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

Daily New Zealand News .... ..... Daily New Zealand News

There are currently : visitors online.

Add to Google
Search Daily New Zealand News
Enter a keyword

Website Translation Widget

Wednesday, July 31

Business confidence surges

Business confidence has surged to a 14 year high, led by the construction sector. ANZ's monthly gauge of business sentiment shows optimists outnumber pessimists, with a net 53% of firms expecting economic conditions to improve in the coming year, compared with a net 50% expecting better times ahead in the previous survey. ANZ says the construction industry expects its golden run to continue, led by housing booms in Christchurch and Auckland. The survey indicates the economy will grow 3.9% by the end of the year, but ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says that appears far too optimistic.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New mountain weather service launches

A new online mountain weather forecast service which hopes to save lives on our mountain ranges has been launched today. Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith says the service will improve enjoyment and safety for trampers, hunters, mountain bikes, skiers and fishers in New Zealand's national and forest parks. "The new online mountain weather forecast service will provide standardised five-day forecasts updated every day for 24 mountain locations across eight of New Zealand's most popular parks. The new mountain forecasts can be seen at
3 News

Naming decision to be made on NZ's islands

The New Zealand Geographic Board is set to reveal to the Government its decision today on the official names of New Zealand's two main islands. The board wants to make the North and South names official, but had also been consulting with the public about whether to also formally assign official alternative Maori names to the islands. If the change is signed off, the islands would be officially known as the North Island and/or Te Ika-a-Maui and the South Island and/or Te Waipounamu.
Source: ONE News

Hapu plans major Auckland housing development

Auckland's biggest hapu, Ngati Whatua o Orakei, has announced a $24 million housing development, to help its young whanau buy their own homes. The hapu plans to underwrite mortgages for about 70 new homes to be built in Orakei from the end of the year on Kupe Street. The hapu's commercial arm, Whai Rawa, is working with banks to develop financing arrangements. It says mortgage repayments for a three bedroom whare will be about $425 a week, with a low deposit. Whai Rawa board member Ngarimu Blair says it has already had 200 expressions of interest. He says further planning with the hapu is needed before it can apply for resource consent.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, July 30

New whakapapa research resource at Auckland libraries

Maori Land Court records have been made available at Auckland libraries as a tool for Maori to research their whakapapa. The public can now read up on court minutes and judges' minute books as part of Family History month which runs in August. Auckland Libraries Maori reference librarian Margaret Ngaropo says the records are in many cases the only written record of Maori history. Ms Ngaropo says when Maori gave evidence at hearings, they would include information about their whakapapa, how their land was being used and the history of their area. She says there is a vast amount of oral history and whakapapa to be found in the minute books. Ms Ngaropo says she had not seen any written history about her area in the north until she looked through the Maori Land Court minutes.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Helen Clark returning to give lecture on poverty

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark will discuss whether eradicating extreme poverty is possible in a public lecture in Auckland next month. The former Labour leader, who was Prime Minister from 1999 until 2008, became the first woman to head the UN Development Programme in April 2009. She will return from New York to Auckland next month to give the 2013 Robert Chapman Lecture at the University of Auckland. The lecture, titled "Beyond the Millennium Development Goals: What could the next global development agenda look like?" will tackle global development issues including what can be achieved and whether eradicating extreme poverty is possible. Miss Clark will speak at the university's Maidment Theatre on Alfred St on August 19 at 6pm.

Super-fast cable linking US with NZ planned

Northland's economic development agency has signed a deal with a company planning to build a new undersea cable linking New Zealand to the United States. Northland Inc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with developer Hawaiki Cable Ltd on a system capable of carrying vast quantities of data across the Pacific to Sydney and then on to a landing station in Whangarei. Northland Inc chief executive Colin Mitten says the cable will be only the second of its kind and will provide not just competition in the market, but the security of supply needed for a multi-million dollar data centre in New Zealand.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Red Cross warns of Syria scam emails

A new email scam is using the New Zealand Red Cross as its hook. The aid agency is warning the public to be on the lookout for a fake email asking people to donate to an emergency appeal for the people of war-torn Syria. The email uses the heading "Donate to the emergency appeal for Syria", and uses text identical to that on the Syria appeal page on the New Zealand Red Cross website. It also contains a link for people to follow but most spam filters will block access to this link. However, New Zealand Red Cross fundraising manager Alice Montague said that people should be extra cautious. Ms Montague said that the Red Cross does not send unsolicited emails to members of the public and does not ask for people's bank account numbers by email.
Source: ONE News

70,000 voters dropped from electoral roll

About 70,000 local election enrolment packs have bounced back to Registrars of Electors marked "gone no address". The Electoral Commission mailed update packs to the 3.1 million people on the electoral roll at the beginning of July, to make sure everyone who is eligible is correctly enrolled to vote in this year's local elections. Those whose pack has been returned have been removed from the roll, says National Manager of Enrolment Services, Murray Wicks. Getting back on the roll is easy. People can either go online at, freetext their name and address to 3676, call 0800 36 76 56 or go to any PostShop. People have until August 16 to enrol in time to receive their voting papers in the mail.

NZ to host half of Cricket World Cup matches

New Zealand will host 23 matches during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Pool matches will be split between New Zealand and Australia. Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier, Hamilton and Nelson all get pool matches. Wellington will also get a quarter-final and Eden Park a semi-final. The MCG in Melbourne will host the final. Hagley Park in Christchurch will host the opening match of the tournament between New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Proposed dam could flood Waipawa after quake: report

Waipawa woman Paula Fern has discovered an official report which shows half the town could be washed away if the proposed Ruataniwha dam in central Hawke's Bay fails. The $600 million, 83 metre dam is to be built on the Mohaka fault line. A report by Hawke's Bay Regional Council said if the dam wall collapsed, 90 million cubic metres of water would be sent through Waipawa, putting half of the town's 2000 people at risk. Ms Fern said she is angry that Central Hawke's Bay District Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council are not actively informing the public about the potential damage. Hawke's Bay Regional Council said the proposal incorporates features designed to prevent a such a failure from occurring.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, July 29

Labour pledges to repeal charter schools legislation

By Kate Shuttleworth
Labour will repeal the Education Amendment Act that paved the way for the creation of charter schools if it gets into Government. Labour Party leader David Shearer said if Labour became Government next year it would scrap the legislation immediately. "Charter schools won't be good for education. They won't have to have registered teachers, won't have to teach to the curriculum and won't be subject to the same accountability as state schools,'' Mr Shearer said. The National government is expected to announce candidates for the first charter schools at the end of August. Mr Shearer said charter schools, put forward as part of the confidence and supply agreement with National, were an ideological experiment. "Labour has been working with groups in the education sector to draft a Bill repealing recent Education Act changes that allow charter schools to be established.'' Mr Shearer said he would be releasing a draft bill soon.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

NZ pair on K2 climb feared dead

A leading New Zealand mountaineer and his son who were attempting to summit the world's second highest peak, K2, are missing and feared dead. According to a blog written by Marty Schmidt, he and son Denali were trying to conquer the summit in Pakistan. New Zealand Alpine Club general manager Sam Newton said members became aware that the pair had not contacted base camp for a couple of days. Mr Newton said they received reports on Monday evening from the camp that the father and son are believed to have died in an avalanche. He described Marty Schmidt as a highly regarded climber and guide who had climbed Mount Everest as a guide in May this year. Denali Schmidt was also an experienced climber. Mr Newton said K2 is a particularly brutal mountain and hard to climb.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Optimism expressed about Australian economy

The best days of Australia's mining boom might be over, but there is cautious optimism about the country's economic future. New analysis from the Grattan Institute shows the mining boom created a windfall for the whole country. But economist Jim Minifie said successive governments have given away the benefits of the boom through tax cuts and increased spending. "National income, which is the value of what we produce, was increased by the boom by 13%," he said. "That's been spread around the economy as the exchange rate adjusted. ''You could say that successive governments have given away the benefits of the boom in the form of tax cuts and increased spending. ... Broadly governments have treated this windfall just as if it were recurrent income. Dr Minifie said the report pointed to resilience in the manufacturing sector. However, he said the government needs to ensure the labour force is properly prepared for the shift in the economy. "Going forward, the blue collar boom is not necessarily going to support those people as it has ... the past six or eight years ... Strong attention on skills and participation and education is going to become critical."
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

'Google of garbage' debuts in NZ

Terracycle, a company designed to eliminate the idea of waste, has launched in New Zealand today. It is already present in 23 countries around the world and has been labelled the "Google of garbage". The company takes things like toothpaste tubes, bags of chips and cigarette butts and turns them into eco-friendly products. The idea of Terracycle is that people register their rubbish via their website and then the post it through with no cost to the consumer. It then gets recycled into a usable product. "Each type of garbage has a very unique heartbeat," Tom Szaky, the brainchild of Terracycle told TV ONE's Breakfast. Mr Szaky believes everything can be recycled with no exceptions. The company will start off here by recycling confectionary packaging, the flexible packaging can be squeezed together into a fabric that can be sewn into anything from a backpack to a pencil case.
Source: ONE News

Customs process made faster when travelling to UK or US

New Zealand has launched a new SmartGate system for ePassport holders departing for the US and UK, Customs Minister Maurice Williams has announced. The automated passenger processing system has been used by six million people since its introduction in 2009. "Building on the success and popularity of SmartGate with New Zealanders and Australians, the system is now being made available to eligible US and UK ePassport holders departing New Zealand," Mr Williamson said. SmartGate uses the information in ePassports and facial recognition technology conduct customs and immigration checks.Source: ONE News

