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Sunday, March 31

NZ Foreign Minister urges North Korea to stop threats

New Zealand Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, is urging North Korea to stop its threats against South Korea. North Korea announced on Saturday it was entering a 'state of war' with the South and promised stern physical actions against any provocative act. The reclusive state has threatened attacks almost daily since it was sanctioned by the United Nations for a third nuclear test on 12 February. Mr McCully says the latest threats are unconstructive and risk aggravating tensions. He says the Government does not want to see further set backs to peace and stability in the region, and it's urging North Korea to abide by its obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Disabled war vets will get a boost to their benefits

By Julie Moffett - NewstalkZB
Disabled war veterans and surviving spouses of veterans will be getting a boost to their benefits. As of April, they will get a 5 per cent increase to their pensions. Veterans Affairs Minister Michael Woodhouse says the one-off boost shows the Government is delivering on its election promise to better recognise and support our veterans and ex-servicemen. He says nearly 17,000 veterans and surviving spouses will benefit from the increase.

Animal welfare group to monitor farms with drone

The head of the Cattlemen's Association in Australia's Northern Territory says he expects some farmers to shoot down drones used by animal welfare groups to survey farming practices. The group, Animal Liberation, says it plans to use a drone to film properties in a bid to gather potential evidence of animal abuse. It says the drones will fly as low as 10 metres above sheep farms and cattle yards reports the ABC. Spokesman Mark Pearson says the practice will not contravene trespass or privacy laws. He says animal welfare is in the public interest. Cattlemen's Association president David Warriner says farmers won't put up with drones that could hamper helicopter operations and disrupt livestock.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Hefty fines for offshore mining protesters

Energy Minister Simon Bridges has introduced hefty fines and strict penalties for anti-mining protesters who interfere with offshore mining operations. The offence carries a maximum penalty of 12 months' imprisonment or a fine of up to $50,000 for an individual or $100,000 for a group. Mr Bridges says offshore protests by Greenpeace against Petrobras in 2011 is one of the main reasons for the law change. At the time, Greenpeace deployed swimmers in front of the Brazilian oil giant's survey ship in the waters off the North Isalnd's East Cape.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Churches prepare for bumper attendance

Churches around the country are preparing for bumper congregations this morning. Anglican Bishop of Auckland, Ross Bay, says even those who do not normally attend church will often make an exception for Easter Sunday. He says today's services will have a joyful focus. “The churches are usually full of flowers, and because we’re not actually against chocolate most of our churches will hand out chocolate Easter eggs on the day to people to help them celebrate,” he says. Bishop Ross says he believes the Easter period prompts many people to examine their faith.

Record number of women enrol for engineering

A record number of women have enrolled in first year engineering courses at Auckland University. A quarter of the 2013 first year intake is women, and those 178 enrolments are the highest number for any university in Australasia. The Faculty of Engineering says it has a proactive recruitment initiative and a pastoral care programme for women students. It even has a full-time staff member dedicated to recruiting women into engineering courses.
- Newstalk ZB

Saturday, March 30

Unpublished DH Lawrence article discovered

An unpublished article by English author D H Lawrence has been discovered among papers held by the Alexander Turnbull Library in New Zealand. University of Nottingham researcher Andrew Harrison found the short piece in a collection of papers that belonged to writer and editor John Middleton Murry, the husband of renowned New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield. Earlier this year, researchers found a previously unseen story by Mansfield in the same large collection of papers. Curator Fiona Oliver says the Wellington-based library thought the Murry papers might contain a wealth of unseen material, which was why it bought the collection last year. In the piece, Lawrence attacks a magazine article published in 1924 called The Ugliness of Women.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

CPIT graduates ready to help with rebuild effort

Newly trained Christchurch rebuild workers will soon hit the workforce. The first graduates from the Pasifika Trades Training carpentry programme and bachelor of engineering technology degree at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology attended a graduation ceremony on Thursday. Trades and engineering students have been specifically trained for the Christchurch rebuild. Tutors have used damaged buildings, demolitions and construction sites as a living classroom. Engineering students spent last year studying the central city Bus Exchange, looking at various components of the design. More than 1500 students graduated from CPIT.
- © Fairfax NZ News

$7m hub likely for Rangiora Hospital site

By Newstalk ZB staff - NewstalkZB
A new $7 million health hub for North Canterbury is likely to go on the Rangiora Hospital site. Canterbury District Health Board chief David Meates told residents of the recommendation at a community consultation meeting this week. Waimakariri MP Kate Wilkinson says the community is backing the recommendation. She says the hospital site is already familiar to the community, there are no associated land costs and the site is already zoned appropriately. It's expected to be completed in 18 to 24 months time.

Easier for older singles to get financial help

It is now easier for single veterans or pensioners to get financial help from the Government. The Social Assistance Amendment Bill became law on Thursday night, making it easier for superannuitants and veterans living alone to access support. Until now, the living alone payment - an acknowledgment that it is more costly for a person to live on their own - had to be applied for separately to the pension. It is being replaced with a payment that can be applied for over the phone or by email.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Jazz festival goes back to roots

The director of Tauranga's National Jazz Festival says this year's event has refocused and gone back to its roots. The festival, presented by the Tauranga Jazz Society, officially started on Thursday night and runs until Monday. In 2012, it celebrated its 50th anniversary and hosted international acts such as Earth Wind and Fire and Patti Austin. However, director Rebecca Chambers says this year's event is highlighting local and national musicians, and she expects between 30,000 and 60,000 people to attend.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Friday, March 29

There will be no news on Good Friday

Thursday, March 28

Surgery generally safe, if you are otherwise well

New information released on Wednesday shows surgery and operations in New Zealand hospitals are generally safe for otherwise healthy people. The Perioperative Mortality Review Committee has released a report on deaths related to surgery and anaesthesia within 30 days of an operation. It shows the risks are generally low but higher in those over 80, especially if they're unwell at the time of surgery. Among over-80s, there's a 9% death rate within 30 days of emergency surgery but where surgery is planned the rate drops to 1.2%. The risk of a healthy person under 25 dying within 30 days of surgery is one in 12,000; and for those aged 25 to 44, one in 6000.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Try playing instead of homework

