers. Fairfax Media said "major production problems" had meant large parts of the North Island would be without deliveries. Home deliveries were not possible at all in Rotorua, Tauranga, Auckland, Taupo, or Hawke's Bay.

Big discounts to lure shoppers today

Retailers were back into full sales mode today after a last-minute rush by Christmas shoppers took till turnover to a new record. Many sales, usually reserved for Boxing Day, started early helping the retailers' cashflow, although profit margins were reduced. Today shoppers were enticed out for more sales, with some retailers offering goods at cost plus five per cent and others offering 70 per cent reductions. The sales rhetoric was in full force, with retailers advertising `end of year madness', `the lowest prices ever' and a Boxing Day blowout.

Thursday, December 25

There will be no New Zealand News on Christmas Day. We return tomorrow.
Best wishes and a Merry Christmas from New Zealand to all the readers around the world.

Wednesday, December 24

Flick of a switch costs Blenheim farmer big

The flick of a switch cost a Blenheim berry farm nearly $100,000 after a chiller containing thousands of punnets of berries was accidentally turned off. Jones Berryfruit owner Cecilia Jones said she thought someone may have hit the chiller switch instead of the light switch last Friday -- though no one has come forward to own up. The chiller held punnets of strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries and cherries valued at $80,000-$100,000. The berries are no longer suitable for sale. "We are devastated because it was our main source of money. "Three weeks of working, picking and packing and we have nothing to show for it." Mrs Jones said she did not think the accident was covered by insurance.

Yachtie, presumed dead, rescued

A New Zealand yachtie sailing from Fiji to New Zealand has been found alive and well after his wrecked boat was washed ashore near Norfolk Island. Rewi Kemp, in his 60s, was presumed to be dead after pieces of his yacht, the Moonshadow, were found in Cemetery, Emily and Slaughter Bays on Norfolk Island. But after just one and a half hours of searching, police and rescue teams found Mr Kemp uninjured sitting on a rock on Nepean Island, a small uninhabited island off Norfolk Island, Norfolk Island Tourism general manager Terry Watson said today. New Zealand Search and Rescue had contacted Norfolk Island Police last weekend to look out for Mr Kemp's yacht which was two weeks overdue.

Alcatraz cell for drunks at the Mount

Disorderly drunks and other lawbreakers at Mt Maunganui in the Bay of Plenty have been given a hard line message about what is in store for them - a night in Alcatraz, a cage-like holding cell. Senior Sergeant Tania Kura says the cell is aimed at New Year's Eve offenders but will be running from Boxing Day. She says Alcatraz is essentially a cage on a concrete floor, and if you end up in it, expect to have your night ruined. Drunks will be detained in it until they are sober and capable of acting responsibly.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Fiji-bound tourists will be OK says McCully

The Government says there is no reason for New Zealand tourists to stay away from Fiji, in spite of the diplomatic meltdown. Fiji has expelled New Zealand's acting High Commissioner Caroline McDonald and in response New Zealand has kicked out her equivalent in Wellington, Ponsami Chetty. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says travellers should be careful around Suva but elsewhere there is unlikely to be a problem for anyone other than journalists or people planning to protest against the Government.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Summer loving: More NZers holidaying at home

An increase in the number of New Zealanders holidaying at home boosted by a slowing economy has lifted the number of people booking tramping trips and using campsites around the country. Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) figures released earlier this month showed a 16 percent increase in domestic guest nights in October, taking total guest nights up by four percent. Caravan parks and camping grounds were up 11 percent in the period. Today the Department of Conservation (DOC) said more people had booked on walks and tramps compared to last year and there had been a lot of inquiries about campsites. Online bookings through DOC's website could be made for the Milford, Kepler, Routeburn, Heaphy, Abel Tasman and Lake Waikaremoana tracks. Hut and campsite passes for the Tongariro Northern Circuit, Whanganui Journey and the Rakiura Track Great Walks were available from local DOC offices.

Hundreds helping with Xmas dinner

Around 450 volunteers will help to table a mammoth meal tomorrow as the Auckland City Mission prepares to feed 1600 people. The feast, to be held in Auckland Town Hall, will be the country's biggest Christmas dinner. Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson says volunteer chefs are starting to prepare the food today. They will cook 200 kilograms of ham, 200kgs of turkey, 250kgs of potatoes and plenty of other vegetables. Most of the food for the dinner has been donated to the mission.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Birth defect risk for cousins downplayed

Cousins have no more risk of producing a child with birth defects than women over the age of 40, according to latest research. Otago University professor of molecular ecology and evolution, Hamish Spencer, and US researchers led by Diane Paul, of Harvard University, said laws in some parts of the world banning marriage between first cousins are based on outdated assumptions of the degree of genetic risk. While marriage between cousins is legal in New Zealand and Britain, but not generally recommended, such a union is banned or restricted in 31 states in America. The average risk of birth defects in children born to cousins is estimated at 1.7 percent to 2 percent higher than the risk to the general population. Outdated legislation in some countries reflected prejudices about immigrants and the rural poor, and relied on oversimplified views of heredity, he said.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Criminal charges for 9 finance firm chiefs

By Maria Slade
Nine directors of failed finance companies Bridgecorp and Nathans Finance face having to pay $500,000 each in compensation to investors if new court action is successful. They also face a maximum of five years in prison or fines of up to $300,000 if convicted of criminal charges. The Securities Commission has laid charges against three directors of Bridgecorp and four Nathans Finance directors. Former Bridgecorp boss Rod Petricevic and fellow director Rob Roest were each already facing five criminal charges, and are now also the subject of the civil proceedings. Bridgecorp collapsed in July last year, owing 14,300 investors $459 million. Related company Bridgecorp Investments owes another $29 million. Nathans Finance went into receivership a month later, owing $174 million to 7000 investors.

New walking tracks to open at Molesworth Station

The road through historic Molesworth Station will open for the summer on Sunday, this time with three new walking tracks available. The Acheron Road through the heart of New Zealand's largest farm, in south Marlborough, is scheduled to be open from December 28 through until April 1 next year, weather and road conditions permitting. An 80-minute walk up Mt Chisholm offers far reaching views of the station; the two-hour Pudding Hill track is also suitable for mountain biking; and the one-hour walk up Mt Augard offers spectacular views of the surrounding ranges.

