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Saturday, December 31

Parties cancelled in New Year's Eve washout

The weather conditions have claimed another New Year's Eve victim with Wellington's fireworks display cancelled. The city council organised display over Wellington Harbour has today been canned, as has the party planned to start at 8pm at Frank Kitts Park and Odlin's Plaza on the waterfront. Yesterday Tauranga City Council announced that its New Year events at Mount Maunganui had been called off due to heavy rain and strong winds, while in Rotorua the Lakeside concert will now be held inside at the Energy Events Centre. In Coromandel many campers have been forced to pack up and head home due to heavy rain, though the two-day Coro Gold near Whitianga has gone ahead as has Rhythm and Vines at Gisborne.
Source: ONE News

Tobacco price hike to kick in

Vowing to give up cigarettes may be a New Year's resolution for more smokers than usual this year as the tax on tobacco increases from the first day of 2012. The last of the three-tiered tax increase will push the cost of the most popular brand of cigarettes to $13.80 for a 20 pack and to $31 for a 30g pack of loose tobacco. Quitline Chief Executive Paula Snowden said January is a notoriously busy time of year and the tax increase will only increase the number of smokers looking for support. "80% of smokers wished they'd never started smoking and we expect the January tax jump will be a trigger for many to quit," said Snowden. "Those who use Quitline support are up to five times more likely to succeed than going it alone." Anyone wanting support can call Quitline for free on 0800 778 778 or visit for online support.
Source: ONE News

Rowers hoping for change in weather

Four trans-Tasman rowers are hoping a change in the weather will allow them to begin a dash for Cape Reinga, 720km away. Team Gallagher is trying to be the first New Zealand team to row from Sydney to Auckland. Director Rob Hamill says they have spent the last week of their 35 days at sea at the mercy of the weather, tied to a sea anchor. Earlier, they were blown back to the same spot at least three times. Once they round Cape Reinga, hopefully within six to eight days, the rowers will then make their way down the east coast to the Auckland harbour bridge.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

New Years Honours list

Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry is one of four Knights and two Dames named in the New Years Honours list. Philanthropist Colin Giltrap, former Wellington City Missioner Des Britten and Todd Corporation former chairman John Todd are also to be knighted. World of Wearable Arts founder Suzie Moncrieff and businesswoman Rosanne Meo are to become Dames. WOW originated in 1987 as a way to promote an art gallery in Nelson, but became an annual event that outgrew its roots and moved to Wellington in 2005. It now attracts entries from around the world. Des Britten served as Wellington City Missioner for 18 years until his retirement in 2011.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Friday, December 30

Rarotonga in the Cook Islands gets rough weather

The Cook Islands capital, Rarotonga, has been battered by strong winds and heavy rain this week. Gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour hit the island, with more than 60 millimetres of rain falling within one six hour period. The high winds caused some minor damage to homes, mostly with windows broken by falling tree branches.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Olympic T-shirts for first babies

The British High Commissioner will be giving Olympic T-shirts to the first baby boy and girl born in Wellington in the New Year. High Commissioner Vicki Treadell says as soon the parents of the newborns are ready, she will present them with a T-shirt and a bottle of champagne. The shirts are being given out all over the world and New Zealand babies will be the first in the world to receive them. Britain is to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics next year.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Akaroa welcomes cruise visitors

Akaroa village on Banks Peninsula is enjoying the benefits of thousands of extra tourists this summer. Cruise ships have been calling at Akaroa since the end of October. By 20 April next year, there will have been 78 visits - seven times more than normal. The majority usually moor at the port of Lyttelton - but that was damaged in the February earthquake. After a slow winter, restaurateur Natasha Parkinson, says the cruise ships are just the boost the village needs. Port Lyttelton says its cruise ship facilities should be operational again by next October.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

More rain forecast

Heavy rain is forecast for much of the country on Friday. Strong rainfall is forecast for Marlborough, Taranaki and Bay of Plenty, and northern parts of Northland. Wellington and Kapiti Coast can also expect significant falls. Meteorologist Dan Corbett told Summer Report the current low weather system will be around through the weekend. Showers will probably remain on Monday. The rain will shift toward the North Island on Saturday.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Gumboots de rigueur for music festival

By Nikki Preston
Festival-goers heading to Coromandel Gold should swap sandals and singlets for gumboots and raincoats as the rain threatens to dampen the region's largest summer music event. But the event's organisers say the event will go on rain or shine and were yesterday finishing the stage and placing a last-minute order at The Warehouse for thousands of ponchos. More than 12,000 revellers will join Whitianga's already swelling summer population today for the music festival at Ohuka Farm, 3km from Whitianga town centre, for the third year.

Thursday, December 29

Cricket - James Pattinson bowls Australia to victory

Australia's pacemen demolished India for 169 in their second innings as the home side claimed a 122-run win in the first Test at the MCG today. Australia resumed on day four at 179/8 and were dismissed for 240, setting India a target of 292 to win. James Pattinson led Australia's bowling, taking 4-53 in India's second innings after also scoring 18 not out and 37 not out. His fellow Victorian quick Peter Siddle also played a key role with figures of 3-63 and 3-42 in the match and contributing a vital knock of 41 in Australia's first innings of 333, helping to set up a 51-run lead on the first dig. Ben Hilfenhaus claimed 2-39 after his career-best haul of 5-75 in India's first innings. Sachin Tendulkar top-scored with 32 in India's second innings. The second Test of the four-match series starts in Sydney on January 3.
Source: AAP

Cook Islands establishes fund for disaster emergencies

The Cook Islands government has set up a disaster emergency trust fund. The trust has been set up following the cyclone which devastated Aitutaki in February last year. Prime Minister Henry Puna says, at the time of the cyclone, government ministries couldn’t front up with money - partly because of the rules governing the expenditure of public funds. It is to allow government to make sure essential services such as power are re-started as soon as possible, and key areas such as airports and ports are cleared to assist in any recovery.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Tokelau confident that dateline switch will pose no problems

Tokelau says switching to the west of the International Dateline will make it much easier for the atolls to do business with the wider world. Tokelau joins Samoa in the move, which involves the countries skipping from Thursday to Saturday this week, with Friday the 30th of December removed from the calendar. The Ulu, Foua Toloa, says with most of the atoll’s government’s administration based in Apia it means they will still be able to operate for a full five day week. And he says it’ll be a big help for the people in the atolls, allowing them to communicate with New Zealand on the same day.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Regions warned to prepare for rain

By Isaac Davison and Paul Harper
The Nelson region is set to be soaked again from today, but the heaviest of the rain is forecast to clear for New Year's Eve. A severe weather warning has been issued by MetService for the Nelson region, northern Marlborough, Taranaki, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and the Kapiti Coast. Downpours around the country will have passed by New Year's Eve, but most of the North Island can expect a damp holiday and the Mount could still get another dousing. MetService weather ambassador Bob McDavitt says Cyclone Fina has collapsed north of New Zealand, but the moisture it was dragging behind it will create wet conditions for most of the country on Saturday and Sunday.

Cantankerous Croc strikes again

Source: Reuters
Two workers at a reptile park near Sydney ran for their lives when a 500 kg crocodile named Elvis suddenly lunged at them, making off with their lawnmower. Five-metre long Elvis has already eaten two girlfriends at another crocodile park where he lived. He struck again on Wednesday, surging out of the water while the workers performed routine maintenance nearby. "Elvis is quite a dangerous croc, he's a real firecracker," said Operations Manager at the Gosford Australian Reptile Park Tim Faulkner. "He came flying out and before we knew it he had the mower in his mouth and he's taken it back into the water, dropping a couple of teeth in the process." The cantankerous croc is believed to be between 40 and 60 years old -- more or less in his prime. He was captured near Darwin, in Australia's north, for attacking fishing boats.

Tauranga port to accept mega-container ships

By Alexia Russell - NewstalkZB
Tauranga has another gain over Auckland with the likelihood it will be the first New Zealand port to expand its capacity to accept mega-container ships. This after the Environment Court backed its plan to dredge the channel to accept the vessels, which are 40% larger than can now be handled at Ports of Auckland. The Shipping Council's deputy chairman Mike Knowles says they're twice the size of the Rena. He says eventually all four major ports in New Zealand will become big-ship capable, but Tauranga was the logical first choice to develop. Mike Knowles says Australian ports are investing heavily to enable them to take such ships.