By Kurt Bayer
Educators say Kiwi kids are better off doing exercise or learning a musical instrument out of school hours. Children are better off playing after school than doing hours of homework, educators say. The comments come after a University of Canterbury study found that Muslim students living and studying in Christchurch are stunned at how little homework they receive. The students, aged between 10 and 18 and originally from Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Somalia, are revelling in their newfound freedom, and experts back the low levels of extra-curricular work. "Kiwi kids should be out exercising, playing sport, or learning musical instruments [rather] than doing hours of pointless homework," says Waikato University professor of English Language Education Terry Locke. Last year, an Australian education expert said giving children hours of homework every week didn't do them any good. "In countries where they spend more time on homework, the achievement results are lower," said Associate Professor Richard Walker of Sydney University's education faculty. Finland, which has one of the world's most successful and admired education systems, gives zero homework to primary school children. And high school students barely get any more.

Adopt a bunny this Easter

People are being urged to hop on in to their local SPCA this Easter and adopt a bunny. SPCA Auckland chief executive Christine Kalin says they've got a number of rabbits looking for a home. She says they'd love to see some go out as a couple, because they're social creatures. Christine Kalin says they've also got about nine individual bunnies that need adopted.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Rare NZ paintings auction expected to top $2m

The take from an auction of rare New Zealand paintings is expected to top $2 million. The auction in Auckland last night fetched $1.7 million but a number of works are still under negotiation. A Bill Hammond work sold for nearly $300,000, a Charles Goldie for $258,000 and a Ralph Hotere sold for $222,000. Webb's Auction House director Sophie Coupland said the art world isn't feeling the impacts of the recession. She said support from collectors for work at the top end of the market has been strong for the last five to 10 years, and is likely to continue.
- Newstalk ZB

Wednesday, March 27

Kiwis don't have enough homework - study

Muslim pupils studying in Christchurch say Kiwi kids do not have enough homework. University of Canterbury PhD social work student Erin Loo said Muslim pupils were used to substantial amounts homework in their home country. She interviewed pupils aged 10 to 18 who hail from Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Somalia, in what is believed to be the first study of its kind in New Zealand. Loo hopes to find out how the Kiwi lifestyle impacts young Muslims and the implications for school counselling and social work with minority youths. ''They are extremely worried that they cannot cope when they return to their home country as some are here with their parents who are international students themselves,'' Loo said. ''Despite that, the majority say they would recommend their current school to their friends back home and hope to return or continue to New Zealand universities in future.'' Other early findings from the ongoing study suggest that pupils feel very welcome in Christchurch schools, which helps them to overcome the language barrier. Kiwi pupils are mostly curious about the faith.
© Fairfax NZ News

New GM food not proven safe, says researcher

A molecular biologist says genetically modified beans have been approved for human consumption, even though there is no proof they don't pose a health risk. Jack Heinemann from the University of Canterbury co-authored a paper on double stranded RNA molecules, used to switch genes on and off in plants and animals. Dr Heinemann says food safety regulators in New Zealand and Australia have approved GM soybeans containing dsRNA for human consumption under the assumption the molecules couldn't survive the cooking process. But he says there is now proof dsRNA can survive both cooking and digestion but no research has been done to determine what risk they pose to people who eat them.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Tiny starving kiwi rescued from highway

A tiny, wild, dehydrated and starving kiwi, the victim of the drought, has been rescued from a Coromandel highway by a passing couple. Paul and Lee Sayers rescued the 185g bird near Whitianga on Monday. They said they named the bird Pita-Pocket, because it was about the same size as the round pocket bread. The chick was taken to Rainbow Springs in Rotorua, New Zealand's largest kiwi hatchery. Kiwi Encounter kiwi husbandry manager Claire Travers said the chick was thought to be about 17-20 days old. Other kiwi chicks about the same age weigh in at about 400g. "The current dry conditions are a strong indicator toward his lack of nourishment as in the dry conditions bugs burrow deep and the little kiwi's beak is not long enough to penetrate as far beneath the ground as it needs to, to reach its food source,'' Ms Travers said. Pita-Pocket had been receiving 'intensive care' at Kiwi Encounter and was responding well.

Parihaka community wants oil drillers out

The people of Parihaka have told the Government to stop allowing companies to search for oil and gas in the Taranaki Tuturu territory. They've written to ministers, councils and energy firms, strongly opposing fossil fuel exploration and extraction - especially around homes and coastal reserves. Leaders argue that finding petroleum produces short-term benefits for some, but the long term effects are detrimental to local communities and the world as a whole. They consider fossil fuel extraction to be socially unacceptable - and ask the Government to stop issuing permits to look for oil.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Website to provide platform for Antarctica research

Landcare Research and Antarctica New Zealand have teamed up to create a website that will act as a one stop shop for scientific information on Antarctica. The $1 million project is a world first and aimed at providing easily digestible scientific data on Antarctica to policymakers and the public. Landcare Research's Fraser Morgan says the website will bring together all the latest research. "Policy people are very busy, they cover a lot of ground, they really need that summarised science information so they can pick it up, read it and get a quick, good understanding of the issues that are facing Antarctica." Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Lou Sanson says so far Australia, Norway and Belgium are supporting the website. The website is due to be operating by mid-2014.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Student loan repayments rise from next week

By Felix Marwick - NewstalkZB
Anyone with a student loan will find their pay packet a bit smaller from next week. The student loan repayment rate for borrowers living in New Zealand will rise to 12 cents in the dollar, from 10 cents, from April 1. The move was announced in last year's budget. Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says the increase will provide savings to the government of over $184 million a year.

Tidal wave of psychological problems as troops return from Afghanistan

By Newstalk ZB Staff - NewstalkZB
Australians are being told to expect 'a tidal wave of psychological problems' as troops return home from Afghanistan. The Government has announced 1000 Australian troops will be back home by the end of the year. Australian correspondent Murray Olds says their involvement in the troubled region has dragged on for over a decade. "39 Australians dead, hundreds have been injured, but John Cantwell's saying 'Listen, get set. There's going to be a swag of people coming home with all sorts of injuries you can't see'."