TVNZ to close youth channel

Television New Zealand is to close its youth channel, TVNZ U, at the end of August. The commercial channel was launched in 2011 to replace the commercial-free TVNZ 6, but chief executive Kevin Kenrick said TVNZ was unable to make it work financially. Mr Kenrick said U will be replaced on 1 September by a duplicate of TV2 broadcast an hour later. TVNZ said a consultation process is underway with staff.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Maori Roll grows by 7000

The Maori electoral roll has grown by 7000 as a result of the Maori Electoral Option, which closed last week. During the four month period, new Maori voters were encouraged to enrol and existing voters could switch between the General and Maori rolls. The net impact on the Maori Roll was an increase of 7052, taking the total number of Maori on that roll to 222,718. It will be October before it's known whether the increase is enough to create another Maori electorate. The number of Maori voters on the General Roll increased by 2123.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Surgeon outlines evolution of skin tone

An Auckland skin surgeon will this week launch a book that's almost certain to shine a light on the subject of race relations. Sharad Paul's book, Skin: A Biography, explains that in the end, light and dark skin comes down to nothing more than the struggle between two vitamins. Dr Paul says the only real difference is in the result of a biological struggle between folic acid and vitamin D. "So if you're light you have an advantage in getting more vitamin D; if you're dark you have an advantage in getting more folic acid." In fact, far from keeping us apart, skin is the one thing all living creatures share – from sponges to humans – we all have a semi-permeable membrane. "So the reality is that skin is the only organ necessary for being or being alive," he says. Dr Paul's book, out on Wednesday, may go to show racial divisions are a pigment of the imagination.
3 News

Sunday, July 28

Fishing fleet blessed

Nelson paid tribute this weekend to people who lost their lives fishing at sea. The annual Blessing of Nelson's fishing fleet was held on Friday night and Saturday. The practice began 13 years ago. Organiser Mike Smith said the loss of fishermen at sea represents the true price of fish. The occasion included a fireworks display and a service to remember those who have died at sea, as well as a blessing for the present fishing fleet.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Chiefs to play Brumbies in Super Rugby final

The Chiefs will host the Brumbies in the Super Rugby final at Hamilton next Saturday. In Saturday night's semi-final, the defending champion Chiefs outscored the Crusaders two tries to one at Waikato stadium, to win 20-19. AAP reports the result was similar to last year's win by 20-17 over the same opponents. Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder said the game could have gone either way, (but) the Chiefs deserved the victory. Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said his team was fortunate to have home advantage. He said he's proud of the effort, but the Chiefs will need to back it up next week in the final. In the other semi-final, a last minute try to the Brumbies in Pretoria, South Africa, gave them a win by 26-23 over the Bulls. It will be their first Super Rugby final in nine years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, July 27

Same sex marriage edges closer in Australia

A nationwide push to allow same-sex marriage is under way in Australia after a New South Wales parliamentary committee found it can be legislated at a state level. NSW looks set to be the first Australian state to make the move, with both Premier Barry O'Farrell and opposition leader John Robertson having previously voiced support for same-sex marriage. It is hoped a private member's bill will be voted on by the end of the year. It follows a report from the Social Issues Committee Inquiry, which on Friday found it was constitutionally valid for NSW to legislate on same-sex marriage. Australian Marriage Equality national director Rodney Croome says they will be lobbying state MPs in earnest both in NSW and in other states such as Tasmania and South Australia where reform has a good chance of passing.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Chiefs V Crusaders, Super Rugby semifinal

The Chiefs will host the Super Rugby final for the second year in a row after a 20-19 come from behind victory over the Crusaders in Hamilton. Both sides battled out a tryless first half, with the boot of Dan Carter guiding the visitors to a 9-3 halftime lead. The Chiefs started brightest in the second half, and raced to a 20-9 lead. Israel Dagg brought it back to 20-16 with a superb individual try. However, they managed to hold on for a 20-19 win.
3 News

Thousands of GCSB Bill protesters hit the streets

Thousands of people took to the streets across the country today to protest over controversial new spying laws. Organisers say the strong turnout shows there is still a huge level of concern over the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) bill, despite United Future MP Peter Dunne securing some changes to the original proposal. Once passed into law, the bill would extend the powers of the GCSB to allow it to provide information for the New Zealand Police, Defence Force and the Security Intelligence Service. Thousands turned out to protest in Wellington alone for the bill to be scrapped. But rallies also took place in 11 separate towns and cities today, with protesters equally as vocal in Auckland.
Source: ONE News

Hepatitis patients encouraged to join support networks

The Government is encouraging New Zealanders with hepatitis to enrol in newly formed support programmes. In New Zealand, there are around 150,000 people living with chronic hepatitis B or C, 100,000 with hepatitis B and 50,000 with hepatitis C. Ahead of World Hepatitis Day, Health Minister Tony Ryall said there were two programmes available - one for hepatitis B and one for hepatitis C. "The hepatitis B programme is the largest of its kind in the world, with 14,000 New Zealanders receiving care and support," he said. For more information about hepatitis and the support programmes visit:
Source: ONE News

Kiwi rider follows hoofsteps of Genghis Khan in charity ride across Mongolia

By Morgan Tait
A New Zealand woman will race 1000km across Mongolia on horseback next month - and hopes to complete the mammoth charity ride in less than a week. Bay of Islands horse trainer Chloe Phillips-Harris, 25, will traverse Genghis Khan's old postal messenger route for 13 hours each day, racing 34 other riders from around the world as part of the annual Mongol Derby. The race - the equivalent of galloping from Cape Reinga to Wellington - comes with a maximum luggage weight of just 5kg and riders must change horse every 40km. The race raises money for rainforest trust Cool Earth and a charity of each rider's choice. Ms Phillips-Harris has chosen non-profit equine organisation Kiwi Care Team, with which she has travelled to the slums of India and Egypt providing aid and education for locals who rely on working animals. The event begins on August 4, and Ms Phillips-Harris can be followed on

Too fat to live here?

A medically obese South African man has been told he is too fat for New Zealand, despite losing 30 kilograms since he moved to Christchurch six years ago. Albert Buitenhuis and his wife, Marthie, are now facing deportation after their work visas were declined because of his 130kg weight. Immigration authorities cited the demands his obesity could place on New Zealand health services. New Zealand is the world's third most obese developed nation, behind the United States and Mexico, according to an OECD report released in June.
© Fairfax NZ News

Friday, July 26

White Island letting off steam

GNS Science says minor volcanic activity is occurring at White Island in the Bay of Plenty. It says there are small steam explosions happening in the lake, similar in nature to the activity seen earlier this year. Volcanologist Brad Scott says the volcano is in a period of unrest, so the potential for larger eruptions is always present.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Foreign meat to be labelled in NZ supermarkets

Any beef and lamb that is not from New Zealand will be clearly marked as a foreign product in supermarkets from next week. After customers made calls for better country of origin labelling, Beef Lamb New Zealand announced today that all Australian meat products will be clearly labelled as such from August 1. Beef Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive Rod Slater said that the move is a significant step in ensuring Kiwis are fully informed about the meat they are buying. He said that New Zealand meat retailers recognise customers' right to know the origin of their food and are committed to leading the way in this area.
Source: ONE News

Starship unveils $6m wing

By 3 News online staff
Starship Children's Hospital has unveiled its brand new $6 million ward for Medical Specialties and Neuroservices. The ward is on the sixth floor of the hospital and has undergone an extensive rebuild. The space now has 37 single bedrooms providing extra privacy and comfort for patients and their families. The majority of the funding came from donations. Patients will begin moving into the new ward this weekend.

Prominent NZers scathing of GCSB bill

More than 400 people turned out in Auckland to hear a line-up of prominent New Zealanders denounce the Government's spy agency bill. The Intelligence and Security Committee has reported the Government Communications Security Bureau Bill back to Parliament with some changes, but speakers at the meeting were scathing in their criticism, describing it as a threat to democracy. Anthropologist and New Zealander of the Year Dame Anne Salmond spoke against the bill at Thursday evening's meeting in Mt Albert War Memorial Hall. Dame Anne said her father's generation had fought for people's freedoms, including the right to privacy, but said the Government's bill defeats that by allowing the it to spy on its own citizens. She said the Government should remember it was elected to represent people, not rule them, and any MP who lacks the backbone to vote against the bill should in future stay home on Anzac Day. Internet businessman Kim Dotcom told the meeting he was a living example of why the security service should not be given expanded powers. Barrister Rodney Harrison QC said the Government's bill was hopelessly broad and changes negotiated by independent MP Peter Dunne are effectively a "Dunne deal" that is no more than window dressing, and do nothing to reduce the risks.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, July 25

Council investigates temporary alcohol ban on Cup Day

The Christchurch City Council has agreed to look into introducing an alcohol ban on Cup Day in the area surrounding the Addington racecourse. The New Zealand Trotting Cup, held in November, traditionally draws large crowds of punters and causes headaches for the police. Addington Event Centre general manager Brian Thompson requested the move, saying the ban would create a safer environment for race-goers. He told a community board it would help with problems caused by people pre-loading with alcohol prior to entering the race course and becoming difficult to control later in the afternoon. Police have said they would support a ban.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Public have chance to invest in Canterbury dairy farm

An agricultural investment company is offering the public the chance to buy a slice of a mid-Canterbury dairy farm. MyFarm director Andrew Watters says a dairy farm could be an option for people looking for a different type of investment. "When you invest in Canterbury it's critical you have a very good, reliable, low-cost water supply, so that's a particular feature of this farm," he said. People could invest in the 180 hectare property with as little as $10,000.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Chile, Australia join NZ in bumper wine harvests

Selling a record volume of wine from this year's grape harvest could provide some extra challenges for the New Zealand industry, an expert says. One of those challenges will be competing with above average crops from most other southern hemisphere wine producers. Rabobank's quarterly wine report notes that this year's New Zealand harvest is 28% above last year's small crop, and also 5% more than the previous year's record. But Rabobank senior analyst Marc Soccio said it coincided with big harvests in Chile and Australia, too.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, July 24

Universities improve completion rates

Universities and polytechs are reporting improved qualification completion rates. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says changes the Government made to reward performance instead of funding institutions on a "bums on seats" basis are working. "More students are staying in study, achieving credits and qualifications, and progressing further," he said today when he released the latest performance data. It shows Massey University and the Open Polytech topped the table for improved qualification completion rates. In total, 25 of the 29 reporting institutions have raised their performance. Mr Joyce says Maori completion rates were up six percent on 2011 and Pasifika results improved by five percent.