Wednesday, December 28

Northern, central New Zealand in for drenching

A severe weather warning has been issued for Nelson, northern Marlborough, Taranaki and Northland, with up to 200mm of rain expected to fall. MetService said a tropical low is expected move very slowly towards the North Island during the next few days, before weakening and crossing to the northern of the country late on Sunday or early Monday. The low is forecast to direct a warm, humid north to northeast flow over northern and central New Zealand, bringing rain to many areas. The heaviest falls are expected about the Nelson Region, northern Marlborough and Taranaki. Significant rainfall is also forecast for Buller, Coromandel Peninsula, parts of Waikato, and the central North Island high country with the heaviest falls expected to hit between Thursday afternoon to Saturday.
Source: ONE News

Investec Loyal wins Sydney-Hobart yacht race

Australian supermaxi Investec Loyal won the 67th Sydney-Hobart tonight, crossing the line just minutes ahead of Wild Oats XI after the two boats engaged in a tacking duel ahead of the finish line. In the closest finish in 28 years, Investec LOYAL gained the lead from rival supermaxi Wild Oats XI early on Wednesday after trailing the favourite since the start of the 680 nautical mile race on Monday. Investec Loyal, crewed mainly by amateur sailors, opted to sail further out to sea than Wild Oats XI, a six-times line honours winner, and picked up better winds in the final stages. Investec Loyal crossed the line two minutes, 10 seconds ahead of Wild Oats XI.
Source: Reuters

Australia - Darwin and Katherine cut off by road and rail

There is no access by road to the Northern Territory capital of Darwin or the town of Katherine. Sections of the Territory's major highway have been destroyed by flood waters. Hundreds of metres of the Stuart Highway was swept away when a wall of flood water hit a rail bridge outside of Katherine on Tuesday morning. On Wednesday there was no road access into Darwin and supermarkets began advising residents that they were low on some supplies. Rail access was also cut into Katherine and Darwin.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Antarctica explorer's grandson to help conserve hut

The grandson of the Antarctica explorer Captain Robert Scott will depart Christchurch on Wednesday evening as part of a team involved in conserving the famous explorer's hut at Cape Evans. Falcon Scott, a builder, will work on his grandfather's Antarctic base this summer as part of the Antarctic Heritage Trust's team of conservation specialists. Mr Scott will be on site for more than a month at Captain Scott's Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans, during the centenary of his grandfather's trip to the South Pole.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Research suggests China origin of kiwifruit disease

Genetic scientists from the University of Otago are looking at China as a likely origin for the kiwifruit vine killing disease PSA. PSA has infected nearly a third of the country's kiwifruit orchards, most of them in the Te Puke area. The research shows genetic similarities between the bacterial strain found in New Zealand and one discovered in China. Associate professor Russell Poulter says the PSA strain in China has characteristics of a "close relative" to the type in New Zealand. "The evidence seems pretty clear that (PSA) got from China into both Italy and New Zealand." The study was commissioned by two of New Zealand's largest kiwifruit growers - Seeka and Eastpac.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Samoa govt to host public prayer service marking change of dateline

Churches in Samoa have been asked to ring bells and host prayer services to mark the country’s move from the east to the west of the dateline on the December 29. The government will also host a service for invited guests and dignitaries on that same day. On the stroke of midnight on December the 29th, the date in Samoa will shift to the 31st missing Friday 30th. Samoa will then have the same days as New Zealand and Australia as a result of the change.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Tuesday, December 27

Aussie winching death has NZ rescuers on alert

By Rachel Tiffen
The death of a New South Wales paramedic as he pulled an injured man from a canyon near Wollongong has been a wake-up call to helicopter rescue crews here. They say they will learn all they can from the death of 15-year-veteran and bravery award recipient Mick Wilson. Mr Wilson perished on Christmas Eve, at Carrington Falls near Wollongong, trying to pluck someone else to safety. What is known is that Mr Wilson made it to the ground before the winch was cut but what is not known is what happened next. Back here in New Zealand rescue crews are more sad than shocked. It is believed Mr Wilson was the first New South Wales paramedic to lose his life in the line of duty in the last 30 years and that no paramedic has ever been killed during an air rescue, here in New Zealand.

Cyclone Grant likely to reform over Gulf

The Australian weather bureau expects ex-tropical cyclone Grant to reform into a category one cyclone on Thursday as it moves across the Gulf of Carpentaria. As a result, the bureau has issued a cyclone watch for the Northern Territory's northeast coast. The region was hit by torrential rain overnight on Monday from the storm, leaving roads cut and people stranded. The ABC reports there's widespread flooding north of Katherine caused by ex-tropical cyclone Grant.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

ChCh addresses get mail tomorrow

Postie deliveries to addresses in quake-hit Christchurch will resume tomorrow. New Zealand Post says deliveries on Saturday were cancelled following the earthquakes the previous day, which forced the evacuation of the mail processing centre in the city. It is now again operational and mail is being processed ready to be delivered tomorrow. However it may not be possible to deliver some mail to addresses in areas of the eastern suburbs and Sumner because of damage or obstruction.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Thousands flock to Gisborne for music festival

Thousands of revellers are pouring into Gisborne ahead of the annual Rhythm and Vine festival which begins on Thursday. It's expected 25,000 people will attend this year. Four campsites on Gisborne's beachfront are expected to attract 15,000 people, and another 5000 are expected just outside the city at Waiohika Estate, where the festival is held.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Cricket - Australia out before lunch on day two in Melbourne

The Australian cricketers are all out in their first innings for 333 before lunch on the second day of the first Test against India at the MCG. Resuming on 277 for six, the last four wickets fell for 56 with Indian bowlers Zaheer Khan and Ravi Ashwin doing the damage with two each. Khan removed Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 27, caught in the gully by Virender Sehwag, after making an important 72-run stand with Peter Siddle for the sixth wicket, then took Siddle for 41, caught off Khan by wicketkeeper MS Dhoni for his third and fourth wickets of the match. Fellow bowler Ben Hilfenhaus fell for a quickfire 19 to Ashwin, caught by Virat Kohli, before spinner Nathan Lyon was bowled for six. James Pattinson was 18 not out.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Cook Islands population falls

The preliminary results of the Cook Islands’ census, conducted earlier this month, show the population has dropped 8 point 1 percent in the past five years. On December the 1st the population was 17,791 counting everyone in the country, including tourists. The chief statistician, Taggy Tangimetua, says full details will be available on a rolling basis in the first half of 2012.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

White fever as chick hits news

The Christmas arrival of a second white kiwi chick at Pukaha Mt Bruce has made headlines around the world, as did its predecessor, Manukura. Mauriora hatched this month, after Manukura - the first white kiwi bred in captivity - hatched in May. The new chick has made news websites, television news and newspapers in Australia, Germany, the United States, Vietnam and Indonesia. Centre manager Kathy Houkamau said some lucky patrons had the chance to get a sneak peek of Mauriora before Christmas, before the chick officially goes on display for the next 10 days. The centre was open from yesterday, drawing a large crowd to see the white chick who is fed about midday.Copyright 2011, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Majority of work to be completed in 24 hours

By Caleb Allison - NewstalkZB
The crew repairing the Russian fishing vessel Sparta expects to have most of the work done within the next 24 hours. The 48-metre ship struck underwater ice in Antarctica over a week ago, creating a 30-centimetre hole in its side. Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Mike Roberts says a panel has been prepared to be welded over the hole, which will make the ship watertight again. He says it will then be escorted out to open water but it's not clear where it'll go after that, however it's likely it'll dock at Lyttelton for further repairs.

Critically endangered bats found close to track

By Isaac Davison
A colony of rare native bats has been discovered beside one of the most popular walking tracks in the country. Department of Conservation rangers found the long-tailed bats near the Kepler Track Great Walk in Fiordland after automatic recording devices led them to just the second known colony of the creatures in the region. DoC ranger Warren Simpson said 60 of the critically endangered bats had been observed, and the colony was believed to number around 100. Long- and short-tailed bats are the country's only native land mammals, and both are critically endangered.

Monday, December 26

Yachting - Wild Oats XI first out of Sydney Harbour chasing sixth line honours win

The five times Sydney to Hobart line honours winner Wild Oats XI has overcome some early problems to be the first boat through Sydney Heads. A hydraulic failure caused concern for skipper Mark Richards but was quickly repaired. Major rivals Investec LOYAL and Wild Thing followed her through the heads, with Lahana and Brindabella also among the leading group. The 88 strong fleet is forecast to endure a rough first night with thunderstorms forecast.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Removal of containers off Rena set to begin again

Maritime New Zealand hopes the removal of containers from the Rena, will recommence over the next hour. Salvagers repositioned a barge next to the stranded ship late on Monday afternoon, after bad weather hampered any recovery efforts over the past few days. They say that the removal of the containers can continue as long as there is good weather and small swells. Maritime New Zealand says bad weather expected later this week will probably again halt efforts over the New Year break. There were more than 1300 containers on board the Rena when it hit the Astrolabe Reef in October - more than 300 have been removed, while 90 have fallen overboard.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Sunny Christmas, but a wet New Year

Blue skies and sunshine are continuing, but the country could be in for a wet New Year's Eve. MetService says some places in the South Island are expecting temperatures as high as 30 degrees. But forecaster Oliver Druce says conditions will start to deteriorate by the middle of the week. He says a lot of rain is expected in the North Island and northern parts of the South Island from Thursday through to Saturday.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Landmark day for Moeraki

It's a landmark day for one of the South Island's oldest towns, Moeraki celebrates its 175th anniversary today. The first record of European settlement shows whaler John Hughes landing at Moeraki and setting up in business on December 26th, 1836. John Hughes learned his craft with whalers further south and had a successful operation, until whale numbers dropped. He then switched to working the land.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Clean up 'armies' back in business

The Student Volunteer and Farmy Armies are re-forming on Boxing Day in a bid to help clean up Christchurch's eastern suburbs before the New Year. A series of strong earthquakes - the largest a 6-magnitude tremor - shook the city on Friday, causing more liquefaction and damage to roads and some buildings. Volunteers were being asked to head to the QEII stadium from 9am on Monday, where they'll be assigned to various activities across the city. This will be the sixth time the groups have co-ordinated clean-ups since the earthquake on 4 September 2010.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Storms, flooding hit Australia

Wild weather has hit Australia with storms in Melbourne and a tropical cyclone in Northern Territory. Melbourne is facing a major cleanup of damage from severe thunderstorms. The storm swept through the city and country areas of Victoria on Sunday, flooding roads and bringing hail that damaged buildings and smashed windows. Tropical Cyclone Grant intensified into a category two storm on Sunday, bringing winds of 130 km/h and torrential rain to Northern Territory coast communties. Police at remote Croker Island, north east of Darwin, told the ABC the community had escaped serious damage as the cyclone came within kilometres of the island. Power lines and trees were brought down there was no structural damage to buildings, police said. The storm was moving south across the Cobourg Peninsula.
Large hailstones, very heavy rainfall, flash flooding and damaging winds have been warned for Sunday overnight in places including Orange, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Deniliquin and Cobar. The warning was issued for the Riverina, Lower Western, Snowy Mountains and parts of the Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, Central West Slopes and Plains, South West Slopes and Upper Western Forecast Districts.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Sunday, December 25

There will be no news Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all readers from Daily New Zealand News.