Falsely accused doctor seeks recompense

An Indian-born doctor deported from Australia after being wrongly accused of having terrorist links says he wants compensation for false imprisonment and defamation. An independent inquiry has found no evidence to link Dr Mohammed Haneef to the attempted terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow which led to his arrest in July 2007. The Gold Coast doctor was held for eleven days in connection with the bomb plots. Doctor Haneef says he wants an apology for the way he was treated.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, December 23

Cricket-Second Test peters out into draw

The second cricket Test between New Zealand and the West Indies in Napier has ended in a draw. Needing 312 to win after dismissing the tourists for 375 in their second innings, the Black Caps made 220 for five, with Jesse Ryder unbeaten on 59, before the two skippers agreed to call the game off.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Fiji expels NZ's diplomat in Suva

New Zealand's Acting High Commissioner in Fiji Caroline McDonald has been expelled. Newstalk ZB's political editor Barry Soper says the move has been confirmed by Foreign Minister Murray McCully. Fiji is not happy about New Zealand's ban on members of Fiji's military regime and their associates entering New Zealand. Only yesterday, Fiji announced it would not expel Ms McDonald as it wanted to keep relations cordial with New Zealand and Australia.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Dolphin lovers urged to steer clear of Moko

People at Mahia Beach in Hawke's Bay are being told to stay well clear of a bottlenose dolphin which has made its home in the area. Moko has been visiting the beach since March last year and has charmed locals with her friendly behaviour which includes flipping fish to people and playing with body boards but fears are are now growing for her safety. Kim Muncaster from the marine mammal welfare organisation Project Jonah says pictures of dolphins in captivity can give people a false understanding of the mammals. She says although Moko wants human company, she is a wild animal and not a trained performer. Dolphins can be accidently hurt or injured by thoughtless swimmers or boat drivers." Ms Muncaster is urging people to take a "hands-off" approach and warns those who try to get close are putting themselves at risk.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Coronation proves money-spinner for Tonga

Tonga's lavish coronation party made a profit, according to research data commissioned by the Tongan Government. The South Pacific kingdom spent more than T$5 million (NZ$3million) on the week-long coronation during July and August of King George Tupou V, 60. The sum is equivalent to about a third of the annual aid it gets from New Zealand. Tonga's government now says the coronation had a T$19.7 million (NZ$16.8 million) positive economic impact. Prime Minister Feleti Sevele said an economic survey had confirmed the positive result.
The Dominion Post

Drought precautions in Hawke's Bay

Federated Farmers says stock levels in Hawke's Bay have been kept low in anticipation of drought this year. This spring was the driest there in nearly 100 years and a meeting will be held on Tuesday to consider if a drought committee formed in 2006 and 2007 needs to be resurrected. Federated Farmers representative Bruce Willis says farmers in the region have deliberately kept livestock numbers low since then.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

More testing of imported fruit and vegetables urged

Horticulture New Zealand has called for more testing of fruit and vegetable imports to ensure suppliers are complying with the conditions for sending produce here. Biosecurity New Zealand has suspended imports of Australian tomatoes after residue testing by an independant advocacy group, showed the fruit had not been treated with the pesticide dimethoate, which is used to kill fruit fly. New Zealand tomatoes were recently allowed back into Australia, with tighter controls, after being suspended because of a bacterium found in Auckland greenhouses. Horticulture NZ chief executive Peter Silcock says all produce imported into New Zealand undergoes rigorous checks and it's disappointing that Australian growers appear not to be following the import rules.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Domestic air passenger numbers down

The number of domestic passengers passing through Auckland International Airport is down for the first time in over a year and a half. The airport company says patronage fell 4% to 471,000 in November, compared to the same period a year earlier. Strong domestic travel has offset some of the fall the airport has seen among international visitors, as the global slowdown curtails holiday plans and business trips to this part of the world. Meanwhile, the number of international passengers fell 2.5% in the month, with fewer visitors from Britain, the United States and Asia. The number of tourists from Australia bucked the trend, rising nearly 4%.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Call for debate on more flexible school hours

The School Trustees Association says it's time for a debate on school hours which could be more flexible to suit the needs of students. The association, which represents almost 2700 school boards, says the debate could include whether schools should work 8am - 5pm. Manager Ray Newport says school hours have been driven by the needs of teachers rather than the students and there could be benefits in having morning and afternoon sessions. The Dominion Post reports on Tuesday that the suggested changes could make the school day longer. Wellington High School principal Prue Kelly says traditional school hours constrain the way schools operate.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Monday, December 22

Men survive sea ordeal near Gisborne

Two men have survived the capsize of a small boat early this afternoon at Tatapouri, about 20 kilometres north of Gisborne. A young man swam for about a kilometre to shore to raise the alarm and told rescuers that a 76-year-old was still with the capsized boat. The older man held onto a fuel container for about two hours and was then rescued by a passing fishing boat. He was brought into the beach and a rescue helicopter flew him to Gisborne Hospital, where he is being treated for mild-to-moderate hypothermia and minor burns
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Santa's workshop in overdrive

The old favourites are still the most popular. Santa reports that the most popular toy request from children calling his Telecom Santa Line this year is a bicycle. The iPod ranks second, followed by cartoon character Ben 10 toys, Playstation 3, Lego and mobile phones. Trampolines are at number seven and many girls want Bratz or Barbie dolls. The Santa Line has received 668,000 calls since December 1 and his workshop is reportedly in overdrive as Mr Claus and his elves try to churn out the requests.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Wellington Festival's theme unity, reflection, day in the sun

A sizzling line-up is locked in for Wellington's free One Love Festival on Waitangi Day. More than 15,000 people are expected to flock to the Hataitai Velodrome on February 6 to see The Black Seeds, Unity Pacific, The Little Bushman and Electric Wire Hustle headline the event. Director Hadden Morrison says the title One Love Festival spans the core values of the event such as unity, reflection, identity and a big day of fun in the sun.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Patients recovering from landmark surgery

An elderly woman who is just the second person in New Zealand to undergo an innovative new heart procedure is recovering well in Waikato hospital. The procedure involves replacing a valve in the aortic artery through a small incision in the chest while the heart is still beating. Normally surgeons go up through an artery in the groin. The 89-year-old says she has had a weak heart for years and normal surgery would have been of no benefit. The first person to have the operation was a 78-year-old Thames man, who is also recovering in a ward at Waikato Hospital.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ spammer hit with hefty fine

A Queensland-based New Zealander will be nearly $110,000 out of pocket after admitting his part in an international spam email operation. Lance Atkinson, who lives in Pelican Waters, Queensland, was sentenced to pay $100,000 and costs of $7666 in the High Court at Christchurch after admitting charges under the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007. Internal Affairs' Anti-Spam Compliance Unit, which investigated the trio, said they were part of a network which sent more than two million unsolicited emails to New Zealand computers between September 5 and December 31, 2007. The emails promoted Herbal King, Elite Herbal and Express Herbal branded pharmaceutical products, manufactured and shipped by Tulip Lab of India
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ Red Cross to help Zimbabwe tackle cholera outbreak

The New Zealand Red Cross is helping out the Zimbabwe Red Cross as it tackles the cholera outbreak that has affected the African country for the past four months. The NZ Red Cross is going to buy a $30,000 cholera kit, capable of treating 1200 people. The kit contains basic nursing care equipment, medicines, water purification equipment and oral and intravenous rehydration solutions. Over 1120 people had so far died from the preventable disease, and over 20,000 people were reported as suffering from its effects. The World Health Organisation estimated 60,000 people in Zimbabwe could potentially be affected.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Rudd praises Holden small-car plan