More operators to run red-zone tours

Three companies have won tenders to run commercial tours through Christchurch's central-city red zone. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has announced Christchurch Bike Tours, Happy Tours Vintage and Red Bus Limited will begin their tours in the near future. Chief executive Roger Sutton says athe current CBD bus tours have offered visitors a good insight and the three operators will offer more intimate tours for individuals or small groups. Fences surrounding the red zone will be taken down on 28 June and the only remaining cordons will be around specific building sites.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

$600m promised for renewable energy in Pacific

Pacific island countries have secured $635 million for renewable energy after a two-day meeting with international aid donors in Auckland. Forty clean energy projects, aimed at reducing dependence on expensive imported fuel, secured a mix of grants and soft loans, at the Pacific Energy Summit. The funding means most Pacific countries should be getting about half their energy from renewable sources within five years. New Zealand's Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Murray McCully says major aid donors such as the European Union, Australia and Japan, and international funders such as the World Bank are among those who have committed to funding over the next three or four years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

NZ virus experts sound alert for a tough flu season

By Martin Johnston
New Zealand virus experts are warning of a potentially tough flu season if the country follows the United States, which has had its worst outbreaks since the influenza pandemic which began in 2009. Associate Professor Lance Jennings and Dr Sue Huang strongly support the government push to increase the rate of vaccination against influenza, but acknowledge the vaccine offers less than universal protection, especially to the elderly and the young. What we are likely to see this coming winter is this A-Victoria virus, H3N2, visiting us again," said Dr Jennings, of the Canterbury District Health Board's laboratories. "Potentially other centres in New Zealand could be affected as severely as Canterbury was last year, and perhaps as severely as we've seen in the Northern Hemisphere, in America."

Hundreds of bird species driven to extinction by human colonisation in Pacific

A new study suggests that over one thousand species of bird were driven to extinction by human colonisation of the Pacific Islands. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, says that when the first settlers arrived in the South Pacific, hunting and deforestation led bird species to die out rapidly. The lead author of the study, Canberra University’s Professor Richard Duncan, says researchers analysed fossils and historical accounts of birds, before estimating the extinction rates on 41 different islands through a mathematical model.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, March 26

Maori fishing guru sells boat

The man behind the Maori Fishing Calendar is selling his boat. Bill Hohepa is considered by some to be a fishing guru - producing guides on the best days to get catch. After giving up running charters for recreational fishers a few years ago, he put the boat in his shed - saying compliance rules and red tape forced him out of the water. But he's now selling his Marco 650 and will spend more time working on television programmes about trucks. Mr Hohepa is reassuring his fans that he will continue to publish the Maori Fishing Calendar.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

City centre hotel to reopen in Christchurch

Visitors to Christchurch will soon be able to stay at the very heart of the rebuild action. Christchurch's Rendezvous Hotel will reopen its doors in May for the first time since the February earthquake. The building boasts 171 guest rooms and is opposite the recently refurbished New Regent Street, in the northern part of the city centre.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Parts of NI driest in nearly eight decades

NIWA says parts of the North Island are the driest they've been in nearly 80 years. The Government declared a state of drought across the entire North Island on 15 March, adding Buller and Grey districts on the West Coast last week. A principal climate scientist at NIWA, Brett Mullan, says the last time many regions suffered such severe conditions was in 1946. Dr Mullan says there are fluctuations from year to year but NIWA expects dry summers to become more common as the global climate changes.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Australian troops to quit Afghan base by year end

By Steve Marshall ONE News Australia Correspondent
The Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith has announced the withdrawal of most of the country's troops from Afghanistan, saying Australia has been in the war-torn country "far too long". The majority of Australia's troops in Afghanistan are set to come home by the end of the year as the multi-national base at Tarin Kot, used by Australian forces, is shut down. The decision to close Tarin Kot, which is Australia's main base in Uruzgan province, has been confirmed by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The move will effectively end a 12-year military operation by Australian forces in the war-torn country.

Greater demand from China boosts exports

An increase in exports to China has led to a better-than-expected trade surplus. Official figures show a surplus of $414 million in February. Exports rose 8% to $3.9 billion led by milk powder, logs and sheep meat. Imports rose 2.5% to $3.5 billion. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the surplus stood at $85 million. ANZ Bank senior economist Sharon Zollner says there has been a strong showing from dairy products, but the high New Zealand dollar and the effect of drought on milk production is likely to constrain export growth. On an annual basis, the deficit narrowed to $1.1 billion.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Push to get more males into early education

Scholarships for males studying early childhood education have now been introduced in order to boost teacher numbers. At last count there are nearly 21,000 women working in early childhood education. However there are only 450 men doing the same job, which is less than 2% compared to the number of women. Early childhood network group, The Child Forum, wants to change that by offering scholarships for male trainees to pay for their training costs and provide gifts or invitation grants. The group's chief executive Sarah Farquhar told TV ONE's Breakfast that the sector needs more men. "Early childhood education is vitally important to do well and one of the key ingredients to do it well is to ensure that there is gender diversity." As for the fear and stigma attached to males in the profession; Farquhar said all early childhood teachers are screened before employment. "There's no reason to fear men entering the profession," she said.
Source: ONE News

NZ firms win Nauru solar system bid

New Zealand firms Solarcity and Panasonic NZ have won a competitive tender to supply a solar system to power a new desalination plan on the Pacific island of Nauru. The two companies will supply and install the system and while Hitachi Aquatech will managing the $4 million project. The solar system is being showcased at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland this week. Solarcity and Panasonic NZ say they aim to roll out further cost effective solar projects across the Pacific.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Ageing population will hit manufacturing firms - report

The effect of an ageing population is expected to hit the manufacturing sector hardest, a report predicts. The Institute of Economic Research has considered the implications of the ageing population on business and profits. Its report says demand will shift in favour of goods and services used by older people but costs are expected to rise due to competition for fewer skilled workers. It says companies need to make sure they have the right recruitment and retention policies to ensure skills held by retiring workers are not lost. The institute estimates the loss of jobs in manufacturing will continue, particularly in labour intensive industries like textiles and clothing.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

