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Thursday, January 31

NZ regional parks receive prestigious award

By Matthew Theunissen
Seven New Zealand regional parks have received a prestigious Green Flag Award. The awards, which were open to parks from Australia and New Zealand for the first time this year, recognise well-managed, high-quality green spaces and aim to encourage the provision of good quality public parks that are managed in environmentally sustainable ways. Five Australian parks also received awards.
2013 Green Flag Award New Zealand recipients:
Ambury Regional Park, Auckland Council
Tapapakanga Regional Park, Auckland Council
Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton City Council
Karangahake Gorge, Department of Conservation
Parihaka Scenic Reserve, Whangarei District Council
Timber Trail Pureora-Orangue, Department of Conservation
Redwoods/Tokorangi, Rotorua District Council

National, Labour hold steady in latest poll

By Katie Bradford-Crozier - NewstalkZB
The latest political poll shows support for National and Labour remains steady. But an election would still be too close to call, according to the results of the Roy Morgan poll. National sits on 46 percent, with Labour also unchanged at 31.5 percent. There's only slight movement in the smaller parties, but with the combined totals sitting on 48 percent for National's support partners and around 50 percent for Labour's.

Competition needed for new type of medicine - Pharmac

Pharmac says a new kind of competition will be needed to enable it to continue to afford a particular group of expensive drugs. The Government's drug-buying agency says medicines known as biologics are already costing New Zealand at least $100 million a year. Biologics are made from living systems rather than chemicals and include the breast cancer drug Herceptin and Humira for arthritis. In its latest annual review released on Thursday, Pharmac says the top five biologics used in New Zealand cost $100 million annually, and that will become unmanageable without some kind of competition. It says biologics can't be patented like other drugs, but the generic equivalent, known as biosimilar drugs, are the answer and the first of these was funded last year.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Broadband grant approved for Chatham Island schools

A grant to provide better broadband to the three schools on the Chatham Islands has been approved by the Government. Communications Minister Amy Adams says fast, reliable broadband will allow the schools - Kaingaroa, Pitt Island and Te One - better access to internet and video conferencing, as well as specialist health and education services. There is no cellphone coverage on the islands. A set amount for the school broadband has been set aside, but the Government is asking for tenders so it can secure the best price.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Hottest day of summer for Canterbury

The Canterbury region has reached its hottest day of the summer so far. A 32 degree day before Christmas held the season's record, but temperatures in many parts of the city have surpassed that today. WeatherWatch Analyst Richard Green says the city's on 32 degrees now, with that expected to rise. He says Rangiora's also basking in a 36 degree day.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Carter elected Speaker despite last-ditch Labour bid

National's David Carter has been elected Speaker of the House of Representatives despite a challenge by the Labour Party to nominate one of its MPs. Mr Carter, a former Cabinet minister, replaces National MP Lockwood Smith, who is set to become New Zealand's High Commissioner in London. At the last minute, the Labour Party announced on Thursday afternoon that it would nominate senior Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard. It was a full House in Parliament on Thursday afternoon, as MPs had to be physically present in order to cast a vote. In the end, National had the numbers to secure Mr Carter's election and he will be formally confirmed in the position by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae at 4pm. Meanwhile, Lockwood Smith is expected to take up the High Commissioner's role in March.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

PHARMAC ready for additional roles

PHARMAC is patting itself on the back as it prepares to take on additional roles. The state pharmaceutical funder is now responsible for community medicines, the national vaccine schedule, and will take over managing hospital medicines and medical devices. In the agencyâs annual review published today, chief executive Steffan Crausaz says PHARMAC is currently going through a growth phase as it increases its capacity to carry out these expanded functions.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Today could be Christchurch's hottest

By Newstalk ZB staff - NewstalkZB
Christchurch is heading for what could its hottest day this summer. The warmest day in the region so far has been 32 degrees celcius, which was recorded before Christmas, but today's heat is exceeding that already. Rangiora is sitting on 34 degrees, and other areas in Christchurch city have exceeded 30 degrees - including Bishopdale, Cashmere and Avonside. WeatherWatch analyst Richard Green says unless the northeasterly kicks in again, the temperatures today will likely be the hottest felt this summer

Rugby Sevens mania set to hit Wellington

Sevens mania is about to hit Wellington. This afternoon's annual parade showcases each team before this weekend's tournament, which includes newcomers Spain. Wellington city councillor John Morrison says the whole city embraces the parade as it's not just about the sevens, but about having fun. The parade starts on Ballance Street just before one and ends at Civic Square.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Chch's history being revealed

Christchurch's history is being revealed as parts of the CBD are removed. Work at the Isaac Theatre Royal has revealed some historic artefacts believed to have come from a family's rubbish pit from the 1870s or 1860s. Director of underground-overground archaeology Katharine Watson says with so many items recovered, they'll be able to learn more about how people lived in Christchurch. She says they're all European items and include plates, bottles, animal bones and random metallic objects.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Sapphires sweeps Australian film awards

The Australian movie The Sapphires has taken home six prizes at the nation's premier film awards. The feel-good musical tells the story of an indigenous girl band in the 1960s, and has been a box office success. At the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards on Wednesday night it won best film, best director for Wayne Blair, and best lead actress for Deborah Mailman. Chris O'Dowd picked up the best actor award for his roles in the film, while co-star Jessica Mauboy won best supporting actress. It also won best adapted screenplay, bringing its total number of AACTA awards to 11 following Monday's earlier presentation of technical awards, the ABC reports.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, January 30

White Island's volcano lake dries up

The hot crater lake on White Island has now completely dried up as explosive rocks, mud and gas continue to be thrown into the air from the active volcano. White Island has been spewing a steady stream of gas since activity heated up in December. It's the most active the volcano has been since 2000. GNS Science vulcanologist Brad Scott said a "small tuff cone" was forming on the bottom of the crater lake, and the active vent was producing "vigorous bursts" of mud, rock, steam and gas up to 100 metres into the air. "GNS Science's past monitoring of the island shows that new eruptive episodes often develop out of this type of activity," Scott said.
© Fairfax NZ News

Whooping cough warning for Gisborne

People with coughs are being urged to stay away from Gisborne Hospital out of fear of spreading whooping cough to babies. The Tairawhiti DHB's Medical Officer of Health says he has received less than a dozen notifications of the disease, but suspects there are many more cases in the community. Bruce Duncan says whooping cough (also known as pertussis) can be fatal to young children, including babies too young to be immunised. Dr Duncan is asking those with a cough to use their common sense and avoid the hospital. Only parents and immediate carers are allowed in the neonatal and post-natal wards, he says.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Bee decline could sting economy, scientist warns

A scientist at the University of Canterbury warns a declining number of bees could threaten the New Zealand economy and more needs to be done to help farmers protect native species and pollinating flies. Ecology professor Jason Tylianakis says there are about 430,000 hives throughout the country and the pollination of crops and clover is worth $5 billion to the economy each year. He says honey bees are under pressure worldwide from diseases and pests, and managed hives are also at threat due to pests and chemical sprays. Professor Tylianakis says up to 75% of food crops need pollination, and further losses could affect exports such as kiwifruit and apples.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Reserve Bank sells large amount of NZ currency

The Reserve Bank has sold a large amount of New Zealand dollars in its biggest move in the currency markets in over a year. Information published on the central bank's website shows it sold $200 million for foreign currency in December last year. The last time the bank sold more New Zealand dollars was in 2008, when it was attempting to bring down the value of the currency. Westpac currency strategist Imre Speizer says the Reserve Bank is unlikely to be trying to repeat that strategy. However, he says it may be shifting to a more active management of its foreign currency reserves where it sees the chance for financial gain similar to the approach taken by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

NZ named 'best luxury destination' as travel awards

New Zealand has been named the 'World's Best Luxury Destination' for affluent Chinese travellers, by the Shanghai Travelers' Club in its 2013 Luxury Travel Awards. Auckland International Airport was also named the World's Best Airport, Whare Kea Lodge the Best Asia-Pacific Boutique Hotel and Millbrook, the Best Asia-Pacific Golf Course. The results follow a vote by the 3,400 Chinese members of the Shanghai Travelers' Club. November 2012 international visitor arrival statistics showed that China had overtaken the United Kingdom to become New Zealand's second largest source of arrivals.
Source: ONE News

PM ready to offer help to QLD

New Zealand stands ready to assist flood ravaged Queensland. The Prime Minister's spoken to the state's Premier and says he's offered any form of assistance they need. "To be blunt, I said to Campbell Newman, look any support you need come back and talk to us about it. We've got a wide range of capability here and we've helped you in the past."
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Lockwood Smith signs off as Speaker

It's a wrap for Parliament's Speaker - Lockwood Smith.
Thought of as one of the best Speaker's New Zealand has seen, Dr Smith is off to London to be our High Commissioner. He's managed to bring order to a rowdy, unhelpful bunch of MPs over the last four years. He ended his final - and the first question time of 2013 - in typical style. He apologised as the first question time of 2013 came to an end today, for allowing it to go much longer than usual. MPs from across the house applauded him as he said goodbye. Senior National MP David Carter will be nominated to be the next Speaker tomorrow.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Health officials recommend golf for older Kiwis

By Juliette Sivertsen - NewstalkZB
Here's a good excuse to get the golf clubs out. Health officials say golf is an activity older New Zealanders should be doing to help live longer and healthier. The Ministry of Health's issued a number of physical activity guidelines for the over 65s, which is a first for New Zealand. They include basic advice such as aiming for at least half an hour of activity, that increases the heart rate, five days a week. Chief Medical Officer Doctor Don Mackie says vacuuming and gardening counts, and ideally people should add in activities that promote flexibility and balance such as carrying shopping, stretching and golf.