Australia-bound asylum boat sinks

At least three people have died after a boat carrying asylum-seekers bound for Australia sank, amid ongoing debate over the country's new policy. The boat went down off the Indonesian island of Java, the transit point for people-smugglers. At least 157 people have been rescued, but it is not clear how many are missing. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has confirmed a rescue operation is underway. The latest sinking happened on Tuesday night and involved passengers who said they were from Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka and Syria. At least two children are among those killed and it is believed that up to 200 people were on the boat. Meanwhile, another boat carrying 40 people has been intercepted west of Christmas Island by an Australian navy ship.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Smoke-free public places for Auckland

Aucklanders lighting up in a public place will now be breaking the rules. The Auckland Council's regional development and operations committee has adopted a smoking ban in nearly all public spaces. From Wednesday, smoking is banned at parks, stadiums, swimming pools, playgrounds, sports fields, public transport and all outdoor areas associated with council service centres such as libraries and museums. People will be expected to comply with the ban, although there will be no penalties for breaches. Councillor Ann Hartley said on Wednesday that this is the next step towards the council's goal of a smoke-free region by 2025. The ban will extend to civic squares and plazas in 2015, and to beaches, outdoor dining areas, urban centres and council housing in 2018.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Govt's free flu immunisation offer to end

New Zealanders eligible for free influenza immunisation have less than a week left to be vaccinated before a government-subsidised offer ends at the end of the month. The National Influenza Specialist Group said a record 1.25 million doses of vaccine had been distributed already this year resulting in an estimated 29 per cent of the population receiving immunisation. Anyone who wants to be immunised against influenza after July 31 will have to pay a charge to get it from their doctor, nurse or in some pharmacies.

Archaeologist who discovered 'hobbit' species dies

New Zealand-born archaeologist Mike Morwood who discovered a new species of human has died. In October 2004 Professor Morwood and his colleagues stunned the world when they found the fossilised bones of Homo floresiensis on the Indonesian island of Flores. The dwarf-like species of pre-humans grew only one metre tall and hard large feet. They quickly became known as 'hobbits' after the characters in JRR Tolkien's books. In an interview with Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme last year, Dr Morwood said he made the discovery entirely by mistake. "We started working on Flores basically to look for the ancestors of the first Australians but by no means did we anticipate finding a whole population of little people about a metre tall overlapping considerably in time with us." Mike Morwood died this week at a hospice in Darwin after a struggle with cancer.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Teacher training in demand

A teacher training scheme fast-tracking university graduates into classrooms has more demand for participants than it can fill. Teach First NZ is trawling universities to find graduates for the second year of its field-based programme that places them for two years in secondary schools serving lower decile communities in Auckland or Northland. Participants complete an eight-week course before becoming a reduced-hours teacher while completing a postgraduate diploma in teaching from Auckland University. The programme drew some initial criticism, with one principal claiming it was yet another experiment on vulnerable youth. But Teach First chief executive Shaun Sutton said the fully subsidised training was so popular that its first intake attracted 270 applicants for only 16 places. Schools demanded more graduates than they had, with many inquiring when the programme would expand to include other parts of the country.
© Fairfax NZ News

NZ author makes Man Booker Prize long list

A New Zealand author is among the 13-strong long list for this year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Eleanor Catton has been long-listed for her second novel, The Luminaries, which will be published in September. Catton was born in Canada in 1985 and raised in Christchurch. She was the 2007 winner of the Sunday Star-Times short story competition and her first novel, The Rehearsal, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. At 28, she is the youngest author on this year's long-list, where she joins literary luminaries such as Colm Tóibín and Jim Crace, who have both previously been short-listed. A shortlist of six will be unveiled on 10 September and the £50,000 prize winner announced on 15 October. The Booker prize has only once been won by a New Zealander, when Keri Hulme took the award in 1985 for The Bone People.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Supreme Pie Awards in Auckland

Mince and cheese pie back at top spot. The winning pie, created by David Liem from Greenland Bakery and Cafe in Botany, ended a two-year winning streak for fruit pies. David Liem's creation beat 633 other mince and cheese pies and 682 steak and cheese pies to take out the supreme award. He says he feels lucky to be the supreme pie-award winner and he will need to get more staff to help him, because now he's going to be very busy. One of the judges, Bakels NZ executive chairman Duncan Loney, says the winning pie looked beautiful and had a flavour balance to almost dream about. This year 4522 pies were entered in the competition.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Kiwis affected by Aussie mining layoffs

The dream's over for hundreds of Kiwi families hoping to make the big time in Australia's booming mining industry, with companies laying off staff in droves. Mining company Peabody owns eight coal mines, but has axed more than 800 jobs in recent weeks. The recruitment company responsible for sending thousands across the ditch, called Reciprocus, say mining companies are laying off staff as China's need for resources slows down and big Aussie construction projects wind down. Douglas Foster from Reciprocus says it's been a sharp, unexpected downturn, and prospects aren't good.
But the bubble has burst, and spokesman Mr Foster says many Kiwis now find themselves in dire straits.

Tuesday, July 23

Time running out for Maori roll option

Maori voters have until Wednesday to decide whether they want to vote on the Maori or general roll. Those who wish to change which roll they're on can only do so during the Maori Electoral Option - which happens every five years. The number of people on the Maori roll will determine how many Maori electorate seats there are in Parliament. The latest campaign opened in March - and preliminary results show 5200 people joined the Maori roll halfway through - most of them being new voters. Nearly ten thousand more people would need to join it by Wednesday to be on par with the number of people who joined in the 2006 option - which saw no increase in Maori seats. There have been seven Maori seats in Parliament since 2001. The campaign results will be available on Monday.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Baby singlets project in honour of royal baby

Parliament's exhibition space is showing a selection of hand-knitted baby singlets in honour of the royal birth. They are part of a nationwide project to knit baby singlets in honour of the birth of the first child of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. The exhibition is run by the New Zealand handicrafts society Creative Fibre. A selection of 144 of the singlets is on display at Parliament's Bowen House exhibition space and includes some knitted by parliamentary staff and keen crafters from across New Zealand. The woollen singlets will be gifted to newborn babies in the areas they were knitted through maternity hospitals, neonatal units and midwives after the exhibition.

Success for Kokako breeding programme

The precious Kokako bird has been thrown a life line. A breeding programme has had its first successful wild-to-wild egg transfer, and in turn, led to a 20 per cent rise in the number of breeding pairs. The method involves swapping around the eggs between two nests from two different Auckland populations of Kokako. Auckland Council and the Department of Conservation have been working collaboratively on the project. One of the council's ecologists, Su Sinclair, says they hope to reach their target of 50 pairs by 2020.
- Newstalk ZB

Tractors sent to Tuvalu

A Waikato company which specialises in providing machinery to farmers and agricultural consultants has shipped ten tractors to Tuvalu in the Pacific. Power Farming is based in Morrinsville and its marketing manager Ross Nesdale says the tractors will be used to help protect the island group from the impacts of climate change and for other important public works. The contract was put up by the European Union as part of an aid package to help Tuvalu develop better infrastructure. The tractors were trucked from Morrinsville to Auckland, then sent to Fiji. From there they will be shipped another 1000km to Tuvalu.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Royal baby born: It's a boy

Prince William and Kate Middleton have welcomed their first child, a baby boy. The prince was born at 4.24pm (local time) weighing in at 8lb 6oz. "Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a son at 4.24pm," the official statement from Kensington Palace read. "The baby weighs 8lbs 6oz. "The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth. "The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry and members of both families have been informed and are delighted with the news. "Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well and will remain in hospital overnight." Prince Charles said how "overjoyed" he and his wife are with the arrival of the future King. "Both my wife and I are overjoyed at the arrival of my first grandchild," he said in a statement.
Copyright 2013, APN Holdings NZ Limited

Monday, July 22

Duchess of Cambridge in early stages of labour

The Duchess of Cambridge is in the early stages of labour and has been admitted to St Mary's Hospital in London. Kensington Palace issued the waiting media throng with a short statement on Monday. Catherine travelled by car from the palace to the hospital in Paddington, west London, with her husband William, the Duke of Cambridge on Monday morning (local time). The couple do not know the sex of their first child, who will be third in line to the throne. There is likely to be no more news until the official announcement of the birth, the BBC reports.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