PM to visit China early next month

Prime Minister John Key will lead a delegation of senior ministers and a large group of business representatives to China next month. The trip marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China, and the fifth anniversary of their Free Trade Agreement. Mr Key says China has the potential to become New Zealand's largest market and the trip will focus on building deeper trade ties.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, March 25

Wellington to draw on old reservoir for sports fields

Wellington City Council will start drawing water from a disused Karori reservoir from Tuesday afternoon to irrigate its sports fields. The council has banned pre-season winter training on all grass sports fields because the drought has left the fields rock hard. Council parks, sport and recreation manager Paul Andrews says the Rural Fire Service is helping to transport the water and a machine used on dairy farms will irrigate the fields. He says pre-season training may be able to start again as early as next week. The water is coming from one of two disused dams in the Zealandia sanctuary that used to supply drinking water to the city. They were decommissioned some years ago.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Julia Gillard announces new lineup

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has unveiled her new frontbench team, saying the ruling Labor party is now "united with a sense of purpose" after last week's leadership spill. She was replacing supporters of former prime minister Kevin Rudd who have been relegated to the backbench after last week's botched attempt to unseat her. A key Rudd backer, Anthony Albanese, has been promoted to the Regional Development and Local Government portfolio despite his links to Mr Rudd, reports the ABC. The role was vacated by Simon Crean, who was sacked for disloyalty after sparking the attempted coup. Announcing the reshuffle, Ms Gillard said the party had moved on from what she described as the appalling events of last week.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Chilean Minister to visit NZ

A visitor from Chile this week. Following the Prime Minister's successful visit to Latin America, the Chilean Economy, Development and Tourism Minister is on his way. Accompanied by a 21 strong delegation, his four day trip will cover education, Maori economic development and tourism.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Assurance kumara stocks are high

Consumers can be rest assured the kumara crisis is over. Supplies on supermarket shelves were noticeably down last month and fast-food franchise Burger Fuel was forced to remove kumara fries from the menu around the country and in Australia. Manager of Kaipara Kumara Anthony Blundell says there's been a gap in supply because last year's crop was down 25 percent due to wet weather and this year's harvest was later than usual due to drought. However, he says there's now plenty of kumara around.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Sultan of Brunei visits NZ

The Sultan of Brunei is arriving in New Zealand for a four-day state visit. His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah is in the country from Monday to Thursday. During his visit the Sultan will attend a dinner hosted by Prime Minister John Key, meet with Labour leader David Shearer, attend question time at Parliament, lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington and meet with Bruneian students. The Sultan will be officially welcomed at Government House on Tuesday.
Source: NZN

South Islanders encouraged to recycle TVs

South Islanders are being encouraged to recycle their unwanted televisions - all in the name of a good cause. The TV TakeBack programme kicks off today and aims to divert televisions from the landfill and the recycle bin. Environment Minister Amy Adams says the Government is partnering with a range of recyclers, councils and retailers to ensure a range of options are available for recycling televisions. She says TVs contain materials such as lead and mercury, that can be harmful if released into soil or waterways, so they should not be dumped into landfills. It will cost people $5 to recycle a television, thanks to a Government subsidy.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Prison-grown veges given back to community

Vegetables being grown in prisons throughout the country are being given back to the community. Vegetables grown at Spring Hill Prison in the Waikato are donated to food banks and to the information centre at Te Kauwhata for distribution. At Rimutaka Prison, five units are growing and donating vegetables to local marae and food banks. Principal Corrections Officer Tracy Wells plans to extend the gardens there by 1,000 square metres. Further up the North Island, in just one day, Tongariro/Rangipo Prison gave 110 kilograms of potatoes, six kilos of carrots and three kilograms of beans to the Turangi Food Bank.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Mormons boost NZ genealogy records

Family history buffs now have access to a vast genealogy goldmine thanks in large part to the efforts of touring Mormon missionaries. For the past 18 months, Tom and Ann McVey, of Denver, Colorado, have been volunteering as part of a joint venture between their church's FamilySearch International website - the world's largest - and Archives New Zealand. Volunteers have been furiously archiving screeds of New Zealand probate records for the past four years and have digitised and indexed more than a million images. Probate records are crucial to genealogical research and contain more than 30 types of documents including wills, affidavits, property records and death certificates. The documents can now be searched by name after the index went live earlier this month.
© Fairfax NZ News

Mobile surgery brings health to rural New Zealand

Westport, Balclutha, Te Puia, Takaka and Dannevirke are not places one would expect to find a state-of-the-art operating theatre. Over the past few decades, these and many other rural New Zealand towns lost surgery facilities for their residents. In early 2002, private company Mobile Health Solutions spent $5.2 million to build a specially designed 20-metre long, 39-tonne truck to show there was another way to provide day surgery to people living in rural areas. The country's only surgical bus has since treated thousands of people by giving them access to hundreds of specialist surgical procedures not otherwise available in their towns. It visits 23 rural towns during a five-week cycle, stopping in each place for a day and offering whatever surgery is most in need in that area or whatever procedures the available surgeon can do. The bus, which was funded by the Ministry of Health, now delivered about 1 per cent of the country's annual surgical workload - the same as an average operating theatre.
© Fairfax NZ News

World's largest fund manager boosts NZ investment

The world's largest fund manager has increased its investments in New Zealand as it forecasts a dire outlook for Europe and weak growth in the United States. Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco) is predicting lower global growth this year than last year, with Europe contracting by 1% and the US growing less than 2%. Pimco's head of global portfolio management, Scott Mather, also predicts more turmoil for Europe and says the European Union is closer than six months away from breaking up. Mr Mather says Pimco has lifted its investments in New Zealand government bonds by about 5% or $US3 billion in the past two years. He says New Zealand is one of the few countries with a stable debt dynamic and a good credit profile and in his view it will be increasingly viewed as a place that's safe to invest relative to the rest of the world. Mr Mather says that's a mark of successful economic management.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Sunday, March 24

