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Thursday, April 30

Pigs and flu and things

Anyone who has travelled to Mexico or North America in the last seven days should contact Healthline (0800 611 116) for information. They should seek medical advice if they are displaying flu-like symptoms. Click HERE for the Ministry of Health’s influenza website.

NZ's Catholic Church brings in swine flu measures

New Zealand's Catholic bishops have issued hygiene recommendations for church services in preparation for a swine flu pandemic. The bishops are stopping parishioners receiving communion wafers on the tongue, communion wine from the chalice and from shaking hands at the sign of peace at masses in New Zealand. In a statement, the bishops, who are meeting in Palmerston North, said the restrictions were precautionary. The bishops said they hoped they would not have to take stronger action, and reinforced the need for priests and other clergy working for the church to practise good hygiene procedures.

WHO raises swine flu alert level - but NZ govt won't

The Government says there's no need for an escalation of its efforts in New Zealand after an international alert level over swine flu was raised. The World Health Organisation raised its pandemic alert level on Wednesday night to five - the second highest. New Zealand is one of nine countries where the virus has been confirmed. There are 13 confirmed cases here and 104 people are suspected of having the virus. At a briefing in Wellington on Thursday, the Ministry of Health said there has been no change to the condition of the people being treated as though they have swine flu. They are still experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and some say those symptoms are milder than winter flu symptoms.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

"Near-normal" winter forecast

NIWA's National Climate Centre says a "near-normal" winter is on the way. The centre's three-month outlook from May to July forecasts average or above average temperatures across the whole country. Principal NIWA scientist James Renwick says most of New Zealand is likely to experience near normal rainfalls for the three months. He says La Nina has weakened to a neutral state in the tropical Pacific and is likely to stay neutral through the outlook period.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

British nurse refused residency over weight

NZPA / The Press
A British nurse who weighed 134kg has been refused New Zealand residency because of her morbid obesity, despite the need for skilled nursing staff. The 51-year-old, who was offered a job in a home and hospital for the elderly in a provincial city, met the qualifications for immigration under the skilled migrant category. But her body mass index of 55.2 was considered unacceptable by the immigration service who declined her application, despite nursing being on a long-term skill shortage list. Now the Residence Review Board has dismissed her appeal. For a New Zealand European, a BMI score of 25 is considered overweight, 30 obese and 40 morbidly obese.

Tunnel through Southern Alps could bring water to farms

Scientists are considering the feasibility of boring a tunnel through the Southern Alps to take West Coast water to farms on the Canterbury plains. "One of the projects that we have mooted is drilling a hole through the Southern Alps, so that we can irrigate the Canterbury plains," GNS Science chairman Con Anastasiou, a Wellington lawyer, told parliamentarians today. In Canterbury, which has 70 percent of the irrigated land in New Zealand, there has been increasing competition for water, with supplies over-allocated in some districts.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Cullen gives last speech in Parliament

After almost 28 years in Parliament, former Finance Minister, Michael Cullen has bowed out of politics. He gave his last speech to the House on Wednesday, before a packed public gallery. Dr Cullen came to Parliament as the Labour MP for St Kilda in 1981, describing himself as a history lecturer with a fear of flying. He became the party's deputy leader 1996. From 1999, he was the Finance Minister for nine years. Labour leader Phil Goff said the departure of Helen Clark and Dr Cullen marked the end of an era.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Poor outlook for tourism in Fiji

A tourist resort manager in Fiji says 2009 is looking like being the worst year in the last 10. Political unrest there has prompted warnings for tourists to take extra care. "Pearl" sales and marketing manager Raumati Wikaire says the boutique resort has so far been able to retain its staff. But, she says, it is now focusing on markets outside the traditional ones of Australia and New Zealand. Larger hotels with many rooms to fill are discounting heavily in efforts to boost business.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Thermal scanners not bering used at NZ airports

Body temperature cameras designed to identify travellers suffering fever are not being considered for use at airports in New Zealand. In an attempt to prevent the spread of swine flu, eight airports in Australia are to install thermal scanners. South Korea and Japan are already using the technology. Public health deputy director Dr Fran McGrath says the machines won't be installed here. She says they were reviewed in New Zealand during an outbreak of SARS and there is considerable debate about their effectiveness. At least 10,000 travellers from North America land in New Zealand each week and every flight is being screened.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, April 29

Australia to send extra troops to Afghanistan

Australia will send an extra 330 soldiers to Afghanistan, responding to an appeal from close ally the United States for more troops to combat Taliban militants, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said. The troops and a small number of police would help train Afghan security forces and secure presidential elections in August, Rudd said. They would bring Australia's military contingent in the country to around 1,550, making it the largest contributor outside the NATO alliance.
Copyright © 2009, Television New Zealand Limited

Historic Russian icon stolen from family

NZPA/Ross Setford
An historic and treasured Russian religious icon, believed to be centuries old, has been stolen from a Christchurch family and they are pleading for its return. The icon, a religious painting of St Nicholas, was believed to have been stolen as part of a house burglary. The family say they would love it to be left somewhere so it can be recovered quickly and safely. They are offering a reward. A family member, who only wants to be known as Michael, said it was a treasured possession that had been handed down for centuries, he believed since 1634, but he did not how old it was.

Fiji rejects talk of UN peacekeeping ban

Fiji's military government says the United Nations has not notifed it that Fijian soldiers will no longer be used for peacekeeping duties. At present, more than 200 Fijian troops are involved in international peacekeeping operations. Peacekeeping work is a signifcant revenue earner for Fiji, which has been involved in UN operations since 1978. On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the UN would stop using Fijian troops after the suspension of Fiji's constitution on 10 April. But Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Information, Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, says no correspondence has been received from the UN on the matter and will disregard the suggestion until getting confirmation from the UN. The ABC reports that the Pacific Islands Forum is set to expel Fiji on Friday and the Commonwealth is considering similar action.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

More Maori healthcare funding sought

Nurses are at Parliament today asking for more funding for Maori healthcare. The NZNO presented a 11,000 signature petition on the issue to parliament in May 2008. Chief executive officer Geoff Annals says Maori healthcare providers cannot pay nurses as much as district health boards, so they have problems attracting and retaining staff. He says Maori have the worst health statistics of any ethnic group and the only way to improve this is to put more funding into the sector.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Nursing student alleges racial discrimination

A Chinese nursing student who believes she was failed in her final year of a Bachelor of Nursing course because of her accent is taking Auckland's Unitec to the Human Rights Commission. Linda Tang, 42, told The New Zealand Herald her tutors said people were unable to understand her, meaning she would not be able to provide proper care to patients. She dropped out of her course last week, believing her tutors were making it impossible for her to pass. Ms Tang, who held a Bachelor of English degree and had previously taught English at a Chinese university and to immigrants in New Zealand, had passed an English language test for admission into Unitec's nursing degree.

Turbine project humming

By PAUL EASTON - The Dominion Post
Meridian Energy's new wind farm near Wellington will be switched on officially today. The 62-turbine West Wind project has been taking shape southwest of Makara township since September 2007. Although just 14 turbines are ready for action, the project will be turned on today by Prime Minister John Key, and start pumping power into the national grid. West Wind will produce 143 megawatts at maximum capacity, enough power for 70,000 homes, when it is completed in December.

No cause for panic over swine flu - Public Health director

Health authorities say confirmation that swine flu is present in New Zealand is no cause for panic. Eleven cases have been confirmed by the Government, after testing at a World Health Organisation regional laboratory in Melbourne. They were all members of a Rangitoto College group which returned from Mexico on Saturday.Their test results were announced on Tuesday night. Forty three other people are still being tested for Influenza A. The announcement was made on Tuesday night. Public Health director Mark Jacobs says there is no need for panic, as the test results have confirmed what was suspected from the outset. He says the strain present in New Zealand has produced only mild symptoms in those affected, all of whom are said to be recovering well.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Kiribati faces shortage of drinking water

The shortage of drinking water in the Southern Islands in Kiribati is approaching disaster levels. President Anote Tong made the statement in parliament as MPs from the southern islands pressed the government to assist in this crisis before it becomes a major catastrophe. The MPs said some villages are about to abandon their homes because drinking water wells are becoming brackish, and in some cases water is unbearable to drink.
Copyright © 2009 RNZI.

Tuesday, April 28

Clothing maker LWR in receivership

A big New Zealand clothing manufacturer, Lane Walker Rudkin Industries, has been placed in receivership. BDO Spicers was appointed receiver and manager earlier on Tuesday. It says the company's operations are unprofitable and have resulted in a substantial increase in bank debt. About 470 people are employed in factories in Christchurch, two operations in Wairarapa, one factory in Timaru, and a sports apparel factory in Brisbane. But National Distribution Union spokesperson Maxine Gay says poor management is at the heart of the receivership.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

New Zealand has swine flu

The presence of swine flu in New Zealand has been confirmed, say health officials. At a media conference on Tuesday evening in Wellington, director of Public Health Mark Jacobs said some of the Rangitoto College party who tested positive for influenza A on Sunday have also tested positive for swine flu H1N1. Results from three of four samples were received earlier in Tuesday evening from a World Health Organisation-approved laboratory in Melbourne and all tested positive for H1N1. Testing continues on the fourth sample. On the basis of these results, health authorities are assuming that all 11 people in the group who had tested positive for influenza A have swine flu. The school group returned to New Zealand on Saturday from a trip to Mexico, the presumed source of the worldwide outbreak.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

NZ art exhibition held in Paris

NZPA/Ross Setford
A New Zealand exhibition is about to hit the arts capital of the world -- Paris. Thirteen of New Zealand's artists and photographers will be showcased in the New Work from New Zealand exhibition, due to open at Galerie Impaire on Thursday. The exhibition features work by Andrew Blythe (Auckland); Martin Thompson (Dunedin); Sarah Jane Parton, John Lake, Robert Rapson, Reece Tong, Colin Korovin, Ray Ritchie, Daniel Phillips (Wellington); James Robinson (Wanganui); the late Jim Dornan (Wairoa); and Peter Wareing and Maia MacDonald (New Plymouth). It runs through May.