Australian PM names date for election

Australia's federal election is to be held on 14 September this year. Prime Minister Julia Gillard made the surprise announcement while speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday. The Labor leader said she wanted to avoid the "carry on" that usually arises from constant speculation of the likely date of the poll during an election year. Ms Gillard said announcing the date this far out would allow certainty and structure to her government's plans for the country and give the Opposition a chance to lay out its policies, the ABC reports.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Inventor of WWW to address internet freedom in NZ

The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is in New Zealand for a series of public appearances. The physicist is revered within computer programming circles for creating the system for interlinked web pages which are accessed using the internet. Berners-Lee uploaded his first web page using the internet back in 1990 and has since overseen the development of the Web as the director of the World Wide Web Consortium. Sir Tim will be in Wellington today to deliver a public lecture at Te Papa, which will look at the value of the 'Open Internet' and why it matters for New Zealand and the world. He will also visit Parliament for a Parliamentary Internet Forum this afternoon.
Source: ONE News

Australia flood forces thousands from homes

The flood emergency in eastern Australia has spread, with vast areas in two states underwater and thousands of people evacuated from their homes. Record flooding has swamped northern New South Wales where large areas of land are underwater and a natural disaster has been declared. In Queensland, communities are waiting for water to recede to begin the clean-up. Some 41,000 people are isolated across New South Wales where flood warnings for 14 rivers are in place. Across the south of Queensland, tens of thousands of properties are isolated and about 50,000 homes are without power, the ABC reports. About 7000 people evacuated from city of Bundaberg are still waiting to return home.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

University offers quake engineering course

Specialised earthquake engineers will be trained at a new course run by the University of Canterbury in response to the demand of specialist engineers for the city's rebuild. The post-graduate earthquake engineering course will begin in February. The intensive one-year course will cater for about 30 students. The university's civil engineering senior lecturer, Brendon Bradley, says the course is a world-first and will cover all areas of earthquakes, from what causes them, to how to engineer earthquake-resistant buildings.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, January 29

Weavers sought for kiwi feathers

The Department of Conservation has called on Maori Arts New Zealand for help to find weavers who can work with kiwi feathers from overseas. In October, the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington launched an annual programme where feathers from moulting kiwi were collected and given to DoC for distribution. Twelve zoos in the United states contributed to the programme last year. DoC says it has passed on the feathers to Toi Maori known as Maori Arts New Zealand. General manager at Toi Maori, Gary Nicholas, says it's working with DoC to develop a policy about how to distribute the feathers to weavers. Mr Nicholas says weavers can also advise on how quickly the feathers should be passed on and can identify an appropriate group the feathers should go to. Mr Nicholas indicates that the feathers it already have will be given to weavers who are repairing inherited Maori cloaks or korowai.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

NZ to run agricultural training programme in Chile

New Zealand is to run an agricultural training project in Chile. The Chilean government has announced that New Zealand will be running the four-year initiative, aimed at revamping agricultural productivity in the South American country. Chile says it hopes the programme will help improve the effectiveness of the agricultural subsidies it pays its farmers and attract more skilled workers to the sector. Ag Services, a subsidiary of New Zealand agricultural training organisation AgITO, will be running the programme.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Auckland to host Volvo Ocean Race stopovers

Auckland will again host a stopover for the next two Volvo Ocean Races, after successfully hosting the event last year. Council agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development led the bid to host the 2015 and 2018 stopovers. The 2012 stopover generated just over $6 million and attracted over 275,000 spectators. Crews and support teams will sail into Auckland for 15 days during each round-the-world race. The dates will be announced in February.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Dolphins frolic in Lyall Bay

A pod of about 50 dolphins is spending the morning in Lyall Bay. They were still in the south coast Wellington bay shortly after 9am, and are believed to have been there for at least two hours before then. Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Brent Tandy said it was likely the dolphins were chasing fish in the bay's shallow water. Pods of up to 200 had previously been seen off the south coast - a common dolphin sighting ground. People should stay clear of the pod, partly because of rules around approaching them and because people could get accidentally hit while swimming with them.
© Fairfax NZ News

Parliament back in session today

Parliament's back in session today after the Christmas break. National's caucus will elect a new chief whip to replace Michael Woodhouse, who's been elevated into Cabinet. It's likely current junior whip Jo Goodhew will take over the senior role. This will be Lockwood Smith's last few days as Speaker before he heads off to London to take up his diplomatic posting. He's being replaced by David Carter. On the other side of the House, David Shearer will be contemplating his frontbench lineup for the year.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ Post wants cut in minimum delivery days

New Zealand Post wants to cut the number of days it is required to deliver mail to most addresses from six to three days a week. Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams said the company wants greater flexibility in its postal services as mail volumes are forecast to fall further. "In light of those significant reductions in mail volume, New Zealand Post is seeking to make changes to the Universal Service Obligations it is bound by." It wants to change that to not less than three days a week delivery to 99.88% of addresses. Ms Adams said New Zealand Post also wants to introduce more self-service kiosks. Submissions on the proposals close on 12 March.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Monday, January 28

$1m funding incentive for artists

Artists are being given a funding incentive to remain in, or return to, Christchurch. Creative New Zealand has allocated up to $1 million until June 2014 for new Earthquake Recovery Grants to help support the arts in Christchurch while the city rebuilds. Creative New Zealand chief executive Stephen Wainwright says he hopes the new grants will encourage artists and arts organisations to remain in or return to the city and to even consider moving to Christchurch to work. The new grants replace Creative New Zealand's Earthquake Emergency Assistance Grants.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Australian states struggle to cope with flooding

The Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales are struggling with an unfolding weather disaster as floodwaters force more evacuations and wild winds rip off roofs and cut power and phone lines. Three people have already died from the floods in Queensland. Authorities say up to 3600 homes and 1200 businesses could be inundated in the capital Brisbane when the river peaks on Tuesday. Severe weather warnings remain in place across south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales on Monday as the remains of a tropical cyclone bring heavy rain and strong winds.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New visa rules keep kiwis first in line for jobs

Visa rules are to be changed to keep kiwis at the front of the queue for jobs in the Christchurch rebuild. Minister of Immigration Nathan Guy has announced the changes today. They mean visa applications form foreigners seeking rebuild work won't be processed until authorities can ensure there are no New Zealanders available to fill the role. The rule change applies to trades, clerical, and manual jobs. It won't apply to highly skilled occupations or jobs on the Canterbury Skills Shortage list.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Thousands of homes to flood in Brisbane

First fire, now floods, as Australians endure a hellish summer. Residents in the south of New South Wales are being warned to prepare for 100 km/h winds and flash flooding as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald continues its damaging sweep south from Queensland. Newstalk ZB Australia correspondent Steve Price says the amount of damage to marinas and coastal areas is extraordinary. "At last count, about 5000 homes and businesses across Brisbane are expected to flood over the next few days.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Canterbury heading into hottest week of summer

Canterbury is heading into what could be the hottest week of summer. A big high sitting over the country means temperatures will hang around 30 degrees for most of the week, with no rain expected until next Monday. WeatherWatch analyst Richard Green says the north-east breeze will bring little relief from the heat. "Temperatures this week in between 28 and 31 degrees consecutively, so we're talking today, tomorrow, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and even into next weekend the big heat continues around Canterbury." Richard Green says overnight temperatures are sitting around the mid teens, so sleeping might not be an issue.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Outgoing speaker hopes reforms will stay

The man who's been stuck with the job of managing Parliament's proceedings is hoping some of his methods will be continued. Lockwood Smith is about to step down to take up his new job as our High Commissioner in London. Dr Smith raised eyebrows when he was appointed in 2008 by almost immediately setting new standards requiring ministers to answer questions in the House, rather than just address them. "I think it would be a shame if we were to go back to ministers being able to just ignore questions, I think that would not be in the interest of our Parliament." Lockwood Smith says he made the changes because he felt Parliament's rules weren't being followed properly during question time. He acknowledges it took some of his National Party colleagues by surprise, but believes his reforms have now been accepted by his peers
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Weather gods smile on Christian festival

The weather gods were smiling on the Parachute Christian music festival at the weekend, helping to make the event a sellout. Visitors to the venue enjoyed sunny, hot weather for all three days of this year's festival held at Mystery Creek. The last of the 17,500 tickets were snapped up on Saturday with people being turned away at the gates. Tickets were capped this year after sales were slow at last year's event. Four thousand tickets for next year's festival also went on sale, at a substantially reduced rate, with a four-day adult pass selling for $99 and a four-day family pass selling for $250.
© Fairfax NZ News