Surging growth raises expectations of interest rate hikes

An economist says better-than-expected growth will force the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates earlier and more aggressively than planned. Figures from Statistics New Zealand released on Thursday show gross domestic product, a broad measure of the health of the economy, had its strongest quarterly rise in three years, expanding 1.5% in the three months to December, led by forestry, retail spending and construction. On an annual basis, the economy expanded 2.5% and is now worth $209 billion - the strongest annual growth since March 2008 when the economic recession began. Last week the Reserve Bank said interest rates would be on hold this year and its forecasts indicated that the Official Cash Rate rising to about 4% in the next three years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Heavy rain forecast for parts of South Island

MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for parts of the South Island as a front moves in from the Tasman Sea. Up to 250 millimetres is expected for Fiordland on Sunday, while south Westland could get 300mm on Monday. Significant rainfall has also been forecast for the headwaters of the Canterbury and Otago rivers south of the Rangitata. MetService warns rivers and streams in those areas may rise rapidly and slips and flooding are possible.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Kiwi-owned company corporatising Aussie chicken farming

A large kiwi-owned chicken company is making waves in Australia with its corporate-style farming. ProTen's Sydney-based chief executive Daniel Bryant says the company aims to increase its annual production from 35 million to 42 million chickens within 18 months. He says it will do this by adding nearly 50 more growing sheds, each of which can hold 55,000 chickens. Mr Bryant says ProTen has 'corporatised' the chicken farming industry in Australia. "It's traditionally a mum-and-dad farmer-based type of industry, where a family farm might have six to eight sheds alongside their sheep and beef farm, for example." Mr Bryant says profit before interest and tax this year is forecast to be about A$11 million ($13.76 million) from turnover of A$20 million.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Christchurch Gondola set to reopen

The Christchurch Gondola will reopen to the public on Monday for the first time in more than two years following earthquake damage. Its top station on the Port Hills was flooded by 60,000 litres of water when the 2011 February quake burst fire sprinkler heads. Managing director Michael Esposito says the Bridle Path track under the gondola is expected to remain closed for about two months while the council removes hazardous rocks. Fences designed to catch rocks have also been put up around the gondola's buildings to protect them.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Want to see your medical records? Simply go online

New technology trialled in Wellington allowing patients to view their medical records online could also prove a life-saver, doctors say. ManageMyHealth software was trialled by Wellington GP Richard Medlicott, and allows people access to information traditionally for doctors' and nurses' eyes only. Patients can see what medications they are taking, past prescriptions, lab results, allergies and immunisations via an online portal similar to internet banking. Notes by GPs and practice nurses are also provided.
© Fairfax NZ News

Apple bargain tempts shoppers to spend up

By Chloe Johnson
Never mind an apple a day - at one shop's prices this week, most people could afford an apple a minute. Hastings Pak'nSave sold more than 10,000kg of apples in five days this week, after cutting the price to 9c a kilo. The supermarket's fresh food manager Aaron Smith said he slashed the price of Royal Galas from $2.98 a kilo to entice people to do all their shopping at the store. "They are done as a 'loss leader' to draw customers into the store," Smith said. "It is a pretty good deal, but I'm certainly losing quite a bit of money." He said the deal was limited to 3kg a customer, but he expected another 3000kg of apples would be gone by tonight, when the deal ends.

Summer means 'the vintage of the century'

Hawke's Bay wineries are flat out producing what they're calling 'the vintage of the century'. The dry summer means the fruit is early, ripe and clean, and winemakers can pick it as and when they want to. Harvest has begun early, with many whites almost all off the vines. In some areas the reds are underway also.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Demand for air traffic controllers to train here

There's strong demand from Middle Eastern and Asian students to train here, as air traffic controllers. Airways New Zealand has responded by opening a purpose-built training facility in Palmerston North. Thirty-two students from Saudi Arabia are already taking basic air traffic control training there, and another group from the Saudi Arabia National Guard will start next month. Airways Head of Training Sharon Cooke says the programme has a good reputation internationally, and has an 80 percent success rate.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Saturday, March 23

NZ's oldest woman turns 110

By Alex Bourn - Reporter
A Southland woman has celebrated her 110th birthday today. Maudie Wilson from Invercargill is believed to be the oldest living person in New Zealand. But she didn't want to make a fuss. "She's lived through two World Wars," says her grandson at the 110th celebration. Ms Wilson is believed to be New Zealand's oldest living woman – a title she doesn't exactly fancy. "How horrible!" she says. Ms Wilson was born in Invercargill in 1903. She says there's no secret to living a long, healthy life. "We've lived very quietly. We've had good meals, and we went out a bit."

Anglicans in NZ elect new leader

The Anglican church in New Zealand has elected a new leader. The Bishop of Taranaki, Philip Richardson, has been elected Archbishop and becomes one of three men who jointly share leadership of the church here. The 55-year-old becomes the Archbishop for Tikanga Pakeha and will work alongside the leader of the Maori arm of the church, Archbishop Brown Turei, and Archbishop Winston Halapua who is Bishop of Polynesia. Mr Richardson replaces Archbishop David Moxon who is stepping down next month to become the Anglican communion's chief representative to the Catholic Church in Rome.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Work begins on Avon River precinct

Construction of Christchurch's $100 million Avon River precinct began on Saturday, with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee turning the first sod. The first stage of the precinct is called Watermark, featuring boardwalks and more green space down to the water's edge. It will stretch along the riverbank between the Antigua Boatsheds and Montreal Street. The entire precint will be more than 3km long and is expected to be completed in about three years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

'Killer flu' expected to hit NZ this winter

A 'killer flu' is expected to strike New Zealand this year, with one district health board already advising people to have an influenza vaccination. Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Felicity Dumble said she is concerned about the flu which saw 64 children die in the United States from influenza-associated illnesses during their winter. The National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG) and national District Health Boards (DHBs) advise that influenza vaccinations are the most effective way to fight the epidemic levels of infection that struck the Northern Hemisphere winter. The 2013 vaccine has just arrived in GP surgeries across the country and immunisation is free from a GP or nurse for New Zealanders at high risk of complications - pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, and for people of any age with long-term health conditions.
Source: ONE News

New toys for Navy

New toys for the Royal New Zealand Navy. Two Rapid Environmental Assessment boats are due to arrive within the next few months. They'll give the Navy the ability to operate more effectively in the South Pacific, as well as in New Zealand waters. The vessels can fit inside an Air Force Hercules or be used on larger ships for offshore patrols.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Friday, March 22