Pledges made to support Sri Lanka war victims

NZPA / The Press
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged $50,000 to support victims of Sri Lanka's civil war. Director Mike Smith said the funds would contribute to an international appeal for $4.35 million to help provide the 100,000 civilians affected by the conflict with food, water, medicines, shelter and trauma counselling. The pledge follows a $30,000 donation from Save the Children this week. Both organisations are accepting donations from the public.

Cruise ship under escort after pirates seized

A cruise ship carrying 62 New Zealanders that repelled a pirate attack is being escorted by the Spanish military to the Port of Aqaba. The Italian ship Melody, carrying 1,500 passengers and crew, was attacked 960 kilometres off the Somali coast, near the Seychelles, on Saturday. The crew drove off the pirates with warning shots and high-pressure water hoses. Kate Gohar, spokesperson for Auckland-based World Journeys, says the New Zealand tour leader on board has reported that everyone is safe and well. Ms Gohar says a Spanish warship and a helicopter are escorting the Melody to the Red Sea port. Spain says the warships caught nine pirates involved in the attack.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Australia firm on Fiji suspension

Australia is sticking to its hard line on calling for the suspension of Fiji from the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Fiji has brought the action on itself by suspending the constitution, attacking the independence of judges and curtailing press freedom. Mr Rudd made the comments after talks with his Papua New Guinean counterpart, Sir Michael Somare, in Canberra on Tuesday. He says Papua New Guinea is also adopting a strong position on Fiji. Fiji faces suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum if it fails by Friday to give a date for elections this year.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Seasonal flu jab won't protect against swine flu

Seasonal flu jabs available each year will not work against the new swine flu virus emerging from Mexico, the National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG) says. There is currently no vaccine available against the strain of swine flu. The group advised that Tamiflu was an anti-viral treatment for influenza -- not a vaccine. However, seasonal influenza immunisation was still worthwhile, NISG spokeswoman Nikki Turner said. Influenza immunisation is free for New Zealanders at high risk of complications -- people aged 65 and over and people of any age including children, with long-term health conditions. It is available free from a doctor or nurse to these groups until June 30.
click HERE for the Canterbury Health Board "Flu info" website

Police undermine censorship in Fiji

Police in Fiji appear to be defying censorship orders by the interim regime which two weeks ago ordered the closure of the Radio Australia transmitters in Suva and Nadi. On their website, police are pointing visitors to the Radio Australia site to get information about the world around Fiji. The interim regime has enforced strict censorship rules on local journalists and media outlets, which face the threat of closure if the regime deems they have defied its regulations.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Third power blackout in Sydney

A power blackout hit central Sydney on Tuesday - for the third time in a month. EnergyAustralia said a cable failure cut power to about 30,000 businesses and homes. Trading on the Australian stock exchange was not affected. Trains also continued running in and out of the city.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Queen to knight Governor-General in London

Queen Elizabeth will formally grant New Zealand's Governor-General the accolade of knighthood in London this week. Following a visit to Turkey, Sir Anand Satyanand and his wife Susan, Lady Satyanand, will fly to London for the private ceremony at Buckingham Palace tomorrow at 1pm GMT (1am NZT Thursday). Sir Anand said in a statement he looked forward to receiving the accolade from the Queen. He will also this evening attend a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the modern Commonwealth of Nations.

Swine flu: 56 more cases probed

More than 50 new cases of suspected swine flu are being investigated by New Zealand health officials as the World Health Organisation said there was now a significantly increased risk of an influenza pandemic. In addition to the 10 already "probable" swine flu cases in Rangitoto College pupils, tests have been conducted on a further 56 people in New Zealand over the past days who have flu-like symptoms and have visited Mexico or the United States in the past two weeks, officials said this morning. New Zealand was however, entering the flu season and anyone who had not been to Central or North America and was unwell, likely just had a "normal winter flu”. "The vast majority of sickness is no more significant than it would be this time last year."
© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2009

A college girl with stars in her eyes

By IAN STEWARD - The Press
A star-struck Christchurch teenager will soon get a taste of the final frontier at a training camp for aspiring astronauts. Rosie Bolderston, 17, a year 12 pupil at St Margaret's College, is one of two New Zealand students selected to attend the International Space Camp (ISC) in Huntsville, Alabama, in July. She will join 150 other students from 23 countries for five days of "astronaut training", including learning about the mental, emotional and physical demands astronauts face, and scuba diving. She will also experience four Gs of liftoff force and weightlessness in a space simulator. Bolderston said she applied for the camp because of her keen interest in astronomy.

Knitting needles clicking for AIDS

Hundreds of people across the country are frantically knitting and crocheting woollen squares in a bid to create a giant baby blanket in time for Mothers Day on May 10. The giant blanket is part of a campaign by UNICEF to raise awareness about AIDS in the developing world. UNICEF International Advocacy Manager Sarah Morris says the knitted squares will be sewn together and presented to MPs on Mothers' Day as one big blanket. The charity is aiming to get 1400 squares, representing the fact that many children get HIV every day. Ms Morris says the blanket will then be divided into baby-sized blankets and delivered to new mums in Papua New Guinea. People can call UNICEF on 0800 243 575 if they want to get involved in the knitting.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Quality of living survey rates NZ cities highly

New York, London and Paris don't hold a candle to Auckland and Wellington, according to a worldwide quality of living survey. The New Zealand cities ranked among the best in the Mercer 2009 Quality of Living survey, which covered 215 cities and was based on criteria including political, social, economic and environmental factors. Auckland jumped one place from last year to join Canada's Vancouver in fourth place, while Wellington stayed 12th on the list. Across the Tasman, Australian cities also ranked among the best places to live, with Sydney taking 10th, Melbourne 18th and Perth 21st.

Helicopter rescues 120 trampers

By MARK HOTTON - The Press
A helicopter lifted 120 trampers to safety from the flood-hit Milford Track near Te Anau yesterday. Forty New Zealand and overseas trampers were stranded in each of the Clinton, Mintaro and Dumpling huts on the track. They were flown out throughout yesterday to Milford and Te Anau. Department of Conservation (DOC) recreation programme manager Ross Kerr said each of the huts had a helicopter landing site, so there was no need to winch anyone out. Heavy rain and strong winds on Sunday forced the department to close the popular walking track from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound.

Four convicted of fraud

A New Zealander has been convicted in Brazil of involvement in an investment scam that fleeced victims around the world. Alan Craig Chard was found guilty of fraud, along with two Britons and an Israeli. He has been sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison. They were all arrested in April last year. Officials say they operated a call centre that defrauded investors in Britain, Spain, Australia, the United States and several Asian countries in a fictitious scheme that promised high returns.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Skier numbers from Australia up

A $2.5 million boost to Tourism New Zealand's advertising budget in Australia seems to be paying off: ski field operators report higher than usual bookings. NZSKI Limited, which operates two Queenstown fields and one at Mount Hutt, says Australians booking to ski this winter are up between 50% - 100% on last year. The figures are backed by the operator of two North Island fields at Turoa and Whakapapa.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Monday, April 27

Heavy rain closes West Coast highway

MetService has issued a severe weather warning as bad weather sweeps up the South Island. Heavy rain has closed part of State Highway 6 on the West Coast between Greymouth and Westport on Monday night. A detour inland is available. Police are advising motorists to be careful elsewhere on the West Coast due to heavy rain, swollen rivers and rock slips. Severe weather warnings are also in place from Haast to Nelson, with up to 500mm of rain expected.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Helen Clark gives Anzac speech in NYC

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has made one of her first public appearances since accepting a top position at the United Nations, giving an Anzac Day speech in New York. Clark moved to the Big Apple last month after being nominated to head the United Nations Development Programme. In her speech to the Anzac Memorial Service at the Anzac Garden in the Rockefeller Centre, held on Sunday in the United States, Clark said Gallipoli had a special place in New Zealand and Australian hearts as their first engagement in World War I, as a military disaster and for the generosity of spirit shown by Turkey towards the Anzacs and their families. The heavy price paid by the soldiers and their families helped to define New Zealand and Australia as independent nations and created a deep bond between them, Clark said.
Copyright © 2009, Television New Zealand Limited

MetService issues weather warnings

MetService has issued 18 severe rain warnings across the country. Thousands of lightning strikes have been recorded in Fiordland and Westland this morning. Heavy rain is expected to fall over western parts of the South Island and for the Taranaki, Tararua and Wellington regions through to Wednesday. head weather analyst Philip Duncan says raining warnings have also been put out for some western parts of the North Island. He says there is a high risk of severe thunderstorms and damaging tornadoes.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Lecturers to go on strike over workloads

NZPA / Wayne Drought
Lecturers at an Auckland tertiary institute today gave notice of industrial action over increasing workloads. The action at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) would be in the form of "short, sharp lightning strikes", Tertiary Education Union (TEU) organiser Chan Dixon said. No decision had been made as to what days and times the strikes would happen, but they were likely to begin tomorrow and last about a fortnight, she said. When the action was being taken, it would mean students arriving in class to find their lecturer absent.

Bronze medals for NZ cheerleaders

The New Zealand All Stars were in jubilant mood today after ending the cheerleading world championships in the United States with two bronze medals. The New Zealanders made it to the podium in the all-girl stunt competition and also in the co-ed elite division in Orlando, Florida. The junior co-ed team finished just out of the medals in fourth spot, while the senior all girl combination was sixth. New Zealand Cheerleading Association president Kimberley Ramsay said the results represented "an amazing accomplishment". "We beat out Australia, Germany and China to name a few," she said.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Record summer at Treaty grounds

It's been a record season for visitors to Waitangi. And the Waitangi National Trust reports twice as many New Zealanders visited the Treaty grounds. The trust introduced free entry for New Zealand residents last October. Chief executive Jeanette Richardson says that's reduced gate-takings, but visitors are spending more on guided tours, concerts and other activities now on offer at Waitangi. She says the trust predicted an increase in New Zealanders at the Treaty grounds, with free entry, but never expected the numbers to double. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February, 1840. It is regarded as New Zealand's founding document.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Scott Dixon wins in Kansas

New Zealand driver Scott Dixon relished a return to oval track racing by winning the Kansas Indy 300 this morning. It was a remarkable return to form for the defending Indy Car series champion, who placed 16th and 15th through the first two rounds of the championship. Those races on track circuits California and Florida were marred by technical problems but Dixon felt right at home at the high-speed circular venue which was struck by strong winds today. It was the Aucklander's 17th career win and 11th on an oval track and will be an enormous boost ahead of the defence of his Indy 500 crown at Indianapolis on May 25.

Frequent lightning over West Coast and Fiordland

Westland and Fiordland have been hit by over 11,000 lightning strikes over the last 12 hours as heavy rain and thunderstorms move up the West Coast of the South Island. Severe weather warnings are in place for western and northern parts of the South Island with up to 500mm of rain expected to fall in these regions. MetService says thunderstorms should reach Nelson by midnight and is warning tornadoes may strike coastal areas.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

NZers aboard cruise ship attacked by pirates

A group of 42 New Zealanders were among those aboard an Italian cruise ship when it was attacked by pirates off Somalia. Israeli security guards on the MSC Melody fought off the attack late on Saturday. World Journeys director Kate Gohar in Auckland says they are all safe. She says they were taken to their cabins during the attack and were told to stay there until it was safe. Captain Ciro Pinto issued pistols to the guards who opened fire as the pirates tried to climb the sides of the ship. A fire hose was also used to repel them. The ship was 960km off the Somali coast. The ABC reports 74 Australians were also on board.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Stewart Island within reach for British rower

The British adventurer rowing from Tasmania to Stewart Island expects to arrive there tomorrow. Oliver Hicks left Tasmania nearly 100 days ago, and has been battling huge seas, stormy conditions, and fierce winds for much of the time since then. Speaking to The Southland Times from aboard his boat, The Flying Carrot, Hicks said he was feeling "pretty good" and wasn't in a hurry to get off just yet. He still had plenty of books to read and music to listen to, he said. Originally setting out to circumnavigate Antarctica aboard his $500,000 rowboat, those plans were scuttled by weather and boat performance, he said.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Sunday, April 26

NZ cheerleading teams on eve of world champs

NZPA/Ben Campbell
Three Kiwi cheerleading teams have begun their campaigns at the World Cup in the United States. Junior mixed team the Storms, senior girls team the Vipers and the International Cheer Union team are attending the event, hosted by Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Teams completed the preliminary rounds on Saturday with the finals to take place on Sunday (local time).

KiwiRail cuts back Overlander service

NZPA/Ross Setford
The Overlander rail service between Auckland and Wellington is being cut back to three days a week during winter. The Overlander will only run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from May 1 to November 29 this year. In the peak season it runs seven days a week. KiwiRail public affairs manager Kevin Ramshaw told Radio New Zealand passenger numbers had held up well, but were not high enough to continue operating a daily service.

School group quarantined on return from Mexico

An Auckland school group which has just returned from Mexico is in quarantine after the outbreak of a new flu virus suspected of killing 81 people there. Twenty-two students and three teachers from Rangitoto College were being quarantined at home in Auckland on Sunday after returning from Mexico, many with flu-like symptoms. The Auckland Regional Public Health Service says it hopes to know later on Sunday whether their illness is linked to the flu outbreak in Mexico and which has spread to four US states. The group arrived back in Auckland early on Saturday, when concerns were raised by a family doctor and a hospital specialist who treated them for flu-like symptoms.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Dixon to start from 4th spot

Indy Car reigning champion Scott Dixon of New Zealand will start from fourth spot on the grid in tomorrow's race in Kansas. Graham Rahal will start on pole position. Dixon's teammate Dario Franchitti was relegated to the back of the field after officials determined he drove below the white line. Helio Castroneves will be back there with him after being penalised for the same thing.
© 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Marineland closes to public

New Zealand's only marine zoo, Marineland in Napier, is to close in its present form on Sunday. Napier Council closed Marineland in August 2008 following the death of the last performing dolphin, but opened it again on a temporary basis pending a re-consideration of marine zoo's future. In November, the council considered more than 170 submissions on what should happen to the tourist attraction. Deputy Mayor Kathy Furlong says none of the ideas provided the "wow factor" that Marineland needs to become viable again. She says council officials are working on some of the ideas presented in submissions and will report back later in the year.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Australian navy interceps another asylum seeker boat

Another boatload of asylum seekers, believed to be carrying 54 passengers and two crew, has been intercepted off Australia's northwest coast. The vessel was intercepted on Saturday, 90 nautical miles southwest of Ashmore Island, before it could make it to Australian waters. Those on the boat voluntarily transferred to the Royal Australian Navy patrol boat HMAS Albany, the Australian government says, and are being taken to Christmas Island. There, they will undergo health, security and other checks to establish their identity and reasons for their voyage, the government statement says. It is the eighth boat of asylum seekers to approach Australian waters this year.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Thousands in Fiji forced to retire

Several thousand employees in Fiji will be forced to retire this week under a new age limit imposed by the government. The compulsory age for retirement has been brought down from 60 to 55. The change had been challenged in the courts, but with the scrapping of the constitution, was introduced by decree. Almost 1,000 teachers will end their working life along with 1,600 civil servants - including 400 senior employees. The health service is due to lose 300 jobs, including those of doctors and nurses.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Tamiflu could fight swine flu

An expert in disease control says New Zealand cannot stop the spread of a new strain of swine flu simply by stopping travel. The flu has killed up to 60 people in Mexico and spread alarm in the western United States, where eight people are infected. It is spread from person to person, rather than being caught from pigs. Professor Roger Morris, an international disease control consultant, says stopping travel movement around the world will not stop the virus spreading. He says at this stage the virus seems to react to Tamilfu and any early cases which arrived here would be treated with the drug.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Multinational trains customs officers to spot fakes

The Customs Service is working with the multinational company Procter & Gamble to prevent fake products being smuggled into the country. In 2008, New Zealand Customs intercepted 5,400 counterfeit products emblazoned with Procter & Gamble insignia. Products typically include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioners, creams, perfumes, soaps and laundry detergents. Customs says the fake goods are not produced to the same standards as legitimate products and could contain potentially harmful ingredients.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, April 25


The Governor General has urged thousands of people commemorating ANZAC Day at Gallipoli in Turkey to remember the legacy and sacrifices of those who fought. Of the 8,500 New Zealand troops who served at Gallipoli during the First World War 94 years ago, more than a quarter died in combat or from disease, and more than half were wounded. Sir Anand Satyanand told Saturday's dawn service at Anzac Cove that the Gallipoli campaign was a disaster and its consequences should serve as a reminder of the futility of war. Sir Anand, Australian foreign minister Stephen Smith, and representatives from the Turkish, British, French and other governments laid wreaths at the commemorative site. Sir Anand said the deep bonds of friendship between Australians and New Zealanders, strengthened under fire in the Gallipoli campaign, continued to this day.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Health Ministry monitors swine flu outbreak

New Zealand's Ministry of Health is considering what steps to take over a previously unknown strain of flu. This after up to 60 people have died from the virus in Mexico, and cases are now turning up in the United States. The World Health Organisation says it is a mutation of swine flu, and it is unusual because it can be transmitted between humans. At the US Center for Disease Control, Richard Bresser says if it can move between humans, it can move between countries. Our Health Ministry says it is talking to the Immigration Service about what extra checks might be needed.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Heavy rain warning issued

A heavy rain warning has been issued for Northland and the West Coast. MetService is expecting a drenching for the eastern hills of Northland today. Another system is heading in from the Tasman, promising heavy rain from tonight in Fiordland. Between now and Tuesday there could be as much as 500 millimetres of rain between Otira and Franz Josef Glacier.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Mother of abandoned newborn returns to Samoa

A woman who gave birth on a flight to New Zealand, then abandoned her newborn baby in the toilet of the plane, has returned to Samoa, immigration officials have confirmed. Earlier this month, Karolaine Maika, 29, pleaded guilty to abandoning her baby in March on a flight travelling from Apia to Auckland. The Department of Labour has confirmed she returned to Apia last Saturday, but will not say whether she had been deported, citing privacy reasons. It is understood Ms Maika left without her baby, Grace, who is being looked after by extended family.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

UN won't drop Fiji troops, says Fiji spokesman

The military-led government is confident the United Nations will not stop using soldiers from Fiji for peacekeeping duties. There have been calls for the UN to suspend their use, after the constitution was revoked and military leader Frank Bainimarama reinstated despite an Appeal Court ruling that his government was illegal. As at the end of March, Fiji was contributing 282 soldiers and police officers to UN peacekeeping missions. New Zealand Green Party MP Keith Locke says by continuing to recruit peacekeepers from Fiji, the UN is helping fund the current regime.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

NZer arrested in Philippines over mutiny

Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials say they are doing what they can to help a New Zealander arrested in the Philippines on suspicion of being involved in a 2003 mutiny. The man, identified only by his surname Newman, and six retired Philippine Navy soldiers have been detained by the Philippines' Bureau of Immigration and Organised Crime Task Force, The Dominion Post reported. Police told local media that the seven were allegedly involved in a July 2003 bloodless uprising. Newman had an expired tourist visa. A Ministry spokesman said the department was aware of the arrest of the New Zealand man who was facing immigration-related charges and had extended consular assistance to the man.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Friday, April 24

ANZAC Day-RSA launches online poppy field

New Zealanders worldwide will be able to support veterans via a new website this Anzac Day, April 25. Visitors to the website can donate, download poppies and other "related content" for mobile phones such as the Last Post ringtone, Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association (RSA) chief executive Stephen Clarke said. For every poppy sent another would be "planted" in the online field, he said. "The internet site gives kiwis - wherever they are - the opportunity to remember and commemorate war-time heroes on Anzac Day." All donations would assist war veterans.
Dr Clarke said visitors to the site could also leave personal tributes on a wall of remembrance.
CLICK HERE to get your poppy in remembrance of our veterans

Save the Children sending $30,000 to Sri Lanka

Save the Children New Zealand is sending $30,000 to support the organisation's international appeal to help thousands of children and their families affected by the current conflict in Sri Lanka. Save the Children estimated 100,000 displaced people were struggling to survive in the northern tip of Sri Lanka. The organisation was also accepting donations from the public. The International Red Cross said today that hundreds of civilians had been killed or wounded in Sri Lanka's conflict zone in recent days, where even its aid workers were fleeing for their lives.

Australian PM warns high earners could be hit

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has indicated his government will use this year's budget to wind back welfare payments to higher income earners. Kevin Rudd's centre-left government will hand down a budget in May that is tipped to be one of the toughest in years, against a backdrop of plummeting taxation revenues and recession. Mr Rudd has also suggested that his government could increase tax for high-income earners to bolster its budget and curb rising debt. At present, people earning more than $A150,000 have access to government assistance through the first home owners grant and rebates for child care and private health insurance.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Dunedin Anti-stadium group disappointed

There is disappointment from the group that tried to prevent Dunedin's new stadium from going being built. Stop the Stadium has failed to convince the High Court to grant an injunction stopping the plan. It means the Dunedin City Council is free to go ahead on the stadium, which it hopes to have ready for Rugby World Cup 2011. Stop the Stadium president Bev Butler had few words outside the court following this morning's decision. "I'm very disappointed. And I need to have further discussions with our legal advisors." Dunedin Mayor Peter Chin says he is relieved.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Clouds to march in on Anzac Day

A small but intense storm over the Tasman Sea is threatening to bring rain clouds for dawn services on ANZAC Day. Weather analyst Philip Duncan says tomorrow is looking windy, cloudy and possibly wet for those living in the north and west of both islands, but elsewhere, conditions will be mostly dry and quite warm around 5am. There is expected to be heavy rain in Northland and Cape Reinga will have wind gusts of more than 100 kilometres an hour.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

New research centre opened

New Zealand has its first neurological disorders medical research centre. The National Research Centre for Stroke, Applied Neurosciences and Neurorehabilitation opened yesterday. It will conduct research to help improve the health of people with major neurological disorders – especially stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis. Associate Health Minister Jonathan Coleman opened the centre.

Breast cancer breakthrough causes a stir

A breakthrough by Auckland scientists seeking a way to treat breast cancer has excited both breast cancer patient advocates and health professionals. The research team, led by Professor Peter Lobie, at Auckland University's Liggins Institute, has identified three molecules which are present in up to 90 percent of breast cancers, and they believe the molecules are crucial to the spread of the disease. "We've shown they result in poor patient survival because they're very powerful survival agents for cancer cells," Prof Lobie said. The team has found ways to inhibit these molecules, and has already started testing on lab animals. Trials on women could start within three years.

Law Commission to propose raising drinking age

Addressing a police conference on alcohol related harm, Law Commission's President Sir Geoffrey Palmer detailed the significant strain alcohol places on police resources. He said on a typical day, one third of all individuals apprehended by police will have consumed alcohol before their arrest. Options include increasing the price of alcohol by raising the excise tax, limiting the hours shops can sell alcohol, increasing the legal drinking age and lowering the blood alcohol level of drivers.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

TV3 faces fines of up to $300,000 for Sunday ads

By Isaac Davison
TV3 faces fines of up to $300,000 after trying to sidestep laws against screening advertisements on Sunday mornings. Judge Allison Sinclair found TVWorks, owner of TV3, guilty of three charges of broadcasting commercials on three consecutive Sunday mornings during the Rugby World Cup in 2007. The case was brought by the Government's Ministry of Culture and Heritage. Under the Broadcasting Act, advertisements are not allowed to screen on Sunday between 6am and midday.

Orana Park cheetah cubs nearly doubled birth weight

Four cheetah cubs at Christchurch's Orana Park are now two weeks old, have their eyes open and have nearly doubled their birth weights. Due to neglect from their inexperienced mother, the cubs were saved from certain death when park staff chose to hand-raise them. Park spokesman Ian Adams said cheetah cubs were notoriously difficult to raise both in captivity and out of it, with a 95 percent mortality rate in the wild. "The cubs have virtually doubled their birth weight. They have their eyes open and are now supporting their own weight -- they are quite active when out of the incubator.

Bounty cannon returned to mutineers descendants

The HMAV Bounty's cannon, hauled a decade ago from the seabed near Pitcairn Island, has been returned to the descendants of the mutineers who jettisoned it. After a team from the Museum of Tropical Queensland recovered the cannon from the bottom of Bounty Bay, Brisbane-based marine archaeologist Nigel Erskine led the restoration efforts. The cannon was consigned to the sea when mutineers burned their ship in Bounty Bay in 1790, around the time they established their settlement on the island. The descendants of the sailors were not found until 1808. The events surrounding the mutiny, led by Fletcher Christian, have entered popular culture via a book and a number of movies.

Number of mumps cases in Waikato raises concern

NZPA/Wayne Drought
Three recent cases of mumps in Waikato have concerned health authorities, as the once common disease has become increasingly rare due to immunisation. The three people -- two teenagers and an older person -- were not connected, a Waikato District Health Board spokeswoman said. The DHB usually received notice of five cases of mumps a year at most, so three at one time was of concern. Symptoms of mumps, caused by the mumps virus, included fever, pain and swelling in the jaw or front of ear region. Mumps was passed on through infected saliva.

Report critical of advice from health food stores

NZPA/Wayne Drought
Health food store staff need formal training to ensure people with serious medical complaints are not given substandard advice, an article in the NZ Medical Journal argues. The report by five medical researchers and professors followed an experiment in which a man visited 26 health food stores complaining of high blood pressure and in only one case was referred to a doctor. Staff in 25 of the stores visited by the man recommended and sold a wide variety of compounds of "unproven efficacy", the article's authors said. "Unlike pharmacists, staff in health food stores are not required to undergo any formal training in regard to the physiological or pharmacological effects of the products that they sell." "This may place customers at risk of being given ineffective, harmful or indirect advice."