Saturday, December 24

Severe thunderstorm watch for parts of South Island

A severe thunderstorm watch has been put in place for the Canterbury Plains, the Canterbury High Country and North Otago. The MetService warns thunderstorms could be accompanied by downpours, with as much as 20 to 30 millimetres of rain falling every hour. The rain could cause slips, as well as flash flooding in streams, rivers or narrow valleys.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Cyclone could hit NT coast this afternoon

A tropical cyclone could cause flying debris in towns off Australia's Northern Territory coast, near Darwin, as early as this afternoon, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology warns. The country's coastal communities are being warned to expect wind gusts of up to 110km/h, with a cyclone predicted to hit between between Cape Fourcroy and Milingimbi late on Saturday or early on Christmas Day. People on the Tiwi Islands, Cape Don and Croker Island are also expected to be affected. Dr Richard Wardle, supervising meteorologist, said the probability rating of a cyclone was high, which meant there was a 50% to 100% chance of one hitting.
Source: AAP

Ghan passenger services to be cut

Passenger services on the Ghan running between Adelaide and Darwin are to be reduced next year, to one train per week. Great Southern Rail says there has been nearly a drop of almost 20% in the number of passengers going to the Northern Territory. From 4 April next year, the service will be cut to only one train per week. However, the ABC reports passenger numbers on each train will be increased to make up for the changes.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Labour wants shake-up of broadcasting regulations

Labour wants a shake-up of regulations in the broadcasting sector, after the demise of Stratos Television. The channel is winding up its public service and news operation, saying it's no longer financially viable. Labour's broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran says it's time the Government stepped in. She says New Zealanders will miss the ethnic diversity and international news shows Stratos carried.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Telephone support line set up in Chch

A telephone support line has been set up in Christchurch for people overwhelmed and distressed by the ongoing aftershocks. The Canterbury Support Line will taken calls between 8am and 11pm, including on Christmas Day. The number is 0800 777 846.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Outdoor services

Anglican Christmas services in greater Christchurch will be held outdoors. Bishop Victoria Matthews says there is not enough time to have every church checked and cleared by engineers before the services begin. Services on Saturday night will be conducted by tourchlight. Bishop Matthews says that will avoid any chance of having large numbers of people in a closed space in the event of another large quake. She says gathering outdoors will allow for community without the crowding.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

No mail for awhile

There will be no mail deliveries in the Christchurch area for several days, after Friday's earthquakes forced the evacuation of the Christchurch mail centre. New Zealand Post says the next mail deliveries will now not happen until 28 December, because of the Christmas statutory holidays. It says Post Shops will be open on Saturday on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of individual managers.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Friday, December 23

Christchurch earthquake swarm leaves liquefaction and rock falls

The head of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority says liquefaction in parts of Christchurch following Friday's swarm of earthquakes is as bad as after the September earthquake in 2010. Roger Sutton flew over the city and says he say extensive liquefaction and flooding in the eastern suburbs, particularly in Bexley, Dallington, Wainoni, Avonside and Parklands. He says there are some reports of cars stuck in the mud. Mr Sutton says there is also further damage to buildings within the cordoned-off city centre, including to Christchurch Cathedral. Helicopter flyovers have also spotted rockfalls in the suburbs of Redcliffs, Scarborough, Whitewash Head, Peacocks Gallop and Richmond Hill. However, Mr Sutton says there seems to be no damage to houses or roads and there has been no evidence of landslides. Civil Defence says people should stay clear of the Port Hills where possible while engineers evaluate the area for further rockfalls
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

National Crisis Management Centre activated

The Civil Defence has activated the National Crisis Management Centre. A Civil Defence spokesman, Vince Cholewa, says people should be expecting more aftershocks. He says people need to remember the drop, cover, and hold rule as soon as they feel a shake. "They should assess their homes and workplaces for damage. If it appears unsafe, they should get everyone out. Use steps, not an elevator. Watch out for broken powerlines, gas pipes, anything like that, and certainly watch out for fires," he says.
© 2011 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

Christchurch - Hospitals open, Burwood on emergency power

By Jacqui Stanford - NewstalkZB
Christchurch Hospital, the Princess Margaret Hospital and Hillmorton are all fully operational, while Burwood is on emergency power. The Canterbury DHB says there are no reports of damage so far and no injuries to staff or patients. A small number of earthquake-related casualties have arrived at Christchurch Hospital's Emergency Department, but there are no serious injuries amongst them. Residents are being asked to help keep the Emergency Department clear for genuine emergencies.

Christchurch quake: The power situation

Electricity is out from the New Brighton area through to Shirley following today's earthquake. Orion says it is anticipated that up to 15,000 customers in the Eastern Suburbs including New Brighton and Dallington are currently without power. Power is also out in Springston in central Canterbury. Orion crews are out assessing damage. At this stage it appears that the power is out due to tripping caused by shaking rather than damage to equipment, Orion said. As of 2.57pm, Orion said it hoped that power would be back on within an hour.
Source: ONE News

Evacuations as large quake rocks Christchurch

There has been a large earthquake in Christchurch this afternoon. A 5.8 magnitude struck at 1.58pm with a depth of 8km 20km north-east of Lyttelton, GeoNet says. ONE News reporter Jack Tame described the shake as "pretty fast and pretty violent", while Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said "we are very concerned" There were no immediate reports of serious damage, injuries or casualties at this stage. St John Ambulance said there are minor injuries at homes and businesses reported but no serious injuries or indications of building collapses at this point. Civil Defence is assessing the damage and said residents should expect aftershocks, adding that every time one is felt - drop, cover and hold on. Mobile phone lines around Canterbury are now jammed. Telecom has appealed for people to keep mobile calls for emergency use where possible for the moment, and to use text instead.
Source: ONE News

Victoria students win international debate

Students from Victoria University in Wellington have won an international debate, beating top talent such as Oxford. Sebastian Templeton and Richard D'Ath took the title at the world universities peace invitational debate in Malaysia. Vice-Chancellor Professor Pat Walsh says the team won the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championship title in South Korea earlier in the year. They also won the New Zealand competition, the Joynt Scroll, for a sixth consecutive year.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

AAA rating for Australia

Moody's credit rating agency has reaffirmed Australia's AAA sovereign debt rating. Moody's says the rating is based on very high economic resiliency, very high government financial strength and low susceptibility to risk. It says the federal government has very low gross debt that is easily affordable, compared to most other nations with that rating. "As one of the world's most advanced economies, the country has not only a significant natural resource sector - including minerals, hydrocarbons, and agriculture - but also well developed manufacturing and service sectors," the report said. However, it notes that Australia will have to implement policies to deal with its ageing population. Last month, Fitch Ratings upgraded its assessment of Australia's sovereign debt to AAA. The ABC reports it is the first time Australia has attained the top rating from all three international agencies.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

24,000 extra workers needed

A study by the Department of Labour shows 24,000 extra workers will be needed to complete the rebuild of Christchurch. The study was completed for the Canterbury Employment and Skills Board which was set up to ensure the region does not experience a labour shortage when the rebuild moves into high gear. With insurance money taking a long time to arrive, the board says people have been slow to take up trades training which they need to take advantage of the boom when it finally arrives. But it says a large amount of work is already available with demand for workers likely to increase dramatically early in the New Year.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Funding for Pacific health problems

Two Government agencies are setting up a $1.6 million fund to find ways to improve the health of Pacific communities. The fund is a joint venture between the Health Research Council and the Ministry of Health, in response to high rates of obesity, diabetes and respiratory illness. Pacific health clinical director Api Talemaitoga says years of research into the problems have not led to effective programmes and the fund aims to bridge that gap. Dr Talemaitoga says the project will fund several research teams to identify practical changes that will make a difference.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, December 22

Long-lost Christmas script returned to New Zealand

The original script of a long-lost Christmas nativity play handwritten by Dame Ngaio Marsh has been discovered in England and returned to Christchurch. Dame Ngaio wrote The Christmas Tree for friends in the UK around 60 years ago. Mary Caroe found the script in her mother's house in England and has brought it all the way to Ngaio Marsh House in Christchurch. "I had it up in my study sitting on my desk until last week when I thought 'well I'm coming to New Zealand - I better bring it,'" said Caroe. Caroe's family come from just outside London and were friends with Dame Ngaio in the 1950s. She remembers the play being put on and her youngest sister acting as the Archangel Gabriel. Dame Ngaio Marsh is best known for her 32 crime novels but the theatre was also a passion. The Christmas play was a hit in England but was never published here.
Source: ONE News

Ex-con may have Aussie citizenship revoked

A New Zealander who migrated to Australia may have his Australian citizenship revoked because he did not declare several criminal convictions. The man was sentenced to five months' jail on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to two charges of providing false information under the Citizenship Act. A Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said the department identified the man after proving through fingerprint evidence that he had a criminal history in New Zealand under another name. "He had failed to declare his extensive criminal history in an Australian citizenship application, and as a result consideration will now be given around advice to the Minister (for Immigration) Chris Bowen as to whether his Australian citizenship should be revoked," the spokesman said in a statement. The department now has arrangements in place to obtain access to a New Zealand database to ensure that passport information presented by NZ citizens when they enter Australia is correct.

Govt to donate $500,000 to Philippines after typhoon

The Government is to donate $500,000 to the Philippines Red Cross to help with relief efforts following Typhoon Washi. The typhoon killed more than 1000 people and made 285,000 more homeless. The money will be used by the Red Cross to provide blankets, food, water-sanitation, and shelter to 25,000 people in the worst affected areas.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Record number of Kiwis write to Santa

A record number of kiwi kids have written to Santa this Christmas. New Zealand Post spokesman Michael Tull says close to 140,000 Kiwi kids will have received a response from the big guy in red this year. That shatters last year's record, when 121,000 children corresponded with Mr Claus. Kiwi kids have also out-done the Aussies. Australia Post announced earlier this month they expect to receive a total of 120,000 letters to Father Christmas this year.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Air NZ adds Brisbane and Sydney links to Norfolk

Air New Zealand has been selected by the Australian government to run flights between both Brisbane and Sydney to Norfolk Island. The airline says the new services, which will use a 168-seat A320, will complement an existing weekly services between Auckland and Norfolk Island. The airline will now fly five days per week into Norfolk Island from either Australia or New Zealand.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

SAS to be withdrawn from Afghanistan in March

The Prime Minister has confirmed that New Zealand's SAS deployment to Afghanistan will end as scheduled in March next year. The decision's been foreshadowed for some time.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Fiji to get first casino

The Fijian Government has decided to grant the nation's first-ever gaming license to a casino. One Hundred Sands Limited plans to build a $290 million, 5 star luxury casino on Denarau Island. There will be 500 slot machines and 54 table games in the casino. The project has been announced by self-appointed Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. He says the project will protect the rights and interests of Fijians, and provide for the prosperity of the nation by creating 800 jobs. The groundbreaking for the gaming facilities, new convention centre, and luxury hotel is tentatively set for March.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Gold kiwifruit reduces cold symptoms

Plant & Food scientists have found a link between gold kiwifruit and reducing cold symptoms. Their study found that regular consumption of gold kiwifruit reduced the duration of sore throat and head congestion and the severity of head congestion. The 20-week study tracked the health of 37 healthy older people during the winter and spring. The research was sponsored by Zespri.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Fastest rate of economic growth in nearly two years

The Rugby World Cup and a rise in manufacturing production have bolstered economic growth in recent months. Gross domestic product (GDP) data shows that the economy grew 0.8% in the three months to the end of September - the fastest quarterly rate of growth in nearly two years - and 1.3% in the year to the end of September. The biggest surprise is that manufacturing had "quite a strong quarter". The sector rose 2.3%, mainly because it produced more food, beverages and tobacco. Retail, accommodation and restaurants were the next biggest contributors to the rise, recording their best quarter since the current set of records began in 1987.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Spending on measles vaccine almost doubles

Spending by the Ministry of Health on measles vaccine has almost doubled this year. There have been almost 600 cases of measles around the country this year, with 90 people being hospitalised so far. The outbreak is the worst since 1997. Public health director Mark Jacobs says $2.2 million has been spent so far this year on the MMR vaccine, compared to about $1.2 million last year. The Auckland region bore the brunt with 80% of all cases. The ministry urges anyone not fully immunised to see their doctor now.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Portugal bailout included $87m from NZ

New Zealand has paid $87 million towards the International Monetary Fund's financial bailout of Portugal. But the Government can't say how much New Zealand will pay for similar bailouts of Greece and Ireland. Shareholders in the fund last year agreed to loan an extra $700 billion to the IMF, which would be called on if the global financial situation worsens. New Zealand's share was $1,3 billion.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, December 21

Fonterra donates supplies to Nelson

Milk company Fonterra will supply milk vats and fresh water to the Pohara community until February following last week's devastating rainstorm in Nelson. Two six-thousand-800 litre vats which will be kept full with treated water have been installed at the Pohara Marae and Pohara Hall. In addition, Fonterra will keep the Pohara Camping Ground tanks full through the summer months. Fonterra Upper South Island Operations Manager, Paul Green, says Pohara is a gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park and the camping ground is expected to host at least 10,000 visitors during the summer. He says if the camping ground ran out of water its would likely have to close which would further impact the community.
By Newstalk ZB staff

Peter Jackson up for auction on TradeMe

Fantasy fans have the opportunity to meet Sir Peter Jackson on the set of The Hobbit by bidding in an auction. The TradeMe auction is selling the chance to meet The Hobbit director and is expected to attract bidders from all around the world. Money raised from the auction will be donated to Sir Ray Avery's charity, Medicine Mondiale. Sir Ray hopes New Zealanders will be generous while bidding on the auction. The bidding for Peter Jackson is currently up to $1200, but Sir Ray hopes to raise $100,000 to produce products to battle nutrition in Nepal.
Source: ONE News

Key to head to Australia next year

John Key's first trip abroad in his second term as Prime Minister will be to Australia, in January. Key announced today that he and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard would lead the second joint meeting of senior Cabinet ministers from both countries next year. Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and six other Ministers - Steven Joyce, Judith Collins, Tony Ryall, Hekia Parata, Jonathan Coleman and Craig Foss - would travel with Key to Australia from January 27 to 29.
- Fairfax NZ

2012 Pacific Forum dates confirmed by Cook Islands government

Next year’s Pacific Islands Forum will be held between August the 13th and 17th in the Cook Islands. The dates have been confirmed by the Cook Islands government which last hosted the Forum in 1997. The foreign affairs and immigration secretary Jim Gosselin says government will begin planning the specifics of the conference and its surrounding events after the Christmas holiday period. 15 of the 16 members are expected to attend, with Fiji being suspended since 2009 for reneging on its promise to restore democracy.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Software promises access for the blind and the deaf

Microsoft has teamed up with New Zealand technology company Intergen to develop a computer tool allowing greater accessibility for the hearing and sight impaired. The software is a free add-on to Microsoft's Office software. It includes subtitles added to Powerpoint presentations, for those with hearing difficulties, and the option for saving files as a Braille-reading format for those who are blind. The Foundation for the Blind is part of the Daisy consortium, which has promoted the standard which Microsoft and Intergen have helped them develop. "This product means that anyone who can use Microsoft Word can now create a Daisy file which is of use to anybody who can access Daisy technology.
Source: ONE News

Exit numbers slower

The number of people leaving New Zealand for good slowed in November, as fewer moved to Australia. Official figures show there was a seasonally adjusted net loss of 50 for the month, from a revised loss of 650 in October. ASB Bank chief economist Nick Tuffley says although the country still suffered a migration loss, there are signs the trend is starting to reverse. He says more people are also coming to live in New Zealand, particularly from the UK and Europe. For the year to the end of November, there was a net loss of 568 permanent and long term migrants, the largest net loss since September 2001.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Women's refuge centres full to bursting

Women's refuge centres in Auckland are bursting at the seams in the lead up to the Christmas holiday. The centres are averaging a total of 230 women and children every night. Volunteer Betty Sio says the situation is unusual because, ordinarily, the demand begins around the New Year period when people have had enough.
The women's refuge requires the following items:
Boys clothing, from 3yrs to teens.
Non-perishable food to give to women when they return home or to eat at the refuge.
Petrol vouchers shopping vouchers, supermarket vouchers are also really useful at this time of the year.
Call 0800 2 REFUGE or (09) 378 7635 to donate what you have.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Australia urged to train as well as employ Pacific Island tourism workers

The head of a Pacific tourism body says Australia will need to ensure that more seasonal tourism jobs for Pacific Island workers won’t create a lack of skilled workers in the region. Australia is extending a pilot project for its tourism industry which has 36,000 vacancies amid competition from the mining sector. Tourism operators will be able to employ short-term workers from several Pacific Island countries. This comes on top of the new permanent scheme for farmers which starts in July.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Restaurant chain offers free meals on Christmas Day

An Auckland restaurant chain is offering free meals on Christmas Day. Satya South Indian Restaurants will serve free Christmas dinners in all five of its Auckland restaurants. Owner Swamy Akuthota says he and his wife have decided to do it because it's been a difficult year for some. He says on Christmas Day some people may find themselves without family or friends or the means to have a Christmas meal. Swamy Akuthota says he'd like to give something back to his community on this day of the year.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Maori in Oz feel shunned by NZ political parties