Students' health app could prove winner

Four Waikato University students have come up with an innovative way to collect, store and update medical records in third-world countries. Jesse Howse, Michael Watson, Haley Littlewood and Kieran Thomson, are developing a multi-party, easily updateable smartphone app that will keep vaccination records and remind individuals of when they're due for a booster shot. The team of four, appropriately named Team APPortunists, is one of two teams from Waikato to secure a place in the 2013 Microsoft New Zealand Imagine Cup finals. The technology competition is the world's largest, with entries from around the globe creating software using Microsoft applications. The Microsoft NZ Imagine Cup will be held in Auckland, March 24-25, where the team will present their app to a panel of judges and be offered the opportunity to chat with investors.
© Fairfax NZ News

Te Papa plans split into two museums

Te Papa (National museum) plans to split itself in half in a bid to streamline the organisation, six months into a nine-month restructuring process. Internal correspondence provided to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act outlines the intention to create two directorates - a Museum of Living Cultures and a Museum of the Future - with all staff and collection areas loosely split between them. The Museum of Living Cultures "largely captures what [Te Papa] is currently doing", while the Museum for the Future is intended to "challenge and empower people to have a positive impact on the future" through "new directions and initiatives yet to be implemented". The documents also show Te Papa, which receives $32.5 million in government funding each year and $2.25m from Wellington City Council, has been under pressure to "do more with less".
© Fairfax NZ News

Sunday, January 27

Navies discuss international shipping protection

The Royal New Zealand Navy's been in discussions with international navies over the protection of commercial shipping. Representatives from 12 countries met during the week at Auckland's Devonport Naval Base to discuss sharing protocols, counter piracy operations, developments in technology, and how to facilitate the safe passage of maritime trade. Royal New Zealand Navy Captain Phil O'Connell says regular monitoring of commercial shipping by naval forces globally has been undertaken for many years to guard against terrorism, sea robbery and piracy. He says secure commercial shipping is vital for economic growth and global trade. Captain O'Connell says New Zealand is the guardian for a large area of the Pacific, and it has an important role in monitoring and maintaining sea lines of communication.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Green Party's top priority: Stop asset sales

The Greens have outlined their priorities for 2013. At the party's annual 'picnic for the planet' in Auckland today, co-leader Metiria Turei identified stopping asset sales and getting Government backing for the Auckland CBD rail link as high priorities. Metiria Turei says the Green Party wants to bring democracy back to politics. The MP says the campaign the Greens are launching is called "I'm in for the future" where people can sign up and have a political voice. "We know that there are thousands of New Zealanders who want to express their political voice and they want to make good change and they just need an opportunity to do that." Ms Turei says the party's number one priority for 2013 is to stop asset sales by collecting the final signatures needed to force a referendum.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Amateur golfer Lydia Ko second in Sydney

New Zealand amateur golfer Lydia Ko has finished second at the New South Wales Open title in Sydney. Ko became the youngest ever winner of a professional title when she won this tournament last year. Ko, 15, finished two shots behind Caroline Hedwall of Sweden.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

WoF changes announced

Cars first registered since the year 2000 will need to get a warrant of fitness only once per year. The Government has decided that owners of new cars will not have to get them inspected until three years after they are imported. Cars manufactured before 2000 will still need twice-yearly checks. Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said on Sunday the new rules recognise cars are getting safer. The changes are expected to be in force by July 2014. They will also affect car registration, with incentives for early payment and penalties for late payment, and a system of reminders by text message. Mr Bridges said the change will save motorists, businesses and the Government $159 million per year.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Auckland air show off to flying start

By Jono Hutchison
Auckland has a new anniversary weekend event, with the first New Zealand International Air Show being held over three days at the North Shore Aerodrome. This is the air show's first year, and organisers say it's the first in the world to use live video feeds of the whole event. The clouds cleared up enough for the biggest star of the show, Yves Rossy from Switzerland, known as Jetman, to show off his unique style of flight. Rossy designed and built his jetpack over two decades, and this is the first time he's flown it here.
3 News

Labour Party leader Shearer to give first big speech of the year

It's David Shearer's first big speech of the year today, and the Labour leader plans to use it to demonstrate his party is a real alternative government. He says he wants to promote active government, which he says means making sure the Government gets in behind New Zealanders and what they want. "Saying to people there's a real difference, you have a real choice, and in 2014 you'll go into an election year knowing exactly where Labour stands and I believe people will be voting for us on that basis." Greens co-leader Metiria Turei will be tub thumping as well this afternoon, when she addresses her party's annual Picnic for the Planet in Auckland.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

National has become more right wing - Greens

By Sam Thompson - NewstalkZB.
The Greens are launching a new campaign today aimed at New Zealanders disillusioned with the Government's direction. Co-leader Metiria Turei believes National has become more right wing in the past 12 months. She says it's become more toxic to the environment, and less compassionate about the plight of children in poverty. Ms Turei says the campaign aims to prevent National pushing through controversial policies before the next election. Metiria Turei says thousands of New Zealanders don't necessarily want to join a party, but they have a vision of New Zealand where it's fairer and more sustainable and they want to be engaged in political action to make that happen. She says they can't wait until 2014 to stop bad change occurring.

More tests on promising diabetes vaccine

Australasian scientists are hopeful they have cracked a code in the long search for a vaccine against type one diabetes - a disease which affects about one in every 300 to 400 New Zealanders. An insulin nasal spray has shown promising signs of reducing pre-diabetic intolerance. Scientists hope that regular doses of the treatment will delay, and eventually prevent, the onset of the autoimmune disease. "We hope that we can pick up people who are at high risk of developing diabetes in the next five years and delay it," Liggins Institute principal investigator Dr Craig Jefferies said.
© Fairfax NZ News

South-east Queensland under seige

Wild weather continues to batter south-east Queensland as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald moves down the coast. A tornado hit Burrum Heads, near Bundaberg, at about 3.45am (AEST) on Sunday. There were five others in the Wide Bay region on Saturday. A storm tide alert was also issued for coastal areas of Moreton Bay on Sunday morning. A low pressure system has been hovering over Gladstone for about 48 hours. The Boyne River near Gladstone in central Queensland was due to peak at 2:30am (AEST) on Sunday. Up to 400 houses near the mouth of the river were evacuated. Almost eight metres of water is flowing over the Awoonga dam at Gladstone. Tannum Sands and Boyne Island, at the mouth of the Boyne River, narrowly escaped being flooded on Saturday, but may not be so lucky on Sunday. Flood warnings have also been issued for the Calliope, Baffle and Kolan Rivers. In Rockhampton, the Fitzroy River continues to rise as it absorbs about 0.5 metres of rain.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, January 26

Three tornadoes hit Queensland

Three tornadoes have ripped through Queensland's Wide Bay region, 400 kms north of Brisbane, causing extensive damage to property and bringing down powerlines. The first tornado hit the coastal settlement of Bargara, near Bundaberg. The second tornado hit Burnett Heads, to the north of Bundaberg, several hours later, before a third tornado crossed the coast at Coonar, south of Bundaberg. A disaster situation has been declared. The Queensland premier was meeting with disaster authorities in Brisbane on Saturday to discuss the situation.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Antarctica - Rescuers find aircraft wreckage but 'crash unsurvivable'

The wreckage of the plane carrying three Canadian men in Antarctica has been found, rescuers saying the crash would have been unsurvivable. Rescuers say the plane crashed close to the summit of Mount Elizabeth in the northern end of Queen Alexandra Range, close to the Ross Sea. The next of kin of the three men have been informed. The Rescue Coordination Centre's coordinator, Tracy Brickles, says it's a very sad end to the operation, and thoughts are with the families of the men. The co-ordination centre says rescue teams were not able to land at the crash site because of high winds. Crews have since returned to the Beardmore Glacier base and will attempt to get to the wreckage site early Sunday morning.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

25,000+ expected for Parachute festival

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in the Waikato for the Southern Hemisphere's largest Christian music festival. The 21st Parachute Music Festival is underway at Mystery Creek near Hamilton. More than 25,000 people are expected to turn out for the various concerts over the weekend. The festival - which is free of alcohol and other drugs - runs until midnight tomorrow.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Water warnings

There are more warnings of water restrictions as parts of the country dry out. Irrigation restrictions are already in force in Hawke's Bay where the effects of low summer rainfall are most marked. Now, Northland Regional Council is also warning water users to prepare for possible shortages and restrictions unless there is significant rain over the next month or two. Waikato Regional Council is also watching conditions closely.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Paul Simon coming to New Zealand

By Natasha Burling - NewstalkZB
Paul Simon is coming to New Zealand in April, for two concerts. He'll be performing in Dunedin on April 6, and Auckland on April 8. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says it's wonderful news for the city. He says the economic impact of the Elton John concert was in excess of $14 million, and he hopes to see similar benefits from the Paul Simon show.