New Zealand second-most welcoming for tourists

New Zealand has been ranked the second most welcoming nation to foreign visitors. A World Economic Forum report on global tourism puts us only behind Iceland, and just ahead of Morocco. The three countries least welcoming to foreigners are Bolivia, Venezuela and Russia.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Chinese New Year pushes tourist numbers to record level

The number of visitor arrivals in February were up 9% on February 2012. Statistics New Zealand says it was driven by an increase in the number of visitors during the Chinese New Year, with more people arriving from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The figures show visitor arrivals rose by 22,000 to 281,000 for the month. On an annual basis, the number of Chinese tourists rose while visitors from the United Kingdom fell. Meanwhile, the number of people arriving to live and work in New Zealand rose and the number departing fell, resulting in a seasonally-adjusted net gain of 550 migrants.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Sultan of Brunei to visit NZ

The Sultan of Brunei will arrive in New Zealand next week for a four-day state visit. Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae says His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah's visit builds on the positive and friendly relationship between the two countries. The Sultan arrives in Wellington on Monday and leaves on Thursday. He will be accompanied by three ministers and about 50 officials. He will attend a state dinner and lay a wreath at the National War Memorial.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

University has high hopes for quake research centre

Canterbury University has launched an earthquake engineering research centre it hopes will become one of the most recognised in the world. The university hopes Quake Centre will partner New Zealand with similar organisations overseas and build its reputation for excellence and innovation in earthquake engineering. Based at the College of Engineering, the centre will join with facilities there.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Kiwi mountaineer George Lowe dies age 89

New Zealander George Lowe, the last surviving climber from the team that made the first successful ascent of Mount Everest, has died. He was 89. Lowe's widow, Mary, said he died on Wednesday at a nursing home in Ripley, central England, after an illness. One of two New Zealanders on the 1953 British expedition, Lowe helped establish the final camp 1000 feet below the mountain's summit on May 28, 1953. The next day, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the peak.
AP with

Gillard survives leadership vote

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has survived a vote on her leadership and has been re-elected as the leader of the Labour Party. She had called the election after senior MP Simon Crean demanded the leadership be put to a vote to end the disunity he said was killing the party. Ms Gillard was the only person nominated and the ABC reports that the leadership spill fizzled out after former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, who Ms Gillard deposed in 2010, declared he would not run. Treasurer Wayne Swan remains as deputy prime minister after Mr Crean withdrew his nomination for that job.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Thursday, March 21

Gillard survives leadership vote

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has survived a vote on her leadership and has been re-elected as the leader of the Labour Party. She had called the election after senior MP Simon Crean demanded the leadership be put to a vote to end the disunity he said was killing the party. Ms Gillard was the only person nominated and the ABC reports that the leadership spill fizzled out after former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, who Ms Gillard deposed in 2010, declared he would not run. Treasurer Wayne Swan remains as deputy prime minister after Mr Crean withdrew his nomination for that job.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Bigger catch limits for crayfish, scallops and surf clams

The catch limits for crayfish, scallops and surf clams have been increased. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says increasing the catch will create economic opportunities and new jobs in regional communities such as Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Taranaki and the Coromandel. Limits have been increased at the Gisborne, Wellington, Hawke's Bay rock lobster fisheries and at the Central surf clam, the Coromandel scallop and Otago rock lobster fisheries. There's a decrease of 19.9 tonnes at the Otago rock lobster fishery.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Plunket baby records heading online

Plunket has begun testing new software that will create electronic health records for a quarter of a million babies and toddlers. The "Plunket Plus" system, developed by Auckland firm Intrahealth, is the centrepiece of a US$15 million five-year overhaul that is designed to take the charity from the "era of the filing cabinet to the tablet". Plunket's 800 staff, and later volunteers, will enter information into Plunket Plus using tablet computers. The system will generate alerts to ensure health checks are carried out and followed up and will mean PlunketLine operators will be able to immediately access up-to-date child records. Two or three years later, parents would get access to an online portal that would let them view their child's records online.
- © Fairfax NZ News

Stronger protection around use of newborns' heel pricks

The Privacy Commission has amended the health code to strengthen protections around how heel pricks from newborns can be used. Some parents have expressed concerns about the storage of bloodspot samples, which are held permanently unless parents ask for them back. Commissioner Marie Shroff has strengthened the Health Information Privacy Code so that information derived from the samples is now restricted. She says DNA testing is getting cheaper and faster and that makes national bloodspot collections more valuable. It's possible someone in the future will want to use the collection as a national DNA database - and that would severely damage the programme. Ms Shroff says it's important to protect it, because is saves dozens of lives each year.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Economy expands strongly in 2012

The economy has expanded at its fastest quarterly pace in three years, driven by gains in agriculture, retail spending and construction. Official figures show Gross Domestic Product - a broad measure of the health of the economy - expanded 1.5% in the December quarter. On an annual basis, the economy grew 2.5% to $209 billion, the strongest yearly growth since March 2008 when the economic recession began.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, March 20

Free flu jabs for young kids with respiratory illnesses

Free flu jabs will be available to children aged under five who have respiratory illnesses. Health Minister Tony Ryall announced today that children aged from six months to five-years-old who have been hospitalised for respiratory illnesses like asthma, or have a history of significant respiratory illness, will have free access to the flu vaccine from April 1. New Zealanders over the age of 65, pregnant women and people with ongoing health conditions or heart problems are also able to get the flu vaccine for free. This year's influenza immunisation campaign started last week.