An organisation representing Maori living in Australia says they feel New Zealand political parties ignored them in November's election. says it was aware of the Maori and Mana parties doing some campaigning in Sydney and Queensland, but nothing more. Christel Broederlow of Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Paoa says all New Zealanders in Australia follow politics back home and want to cast their votes. She says the parties are missing out on a huge voter base, with about 100,000 Maori now resident in Australia. According to the Electoral Enrolment Centre, New Zealanders in Australia can vote for a party and an electorate back home but New Zealand citizens must not have been outside New Zealand for longer than 3 years.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Construction project is one of NZ's largest - EQC

The Earthquake Commission says the rebuilding of Christchurch is one of the largest construction projects in New Zealand history. Chief executive Ian Simpson says about 7000 repairs have been completed already. He told Morning Report that now that the timeframes have been released, it should give people more certainty of when repairs will be complete. About 100,000 houses will come under a repair programme with Fletcher Earthquake Recovery, which covers repairs costing between $10,000 - $100,000.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Ship pair face new charges

The captain of the Rena and his first officer have been charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. The new charge was laid when the two men appeared in Tauranga District Court on Wednesday morning. They already face charges under the Resource Management Act and the Maritime Transport Act. Both men have continued name suppression. They were released on bail to appear again at the end of February. The Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef on 5 October.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, December 20

Plan for doctors to share medical records

The privacy commissioner is backing a $38 million plan in which patient information would be shared between every clinician in the lower North Island, but says patients should have the right to opt out. Health boards say the shared system will give clinicians quicker information and reduce the risk of medication or treatment errors and will do away with "disparate, fragmented and in some cases obsolescent" information systems. Under the plan, every clinician in the central region will gain access to medical information on every patient in the Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley, MidCentral, Hawke's Bay, Whanganui and Wairarapa district health boards by 2015. The Central Region Information Systems Plan allows clinicians throughout the lower North Island to access a patient's care record. This includes laboratory results and radiology reports. Clinicians can be alerted to a patient's ongoing care and treatment regardless of where they are in the region. A "problem list'' will list a patient's health problems such as medical, nursing and mental health diagnoses and allergies. A "medication history form'' will show the medicines a patient has used.
© Fairfax NZ News

Time running out to join HPV immunisation programme

By Alexia Russell - NewstalkZB
Women in their early 20s have 11 days to start the free HPV immunisation programme. The Ministry of Health says women born in 1990 or 1991 are eligible for the programme, which ends on December 31. Ministry of Health Chief Advisor Dr Api Talemaitoga says the vaccine will protect women against a virus that causes cervical cancer. Dr Talemaitoga is urging women to get the vaccine as it costs $500 to get the immunisation privately.

Tuvalu looks forward to royal visit

A multi-million dollar refurbishment of Tuvalu’s airport is unlikely to be ready in time for the British royal visit next year. The Prime Minister of Tuvalu Willy Telavi says Buckingham Palace has yet to confirm when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will arrive but their tour is likely to be early in the year before the June upgrade of the airport. He says he has a special team working on a programme for the visit which is part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Mr Telavi says the welcome is sure to include traditional feasting and dancing and perhaps a tour of a conservation area. He says the Queen was the last British royal to visit in 1982.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Severe dengue outbreak feared in Pacific

An epidemiologist fears Pacific people could be facing a potentially life threatening dengue outbreak not seen in more than a decade. There are four types of dengue fever, with symptoms including fever, headache, aches, nausea and eye and joint muscle pain. The World Health Organisation’s Dr Eric Nilles says the region could be on the verge of an outbreak of type 2 dengue, that has been confirmed in the Federated States of Micronesia. He says elsewhere type 1 and type 4 dengue have been found.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

First look at Hobbit movie tomorrow

By Edward Swift - NewstalkZB
The first trailer for Peter Jackson's 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' will be released tomorrow. It's the first of the two Hobbit films, which are set in Middle-Earth 60 years before 'The Lord of the Rings' series and are being shot in Wellington and around the country. Fans worldwide are eagerly awaiting the trailer release, which is due out at around 4pm NZ time, and have posted on to express their excitement. Both movies are being shot in Wellington and on location around New Zealand.

Ham the winner for Christmas dinner

It looks like ham will be the number one choice on dinner tables up and down the country this Christmas. The latest Fly Buys/Colmar Brunton Mood of the New Zealand Traveller survey shows 24 percent of us favour ham for the traditional feast. Colmar Brunton managing director Jacqueline Ireland says the results are in line with previous years. "Ham is at the top of the list again, followed pretty closely by turkey and that covers off about half of Christmas dinners. Then lamb comes in - one in five households will be having lamb and then at much lower levels seafood or pork," she says.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

MPs sworn in today as 50th Parliament meets

MPs are being sworn in on Tuesday as the new term of Parliament gets underway. Parliament was being declared open shorly after 11am by three senior judges acting on the Governor General's behalf. The Clerk will then swear in the 121 MPs using an oath or declaration of allegiance to the Queen that can be read in either English or Maori. Prime Minister John Key says he is happy with the wording of the oath and believes all MPs should swear allegiance to the Queen.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Monday, December 19

$6B of phosphate discovered off NZ coast

By Dan Parker
A sonar mapping vessel has arrived in Wellington fresh from studying deposits of rock phosphate, valued at $6 billion. A New Zealand company hopes to dredge the deposit located on a raised piece of the seabed known as the Chatham Rise. The company which runs this vessel discovered $NZ300 million worth of silver in the North Sea. They are well known for previous gold deposits, but the value of this deposit dwarfs those discoveries. This one is worth $6 billion. It is not as flashy as sunken treasure, but phosphate is a naturally occurring mineral most commonly used in the fertiliser industry. Chris Castle, from Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd, says $250 million worth is imported every year while a massive untapped deposit sits idle. Environmental impacts will be key to the project getting the go ahead. A second expedition will cast off in the new year to study the ocean’s flora and fauna and the mitigation of any risks.
3 News

First stone church re-opens for prayer

Photo : Don Scott/Press

Cashmere Hills Presbyterian Church has become the first stone place of worship to reopen since the February earthquake, with yesterday morning's service the first in 10 months. The church had been closed for $30,000 worth of repairs. Property convener Richard Leete said it was "wonderful" to be open again. "We just had a barbecue and carols on the green and there was a good turnout for that as well. We've had a lot of help from the heritage division of the Christchurch City Council to help us reopen," Leete said.
- The Press

Labour reveals new front bench

Labour leader David Shearer has put five new people onto his front bench and given the number five slot to David Cunliffe - the man he defeated as Labour leader last week. Mr Cunliffe has lost his finance portfolio and previous number 3 ranking to David Parker - but has managed to get the significant economic portfolio of economic development. Jacinda Ardern has received a significant promotion from 19 to 4, and becomes Labour's highest ranked woman. Ms Ardern will do the social development portfolio, putting her head to head with Minister Paula Bennett during a period of welfare reform. As expected David Parker has taken the finance role, and Shane Jones has been boosted from 13 to the front bench. He will take a new 'regional development' portfolio and is an associate finance spokesman.
Copyright 2011, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Nelson's Blue Lake cleanest freshwater reported

By Alexia Russell - NewstalkZB
Nelson's Blue Lake is being declared the clearest freshwater ever reported. Research by NIWA scientists reveal that the lake, in the Nelson Lakes National Park, has extreme visual clarity - even greater than that of the famed Te Waikoropupu Springs in nearby Golden Bay. NIWA says its clarity is perhaps only exceeded worldwide by certain ocean waters, such as those in the Pacific near Easter Island. Nelson-based NIWA hydrologist Rob Merrilees first recognised that Blue Lake might be optically outstanding, after seeing it on tramping trips. An expert team - after six helicopter visits - established the clarity to be from 70 to 80 metres down, further than the 63 metres of Waikoropupu.

NZ named in top film location list

New Zealand has been listed as one of 10 top filming locations by a leading United States film location magazine. The Chief Executive of Film New Zealand, Gisella Carr, says the accolade in P3 Update attests to the great success of New Zealand's film industry in providing appealing locations, along with savvy screen businesses and highly-skilled film workers. She says it is especially pleasing to see that New Zealand is an economically viable and desirable location for big budget international productions, given the current economic climate.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Bamboo Rush named favourite native plant

The votes for the country's favourite native plant is out - and a relative unknown has emerged as the winner. It's a species of wetland rush that's relatively new to science. The Bamboo Rush has won a poll run by the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. It's impressively tall and now only found in the Waikato region, because 95 percent of its wetland habitat has been destroyed. Thousands of votes were cast by plant enthusiasts from New Zealand and around the world with over 140 different species nominated. And in spite of it being displayed on the jersey of our national sports teams, the silver fern has once again failed to make the top 10.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Sunday, December 18

New Zealand's worst naval tragedy remembered

By Adrien Taylor
New Zealand's worst naval tragedy remains unknown to many. On December 19, 1941, the HMS Neptune sank in the Mediterranean taking with her more than 750 lives. Of those that died, 150 were New Zealanders. This morning the 70th anniversary commemoration service was held in Devonport. The sinking of the Neptune remains the most deadly New Zealand naval tragedy. The ship was part of a British fleet charged with intercepting an Italian supply convoy destined for Tripoli. But disaster struck when the fleet sailed into a minefield. The Neptune was crippled by three mines, and finished off with the fourth. Other ships tried to help, but it was too dangerous. Rae Dempsey and others hope more people will remember the sacrifice those aboard the HMS Neptune made.
3 News

Asylum seeker boat sinks

A boat carrying 380 migrants, most of them from the Middle East, sank off the coast of east Java in Indonesia on Saturday. Senior emergency official Sahrul Arifin says hundreds of the passengers are missing and only 76 people had been rescued. He says strong waves wrecked the wooden boat about 90km out to sea. "Our search and rescue team have begun sweeping the water around where the accident took place but we are now sending body bags to that area," Mr Arifin says. Mr Arifin says the passengers were believed to be illegal migrants from countries including Iran and Afghanistan. Many boat people from the Middle East and Asia use Indonesia as a transit point en route to Australia.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Sharks swimming in for summer

By John Weekes
Sharks are bearing down on bathing hot spots around New Zealand as summer warms up - and predictions are for more than ever. Marine scientist Clinton Duffy says the first days of summer have already drawn hammerhead and mako sharks to the Hauraki Gulf. "Later in the month we'll start to hear the first reports of people seeing sharks cruising along Mt Maunganui and places like that in the Bay of Plenty," Duffy says. Charter boat fisherman Russ Hawkins says temperatures near Mt Maunganui have risen 2.5 degrees in the past fortnight.

Alcohol Healthwatch pleased with pregnancy warning

By Jacqui Stanford - NewstalkZB
Alcohol Healthwatch is pleased that after more than a decade of dithering, there will finally be a pregnancy warning on all alcohol products in Australia and New Zealand. Director Rebecca Williams say her organisation is looking forward to working with the Government and public health experts to develop an effective warning. She says when some members of the industry introduced a voluntary label, the image they selected for the rear label of the bottle was so tiny and indistinct it is difficult to notice even when a person is prompted to look for it. She wants to ensure the new labels are have a clear and research-based health warning.

Icebreaker heading to stricken Sparta

An icebreaker is now heading toward the stricken Russian vessel the Sparta, but it will take eight days to reach the holed ship in the Ross Sea. A Defence Force C-130 last night dropped fuel and equipment, including another water pump, on ice near the ship. The Sparta hit underwater ice on Friday, tearing a 30 centimetre hole in the hull which resulted in a 13 degree list. Maritime New Zealand says Sparta's crew has stopped seawater flowing into the ship's holds. Aside from the icebreaker, two rescue ships, both hampered by heavy ice, are en route to the scene though still days away.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

New Zealanders are not getting slimmer

New Zealanders are not getting slimmer, with 63% now overweight or obese. The recently released Roy Morgan State of the Nation Report 3 found that in September, only 35% of New Zealanders had a Body Mass Index indicating an acceptable weight, 3% down from 2009. The figures show 28% of the population is obese, up 3% from December 2001. When looking at New Zealanders attitudes towards weight-loss over the last 10 years, similar shifts are reflected with 60 per cent of the population reporting that they would like to be able to lose weight, and 38% saying that they are constantly watching their weight. Despite this, those who considered a low fat diet a way of life fell 3% to 30% in the same period.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Cider continues to buck trend

Cider continues to be the one tipple bucking a national trend of lower alcohol consumption. According to the Roy Morgan New Zealand State of the Nation Report 3, the proportion of cider drinkers has nearly tripled in the last two years. As of September 2011, around 69% of New Zealanders had consumed alcohol in the past four weeks, down from 76% in 2001. Wine was the most popular beverage, followed by beer, spirits, RTDs then cider. Roy Morgan says over the past two years cider has undergone a revival and is now growing in popularity. It says the proportion of people drinking cider is fast approaching that of RTDs, and the growth looks set to continue.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Golliwog paper a race issue

Golliwog wrapping paper has appeared on the shelves of a popular chain store. Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the paper, retailing for $2 at Look Sharp stores, was likely to cause offence. "I would prefer if they withdrew products like that from sale," he said. "Often in New Zealand we don't realise what a controversial history they have in other countries." A spokesman for Look Sharp initially appeared to be unaware of the Golliwog wrapping paper. After agreeing to an interview, he then failed to return messages. De Bres said he received several complaints yearly from New Zealanders offended by Golliwog-related products. But Jeff Green, a prominent figure in the Tainui iwi, said the issue showed New Zealand was increasingly becoming bogged down with political correctness. "I think it is nonsense...who cares whether someone has Golliwog wrapping? There are more important things in life and around the world to get concerned about than people worried about whether someone calls someone else a `Golliwog' or is wrapping presents in Golliwog wrapping [paper]."
- Sunday Star Times

Saturday, December 17

Christmas Day: Warm, dry, sunny

By Kurt Bayer
Weather forecasters are predicting a warm, dry and sunny Christmas for New Zealand after a rain threat was diverted to Australia. Forecaster WeatherWatch released its Christmas Day forecast today and says things are looking good for next Sunday. Head weather analyst Philip Duncan said that earlier concerns it would be a wet Kiwi Christmas have eased, but could spell bad news for eastern Australia. Mr Duncan said: "Our prediction is that most, if not all, main centres will be dry, fairly sunny and have average temperatures. "The models remain consistent with predictions for Christmas Day - showing a large high centred just to the east of the South Island on December 25. "There is less concern today about another La Nina rain maker coming out of the Coral Sea/sub-tropics. The data is now suggesting this could be an eastern Australian problem and not one for NZ."

Enthusiasts mark First Four Ships anniversary

Canterbury history enthusiasts braved heavy rain to mark the 161st anniversary of the arrival of the First Four Ships at Lyttelton. Members of the Canterbury Pilgrims and Early Settlers Association gathered at Pilgrims Rock in Lyttelton yesterday for their annual celebration. Despite the weather, 25 people attended, some in period dress, and placed a wreath on Pilgrims Rock. The first three ships, the Charlotte Jane, the Randolph and the Sir George Seymour, arrived in the harbour on December 16, 1850. The fourth, the Cressy, arrived on December 27. There were more than 750 passengers on the ships. Pilgrims Rock marks the spot where the first settlers disembarked.
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- The Press

Samoa signs MOU to join Australia’s seasonal workers scheme

Samoa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia to join its seasonal workers scheme. Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuila’epa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, signed the agreement with Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific islands Affairs, Richard Marles. At the signing, Tui’laepa also emphasized his government’s zero tolerance against workers who abuse the system. He said those recruited will be thoroughly screened for this scheme, which is similar to a New Zealand scheme. Tui’laepa issued the warning after several Samoan workers were deported from New Zealand for abusing the conditions of the scheme there.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Friday, December 16

Free milk for schools trial by Fonterra welcomed

A move by Fonterra to provide free milk to all Northland primary schools next year is being welcomed by social agencies and Prime Minister John Key. Milk will be given to 1400 pupils at 110 Northland primary schools from the start of next term, Fonterra's chief executive Theo Spierings says. The programme will run for three terms and if it goes well it will become nationwide in 2013. Fonterra will install fridges in schools and look at ways of recycling the packaging. The co-operative says it would welcome support for a nationwide program from sources, including the Government.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Water still off in parts of Golden Bay

The water is still off to the worst hit areas of Golden Bay as authorities continue to work to repair the destruction 48 hours of torrential rain has caused. Many locals in the top of the South Island have taken advantage of calm weather today to mop up hundreds of slips which damaged just as many homes and properties. However Civil Defence Group Controller Jim Frator says there are still people without basic needs, including running water, and that's their current focus.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

NZ beats out Aussie - 5th in world rankings

By Hayden Donnell
New Zealand has beaten out Australia, the United States and Britain in a new survey ranking the most democratic countries in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index ranked New Zealand fifth out of 167 countries surveyed. Australia came in sixth place, Britain came in 18th and the United States fell from 17th place last year to 19th in this year's survey. Only Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden were ranked as more democratic countries than New Zealand.

New Zealand down to 31 million sheep

New Zealand's down to just 31 million sheep. From a peak of more than twice that in the early 80s, the number's fallen another 1.4 million on last year. The number of dairy cattle was up however to 6.2 million, 4 percent higher than 2010 - the dairy heard is now double the number it was 30 years ago. The statistics department also says the amount of land planted in grapes has increased, up three per cent between 2009 and this year. Another 7000 hectares of forest was planted.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

NZ joins nations in condemning whaling

The New Zealand Government has joined Australia, the Netherlands and the United States to condemn whaling in the Southern Ocean and any potential violence there. Three ships, led by the 720-tonne Yushin Maru, set sail from Shimonoseki in western Japan last week with the aim of catching about 900 minke and fin whales. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said last week there were no current plan to send a vessel to monitor the whaling, but the situation will be kept under review. Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty but since 1987 Japan has used a loophole to carry out "lethal research" on the mammals in the name of science.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Rugby - Steve Hansen new All Blacks coach

The New Zealand Rugby Union has ended speculation and named Steve Hansen as the new head coach of the All Blacks. Hansen, who was Graham Henry's assistant for eight years, culminating in Rugby World Cup victory this year, was preferred over Clermont mentor Vern Cotter. His contract is for the next two years, but barring disaster he will most likely coach the team through to the defence of the 2015 World Cup. Hansen will only have one assistant, who is yet to be named. Chiefs coach Ian Foster, former Canterbury coach and close friend Aussie McLean and All Blacks kicking coach Mick Byrne are believed to be the leading candidates.
Source: ONE Sport

Immigration agency branch to close

Immigration New Zealand is closing its Auckland Pacific branch and moving all its residency and visa work to Suva, Apia and Nuku'alofa. Twelve personnel in Auckland are losing their jobs. Immigration NZ says the branch no longer has enough work and closing it will save almost $3 million over four years. It says 85% of residency and visa applications come from people in the islands. Regional manager Alan Barry says the change will give them an improved service.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Win the chance to name a baby pygmy marmoset at Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo is running a special TradeMe auction to win the honour of naming one of the smallest monkeys in the world. The tiny pygmy marmoset only weighed 14 grams when she was born in October this year. While the keepers had suspected her mother, Picchu, was pregnant for some time, the baby's arrival was a pleasant surprise. The winner will be able to name the monkey, spend time with the primate keepers and explore inside the marmoset enclosure. "The prize can be claimed up to three months after the auction closes, so this could be a one of a kind Christmas present for a friend - or for you!" says the zoo on their TradeMe page. The current bid is sitting just above $600. All proceeds from the auction will go directly into activities that care for the animals at the zoo.
3 News

New Israel scheme for NZ travellers

A new working holiday scheme will give young New Zealanders the chance to experience life in Israel. Under the scheme, the first of its kind for Israel, up to 200 New Zealanders a year will be welcomed into Israel to stay for up to 12 months. The scheme is part of a deal between the governments of both countries to encourage their young people to experience a new culture, and a similar arrangement has been put in place for young Israelis wishing to stay in New Zealand.

Indonesia to end beef imports from Australia

Indonesia is to cut the amount of beef it imports from Australia next year. The government says it is planning to ban all live cattle imports from Australia within three or four years. But officials say the plan is not related to a temporary ban by the Australian government on exports of live cattle to Indonesia earlier this year. Agriculture Minister Suswono told the ABC that Indonesia is moving towards having a completely self-sufficient beef industry, meaning that Australian exports to Indonesia will be phased out.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Change of venue for Farmy Army hampers

Heavy rain in Christchurch has forced a change of venue for the Farmy Army, packing Christmas food hampers on Friday morning. The Federated Farmers earthquake volunteer team are holding their final operation and volunteers were asked to gather in New Brighton at 10.30am. However, bad weather has forced organisers to shift to the PGG Wrightson Wool Store on Blenheim Road, Christchurch. The Farmy Army says the fresh food hampers will be delivered to agencies who are most in need in Canterbury.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Top science award awarded to NIWA and Otago University

A team scientists from the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research and Otago University has been awarded the top award in this year's Prime Minister's Science Prizes. They have received $500,000 for a study into how oceans might be manipulated to remove carbon dioxide emissions from the air. Led by Professor Philip Boyd, the team of nine carried out two experiments in the Southern Ocean and the Gulf of Alaska where they added an iron solution to large areas of the sea, with the hope of altering concentrations of atmospheric CO2. The team plans to use $400,000 of the prize for future research at the NIWA/Otago Centre so New Zealand scientists and international collaborators can study Southern Ocean phytoplankton.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Mayday in Southern Ocean

The New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre says a Russian fishing vessel in the Southern Ocean, near the Antarctic ice shelf, has issued a mayday call. The Sparta, with 32 crew on board, issued the distress call about 3am on Friday (NZT) after water leaked onboard. The crew is pumping the water away. The centre says the vessel is on a 13 degree list and the closest rescue vessel is several days away. Heavy ice is making movement difficult. Non-essential crew have left the ship and are on the ice. The vessel is 2000 nautical miles south east of New Zealand.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, December 15

Papua New Guinea - Extra police flown into Port Moresby

There are signs the political deadlock in Papua New Guinea may have entered a dangerous new phase, with extra police being flown into the capital to seize government assets. The opposing camps of Sir Michael Somare and Peter O'Neill are not backing down on their claims to the country's prime ministership. Now Mr O'Neill says extra police have been flown into Port Moresby from around the country to seize government assets. He says they have already taken control of the government printing office and will also target the finance department, the prime minister's department and government house. The ABC's correspondent in Port Moresby says a government gazette has been published saying the acting Governor General has appointed Peter O'Neill as prime minister.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Kiwi drag queen Carmen to be buried in Sydney

A Kiwi drag queen who became a familiar figure on Sydney streets will be buried there after dying of kidney failure. The iconic transvestite and performer, Carmen, has died aged 75 in Sydney's St Vincent Hospital. A gay rights advocate, former Wellington mayoral candidate and former stripper, Carmen had battled with poor health for months before finally succumbing to kidney failure early today.
Source: ONE News

Kiwis have most-generous holidays - Mercer

New Zealanders have some of the most generous holiday entitlements in the Asia Pacific region and rank eighth worldwide for the amount of leave they're entitled to, according human resources consultants Mercer. New Zealand, Japanese and Australian employees all have a legal entitlement to 20 days annual leave, ahead of Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam on 14 days and the workers in the Philippines, who get the lowest entitlement at five days a year. New Zealanders also get 11 public holidays a year, taking the total to 31 days they can put their feet up. India, Thailand and Malaysia have the highest number of public holidays in the region on 16 days, followed by Japan, South Korea and the Philippines at 15, Australia at 10 and Vietnam nine.
Copyright © 2011, Television New Zealand Limited

Widespread flooding in Nelson-Tasman

Heavy flooding in the top of the South Island has caused at least 170 slips in the Nelson and Tasman regions, blocking major roads and cutting off townships. Heavy rain began on Tuesday and continued on Thursday, with at least 500 millimetres falling in some areas. It is one of the worst rainfalls in the region in recent history. A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday night and remains in place on Thursday. Gridlocked roads in Nelson are making it difficult for emergency services to get to people in need on Thursday. Rocks Road is closed. The road between Takaka and Collingwood is completely cut off and anywhere north of Pohara is impassable.
Welfare centres have been set up at the Suburban Club in Nelson and the Newlife Church in Richmond. If people require welfare assistance or sandbags, please contact your respective council call centre: Tasman District Council 03 543 8400 Nelson City Council 03 546 0200
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Solomon Islands new entrant to Australia seasonal work scheme

Australia says its pilot seasonal work scheme will be expanded to allow up to 2,500 workers from the Pacific islands into the country. A pilot scheme, to provide seasonal workers to the Australian horticulture industry, has been operating for several years. Australia’s Parliamentary Secretary of Pacific Islands Affairs, Richard Marles, says over 750 workers have participated in the pilot, which has been working well. He’s now revealed that Australia is ready to expand the scheme. Mr Marles says this reflects Canberra’s view that stronger regional integration, including through increased labour mobility and remittances, is critical to the economic future of Pacific island countries.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Farmy Army calls for volunteers

The Farmy Army is putting out the call for volunteers to help it with its last earthquake operation. The Farmy and student armies worked tirelessly after Christchurch's major quakes removing tonnes of silt and sand from streets and homes. Now the Farmys are planning to give Christmas food hampers to Christchurch's most vulnerable people. Catering co-ordinator Helen Heddell says they have the food but need volunteers to pack it into hampers on Friday. People are needed at Riccarton Racecourse at 10am to help freight frozen meat and home baking to the New Brighton Police Station.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Airlines team up over bio-fuel

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia have teamed up with an Australian company working on plans to turn agricultural and farm waste to aviation bio-fuel. They've signed a memorandum of understanding with Licella. Air New Zealand Deputy CEO Norm Thompson says the airline has been at the forefront of aviation's drive to create sustainable second-generation aviation bio-fuels. "We're particularly interested in this because it could be the sort of thing we could achieve in New Zealand," says Mr Thompson. He says it's a follow on to Air New Zealand's goal of trying to be the world most sustainable airline by 2020.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Tough Aussie food guidelines may be used here

Strict nutrition guidelines proposed in Australia that recommend drastic cuts to potato, high-fat dairy and junk food consumption could become the foundation for future guidelines here. Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council issued draft guidelines this week that would radically transform most Australians' – and Kiwis' – diets if they were followed. Based on the average diet, the council recommended eating 40 per cent less starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and kumara, half the amount of high-fat dairy products and – except for people who exercise vigorously – cutting out all "discretionary choice" foods such as cakes, burgers, soft drinks and alcohol. The Health Ministry here said that, although its nutrition guidelines were independent of Australia, the finalised Australian guidelines would be a "key reference" for official dietary recommendations in New Zealand in future.