Australian cotton farm now controlled by Chinese consortium

Cubby Station, Australia's largest cotton farm, has passed into the control of a Chinese consortium. The ABC reports the station in southern Queensland had been in administration for more than three years. "We haven't got investors in Australia to enter into these ventures unfortunately, so you've got to take the next best thing and that's foreign investment," said St George Chamber of Commerce president John Travers on Friday. The chamber hopes the new owners will bring stability to the local economy.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Antarctic search still blocked by weather

Weather conditions in Antarctica have begun to improve, but not enough to get helicopters to the area where a plane carrying three Canadians went missing on Wednesday night. The Twin Otter aircraft was on a flight from the South Pole to the Italian base at Terra Nova Bay near the Ross Sea. The New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre said on Saturday that another Twin Otter aircraft will head to Beardmore Glacier, about 50km from the site in the Queen Alexandra Range, where the plane went down. The plane will take supplies and set up camp. A Hercules aircraft will also take equipment to the glacier on Saturday afternoon. The rescue centre says weather conditions have not improved enough yet for two helicopters to make the four hour journey to the glacier.

Friday, January 25

Cyclone Garry worries Aitutaki residents

A tropical cyclone warning took effect on Friday evening for all of the Southern Cook Islands ahead of Cyclone Garry's expected landfall on Saturday. The category 3 storm has been moving in easterly direction towards Aitutaki. A hotel owner on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands says people on the atoll have spent all day preparing for the arrival of Cyclone Garry. Mike White, from the Aretamanu beach hotel, says cyclones are fact of life for the people of Aitutaki but people are particularly nervous this year after the devastating effect of Cyclone Pat nearly two years ago.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Air NZ boosts number of flights to Asia

Those keen to get onboard a flight to Japan or China have more chance now thanks to Air New Zealand. The national carrier is now operating daily return services to Tokyo and Shanghai in response to strong growth in the Asian market. Air New Zealand deputy CEO Norm Thompson says the Shanghai region is home to around 23 million people making it the perfect gateway for the rapidly growing Chinese market. He says the Japanese market is showing signs of strong recovery following the tsunami in 2011, and the return to daily Auckland to Tokyo services shows their commitment to growing it even further.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ yachtie killed in Thailand storm

By Newstalk ZB staff - NewstalkZB
A New Zealand yachtie's been killed in a storm in Thailand. Local news agency the Phuket Wan says the 59-year-old hit his head and fell into the sea at Chalong Pier, on Phuket's east coast. The incident occurred after the storm drove a bigger vessel into his catamaran. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is trying to contact the man's next of kin New Zealand.

2013 to see reconstruction in central Christchurch

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says 2013 will be the year that central Christchurch shifts from demolition to reconstruction. $145 million worth of consents has been issued over the past 10 months for construction projects inside the four avenues. With 930 full or partial demolitions completed, Mr Brownlee said on Thursday he expects Christchurch City Council to ensure the consent process for new buildings is fast-tracked.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Dramatic rescues as central Queensland floods

Dramatic rescues have been carried out in central Queensland, with parts of Rockhampton underwater after its wettest day in more than 60 years. Rockhampton councillor Bill Ludwig said on Friday many streets in the city are under water, and "very destructive winds" are also being felt from the low pressure system that was cyclone Oswald. The system is currently sitting about 120km west of Mackay and is expected to cause flooding in communities further south in coming days, AAP reports. Mr Ludwig said the situation in Rockhampton is serious, and told residents to stay off the streets.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Three months and 50kms, Giro the cat returns home

They say a cat has nine lives, and one Christchurch feline has certainly proved that to be true, making a 50-kilometre journey across rivers, sewage ponds and major highways. Giro, a black cat, disappeared from his family's new home in Loburn last September during a hailstorm, turning up three months later at the family's old red-stickered home in Redcliffs. Amanda Boon said the family spent several weeks looking for the cat, and had given up hope, even buying her two daughters a new kitten. But just when she thought they'd never see Giro again, their former neighbours called just before Christmas to say Giro was hiding under their earthquake damaged house. "It took several days to try and coax him out from under the house. He was very frightened, but it was like winning Lotto to get him back," she said. Boon is stunned Giro made the 50 kilometre journey. "He had to cross two major rivers, the large Bromley sewerage ponds, and the causeway which is riddled with traffic."
Source: ONE News

Convention looking to remove Islam stigma

Getting rid of the violent and aggressive stigma associated with the Islam religion will be the main focus of this year's annual convention. Hundreds of Muslims are expected to gather at the 24th annual event in Manukau this weekend. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community national president Iqbal Mohammed says there's been an increasing number of people showing interest in the religion in recent times. But he says there's still a negative stigma linked to Islam, brought on by the actions of a minority of fanatics and extremists. "For that very reason, we are trying to go back to the basics and look at the basic teachings of Islam, and bring forward the fundamental teachings that was left for us by the holy prophet Muhammad."
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Antarctic fish can cope with warmer water

A University of Canterbury study has found Antarctic fish can cope in much warmer water than once thought. Biology professor Bill Davison has been testing fish in water that is five to six degrees warmer than conditions in Antarctica. Bill Davison says waters around the Antarctic Peninsula have risen by about one degree Celsius, which represents a major shift in the upper limits of some animals. He says finding out that southern fish can cope with warmer water gives some hope for the future of the Antarctic environment.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Increased demand for kiwi timber

More new homes being built locally and in the United States are seeing a lift in demand for our timber. Newstalk ZB business correspondent Roger Kerr, says with the US forestry industry concentrating on local demand, our exporters are reaping the rewards in Asia. "Already our log exporters to China are seeing stronger prices, as US logs are no longer exported into the Asian market. "There is enough demand in the domestic US market." Roger Kerr says while that's good news, high export prices are still causing concerns for local producers.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

High brings good news for surfers

Good news for surfers in Northland for the long anniversary weekend, with larger than normal swells forecast. MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett says a very large high is sitting off the south east coast of New Zealand ready to move up the the country. He says as it moves in the next couple of days it will bring easterly swells of one to two metres, with combined waves of more than three metres, along the east coast of Northland.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Govt operating balance ahead of forecast

There's some positive financial news for the Government. Latest Crown account figures out today have the operating balance before losses and gains at just over three billion dollars, that's $200 million better than forecast. And the Crown's operating balance is in the black to the tune of just over $700 million - it had been forecast to be over half a billion dollars in the red. The result's put down to gains made in the New Zealand Super Fund and ACC investments. The Finance Minister's talking up the latest financial performance. Finance Minister Bill English says compared to the same period last year the Government's made good progress on its target of getting back to surplus in 2014-15. The OBEGAL deficit is just over three billion dollars - Mr English says that's a one and a half billion dollar improvement when compared to a year ago.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Pistol linked to Captain Cook for sale

One of the few physical links left to Captain James Cook is up for auction in Australia. It's an early 18th century Continental Flintlock holster pistol, which has been in the Cook family's possession for more than two centuries. Former Melbourne Lord Mayor, Ron Walker, purchased it at an auction in Scotland in 2003, and is putting it up for sale again. The auctioneers say that, for a man who had such a profound effect on European colonisation in this part of the world, there is remarkably very little physical evidence left of Captain Cook. It has a pre-sale estimate of between A$100,000 and A$200,000 ($124,735 and $249,606).
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Strong US interest in new rice fabric

A Wellington product development company is getting strong interest from potential customers in the United States in a new furnishing fabric that will be made from New Zealand wool blended with rice straw. The Formary is the company that transformed Starbucks jute coffee sacks blended with wool into a new upholstery fabric. It's negotiating with Chinese government officials to manufacturer the rice straw-wool fabric in China using some of the hugh amounts of waste straw left over from the annual rice harvest there. Managing director Bernadette Casey said the fabric has been further refined with the help of Massey University scientists and she hopes to start commercial production this year.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Boost to apprenticeships announced

Prime Minister John Key has announced changes to apprenticeship training in his first major speech of the year. From January next year, modern apprenticeships and other apprenticeship-type training will be combined under a new scheme called New Zealand Apprenticeships. Mr Key said on Friday at the North Harbour Club in Auckland that overall subsidy payments to the scheme will be increased by $12 million in the first year, and will rise over time. To encourage people to take up apprenticeships, he said the Government will give the first 10,000 who enrol from April this year $1000 towards their tools and off-job course costs, or $2000 if they are in priority construction trades.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

NZ coin to mark Doctor Who milestone

The 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is being marked with the issue of a commemorative coin in New Zealand. The series hits its half century this year and it has long been popular in the country, which was the first territory outside the UK to screen the Time Lord's adventures. The special $2 denomination coin will be legal tender, under the authority of Niue, and features an engraved image of the Tardis. It will cost collectors $155. It will also come in a Tardis-shaped container and will launch at the World Money Fair in Berlin next week. There will also be collectible coins available later in the year featuring the face of 11 different actors who have portrayed The Doctor, from William Hartnell to Matt Smith.
Source: NZN

Thursday, January 24

Alert level raised at rumbling White Island

GNS Science has raised the aviation alert for White Island to the second highest level, warning that explosive eruptions could occur at any time. GNS said on Thursday that volcanic unrest has increased and as a result the Aviation Colour Code alert has been upgraded to orange. It says a type of earthquake is occurring that is typically associated with the movement of magma within an active volcano. Volcanologist Gill Jolly said the activity on the Bay of Plenty island is some of the most vigorous for many years and explosive eruptions could occur at any time with little or no warning.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Fruit and veges found to influence energy, mood

A study by the University of Otago is likely to put a smile on many parent's faces. The study reveals eating more fruit and vegetables may make young people calmer, happier and more energetic in their daily life. One of the researchers, Doctor Tamlin Conner, says eating fruits and vegetables can also improve your mood for the next day. "It's that forward prediction into how you're feeling the next day that gives us some better confidence that it's actually the fruit and vegetables that may be influencing mood and not vice versa."
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Reports 900 dolphins slaughtered in Solomon Islands

By Sophie Lowery - NewstalkZB
Some members of a village in the Solomon Islands have reportedly slaughtered up to 900 bottlenose dolphins. Local media are reporting the dolphins were killed this week after the American Earth Institute failed to pay Fanalei village for foregoing their traditional hunting practice over the past two years. Fanalei Association chairman Atkin Fakaia told the Solomon Star that villagers couldn't wait for the institute to pay up because they needed money to survive. He says dolphin meat and teeth are sold for money.