A new small-car model to be built by Holden will help stimulate economic activity in Australia during the global financial crisis, says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. The four-cyclinder, fuel-efficient car will be built at the company's north Adelaide plant from late 2010. The federal and South Australian governments are contributing the equivalent of $NZ212 million to the project. Mr Rudd says the investment will help sustain Australia's industry.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Push to get dairy farm workers on priority immigration list

Federated Farmers is hoping see some action in its long-running efforts to get dairy farm workers placed on the priority list for immigration. The rapid expansion of the dairy industry has created big gaps in staffing on dairy farms. Farmers have been unable to fill those gaps from local labour sources, but have found too many obstacles in existing procedures for bringing in dairy workers from overseas. After pushing for two years to get some priority for dairy workers, Federated Farmers' vice president Frank Brenmuhl is hoping a meeting with the new immigration minister Jonathan Coleman last week, will to move the process along.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

$1 billion loss expected by NZ tourism

Tourism New Zealand says the global recession could cost New Zealand almost $1 billion in tourism export earnings next year. Chief executive George Hickton, of Tourism New Zealand, predicts there will be around a drop of 7% in tourism over summer and 15% for all of 2009 - mainly as a result of fewer Asian visitors. Tourism New Zealand is starting promotional campaigns in Australia,Britain and the United States to counter the loss of Asian visitors.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Sunday, December 21

Cricket-South Africa beats Australia by six wickets. (crikey mate, what a shocker !)

South Africa have scored one of their greatest cricketing triumphs, overpowering Australia by six wickets in the first test at the WACA after an unbeaten century from AB De Villiers. South Africa eased to victory just before tea on day five at 4-414 with De Villiers 106 not out and debutant JP Duminy on 50. South Africa have never won a Test series in Australia and haven't claimed a series victory over Australia since 1969-70. In 12 previous Tests in Australia since the post-apartheid era began in 1991, South Africa had won only once -- in January 1994 in Sydney. South Africa can overtake top-ranked Australia on the ICC rankings if the Proteas win the current series 3-0. Australia have lost four of their 13 Tests this year, with five wins and four draws.
© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2007

Gambling survey reveals the danger of pokies

New Zealanders spent 1.9 billion dollars on gambling last year, now a new survey shows how gambling impacts on our lives. The new Massey University study found one type of gambling stands out. Researchers found playing pokies (gambling machines) was associated with, poorer physical health and mental well-being, a negative impact on relationships with family and friends and a decrease of quality of life. The lead researcher says for the first time, the survey allows them to measure just how many New Zealanders are negatively impacted by gambling. Sally Casswell is praising a recent decision by Manukau Mayor Len Brown that places greater restrictions on poker machines. It is now hoped other communities will follow suit.
3 News

NZ High Commissioner still in Fiji

New Zealand's acting High Commissioner to Fiji remains in the troubled Pacific nation tonight after reported threats to expel her went unfulfilled. A senior Fiji government official said yesterday Caroline McDonald would be sent home today. She was not. The Fijilive website was now reporting there was no official timing for her expulsion. Self-appointed Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama's permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said "when the time is right, we will be issuing a statement to that effect".

NZ gains initiative in second cricket Test

New Zealand has gained the initiative in the second cricket Test against the West Indies at Napier. Bad light stopped play just before 7pm on Sunday with the West Indies 62 for two in their second innings, still trailing by two runs. Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel have picked up the wickets. West Indies captain Chris Gayle is 36 not out. Earlier New Zealand reached 371 with Tim McIntosh top scoring with 136 while Fidel Edwards took career best bowling figures of 7 for 87.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

School's out for summer

Nearly 800,000 primary and secondary school pupils have downed books, packed away pencil cases and put their chairs up for the last time this year on friday. Of the 400,000 primary school pupils who have now finished for the year, 55,000 were new entrants completing their first year at school. Nearly 45,000 year 13 students bowed out of the schooling system this year. Classes will begin again from January 27
The Dominion Post

NZ helps battle giant mice on UK islands

New Zealand consultants have been advising the British government how to rid two small Atlantic islands of giant mice so albatrosses can flourish. The British Overseas Territory Environment Programme (OTEP) fund provided Stg68,000 ($NZ188,900) earlier this year for feasibility studies for mouse control on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, including those undertaken by two New Zealand consultants. The mice, introduced to the islands from 19th century ships, have evolved to three times their normal size and are feeding on endangered albatross chicks. The British government has turned to the governments of New Zealand and Australia for advice on mouse population control and bird preservation.

Whaling fleet sighted by campaign ship

An anti-whaling campaign ship say it's intercepted a Japanese whaling ship operating in Antarctic waters. Paul Watson, the captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship, the Steve Irwin, says his crew found the Yushin Maru 2 off the Adelie Coast. He says the ship was operating in Australia's Antarctic waters and claimed it had also been working in French territorial waters. Now the Japanese fleet has been detected, Captain Watson says his ship will do its utmost to stop whales being hunted.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, December 20

DOC watches friendly dolphin

The Department of Conservation is keeping a close watch on a dolphin it fears is getting a bit too friendly for her own good. The bottlenose dolphin has been hanging around at Mahia Beach for more than 18 months. Moko is now so friendly with locals, she has taken to bringing fish to swimmers, and give people rides on her back. But DOC's Malcolm Smith says lately some people are playing a bit rough with her, and have scarred her skin with sharp fingernails. He says she can also play rough, and weighing more than 150 kilos, she could easily hurt someone. Mr Smith says despite all the human attention, Moko seems to be healthy and well-fed.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Jimmy Choo threatens to sue NZ website

Luxury women's shoemaker Jimmy Choo has threatened to sue a New Zealand website unless it gives up its name. British company, Jimmy Choo has told the north of Auckland gift seller website,, it must agree to give up its name by Tuesday, or face a lawsuit. Jimmy Choo was made famous by the TV series Sex and the City. Kookychoo owner Looie James told the New Zealand Herald she received a letter from Wellington intellectual property lawyers AJ Park, on behalf of Jimmy Choo, telling her company to drop plans to trademark its name. Lawyers told her she had a case but it would cost more than $50,000 to fight it. "I'm a mother of seven and I live out in Kaukapakapa on a little farm, there's no way I have those kinds of funds," said Ms James. She was preparing to accede to the company's demands.
(Ed note:you may want to think twice before buying choo brand shoes..this is just corporate thuggery)
© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2007

Conditions worsen for yacht rescue

Conditions are worsening in the Southern Ocean where an injured French sailor is awaiting rescue. Yann Elies, 34, who was competing in the Vendee Globe yacht race, broke his leg and called for help after being unable to reach his medical kit. An Australian naval vessel, HMAS Arunta and the Royal Flying Doctor Service expect to reach the sailor on Saturday evening. The ABC reports weather conditions are deteriorating and Mr Elies is hungry and dehydrated. He is reportedly unable to access his on-board supply of morphine to reduce the pain.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Overdue student loans up $48 million

Kiwis owe more than $200 million in overdue student-loan repayments, with a third of those owing money living overseas. A student leader says many graduates have such large debts they will never return to New Zealand. The student-loan scheme annual report revealed that at June this year, $207.1m in student-loan repayments was overdue, an increase of $48.8m since last year. Of the 105,000 borrowers with overdue repayments, 33,000 were overseas. Overseas-based borrowers are those who have been out of New Zealand for 184 consecutive days or more. They have interest charged to their student loan, while those living in the country do not.

Cricket-Chanderpaul's century rescues West Indies in Napier

The West indies cricket side is 258 for six heading into the second day of the second test against New Zealand in Napier. Shivnarine Chanderpaul will resume on 100 and will be joined by first test century maker Jerome Taylor who is on one. Chanderpaul and Brendan Nash added 163 runs for the fifth wicket, rebuilding the tourists innings after they were 74 for four at one stage. Black Caps captain, Daniel Vettori has taken two wickets as has paceman Iain O'Brien while Vettori's spin partner, Jeetan Patel, shouldered most of the workload yesterday, taking one for 41 from 25 overs that included 12 maidens.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Spanish fishing boat sighted in Antarctic waters

An RNZAF Orion has reported seeing a Spanish-owned blacklisted fishing boat during a patrol in the Southern Ocean. The vessel, called the Bigaro, was spotted on Tuesday. The New Zealand Government has called on Spain to take action against its owners as the vessel is blacklisted for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Antarctic waters. Foreign Minister Murray McCully says illegal toothfish fishing in the Southern Ocean is a scourge, destroying fish stocks and killing thousands of seabirds including albatrosses.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

High Commissioner's expulsion imminent

A senior Fiji government official has told a local radio station that New Zealand's Acting High Commissioner, Caroline McDonald, will be expelled from Fiji this weekend. Interim Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama told the station Friday that his Permanent Secretary, Parmesh Chand, knew the exact time when Ms McDonald was to be expelled, but Mr Chand was unable to confirm this when interviewed by Fijilive. The interim government has been threatening to send Ms McDonald home unless New Zealand grants a visa to the son of Rupeni Nacewa, the principal secretary to President Josefa Iloilo, so he can resume his studies in New Zealand. New Zealand has told Fiji, however, that its visa ban on members of the Fiji military and government and their families will not be lifted.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Friday, December 19

Christmas mince pie will cost you 6.2 kilometres

Scientists have calculated the exact amount of exercise needed to burn off a single Christmas mince pie. According to research by the Queensland University of Technology, one fruit pastry contains 360 calories. A woman weighing 75 kilograms burns off 58 calories for every kilometre walked at exercise pace, and would have to walk 6.2 kilometres to burn up the calories from one pie.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Rain forecast for pre-Christmas rush

The pre-Christmas rush this weekend will be accompanied by periods of rain, MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt said today. Heavy rain warnings had been issued for the north and west of the South Island as a deepening low pressure system crossed the country, weakening as it crossed the North Island on Saturday afternoon. Mr McDavitt said the second cricket test against the West Indies in Napier could be affected by a cool southerly and showers on Sunday. Fine warm weather was forecast to return early next week and might continue over much of the country until Boxing Day, although some weather indicators said there could be rain in the northern and eastern North Island on Christmas Eve.

Boatpeople rise forces detention centre to open

A surge in the number of boatpeople taken into custody in Australian waters has forced the government to open the Christmas Island detention centre. Thirty-seven male passengers and crew will be taken to the 800-bed facility for processing at the weekend. The government of Kevin Rudd had previously held off opening the centre, which was built by the former Howard government. Altogether, 135 people are currently in detention on the island.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Zoo hoping for roaring romance

Two of Wellington Zoo's African lions are off on a bit of a romantic holiday. Four-year-olds males Malik and Zulu, are yet to master the art of mating, so they are being sent to Christchurch's Orana Wildlife Park to find out how it is done. Lion keeper Linda Cook says they are both lovely big boys and instinct will undoubtedly kick in when the time comes. The pair went to Wellington Zoo from Auckland Zoo in 2004 as four-month-old cubs.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Cantabs keenest to test condoms

Durex has had plenty of interest from the Canterbury after its announcement it is seeking people to test a new type of condom. It has had the highest number of inquiries from Canterbury - around 500 applications. Nationally, 57 percent of all applications have been from women.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Australian tomatoes suspended from entering NZ

Just days after Australia lifted its ban on importing New Zealand tomatoes, we have suspended imports of their tomatoes. The temporary ban on Australian tomatoes coming into New Zealand was imposed after five of seven samples tested showed no residue of dimethoate, used to treat for fruit fly. Imports were suspended last week and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) was asked to look into why that had happened, said a Biosecurity NZ spokeswoman.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

New marine farming area approved

The Ministry of Fisheries has approved 850 hectares of new marine farming areas in Golden Bay and Tasman Bay. Aquaculture companies already have applications in with the Tasman District Council for the newly allocated farm space. Ministry spokesman Russell Burnard says a further 1150 hectares is available for approval as interim Aquaculture Management Areas, if marine farmers can come to an arrangement with commercial scallop fishers.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, December 18

Innovative heart operation in Waikato

Waikato Hospital surgeons have successfully completed an innovative heart operation on a 78-year-old Thames man. Noel Howard has had an aortic valve replacement, under a new procedure - the first of its kind successfully performed in New Zealand. The procedure involves making a small incision in the chest while the heart is still beating, rather than going up through an artery in the groin. The operation took over an hour. Mr Howard had been suffering from aortic stenosis, which is the most prevalent heart disease in the western world. It causes restricted blood flow, putting a strain on the heart, eventually causing it to stop.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Aussies have gloomier economic outlook than NZers

NZPA/Ross Setford
Australians have a gloomier outlook than New Zealanders on how the economy will fare over the year ahead, according to a survey. The survey of 750 New Zealand and 2000 Australians, carried out by UMR Research, showed that 52 percent of New Zealanders thought the economy would pick up in a year's time, despite the global meltdown. Only 39 percent of Australians had the same outlook, and the survey suggested they were cutting back on spending more than their neighbours. Many New Zealanders considered they wouldn't be personally affected if the economy took a dive, with 74 percent saying their family's standard of living next year would be either better or no different to 2008.

NZ flies home Indians stranded on Niue for two years

The New Zealand Government has chartered an aircraft to fly nine Indians from Niue to Fiji, from where they travelled to India this week, after being stranded on Niue for more than two years. The Punjabi men had been enticed to Niue with promises of employment and land, and each had reportedly paid a New Zealand Indian tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege. They ended up living in poor conditions and earlier this year the then New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark accused the Niue Government of breaching their human rights. The New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue, Bryan Smythe, says New Zealand had no option but to pay their fares home.
© RNZI 2008

Milk price fall hits NZ farms in Uruguay

New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay has downgraded its earnings forecast in the face falling milk prices and dry weather conditions. The dairy farm developer has revised its full year earnings guidance to a loss in the range of $US7 million to $US11 million. Analysts had been expecting a loss of between $US8 million and $US10 million before interest and tax. They are converting about 35,000 hectares of land in South America to New Zealand-style farms. Chairman Keith Smith says the short-term outlook had been for milk prices to fall below US30 cents, but they had dropped further.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Power station moratorium repealed

Parliament has passed legislation to repeal a ban on the building of new coal and gas-fired power stations. The Government bill passed under urgency on Thursday by 63 votes to 58, with backing from support parties ACT and United Future. Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party opposed it. The 10-year moratorium on coal or gas-fired power stations was introduced by the previous Labour-led government, and was welcomed by environmental groups but did not find favour with the business sector. It aimed to reduce the impact of fossil-fuelled electricity generation on climate change, by creating a preference for renewable electricity generation.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

New Zealand Maori rugby side dropped

There will be no national Maori rugby side next year as the New Zealand Rugby Union looks to trim $1 million dollars from its national teams' budget. Rugby union chief executive Steve Tew said the Maori side will be replaced in the Pacific Nations cup by the Junior All Blacks. He says given the limited opportunities to assemble national sides in 2009 priority is being given to the Junior All Blacks as the country's second ranked team. Steve Tew says the union is looking to arrange matches for the Maori side overseas, however the matches will have to be generate enough revenue to cover the costs of assembling the team.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Men leave studies carrying more debt

Men earn more money than women - but leave their studies with more debt. Statistics New Zealand has released its 2007 figures showing men earned 13 percent more than women when they finished studying, but owed an average of nine percent more on their student loans. That equates to average earnings of $31,500 for men and a debt level of just over $15,000. Women take in an average of just under $30,000 and had average debt of around $14,000.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Napiers' Marineland reopens on Saturday

Napier's Marineland will reopen for the summer on Saturday after a unanimous vote by city councillors. Deputy Mayor Kathy Furlong says it is clear there is strong public support for Marineland, which has been closed since its last performing dolphin, Kelly, died in September. She says it is important for Napier to retain the attraction as part of the family holiday package that also includes the aquarium. The council will hold further discussions about Marineland's future.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Parliament to break till February today

What has been a busy year for New Zealand's politicians is set to come to a close today. Parliament is set to sit for the last time before MPs disappear for their Christmas break. Today will see the passing of laws overturning restrictions on thermal electricity. MPs will also debate first readings on a Criminal Proceeds Recovery Bill and new legislation aimed at combating domestic violence. Following that will be the adjournment speeches, where leaders have their last say for the year. Parliament is expected to rise late this afternoon and is not due to sit again until early February.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Mine washes up on West Coast beach

Members of the Defence Force bomb squad are heading to the West Coast to investigate a mine which has washed up on a beach. They will travel by helicopter with police and Department of Conservation workers to the remote beach near Karamea. The mine is thought to be a WW1 Hertz Horn sea mine. It may be from the SMS Wolf, a German raider operating off the coast of New Zealand around 1917.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Survey finds fewer people smoking in NZ

NZPA/Ross Setford
Tobacco use is declining according to a new survey that says just under one quarter of New Zealanders are smokers. The 2008 New Zealand Tobacco Use Survey showed, after adjusting for age, 23.9 percent of adults aged 15 to 64 smoked. The 2006 figure was 24.3 percent. Ministry of Health national director of tobacco control Ashley Bloomfield said while the drop was not statistically significant it confirmed a downward trend in smoking.

Wednesday, December 17

NZ should reconsider travel restrictions on Fiji, says academic

An Australian academic is questioning the wisdom behind New Zealand’s travel ban on members of the Fiji military, government and their families. The travel ban, imposed after the 2006 military coup, is at the heart of the row between Fiji and New Zealand. Dr Jon Fraenkel of the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, thinks softening the ban would be a good move. Dr Jon Fraenkel says far from helping move Fiji back towards democracy, the sanctions have caused the regime seems to become more entrenched.
© RNZI 2008

Govt blocks $250 million iron sand deal

The Government has blocked a $250 million deal to sell New Zealand Steel's iron sand business to Hong Kong based Cheung Kong Infrastructure. Finance Minister Bill English says the application has been declined because current global economic conditions means the buyer cannot meet Overseas Investment Act criteria. Permission is needed because the deal involves what is considered to be sensitive land. Taharoa Iron Sands is based south of Raglan in Waikato and mines and exports iron sand to China and Japan.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

UK force lures British officers in NZ with £10,000

By Edward Gay
Former UK police officers on the beat in New Zealand are being enticed home with the promise of £10,000 pounds and an ad campaign to appeal to their nostalgia. The Leicestershire police force has begun a recruitment drive appealing to officers' memories of English tea, Marks & Spencer underwear and even British accents. Chief Superintendent Geoff Feavyour said the Leicestershire police force were only looking for 15 police officers and with media coverage in the UK and Australia, there had already been nine expressions of interest. There had been 330 former UK cops recruited to the New Zealand police force since July 2006, according to New Zealand police figures.

Commissioner to be ordered out of Fiji today

New Zealand's acting High Commissioner to Fiji Caroline McDonald will today be ordered out of the country. Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper has had confirmation from a reliable source in Suva that Ms McDonald will be told to leave Fiji forthwith. New Zealand has infuriated Fiji military strongman Frank Bainimarama by refusing to waive travel restrictions to allow the son of the President's secretary to resume his studies in New Zealand. The Commodore has been in meetings all morning, but the source says the expulsion will be issued today and Ms McDonald will be gone by week's end.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Protected birds at risk when released into wild

Protected native birds are at a greater risk if reintroduced into the wild, new research indicates. A study, comparing robins from predator-controlled reserves and areas where the birds had lived with native and introduced predators, found birds in protected environments were losing their fear instincts. Massey University student Sarah Whitwell, who conducted the research, said robins living with predators reacted strongly when a stuffed morepork and stoat were put in front of them. In contrast, the robins from the predator-free area reacted to the morepork but did not react to the stoat. "The birds (from the predator-filled area) could recognise the stoat because it's a predator they probably deal with on a regular basis. But those (in the reserve) who have been isolated from stoats for at least one generation have lost the ability to recognise the stoat as a result of isolation from them," she said. Ms Whitwell, from Massey's Institute of Natural Resources, said her study backed up existing research that showed native birds' responses to mammalian predators were not genetically hard-wired. "That's because introduced mammal predators have been here a relatively short time, whereas native birds have been here for millions of years."
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Crown institute, Maori group to collaborate

A crown research institute and Maori investment group are collaborating to commercially develop fish oil and other natural products. Industrial Research Ltd (IRL) and Fomana Capital, the investment arm of the Federation of Maori Authorities, today announced they had signed a research partnership and commercialisation development accord. Under the accord they plan to develop "high-value nutraceutical and cosmeceutical products" for global markets.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Hundreds hit in ATM scam

By BELINDA FEEK - Waikato Times
At least 400 people have fallen victim to a skimming scam at a Hamilton money machine with one bank warning its security can't stop it from happening again. The National Bank is not revealing the extent of its losses from the hi-tech raid. Customers using the bank's automatic teller machine (ATM) on Ward St on November 13 had their cards' electronic details copied by an electronic reader attached to the machine. The criminals also kept watch for their pin numbers which they later used to steal cash from their accounts.

19th century Maori letters online

Thousands of 19th century Maori language letters have been put online. The correspondence was sent to Donald McLean in his roles as Protector of Aborigines, Land Purchase Commissioner and eventually Minister of Native Affairs. A Maori specialist at the Alexander Turnbull Library David Kukutai Jones said a lot of the material related to land sales. He said the letters offer an insight into tribal politics and cover an important and dynamic period of New Zealand history. The letters can be found on the Alexander Turnbull Library's website.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Green light bulb decision overturned

The new government has moved to reverse a decision forcing people to use energy efficient light bulbs. Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced the overturning of regulations that would have phased out old style incandescent bulbs and required the use of more energy efficient alternatives. Labour MP Pete Hodgson is condemning the Minister's decision saying it is at odds with trends currently being seen in Europe. Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government is committed to energy efficiency but believes that when it comes to light bulbs, it should be a matter of consumer choice.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

For Sale - ABC childcare centres

New Zealand's 120 ABC childcare centres are up for sale. The Australian company has around eight percent of the childcare market in New Zealand and is Australia's largest provider. It went into receivership in November, owing more than $1 billion. Expressions of interest are now being sought in the New Zealand centres that cater for 8,000 children a day. Also included in the deal is the Christchurch-based New Zealand College of Early Childhood Education, which ABC owns and operates.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Wind farm for Chathams

A twin-turbine wind farm should help put a stop to "extortionate" power bills and fuel tanks running dry, a Chatham Islands resident says. Australian-based CBD Energy yesterday announced it had won the tender to build two wind turbines and manage the electricity grid for the islands. About 700 residents of the islands, 800km east of Christchurch, face power bills as much as 10 times that of mainland New Zealanders. "Diesel runs out," Chatham Islands farmer Paul Smith said. "We ran out of petrol just last week and the island was out of petrol for three days while the boat arrived." CBD Energy chief executive Gerry McGowan said the two 200-kilowatt turbines, to be erected on the Chathams' main island, would be built by the end of next year.
The Press

Tuesday, December 16

New website set up to help families at Christmas

A new holiday season webpage has been set up by the Families Commission to help people cope during Christmas. The webpage came in the wake of a poll by the commission which showed many people had clear ideas on how to manage their Christmas preparations but that did not mean they didn't feel the pressure. Two out of three people polled reported feeling some level of stress over the coming festive season. For most the stress related to finances, however two out of 10 also said their stress was related to family tensions. Dr Pryor said the commission had used the ideas and information from The Couch panel members for a new holiday season webpage which included some practical hints and tips as well as links to support agencies that some people may be looking for over the holiday season. Full results of the Couch poll are on and the holiday season web page is
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Edmonds Cookbook catches up with technology

NZPA/Wayne Drought
Edmonds Cookbook, one of the most thumbed through books in the past 100 years, has finally caught up with technology and loaded its recipes and cooking tips onto its own webpage. The interactive website,, was launched yesterday following celebrations of a centenary of helping people in the kitchen. "Everyone loves new recipe ideas for everyday meals and we have included some new family favourites in our virtual recipe book," Edmonds senior brand manager Lorna Thomson said.

Bomb squad flown to West Coast beach

An army bomb squad was to be dropped on a remote West Coast beach today to deal with a floating mine that could be almost 100 years old. Karamea man John Hansen found what he believes is a World War 1 mine on the the beach at Kahurangi Point north of Karamea last week. Because the area is inaccessible to vehicles the bomb squad and police were to be flown to the beach by helicopter to investigate his find. The metal object, which was about a metre across, could end up being a harmless buoy but historical data existed of floating mines being laid off the West Coast during World War 1.

Lawyer to serve notice via Facebook

An Australian lawyer has won the right to serve legal documents on two defendants via the social networking website Facebook. In what he believes is a world first, Mark McCormack used the internet to track down a couple who had defaulted on a six-figure loan and served them with a default judgment. Mr McCormack says the ACT Supreme Court allowed him to serve the couple via Facebook as well as leaving the actual court papers at their last known address and sending emails. He says using the popular site to contact people who flee is the logical "next step". He is acting for a lending institution that lent the Canberra couple more than $100,000.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Figures will show end of recession - Treasury

Treasury's updated forecasts this week will be roughly in line with the Reserve Bank's - showing New Zealand coming out of its recession - Treasury Secretary John Whitehead says. But Mr Whitehead today said it was a difficult time to make any forecasts with certainty and despite the shallow recession ending, New Zealand would suffer low growth rates for some time yet. The Treasury will release its half yearly economic update on Thursday.

Hotel prosecuted for allowing smoking

Four years after smokefree legislation was introduced, Northland's Kaikohe Hotel has been fined for allowing smoking on its premises. The Ministry of Health took the prosecution after receiving a number of complaints. National director of tobacco control Dr Ashley Bloomfield says despite repeated warnings, the licensee continued to flout the law. Rightside Properties has been fined $5,800 and almost another $1,000 in court costs and solicitor's fees. It is one of the largest penalties imposed under the Smokefree Environments Act.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Coldplay return to New Zealand

Coldplay are returning to New Zealand. They will bring their Viva La Vida Tour to Auckland's Vector Arena on Wednesday March 18. Tickets to the show go on sale from Ticketmaster on Monday at 9am. However a pre-sale will be offered to Visa card holders from 9am local time on Friday 19 December and run through until 5pm on Saturday 20 December, unless tickets sell out earlier.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

New headstone for Civil War veteran

One hundred years after an American Civil War veteran died a new headstone will be unveiled at a west Auckland cemetery. Andrew St John was a corporal in the 141st Pennsylvania Infantry and after surviving the war, including the second Battle of Bull Run, he had a distinguished career as a diplomat before retiring to New Zealand in 1902. He died in 1908 and was buried at Waikumete Cemetery near Henderson. Today United States Consul-General John Desrocher, US war veterans and members of the Auckland RSA were to dedicate a new tombstone just arrived from America, over his grave. Mr St John was one of only a handful of Civil War veterans buried in New Zealand and his headstone was provided by the American Department of Veterans Affairs.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Kiwi killed on Kerikeri roads

The Department of Conservation is warning summer visitors to Kerikeri to watch out for kiwi (the bird) on roads. Four kiwi have been injured or killed in the area over the past week - most of them hit by cars while crossing roads. Drivers are being asked to slow down in kiwi zones and to be ultra-careful at night even on private drive-ways. DOC Bay of Islands area manager Adrian Walker said kiwi are on the move due to increased numbers in the region. Mr Walker said dog owners are also reminded that complete control of dogs is essential in kiwi zones.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Power station moratorium to be reversed

The Government is to repeal a moratorium on the building of fossil-fuelled power stations for anything other than emergency requirements. The ban was introduced by the previous Labour-led government and was welcomed by environmental groups but did not find favour with the business sector. Prime Minister John Key wants the moratorium repealed by the end of the week, as Parliament continues to sit under urgency. Mr Key said power supply needs to be increased and the previous Government is responsible for price rises affecting consumers, such as those announced by Genesis Energy.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

NZ joins Papua New Guinea aid effort

New Zealand is joining an international relief effort to help tens of thousands of people in Papua New Guinea affected by severe flooding caused by massive tides. King tides engulfed coastal areas of Papua New Guinea late last week, causing extensive floods in the country's northern provinces. The tides affected parts of Morobe, New Ireland, Manus, Bougainville, West and East Sepik, and Madang provinces. One death has already been reported and it is estimated that 50,000 people could be affected. Foreign Minister Murray McCully said New Zealand will provide $300,000 in assistance through NZAID.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

NZ journalist detained in Fiji

New Zealand television journalist Barbara Dreaver has been detained in Fiji. TVNZ head of news and current affairs Anthony Flannery told Morning Report Ms Dreaver was taken into custody on Monday night, shortly after she arrived in Fiji. He said TVNZ has been in contact with her during the process of her detention and again on Tuesday morning.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Monday, December 15

Insecticide ban divides industry groups

A decision to ban the insecticide endosulfan almost immediately will put huge pressure on sectors of the horticulture industry, Horticulture New Zealand says. The Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) announced today it had revoked approvals for endosulfan and prohibited its importation, manufacture and use in New Zealand. It will be banned from mid-January following a comprehensive reassessment process regarding its potential dangers to the environment and the health of people coming into contact with it. The chemical is already banned in 55 countries and many environmental groups are pleased at the decision.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Fiji regime threatens to expel more NZ diplomats

The Fiji military regime has threatened to expel New Zealand’s top diplomat there unless the New Zealand government agrees to relax the travel sanctions imposed following the coup two years ago. The interim Fiji government is considering expelling New Zealand’s acting high commissioner to Fiji, Caroline McDonald. This comes 18 months after High Comissioner Michael Green was forced out of the country, with Fiji’s interim Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, accusing him of meddling in Fiji’s affairs. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth will consider fresh penalties against Fiji at a meeting early next year if it fails to return to democratic rule. Last week, the Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, said if Fiji did not hold an election by the end of next March it could be suspended from the Commonwealth.
© RNZI 2008

'Healthiest' wine cleans bloods vessels

An Australian doctor says he has created the world's healthiest wine, which cleans blood vessels and reduces the risk of heart attack as it is drunk. Philip Norrie says each bottle contains up to 100 times the usual amount of resveratrol, a naturally occurring anti-oxidant found in grapes. Dr Norrie says resveratrol helps to maintain blood flow by keeping arteries free of fatty deposits called atherosclerotic plaque. A wine containing high levels of the anti-oxidant would act as a "vascular pipe-cleaner". Dr Norrie says he is producing a chardonnay and a shiraz with the high-content resveratrol.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

NZ singer breaks world record by singing for 47 hours

NZPA/Grahame Clark
Singer and Dolly Parton impersonator Karen Davy did not need any persuasion today to go home for a long sleep -- probably a couple of days. After nearly 48 hours of non-stop singing she went home for a well-earned sleep, with a world record and a lot of money promised to Kidney Kids, a charity which takes care of children with kidney disease. Ms Davy began her record attempt at 10am on Saturday at the Botany Town Centre in southeast Auckland. She ended 47 hours and 29 minutes later, breaking the record by 51 minutes. A Kidney Kids spokesperson said the amount of money raised had yet to be finalised because people were still donating as Ms Davy and her support crew packed up.

NZers second most charitable in Asia Pacific region

Financial matters may be looking grim but New Zealanders still have a giving spirit with 77 percent planning to make a donation to charity in the next year, a survey has found. New Zealanders are the second most charitable in the Asia/Pacific region, according to MasterCard's September survey of 6019 people across 14 countries. Indonesia was the most charitable country with 88.3 percent of consumers planning to make donations and Australia came in third with 66 percent of consumers. "Interestingly, single men in New Zealand are more generous than single woman, setting them apart from their counterparts in the rest of the Asia/Pacific region," MasterCard Worldwide New Zealand manager Stuart McKinlay said. Eight out of 10 single men planned to donate in the next year compared to seven out of 10 single women, he said

Mushroom plant faces closure

One of New Zealand's largest producers of mushrooms says it cannot comply with an Environment Court ruling over odours and will have to close. More than 160 jobs will be lost at the Morrinsville plant of Meadow Mushrooms. The company says the cost of trying to contain the smell at its compost facility is not economically viable. It has already spent $2 million on remedial work and would be required to spend another $2 million, with no guarantee it would reduce the odours. Meadow Mushrooms is asking the Environment Court for an extension so it can make an orderly closedown by the end of 2010. If not, the closure will be immediate, says chief executive Roger Young.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

NZ couple to supply Obama orchids

A Taranaki couple are hoping a contract to supply orchids to United States President Barack Obama's inauguration next month will help their business blossom. Orchid grower Kathleen Coils and her husband Barney run Riverton Horticulture just outside of Urenui, 32km northeast of New Plymouth, and said the honour was the result of a lot of hard work. The pair, one of two growers world-wide to produce Disa orchids for supply, would provide a mixture of pinks, reds and oranges for the event.

Bradman's 1948 cricket cap up for auction

A baggy green cap worn by Australian cricket captain Don Bradman in 1948 goes under the hammer in Melbourne on Monday night with expectations it could fetch more than $A600,000. It was worn by the Don when he captained the 1948 Invincibles Ashes tour of England. Auctioneer Charles Leski told the Nine Network there has been worldwide interest in the cap, which Sir Don gave to the son of an English friend whom he saw playing backyard cricket with a makeshift cap. He said Richard Robins Jr owned the hat until 2003 and it has been on show in several museums in Australia since then. Australia were undefeated on the 1948 tour. Bradman scored two centuries, and a duck in his final innings, leaving him with a Test average of 99.94 - four runs short of an average of 100.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

FSA advises cooks to ignore chicken recipe

The Food Safety Authority says cooks should ignore a magazine recipe which offers unsafe advice for preparing chicken. The advice features in a recipe included in a major national magazine. It tells readers to marinate the chicken, cook it and to then pour the raw marinade over either the cooked chicken or a salad. FSA deputy chief executive Sandra Daly says she would be concerned if people were being advised to do this. She says there is still a possibility of contamination with bacteria and advises people to take extra care when preparing poultry, especially over the summer period.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Sunday, December 14

Indonesia-Bali rabies alert

Tourists travelling to Bali are being warned about an outbreak of rabies at the popular Indonesian resort island. Bali was considered to be free of rabies until the fatal disease was diagnosed last week in two dogs at Kuta beach. Rabies affects the brain and is almost always fatal without treatment. The usual incubation period for the disease is three to eight weeks. The warning advises people to avoid dogs, cats and monkeys.
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Santa's 'f-word' slip up