Support for National down in latest poll

Labour is up and National is down in the latest Roy Morgan opinion poll. The survey of 977 voters has National's support down four points to 43.5 per cent. It has a 11 point lead of Labour whose support is up to to 32.5 per cent. National and its support parties have 46.5 per cent support. Opposition parties muster 51 per cent of the vote between them.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Rihanna announces second Auckland concert

Rihanna has announced a second concert date for Auckland. It will take place on the October 7 at the city centre's Vector Arena, the day after her first concert there. Promoters say demand for tickets to Rihannas first New Zealand concert since 2008 was exceptionally strong, with fans clearly signalling they want a second concert. The star will also visit five Australian cities as part of her Diamonds World Tour.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Sky TV channel numbers to change

Important news for the television remote wrangler in your household - Sky is changing its channel numbering. From May, general entertainment and lifestyle shows will be from channel one to 29, movies will start from channel 30, sport will start at 50, and music will begin at channel 100. Sky Network Television chief executive, John Fellet, says the decision to make the changes wasn't taken lightly. He says they want to group channels by genre, and allow channel space for special events.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Niue MP says public sector cuts failed

A Niue MP says an attempt to cut the size of the public service appears to have failed, with people taking payments to leave their government jobs being rehired as consultants. The Premier, Toke Talagi, announced nearly two years ago that public servants would be given a year’s salary to go into the private sector and try to establish businesses as the country’s tourism industry develops. But MP Terry Coe says all of the people who have taken up the scheme have returned to the public service as consultants.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Marmite makes much-awaited return

Marmite lovers rejoice, Marmageddon is over. As supermarkets and dairies opened this morning, little jars of black gold, a rarity since production was suspended a year ago, were waiting to be snapped up. Production of the yeast spread was halted at Sanitarium's Christchurch factory in March last year because of earthquake damage. Jars of Marmite were soon popping up on Trade Me and in charity auctions, drawing bids of hundreds of dollars. One 500g jar in Nelson sold for $1110 in an auction for a hospice shop. But Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden announced last month that Marmite would grace shelves again today after production resumed at the factory last month.
© Fairfax NZ News

Dame Susan Devoy new Race Relations Commissioner

One of New Zealand's greatest sports stars, Dame Susan Devoy, has been appointed the new Race Relations Commissioner. The four-time women's squash world champion replaces Joris de Bres who recently completed his second term in the office. The Race Relations Commissioner is a member of the Human Rights Commission which works with the Government to "encourage harmonious race relations and equal employment opportunities, and to resolve complaints about discrimination and related issues" Justice Minister Judith Collins said in a statement. Originally from Rotorua, Devoy became a professional squash player at 17 and went on to win the World Open in 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1992.
© Fairfax NZ News

South Island Agricultural Field Days start

The South Island Agricultural Field Days kick off on Wednesday at Lincoln University Farm. The event, the largest of its kind in the South Island, usually attracts 20,000 to 25,000 spectators over the three days. The theme for this year's field days is Ag-Technology and there will be more than 400 exhibitors displaying the latest farm technology, machinery and ideas. Also starting on Wednesday, is the Dairy Women Network's conference in Nelson.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, March 19

Roadkill cat sells for nearly $1000

A roadkill cat that has been stuffed and turned into a rug has sold for almost $1000. The online auction for the taxidermied tabby upset animal advocates, who said it was disturbing and in bad taste. But that did not stop Auckland printer Ian James from bidding on the ginger cat rug. He placed the winning bid of $955 before the auction closed on Trade Me at 8pm. Tauranga taxidermist Andrew Lancaster found the large male cat on the side of the Napier-to-Taupo highway, on the way back from a concert last month. "I thought 'that's a pretty nice looking cat', did a U-turn and picked it up,'' he said. The UK-expat said he did not know who bought his works or why but he enjoyed creating them, despite an online backlash which included being called "you sicko'' or being told "hope this happens to you''. "I just respond to a smiley face he said.''

Chairman Mao Gangnam Style ad banned from bus stops

By Rebecca Quilliam
An advert depicting Chairman Mao performing the Gangnam Style dance has been banned from Auckland bus stops for fear it will insult Chinese residents. The ad, for online electricity store Powershop, shows the Chinese former dictator surrounded by Chinese people and soldiers posing with guns, and carries the slogan 'Same Power Different Attitude'. Adshel managing director Nick Vile said it always flagged content that could be controversial. Auckland Transport communications manager Sharon Hunter said as a general rule they did not want to have adverts on shelters that were designed to "shock, offend or be controversial". "Something which may be funny to one person can easily be offensive to another.

ICT goods and services worth nearly $23b to NZ

High-tech goods and services from information and technology are worth nearly $23 billion to New Zealand and include household appliances you wouldn't even think of. There's been a three billion dollar increase over two years. Statistics New Zealand says more and more goods these days count as information and computer technology. As well as computers and smart phones, they include washing machines and driers, Blu-ray players and TVs, and even toasters and kettles. ICT manager Hamish Hill says each time the survey's run, more businesses from increasingly diverse industries have to be included.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Marmite back on shelves from tomorrow

Marmite's back on shelves from tomorrow and consumers are wondering if half a million jars is enough. Jars of the black gold have made their way to supermarkets, ready to be stocked onto shelves overnight and to be bought by eager New Zealander's from tomorrow. Sanitarium general manager Pierre van Heerden says there are half a million 250gm jars out there, but he can't guarantee everyone who wants one, will be able to. "I think we may find that in some areas the Marmite stocks will run out tomorrow because of the excitement of everyone trying to get in and buy their jars." Pierre van Heerden says consumers should keep an eye on the Facebook page that's likely to have updates on it on where Marmite is still available.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

First couple wed on Milford Track

A Chinese couple have become the first to wed on the world-renowned Milford Track. Newlyweds Wei Sun and Jun Lu celebrated their wedding with 16 friends at Pompolona Lodge. Ultimate Hikes guide Julia Kepp says it wasn't until the group stopped the first night, that the couple mentioned they were going to have their wedding ceremony somewhere on the track. The pair packed their wedding clothes into their backpacks, including a traditional wedding dress and high heels for Wei Sun. Her wedding flowers were collected along the track, ahead of the ceremony on day two of the five-day hike.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

US and NZ commit to vast conservation area

The United States and New Zealand have announced they are planning to create the world's largest marine protected area. The 4.9 million square kilometre Ross Sea MPA in Antarctica would be nine times the size of New Zealand. The plan has been announced in Washington by new US Secretary of State John Kerry and the New Zealand ambassador to Washington, Mike Moore. They were speaking at the screening the National Geographic Museum of The Last Ocean by New Zealand film-maker Peter Young. Kerry urged global safeguards. "When it comes to the Ross Sea and Antarctica, we're not going to wait for a crisis to take action," he said adding preserving the world's oceans "is not just an environmental issue, it's a security issue. "The entire system is interdependent and we toy with that at our peril."
© Fairfax NZ News