Chinese demand for kiwi cows

There's a strong demand for New Zealand cows in China. Some New Zealand farmers have been sending their excess stock over to Fonterra-owned Chinese farms, to help build their herd numbers. There are a number of benefits for New Zealand farmers including allowing them to upgrade their stock, to cows which offer higher milk yields. Waikato dairy farmer Roger Blunt says at the moment demand is high, but you never know what the future holds. "The market will stay relatively strong, but that could also diasppear overnight too if, for whatever reason, they decide to stop buying."
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

New teacher trainees going into classrooms

The first students from a new style of teacher training are about to start work in schools after eight weeks of pressure-cooker preparation. Based on similar courses in England and the United States, the Teach First course trains its students while they work. The first 16 trainees will be working in low-decile secondary schools and principals of the schools say they are confident the trainees will do well. The Post Primary Teachers Association says it will keep an eye on the programme because it is different from the usual forms of secondary teacher training. The two-year programme is aimed at reducing under-achievement by children from poor communities.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Plane missing in Antarctica

A plane carrying three Canadian men is missing in Antarctica. The New Zealand Search Rescue Co-ordination Centre is running the search after an emergency locator beacon began transmitting at 10pm on Wednesday (NZT) from the northern end of the Queen Alexandra Range. The centre said the plane, a Twin Otter, was on a flight from the South Pole to the Italian base in Terra Nova Bay. A joint New Zealand and United States field rescue team will attempt to reach the site by helicopter when conditions improve.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, January 23

High-powered magnet toys banned in NZ

The sale of high-powered magnet sets that have killed and injured a number of children around the world have been banned in New Zealand. The magnets, known as 'rare earth magnets' and which are 50 times stronger than conventional magnets, are already banned in Australia and the US but are sold in New Zealand shops. An unsafe goods notice would be issued on the magnets from tomorrow, which meant no one would be allowed to import or sell them, Consumer Affairs Minister Simon Bridges said today.

NZ tops global budget transparency survey

New Zealand has ranked first in an international survey on budget transparency. The International Budget Partnership today released results of the 2012 Open Budget Survey. The survey ranks 100 countries based on 95 questions that assess the availability of eight key budget documents, as well as the data in those documents. It's highlighted that an area of weakness in New Zealand is a lack of public debate and independent scrutiny of the Pre-Budget Statement.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Charges against flower-eating goat thrown out

A magistrate in Australia has dismissed charges against a goat called Gary, booked by Sydney police for eating flowers outside the Museum of Contemporary Art. Gary's owner comedian Jimbo Bazoobi, real name James Dezarnaulds, contested the $A440 fine issued for damaging vegetation in August last year. Police had argued that Mr Dezarnaulds acted recklessly in allowing the hungry goat to approach the flower bed. But the magistrate said there was no evidence that he had put Gary to the deed, the BBC reports. Magistrate Carolyn Barkell said Mr Dezarnaulds had no control over what the animal might eat, and was unaware of his preference for flowers over grass.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Govt to set up irrigation investment company

The Government has confirmed it is setting up a company to invest in irrigation schemes. It signalled plans to act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure development in the lead-up to the 2011 general election. Prime Minister John Key said on Wednesday that $80 million would be set aside in this year's Budget to establish the company. Mr Key said the development of storage and irrigation infrastructure has the potential to grow the New Zealand economy and create new jobs. The Government expects to consider at least one proposal for a large, regional-level scheme in the next 12 months, he said.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Lost Aboriginal language revived

An Aboriginal language crushed by European colonisation in Australia has been revived, thanks to the dedication of researchers and the vision of 19th Century German missionaries. The Kaurna language once thrived and was spoken by the original inhabitants of Adelaide. To restore the ancient tongue, researchers trawled through historical archives produced by religious groups and colonial officials to bring it back from the dead. Within 18 months of their arrival in South Australia in 1838, two German missionaries had produced a definitive vocabulary of about 2000 Kaurna words, around 200 translated sentences and key elements of grammar. The Ten Commandments, half a dozen German hymns and a school prayer were also translated. The pair also opened a school that used the Kaurna language as a medium of instruction for almost six years before it was closed down by the authorities, who would only tolerate English. The language is now being taught at evening courses for both Aboriginal and non-indigenous students.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Comvita acquires large Australian olive business

A global natural health and beauty product company based in the tiny community of Pukehina in the Bay of Plenty, has just acquired a large Australian olive business. Comvita completed the purchase last week of Organic Olives in Queensland. CEO Brett Hewlett says the acquisition will meet increasing demand for Comvita's fresh Olive Leaf Extract. A recent clinical trial at the University of Auckland has shown the extract improves the activity of insulin and the way it was secreted in overweight men.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Sir Paul Holmes back in hospital

Sir Paul Holmes is back in hospital. The veteran broadcaster is in Hawke's Bay Hospital in a stable condition. His family have gathered in the region to be with him. His investiture ceremony was fast-tracked to last week, after concerns about his deteriorating health.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Maori Party leadership challenge tipped

The struggle for the Maori Party leadership has heated up again with suggestions a challenge could be made as early as today. The Maori Party will be discussing its leadership and future plans after attending celebrations on Ratana Pa, near Whanganui, and unconfirmed reports suggest the party's only other MP, Te Ururoa Flavell, could challenge co-leader Pita Sharples for the leadership this afternoon. And to complicate matters, Mana Party leader Hone Harawira this morning indicated he could be ready to work again with the Maori Party. Co-leader Tariana Turia announced late last year that she would not be standing again in 2014 but would stay on until the election. She also suggested fellow co-leader Sharples should follow her lead and retire. He has been toying with the idea since the last election. But Sharples has been defiant in recent weeks saying he would stay on in Parliament, and as leader, because the people wanted him to. Meanwhile, Flavell, has been vocal about his desire to become leader.
© Fairfax NZ News

New baby zebra at Hamilton Zoo

Hamilton Zoo has welcomed the birth of a baby zebra. The yet-to-be-named foal was born early Monday morning, and is the fourth offspring for 9-year-old mother Marble and the 11th child for 8-year-old father Bwana. Zookeeper Louise van der Sande said both the mother and foal are doing well. "The foal is doing really great. He's healthy and is walking and drinking from his mother. Like horses, zebras are highly sociable animals so our new zebra is already enjoying exploring his new home and meeting the other animals." The new zebra can be seen in the zoo's savannah enclosure, which also houses giraffes and antelopes. Yesterday's birth takes the number of zebra at Hamilton Zoo to seven, including three males and four females. There are around 20 zebras in New Zealand.

Volcanic activity sparks tour interest

The head of a Bay of Plenty tourism business that takes boat tours to White Island says interest always increases in trips to the island when there's a lift volcanic activity. Patrick O'Sullivan from White Island Tours says crew members and passengers have been returning with impressive videos and photos recently. He says the volcano is one of the most accessible in the world. "(The increased activity) is definitely giving it a lot more attention, we're seeing a lot of hits to our website. "It's just a great opportunity for people to get to a volcano that is so accessible, because there's not that many around the world where you can just pull up and hop right on."
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Growing veges on berm encouraged

A movement encouraging people to grow vegetables on the grass verge outside their house is growing traction. Waiheke Islander John Stansfield who is leading the charge has put his message on Facebook, saying it will help feed the neighbourhood. He says it will also solve Auckland Council's problem of not being able to afford to mow the berms. Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says they don't encourage people to use the berm for growing things. He says Facebook and Twitter activity indicate the movement is about to take off, so they are keeping an eye on the situation.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ climbs globalisation rankings

New Zealand is climbing up the globalisation rankings with our use of technology. A new report from Ernst & Young says the country's exceptionally strong performance in technology is set to propel us up the globalisation rankings. Newstalk ZB business correspondent Roger Kerr says currently New Zealand is ranked 21st, ahead of Australia on 24th and the US economy at 25th. "With our fast broadband coming on stream, we're expected to climb up the league table to 12th position by 2016 - somewhere near Finland - with the improvement coming from higher broadband penetration." Top of the rankings is Hong Kong, followed by Singapore and Ireland.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Cricket - Black Caps in historic South Africa win

The Black Caps have taken the second one day international against the Proteas, the first time New Zealand has won a one day series in South Africa. New Zealand beat South Africa by 27 runs in the second One Day International in Kimberley on Tuesday, taking an unassailable 2-0 series lead with a final game still to be played. An undefeated innings of 145 from Kane Williamson propelled New Zealand to 279 for eight. South Africa looked on course for victory as they reached 165 for one after 30 overs but a collapse fuelled by five run-outs caused them to be dismissed for 252.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, January 22

Seeking lost friend - Do you know Anita Hoogendyke?