US Navy drops bombs on Australia's Great Barrier Reef

The US Navy said today it was forced to drop four unarmed bombs on to Australia's fragile Great Barrier Reef during a military exercise last week but the bombs did not explode and did not pose a hazard to shipping or navigation. Two Harrier fighter jets dropped four bombs off the coast of tropical Queensland state on Tuesday, according to the US Navy, which is taking part in a biennial joint exercise with the Australian Defence force. The pilots of the jets had intended to drop the four bombs, two inert and two unarmed, on the Townshend Island bomb range, but were told there were hazards in the area, Commander William Marks of the US Seventh Fleet told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio on Monday. "It was not safe to drop the bombs. There were civilian boats right below them," said Marks. The bombs were dropped about 16 nautical miles south of Bell Cay in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is a popular tourist site worth about $A6 billion ($6.9 billion) a year to the Australian economy.
Source: Reuters

Online courses a 'game-changer' for uni

Waikato University is just months out from launching its first open online course, but education experts warn the "game-changing" technology could have dire consequences for university staff and students. Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are the tertiary sector's latest online education tool. Mostly free and aimed at mass audiences, the courses have rapidly gained attention for their potential to transform traditional, campus-based learning and globalise higher education. The course is conducted entirely online, using YouTube videos, and will incorporate social media like Twitter so students can keep on top of course news. But there is no face-to-face contact. If students pass two tests, they will receive an official certificate from the University of Waikato. "We're more concerned about the learning, than the qualification you get," Prof Witten says.
© Fairfax NZ News

NZ can afford another quake - Key

Prime Minister John Key has moved to calm fears after a small move in the currency following yesterday's quake. The magnitude 6.5 tremor shook central New Zealand when it hit at 5.09pm on Sunday, causing numerous reports of damage in Wellington and the top of the South Island. He said that "in principle" New Zealand can afford another earthquake. "There is nothing at the moment that would advise to me that there is substantial fiscal risk to the Crown. We know that the EQC fund really has nothing in it from the last, from memory, time I looked at it. But in essence the Government just backs that up. "And we've got a strong balance sheet, we are in better shape the pretty much any other OECD country in the event that we need to rely on the Crown, but we are a long, long way away from that." "We are going through a period of shocks that are a bit unnerving," he added, but there was no substantial risk to the Government's books, he said.
© Fairfax NZ News

New way found to save police time and money

A trial which allows people in the community to punish criminals has cut reoffending rates and is being rolled out nationwide. Community Justice Panels, a collaboration between police and Christchurch Community Law, were first trialled in the city in 2011 as an alternative to the courts for low-level offending. Community members meet offenders, discuss their cases and place sanctions, fines or community work. Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said the pilot had been "absolutely successful", with fewer than 20 per cent of criminals reoffending, compared to 50 per cent in the court system. Work on justice panels in Wellington, Auckland and Napier was "well under way", he said. A criminal charge is not entered when police refer candidates to the panels, but participants are sent back to court if they fail to co-operate.
© Fairfax NZ News

Capital came through quake well - mayor

Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the capital came through Sunday's magnitude 6.5 earthquake very well. She said on Monday it appears most of the damage is concentrated in the central business district but infrastructure and buildings have been largely 'unscathed.' Ms Wade-Brown said engineers are double checking infrastructure and people should stay away from the central city all day. She also said people should make arrangement with their employers about the rest of the week. Ms Wade-Brown said engineers are making visual inspections and have identified superficial rather than structural damage. She said it is up to building owners to get a more thorough assesment. Emergency management staff are going through the central city, street by street, to assess the safety of buildings after the magnitude 6.5 quake on Sunday.
© Copyright Radio New Zealand 2013

Sunday, July 21

Latest - Severe quakes hit the centre of the country

Updated 36 minutes ago
A severe earthquakes has just shaken the centre of the country followed by strong aftershocks. Civil defence emergency management is checking to see what damage there has been to buildings in Wellington and the top of the South Island. The first shake, which Geonet says measured magnitude 6.5, struck at 5.09pm at 20km east of Seddon at a depth of 17km. A second quake, registering 5.5, hit minutes later at 5.13pm at a depth of 5km, 50km east of Seddon. The major quakes are the latest in a swarm of shakes that have been hitting the centre of the country since Friday. Some buildings around central Wellington have sustained damage, with glass littering several streets. The concrete facade of a building in Featherston Street has fallen. However, the Wellington City Council says at this stage there appears to be no significant damage. Staff are meeting with the regional council civil defence team, and talking to the fire service and the police to determine the level of response. A spokesperson told Radio New Zealand it expects to release more information about what residents should do within the next hour. In the meantime, the council says residents need to take care and remain calm. It says buildings will all be inspected once it's known where there is damage. Telecom says that some calls and texts are unable to be transmitted since the earthquake.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Big quake shakes central New Zealand

A large 6.5 earthquake has hit central New Zealand, sending people diving for cover in Wellington. The quake was felt widely across the country. Geonet said the tremor was centred in the Cook Strait, 20 kilometres east of Seddon at a depth of 17 kilometres. It came as a sequence of major earthquakes hit Wellington and wide areas around central New Zealand this afternoon. The quakes which hit around 5pm have caused considerable minor damage but there are no reports of injuries. The quake felt as a severe roll has also cut power in parts of Wellington and parts of the Beehive and Parliament have suffered damage. Quakes measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale, 5.5 and 6.9 have all hit the Wellington area.
© Fairfax NZ News

Afghan asylum seekers not keen on PNG

A group of Afghan asylum seekers in Indonesia say they will no longer travel to Australia by boat after discovering they would be resettled in Papua New Guinea. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced in Brisbane on Friday that asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat will be processed in PNG and resettled there if they are found to be refugees. Mr Rudd said the deal is aimed at stopping "the scourge of people smuggling". Upon hearing the news that they could no longer claim asylum in Australia, some Afghan Hazaras waiting in the Puncak area of Indonesia told the ABC they would not make the journey to Australia. Foreign Minister Bob Carr says asylum seekers are arriving by boat at a rate of 40,000 - 50,000 per year. Senator Carr said on Sunday while he had been attacked for describing recent arrivals as economic migrants, many on the boats had actually confirmed they were not fleeing persecution. He said on that basis they could not object to being resettled in PNG, a robust democracy with a free press and freedom of religion. "The spike in the numbers of people being brought by people smugglers makes it unavoidable," he told Sky News. He said the new policy was brutally honest in conveying the message that asylum seekers could pay a people smuggler $A10,000 and face great peril at sea, but they still would not be settled in Australia. "The simple bold message is we decided where you are processed, we decided where you are settled and if you arrive by boat without a visa it is not going to be on Australian soil," he said.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Indigenous culture favoured over human rights of indigenous children - NT judge

Northern Territory chief magistrate Hilary Hannam says the pendulum has swung too far towards protecting Indigenous culture, at the expense of the basic human rights of indigenous children. Ms Hannam will soon leave the territory to take a seat on the Family Court. She says the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Indigenous Child Placement Principle, one of the key national policies in Aboriginal child welfare, is not always consistent with the best interests of Indigenous children. "It seems to me that the placement principle is taken to the nth degree and even though the principle says it must be consistent with the best interest of the child, I'm concerned that there is too great an emphasis on the cultural interests of the community and the family rather than the child's best interests, which relate to basic human rights," she said. The ABC reports the ATSI child placement principle applies in every state and territory and is designed to preserve Indigenous children's connection to their culture.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Strong NZ economy attractive for many

The number of people moving to New Zealand to live long term has reached its highest level in four years. Official figures show a seasonally-adjusted gain of 2300 immigrants in June, due to more arrivals and fewer New Zealanders leaving for Australia. The contrasting fortunes of Australia's and New Zealand's economies are being borne out in the migration figures. The relative strength of New Zealand's economy is drawing people to the country, led by immigrants moving to earthquake-damaged Christchurch in search of work as the rebuild picks up pace. Australia's slowing economy is also deterring more New Zealanders from leaving. On an annual basis, New Zealand gained 7900 people, though Statistics New Zealand says it still below the average of the past decade.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Gathering marks 40 years since Mururoa nuclear protest

By Jono Hutchison - Reporter
Veterans from the two frigates sent to Mururoa Atoll by the New Zealand Government to protest against French nuclear testing are gathering tonight, 40 years after their voyage. It's a chance to remember a peaceful mission that changed a lot for New Zealand, and those on board the ships too. Chris Turver was one of the journalists telling those stories from on board the ships sent by then-Prime Minister Norman Kirk. "The things that stand out in your life as being really worthwhile, this was one of them," says Mr Turver. "It made a difference for New Zealand. For New Zealand it was the start. It was opening the door for the ending of all nuclear testing in the South Pacific."

Wedding ring lost on honeymoon found by divers on Great Barrier Reef

A Welsh groom is celebrating after the wedding ring he lost on his honeymoon on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia was found by other divers several days later. Eirian Evans, 29, of Cardiff, was snorkelling with his bride Bethan off Green Island, Cairns, when the silver ring slipped off his finger into coral. Scuba school divers searched for the ring for hours with no luck and the couple returned to Wales without it. But the BBC reports the ring is now back on his finger after arriving by post from Down Under. Mr Evans received an email in the middle of the night to say the wedding band had been found by another customer of the scuba school who saw it glinting in the coral.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, July 20

Rugby - As it happened: Crusaders v Reds

The Canterbury Crusaders hosted the (Australian) Reds in the first Super Rugby qualifying playoff from Christchurch.
Crusaders 38 ( Ryan Crotty two tries, Daniel Carter try, Tom Marshall tries: Carter three con, three pen; Tom Taylor one pen)
Reds 9 (Quade Cooper three pen)
Halftime: 21-6
The Crusaders have empathically dispatched the Reds to move through to the semi-finals and while they don't yet know if they are going to Hamilton or Pretoria, it's fair to say that this team is one who all should fear. They now have won six straight and who would bet against them adding two more scalps to win a record eighth Super Rugby title?
Source: ONE Sport

Kiwi author documents history of USS Enterprise

By Jeff Hampton - Reporter
The world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier couldn't visit New Zealand because we're nuclear-free. But that hasn't stopped a Kiwi author from writing the US vessel's history. Dave McKay was always fascinated by the USS Enterprise, which has starred in a movie as well as conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. She's called the Big E, and for more than half a century the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise sailed the world protecting America's interests. Now her history's been written by a Kiwi. Dr McKay admits he's loved the Big E from the first day he got aboard her in the States, simply by phoning the Navy and asking to look around. "I sat on the dock in the bay as you do, eating a hamburger looking at the bow, and I thought I've got to write about this ship."

Order restored after Nauru detainees riot

Australian officials say a protest by asylum-seekers on the island of Nauru was planned before Friday's announcement of a tough new resettlement policy by prime minister Kevin Rudd. More than 100 detainees on Nauru are now in police custody after the protest at the island's detention centre on Friday night turned into a full-scale riot, and the ringleaders are being questioned. The riot caused $A60 million worth of damage and left four people in hospital. A security guard who does not want to be named says asylum-seekers took over the centre, gained access to a kitchen and armed themselves with knives and steel bars. The Immigration Department says buildings were burned to the ground, including accommodation blocks, a health centre and the dining-room. There are 545 male detainees at Nauru, and 129 have been identified as involved in the riot, the ABC reports. The ringleaders are expected to be charged with affray and property damage. There are unconfirmed reports that many detainees escaped and are still at large. AAP reports the Refugee Action Coalition as saying the riot is unlikely to have been related to Mr Rudd's announcement that asylum-seekers who pay people-smugglers to take them by boat to Australia will no longer be allowed to settle in Australia. Those claiming refugee status will instead be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and, if found to be refugees, they will be settled there. If not, they will be sent home or to a third country.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

IRD sits on $112m of your cash

By Amelia Wade Email
More than $112 million of unclaimed money is just waiting for its owners to come forward. And if you think you're one of the hundreds of thousands of people with a claim, you must prove to Inland Revenue the money is rightfully yours. One New Zealander is owed almost $400,000. The department has already paid out more than $490,000 since July 1 last year. And in the financial year to June 2012, $878,759 was returned to its rightful owners. Inland Revenue has more than 211,400 cases of unclaimed money owed to people, organisations or charities. There is a publicly accessible list of 71,000 names on its website, some dating back to the early 1970s, with details of how much is owed to them so people can check if they've got money sitting and waiting. The Government department said the largest sum held for one person is $371,664.05. This person can find themselves on the IRD's website.

Petroleum company fined $20,000 for oil spillage

A petroleum company has been fined $20,000 for spilling oil into a stream in Taranaki. Taranaki Ventures Ltd - a subsidiary of New Zealand Energy Corp - leaked about 50 litres of crude oil into a tributary of the Ngaere Stream in April 2012. A report by Taranaki Regional Council said an equipment malfunction at Copper Moki well site caused the spillage, which took several days to clean up. A contractor did not notify anyone and the council found out several days later when a landowner spotted oil in the stream. The company was prosecuted for breaching the Resource Management Act.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

One in four young drivers crash - study

A study of young drivers by Otago University shows one in four of them crash while on their restricted drivers licence. The study of 893 teenagers also showed 80% of them broke at least one condition of their licence, by driving either unsupervised at night or unsupervised with passengers. Co-author Rebecca Brookland said it's not surprising 25% of restricted drivers crash, given they are so inexperienced. She said the research also adds to international evidence which shows that the way parents drive influences their children's driving style. Dr Brookland said makers of driving programmes should be aware that parents are not always going to be the best role model for children learning to drive.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Advertising blitz aimed at asylum seekers

The Australian government is running advertisements in newspapers across the country in an attempt to promote a new plan to discourage asylum seeker boats coming to Australia. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday announced asylum seekers will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and resettlement if they are found to be refugees. Mr Rudd said those found not to be refugees will be sent back to their own nations or a third country. The ABC reports the plan will be backed up by an advertising blitz at home and in the region. Advertisements are running in newspapers across the country on Saturday and the ABC understands the ads will also be placed in papers in the region. Mr Rudd also released a video address with a stern message for people smugglers. "Your business model is over," he said. "People who come by boat now have no prospect of being resettled in Australia. The rules have changed."
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Friday, July 19

Dalziel files nomination for mayoralty

Labour Party MP Lianne Dalziel has filed her nomination for the Christchurch mayoralty. The Christchurch East MP was nominated by former National Party Cabinet minister Philip Burdon and a spokesperson for non-profit community group The Ministry of Awesome, Kaila Colbin. Ms Dalziel said on Friday their support symbolises the fact that the election is about more than party politics, and is about getting the right people involved in rebuilding the earthquake-hit South Island city. She said she would resign as an MP the day before the election results are announced. Mayor Bob Parker announced on 5 July that he would not seek re-election, saying he is exhausted after six years in office and can't sustain the stress of the job for another term.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Australia agrees asylum deal with PNG

The Australian government has announced its solution to the problem of boatloads of asylum seekers - they will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and resettlement. In a joint announcement with PNG leader Peter O'Nell, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Friday that those found not to be refugees would be sent back to their own nations or a third country. Mr Rudd said the agreement is aimed at stopping "the scourge of people smuggling" and asylum-seekers who arrive in Australia by boat would have no chance of being settled there as refugees, the ABC reports. The deal, which lasts for 12 months, does not affect asylum seekers who arrive by air.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Unseasonably warm weekend ahead

New Zealand is in for an unseasonably warm weekend, with temperatures expected to reach 20 degrees in some places, forecasters predict. A "lingering'' anti-cyclone would bring an improvement in the weather this weekend, but a spell of rain was likely for the second week of the school holidays, MetService predicted. "The weekend will be great for outdoor plans with a lot of dry weather around,'' meteorologist Daniel Corbett said. A WeatherWatch forecast predicted "plenty more'' cloud in Auckland, but much warmer temperatures on the whole. "This weekend we're talking about highs, possibly as much as 20 degrees - in the depths of winter,'' said WeatherWatch head analyst Philip Duncan.

NZ monthly net migration at four-year high

New Zealand's monthly inbound migration rose to a four-year high in June as more kiwis stayed at home amid the dwindling attraction of Australia's slowing economy. Seasonally adjusted, there were 2300 more migrants arriving in New Zealand than leaving in June, up from 1740 a month earlier, and the most since May 2009, according to Statistics New Zealand. Permanent long-term arrivals soared to a decade-high 8330, while departures were at a three-year low as fewer people quit New Zealand to seek a better life in Australia. New Zealand has a more favourable economic outlook than its bigger cousin, as a looming construction boom looks set to boost activity here and the pending peak to Australia's mining sector casts a shadow on one of the few developed economies to avoid a recession during the global financial crisis.
Source: BusinessDesk

New ambassador to Saudi Arabia named

Career diplomat Hamish MacMaster is to be New Zealand's new ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said Saudi Arabia is New Zealand's most significant market in the Middle East, with more than four-thousand students coming here each year. He said Mr MacMaster will work with both Saudi Arabia and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council to implement New Zealand's recently launched strategy for the region. Mr MacMaster, who has previously served in Saudia Arabia, Turkey and Iran, will also be cross-credited to Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Mr McCully also named Joanna Kempkers as the new High Commissioner to the Cook Islands.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Seddon quake felt widely

An earthquake shook the top of the South Island and Wellington at 9.06am on Friday. The quake, with an initial Richter scale magnitude 5.7, was centred 30km east of Seddon, near Blenheim, at a depth of 8km.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, July 18

Cure for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease a step closer

New Zealand scientists have made a breakthrough in stem cell research, taking a cure for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease one step closer. While the study has found what is preventing some stem cells from becoming neurons, scientists at Auckland's University Centre for Brain Research have pinned down the culprit at a cellular level. They found that stem cells have to move around the brain to find their place in order to produce a coat of slippery molecules to make it easy to move. The study has found that an oversupply of insulin stops the cell re-absorbing the slippery molecules.
Source: ONE News

Rural contractors want easier process for foreign workers

Rural contractors are calling on Immigration New Zealand to make it easier for skilled foreign workers to come back into the country each season to help with harvest. Rural Contractors New Zealand president Steve Levet says about 3000 skilled drivers and machinery operators, who are typically from Ireland and England, come here to help with harvest each year. Mr Levet says rural contractors struggle to find suitable staff in the domestic labour pool - partly due to the seasonal nature of the work which can last for just two months and also because of the highly specialised nature of the farm machinery being used. But he says Immigration New Zealand is making contractors jump through too many hoops to bring back their skilled drivers from abroad.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Cut-price power bid for elderly

By Kiri Gillespie of the Bay of Plenty Times
Grey Power is trying to negotiate a deal for cheaper power for its 64,000 members amid reports some elderly are not heating their homes because it is too expensive. Power bills have risen $65 on average nationwide in the last year. The price of power in Tauranga increased by $83, figures released this week by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show. Grey Power Tauranga president Christina Humphreys said the issue had become so serious the organisation was in the process of arranging a national deal with a power company that would make power more affordable for seniors. The project was headed by Grey Power's national office. Grey Power's national office was advising members to avoid signing up for long-term contracts in anticipation of the deal.