700-odd marae visited for new database

A team setting up a database of principal ancestral marae throughout Aotearoa has now visited several hundred pa. Researchers have just finished calling in on marae on the West Coast, as part of a project that's been running for four years and has visited about 700 marae. The work is being done by Te Potiki National Trust - which is running a website called One of the site's aims is to link Maori youth living in cities and towns with their ancestral identity.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Classmate saw no early hint of Obama's success

He was known as Barry, had few friends and seemed uncomfortable at university, but he went on to become the most powerful man in the world. University of Canterbury history professor Peter Field will speak tomorrow night about his time at university with United States President Barack Obama. Field was in the same class as Obama at Columbia University in New York in the 1980s. He said he gave "zero" thought at the time to the prospect that "Barry" would go on to such success. "I wasn't a friend of his," Field said. "He didn't have many friends. He kept himself to himself. I never would have guessed he would become a leader. "He didn't seem very comfortable. I don't think he felt he was in his element. He was more of an observer. "He was a really bright, able guy, but president of the USA? It is astonishing."
© Fairfax NZ News

NZ's Iraq contribution 'grossly overstated'

By Dan Satherley - Online Reporter
New Zealand journalist Jon Stephenson, who was in Baghdad 10 years ago when the US launched its 'shock and awe' campaign on the Iraqi capital, says the achievements of Kiwi troops and engineers in the country have been "grossly overstated". Speaking on Firstline this morning, Mr Stephenson said the poor planning of the invasion and its aftermath prevented much work from being done, and New Zealand's contribution was made to please the US and its allies. "One always wants to speak with respect to people who put their lives on the line, and go overseas to a warzone, and certainly the engineers that we sent there, they did put their lives on the line," says Mr Stephenson. "But the reality is that it was a… I wouldn't say a publicity stunt, but an operation done with very strong public relations results in mind. Those engineers really made very little headway in terms of reconstruction. "I think it's fair to say that their achievements there were grossly overstated."

NZ, Afghan ministers attend wreath-laying ceremony

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and his Afghan counterpart, Dr Zalmai Rassoul, have attended a wreath-laying ceremony to acknowledge the lives lost in Afghanistan. The ministers laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington on Tuesday, the second day of Dr Rassoul's visit. On Monday, the ministers held talks in Wellington in which they discussed New Zealand's on-going development programme in Bamyan province. Dr Rassoul was also meeting Prime Minister John Key, and Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

NZ firm gets US approval to sell cancer test

Cancer diagnostic specialist Pacific Edge is expecting to make $100 million in five years after approval from US regulators cleared it to sell its bladder cancer test. The Dunedin company says the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) registration for its Pennsylvania laboratory is a major milestone, and been achieved ahead of time and below budget. Registration allows the laboratory to operate and provide commercial services to clinicians. It will process urine samples for bladder cancer, which is non-invasive and cheaper than current tests.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, March 18

Govt approves new Christchurch hospital

The Government has approved a $600 million hospital rebuild in Christchurch. Health Minister Tony Ryall said the Government is contributing $500m while the rest will come from Canterbury District Health Board. The hospital will be largest and most complex building project in the history of the public health service, Mr Ryall said. "The rebuild will go a long way to setting Canterbury health services back on their feet after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. "Christchurch will have world class facilities once the rebuild is complete," he said. The rebuild will start in a couple of months and the whole project is expected to be completed in 2018
Source: NZN

Thai PM to visit NZ

By Lloyd Burr - Online Reporter
Thailand's first female Prime Minister will visit New Zealand this week for bilateral talks and to attend a business luncheon. Yingluck Shinawatra, elected in 2011, arrives in Auckland on Friday and will stay for three days on her first official visit to New Zealand. Prime Minister John Key will host Ms Shinawatra at Government House and show her some of the country's "quality dairy systems". Mr Key says both countries have "shared interests" in political, security, economic, education, science and technology and development issues.
3 News

Go-ahead for tallest building in southern hemisphere

The state government in Victoria has given the go-ahead for what will be the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. The 108-storey hotel and apartment building is planned for Melbourne's Southbank area. At 388 metres it will outsoar the country's current tallest building, the 323-metre Q1 residential tower on Queensland's Gold Coast.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Stroke victims worse off than injured - study

A study has found people who suffer strokes receive far less support and are worse off financially than those who are injured. The University of Otago study compared 109 stroke victims to 429people who'd suffered a comparable injury to see how they fared over a 12-month period. Lead author Sue McAllister says she found stroke victims' incomes dropped by 60% compared to 13% in the injury group. Dr McAllister attributes this to differing levels of income support from ACC and Work and Income. She says 79% of those injured were back at work after a year, compared to 49% of those who had suffered a stroke, because they had received better ACC support to return to work. Dr McAllister says it's unfair that someone who suffers a stroke should be disadvantaged.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Hundreds of migrants arrive for Christchurch rebuild

Fifteen times more foreign men than women have migrated to help rebuild earthquake-hit Christchurch. Latest immigration figures show 846 visas have been issued to skilled workers since July last year, including carpenters (129), quantity surveyors (86) and painters (78). Of those, 6% were female. British and Irish women make up more than half (27), followed by Filipinos (8) and Americans (6). The skill shortage list includes a variety of professions but the majority are trades.
Source: Fairfax

Finance Minister to meet Hong Kong leaders

Finance Minister Bill English is in Hong Kong this week where he will speak at the annual Asia Investment Conference and meet business and political leaders. Mr English says trade with Asia is increasingly important, and he hopes his trip will help the Government's business growth agenda, which aims to increase exports from 30% to 40% of GDP by 2025. Mr English will meet Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Ratings of NZ banks confirmed

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the credit ratings of the country's four main Australian-owned banks. The international credit rating agency left the AA- rating in place for ANZ, ASB, Bank of New Zealand and Westpac. