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Monday, November 30

Australians have the world's biggest homes: study

Australia has overtaken the United States, the heartland of the McMansion, to boast the world's largest homes, according to a report by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Research commissioned by the bank's broking arm, CommSec, shows the Australian house has grown on average by 10 percent in the past decade to 214.6 square meters (2,310 sq ft) -- nearly three times the size of the average British house. By contrast, the average size of new homes started in the United States in the September quarter was 201.5 square meter (2,169 sq ft), down from 212 square meter (2,282 sq ft), with the average U.S. home shrinking for the first time in a decade due to the recession. In Europe, Denmark has the biggest homes, which takes into account houses and flats, with an average floor area of 137 square meter, followed by Greece at 126 square meter, and the Netherlands at 115.5 square meter. Homes in Britain are the smallest in Europe at 76 square meter

Commonwealth leaders urge Fiji to restore democracy

Commonwealth leaders have urged Fiji's military regime to restore civil democracy without delay and to ensure the protection of human rights. Fiji was suspended from the Commonwealth in September this year after interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama refused to commit to holding elections by October 2010. The leaders issued the plea at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday as three days of talks drew to a close, AFP reports. Leaders of the 54-nation group expressed deep concern at the further deterioration of the situation in the Pacific nation with regard to the adherence to fundamental values. In their final communique they denounced "ongoing restrictions on human rights including freedom of speech and assembly".
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Boost for charities from plastic shopping bag charge

Charging shoppers for plastic bags has generated over $145,000 for local charities and seen a dramatic drop in their use, The Warehouse says. The retailer introduced a 10c charge on bags in April, with the goal of taking 20 million bags out of circulation within a year. Warehouse chief executive Ian Morrice said the scheme had already been successful, with plastic bag use dropping 84 per cent over July-September. The company's 86 stores have donated proceeds from the scheme to local charities of their choice and will continue to contribute for a year, he said.

Four resign over scathing legal aid report

A scathing report into the state of legal aid has resulted in a cleanout of the Legal Services Agency (LSA) board. The resignations of chairwoman Carol Durbin and board members Jane Taylor, Alister James and Dr Pare Keiha resignations were accepted by Justice Minister Simon Power today, with immediate effect. Retired High Court judge Sir John Hansen will be the new board chairman, while the other new appointee is Wellington company director John Spencer. The number of board members is cut from six to four. Mr Power said that he had written to the six board members asking "whether they were confident they had the skills for new environment" following the review headed by Dame Margaret Bazley. The four resignations followed. Mr Power thanked the four departees for their service. Dame Margaret's report, released on Friday, said some lawyers and defendants were "abusing the system to the detriment of clients, the legal aid system, the courts and the taxpayer". She believed there was evidence that many lawyers had been acting corruptly in doing their work. Administrative costs were out of control and the LSA seemed paralysed and unable to deal with the legal sector, the report said.
(note:Legal Aid is state funded legal representation for anyone unable to afford a lawyer)

Girls injured after run-in with Moko

Two girls have been left bruised following a run-in with Gisborne's resident dolphin, Moko. While the 12-year-olds, both junior lifeguards, were out on their paddle boards yesterday, Moko knocked them off as he tried to get hold of the boards, The Gisborne Herald reported. One of the girls was left with an injured nose, while the other got a bruised hip. Both were unable to retrieve their boards and as they used another one provided by a fellow lifeguard to make their way back to shore the dolphin also tried to get hold of that one. The Department of Conservation has warned swimmers about getting too close to Moko, whose behaviour has become increasingly aggressive over the past few months.

Boy racer legislation strikes at midnight

The Government is warning boy racers it is the end of the road at midnight, when legislation passed in October comes into force. Police Minister Judith Collins says police will be paying particular attention to offences involving public disorder, dangerous behaviour and excessive noise. Ms Collins says the message to illegal street racers is clear - their behaviour will not be tolerated with police and courts now having the authority to take their prized possession off the road permanently.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ rocket launches into space

New Zealand's first space rocket has launched this afternoon. The Atea-1 took off from its launch site at Great Mercury Island just before 3pm, after technical problems delayed this morning's planned launch. The launch company, Rocket Lab Ltd, started up three years ago with the aim to develop a series of Atea rockets that would make space more accessible, company director Mark Rocket said last week. It is the first time in the southern hemisphere a privately owned company has launched a rocket to space. The cost of the project has been met mainly through private investment from Rocket Lab, although it has received some funding from the Government and a number of agencies around New Zealand.

Banking for elderly to be made easier

Elderly and disabled people will have better access to banking services thanks to a new set of guidelines, the Bankers' Association says . The voluntary guidelines recommend initiatives such as low teller counters, user-friendly ATMs, better wheelchair access, user-friendly layouts, and training staff to identify financial abuse. The guidelines also recommend providing information in a range of formats, including large print, Braille, audio and DVD. The guidelines were developed by the Bankers' Association in consultation with the Human Rights Commission, bank staff, and organisations representing older and disabled people. They will be reviewed in three years.

Church ordered to pay up for blocking cellphones

An Auckland church that tried to stop cellphones from disrupting its prayers has been ordered to pay $1250. The Ministry of Economic Development has confirmed the unnamed church in West Auckland was issued with an infringement notice for using a jamming device to block incoming calls. The ministry says broadcasting messages or a signal to block other messages is illegal without a licence. This is to preserve radio frequencies for allocation to essential services or to legal broadcasters who pay for the privilege.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Remains of Maori ancestors returned to NZ

Source: Newstalk ZB
The remains of more than 30 Maori ancestors are being officially welcomed back into the country on Monday. Te Papa (National Museum) is holding a special ceremony on Monday afternoon marking the repatriation of 33 remains from five museums across Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Sweden. Most are bones but there are also four tattooed, preserved heads. Te Papa acting chief executive, Michelle Hippolite, says the remains will be welcomed onto the marae with a powhiri and will be placed in quarantine for two weeks before research can begin on them.

Poll shows Labour leader's support dropping to 5%

Labour leader Phil Goff's popularity remains poor in the latest political poll released on Sunday. The Television New Zealand poll shows Mr Goff's rating as preferred prime minister has almost halved since the last poll in September, dropping from 9% to 5%. John Key's rating as preferred prime minister remains high, rising 4% to 54%. Support for National also remains steady on 53% while Labour is on 31%. The Green's support rose 3% to 7% while the Maori Party remains steady on 3% and ACT is on 2%.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Kiwi loses world Scrabble title

New Zealander Nigel Richards lost his world Scrabble crown in the final of the 2009 world championship at Johor Bahra in Malaysia. Richards, a Christchurch engineer based in Kuala Lumpur, won the world title at Dallas last year but was beaten 3-1 in a best of five final by Pakorn Nemitrmansuk of Thailand yesterday.

NZ scientist monitoring volcano in Vanuatu says eruptions not life threatening

A New Zealand scientist monitoring a volcano that’s forced the relocation of more than 350 people in Vanuatu says its eruptions are not life-threatening. The Vanuatu government asked for assistance from New Zealand to monitor Mt Garet on the island of Gaua because its own geohazards team is inadequately resourced. Brad Scott from GNS Science arrived on Thursday and says its most likely weak eruptions will continue for several weeks or months. He says the authorities have acted appropriately by moving people from the island’s west to the east over several days.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Sunday, November 29

Rugby-McCaw named IRB player of the year for second time

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has been named the International Rugby Board player of the year, making the All Blacks' flanker the first two-time winner of the award. McCaw won the IRB award for the first time in 2006, beat Wales wing Shane Williams for the title, AFP reports. The announcement of his latest honour came shortly after McCaw led the All Blacks to a 39-12 win over France in Marseille. This year he saw off competition South Africa duo Francois Steyn and Fourie du Preez, Australia first five-eighth Matt Giteau, the Ireland pair of skipper Brian O'Driscoll and back-row Jamie Heaslip and England loose forward Tom Croft. World champions South Africa were judged team of the year, having won the Tri-Nations title and defeating the British and Irish Lions 2-1 in a Test series in 2009.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Govt push for more Pacific children in early education

A revised education plan for Pacific Island students includes getting more under five-year-olds into early education and boosting secondary school qualification rates. The Government says it is committed to lifting education for all New Zealanders and that literacy and numeracy must be improved. Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu says under the three-year plan, the Government wants to see an extra 2000 Pacific children in pre-schools by 2012. Mrs te Heuheu says the plan includes training more Pacific Island early childhood education teachers.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Rugby-All Blacks beat France

The All Blacks have scored five tries to beat France 39-12 at Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Sitiveni Sivivatu scored first followed by Mils Muliaina from a length-of-the-field breakout by the All Blacks. Jerome Kaino scored the third try when he crashed over from a scrum just before halftime. Cory Jane scored a fantastic individual try to give the All Blacks a try with 16 minutes to go in the second half, then Conrad Smith slipped down the blindside to add the fifth with six minutes left on the clock. Julien Dupuy kicked three penalties and a drop goal for France while Dan Carter had four conversions and two penalties.
© 2009 Fairfax New Zealand Limited

Myanmar humanitarian worker granted refugee status

A woman who co-ordinated disaster relief work in Myanmar and helped monks flee Government crackdowns there has won refugee status in New Zealand. The businesswoman from Yangon, who has not been named, took part in large-scale demonstrations and facilitated meetings between foreign activists and the pro-democracy opposition, including its leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The woman changed money on the black market to help monks during their protests in 2007 and so they could buy and transport food rations for victims of last year's cyclone. The Refugee Status Appeals Authority says it has no doubt that there is a real risk to the woman's safety if she returns to Myanmar.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Southland buzzes with Burt Munro fans

By Natasha Burling - NewstalkZB
There is no room at the inns this weekend in Southland. The region is hosting the Burt Munro Motorcycle Challenge, which includes a hill race, sprint races and a street race in Wyndham. Southland Motorcycle Club official John Smart says the series means the region is packed to the rafters. He says there are no motel beds left in Wyndham, Gore or Invercargill. He says spirit of Burt Munro is alive and well, as motorcycle enthusiasts gather there this weekend. The land speed world record for under 1000cc motorbikes he set in 1967 has never been beaten.

Saturday, November 28

Santa's hotline open

Telecom's hotline to the North Pole is open. Last year Santa received more than 650,000 messages from excited children and some adults. Telecom is advising well-behaved children to get their wishes in quickly this year, before Santa is overwhelmed by the numbers calling. The phone number is 0800 222 222. Santa can also be emailed from the Telecom (NZ) website.
© 2009 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Cricket-Black Caps steal famous victory over Pakistan

The New Zealand cricket captain Daniel Vettori is crediting the return of pace bowler Shane Bond as key to their thrilling 32-run victory over Pakistan in the first Test at the University Oval in Dunedin. Five late wickets in the final session secured the unlikely victory with Bond's three-wicket bag including the key scalp of 19-year-old Pakistan debutant Umar Akmal, out caught and bowled by man of the match Bond for 75. Set 250 to win after the Black Caps were all out for 153 in the morning, Pakistan needed just 86 runs to win after tea but were all out for 218. Bond's return to Test cricket was a successful one with the Cantabrian claiming man of the match honours. New Zealand lead the three-match series 1-0 with the second Test starting in Wellington on Thursday.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Australia welcomes giant pandas from China

Australia welcomed on Saturday two giant pandas from China zookeepers said they hope will become the first breeding pair in the southern hemisphere. Wang Wang, a four-year-old male, and Funi, a three-year-old female, were flown into their new home in the southern city of Adelaide accompanied by their Chinese keepers. The pair have been given to Adelaide Zoo under an agreement with China, initially as a 10-year loan. The zoo has a record of successfully breeding endangered animals, including red pandas, and there is optimism the pair will eventually produce offspring.
Source: Reuters

Auschwitz survivor dies in Auckland

Aucklander Fred Silberstein, who survived the Nazis' Auschwitz concentration camp to testify at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in 1946, has died at the age of 80. Silberstein was just 14 when he was shipped to Auschwitz with thousands of other Jews in 1943. On arrival at the Nazis' infamous camp he lied about his age, adding a year so he could do manual labour and avoid the death chambers, the immediate fate of most children. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) he underwent surgery by the so-called Angel of Death, Josef Mengele who conducted medical experiments on patients without anaesthetics. Silberstein was one of many former camp inmates who gave evidence at Nuremberg about the wartime barbarities in the concentrations camps. He migrated to New Zealand in 1948 and for the next 60 years tirelessly bore witness to the horrors of the Holocaust.

Australia Extends Benefit Quarantining Beyond Aboriginal Communities

Australia is about to extend the (previous) Howard government imposed benefit quarantining beyond Northern Territory Aboriginal communities across urban and regional parts of the state. Other income management trials are also underway in Queensland and Western Australia. Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said that income management involves quarantining half of a benefit payment for spending on essentials like food and clothing rather than alcohol, drugs or gambling. "Half of the benefit payment is only available by way of an electronic card or other arrangements with Centrelink (the Australian version of Work and Income). This protects the beneficiary from intimidation for or theft of cash and improves the well-being of dependent children." "New participants will include young people who have collected welfare for 3 of the past 6 months; older people who have been on a Parenting (DPB) or Newstart (Unemployment) payment for one of the last two years; people referred by child protection agencies or assessed by Centrelink as requiring budgeting management and victims of domestic violence. Other beneficiaries can voluntarily buy into the scheme and there are various cash incentives available to all income-managed clients for participation and saving."
Source: Lindsay Mitchell

Jumbo quits circus life for Franklin zoo

Jumbo the elephant has packed her trunk and is saying goodbye to the circus. The 36-year-old pachyderm will become the only African elephant at a zoo in New Zealand on her arrival at Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary in Tuakau from Helensville this weekend. The facility is closed to the public until Monday as staff and contractors put the finishing touches to Jumbo's training, entertainment and living enclosure and get her used to her new environment. The sanctuary director and vet, Dr Helen Schofield, says Jumbo has been retired from the Loritz circus. She says the elephant is one of only two in New Zealand.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Right royal barbie

Prince William will enjoy a state dinner with a distinctive New Zealand flavour during his state visit here in January. Instead of a formal sit-down dinner, he will be invited to a barbecue in the gardens of Premier House in Wellington. Lamb chops, tomato sauce, sausages and salads will be on the menu. Prime Minister John Key also plans to invite All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter to 'share a few cold ones' with the Prince.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

New Zealand scientists find new cancer drug

By RUTH HILL - The Dominion Post
Two Kiwi scientists have discovered a new class of anti-cancer medicines that kill tumours without the side effects of traditional therapies. Medicinal chemist Jeffrey Smaill and cancer biologist Adam Patterson, from Auckland University, say their "prodrugs" – inactive compounds triggered by the body's own metabolic processes – have already shown dramatic results in the lab. Their discovery, announced at an international cancer drug conference in Boston this week, is being heralded as a major breakthrough in fighting hard-to-treat cancers, like those of the lungs, brain, pancreas and stomach. Dr Smaill, who has spent 10 years synthesising the compounds, said they worked by targeting the proteins in tumours that tell cells to multiply.

Kiwi scientist makes a twitter breakthrough

By KIRAN CHUG - The Dominion Post
Bird watchers have long waxed lyrical about the benefits of listening to birds, but now a recording of their tweets has led a Kiwi ecologist to a scientific breakthrough. Murray Efford, of Otago University, and American ecologist Deanna Dawson have developed a world-first technique that enables scientists to measure how many birds are in an area by recording them, instead of simply counting them. Dr Efford said the discovery could be used in the future to help measure dolphins, whales, and other animals that lived in areas which made them difficult to count.

Heavy rain warning for Wellington Saturday

Metservice has issued a heavy rain warning for the Wellington region on Saturday. Up to 50mm is expected to fall over urban areas from Wellington City to Waikanae, including the Hutt Valley. The rain was expected to set in by 8am and not ease till early in the evening, though the worst of the downpour should be in the first six hours. Metservice is warning residents to watch for rapidly rising rivers and streams and possible flooding and slips.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Victoria abolishes jumps racing

Steeplechase and hurdle racing in the Australian state of Victoria will be abolished next year. Racing's governing body in Victoria had conceded that the sport was in decline because of mounting safety concerns. Twenty horses have died in jumps races in the past two years. Members of the racing industry have called the decision appalling and unbelievable but it has been hailed by animal welfare groups that have been vigorously campaigning for the ban. The ABC reports that 10 horses died during races and compulsory trials this year, making it the worst season for horse deaths and falls in many years. The decision leaves South Australia as the only place in Australia with jumps racing.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Friday, November 27

Australian opposition leader urged to step down

The deputy leader of Australia's opposition Liberal party has urged Malcolm Turnbull to stand down as leader, amid open warfare in the party. The party is in turmoil following the resignation of seven front benchers over the party's support for the government's Emissions Trading Scheme. The ABC reports that Mr Turnbull refused deputy Julie Bishop's request that he step down, but the broadcaster says his grip on the top job is weakening in the face of an unprecedented rebellion. Earlier, Mr Turnbull warned the Liberals faced wipe-out in a possible double dissolution election on the emissions trade issue.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Fiji budget cuts military allocation, favours education

The Fiji interim government has tabled its 2010 budget which is being described as business friendly and aimed at helping the poor. The education sector will get the biggest allocation. The police will have a budget increase while the military will see a cut. The budget, which expects a deficit of 115 million US dollars, provides for changes to boost tourism which has been a key revenue earner.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Gales, heavy rain spreading

Severe gales are expected to hit Canterbury around midday as a front crawls up the South Island. It was expected to bring heavy rain and winds up the South Island, with strong northwesterlies hitting Wellington and Wairarapa this evening. The MetService said anyone planning outdoor activities should keep up with the latest forecasts and be wary of rapidly rising rivers.

Charity to get 80 percent of telethon funds

It is believed that 80 cents out of every dollar raised at this year's telethon will go towards the charity the money was raised for. A report has been prepared by Trust Investments, commissioned by the KidsCan Charitable Trust. KidsCan StandTall was the sole beneficiary of TV3's Big Night In, which raised just over $2 million. Executive director Julie Helson says the charity is expecting to receive around $1.6 million of that for its programmes. She says the money will benefit tens of thousands of children, stressing that it will not be used for administration.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Bringing in banned products gets costlier

The instant fine for bringing banned products like fruit and meat into the country has been doubled to $400, which the Government says reflects the seriousness of the offence. Conviction in court for the same offence has been raised from $400 to a maximum $1000. The changes were enacted in the Biosecurity Amendment Bill which was passed last night while Parliament was sitting in urgency. Biosecurity Minister David Carter said today there would be a crackdown on travellers who deliberately flouted the law. "Travellers not declaring or disposing of products such as fruit and meat upon arrival pose a significant threat to New Zealand's economic, environmental and social wellbeing," he said.

Key arrives in Trinidad and Tobago

By MARTIN KAY in Trinidad and Tobago -
Prime Minister John Key has arrived to a red carpet welcome in Port of Spain for the Commonwealth heads of Government Meeting which starts tomorrow. He arrived a few hours late in Trinidad and Tobago after a delay in Honolulu caused by unexplained problem with the airforce’s Boeing 757. He immediately went to his hotel for a briefing from Foreign Minister Murray McCully who has been attending a meeting of foreign ministers ahead of the leaders’ summit. Tomorrow Mr Key is scheduled to appear on Al Jazeera Television with veteran interviewer Sir David Frost.

Extremely rare waka (canoe) outrigger dug up

The kaitiakitanga or caretakers of Papanui inlet on the Otago Peninsula want the area recognised as a site of national significance. An extremely rare outrigger from a pre-European waka has been found there. Otakou runanga manager Hoani Langsbury has told Waatea News that an archeological dig two years ago excavated human bones and objects more than 200 years old. That led, he says, to the unearthing of an eroding oval wooden structure that has now been confirmed as being made from both local totara and adzed timber from elsewhere. "One of them is associated with a waka outrigger of which there's only ever been two other finds in New Zealand," he says.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Overlander rail more popular than ever

Passenger numbers on the Overlander, which was threatened with closure three years ago, have increased 47% so far this financial year. KiwiRail says that amounts to 10,000 more people taking the service, which means more than 67,000 are now using it annually. Passenger numbers have grown on KiwiRail's long-distance journeys, which spokesperson Nigel Parry says is due in part to increased domestic tourism and competitive fares. The TranzAlpine and TranzCoastal routes in the South Island have recorded passenger gains of 8% and 23% respectively.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, November 26

Invading camels to be shot in Australian town

ALICE SPRINGS, Australia – State authorities plan to corral about 6,000 wild camels with helicopters and gun them down after they overran a small town in Australia's Outback in search of water, trampling fences, smashing tanks and contaminating supplies. The Northern Territory government announced its plan Wednesday for Docker River, a town of 350 residents where thirsty camels have been arriving daily for weeks because of drought conditions in the region. The camels, which are not native to Australia but were introduced in the 1840s, have smashed water tanks, approached houses to try to take water from air conditioning units, and knocked down fencing at the small airport runway. The government plans to use helicopters to herd the camels about nine miles (15 kilometers) outside of town next week, where they will be shot. Camels were first brought to Australia to help explorers travel through the desert, and now an estimated 1 million roam wild across the country.

Greens launch 'good news' farming website

A new website recognising the innovative and environmentally friendly ways some farmers operate has been launched by the Green Party. Conceived by the party's agriculture spokesperson, former co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, it showcases 18 farms that she says have found creative ways of protecting water quality and drought-proofing their properties while reducing pesticide and fertiliser use. She says the aim of the website is to share good-news stories with both the farming community and the general public.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Not enough skilled NZers to fill oil and gas jobs

New Zealand's oil and gas industry, struggling to find enough skilled local people to fill vacancies, has been given the green light to advertise offshore. Acting head of immigration Lesley Haines says New Zealand's training systems for those interested in pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry aren't keeping up with the times. Ten occupations, most of them in the oil and gas sector, have been added to the Department of Labour's immediate skill shortage list. They include geologists, geophysicists and earth science technicians. Ms Haines says that adding them to the list allows employers to look overseas without having to try locally first.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Dolphin nicks surfboard ... no charges laid

Moko the dolphin has been at it again and has pinched another surfboard. However, this time it has been reported to police who are concerned someone could get seriously hurt. For the second day in a row, Moko has taken a board from a surfer at a beach north of Gisborne. The board washed ashore eventually, but by then the surfer had already called police to complain. Police have stopped short of issuing an arrest warrant, but say they are worried someone may get seriously hurt if the animal's bizarre behaviour continues.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

The cane toad that almost got away

The manager of a hiking business says quick thinking by his staff prevented the escape of a cane toad that had evaded a biosecurity check at Queenstown Airport. The poisonous toad arrived in the luggage of an Australian tourist last week. Ultimate Hikes general manager Noel Saxon says the woman, from Cairns, was at a briefing at the company's store before walking the Milford Track the next day, when she noticed the toad in her plastic bag. He says some of the Australians in the store recognised it as a cane toad and staff captured it. The toad was killed and sent to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for analysis.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Possum numbers drop by half since 1980s

The estimated number of possums in New Zealand has fallen to about 30 million, down from highs of 70 million in the 1980s. Landcare Research came up with the figure after it was asked to review the impact of control measures around the country. Possum control is carried out over an area of about 13 million hectares, which is around half the total area of vegetation in New Zealand.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Kiwi principal in first for English school

By NATHAN BEAUMONT - The Dominion Post
A Wellington woman who has become the first female to be appointed head teacher of a prestigious English boarding school hopes her Kiwi background will give her some "street cred". Felicity Lusk , 53, will become the first woman to lead one of Oxfordshire's top schools, Abingdon School, when she takes over the reins in September. Headmistress of the all-girls Oxford High School for the last 12 years, she was proud to snare the job and break a 750-year tradition. "It's taken Abingdon School a long time and I'm very excited. I do feel that being the first woman head teacher is a bit special but leadership in education isn't about gender," she told the Oxford Mail newspaper.

Glitch grounds PM's plane enroute to Chogm

Prime Minister John Key's trip to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago has hit an early glitch after the military plane he is travelling on encountered technical problems in Honolulu. The air force Boeing 757 has been delayed for at least three hours while the unspecified problem is fixed. Mr Key is taking the leaders of Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Vanuatu with him to the CHOGM summit, where climate change and the global economic downturn are high on the agenda.

Wednesday, November 25

Turnbull leadership challenge fails

Malcolm Turnbull remains Australia's leader of the opposition. A leadership challenge by Kevin Andrews this afternoon has failed 48 votes to 35. That should mean Mr Turnbull's Liberal party will back the Emissions Trading Scheme proposed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

'Silver fern visa' to lure skilled migrants

A new "silver fern visa" will lure young highly skilled workers from around the world to New Zealand, Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman announced today. The new policy will be implemented next April, giving people the opportunity to look for long-term work for up to nine months. Once they have a job, people could apply for a two-year working visa, which could possibly lead to residency under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Microsoft's top Kiwi moving on

A New Zealander with one of the top jobs at Microsoft will be putting down his computer mouse at the end of the year. Chris Liddell has been the chief financial officer at the world's largest software company since May 2005, after joining from paper and packaging maker International Paper. Microsoft has issued a statement saying Liddell is leaving the company at the end of the year in order to look for a bigger job at another company. Mr Lidell, who is 51, previously headed Carter Holt Harvey, and has worked as an investment banker.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Tolley's rat tale shocks teachers

The executive of the secondary teachers' union were left in "stunned silence" after Education Minister Anne Tolley read them a children's book about an "incredibly happy rat". Tolley gave her "light-hearted" reading to the Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) executive meeting in Wellington last Thursday. "People were shocked. They were surprised and they were trying to be polite, but it was surprising," PPTA president Kate Gainsford said. "Honestly, it was unusual." Tolley has been under growing pressure from the PPTA and the primary teachers' union, the New Zealand Educational Institute. The unions are awaiting details of possible teacher lay-offs. The Government plans to save $50 million in teacher staff salaries, but has yet to explain how these savings will be achieved. The book, The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley, said Riley the rat wanted some fruit "and maybe a couple of slugs" on Tuesday or Friday. "People, of course, want more than that, which is a shame because it is about all you need apart from a cup of tea and some toast and maybe not the slug," the book had said. Gainsford said it concluded: "The answer is very simple really, you just have to be happy with a lot less." Tolley had repeatedly told sector leaders to prepare for tighter budgets, but yesterday denied Riley the rat was a metaphor

Record bean, pea harvests expected

While it's been a disrupted growing season for some crops, vegetable processor Heinz Watties is expecting record harvests of peas and broad beans in Canterbury this year. This year's crop of broad beans is expected to be about 65% larger than the usual 600 tonnes. The pea harvest started on Wednesday, and over the season Heinz Watties is expecting to harvest 30,000 tonnes of peas, the product of record plantings in July and August. Agriculture manager Mark Daniels says the Hornby factory in Christchurch will be processing frozen, canned and dehydrated peas around the clock for the next three months, at the rate of more than 400 tonnes a day. Mark Daniels says the increased plantings of peas and broad beans are to meet growing demand, especially in export markets, which take most of the production.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Child health monitor aims to pick up problems early

Paediatricians say the launch of a system of tracking the health of children affected by the economic downturn will allow adverse trends to be picked up early and acted on. The New Zealand Children's Social Health Monitor was launched at the Paediatric Society's conference in Hamilton on Wednesday. It consists of a website bringing together the latest figures on child health, including infant mortality rates and hospital admissions. Dr Liz Craig, from the Child and Youth Epidemiology Service, says in hard economic times some children suffer from not being taken to the doctor, living in over-crowded homes and getting inadequate food. She says research from previous economic downturns shows children suffer the most, but in the past, such information has been revealed years after the event. The website will track and update indicators and any deterioration can be brought to the attention of policymakers, she says.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Take-off Date Set For Golden Years OE

From January 2010, superannuitants and veterans pensioners will be able to take their entitlement with them while travelling overseas. Paula Bennett, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has confirmed 5 January 2010 as the date the Social Assistance (Payment of Superannuation and Veteran's Pension Overseas) Amendment Act comes into force. A superannuitant or veterans pensioner will be able to receive up to the full rate of their entitlement while travelling or living abroad, depending on how long they've resided in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65 years. Previously, they only received 50 percent of their payments while living overseas. If you want to know if the changes will effect you, please go to:

International Monetary Fund urges Fiji to stop borrowing

The International Monetary Fund has urged the interim government in Fiji to stop borrowing. Fiji Village reports the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Chief Ray Brooks says the government must reduce its reliance on the Fiji National Provident Fund as a source of finance. He says reforms are also needed within the provident fund. After a two week visit to Fiji, Mr Brooks said the government must shrink its expenditure, and said one way to do this was to reduce spending salaries and wages. The Reserve Bank of Fiji has said the government’s outstanding debt totalled 1.5 billion US dollars at the end of June, or 51.3 percent of gross domestic product.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Asian business grads positive about NZ

Most Asian business graduates are positive about their experiences of living and studying in New Zealand. A new Asia New Zealand Foundation report shows 71 percent enjoyed studying here, with just over half saying their studies had matched their expectations. Almost half of the survey's participants also wanted to remain in New Zealand after graduating, at least for a while, to launch their professional careers. A majority of the students surveyed also said maintaining links to New Zealand was a clear priority.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Motorbike enthusiasts flock to sale preview

The largest auction of heritage motorbikes in Australasia will be held in Auckland on Wednesday, as machines worth millions of dollars are put up for sale. Half a dozen owners are parting with collectables covering a cross-section of British and American motorbikes of the 20th century. The oldest is an Edwardian 1904 Brown, says Webb's auction house managing director Neil Campbell. He describes it as a bit of an oddity, a pushbike with a motor thrown into the middle of it, which the rider has to cycle to start.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

MPs put their bodies on the line

Some MPs will put their bodies on the line tonight in a bid to promote the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The Parliamentary rugby team will take to the field against an invitation diplomatic team from 13 embassies in Wellington. The rugby union has donated jerseys, which will be bought by the players with proceeds going to the Samoa tsunami relief fund. The match takes place at the Prince of Wales II Park, in the Wellington suburb of Mt Cook, at 6.30pm.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Tuesday, November 24

Food Safety agency enters Halal-certification arena

The Government is stepping into an arena it has previously tried to stay clear of - the certification of New Zealand exports as "halal", or "clean" in terms of Islamic religious rules. New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) has announced that organisations which certify halal meat for export will be subject to government oversight "to standardise halal certification and improve assurances to our trading partners". "While the proposed model focuses currently on meat exports, it could be extended to include dairy products in the future," said NZFSA market access director Tony Zohrab. NZFSA has added halal export certification for Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East to the list of additional assurances it provides to importing countries. Halal certification in New Zealand has not previously been directly regulated by government officials.

Harawira likely to come back, but must apologise

Racist Maori Party MP Hone Harawira looks set to stay with the party, but he will have to apologise to New Zealand for his comments. Maori Party Co-leader Pita Sharples said after meetings of the party and his iwi it appeared Mr Harawira would stay with the party, not go independent as the member for Tai Tokerau. "It is looking that way the way his iwi is talking, he's talking and the meetings I have been to, yeah," Dr Sharples said. Asked if there would be conditions on that he said: "Of course an apology to NZ for various statements and behaviour would be the minimum." Mr Harawira sparked controversy after dropping out of a parliamentary delegation for a day's sightseeing in Paris with his wife and then made matters worse in an email saying "white motherf-----s have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries''

Good reef! It wasn't an iceberg after all

A report of an iceberg floating near Stewart Island has proved to be premature. On Tuesday morning an Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist using satellite technology said he had detected an iceberg floating just 30 kilometres off Stewart Island. That news prompted Helicopters Otago to send to down a flight - which found that the iceberg was in fact an underwater reef.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Antarctic ice melting 10% faster than thought

Scientists have discovered Antarctica is in worse shape than first thought. It has been known for years that the Antarctic's western ice sheet is being swallowed into the sea. Now new research shows the Antarctic's eastern ice sheet, long thought to be unaffected by climate change, is melting 10% faster than it can produce ice. "The water coming in under west Antarctica is actually warmer by about one degree so it's actually melting the base of the ice shelf," says Lou Sanson, Antarctica New Zealand CEO. Scientists from the University of Texas measured the total ice mass of Antarctica using satellites and found east Antarctica has been shedding 57 billion tonnes a year since 2006.
Source: ONE News

Regulator warns against 'cure all' products

Medicines regulator Medsafe has compiled a list of 65 overseas websites selling unapproved herbal medicines and is warning New Zealanders to steer clear of the potentially dangerous products. The products had not been tested for quality, safety or efficacy in New Zealand and had not been approved for distribution, Medsafe compliance manager Derek Fitzgerald said. Medsafe began an investigation into the websites after complaints from New Zealand and overseas. All 65 sites were run by internet-based company Gordon's Herbal Research Centre (GHRC), which advertised "cure alls" for various illnesses and medical conditions. All 65 sites are listed on the Ministry of Health website.

Salvation Army release second Christmas CD

50,000 copies of the Salvation Army's Christmas CD are available in stores now. Last year the first ever Christmas CD " It's a Wrap" sold 38,000 copies and raised nearly $170,000 for the charity. Major Robert Ross says after the CD's huge success last year, he is expecting this year to turn out even better which would raise about $200.000. The money will be distributed to the Salvation Army fund, where it is spent on food during the Christmas Season. The CD "It's a Wrap 2" is available for a $5 donation at Countdown, Foodtown and Woolworth Stores.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

More funding for electric trains

The Government has approved funding of $500 million for Auckland's train network. The money will go towards purchasing electric trains. Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the procurement process can now get underway early in the new year and the first electric trains will be operational from 2013. After double tracking, electrification is the important next stage in the development of Auckland's rail network. Rail is an increasingly important way for Aucklanders to get to work each day." Mr Joyce says Auckland can look forward to a fleet of modern electric trains running on a more reliable rail network.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Gannets not so monogamous after all

Australasian gannets once thought to pair-bond for life have a divorce rate similar to humans. Steffi Ismar from Auckland University says it has always been assumed the birds are monogamous, and they have been held up as an example of fidelity for humans, however, her research shows that the divorce rate from one breeding season to the next is around 40 percent. Ms Ismar says the novelty of this finding may say as much about how humans view the world as about the birds themselves. The study also showed that individuals who divorced and found a new mate were less likely to successfully raise a chick in their first breeding season compared with those who kept the previous year's partner.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Swiss skipper rescued

A man attempting to sail around the world has been rescued 800 kilometres west of Stewart Island. The Swiss skipper of the 16-metre yacht Horizons reported steering problems in rough seas on Sunday night. He was later spotted by the Orion search aircraft. The Rescue Coordination Centre diverted a cruise liner to pick up the man, with the ship reaching him around 8am. A spokesman for the centre says the sailor is safe and well onboard the Seven Seas Mariner and en route to Milford Sound. Horizons remains abandoned off the coast of Stewart Island, prompting a warning for all vessels in the area.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Woman played classical music to cannabis plants

A New Plymouth woman who played classical music to her cannabis plants to encourage them to grow has been sentenced to community work. Solo mother-of-three Zarah Murphy cultivated 20 cannabis plants in a room with photos of healthy plants as role models on the walls and played them "nice classical music", her lawyer Pamela Jensen told New Plymouth District Court on Monday. Jensen said Murphy was growing the plants for her own use, to treat her diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, the Taranaki Daily News reported. She was undergoing psychotherapy for her condition and could possibly attend drug counselling in future, Jensen said.

DHB league tables "completely pointless"

A former head of the Medical Association is describing District Health Board league tables as completely pointless. Christchurch GP Pippa MacKay says the Government's move to publish performance results of all the country's DHBs is undermining public confidence in hospitals. She says it is possible that in an effort to look good, health boards will look at ways of improving their statistics instead of looking after patients. Dr MacKay says she is not in favour of any sort of league table, particularly not in health. She says it would be a concern if DHBs started spending time and money manipulating their statistics because of the national comparisons.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Second most used arena in the world is...

Vector Arena in Auckland is one of the busiest venues for its size in the world. Statistics from industry magazine Venues Today shows it is the second most used venue in the world in the 10,000 to 15,000 seating category. Vector Arena says it has had 59 headline events since the beginning of the year, which have drawn a combined audience of close to 280,000. Another 30,000 people are expected to pass through its doors before Christmas.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Monday, November 23

NZ study shows Cook Islanders more likely to get heart disease

New results from a health study in New Zealand show that Cook Islanders are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than members of other Pacific communities in this country. Researchers at the University of Otago looked specifically at Pacific mortality rates in New Zealand among the four biggest ethnic groups, Samoans, Tongans, Niueans and Cook Islanders. Cook Island Maori have about a 20 to 30-percent higher causal mortality rate than Samoan or the other three Pacific groups and in particularly for cardiovascular disease where nearly two thirds higher mortality which was a clearly significant finding, a substantial finding, and has generated quite a lot of interest.”
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Warning issued over online herbal scam

Medicines regulator Medsafe has compiled a list of 65 overseas websites selling unapproved herbal medicines and is warning New Zealanders to steer clear of the potentially dangerous products. The products had not been tested for quality, safety or efficacy in New Zealand and had not been approved for distribution, Medsafe compliance manager Derek Fitzgerald says. Medsafe began an investigation into the websites after complaints from New Zealand and overseas. All 65 sites were run by internet-based company Gordon's Herbal Research Centre (GHRC), which advertised "cure alls" for various illnesses and medical conditions. Investigations indicate that all 65 websites are operated from overseas and are a money-making scam." All 65 sites are listed on the Ministry of Health website.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Glaciers still losing ice - latest NIWA survey

New Zealand's glaciers are continuing to lose significant ice mass. That's the finding of the latest snowline survey by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). NIWA snow and ice scientist Dr Jordy Hendrikx says it shows the impact of global warming. For the annual survey, which has been going since 1977, pictures are taken from planes of 50 glaciers in the Southern Alps and the Kaikoura range. According to this year's survey, between April 2008 and March 2009 the snowline was an average of about 95 metres above where it would need to be to keep the ice mass constant.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Campaign launched to cut patient smoker numbers

Middlemore Hospital has just rolled out a new campaign aimed at curbing the number of its patients who smoke. A report by the Ministry of Health has revealed only 10 percent of the hospital's patients are given advice on how to quit smoking. That is well short of the Government set goal of 80 percent. Chief operations manager Ron Dunham says those figures were collected two months ago. "We've just started a campaign to ensure that we speak to every patient in the hospital, previous to that we were just leaving it up to the good will of individuals," Mr Dunham says given the burden smoking related conditions put on the health system, it is incredibly important to address the issue.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Refunds offered to disappointed Campbell fans

The promoters are offering to refund anyone who was unhappy with Glen Campbell's show in Rotorua at the weekend. Fans said Campbell's show on Saturday night was so bad that people started walking out after the second song. The singer went on to cancel his Sunday night gig in Wellington, after falling ill with laryngitis. Promoter Andrew McManus says it is unfortunate that Mr Campbell's voice went out on him on Saturday night. He says Mr Campbell is sorry about the show, and hopes to return to New Zealand one day in the future and perform properly. Tickets to both the Rotorua and Wellington can be refunded at their point of purchase.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

New home loan scheme in effect today

First home buyers in high-priced areas of New Zealand will now be able to borrow more under the Government's 'Welcome Home Loan' scheme. The increase from $280,000 to $350,000 was signaled in August, but comes into effect today. Housing Minister Phil Heatley says the change reflects the fact that bank deposit requirements have increased over the past 12 to 18 months. The nature of a 'Welcome Home Loan' means that someone wanting to borrow $350,000 will only need to provide a deposit of $22,500.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

New ePassport available from today

The NZ passport is getting a make over with the roll out of a new style ePassport from today. The new ePassport contains new artwork and security features. Gone is the dark navy cover an in its place is black with a silver fern design. Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy says the security features in the new style ePassport will make it extremely difficult for anyone to make counterfeit passports. He says the new style of passport will be gradually phased in over the next few months.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

John Key to meet the Queen

Prime Minister John Key will be the first leader to have a meeting with Queen Elizabeth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) this week. Mr Key and his delegation fly to Port of Spain, the Capital of Trinidad and Tobago, on Wednesday to attend the biennial Chogm. "I think I am the first leader seeing the Queen, and I am doing the toast for the Queen as well," Mr Key said on TVNZ's Breakfast programme this morning. A spokeswoman for Mr Key said he was invited to make the toast at the Friday dinner hosted by the Queen - it is an honour given to the most recently-elected country leader.

Limits imposed on dolphin watching off Kaikoura

The Department of Conservation is to cap dolphin watching activity off the Kaikoura coast by commercial boat operators. The department says no new permits for watching and swimming with dusky dolphins will be granted for five years. Nelson-Marlborough conservator Neil Clifton says the new management plan to protect dusky dolphins follows research showing that the mammals are affected by boat activity. Under new DoC regulations, commercial operators will have to reduce their trip numbers and limit swimming with dolphin activity.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

100 years since Mt Aspiring triumph

By Martin Johnston
Today marks 100 years since the first ascent of Mt Aspiring, New Zealand's highest peak outside the Aoraki-Mt Cook region. Around 1pm on November 23, 1909, guides Jack Clarke and Alec Graham and their client Bernard Head stepped on to the 3027m summit, where they spent five, freezing minutes. Clarke was a former chief guide at Mt Cook and was among the three-strong group to make the first ascent of Cook on Christmas Day in 1894. The Aspiring trio chopped steps with their long-handled ice-axes up the West Face, a steep route subsequently climbed only rarely on the mountain known as the Matterhorn of the South. Their expedition, which began in the Lake Wanaka area, took around a fortnight.

Jumbo problem for SPCA

The SPCA and Weber Brothers Circus are pondering what to do with a retired elephant. After a 28 year career in the circus, Jumbo the elephant is about to put her feet up, but the experts are not sure where. Her most recent role has been touring with the Loritz Circus, a subsidiary of Weber Brothers for the past 12 months. Weber Bros says the 36-year-old African elephant has been a real crowd favourite. "It's always been our intention to ensure she has the opportunity to enjoy the second half of her life at a less hectic pace and out of the public eye. The SPCA is helping with plans for her future, saying the elephant is very bright eyed and will be able to easily manage a change in environment. It is asking for public donations to help pay for ongoing costs in looking after her while she is in temporary care.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Kiwi wins Australian Idol

Stan Walker beat Hayley Warner in the final last night. The 18-year-old wins a $200,000 artist's development fund and a recording contract with Sony. His single entitled Black Box will also be released. Growing up in New Zealand before moving to Australia, Stan Walker says he experienced some troubled times and credits music and God for steering him on a new path. Of all the contestants in the competition, he took the most risks, delivering songs as diverse as Purple Rain, Its A Man's World and even Beyonces Single Ladies. Walker was born in Melbourne, but raised in New Zealand
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Sunday, November 22

Home insulation scheme gets funding boost

The Government has brought forward funding for the subsidised home insulation scheme after initial demand outstripped expectations. In the first four months of the scheme's operation, almost 20,000 homes have been refitted, well ahead of the target to refit 27,000 in the first year. The Government has set aside $323 million to fund the scheme over the next four years, and has a target to insulate 180,000 homes. Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee says money earmarked for future years has now been brought forward.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Estimated $28 billion to maintain NZ's water system

A $28 billion price tag has been put on maintaining the country's water supply and waste water disposal. The total figure is calculated from 2009 council plans identifying the cost of capital and maintenance work required on the water system over the next ten years. A spokesperson for the lobby group Water New Zealand, Murray Gibb, says councils may need to borrow in order to maintain a working water system. Mr Gibb says New Zealand's use of domestic water is significantly higher than most other countries.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

NSW fire jumps containment lines

A bushfire emergency warning has been issued for residents in three townships in central-west New South Wales. The ABC reports that the blaze has jumped containment lines and is heading towards the towns of Rylstone, Kandos and Clandulla. The Rural Fire Service (RFS) says about 1000 firefighters are battling more than 100 blazes across the state as temperatures head towards the 40-degree mark. The rural fire service says the fast moving blaze which is being fanned by strong winds has jumped containment lines and is now burning out of control.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

El Nino puffs up for a big blow

By LOIS CAIRNS - Sunday Star Times
Climate scientists are re-thinking their outlook for the summer as the El Nino weather pattern strengthens and threatens to bring windier weather to our shores. This year's El Nino has ramped up during spring, with water temperatures in some regions of the tropical Pacific Ocean up to 6 degrees C above normal. Armed with this new data, climate scientists at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) will this week begin reviewing their climate outlook for the next couple of months. They had thought El Nino would have only a minor impact on New Zealand's weather because it had started out as a weak phenomenon, but it is picking up steam. Climate scientists in Australia are warning this year's El Nino could now turn into a significant event and lead to drier than normal conditions in eastern parts of Australia. Last week eastern Australia was in the grip of a fearsome heatwave. Firefighters were battling bushfires in four states, with temperatures reaching 42C in Adelaide, 37C in Canberra, and 34C in Melbourne.

Speediest texter will be named today

The country's fastest texter will be named today. The finals of a national competition are being held at the Girls' Day Out in Auckland. Finalists from Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland will face a yet-to-be-disclosed texting challenge. The winner picks up a cheque for $10,000, and gets to compete at the LG Mobile World Cup in New York. Prize money there is $100,000 US.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Rugby-All Blacks beat England, Scotland upset Australia

The All Blacks have recorded their eighth successive win over England with a 19-6 victory at Twickenham. The teams were tied 6-all at halftime with Dan Carter and Jonny Wilkinson kicking two penalties apiece. Carter overtook Andrew Mehrtens as New Zealand's top international points scorer before the break but also missed two penalty attempts. Halfback Jimmy Cowan scored the only try of the match in the 57th minute after relentless recyclng by New Zealand as they surged on to the attack. England did put the New Zealanders under pressure at times late in the game but good defence by the All Blacks kept them try-less. Meanwhile Scotland ended a 16-test losing streak against Australia, beating the Wallabies 9-8 at Murrayfield with Matt Giteau failing to covert his own try in the last minute to steal victory. In other internationals, France beat Samoa 43-5, Wales beat Argentina 33-16, South Africa beat Italy 32-10 and Ireland beat Fiji 41-6. The Black Ferns women's team has lost 10-3 to England.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Martinborough pinot strikes gold

A Martinborough pinot noir has taken the top trophy in this year's Air New Zealand wine awards. The Julicher Pinot Noir 2008, produced by Julicher Estate, was named Champion Wine of the Show at last night's awards ceremony in Christchurch. It was the first time in the competition's almost 30-year history that a Martinborough pinot noir had taken top honours and the win was "truly deserved", said judges' chairman Steve Smith, a Master of Wine. A Central Otago Riesling - Olssens Annieburn Riesling 2009 - was named top sustainable wine.

Wind and rain severe

MetService is warning of severe weather in parts of the country. Heavy rain ahead of a front will hit the ranges of Buller, northwest Nelson and the Tararua Range tonight and overnight. Strong northwesterlies ahead of the front are reaching gale strength in parts of the lower North Island tonight, and could reach severe gale force tonight and overnight in exposed parts of the Wairarapa.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

NSW bushfires burn as temperatures set to soar

Bushfires are continuing to burn across New South Wales in Australia on Saturday as firefighters work to build containment lines. Homes in the central western area of the state are under threat from a bushfire being fuelled by extreme weather conditions, the ABC reports. NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd says crews are working to protect properties at Rylstone, south of Mudgee, where a fire is burning 8km west of the town. He says winds have fanned the blaze and it is now large and moving fast towards properties in the area. Temperatures are set to soar, with warnings of a "code red" catastrophic fire danger in the Upper and Lower Central West Plains and total fire bans across the state. People in code-red areas are advised to leave their homes.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, November 21

Fiji regime seizes broadcasting licences

Australia says the military regime in Fiji has seized broadcast licences after the interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was given new powers. Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the action was carried out by decree, which does not allow any court or other agency to overturn the decision. "The interim Fiji military government has made changes to its broadcasting and communications arrangements and has effectively seized licences and reallocated those licences without compensation to the original broadcasting licence holders," Mr Smith said. "It has absolute power to renew or redistribute them without any compensation to those whose licences are stripped."
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Buy your furniture or we'll sell it, Crown tells ministers

Cabinet ministers are being told to buy the furniture and other chattels in their ministerial houses or face them being sold as the Crown terminates their leases and moves out of the property business. The new bulk-funded accommodation allowance for ministers takes effect from this month, after an overhaul of the housing system ordered by Prime Minister John Key. Under the changes, all ministers from electorates outside Wellington, except the six in Crown-owned homes, will receive lump sums of $37,500 a year, or $30,000 if they live in their own properties. But they will now have to organise their own accommodation, pay their own utility bills, and sign leases in their own names, details released yesterday under the Official Information Act show. An Internal Affairs Department report says a list of all the chattels in each official ministerial home is being compiled, and some items will be taken and installed in Crown-owned residences. The remainder will be valued and either offered to ministers staying in the houses or auctioned. Ministers will also have to get used to not having any staff to change lightbulbs or organise a plumber. They will have to insure their own goods and organise their own cleaning.

Worldly take on dyslexia

By BRONWYN TORRIE - Manawatu Standard
A Marton woman will travel the world to research schools specialising in teaching dyslexic students, thanks to former British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill. Margaret Stewart, 50, was one of 13 Kiwis to receive a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship this week, worth $5000. Churchill, who was thought to have had dyslexia, believed world peace and greater international understanding could be promoted through ordinary people travelling to other countries and experiencing other cultures. Mrs Stewart, a Resource Teacher: Learning Behaviour (RTLB) will venture to Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom next year to see how schools identify, and teach students with, dyslexia. "We've got a different system and a different point of view," she said. "We don't have and hopefully never will have specific dyslexic schools like they do in the UK." The Ministry of Education has granted her sabbatical leave for the second term of the school year to travel.

NZ call for US to remove dairy export subsidies

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser says the United States should follow the European Union's lead and remove dairy export subsidies. The EU re-introduced the subsidies in January this year, but has been scaling them back since October as international dairy prices have improved. Mr Groser says the EU's removal of the remaining export subsidies sends an encouraging message to the international dairy market. He says the US justified its re-introduction of dairy export subsidies on the basis of the Europeans having done so, and he is now waiting for Washington to remove them. Mr Groser says it is important that other countries do not revert to export subsidies as a response to market conditions.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Minister attending defence meeting in Canada

Defence Minister Wayne Mapp is heading to Canada to attend a formal bilateral defence meeting and to discuss research, science and technology issues. Dr Mapp will attend the first Halifax International Security forum in Nova Scotia which will seek solutions to regional and global security issues. The meeting will also be attended by US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates. Dr Mapp says New Zealand has a close and friendly bilateral defence relationship with Canada.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Moro bar production to move to Australia

The Moro bar – Cadbury's best-selling chocolate bar in New Zealand – is set to be made in Australia, along with other popular Kiwi treats including Perky Nana, Crunchie, Jet Planes and Eskimos. However, New Zealand will become a specialist centre for boxed chocolates, exporting 80 per cent of its confectionery to Australia and Asia. The move is part of a restructuring that includes closing the Cadbury factory in Auckland, another one in Australia, and a new factory in Thailand now making Minties and other chewy lollies. Once all the changes have been implemented, 265 job will have been lost in New Zealand.
The Press

Olympians join hundreds in harbour swim

Olympians Danyon Loader and Moss Burmester have joined hundreds of swimmers taking part in the annual crossing of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. About 1300 people will tackle the 2.8km course, swimming from Bayswater to the Viaduct Harbour from 10am on Saturday. Race director Scott Rice says the event has attracted a broad range of competitors, making the field one of the strongest in the event's history. Marine traffic has been stopped and Waitemata Harbour will be reopen to boats from 12.30pm.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Maternal deaths potentially avoidable, report shows

Almost half of the maternal deaths in New Zealand in 2007 were potentially avoidable, the Government has been told. The latest report of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee has been released and shows 11 women died while pregnant or soon after giving birth in 2007. Five of the deaths involved factors such as management of hypertension or complex problems and were potentially avoidable, the report says. It recommends better management for pregnant women with complex medical conditions and says there is also a need for more accurate early reporting of births.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Friday, November 20

Return to spender - lost mail on sale

Six wedding dresses, a didgeridoo, a toupee and a massage table are among thousands of items lost in Australia's mail system in the past year and now being sold for charity after nobody claimed them. Australia Post said the six wedding dresses would be sold in Melbourne on Sunday, where organisers are expecting to raise around A$60,000. "I think most have been worn once and they might have been sent to the cleaners and just never returned. It's a shame," Australia Post spokeswoman Melanie Ward told Reuters. Around a million letters and parcels become lost in the post each year in Australia's most populous state of New South Wales because they don't have the correct name and address, or return to sender details.
Source: Reuters

Sewage to power vehicles

The biggest bio-crude oil research plant in the world has been launched in Christchurch. After 12 years perfecting the technique, human waste can now be turned into energy, in a low cost and renewable way. Five hectares of algae is super charged with carbon dioxide, with the algae roasting at almost 400 degrees celsius, turning it from useless sludge into bio-crude oil.
Source: ONE News

New Tonga women’s crisis centre to apply for NZ Aid funding

NZ Aid says it’s too early to confirm whether it’ll fund a newly-opened emergency service for women in Tonga. All but one of the 17 staff from the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children walked out at the end of October to form a new NGO called the Women and Children Crisis Centre. The co-ordinator, ’Ofa-ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, says there’s no funding for salaries yet so her staff are working as volunteers. She says NZ Aid pays the salary costs for the national centre and she’s applying for the same funding for the crisis centre. But NZ Aid’s media advisor, Adham Crichton, says it’s too early to confirm whether his organisation will fund two organisations offering a smiliar service.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Fires burning in 3 Australian states

Bushfires continue to burn across three Australian states - New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria - as temperatures soar past 40 degrees in bushfire-prone areas. The highest "code-red" catastrophic fire warning has been declared in New South Wales, following a similar declaration in South Australia. It's the first use of the warning since a new national alert system was introduced in the wake of Victoria's Black Saturday fires. People in code-red areas should leave.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Free museum entry for Aucklanders

Aucklanders will be able to visit the Auckland Museum for free starting December 4. In exchange, the voluntary admission fee will be doubled to 10 dollars for people from outside the region. Museum director Dr Vanda Vitali says the free entry will encourage Aucklanders to come and see the improvements, which include new exterior lighting the mark the 80th birthday of the museum. It is expected free entry will end in February.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Teen sailor celebrates equator crossing

Australian teen sailor Jessica Watson "partied" over the phone with family in Central Otago as she crossed the equator in her world record bid. Watson, 16, set sail on Ella's Pink Lady from Sydney on October 18, in her attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. Her mother Julie is from Dunedin, her father Roger from Wellington, and she holds New Zealand and Australian passports. The equator is a key milestone of her eight-month journey, which requires a crossing to qualify for the record books. Watson crossed the equator early this morning. Now two days ahead of schedule, she is expected to reach her next major milestone – Cape Horn, the most southerly point of South America – in another 36 days.

Sharks invade top fishing area

An invasion of marauding bronze whaler sharks is threatening the existence of one of the best areas in New Zealand for catching kingfish. The source of numerous world record-breaking kingfish, the waters around Volkner Rocks, northwest of White Island in the eastern Bay of Plenty, have fallen victim to a plague of sharks, says fishing charterboat owner Rick Pollock. Mr Pollock, who has fished in the area for 32 years, said there were literally hundreds of sharks in the area, ranging in weight from an estimated 40 kilograms to a massive 300kg.

Thursday, November 19

Catastrophic fire warnings in NSW, SA

Bushfires are raging in two Australian states after temperatures soared, with "code-red" catastrophic fire warnings in force in South Australia and New South Wales. Soaring temperatures and strengthening winds have emergency services across the two states on high alert. The Country Fire Service (CFS) says the fire at the township of Streaky Bay is extremely dangerous and it's urging residents to go indoors and stay off roads. The service also reports a number of fires from lightning and storm activity across the Eyre Peninsula. Catastrophic fire risk conditions have been declared on the state's west coast, the eastern Eyre Peninsula and the lower Eyre Peninsula. In New South Wales, a fire was burning at Sawn Rocks, northeast of Narrabri, in the Kerringle State Forest.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Japanese whaling fleet departs for Antarctic

Environmental group Greenpeace says Japanese whaling ships have left for the annual hunt in Antarctic waters. Three ships have set off on the five-month voyage and are likely to meet opposition from anti-whaling groups. Activists, especially the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, have harrassed whalers in recent years by using their ships to disrupt the hunt.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Plane ditches into the sea near Norfolk Island

A medical evacuation flight heading from Samoa to Melbourne was forced to ditch into the sea near Norfolk Island on Wednesday night. A government spokesman told ONE News the plane was returning from Apia, Samoa to pick up fuel but was unable to land because of rain and fog. Norfolk Island finance minister Neville Christian told reporter Garth Bray that the pilot made several attempts to land before choosing to ditch into the ocean as the plane began to run low on fuel. A New Zealand B3 Orion was due to be despatched at daylight on Thursday but watchers around the coast spotted the lights on the lifejackets and rescuers were able to direct boats to the area. Christian says the six people on board had to keep themselves afloat for about 90 minutes before the boats could reach them.
Source: ONE News

Water entered Tonga ferry several times, inquiry told

A crew member on the Tongan ferry which sank in August has told an inquiry water had entered the ferry on previous voyages. Uasike Tupou was appearing before the Royal Commission investigating the sinking of the Princess Ashika, in which more than 70 people died. Mr Tupou said a couple of inches of water entered the vessel's cargo hold during its first and third voyages in Tonga following its arrival from Fiji in July. He said after the vessel's second voyage he saw a hole more than 1.5 metres wide on the port side, and that sheet metal was welded to the area to cover it. On the fourth voyage water was about 1 metre deep in the cargo hold, light cargo began to float and the ferry tilted heavily, he told the inquiry. Crew punched holes in the side of the ferry to help water flow out. Mr Tupou said that on the fifth voyage he was awoken seven minutes before the ferry sank, and only heard a warning over the loud speaker to be prepared about a minute before the sinking.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Rugby-Young pair get vote of confidence from ABs selectors

As expected, the All Blacks selectors have made wholesale changes from last week's lineup against Italy, with only two of the starting fifteen retained for Sunday morning's test against England at Twickenham. The young Hawkes Bay winger Zac Guilford and the Canterbury prop Owen Franks have been given a vote of confidence, taking over from Corey Jane and Neemia Tialata who have started the first three tests of the tour. Sitiveni Sivivatu and Tom Donnelly are the only two retained from the starting fifteen in Milan last week. The run on 15 is Mils Muliaina, Zac Guildford, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Daniel Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw, Adam Thomson, Tom Donnelly, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore and Tony Woodcock.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Two earthquakes shake North Island

Two earthquakes in Palmerston North have shaken the North Island this morning. The first quake, with a magnitude of 5.1, struck at 7.04am. It was centred 10km south of Palmerston North and was 40km deep. It lasted 10 to 15 seconds. It was felt by residents in Manawatu, Wellington and Taranaki. A second quake was felt in Palmerston North at 8.05am. It measured 4.3 on the Richter scale and struck in the same location at a similar depth. There have been no immediate reports of injury or damage.
© 2009 Fairfax New Zealand Limited

Welsh keen to attract NZ tech business

Kiwi technology firms looking to expand into the UK are being offered free office space and expert advice through an initiative backed by the Welsh Assembly. On Thursday, International Business Wales is launching a new pilot project called Access Wales, in a bid to attract high-growth companies to the country. Rhodri Jones, vice-president of International Business Wales, for Australia and New Zealand, says eligible firms will receive 12 months of free office space and facilities, as well as about $40,000 worth of support from business consultants.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, November 18

Key decides against meeting with Dalai Lama

The Prime Minister has decided that he won't meet the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan religious leader visits New Zealand in December. China strongly objects to political leaders meeting with the Dalai Lama because of his views on Tibet gaining independence from China. Mr Key met him when he was Leader of the Opposition but is choosing not to this time, perhaps leaving a National Party MP to do so. "The reason simply is that I decided I wouldn't get a lot out of that particular meeting, " Mr Key said on Wednesday. "I don't see every religious leader that comes to town. I've seen him in the past; I may see him in the future." The Prime Minister said he had already told China's President Hu Jintao that he would not meet the Dalai Lama.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

'Catastrophic' fire danger warning in South Australia

South Australia's Country Fire Service has declared a catastrophic fire danger for two of the state's northern districts. It's the first time the code-red catastrophic rating has been issued in Australia under the new national fire warning system established in the wake of February's Victorian bushfires. The warning was made because of Wednesday's predicted extreme temperatures, strong winds and low humidity. The service says any fires that break out in the immediate future will be uncontrollable, and there is a very high likelihood that people in their path will die. It says people in the code-red areas should leave. The Black Saturday fires in February killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Cruise ship stuck in Antarctic ice

A Russian cruise ship carrying more than 100 passengers is stuck in the ice in Antarctica. Most of those on board are British tourists who paid more than $22,000, to watch rare emperor penguins. The tour company says the cruise ship is a former ice-breaker, and the tourists are not in any danger. The ship is expected to get moving again within a couple of days.
Source: ONE News

NZ on verge of oil boom, says expert

A visiting oil expert says New Zealand is about to have an oil bonanza bigger than that of Britain's North Sea oil boom. Already, production in the Taranaki Basin is enough to make oil the country's third largest exporter in terms of revenue, President of Buechler Capital Asset Management, William Buechler says. With the addition of a few more fields he believes it could become New Zealand's second biggest earner. In Buechler's opinion there is "a lot" more oil to be found in New Zealand. He says a summer drilling programme is about to get under way outside of the usual Taranaki drilling zone, closer to Auckland and closer to Nelson.
Source: ONE News

Job market looking up

There are signs that more jobs are available. Job website Seek reports that the number of new job advertisements has risen by more than 12 percent in the past four months. Auckland recorded the biggest individual increase of just under 15 percent growth, with small and medium-sized enterprises taking on more staff. Seek general manager Annemarie Duff says it is encouraging news and she hopes the increase in the number of job advertisements indicates the start of a much more positive time ahead.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Tuesday, November 17

NZ least corrupt country in the world

The least corrupt nation in the world is New Zealand, according to Transparency International. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009 shows that Denmark is the second least corrupt country while Singapore and Sweden come out equal third. The three most corrupt according to the index of 180 nations are Somalia, Afghanistan and Myanmar. Australia occupied eighth position. The index ranks countries by their perceived levels of corruption, which is determined by expert assessments and surveys. Transparency International has produced its annual report since 1995.

Chocolate frog charge dropped against Aboriginal boy (equality downunder)

Police in Western Australia have dropped charges against a 12-year-old aboriginal boy accused of receiving a stolen chocolate frog (a chocolate covered marshmallow candy), in a case that caused outrage among Aborigines. The ABC reports the boy pleaded not guilty to the charge in a Children's Court in the town of Northam on Monday. Police alleged he received the 70 cent Freddo Frog from a friend who had stolen it from a supermarket. The Aboriginal Legal Service described the case as trivial and said it showed police were targeting Aboriginal youths.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Australia looks to NZ for Mary Poppins

Melbourne stage production is to search New Zealand for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious actor to play Mary Poppins, after failing to find anyone suitable in Australia. New Zealand auditions for the role immortalised in film by Julie Andrews are set to start on December 7, but the musical's producers have yet to settle on a venue. The musical, to open in Melbourne in July, has not been able to find an Australian performer with the necessary skills for the role, The Age reports. "We have seen some very talented people but they have not been quite right for Mary Poppins," says co-producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh. "We are willing to see anyone," Walt Disney Theatricals Tom Schumacher says. "If anyone wants to send us a letter, or a CD or post a clip on YouTube, we will look at it."

Five new Arts Laureates

The Arts Foundation has announced its five Laureates for 2009 - writer Witi Ihimaera, carver Lyonel Grant, photographer Anne Noble and musicians Richard Nunns and Chris Knox. Each receives a cash prize of $50,000. Professor Ihimaera says he will be retiring from his position at Auckland University next year and will use the money to research and write two more historical novels.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

More asylum seekers found in Australian waters

Another boat with 41 asylum seekers has been intercepted in Australian waters. Officials say the boat was intercepted late on Monday night 90 nautical miles southeast of Ashmore Islands, off northwest Australia, the ABC reports. There were also two crew on board. The group will now be taken to the Christmas Island detention facility for identity and health checks. Four boats have been intercepted by Customs officials in the past four days.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Conjoined twins separated in Melbourne

Doctors have separated conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna in Melbourne. They are said to be doing well and are now in the plastic surgery phase of the procedure, at the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital. The Bangladeshi orphans were given only a 25 percent chance of survival without harm. A team of 16 neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons and other medical staff have carried out the delicate process of separating connected blood vessels and their two brains. New Zealand surgeon Andrew Greensmith is part of the surgical team.

New Green MP sworn in

The Green Party's newest MP has taken his place in Parliament. List MP David Clendon has been officially sworn in this afternoon. He replaces Sue Bradford who resigned last month. Mr Clendon is to make his maiden speech early this evening.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Heavy rain for central North Is

A heavy rain warning is out for parts of the central North Island. MetService says a low from over the Tasman Sea is expected to deepen as it moves, with an associated warm front bringing rain on Tuesday night to the central North Island and the upper South Island. The rain will become heavy, with thunderstorms, about the central North Island overnight. Up to 100mm of rain is forecast to fall in the 12 hours from midnight, and people should beware of rapidly rising rivers and streams.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Dame Kiri receives Maori business award

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has become the first woman to receive Auckland University's Maori Business Leader of the Year award. The University's Business School says it recognises of the opera singer's talent and business acumen over more than 40 years of her distinguished international career. It recognises her artistic leadership, her promotion of New Zealand, early connections with the East Coast and commitment to the development of young New Zealand musicians through her Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

ANZ allegedly blocks funding to Solomon Islands from Iran

The ANZ bank has allegedly blocked 100,000 US dollars of Iranian funding to Solomon Islands, earmarked for 25 students to fly to Cuba to become doctors. Solomon Islands does not have a formal diplomatic relationship with Iran but has been courting Tehran since last year. The Solomon Star newspaper reports that Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua’s government approached Iranian officials in New York for help in paying for the students’ flights to Cuba. Under the scholarship program, 50 Solomon islanders are already studying to become doctors in Cuba. The newspaper accused the Australian government of blocking the funds but international banking agreements stop large sums of money being moved around by regimes like Iran. An ANZ spokeswoman said the bank complies with international sanctions
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Teen sailor almost at equator

After one month at sea Australian sailor Jessica Watson is almost at the equator. The 16-year-old from Queensland is trying to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo on board her 10-metre yacht Ella's Pink Lady. Jessica's 38,000 kilometre voyage began a month ago, from Sydney. She must cross the equator at least once and plans to sail southeast towards Cape Horn in South America.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Ancestral remains being handed over

After almost four years of negotiations, Te Papa (National Museum) staff are retrieving Maori ancestral remains which have been held at five European museums and institutions. The 29 partial skeletons and four tattooed preserved heads date back to the 18th century. They have been kept in the National Museum in Wales, The Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, Trinity College in Dublin, the Museum of World Culture, Sweden and the Gothenburg Natural History Museum, also in Sweden. Te Papa's acting chief executive Michelle Hippolite says the national museum in Wellington has been working with the organisations for almost four years to get back the remains. She says the latest repatriation, which is the second largest in New Zealand history, has been a delicate and lengthy process.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Greenpeace activists arrested at Solid Energy mine

Four environmental activists been arrested in Southland, after attempting to shut down a coal mine. Three women and one man from Greenpeace blockaded gates and chained themselves to an excavator at Solid Energy's New Vale Mine near Gore. They were trying to bring Fonterra's Edendale milk production factory to a halt by cutting off its coal supply. The Greenpeace protesters say a milk dehydrator recently installed at the factory has lifted its coal use by 60% and Fonterra's overall coal use by 17%.
Copyright © 2009 Radio New Zealand

Monday, November 16

NZ's forgotten children 'different'

The hundreds of children brought to New Zealand under British child migration schemes had a different fate than those sent to Australia, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says. "Unlike Australia, the majority of children who came here under the British migrant scheme were deliberately placed into foster care rather than into state institutions. A number of safeguards were introduced to care for the new arrivals," she said. New Zealand received 549 child migrants between 1948 and 1954. Ms Bennett said that 10 years ago the previous National government set up a process to find child migrants and tell them what help was available to them. It is thought that between 7000 and 10,000 children were sent to Australia from 1947 to 1967. Many were brought up in institutions, by farmers or treated as child slaves. The children were taken from poor or struggling families and told they were orphans, while their parents believed they were heading to a better life. The British government said on Sunday that Prime Minister Gordon Brown would apologise for the child migrant schemes that sent about 150,000 youngsters, from age 3 to 14, to former colonies.

NZ film industry worth $2.5 billion

New Zealand's film and television industry creates nearly 22,000 jobs and contributes $2.5 billion to the New Zealand economy. A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers says the industry boosts tourism, heightens positive perceptions of New Zealand and enhances a sense of national identity. It is likened to the wine industry, with both sectors growing rapidly over the past decade. Screen Production and Development Association chief executive Penelope Borland says the underlines the importance of the sector to the overall growth and vitality of the New Zealand economy.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ surgeon aids in conjoined twin operation

One of the lead surgeons behind the most complex operation ever undertaken in Australia is a New Zealander. Andrew Greensmith is part of a 16-strong medical team attempting to separate the conjoined Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna. The operation at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital today will take at least 15 hours. There is a 25 percent chance the sisters will die, a 50 percent chance they will suffer brain damage and a 25 percent chance the team will pull it off. Mr Greensmith graduated from Otago University in 1993 with a degree in medicine and later qualified in plastic and reconstructive surgery in 2001. The now 40 year-old father of two has special interests in facial aesthetic surgery.
Copyright 2002 - 2009, TelstraClear Ltd

Niue’s government urged to quickly free up immigration laws

Niue’s government is being urged to quickly complete immigration laws to encourage foreigners to become permanent residents. The island has been trying to grow its population for years, but MP Terry Coe says if non-Niueans want to lease land and build homes the current process is fraught with difficulty. He says he wants the new legislation to smooth the path for potential new residents by removing restraints. Mr Coe says draft immigration legislation has been with the government’s lawyers for months and should be rushed back to the assembly.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Countdown on for Kiwi rocket launch

New Zealand aerospace company Rocket Lab is counting down to the historic launch of a space-bound rocket from Great Mercury Island. The launch from the private island, off the Coromandel Peninsula, in about a fortnight will be the first time in the southern hemisphere a privately owned company has launched a rocket to space. The small rocket will use a new low-emission hybrid fuel technology. It will travel at Mach 5 to an altitude of 120 kilometres - 20km on from where space starts - then return to Earth in a sub-orbital ballistic arc, to be recovered from the sea. Launch week begins on November 30 and the actual launch day will be dependent on weather conditions.

President Obama invites John Key to Washington

United States President Barack Obama has invited Prime Minister John Key to Washington for an official visit early next year. Mr Key met with Mr Obama in Singapore over the weekend. They previously met while Mr Key was in New York in September. Next year's official visit may be timed to coincide with an April conference on nuclear proliferation and security which Mr Key has also been invited to, The New Zealand Herald reported. Mr Key confirmed he had received the invitation and planned to take it up.

Witchcraft charge dismissed against traditional healers in Samoa

The Supreme Court in Samoa has dimissed one count of witchcraft against a couple standing trial for the death of a 44 year old woman who was severely burnt in a hot water treatment allegedly as a result of the witchcraft. It is the first case of witchcraft treatment that has gone to court but the charge was dismissed because the prosecution had no evidence to prove the charge. Meanwhile the case will resume tomorrow for the presiding judge to sum up the evidence before the panel of four assessors.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International


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