Supreme pie awards attract record numbers

Bakers all over the country will be biting their nails this week as judges tuck into what they hope will be pastry perfection. The 2013 Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards have enticed more than 500 bakers to send a whopping 4500 pies to Auckland for judging - the highest number since the awards began 17 years ago. And chief judge Tim Aspinall said the standard was impressive. Aspinall and his 18 judges mowed their way through the plethora of pies yesterday, judging a winner in each of the 12 categories before locking the doors and entering heated deliberations over the prestigious supreme award winner. Forty-nine awards are up for grabs, with top prize scoring the baker $7500 and the coveted Supreme Piemaker Trophy, while category winners receive $1000 cash. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at The Langham hotel in Auckland on Tuesday.
- © Fairfax NZ News

Hairy Maclary's 30th birthday celebrated

Birthday parties are taking place throughout the country this month for New Zealand's most famous dog. It's 30 years since Hairy Maclary went out the gate and off for a walk in Many books featuring the black bitser terrier and friends such as Schnitzel von Krumm have since been published around the world. Dame Lynley says she was working on a lot of different projects when Hairy Maclary was born. She sketched him on a "scruffy little bit of paper" and stuck it in her ideas book. "It was probably about three years later that the piece of paper fell out at a very opportune moment when I had I think of something else in a hurry. And I thought, okay, Hairy Maclary might be a good one to do." Dame Lynley says she believes his mischievous streak is what generations of readers have enjoyed about the books.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Seal goes for a wander around Wellington CBD

By Matthew Backhouse
A seal which wandered around the streets of central Wellington this morning had to be herded back into the water by police. Seals are a common sight along the capital's south coast but police say this morning's visitor to the central city is a little bit more unusual. The seal was reported by a police staff member who "almost hit it" on Jervois Quay as they were coming in to work about 5.40am, Inspector Chris Tate of police central communications said. Police herded the seal back into a nearby lagoon about half an hour later. "He might come back again later on, but it's hard to tell with these guys."- APNZ

Women Presidents' Organization to launch NZ chapter

The founder of a global organisation which aims to support women who run multi-million dollar companies is in New Zealand to launch a local chapter. Marsha Firestone founded the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) in 1997 after having worked as a vice president of the American Women's Economic Development Corporation. Dr Firestone says about 40 women have been invited to Thursday's launch in Wellington, hosted by accounting firm PwC. She says the organisation is a peer advisory group for multi-million dollar companies led by women.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Merlot Aero gets first US clients

An Auckland-based company creating cloud-based operation systems for airlines has won its first clients in the United States. Merlot Aero allows airlines to organise their daily operations, from flight crews to aircraft logistics, through the web. It is the only company in the world offering such a solution. Its first American client is passenger airline Allegiant Air based in Las Vegas. It has also signed two other clients, yet to be named. Merlot already has clients in Asia, Australia and Canada.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Health ID system gets major update

An upgrade that will make it easier for health professionals to get patients' medical histories is almost complete. The National Health Index (NHI) gives a seven-digit combination of letters and numbers that's assigned uniquely to every person when they're born or first use health or disability services. Since the late 1970s it's enabled doctors and others to confirm a patient's identify and get access to all appropriate health records about them. The NHI system is being being modified and strengthened in a $15 million upgrade and the 20-year-old technology supporting it has had a major overhaul. The National Health Board says the updated system will standardise for the first time what is included in a person's NHI details. In future citizenship, residency and other demographic information, languages spoken and contact numbers may be added.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, July 17

Government says no to Milford tunnel

The Government has turned down a proposal to build an 11.3km bus tunnel that would have connected Queenstown with Milford Sound through two national parks in the South Island. The $180 million tunnel under parts of the Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National parks would have halved the travel time for the 420,000 people who visit Milford Sound on the west coast of the island each year. The company behind the plan, Milford Dart Limited, said the tunnel would stimulate the economy by cutting four hours off the return trip from Queenstown to Milford Sound. It included 150 metres of road entry ways in the parks at either end of the bus-only tunnel. But opponents feared it would destroy parts of the Fiordland National Park and bypass other sightseeing opportunities. Conservation Minister Nick Smith said on Wednesday afternoon that he declined the proposal because the environmental impacts are significant and beyond what is appropriate in two of New Zealand's most spectacular national parks and a designated World Heritage Area.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Nearly half of babies born outside wedlock

The number of children born outside wedlock is fast approaching the number born to married parents, and debate is raging over what it will mean for society. Statistics New Zealand figures show there were just 1000 more children born to married parents than unmarried in the March quarter. That is well down on 2000, when children born to unwed parents were outnumbered by more than seven to one. In 1980, the gap was close to 30,000, while in 1951 just 2000 children were born to unmarried parents, compared with 48,000 born to married parents. Victoria University psychologist Paul Jose said New Zealand was not the only country reaching a similar tipping point. Cultural, religious and legal changes were likely to be behind the shift, but it was difficult to tell what the long-term effects might be.
© Fairfax NZ News

Chinese firm signs deal over Christchurch rebuild

A large Chinese construction company has entered a partnership with a New Zealand firm to work on Christchurch's rebuild. China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and Arrow International have signed a memorandum of understanding to work on some of the city's major buildings. Arrow International says the partnership will provide access to a highly cost-effective supply chain, as the Chinese corporation owns steel mills and fabrication factories.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, July 16

Scholar slates church over Chch Cathedral demolition

By Kurt Bayer
A UK scholar and expert on Gothic Imperial architecture has slated the Anglican Church decision to demolish quake-crippled ChristChurch Cathedral. Academic Alex Bremner wrote extensively about the cathedral, built by famed English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, in his book Imperial Gothic. The senior lecturer in architectural history at the University of Edinburgh, and Gates Cambridge alumnus, has criticised Anglican Diocese of Christchurch plans to create a new cathedral after the original's spire was snapped in the February 2011 quake. Dr Bremner says the cathedral is "far more than just a building" because it was originally built as a memorial to the city's establishment as a dedicated Anglican colony in the South Sea. In a scathing commentary published yesterday, he compares the cathedral to St Peter's basilica in Rome: "Both buildings embodying the social, civic and architectural heritage and identity of their respective cities." Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews last year announced plans to deconstruct the damaged cathedral to a "safe level" of 2-3 metres above the ground. The decision sparked public protests and a group, Great Christchurch Buildings Trust (GCBT), led by former MP Jim Anderton, have taken the church to the High Court to reverse the move.

(Welfare) Benefit numbers drop by 10,000

Beneficiary numbers have dropped more than 10,000 over the past year, with 8735 solo parents coming off the domestic purposes benefit. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett released new benefit figures today, which show June data for the three new benefit categories that came into effect on Monday. The data shows the number of beneficaries on categories now included in jobseeker support has dropped by nearly 6000 since June 2012, including 3159 DPB recipients with children over 14. The number of beneficiaries on categories now included in sole parent support dropped by 5657 in the year to June, due to 5576 fewer DPB recipients with children under 14. The proportion of working age adults on benefits is now at its lowest since 2009.
Source: NZN

Annual inflation at 14-year low

The cost of living has risen at its slowest annual pace in 14 years. Official figures released on Tuesday show annual inflation is 0.7%, its lowest level since 1999, and below the Reserve Bank's 1%- 3% target band. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% in the three months to June. Statistics New Zealand says lower petrol and car prices mostly offset higher electricity costs, and rents and building costs in Christchurch and Auckland. Inflation has been declining in the last year, partly due to the high New Zealand dollar which has making imported goods like fuel, cars and electronic goods cheaper
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Space telescope venture to use Christchurch as base

Christchurch has been chosen as the base for the next 20 years for a joint US and German project involving an airborne infrared telescope. The telescope operates from the back of a converted jumbo jet and will be used to observe the Milky Way galaxy, starting with a series of flights during the next three weeks. Known as the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the project is a joint venture between NASA and German space agency DLR. Chief scientist Eric Becklin says the aim is to get a better understanding of how stars are formed and how the earth was created.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, July 15

Breast cancer link to alcohol-related deaths

Breast cancer is the leading cause of alcohol-related deaths for women in New Zealand, according to University of Otago researchers. The Health Promotion Agency on Monday published an assessment of the consequences of drinking alcohol. The risks for middle-aged and older women are substantially higher, the study says. The report suggests that more than one in 20 deaths of people under the age of 80 were due to alcohol. It also found 43% of all alcohol-related deaths were because of injuries, while more than 30% were because of cancers. Professor Jennie Connor from Otago University says alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer by about 10% for every extra drink per day. "For young women because their baseline risk is so low, it doesn't amount to very many more cases of breast cancer. But amongst middle-aged and older women, where the risk of breast cancer is much higher, it's quite a substantial increase in risk from drinking." Professor Connor says there is no threshold for the safe consumption of alcohol for many chronic diseases.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Defence Force mission to Kiribati