Bestselling author faces battle for NZ residency

A popular author whose work focuses on the challenges faced by migrants is fighting a real-life battle to gain New Zealand residency. Marina Lewycka, who wrote the international bestseller A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and Two Caravans, wants to join her husband of 22 years, Dave Feickert, in Wanganui. Mr Feickert said the Immigration Service had told the couple they had to prove they were in a relationship by providing copies of their email correspondence, and by living together for an unspecified amount of time in New Zealand. They have been together since 1975 and have a 32-year-old daughter, Sonia. "How utterly ridiculous," Lewycka said. "I thought New Zealand was a 'can do' society."
© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2009

Nail ignites shipwreck mystery

By KAY BLUNDELL - The Dominion Post
The shifting sands of Anaura Bay, north of Gisborne, have unearthed a rare piece of maritime history - a bronze nail from a historic shipwreck similar to that of a gold-laden ship which foundered at the Auckland Islands in 1866. The nail is believed to be up to 200 years old but the identity of the uncovered wreck remains a mystery. Anaura Bay resident Tony Ensor made the find several years ago but it has only been assessed by maritime officials in Wellington this week. 14 ships were known to have sunk along East Cape between 1810 and 1920.
© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2009

Bank manager arrested over Kiri Te Kanawa swindle

A bank manager in the United States has appeared in court charged with embezzling more than $US650,000 from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Sokvoeun Sou, 27, a branch manager at the Bank of Alameda in California, was arrested on Tuesday, police say. The bank first became suspicious in May last year, when it was noticed large withdrawals were being made from a retirement fund belonging to the New Zealand singer. An Alameda Police Department spokesperson, Detective Greg Ella, told Morning Report the manager has confessed, and the bank will fully reimburse Dame Kiri.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, April 23

Royal NZ Ballet heads to China

The Royal New Zealand Ballet RNZB is returning to China in June following the popularity of its appearances in 2007. The RNZB would stage six performances of Romeo and Juliet in three centres, Wuhan, Zhengzhou, and the Oriental Arts Centre in Shanghai. General manager Amanda Skoog said the RNZB had an international reputation, and the return to China would further cement that. Touring overseas was essential to the ballet's artistic development, and the troupe was honoured to be invited back, she said.

Patients happy with hospital treatment

NZPA / Andrew Labett
Patients are generally happy with how they are treated in the country's public hospitals, a new report says. Hospital Benchmark Information (HBI) reports are produced quarterly by the Ministry of Health and track the performance of all public hospitals in New Zealand against 15 key performance measures. Among the performance measures are triage rates (emergency department waiting times), patient satisfaction, average length of stay and acute readmissions. National triage rates for category one patients was 100 percent. Overall patient satisfaction rates for the country were over 88 percent.

NZer awarded Gallipoli Art Prize

NZPA/Ross Setford
Artist Euan MacLeod became the first New Zealand winner of the Gallipoli Art Prize awarded in Sydney today. Christchurch-born MacLeod won the $A20,000 prize for his entry, titled Smokeinklandscape/Shovel. MacLeod, who has a Diploma of Fine Arts from Canterbury University, is a teacher at the National Art School in Sydney and has won two prestigious awards, the Archibald Prize in 1999 and the Sulman Prize in 2001. The award, established in 2006 by the Gallipoli Memorial Club, is for the artist who "best depicts the spirit of the Gallipoli campaign". Entrants must be born in New Zealand, Australia or Turkey, or be a citizen of one of those countries.

Alac asks hospitals to record booze-related admissions

NZPA/Ross Setford
Hospital emergency departments need to record alcohol-related admissions to stem the flow of injuries or accidents caused by booze, the Alcohol Advisory Council (Alac) says. "We know anecdotally that alcohol-related admissions figure highly in the work of emergency departments," Alac chief executive Gerard Vaughan said. "However, only a small number of departments ask whether alcohol has been a factor or are keeping figures. If figures were kept by the departments it would be feasible to work out if intervention strategies, such as reducing the opening hours of liquor outlets, affected alcohol-related hospital admissions, Mr Vaughan said.

No further cases of stomach bug at hospital

An outbreak of gastro-enteritis at a hospital in Hastings has been contained, Hawke's Bay District Health Board says. Chief operating officer Warrick Frater says a small number of patients last week complained of being unwell with a stomach related illness. Samples were sent away for testing, but only one turned out to be the highly contagious bug Norovirus, he says. All the patients who suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea have now recovered and there have not been any further cases this week.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

UK adopts NZ study on nuclear veterans

A New Zealand study that showed the harm of nuclear testing on veterans at Christmas Island is being adopted by the British Ministry of Defence. The ministry plans two health studies on veterans of Britain's nuclear tests in Australia during the 1950s. One will follow Massey University research that showed veterans' exposure to radiation had caused cellular abnormalities. The study, led by Associate Professor Al Rowland, tested 50 seamen involved in the "Operation Grapple" tests on Christmas and Maiden Islands, and compared tests to 50 control subjects.
Copyright 2009, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Helicopter crash in Australia kills NZer

A New Zealander living in South Australia was killed in a helicopter crash on Monday. Rhys Kirwan, 29, formerly of Canterbury, died when the helicopter he was flying apparently hit powerlines and crashed into a pine plantation in the Victorian town of Langkoop, north of Mt Gambier, The Press reported. Mr Kirwan formerly lived at Leithfield Beach, around 20km northeast of Rangiora, but moved to Australia around 10 years ago.

Helen Clark awarded honorary doctorate

The University of Auckland is to give former Prime Minister Helen Clark an honorary degree, describing her as one of its most illustrious graduates. University Chancellor Roger France says the honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) recognises Helen Clark's enormous contribution to New Zealand and on the international stage. He says as a Member of Parliament since 1981 and Prime Minister for nine years Miss Clark has made a mark nationally and internationally in a way that few leaders can aspire to.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, April 22

Persian manuscripts to remain in NZ

The Alexander Turnbull Library has successfully out-bid international competition to keep two Persian manuscripts in New Zealand. One of the country's finest book collections, assembled by British-born librarian Edward Simpson who died in Wellington in 1979, was auctioned on Wednesday. Auctioneers Dunbar Sloane offered 178 lots, including many works produced between the 15th and 18th centuries. The Alexander Turnbull Library, based in Wellington, paid $NZ60,000 and $54,000 for two antique Persian manuscripts, illustrated in gold and colour. An original page from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales sold for $7000.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Anti-smoking lobby wants tobacco licences for retailers

NZPA/Ross Setford
An anti-smoking lobby group wants tobacco vendors licensed, furthering its attempts to stop people smoking. Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said it wanted retailers required to hold a "tobacco licence", which could be revoked if they were caught selling to underage people. The group's call comes after the operator of a Dunedin dairy was fined $300 for selling tobacco to a 15-year-old girl during a controlled purchase operation last year.

Australian navy intercepts more asylum seekers

Another boatload of asylum seekers has been intercepted off the West Australian coast and is being taken to Christmas Island, the government said on Wednesday. Navy vessel HMAS Wollongong intercepted the vessel about 47 nautical miles southwest of Barrow Island in an operation coordinated by Border Protection Command. Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said the 32 people on board were all Sri Lankan men. It is the seventh boat of asylum seekers to arrive in Australian waters this year and comes after a vessel carrying 47 asylum seekers and two crew sank following an explosion off the north Australian coast last week.An investigation into the cause of the blast, which killed five people and injured many more, is under way.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Hamper company goes into liquidation

New Zealand hamper company Mrs Christmas has gone into liquidation. The company has about 3500 customers and is best known for television advertisements fronted by chef Annabelle White, who is listed as one of the shareholders. Liquidator Damien Grant, of Waterstone Insolvency, says Mrs Christmas owes between $2 million and $3 million to creditors. Mr Grant is confident the company can be sold within a week, as three other parties are interested.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

NZ calls for Sri Lanka to free civilians

New Zealand has joined international calls for Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels to allow tens of thousands of trapped civilians to leave the conflict zone safely. Foreign Minister Murray McCully said civilians were caught in a "perilous" situation and must be allowed to escape. "New Zealand continues to call on both sides to stop fighting, and to look for a long-term, peaceful solution to this conflict," he said in a statement. Amid fears that a final assault against the Tamil Tigers would lead to a dramatic rise in casualties, the United Nations and others have called for a negotiated truce to allow civilians to leave the rebel-held coastal strip in the island's northeast.
- AP

NZ doctor develops turbo booster for the heart

Heart transplants could be a thing of the past following an invention by a Gisborne doctor of a device that helps the heart pump blood more effectively. William Peters calls the C-Pulse heart assist system a "turbo-booster" for people who have severe problems with their ticker. "It's for people whose pacemakers have failed them but they still have symptoms of heart failure," he told NZPA. A 20-person clinical trial has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States and it has already been successfully implanted in two patients at Ohio State University Medical Centre. Dr Peters, who is now based in Sydney, was in the operating theatre during the implants at the end of last week and trained the surgeons on how the procedure was done.

Cardboard stove beats NZ invention to prize

A green invention by a New Zealand company has been beaten by a solar-powered cardboard stove in a global climate-change challenge. Marlborough company Carbonscape was one of five companies shortlisted by London newspaper the Financial Times to find the ultimate climate-change company, The Press reported. Carbonscape developed a microwave that converted waste material into charcoal. The company's director, former Christchurch mayor Vicki Buck, said the exposure from being shortlisted was worth more than the US$75,000 ($135,000) prize money. The cardboard stove, created by a Kenyan company, took out the prize.

IRD - 250 voluntary redundancies called for

The Commissioner of Inland Revenue is calling for up to 250 voluntary redundancies. Commissioner Robert Russell blames the economic pressures. Staff are being told of the plan at meetings at IRD offices around the country this afternoon.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Pokie machine spending down by $22m

Pokie machine spending was down by $22 million, or almost 10 percent, for the first three months this year compared with the previous quarter. The Department of Internal Affairs said today said the drop may be a sign of the economic times. Pokie machines spending at pubs and clubs was $208.7 million for the quarter ending March, compared with $230.7 million for the final quarter of 2008.

Honest Kiwi recognised by US Embassy

A Christchurch man's honesty in returning lost credit cards and cash to a visiting American couple last month has been recognised by the United States Embassy. United States Acting Ambassador Dave Keegan flew to Christchurch to present Scott Mendes an award today. Mr Keegan told The Press the couple were "very relieved and eternally grateful" to Mr Mendes. "We thought he deserved to be recognised for displaying such integrity."

Bars to close early for Anzac day

Bars will be banned from selling alcohol between midnight Friday and 1pm Saturday, as "a show of respect for returned servicemen and women on Anzac Day", police say. The closure would be "an opportunity for people to find an alternative non-alcoholic means of entertainment", it said in a statement today.

Abandoned yacht left to ride out storm

A yacht abandoned by its crew between North Cape and Norfolk Island will be left to float until the weather clears up. Two men and a woman have spent Tuesday night in Whangarei after being rescued from the 13 metre craft, which had a damaged sail. Northland Emergency Services chief pilot Pete Turnbull says the yacht was being rolled around by big swells at the time of the rescue, about 280km north west of North Cape.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Military "gap year" seen as boon for students

The Principals Federation thinks a military "gap year" could offer school leavers some breathing space to decide on a future career. Under the proposal, students could spend a year in the Army, Navy or Air Force before going on to university and earn a salary or credit off their student loan. The Australian Defence Force already has a gap year programme where students earn around $A50,000 per year, with no further involvement required. The similar proposal here has been welcomed by Principal's Federation president Ernie Buutveld who says students now take more time to think about what they want from a career.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Public safe from Scar and Goldie

Tourist attraction Butterfly Creek in Auckland is confident that security is sufficient to keep the public safe from its two latest additions. Saltwater crocodiles, Scar and Goldie, who are both males, have been flown from Cairns to the Manukau attraction courtesy of an Air Force Hercules. Butterlfy Creek spokeswoman, Jackie Sanders, says Scar got a little restless during the flight and had to be sedated, however Goldie remained calm and did not need medication. She says Scar got his name on account of an injury he suffered when he tried to get through a fence to challenge another male crocodile.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Fiji will not tolerate NZ troops says expert

A defence expert believes Fiji would fight back if New Zealand sent troops to the Pacific nation. The Government has suggested that a military option is on the table if the political situation worsens in Fiji. But Prime Minister John Key has says such intervention is unlikely. Dr John Moremon from Massey University's Centre for Defence Studies says New Zealand would need to go in armed, as the Fiji's Defence Force is strong for the size of the country. He says the last time New Zealand was involved in an invasion in the Pacific was in 1914, when German territories were the target.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Pacific employment scheme to continue

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government will continue the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, but would like to lift the return rate of Pacific Islanders. The scheme aims to help fruit growers overcome labour shortages by allowing them to hire workers from the Pacific Islands. It is now in its second year. After visiting orchardists in Hawke's Bay who are RSE employers, Dr Coleman said the national average return rate of Pacific Island workers this year was 70%. He said the key to future success of the RSE scheme is good care and support for the workers while they are in New Zealand.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Rare book collection to be auctioned

One of New Zealand's finest book collections is to be auctioned in Wellington on Wednesday. The Edward E Simpson collection features 178 lots, including many works produced between the 15th - 18th centuries. An original page from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales has generated international interest. Dunbar Sloane expect the works will fetch $130,000 - $250,000.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, April 21

NZers getting ready for 94th Anzac Day commemorations

New Zealand will be represented around the globe by leaders and Defence Force troops when the 94th Anzac Day commemorations take place this weekend. While dawn services will once again play out in New Zealand's villages, towns and cities, Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand will be at Gallipoli where the Anzacs (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) landed on April 25, 1915, and died in huge numbers. "Gallipoli is sacred ground," Sir Anand said. "Ninety-four years ago thousands of New Zealanders volunteered to serve their king and empire. They were young and they were full of hope, no-one wanted to be left behind. "But no town or suburb in New Zealand was left untouched by the carnage at Gallipoli, and later on the Western Front." Accompanied by Lady Satyanand, Sir Anand has speaking engagements and attendance commitments at a range of Anzac services during his state visit to Turkey.
The Poppy is the official symbol of Remembrance for fallen ANZAC soldiers. You can donate a Poppy online in memory of our fallen Heroes at the Returned Services Association (RSA) website. CLICK HERE

Alcohol watch groups call for warning labels

NZPA/Ross Setford
Alcohol advisory groups have renewed calls to fix warning labels to alcohol following a recommendation posted by the chief coroner on the internet. Nearly 60 health and safety recommendations by the country's coroners issued over the past 20 months were put on the coroners' website yesterday. One of the coroners' appeals was that labels should be fixed to alcohol bottles in the same way health warnings were printed on tobacco packets. The website added that greater efforts should be made to educate the public through campaigns about the danger of death from drinking too much alcohol. The Alcohol Advisory Council (Alac) said the labels should be on the container warning pregnant women of the dangers of alcohol to their unborn child.

Kiwis prefer the monarchy - just

New Zealanders still prefer the monarchy to becoming a republic but numbers are close, a new poll shows. The poll, commissioned by the Republican Movement and published today coinciding with the Queen's 83rd birthday, found 43 percent wanted New Zealand to become a republic and did not want Prince Charles to become King. Of the 1018 eligible voters polled 45 percent supported Prince Charles becoming King, 13 percent did not know or did not answer. A Research New Zealand poll last December put support for a republic at 42 percent with 48 percent in favour of the monarchy.

Australia in recession says Reserve Bank governor

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens says the Australian economy is in recession. He says it is very rare for Australia to escape an international downturn and that there is no precedent for avoiding one of the size currently being suffered by the world. "Whether or not the next GDP statistic shows another decline, I think the reasonable person, looking at all the information available now, would come to the conclusion that the Australian economy, too, is in recession," Mr Stevens said in Adelaide on Tuesday. The national accounts for the December quarter released last month showed gross domestic product contracted by 0.5% in the final three months of last year, the first fall in economic growth in eight years.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Bottle of NZ wine sells for $1000

A British honeymoon couple from Hong Kong have paid what is believed to be a record price for a bottle of New Zealand wine. They shelled out $1000 for a bottle of Gibbston Valley Wines' world champion 2000 Pinot Noir at Gantley's Restaurant near Queenstown. Now a rare find, the standard 750ml bottle came highly recommended at the restaurant, where there are only four or five bottles of the treasured drop remaining. The wine sold at the cellar door for just $65 eight years ago.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Island names 'not official'

By REBECCA PALMER - The Dominion Post
The New Zealand Geographic Board is looking for alternative Maori names for the North and South Islands and also wants to make their English names official. "Interestingly, while researching this issue, we noted that 'North Island' and 'South Island' are actually not official names under our legislation, despite their common long-term usage," board chairman Don Grant said today. He said the board had been investigating Maori names for the islands for several years. In the coming weeks, it would write to iwi throughout the country asking for their traditional Maori names for the islands.

More people staying put in NZ

More people are staying put in New Zealand as the global downturn reduces their chances of finding work overseas. Statistics New Zealand says net migration increased by 1700 in March, due to fewer people leaving home. It was the second consecutive monthly rise. ASB economist Jane Turner says that partly offset a seasonally adjusted fall of 3.5% in tourist numbers. The number of New Zealanders departing for overseas holidays dropped 6% in March, compared with the same month last year.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Last chance to show support for Marineland

Marineland says the people of Napier will have a final chance to show they do not want the tourist attraction to close. The local council allowed Marineland to remain open for its last summer period, after Kelly the dolphin died in September last year. It is considering redeveloping the business or closing it altogether, as it believes the centre is not financially viable without a dolphin. The council has been unsuccessful in convincing the Government to allow it to introduce new dolphins. Spokesman Cliff Church says an open day is being held on Sunday afternoon and will be the public's last chance to show the council that Marineland should stay. The public will have free entry to the facility.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Overstayer children hearing begins today

The Supreme Court hearing for the children of overstayer parents will begin today. Children born in New Zealand to overstayers could be forced to leave New Zealand because their parents are not citizens. Two of the three Supreme Court cases will begin in Auckland today and a third is scheduled for Wednesday next week. Immigration consultant Tuariki Delamere says the cases affect hundreds of children. He says the issue will not be resolved in the courts until next year.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Diamond-encrusted bracelet handed in

The owner of a precious diamond bracelet that was lost on an outing wants to find the family who handed it in to thank them. Christina Mackenzie feared she would never again see her 52-diamond bracelet, which her late mother had helped her buy, after losing it in Auckland's Cornwall Park on Saturday, The New Zealand Herald reported. Mrs Mackenzie and her family retraced their steps the following day in a vain attempt to find the valuable piece of jewellery and told park authorities about the loss. Later that day a visitor information centre staff member called to say a family had found it and handed it in. Mrs Mackenzie picked it up and would now love to know who to thank.

Defence review announced

The New Zealand Government has announced a wide-ranging review of defence to be conducted over the next year. Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says a White Paper will be published early next year setting out the Government's direction for defence, particularly over the next decade when decisions have to be made about replacing aging equipment. Other aspects of the review include the possible sale of some light armoured vehicles bought by the previous Government and a proposal for voluntary national service.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

'Thousands' of asylum seekers heading for Australia: govt minister

An Australian cabinet minister says there are thousands of asylum seekers in Indonesia who may try to travel to Australia. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd earlier said the country faces the emerging threat of a huge number of asylum seekers trying to get to Australia by boats from Indonesia and other countries. Federal Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus has told the ABC that aid agencies and officials in Indonesia have reported a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers who might try to travel to Australia.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

School checks of children off to slow start

A nationwide screening programme designed to detect health problems in children has got off to a slow start. Less than 10% of eligible four year olds have so far received the comprehensive "B4" school check which picks up problems in a bid to help children get the most out of school. The checks started in September. So far, just over 4500 children have been seen, out of 50,000 four year olds. However, initial feedback suggests the checks are working, with 10% - 20% of children found to have missed vaccinations and dental checkups.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Monday, April 20

South Island Lonely Planet warns of tourist trouble

NZPA/Ross Setford
Hordes of tourists visiting the South Island are affecting the environment, the Lonely Planet has warned. The travel guide's first book concentrating on the South Island said booming tourism was having an impact, noting campers' shampoo in Catlins creeks and droning planes in the skies above Franz Josef and Queenstown. It said locals were avoiding large chunks of the island because of the number of tourists. However, the guide also trumpeted the South Island's beauty, saying it won "hands down" when it came to the great outdoors. "Truly wild places are rare in today's world but the South Island delivers them in droves: fiords, sounds, glaciers, cloud-topping mountain ranges, remote islands, raggedy peninsulas and wide river plains. "There are wild few places on this not-so lonely planet as pristine diverse and staggeringly good-looking."

Unemployment rate rises slightly

Statistics New Zealand has released updated employment data for the last quarter of last year. The Household Labour Force Survey shows the unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted ) increased 0.1 percent to 4.7 percent, and the total number of unemployed increased by 3,000 to 108,000.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Tribute to soldiers unveiled in Christchurch

The first in a series of bronze plaques commemorating New Zealand soldiers was unveiled in Christchurch today by Mayor Bob Parker. The Path of Remembrance is a public artwork that will pay tribute to the actions of Kiwi soldiers in active service around the world through the series of bronze plaques. Eventually, more than 100 plaques will be scattered among the new paving stones in the central city creating a path to the Bridge of Remembrance at the Avon River. Twelve designs had been created using a floral motif to depict different countries where New Zealanders had fought, Mr Parker said.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ joins anti-racism conference boycott

New Zealand is joining the boycott on the UN's anti-racism conference in Geneva. It follows similar moves by a number of other governments including the United States, Australia, Israel and the Netherlands. They pulled out over fears the conference will be used as a platform for criticism of Israel. The meeting is aimed at healing wounds from the last summit in 2001, where Arab states sought to define Zionism as racist. Foreign Minister Murray McCully says wording emerging from preparatory discussions suggest this conference could descend into the same kind of rancorous and unproductive debate.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Signs of more gold beneath mine

OceanaGold says it may have found more gold at its Macrae field in central Otago. The gold miner says it's found what it describes as "high gold mineralisation" below current reserves at the Fraser underground mine at Macraes. The company says ongoing drilling will determine the extent of the find. OceanaGold has increased its exploration at its Macraes and Reefton fields and plans to spend up to $10 million on finding more gold reserves this year.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Jobs created through state housing upgrades

The Government says 536 jobs have been created by a programme to upgrade state houses. More than 18,000 are to be upgraded by July 2010. Housing Minister Phil Heatley says the $104.5 million programme will make them warmer, drier and healthier. More than 600 state houses have already been upgraded or have work underway. Housing New Zealand has 65,000 houses.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

China strips NZ-born children of citizenship

By Lincoln Tan
Children of Chinese overstayer parents are allegedly having their New Zealand citizenship stripped from them when they return to China, and many are taking their fight to court in a bid to keep them from being deported. Rodney Harrison, QC, who is involved with two such cases in the Supreme Court, said in a letter to the Crown: "The Chinese Government's approach in the case of New Zealand citizen children born in New Zealand to Chinese citizen parents who are unlawfully in New Zealand is effectively to strip such children of their New Zealand citizenship and treat them as, if not compel them to become, Chinese citizens."
Copyright 2009, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Tweet brings good news for Ellen fans

Three Christchurch students suspect they may appear as guests on the Ellen de Generes talk show after creating websites dedicated to their idol. The trio documented their hope to travel to America to see the show Ellen being filmed, by using video diaries on the YouTube website. The show heard about the campaign and de Generes sent a tweet via the communication website Twitter, offering them tickets to Los Angeles and a chance to meet Ellen.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Niue Court of Appeal is to sit on island for first time

The Niue Court of Appeal is to sit on the island for the first time this week. Previously the four New Zealand judges have heard appeals on Niue High Court cases in Wellington. In the one week sitting they will hear a number of land disputes. The High Court Registrar, Justin Kamupala, says no decision has been made on whether the Court will sit on the island on a regular basis.
Copyright © 2009 RNZI.

Crims' details free to all

A new online database offers the public free access to sentencing histories of New Zealand's worst criminals. So far it has 90 names on three lists: Those serving non-parole periods of more than 18 years, preventive detention sentences for sex offenders of 11 years or more, and young people aged more than 17 given long, fixed sentences. Creator Ross Crosby said he set up the database for the Sensible Sentencing Trust, which he joined five years ago as an 18-year-old disillusioned with New Zealand's justice system. Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said anyone running a database had to be careful the information was accurate and not misleading.
click HERE for website

Refund offered by fertility clinic

A fertility clinic in Wellington has drawn a mixed response to a plan to refund most of the fee to couples whose invitro fertilisation treatments are unsuccessful. Fertility Associates says women under the age of 39 who pay in advance for three rounds of IVF, will have 70% of the fee refunded if they are unsuccessful.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Retirement warning issued

A Wellington solicitor is warning people intending to retire in Australia that they may not be eligible for Government superannuation. The John Dean Law Office recently represented a New Zealand woman living in Australia who was denied a pension. Solicitor John Dean says that's because people in Australia, unlike in New Zealand, are means tested for their pension. Despite a reciprocal agreement between both countries being signed in 2001, he says a loophole remains in the arrangement. Mr Dean says Australians wanting to retire in New Zealand are not means tested here.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Sunday, April 19

Govt mulls more Fiji sanctions

The Government is considering strengthening sanctions against Fiji but won't impose tourism and trade restrictions, Foreign Minister Murray McCully says. The situation in Fiji was "pretty bad", and self-appointed prime minister Commodore Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama had effectively declared himself dictator for life, Mr McCully said today on TV One's Q&A programme. "Sacking the judges, clamping down on personal freedoms, media freedoms, it doesn't get much worse than that," he said. "That's a traditional mould for a military dictator and it hasn't had a happy ending anywhere in the world." The sanctions that are in place affect travel to New Zealand, and transit through it, by members of the regime, its officials and their families.

Govt considers whether to boycott UN racism forum

The Government says it is considering boycotting a United Nations conference on racism which begins in Geneva on Monday. The United States on Sunday pulled out of the conference after its State Department cited objectionable language in its draft declaration. The Geneva meeting follows a 2001 conference on racism in Durban which the US and Israel walked out of when Arab states tried to define Zionism as racist. Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says he has decided not to go to the conference because he is concerned it will again be used to air offensive views. NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr McCully says there is a "distinct possibility" New Zealand will also boycott the conference. Canada and Israel said earlier that they would not attend.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Weather warning for east of North Island

A severe weather warning's been issued for the east of the North Island as the MetService predicts some very heavy rainfall on Monday. It says the Coromandel Ranges, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay will probably be worst hit by a low that's expected to bring rain to most of the North Island. And there may be more to come. The MetService says it expects to issue more rain warnings for the north and east of the North Island later this week.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Free Anzac weekend Super 14 tickets for RSA members, vets

NZPA/Ross Setford
Veterans, RSA members and military personnel will be treated to free Rebel Sport Super 14 matches on Anzac weekend. The Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association is teaming up with the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Blues, Highlanders and Hurricanes teams to mark Anzac Day by offering its members and current military personnel free admission to rugby games. The games over Anzac weekend include the Highlanders vs the Stormers at Carisbrook on Friday night, the Blues vs the Queensland Reds at North Harbour Stadium late Saturday afternoon, and the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in Wellington later that evening.

Dengue cases up to 170 in Cook Islands

RAROTONGA — Cook Islands now has 170 reported cases of suspected dengue fever over the last three weeks, reports Cook Islands News Cook Islands Ministry of Health this week said 13 people have been admitted to hospital showing symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease with results expected to be received from Australia this week confirming the presence of a new outbreak in Rarotonga. The ministry said that no evidence has suggested the infection has reached the outer islands.
Copyright © 2009 Daily Marianas Variety News and Views.

Australia on alert for more asylum seekers

The Australian government will not confirm reports that another boat load of asylum seekers is en route to Australia. However, Immigration Minister Chris Evans says authorities remain on "high alert". He told ABC Television that: "The risk of more arrivals is there." A boat carrying asylum seekers believed to be from Afghanistan exploded, while under naval escort to Christmas Island on Thursday. At least three people were killed, two are still missing and dozens were wounded. The cause of the explosion remains unknown. It was the sixth boat of asylum seekers intercepted in Australian waters this year.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Aircraft carrying crocs to new home delayed

Two crocodiles expected in Auckland today will not be here till tomorrow. The 40-year-old salt water crocodiles were due today on an Air Force flight from Darwin. The crocs' new home will be the Butterfly Creek amusement park near Auckland Airport. A spokesperson at the park says the aircraft carrying the animals has been delayed and is now due to arrive tomorrow.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Rugby-AB memorabilia auction

All Blacks enthusiasts with some spare cash can bid on 1930s and 1960s memorabilia, which will be auctioned in London next month. A variety of items including uniforms, touch judge flags, photographs and menus will go under the hammer at Sotheby's in Mayfair on May 12. Captain Brian Lochore's jersey from the 1967 All Blacks Tour is expected to reach 800 pounds. Two books on the All Blacks tours of 1963-1967 are also tipped to go for 800 pounds. An after-match dinner menu card for the 13-12 Wales victory over New Zealand in 1935 could sell for about £STG400.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ agrees to tourism limits in Antarctica

New Zealand has agreed to a proposal by the United States for limits on tourism in Antarctica. Measures to protect the ecosystem of the continent were tabled by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a meeting of signatories to the Antarctic Treaty in Baltimore. All 28 signatories have agreed to introduce legislation limiting shore visits to no more than 100 people at a time. Antarctic visitor numbers have risen from 6700 in 1992-93 to more than 45,000 last season.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Caesareans hit record levels as mums get older

Heather McCracken
A quarter of all New Zealand babies are born by caesarean section and one in 10 mothers books the operation in advance. But experts say the rise is driven by changes in medicine and greater numbers of older mothers, rather than women being too posh to push. The number of elective caesareans in New Zealand has risen from 7 per cent of total births a decade ago to more than 10 per cent in 2006, the latest Ministry of Health figures reveal. Of the 14,362 caesareans performed that year, 60 per cent were urgent procedures, where the decision to operate was made during labour. The rest were elective, where the mother made the decision during pregnancy.

Lucas collection auctioned

Vintage gowns and cocktail wear dating back 40 years go on auction today in Auckland. The Vinka Lucas collection of 400 lots represents some of the designer's creations dating back to the 1960s. There are couture kaftans, jumpsuits, patio pyjamas, flared culottes, and psychedelic velvet maxi frocks, some made from fabrics costing $1,000 a metre. Some were designed in Beverly Hills, where Vinka Lucas and her husband ran their business during the 1980s. Webbs Auctioneers say every item in the sale is meticulously constructed and in immaculate order.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Clark heads for New York

By ANTHONY HUBBARD - Sunday Star Times
Former Prime Minister Helen Clark left for New York last night to take up her new job as head of the United Nations Development programme and her first task when she arrives in Manhattan will be to find an apartment. "Unfortunately" the post does not come with accommodation, the former prime minister told the Sunday Star-Times. "You have to identify one yourself that is within your budget." However, people have been scouting for her and she intends to spend a few hours today with her husband, Peter Davis, looking at what is available. In the meantime, she will stay in a hotel paid for by the UN, she said.

Saturday, April 18

Aucklander passes go to win trip to Monopoly play-off in Vegas

A young Aucklander has battled his way through (game) bankruptcy to become the New Zealand Monopoly champion. Geoff Christopher, 20, took the title at the national championships at Auckland on Saturday afternoon. Using the battleship piece, Mr Christopher was bankrupted in the third round but had strong enough performances early on to take him through. Mr Christopher has won a trip to Las Vegas where he'll compete in the World Monopoly Championships.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Apple growers head for $500m in exports

By BERNARD CARPINTER - The Dominion Post
A fine autumn is setting New Zealand apple growers up for a record $500 million in export earnings. "It's our turn this year to be blessed," Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Peter Beaven said yesterday. The Hawke's Bay crop 60 per cent of the national total is mostly harvested and growers managed to attract enough extra labour to pick and pack the apples. About 2900 Pacific Islanders worked in Hawke's Bay and 500 in Nelson under the recognised seasonal employer scheme, Mr Beaven said. Together, more than 8000 seasonal workers tackled the Hawke's Bay crop.

Big fish story tops them all

By Mathew Dearnaley
A bluewater angler has landed New Zealand's biggest fish yet - a 483.4kg blue marlin - but isn't bothered about a bureaucratic technicality stopping him from claiming it as a record. "I'm not too worried about this record business - that's their problem really," Whangarei builder Ross Jameson said of International Game Fishing Association rules requiring him to be a member of an approved club before claiming line honours. His catch was more than 10kg larger than the next-biggest marlin caught in New Zealand waters, a 473kg black hooked by Alain Jorion off East Cape in 1963, and 2kg heavier than a 481.26kg mako shark hooked by J. Penwarden in 1969.

Obama will be invited to NZ by Maori King

The Maori King hopes former US president Bill Clinton will pass on an invitation to America's current leader. King Tuheitia is leading a Tainui delegation to New York to join the official welcome for Helen Clark when she takes up the position of United Nations Development Programme Administrator. The Maori King plans to invite US President Barack Obama to visit New Zealand and hopes Mr Clinton will pass on the invitation. The King's late mother Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu, met Mr Clinton when he visited New Zealand in 1996.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

End of the Indian Summer ahead

This weekend could be the last fine spell for a while. MetService forecasters say next week could see the end of what has been something of an Indian summer. A sub-tropical low is expected to move in from the Tasman Sea on Monday, which is likely to bring rain and cooler temperatures for most of the country as the week draws on.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Coal exporter will woo Chinese at expo

Solid Energy and kiwifruit exporter Zespri will be the foundation partners of the New Zealand pavilion at next year's World Expo in Shanghai. Prime Minister John Key, who is currently holding talks in China, has announced that New Zealand will spend $30 million building and promoting the pavilion. Chief executive Don Elder says Solid Energy was also one of the foundation partners at the World Expo in Japan three years ago. He says at that time they used the pavilion to host top customers and clients from around Asia promoting the theme "a little bit of New Zealand in Asia."
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Rubbish dumped on council desk

NZPA/Ross Setford
An Invercargill couple told to pick up rubbish in their street did just that -- then dumped it on a council manager's desk. The Carsons were unhappy the council would not clean up rubbish in their street which had fallen out of overloaded and upturned wheelie bins, The Southland Times reported. They said the bins were too small and couldn't stand up to the wind. But Invercargill City Council solid waste manager Tom Greenwood said the bin size was comparable with those used in other cities, that people were also responsible for knocking them over and suggested the Carsons pick up the rubbish. The Carsons did just that, then dumped two bags of waste on Mr Greenwood's desk.

Orders flow in for apple that doesn't go brown

Overseas demand for a new variety of New Zealand apple, that does not turn brown when it is cut, has been so great that growers cannot keep up. The variety, Envy, is a cross between Royal Gala and Braeburn apples. It was developed by scientists from HortResearch, now part of the Institute of Plant and Food research. Marketing rights are held by ENZA, whose global variety manager Brian D'Ath says up to 3,500 cartons will be sent to Asia and North America this year. He expects the volume will increase substantially next year, to up to 30,000 cartons. Mr D'Ath says 300,000 trees are being planted this winter.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Friday, April 17

Australia to increase arson penalty

Australia plans to increase arson penalties to 25 years in jail after deadly bushfires two months ago which killed 173 people and engulfed entire communities, national and state legal lawmakers said. The February 7 Black Saturday fires, driven by cyclonic winds, destroyed more than 2,000 dwellings and left 7,500 people homeless in Southeast Victoria. Several blazes were caused by arson, including one which razed the resort town of Marysville. "Given the incredible damage to property and loss of life that can be caused by bushfires, it is critical that offences across Australia are consistent and effective, and those sentences reflect the seriousness of this crime," national Attorney-General Robert McClelland said.
Copyright © 2009, Television New Zealand Limited

Vietnam keen on NZ link

Vietnam is keen to lift its education standards by utilising New Zealand education providers, Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith says. Smith and a New Zealand delegation have been on an official visit to Vietnam this week discussing trade issues. "I have heard a clear, consistent message that Vietnam wants to work more closely with New Zealand on trade, education and food security matters," Smith said. Smith said New Zealand was ready to assist through training staff and students in either country, or through distance education methods.
Copyright © 2009, Television New Zealand Limited

Processed tomatoes 'essential for antioxidants'

Humans need to eat processed tomato products, such as tomato sauces, to get the most antioxidant benefits from tomatoes, new research has found. Plant and Food Research, in collaboration with Lincoln University, discovered lycopene, an antioxidant found in high levels in tomatoes, was released only in small amounts when digested by humans. Scientists used a model of the digestive tract to measure the amount of lycopene and other antioxidants released from tomatoes during typical digestion. While around 75 percent of the total antioxidants were released, this included only four percent of the lycopene found in the raw tomato. Nutritional biochemist Carolyn Lister said processing tomatoes increased the amount of lycopene released, "so as well as eating raw tomatoes for their nutritional value, we should eat tomato sauces to get the goodness of the lycopene".


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