Rachel Grunwell
Patrons at a free family Christmas concert have been left as red-faced as Santa's suit after hearing what they thought was profanity from the mouth of Father Christmas. It seems Santa thought he was saying "thank you" in Norwegian, but all that some members of the audience could hear was "f***!" About 1600 people, including the New Zealand head of the Mormon Church, attended the Auckland Symphony Orchestra's free family Christmas concert at the Auckland Town Hall last week. Elves scattered sweets for children while the orchestra played, joined by several choirs, including those from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Greyfriars Presbyterian Church. A woman in the audience said it was an "absolutely lovely occasion" - until, she said, Santa swore. She was absolutely certain Santa said f***. The audience was almost silenced, she said. "It annoyed me. It soured a very nice occasion. People took exception to it. It was very inappropriate."
Copyright 2008, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Auckland-Billy Joel on stage tonight

The piano man returns to a New Zealand stage for the first time in ten years tonight. Billy Joel will perform for some 10,000 fans at Auckland's Vector Arena. He has won six Grammy Awards, sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Songwriter's Hall of Fame
Copyright 2002 - 2008, TelstraClear Ltd

Collosal squid attracts monster fan club

By DEIDRE MUSSEN - Sunday Star Times
A giant squid yesterday pulled in more than twice the usual number of Saturday visitors to Te Papa (National Museum). Up to 6500 people queued for the first opportunity to see the world's only displayed colossal squid. About 100 people sprinted to the 495kg creature's 6m tank inside Wellington's museum when the doors opened at 10am. The squid, the largest of the museum's three specimens of the world's largest invertebrate, proved a gigantic hit. A blogsite on Te Papa's dedicated website,, had attracted interest around the world.

Australia urges one last effort on Doha

Australia is refusing to give up on the Doha round of trade talks despite another collapse in negotiations. Trade Minister Simon Crean on Saturday said he was disappointed but remained hopeful. The ABC reports he wants the World Trade Organisation to convene a ministerial level meeting on Doha before the end of 2008. The Doha round began in 2001 and has gone through many trials and disputes. Its aim is to open up world trade to help the world's poorest nations. Mr Crean says trade ministers need to meet again "to drive the process forward."
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, December 13

Cricket Test resumes after rain clears

Play resumed on Saturday afternoon in the first cricket Test between New Zealand and the West Indies in Dunedin. There was no play at the University Oval due to heavy rain on Friday. A helicopter has been used to dry the ground. New Zealand resumed at 226-4, in their first innings and were 306-6 at 5pm with Jesse Ryder hitting the ball well. The Test began on Thursday.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Climber sheltered in ice cave

An Australian climber rescued on Saturday morning from Aoraki Mount Cook sheltered in an ice-cave for two nights. Miles Vinar, 42, of Perth, saw his brother Dr Mark Vinar, 43, fall off Zurbriggens Ridge on Thursday. Dr Vinar is presumed dead. A search for him was called off on Saturday morning because of the risk of an avalanche. Miles Vinar attempted to get back to the safety of Plateau Hut. But the weather worsened and he decided to dig a small ice cave, as his brother carried their tent in the fall. The ABC reports 18 Australians have been killed climbing Aoraki Mount Cook, which is New Zealand's highest mountain. A Japanese climber was rescued on the mountain on 5 December after being trapped for a week by bad weather. His guide died of exposure.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

Memorial scholarships for Timorese

Eight East Timor school students have been awarded inaugural scholarships set up by the family of a New Zealand soldier killed there in July 2000. The East Timor School Trust was set up by Charlie and Linda Manning in memory of their son, Private Leonard Manning.
Copyright 2008, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Dalai Lama to stop by in Auckland next year

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will stop by in Auckland at the end of next year. The 14th Dalai Lama will give a public talk at Vector Arena, a venue that normally hosts rock stars, on December 6. He will return to the same venue for a session on Buddhist teachings the following day. The Dalai Lama last visited New Zealand in June 2007.

Next Dancing With The Stars line-up announced

Popular television show Dancing With The Stars has announced eight celebrities who will strut their stuff in a new series, due to air next year. Hockey captain Lizzy Igasan, Olympic gold medallist Barbara Kendall, actor Geraldine Brophy, sister and brother acting duo Rebecca and Chris Hobbs, former All Black Josh Kronfeld, Breakfast's Tamati Coffey, and entertainment icon John Rowles, will team up with professional dancers for the 2009 series. Dancing With The Stars began in 2005 and has raised more than $1.3 million for New Zealand charities.

Foodborne diseases having major impact on NZ health

Food safety researchers say a new analysis shows foodborne diseases cost the nation about $86 million in 2005 -- and about 90 percent of the cost can be blamed on time off work and on campylobacteriosis. "Foodborne diseases have a major impact on New Zealanders' health and our economy,"' said the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) public health adviser, Donald Campbell. A report released today, Risk Ranking, showed New Zealanders lost around five million days to all acute gastrointestinal illnesses.

Australia wants NZ prison guards for new jail

A big recruitment drive to lure New Zealand prison guards to Western Australia may make staffing difficult for jails on this side of the Tasman, according to a union official. "I understand the Western Australian recruitment is on a very large scale," Corrections Association of New Zealand President Beven Hanlon told the WA Today news website in Perth. "We have one prison, Rimutaka, in Wellington, with 1200 prisoners and 400 staff -- and over 90 of their officers have made it through the first stage of Western Australian recruitment.

Health ministry considers more obesity surgery

An increase in obesity surgery which would cost taxpayers $47 million over three years is being considered by the Ministry of Health. The scheme to operate on more than 900 morbidly obese people has been given provisional approval by district health boards (DHBs), the Weekend Herald reported. People with a body mass index above 40, or above 35 if they had significant illnesses such as diabetes, would be considered for treatment. The plan would cost $17 million in the first year and about $15 million in the next two years.

Rower rescued off NSW after voyage from Peru

A man who was trying to row from Peru to Sydney has been rescued off the coast of New South Wales. Alex Bellini, 30, was about 65 nautical miles off the mid-northern coast on Friday afternoon when he called his wife to say he was exhausted. The ABC reports a boat and a plane were sent to search for him, but police say a tug was in the area and picked him up. He is expected to arrive in Newcastle on Saturday morning.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand

NZ adverts on social networking sites

Tourism New Zealand is looking to social networking sites as a way to advertise New Zealand. The agency has launched a roaming recording studio which will tour New Zealand to record messages from international visitors to their friends and family. Short personalised video clips will be posted on sites such as YouTube and Facebook. Tourism chief executive George Hickon says marketing New Zealand is more crucial than ever in the wake of declining visitor numbers. He anticipates about 3000 messages will be captured on camera for viewing people overseas.
Copyright © 2008 Radio New Zealand


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