Prince Charles to visit NZ

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand next year. Prime Minister John Key says they are coming as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Prince Charles last visited New Zealand in 2005. This will be the Duchess of Cornwall's first visit. The Prince will also visit Australia, Papua New Guinea and Canada in 2012 as part of celebrations.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, December 14

NZOG takes stake in prospective Tunisian oil field

New Zealand Oil Gas has taken a stake in a prospective oil field in Tunisia, that may start producing in a couple of years time. The energy explorer will take a 40% holding in the offshore Cosmos Concession, taking half the stake of the operator, Storm Ventures International, which is owned by Toronto exchange-listed Chinook Energy. New Zealand Oil Gas corporate affairs manager Chris Roberts says its initial costs will be $US22 million if the field's development plan is approved.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Rocky Horror creator gets NZ citizenship

The creator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show has received New Zealand citizenship at a ceremony in Hamilton on Wednesday evening. Richard O'Brien, 69, was originally denied citizenship because of his age but the decision was reversed earlier this year after a public outcry. Mr O'Brien was born in the United Kingdom but spent his early life in New Zealand before returning overseas in the 1960s. He wrote the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show in 1973 and starred as the character Riff Raff. A statue in his honour as Riff Raff was unveiled in Hamilton in 2004.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

State of emergency declared in Nelson-Tasman

A state of emergency has been declared in the Nelson-Tasman region after a day of torrential rain caused widespread flooding. Civil Defence is advising people to keep a watch on water levels and to be prepared to evacuate if necessary on Wednesday night. Heavy rain continues to fall across the top of the South Island, with at least 330 millimetres recorded in the ranges inland from Golden Bay since Tuesday afternoon. The council's public information officer, Chris Choat, says declaring a state of emergency will give police and Civil Defence the powers needed to tackle any further problems.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

World Bank launches multi million dollar Pacific aviation project

The World Bank launched its largest regional aviation project in the Pacific, this week. The organisation has approved a 62-million-US-dollar grant to improve international air travel for the people of Tuvalu, Tonga and Kiribati. Piers Merrick, of the World Bank’s Pacific Department, says the Pacific Aviation Investment Programme aims to assist small countries like Tuvalu reduce their isolation and strengthen their economies.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Emergency services on flood alert in Tasman District

Tasman District mayor Richard Kempthorne says emergency services are on alert and will remain so through the night as heavy rain threatens more flooding in Nelson and Tasman. The Maitai River in Nelson has overflowed, closing streets and coming within metres of some houses, although there have been no evacuations reported on Wednesday. Several roads in Nelson and Tasman at the top of the South Island are closed, and motorists are warned to take extreme care. In Nelson city, some homes along the swollen Maitai River are being threatened by water a metre or so away and sandbags have been stacked in front of some of them. In the Tasman District, Civil Defence officials are keeping a close watch on several rivers that are close to overflowing. Homes in Richmond and Hope are also threatened, although no-one has been forced to leave so far.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand

Turia and Sharples remain co-leaders

Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples remain the co-leaders of the Maori Party after a telephone meeting of the national council last night. There had been talk of MP Te Ururoa Flavell contesting the leadership, but it's understood he decided not to. President Pem Bird says the decision was unanimous. Mr Bird says the next three years are crucial to the party's renewal as a strong and credible force and the party has confidence that they are the team to take the party forward.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Employment market rebounding

By Blair Cunningham - NewstalkZB
Yet another small sign the employment market is rebounding. According to the Department of Labour, the number of skilled job vacancies advertised online grew last month, after two months of decline. And job vacancies overall grew by 4.2 percent. Research and analysis head Vasantha Krishnan says it shows bosses are starting to look at hiring again. Wellington's increase was the highest in the country as skilled job ads grew by 10 percent.

Charges laid over journalist's death

LATEST: Two teenagers have been arrested and charged with the murder of Wellington journalist Phillip Cottrell. Cottrell died in Wellington Hospital after he was attacked as he walked home from work about 5.30am on Saturday. The news of the arrests came as colleagues and friends of the 43-year-old gathered for an impromptu memorial service at the site of his attack. Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Miller said the men, aged 17 and 19, were charged at the Wellington central police station a short time ago. "These arrests follow an extensive amount of inquiries carried out by the investigation team over the past few days, however there is still a large number of enquiries to be made and we continue to need help from the public," he said. Miller this morning said police had located a man, Nicho Allan Waipuka, 19, who they were searching for last night. A second man, Manuel Renera Robinson, 17, had been charged with assault this morning and was due to appear in the Wellington District Court.
- The Dominion Post and Stuff

Smoked Cooks Islands fish could soon appear in US supermarkets

Smoked Cook Islands fish could soon appear on the shelves of supermarkets in Hawaii and California. Dave Rose, Shane Napa and Tom Zainey have been building Smoke Pacific Seafoods Cook Islands Limited for two years at its Panama factory in Rarotonga. The group has been centering their operation around a computer-programmed smoker they purchased from Austria. A fisheries development adviser with the Honiara-based Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Robert Stone, who owned and operated a smokehouse in Fiji for 15 years is providing insight and advice to the men. Mr Stone says the biggest and most penetrable market for smoked fish is the United States.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Frigate coming home

HMNZS Te Kaha is due to return to New Zealand on Wednesday after taking part in a military exercise in South East Asia. The combined air defence and maritime exercise was part of a Five Power defence arrangement, involving New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom. The frigate has been away for three months. Friends and family will be at Devonport Naval base at 3pm to welcome the crew home.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Australian Superannuation fund woes

A key scheme of one of Australia's biggest superannuation funds is short of money, leaving more than 100,000 people facing the prospect of having their super slashed. The UniSuper scheme has more than 450,000 members with about $A30 billion in assets under management. Its members thought they were in a scheme that was secure. But the ABC reports that is no longer the case due to changes in 2006 and they may lose what they thought would be a guaranteed income in retirement because UniSuper may not be able to pay promised benefits. University of Sydney workplace research centre senior research analyst Mike Rafferty says many members are unaware their super is at risk. Unless the markets recover, UniSuper will cut benefits in 2013. The ABC reports that even employees who have been retired for decades could have their pensions cut.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, December 13

Green light for rebuilding on Christchurch CBD land

The Christchurch City Council says all land within the central city can be rebuilt on. The devastating earthquake on 22 February caused extensive damage to the city centre, most of which remains cordoned off. As part of its final version of a draft Central City Plan, the council has released a geotechnical report by engineering consultants Tonkin and Taylor. The report says no areas within the central business district or adjacent commercial areas have been identified as having ground conditions that would preclude rebuilding. It adds, however, that more robust foundations or ground improvements may be required. Christchurch mayor Bob Parker says the report is timely, as it will give land and property owners much more certainty and confidence about planning.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Police name man linked to RNZ journalist's death

Police have named a man they want to speak to in connection with the violent death of a Radio New Zealand journalist. They say he is Nicho Allan Waipaku, aged 19. Phillip Cottrell, 43, was attacked in Boulcott Street in central Wellington on his way home from work just after 5.30am on Saturday. Mr Cottrell never regained consciousness from the time of the attack and died in Wellington Hospital on Sunday surrounded by family and friends after being taken off life support. He had worked for Radio New Zealand as a bulletin editor for five-and-a-half years and had a condition which made his bones fragile. The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Miller, says police believe Nicho Waipaku may have been in the vicinity of Boulcott Street at the time of the attack.
Information can be provided directly to police, or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Trade Me has active first day on NZ stock exchange

Trade Me has enjoyed an active first day after floating on markets in New Zealand and Australia on Tuesday, with $53 million worth of shares changing hands. The Australasian publisher Fairfax sold a third of its stake in the online trading site as part of moves to reduce debt, raising $364 million. Trade Me's shares rose as much as $2.93 each, before ending the day at $2.90, an increase of 7% of its issue price.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Shearer new Labour leader

David Shearer of Mount Albert and Grant Robertson of Wellington Central appear to be the Labour Party's new leader and deputy leader. A Labour caucus meeting was held at Parliament on Tuesday morning and an announcement will be made at 11.30am. Mr Shearer and Mr Robertson emerged first from the caucus room and went straight to the leader's office with out-going leader Phil Goff. Before the meeting, Mr Shearer said he was confident he had the numbers to win. Mr Shearer entered Parliament at a by-election 2½ years ago.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Work begins on Australasia's first 'Passive House'

Work has begun in Auckland on Australasia's first certified Passive House. It's being built in Glenfield by Philip Ivanier. Passive Houses are increasingly common around the world, receiving a boost from TV shows like Grand Designs. They make maximum use of the sun, internal heat sources and heat recovery to create a dry and warm house, drastically reducing home heating bills. Philip Ivanier was inspired to start the project after he moved to New Zealand from Canada and struggled to find a well-insulated and energy efficient house for his young family.
Copyright 2002 - 2011, TelstraClear Ltd

Overhaul of visa IT system

Immigration New Zealand is overhauling its information technology system to speed the processing of visa applications. The Government is investing $75 million in a new system that will allow visa applicants to do more online and enable all data to be accessed by immigration offices worldwide. Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman says the existing system is reaching the end of its technological lifespan. It is more than 15 years old. The new IT system will be operational early next year.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand

Union delegation heading to Fiji

New Zealand and Australian trade union leaders vow to go ahead with a trip to Suva despite a warning from the government there that they will not be allowed in. Representatives from the two Council of Trade Unions hope to meet employers and union representatives to talk about restrictions on union activity. New Zealand CTU president Helen Kelly says the delegation plans to leave Sydney on Tuesday morning. Ms Kelly says that if Fiji's regime has nothing to hide it should let them in. But a government spokesperson says the delegation will be refused entry because it is not coming with an open mind.
Copyright © 2011 Radio New Zealand


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