Anita Hoogendyke - Sr Anne-Marie is trying to find you. If you see this Anita please contact me at - or phone Australia 0011 (02) 44763831. Would love to hear from you.

NZ Super Fund returns nearly 20% in 2012

Investment returns from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, the country's main savings vehicle to fund public pension entitlements, came in at 19.17% in the 12 months to December 31, the fund's guardians report. The monthly update shows the Fund finished the year at a record high value of $20.92 billion, up from $17.73 billion at the end of 2011, of which $3.49 billion is invested in a range of New Zealand assets including publicly listed shares, forests, farmland, commercial property and private companies. Since its inception a decade ago, the Fund has achieved a 7.92% return on its investments, and contends that its active portfolio management policy has added $1.3 billion of the increased value, compared to returns if its funds were passively managed.
Source: BusinessDesk

Australian ports close for cyclone threat

Rio Tinto is closing its Cape Lambert and Dampier ports in Western Australia's Pilbara region to prepare for a low-pressure weather system that could become a tropical cyclone on Wednesday. The miner said harbour masters were expected to close the Cape Lambert facility at Port Walcott and Dampier port to allow ships to move outside the affected area. "Operations are continuing at this stage, but preparations are commencing to secure port and associated coastal infrastructure ahead of expected deteriorating conditions this evening," the company said in a statement. The Port Hedland harbour, Australia's highest-tonnage port, is also being evacuated for closure.
Source: Reuters

Labour, Greens pledge to reinstate Gisborne rail line

By Phillipa Webb of the Gisborne Herald
Labour and the Greens vowed at a public meeting in Gisborne last night that they would reinstate the Gisborne to Napier railway line if they won the 2014 election. East Coast National MP Anne Tolley's absence from the meeting about the mothballed line was noted, with most of about 100 meeting-goers giving her a vote of no confidence. KiwiRail have been looking to mothball the Gisborne to Napier line for the past decade, saying it is unprofitable.
The Gisborne Herald

Top Kiwi police officers could be lured to UK

By Kurt Bayer
Top New Zealand police officers could be lured to run British police forces under a proposed shake-up in the UK. The UK government is looking to change the law that has previously stated that chief constables - the head officer of regional forces - must be British citizens. Under new plans, candidates from New Zealand, Australia, and North America will be asked to apply to take over forces across England and Wales. The jobs come with salaries from $240,000-$409,000 for the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London. UK ministers say they want to attract the "best and brightest" candidates with the right skills to "forge a force fit for the 21st century". However, the New Zealand Police Association doesn't expect to an exodus of senior officers. Mr O'Connor warned any officers considering a move to Great Britain that they would find it had "quite an inefficient police compared to our own". He also voiced concern over a recent shift to elected police chiefs to mirror the American system which has led to "total politicisation of the police".

NZ volunteers help repair cyclone damage in Samoa

A group of five plumbing graduates from New Zealand is preparing to fly to Samoa to help repair damage caused by Cyclone Evan. The graduates, from the Wellington Institute of Technology, will spend a month doing voluntary service for the Samoan Water Authority repairing damaged infrastructure. The Chief Executive of Weltec, Linda Sissons, says the graduates are being supported by the New Zealand government, as well as Samoan churches in Wellington.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Marmite back on shelves later this year

Marmite manufacturer Sanitarium says the popular spread will be back on shelves in the first half of this year. The company was forced to close operations at its Christchurch factory due to earthquake damage. Sanitarium's general manager Pierre van Heerden says the machinery in the factory has operated well after testing, and a return date for the spread will be announced in the next two to three weeks. Mr van Heerden says the company still needs time to make and package the spread, but it will definitely return in the first half of this year.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

PHARMAC scope expanded

PHARMAC is expanding its hold on the medical industry, by taking over control of all hospital and other medical devices within two years. The government agency already buys New Zealand's pharmaceuticals and is now doubling its workload to manage all devices by 2015. It has already taken over the management of some items, such as diabetes tests and intrauterine devices. Acting CEO Peter Moodie says there are potentially 250,000 devices to be managed by their staff. He says the switchover will save the district health boards $500 million over five years.
By Newstalk ZB staff - NewstalkZB

Nick Smith returns to Cabinet

Nick Smith is returning to Cabinet, while Phil Heatley and Kate Wilkinson have been axed, Prime Minister John Key has announced. Smith has been reinstated as minister of housing and conservation. New ministers are Nikki Kaye, and senior whip Michael Woodhouse. Kaye will be minister for food safety, youth affairs and civil defence. Woodhouse will serve outside Cabinet as immigration and veterans affairs minister. Simon Bridges has been promoted to Cabinet and will take on the labour and energy resources portfolios. Nathan Guy gets primary industries - vacated by David Carter. Ministers Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley have been dumped from Cabinet in the reshuffle. Key said it was time for "fresh energy and ideas". Meanwhile, David Carter has been nominated to be the new speaker of the house following Lockwood Smith's departure to be New Zealand's high commissioner to London.
© Fairfax NZ News

Wellington businesses urged to look south

Wellington businesses are being urged to look south as the Christchurch rebuild hits top gear. As the $30 billion project progresses, local Christchurch businesses are becoming stretched for resources and looking for partners to share the load. Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says getting involved will be beneficial for both cities. “They don’t necessarily have to move to Christchurch to do it, obviously the physical work has to be done down there but a lot of the design work can be done from the Wellington offices.” Ms Wade-Brown says a forum will be held in early March to find out how businesses can best assist.

Diet change can have anti-inflammatory effect in weeks - study

An Auckland University study has found a healthy change in diet can lower susceptibility to chronic diseases in less than two months. The study at the nutrition department of the university's School of Medical Sciences looked at the effect of the Mediterranean diet - which includes fruit, vegetables, nuts, and fish - on reducing inflammation. Department head Lynnette Ferguson said the study found a significant reducation in inflammation as early as six weeks into the diet. Professor Ferguson said inflammation can be the catalyst for diseases like Alzheimer's and Crohn's, several heart diseases, and some cancers. She described the findings are significant for people who give up too quickly on healthy eating plans.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

New figures show impact of study choices on income

A new online tool is being launched to show prospective tertiary students what impact their study choices will have on their future income. The data is available on the Careers New Zealand website where salaries and employment rates of various study levels and degrees are compared. The figures from the Ministry of Education show a large variation in the median income of graduates. The top earners with a bachelors degree work in medicine, earning about $110,000 a year five years after graduating, three times that of a performing arts graduate. Civil engineering graduates earn about $67,653 a year, 48% more than language and literature or sport and recreation graduates.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, January 21

Super fund eyes farms offshore

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is considering buying more overseas farmland amid growing demand for food in emerging markets like China and Indonesia. The fund's general manager of investments, Matt Whineray, has told Reuters news agency that the $21 billion fund is aiming to increase its allocation for crop, dairy and livestock farming operations from less than 1% to 3%. The fund is also interested in assets offered by struggling European banks as well as catastrophe insurance.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Rugby - More Sevens tickets go on sale

An extra 500 tickets have been released for the sold out Hertz Sevens tournament in Wellington next month. The tickets to the two-day event were returned by businesses and are now available to the public. The original allocation of public tickets went on sale in November and sold out within minutes. The extra tickets are available online from Ticketek
© Fairfax NZ News

Agriculture scholarships target Maori

Ten new scholarships each worth $10,000 have been made available for Maori tertiary students studying agriculture. The Whanui grants have been created by the independent charitable trust, Te Putea Whakatupu - in partnership with the national organisation, the Federation of Maori Authorites. Putea Whakatupu trust chair Richard Jefferies says they're looking for applicants enrolled in an agribusiness or agriscience degree and who are committed to Maori development in agriculture. He says the scholarships aim to get more Maori with qualifications involved in farming.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Heartland Bank to be registered on stock exchange

Heartland Building Society's change over to a bank is well underway. From Thursday it'll be registered on the New Zealand Stock Exchange as Heartland Bank Limited. The Reserve Bank gave the organisation approval to register as a bank just before Christmas. Heartland is comprised of the former businesses CBS Canterbury, MARAC, PGG Wrightson Finance and Southern Cross Building Society.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Samoa preparing for tropical cyclone

Just a month after deadly Cyclone Evan hammered Samoa, it's preparing for another tropical cyclone expected to hit the island tonight. The Samoa Meteorological Service has issued a warning for high winds, heavy rain, flooding and landslides as a result of a cyclone due to hit the capital, Apia, around midnight New Zealand time.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Red panda born at Auckland Zoo

The birth of a rare Nepalese red panda baby, weighing not much more than a tomato, has thrilled Auckland Zoo keepers. The keepers said that the birth of the cub, the first of its kind at the Zoo since 2002, in the early hours of Christmas Eve was the best present they could have received. The panda, now four weeks old is the first offspring of three-year-old Bo, who arrived at Auckland Zoo in mid-2012, and 12-year-old Sagar. The cub was an "extremely valuable addition to the international breeding programme for this threatened species", carnivore team leader, Bruce Murdock said.
© Fairfax NZ News

City gears up for snake festivities

By Lincoln Tan
A 45m Chinese dragon will mark the start of Chinese New Year celebrations with a bang in Auckland on February 2. The dragon dance, performed by a troupe of 30 at the Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day at the ASB Showgrounds, will launch Year of the Snake festivities here. Chinese New Year falls on February 10, a Sunday, but New Zealand Chinese Association secretary Monica Mu said the annual festival would be taking place a week earlier, as New Year's Eve was a time when families would prefer to gather for reunion dinners.

Kiwis pay more than Brits

By Amelia Wade
Flights between London and Auckland are up to twice as expensive when booking from New Zealand compared to buying return trips out of Britain. A Herald survey of British travel agents and websites found return flights originating in London were vastly cheaper than NZ deals on equivalent trips leaving Auckland - with major airlines offering tickets as low as $1500. House of Travel says travellers often need to first get out of NZ - such as to Australia - to get a good deal, even to other destinations. Airlines are defending the disparity as a matter of demand and local market conditions. An Air NZ flight from London to Auckland in April and returning in May, booked from Flight Centre in the UK, cost £852 - $1620 on the currency exchange rate at the time. The equivalent flight from Auckland to London on the same days, booked through Flight Centre in New Zealand, cost $3189. And even when adjusting for seasons - so both return flights arrive in spring from autumn - it was at least $600 more expensive to fly return from Auckland. Korean Air ($2259) offered the cheapest Auckland-London return tickets, followed by China Southern ($2614), Air NZ ($2768), and Malaysian Airways ($2854).

Maori portraits go on display

A collection of 22 fragile watercolour portraits of Maori in the 1800s go on display in Wellington from Tuesday. The paintings by Isaac Coates will be on display in the Turnbull Gallery of the newly revamped National Library. The Head and Shoulders: Portraits of Maori were created between 1808 and 1878. Alexander Turnbull Library Maori curator Paul Diamond says the people painted by Coates were living through a time of fundamental transformation. The exhibition runs until 16 March.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Taranaki Maori buy back farms

Taranaki's largest dairy farmer says its long term strategy to buy back control of some of its leased farms will continue this year. Parininihi ki Waitotara Corporation (PKW) - which has 8500 Maori owners - has title to 20,000 hectares of land, the majority of which is leased. PKW chairperson Hinerangi Raumati says the group last year invested $8 million in a 220 hectare dairy farm that was previously leased, and took over the management of another three instead of employing sharemilkers. She says it was the corporation's biggest investment in the past five years.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Sunday, January 20

Dotcom's new site struggles to keep up

Kim Dotcom's newly launched file-sharing site has struggled to keep up. The website went live just before seven this morning and already has some 250,000 people signed up. The file sharing service, called Mega, encrypts material as it's stored to ensure privacy. New users get 50 gigabytes of space when they register. People have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations with the new site, saying the pages are freezing or won't load due to high demand. The company is being formally launched this evening at the Dotcom mansion north of Auckland. It's a year today since armed police raided the Coatesville home, making the flamboyant internet tycoon a household name.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

NZ firefighters to return from Tasmania

Twelve New Zealanders helping tackle bushfires in Tasmania will return home in the coming week. Two six-person teams from Northland and Nelson have been in the Australian state for almost two weeks. The liaison for the New Zealand fire service in Australia, John Barnes, says the weather is becoming cooler so there is less demand for the crews. Mr Barnes says none of the firefighters sustained serious injuries, just a few cuts and bruises.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Beached whale refloated

Volunteers have refloated a whale that stranded on a Southland beach. The eight metre beaked whale washed up on Omaui Beach near Invercargill about 5pm on Saturday and attempts that evening to get it back into the water were unsuccessful. Department of Conservation (DoC) spokesperson Andy Roberts said more than 20 rescuers took advantage of a high tide on Sunday morning to push the whale out to sea. He said the whale is in poor condition and has little strength.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Black Caps beat South Africa by one wicket

A rear-guard knock of 47 not out from James Franklin helped New Zealand pull off a one-wicket victory against South Africa in the first one-day international at Paarl on Saturday. Chasing 209 for victory after bowling South Africa out, the Black Caps were in trouble at 140 for eight before man of the match Franklin steadied the ship, then hit the winning runs with a four. Franklin was 47 not out, while BJ Watling was the next-highest scorer with 45. The Proteas came into the game on top of the ICC ODI rankings but had not played 50-over cricket since September and the top order struggled to cope with the difficult pitch, Reuters reports.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Saturday, January 19

Busker festival kicks off in Christchurch

The annual World Buskers Festival has kicked off in Christchurch this week, returning to Cashel Mall for the first time since the February 2011 earthquake. The festival, which marks its twentieth anniversary this year, has proved to be a money maker for the city. In previous years the festival has injected more than $3 million into the local economy, and attracted around 300,000 people to shows. It is also estimated that around 10% of audience members are drawn from outside of the city.
Source: ONE News

Top athletes flock to Auckland for Ironman 70.3

Some of the world's greatest athletes will be competing in this weekends Auckland Ironman. Tomorrow 1,200 competitors from 35 different countries will take part in the first Ironman 70.3 Auckland. Event organiser, Ian Hepenstall says New Zealand's 10-time Ironman champion, Cameron Brown and well known triathlete Bevan Docherty will among the stars competing. He says Ironman pundits believe it's probably the strongest field assembled in the profession group outside of the World Championships. The star-studded line up is expected to draw in thousands of spectators.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Aussie fires colour New Zealand skies

Australian bushfires are sending a yellow, smoky haze over New Zealand this morning. A striking sunrise was seen from North Canterbury to Waikato, as New South Wales fires continue to burn and send smoke and dust across the Tasman Sea. Metservice forecaster Richard Finnie said the trajectory of the airflow meant particles from across the ditch were caught up in upper south easterlies over New Zealand. The yellow skies, that had turned ''milky'' later this morning, were at its most intense today
© Fairfax NZ News

NZ lamb blamed for low UK domestic prices

British farmers say cheaper New Zealand lamb is costing them about $55 for each animal they sell and they can't compete. The National Sheep Association said supermarkets are opting for New Zealand imports over British lamb at a time when sheep farmers are struggling. The association said that's a bitter blow when farm gate prices have dropped by more than a fifth in the last year because of rising production costs. It is asking supermarkets to support the domestic lamb sector.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Under-20 World Cup hosting rights visit by FIFA

A delegation from FIFA will visit Christchurch this weekend to discuss hosting rights for football matches as part of the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2015. Delegates will be in Christchurch on Sunday and Monday to meet Christchurch City Council representatives and members of the tourism, sports and hospitality industries. New Zealand Football has won the right to host the 2015 Under-20 Football World Cup but the match venues are yet to be allocated.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

30,000 expected at Masterton air show

Masterton's population will almost double this weekend as people flood in for Wings over Wairarapa. Around 30,000 people will make a beeline for the event, where almost 80 classic planes will be on show. World War One planes and gliders form part of what's on show on the ground. Event manager Liz Pollock says as well as amazing aerobatic displays and feature aircraft in the sky, the ground entertainment will be electric. She says Wairarapa's economy benefits hugely from the event.Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Friday, January 18

Cricket - Australia humiliated by Sri Lanka

Australia's frailty against swing bowling and their selection inconsistencies combined for an humiliating Gabba defeat tonight. Sri Lanka's pace attack completely embarrassed the hosts by routing Michael Clarke's full-strength team for a paltry 74 before chasing down the meagre target inside 20 overs with four wickets left. The day-night match was finished at 6pm local time as a crowd of 20,271 traipsed home in broad daylight. It would have been over much earlier, well before the scheduled tea break, if not for a rearguard last-wicket stand of 34 by tailenders Mitchell Starc and Xavier Doherty. They were the only Australians to make double figures as the hosts were dismissed for their third worst total in 42 years of one-day cricket. Australia's inability to cope with quality swing and seam bowling was sadly exposed by Nuwan Kulasekara (5-22) and Lasith Malinga (3-14) who reduced them to 40 for nine in the 19th over. In scenes reminiscent of the carnage in Cape Town 15 months ago when Australia's Test team were bowled out for 47 by South Africa, the batsmen seemed incapable of countering the hooping swing.
Source: AAP

Rain set to swell alpine lake levels

High alpine lake levels will be pushed close to flood levels again this weekend and the MetService has issued a severe weather watch. As much as 40 millimetres of rain is expected to fall in the headwaters of lakes Wakatipu, Wanaka and Hawea. The lakes are already high following heavy rain a week ago.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Memorial service held for Ned Kelly

A memorial service has been held for Australia's most celebrated outlaw more than a 130 years after he was hanged. Ned Kelly was executed after being wounded in a shootout with police at Glenrowan in northern Victoria in 1880. His remains were initially thrown into a mass grave and it was not until 2010 that DNA testing confirmed their identity. Hundreds of Kelly's descendants mourned him at a Catholic funeral service in Wangaratta, north-east of Melbourne on Friday. He will be buried alongside his mother in the town on Sunday. To many Australians, the bank robber was a heroic anti-establishment figure who fought British colonists in the 19th century. To others, he was a violent criminal who murdered three police officers.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Australia to sign defence treaty with UK

Australia and Britain are to share information, technology, policy and personnel in a bid to minimise costs under a new defence treaty to be signed in Perth on Friday. Defence Minister Stephen Smith is to sign the treaty with his counterpart Philip Hammond. The UK Ministry of Defence said in a statement that the agreement will produce a closer bond on matters of cyber security, defence reform, personnel exchange, equipment, and science and technology.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Sheep wanted for Japanese advert

A Reikorangi animal trainer is on an urgent hunt for six to eight pet sheep to use in a Japanese television commercial next week. Caroline Girdlestone, of Hero Animals, is looking for up to eight sheep, which will help spell out the word ''peace'' for the commercial shot in a large paddock. ''We have to write the word peace right across the hillside for a project for Japan, and we are short about six sheep,'' she said. ''I'm looking for pet sheep, not lambs, and they must be white with white faces, and have long wool. It can't be recently shorn. They need to be big, in your face sheep that come up to you and will eat sheep nuts.'' The sheep are needed by Monday, and will be trained for a week before shooting of the commercial begins on January 27. - If you have a pet sheep that could be used for the commercial, call Caroline Girdlestone on 04 293 4300.
- Kapiti Observer

Hawaiian Airlines arriving in March

The arrival of Hawaii's national carrier in our skies looks set to bump the Pacific Island group to the top of the list for Kiwi holidays this year. Hawaiian Airlines is due to arrive in New Zealand in March, with direct flights to Hawaii. Harvey World Travel's marketing manager Andie Smith says that, coupled with a favourable exchange rate, will see Hawaii be among the top selling holiday destinations for Kiwis in 2013. Other holiday spots expected to be high on the list this year include Bali, the Sunshine Coast, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Fire restrictions issued in north

With dry weather predicted over the next few weeks, Whangarei District Council has issued strict fire restrictions. The restriction applies to the Whangarei and Kaipara districts and bans all open fires, including fireworks. The council has also issued new conditions for use of barbecues, spits, hangi and umu. It requires a pressurised supply of water and that the fire is no larger than two x two metres.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Thursday, January 17

Most popular DOC-run campgrounds

Matai Bay in Northland and Waikawau Bay in the Coromandel are our most popular DOC-run campgrounds. The Conservation Department manages more than 300 campsites around the country, with the highest number of campers this summer flocking to Northland, Coromandel and the upper South Island. All five Coromandel campsites were busy, with record numbers at Waikawau Bay, which peaked at 1,400 people. Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says campers this season have been exceptionally well-behaved, with fewer issues than usual.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Benefit numbers dropping

The number of people on benefits is back to levels last seen at the end of 2008. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the number of beneficiaries fell by 12,000 to 339,000 in the past year. Despite the drop, Mrs Bennett said there is still a lot of work to do to move people off welfare. She said the first stage of welfare changes by the Government is still being put in place and stage two has not yet started. Changes which came into effect last October mean sole parents with children aged over five years will be expected to look for part-time work and those with children over 14 for full-time work.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Online Census aim

Census forms go out to households next month and Statistics New Zealand hopes 35% of all returns will be on line. The last Census was held in 2006. They are supposed to be done every five years, but the 2011 census was deferred because of the Christchurch earthquakes. Only 7% of completed Census forms were done online in 2006. Statistics New Zealand is aiming for 35% this year. The Census will be held on 5 March. Forms can be completed in English or Maori.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Australian PM to visit fire-ravaged areas in NSW

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is to visit fire-ravaged parts of northwest New South Wales. She will visit Coonabarabran on Thursday, where the fire has burnt 42,000 hectares and destroyed 40 houses, 110 sheds, machinery, fences and untold numbers of livestock. AAP reports it was still burning on Wednesday evening along a 100km front. Hot and windy conditions are due to return on Friday. The ABC reports it appears the blaze was started by lightning during a storm on Saturday In total, 81 fires were still burning across the state on Wednesday evening, 11 of them out of control, including fires in the Gwydir, Namoi and Tamworth areas in northern NSW. South Australia is bracing for a day of high bushfire danger on Thursday with temperatures in the 40s and strong winds forecast in most regions. The Bureau of Meteorology said Adelaide would have a top of 42C with northeasterly winds to 35km/h ahead of a cooler change set sweep across the city later in the day. In the Riverland the mercury was expected to hit 44C at Renmark while Ceduna, on the west coast, was forecast to have 45C along with Wudinna, on Eyre Peninsula.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

British minister visits quake zone

British Foreign Secretary William Hague is visiting parts of central Christchurch that were destroyed by the February 2011 earthquakes. Mr Hague is in New Zealand for formal bilateral talks with Government and Opposition leaders. He is also attending a wreath laying ceremony on Wednesday and will then take a tour of the red zone, an area closed to the public because of ongoing building demolition. Later, Mayor Bob Parker will help Mr Hague launch the Great British Car Rally, which is organised by the British High Commission to raise funds for several charities.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Travel website reveals most booked NZ destinations

A travel website has revealed its top ten most popular destinations in New Zealand, based on bookings made in 2012. said Auckland and Wellington maintained the top two spots for the third year in a row, with Queenstown and Christchurch coming in at third and fourth. Palmerston North knocked Nelson out of the top ten this year to take back its previous 10th place title, leaving only three destinations from the South Island in the top group. "Although the South Island only has three destinations in the top ten, one in four bookings in 2012 were for one of those places," brand general manager Megan Magill said.
Source: ONE News

New liquor licensing regime feared

Bars, restaurants and shops selling alcohol fear a new licensing regime will send them out of business. The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act will allow residents to have a say and councils will decide the number and opening hours of alcohol outlets instead of the Liquor Licensing Authority. It is seen by some as the biggest change since the end of 6pm closing in the 1960s. Hospitality Association national president Adam Cunningham said more restrictions and higher fees for licences will be the last straw for struggling businesses. He said firms fear a lack of consistency across the country. The legislation comes into force at the end of the year.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, January 16

Travel website reveals most booked NZ destinations

A travel website has revealed its top ten most popular destinations in New Zealand, based on bookings made in 2012. said Auckland and Wellington maintained the top two spots for the third year in a row, with Queenstown and Christchurch coming in at third and fourth. Palmerston North knocked Nelson out of the top ten this year to take back its previous 10th place title, leaving only three destinations from the South Island in the top group. "Although the South Island only has three destinations in the top ten, one in four bookings in 2012 were for one of those places," brand general manager Megan Magill said.
Source: ONE News

Three Kiwis killed in Kenyan bus crash

Three New Zealanders have been killed in a bus crash in Kenya. 3 News have reported that the trio were involved in a volunteer trip organised by Bethlehem College in Tauranga. It is understood that the victims are a married couple and a teenager from the school. The college has a partnership with the Ark Quest Education Centre in Ma'hanga Village, western Kenya. The school website said students on the next trip to Kenya at the end of 2013 would help with painting and construction to improve the facilities at Ark Quest. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are expected to make a statement on the deaths shortly.
Copyright 2013, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Sir Paul Holmes knighted at home

The dubbing of the sword has officially marked veteran broadcaster, journalist and author Sir Paul Holmes' ascent into knighthood today. Named in the New Year's Honours List for his "legacy" in broadcasting and the community, Sir Paul was supported by his family and 100 invited guests who filled the majestic setting at his sprawling Hastings property, Mana Lodge. Today's investiture ceremony was moved forward to accommodate the 62-year-old's ailing health. He underwent heart surgery last year and continues to battle an aggressive prostate cancer he was first diagnosed with nearly 10 years ago. Governor-General, Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, travelled to Hawke's Bay for the occasion that has secured the biggest-ever media presence for an investiture - despite being for just one person.

Cutting sugar helps weight loss

Otago University researchers have issued new research findings showing that cutting sugar helps people reduce weight. Their findings are published in the British Medical Journal. Professor Jim Mann and others from Otago's department of human nutrition analysed 71 studies on the effects of sugar on weight. They found that reducing the amount of sugar adults eat in their normal daily diet caused a weight loss of 800 grams on average. Professor Mann said while that seems relatively small, there's evidence of a much larger weight gain or loss from altered sugar intake over time. He said New Zealand has an obesity epidemic and it's time for the Government to reintroduce a food policy in schools.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Reopening of Nth Korean embassy welcomed

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has welcomed a move by North Korea to re-establish an embassy in Canberra, saying it would enable Australia to register its concerns about human rights. The embassy was closed in January 2008. Senator Carr on Wednesday confirmed that Pyongyang was seeking to reopen the mission. "We would welcome the opening of an embassy," he told ABC TV. "It would enable us to express our very strong concerns, our deep concerns, about what we see as a catastrophic position on human rights." Senator Carr said North Korea operated a network of concentration camps like a Gulag, where some 200,000 political opponents of the regime are being held in appalling conditions. AAP reports Australia initially established diplomatic relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1974.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand


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