A New Zealand Defence Force deployment to Kiribati has begun. Army personnel will assist in the disposal of live ammunition left after the World War II Battle of Tarawa in 1943. Soldiers will also conduct a hydrographic survey of the port at Betio, renovate buildings at the Kiribati Teachers College and a school and help refurbish a bridge, Radio New Zealand International reports. The High Commissioner to Kiribati, Mike Walsh, says the presence of Defence Force personnel in Tarawa is part of New Zealand's development support for the island nation through the Pacific Partnership Programme.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Benefit (welfare) overhaul to save Govt $1 billion

A billion dollars is how much the Government says it will bank from its crackdown on beneficiaries that kicks in today. Social Development Minister Paula Bennett's "fundamentally different" welfare reforms aim to shake up the country's welfare system. In a raft of changes, job seekers now risk having their benefits cut if they do not stop using drugs. In other changes, the Domestic Purposes Benefit, the Sickness Benefit and the Unemployment Benefit no longer exist. The Sickness Benefit has been replaced with a Supported Living Payment. "There are significant changes for hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders today," said Ms Bennett. "The benefit savings could be anywhere between a billion dollars and 1.6 billion."
Source: ONE News

New Netball NZ CEO named

Netball NZ (NNZ) has named their new chief executive to replace long-standing Raelene Castle, who left to take the top job at the NRL's Canterbury Bulldogs. Hockey New Zealand boss Hilary Poole has been confirmed in the role this morning. NNZ Board Acting Chair John Bongard said Poole's combination of commercial background and sport governance experience meant she was best person for the job. She was awarded the 2012 CK Doig Award for excellence in sporting leadership and has previously held senior roles at Bank of New Zealand, and GE Capital.
Source: ONE Sport

Sunday, July 14

Netball - Thunderbirds make history in ANZ Championship win

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have downed the Queensland Firebirds 50-48 in the grand final tonight to become the first club to win two trans-Tasman netball championships. Thunderbird goal attack Erin Bell played a starring role in the victory before a sell-out 10,000-strong crowd at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Bell scored 24 goals and became the only player to win three championships, following titles with the Sydney Swifts in 2008 and Adelaide in 2010. Adelaide were hot favourites, having lost just once in the regular season.
Source: AAP

Kiwi breaks record for fastest run across US

A Kiwi woman has beaten the world record for the fastest run across the United States. It took former Auckland postie Alison Bradley just 68 days to run 4,500km from New York on the east coast to Los Angeles on the west coast, all to raise money for cancer research.
Source: ONE News

Waikato Hospital at capacity

The Waikato District Health Board says Waikato Hospital is overloaded with patients and extra staff have been called in to ease the situation. A hospital spokesperson, Jo-Anne Deane says the 600-bed hospital has been running at 98 to 101% occupancy all week. She says extra staff were called in on Sunday to assess patients. Non-urgent patients were asked to consider seeing alternative medical providers or returning in the morning. Ms Deane says patients should visit the emergency department only in the case of a real emergency.
© Copyright Radio New Zealand 2013

Bad weather causes power cut to 11,000 homes in Taranaki

Electricity provider Powerco says extreme weather has downed power lines in Taranaki, cutting power to 11,000 homes. Powerco spokesperson Phil Marsh says winds of up to 130 kilometres per hour downed trees, which brought down overhead lines across the province. He says staff are working to restore power but it is likely about 8000 homes will be without power overnight on Sunday. Areas affected include Kaponga, Kapuni, Opunake, Okato, Oakura, Omata, the eastern suburbs of New Plymouth, Waitara and Inglewood. Hundreds of travellers have had their plans disrupted with flights and ferries in and out of Wellington cancelled as severe wind gusts of up to 165 kilometres an hour strike the capital. MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for Hawke's Bay, snow warnings for North Canterbury, and strong-wind warnings for Whanganui, Wairarapa, Marlborough and Wellington.
© Copyright Radio New Zealand 2013

Australian govt to replace carbon tax with ETS

The federal government in Australia is to scrap the carbon tax and move to an emissions trading scheme. The ABC reports Treasurer Chris Bowen is expected to give details about the plan on Sunday. Labor initially planned to move from the carbon tax to an emissions trading scheme by July 2015, but a spokeswoman said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had moved the timetable forward. The fixed carbon price of A$24.15 per tonne will be removed next year in favour of a floating price, thought to be between $A6 - $A10 per tonne. Mr Bowen said the Government will keep the carbon tax compensation package for families in place. He told Channel 10 there will be spending cuts in other areas to pay for the change.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

More people visiting NSW national parks

More people are visiting national parks in New South Wales. In a statement on Sunday, state environment minister Robyn Parker said a survey by the National Parks and Wildlife Service showed there were 35.5 million visits in 2012. She said this was 1.7 million more than recorded in previous years. Ms Parker put it down to more and better walking tracks, lookouts and accommodation. "We have seen the number of visits to parks in western NSW increase to their highest levels ever recorded," she said. Meanwhile, AAP reports the state government is preparing to allow hunting in national parks. A trial in 12 parks will begin in October under the direction of the NPWS.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Dixon scores second straight Indy win in Toronto

Kiwi driver Scott Dixon has continued his top form to secure back-to-back wins in the IndyCar series and now faces a US$100,000 bonus payday. Dixon has won Race One at the latest round in Toronto and will pick up the bonus if he can repeat his victory from poole in Race Two tomorrow. Starting fifth on the grid for the 85-lap event, the Kiwi edged ahead of leader Sebatian Bourdais on Lap 78 and held on after a single-file restart on the penultimate lap for his 31st career victory on the circuit.
Source: Newstalk ZB

Saturday, July 13

North Island: prepare to be hammered with more heavy rain

Flooded roads remain closed today as the eastern North Island continues to be hammered by heavy rain, but residents elsewhere are in for a brief respite today. Heavy rain in the eastern North Island is forecast to continue until Monday, turning particularly nasty for Hawkes Bay and Gisborne on Sunday.

China expected to join Pacific military exercises

The head of the powerful US Seventh Fleet believes it won't be long before Australia and America join with China for three-way naval exercises in the Pacific. The comments from Vice Admiral Scott Swift come at the start of one of the biggest joint Australian-US military exercises, known as Talisman Sabre. Vice Admiral Swift sailed in to Sydney Harbour on Saturday on board the USS Blue Ridge to command the training activity. Vice Admiral Swift says this refocus should not be seen as simply as an effort to contain China's regional ambitions, the ABC reports. He says it will not be long before China is included in the regional war games and three-way exercises including US, Australia and China are likely. Talisman Sabre kicks off on Sunday when a total of 27,000 US and Australian troops will be involved in various military exercise throughout the Pacific over the next two weeks.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Ferry sailings hit as severe gales loom

At least two Interislander ferry sailings on Sunday have been cancelled, as severe gale southerlies bear down on the centre of New Zealand. A cold front and a deepening low are expected to bring snow down to low levels overnight, which could close the Desert Road and the Rimutaka Hill Road, along with South Island mountain passes. Metservice says snow down to at least 300 metres will disrupt travel across mountain passes through the Southern Alps, and across the North Island Central Plateau overnight and through until Monday. Forecaster Eric Brenstrom says wind gusting up to 130 km/h is expected to hit Wellington about midday on Sunday. The gale-force southerlies are due to bring six to seven-metre swells in Cook Strait. The winds are expected to bring trees and slips down across the eastern North Island, which is already saturated from heavy rainfall.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Australian brain drain hits reverse

An analysis of the number of Australia's brain drain is now in reverse gear. Figures from the Bureau of Statistics reveal that record numbers of Australian expats are heading home after living and working more than a year abroad. February and March broke new records for monthly arrivals outside of the Christmas period. However, the ABC reports that returning expats can be seen as economic refugees of a kind, fleeing the impact of the global financial crisis on overseas economies. There is also concern that Australia is ill-equipped to capitalise on the skills and expertise they are bringing home with them.
© Copyright Radio New Zealand 2013

Muslim Brotherhood came to NZ to learn about democracy

Delegates from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt visited New Zealand to learn about democracy a month before the party was overthrown. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood visited public and private organisations in May as part of The Nahda Project (Renaissance Project). The Brotherhood and president Mohamed Morsi were removed from power by the military on 3 July. A ministry spokesperson said New Zealand has a reputation for good governance, transparency and accountability and the Brotherhood wanted to learn from that. The spokesperson said the group visited a range of government agencies, such as the State Services Commission and Ombudsman's Office.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Flooding cuts off Wairarapa town

People in Martinborough are stranded there and weekend travellers are being advised to stay away as all roads in and out of the Wairarapa town are closed because of flooding. NZ Transport Agency spokesman Anthony Frith said State Highway 53 to Martinborough was closed yesterday, but now all other detours had been cut off, too. He advised people heading towards the town to keep checking the NZTA website for updates. For most of the country today's weather is expected to be relatively benign, but a wintry sting returns tomorrow with gales and snow. State Highway 56 remained closed at Opiki, near Palmerston North, this morning. The NZTA was also urging drivers to be cautious on the Desert Road, which had been closed due to snow.
© Fairfax NZ News

Friday, July 12

PM wary of being too dependent on China

The Prime Minister says a strategy aimed at strengthening ties with South-east Asia is partly intended to ensure that New Zealand does not become too dependent on China. The ASEAN strategy launched by John Key in Auckland on Friday aims to boost investment, trade and economic relations with the region. Mr Key said New Zealand has a very good relationship with China, but needs to make sure it is also engaged with other countries and regions. He said being entirely reliant on one market could leave New Zealand vulnerable if there were an economic slowdown in China and that is why it was important to strengthen trade, investment and economic ties with countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. However, Mr Key said the strategy is also about defence, as well as political and people-to-people relationships.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Cricket - Agar makes his name with extraordinary 98

Australia's Ashton Agar wrote his name into the annals of cricket history with an extraordinary innings of 98 against England today which tilted the first Ashes Test firmly towards his team. The 19-year-old Agar, making his debut, strode to the crease at number 11 after Australia had collapsed to 117 for nine and shared a record last-wicket partnership of 163 with Phil Hughes that changed the course of the match. Agar struck two sweet sixes and 12 fours with a dazzling array of strokes to make the highest test score by a number 11 batsman. He fell two runs short of his century, holing out on the mid-wicket boundary, but the composure he displayed in such a tough situation and the timing of his shots will live long in the memory. Agar had only played 10 first-class matches before being named in the Australia side as a left-arm spinner for the first Ashes Test.
Source: Reuters

Baby to be monarch whether a boy or girl

If the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a baby daughter this month she'll eventually become just the seventh queen to be crowned in her own right. The eldest child of Prince William and his wife Kate is assured a special place in the British monarchy's long and rich history. If the soon-to-be-born baby is a girl, she - and not some younger brother - will one day occupy the throne of the world's most high-profile monarchy. The UK parliament this year passed legislation ending discrimination against women when it comes to succession to the British throne. The act will come into force after it's formally approved by the 16 Commonwealth countries, including New Zealand, where the Queen is head of state. If William and Kate do have a daughter, she will eventually become just the seventh queen to be crowned in her own right in English history. She would follow in the footsteps of Maud, Mary I, Elizabeth I, Mary II, Anne, Victoria and her great-grandmother Elizabeth II.
Source: NZN

Rugby - All Blacks to play Japan

New Zealand will play Japan for the fifth time in a one-off Test in Tokyo ahead of their three Tests against France, England and Ireland in November. The All Blacks will kick-start their end-of-year northern tour with a one-off Test against Japan in Tokyo on November 2. It will be the fifth time the All Blacks have played Japan. They met twice in 1987 in Japan, and then at the 1995 and 2011 World Cups.
Source: NZN

Service marks 150th anniversary of Waikato invasion

Waikato-Tainui have commemorated the 150th anniversary of the start of the Waikato Land Wars. Around 100 people gathered at a dawn service to mark the major anniversary of British and colonial forces crossing the Mangatawhiri stream and invading Waikato. It was a nine month war and a crucial moment in the New Zealand wars as Waikato Maori were the backbone of Maori independence. Waikato was the largest and most significant of the New Zealand Wars fought between 1845 and 1872. British victory, although limited, decided the fate of the country thereafter.
Source: ONE News

Man jailed for refusing to serve on jury

A judge has sentenced an Auckland man to 10 days in prison for refusing to serve on a jury. At the Auckland District Court on Wednesday, James McAllister told Judge Dawson that he was too busy at work to serve on a jury trial and refused to take a juror's oath. The engineering consultant later said he would serve if it would avert a mistrial, but Judge Dawson found him in contempt of court and sentenced him on Thursday. In his decision, the judge said many other people who serve on juries face work pressures and Mr McAllister's actions were a deliberate attempt to improperly manipulate the situation.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

'Bone-chilling' weekend weather warning

By Matthew Theunissen
A "bone-chilling" weekend is in store for northern New Zealand, MetService warns, as parts of the North Island cope with flooding and rising rivers today. The forecaster said a low lingering over the north through Saturday and a very cold southerly outbreak on Sunday would make for a classic wintry weekend. "Sunday in particular will feel bone-chilling, with strong or gale force winds in many places, rapidly rising seas, rain, and snow to low-ish levels," said MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett. "The plummeting snow level on Sunday could make travel over many higher routes challenging."

Big expansion for AUT campus

Auckland University of Technology's Manukau campus will see student numbers more-than quadruple under expansion plans announced today by Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce. The expansion will see the number of full time students at the campus increase from the current 940 to 4100 by 2020. "South Auckland is home to one of New Zealand's fastest growing and most youthful populations. As the region's population grows, so too does demand for greater access to tertiary education, and at higher levels," Joyce said. "With this expansion, AUT will be able to provide more degree-level programmes, and of a wider range than is currently available locally in South Auckland.''
- © Fairfax NZ News

Thursday, July 11

New Zealand named 12th most overweight country

New Zealand has been named and shamed as one of the fattest countries in the world. A report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation ranked New Zealand as having the 12th highest number of overweight and obese people. The US, which previously had the worst record, was overtaken by neighbouring Mexico, where 70 per cent of adults are overweight and a third obese. The study found 27 per cent of New Zealanders were obese, just behind Lebanon and alongside Slovenia. Australia was the 17th fattest nation and Britain 19th. However, adults in American Samoa are still officially the fattest in the world. According to World Health Organisation figures, the rate of overweight citizens has now reached 95 per cent.

More aid for Myanmar announced by Australia

The Australian government has announced an additional $A3.2 million in humanitarian assistance for people displaced by ethnic unrest in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr, who is in Yangon, said the new commitment lifts Australia's total aid contribution to the Rakhine state to $A9 million. "Our aid is going to mean shelter for an additional 9000," he said. "It means water and sanitation in the camps is going to be improved.'' The ABC reports the federal government is also donating $A3 million to help Myanmar conduct its first nationwide census in 30 years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Toxicologist worried about chemicals in household products

A toxicologist wants people to cut down on liquid soaps and toothpastes with anti-bacterial ingredients. A study by the Cawthron Institute says one anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compound, triclosan, is found in everything from liquid soaps to toothpastes. A researcher Louis Tremblay says that when the chemical is washed down the drain, it attacks bacteria used in sewage treatment ponds and in the natural environment. He says consumers should steer clear of products with anti-bacterial on the label and he wants to see an environmental rating system for household chemicals, similar to the energy efficiency ratings on home appliances.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rugby - Huge turnout expected for Bledisloe clash

Extra seating is being put in place for next month's Bledisloe Cup test in Wellington, with rugby bosses predicting up to 38,000 fans could watch the match between the All Blacks and the Wallabies at Westpac Stadium. Ticket sales have surged over 34,000 for the August 24 game, forcing the addition of 1800 temporary seats. "Bledisloe Cup tests are always great clashes and there have been some epic encounters in Wellington,'' Wellington Rugby chief executive James Te Puni said. The Rugby Championship kicks off in Sydney on August 17 with the first Bledisloe test and interest will centre on newly appointed Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie.
© Fairfax NZ News

Meal fit for a king

By Antonia Anderson
More than 70 penguins dined like royalty this week as they enjoyed the "sub-zero house-warming" of their redeveloped enclosure at the Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium. An appropriately dressed waiter joined the 43 Gentoo penguins and 29 king penguins and served multi-coloured fish cakes to the birds inside their freezing residence. The two groups of birds have adapted so well to their revamped surroundings that staff decided to throw them a welcome party. The new layout has replaced the snow-cat ride, which means visitors can now walk through the enclosure and spend more time watching the penguins. Last year, 10 healthy baby penguins were delivered at the aquarium - seven Gentoo and three king penguins.

Art up for grabs first in, first served

By Morgan Tait
Aucklanders have the chance to get their hands on some free art - lucky dip style. Eighty-five contemporary artworks will be wrapped in brown paper and handed to the first people to attend the Art for the People exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery between 2pm and 5pm today and next Thursday. Auckland University of Technology postgraduate visual arts students Evan Woodruffe, 47, and Catherine Ellis, 22, are behind the project which includes photography, sculptures, painting and prints by past and present AUT students including Mr Woodruffe, Ian Jervis and Monique Jansen. "I thought we should give the art back to the people," said Mr Woodruffe, a celebrated oil painter. Art for the People will run in one of Auckland Art Gallery's labs as part of the 5th Auckland Triennial, New Zealand's international visual contemporary art exhibition. It runs until August 11, and Art for the People is part of a three-week time slot designated to AUT students.


Kiva - loans that change lives

New Zealand Information
View information options by clicking on a region
New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Northland New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Auckland New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Coromandel New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Rotorua New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Taupo New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Waikato New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Bay of Plenty New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Eastland New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Taranaki New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Ruapehu New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Northland New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Hawke's Bay New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Manawatu New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Wairarapa New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Wellington New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Nelson New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Marlborough New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Wanaka New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Christchurch New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Mt Cook New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for West Coast New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Canterbury New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Queenstown New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Fiordland New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Southland New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Otago New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for Dunedin New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for North Island New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for South Island New Zealand New Zealand Tourism Online, regional information for New Zealand

Need some fresh air? try CHRISTCHURCH (balloon available)
Just click the pic..
Chinese/Japanese/Korean options

This page was last modified:

Creative Commons License
Daily New Zealand News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 New Zealand License.

This blog uses some copyright material. This blog has no commercial value and does not use material for monetary gain or profit in any sense. NZ News is based on my interest in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands news and current affairs. It is a personal interest blog. Mention of a person or organisation in this blog does not imply approval, support, participation in, or any connection with this blog. Links and organisations displayed in the blog are intended to help people seeking information about New Zealand. News sources are always attributed and there is full recognition of copyright holders. Anyone with a genuine interest in the material used and who may object to its use, please email me (contact address in sidebar) and it will be immediately removed from this blog.

Map IP Address

Daily New Zealand News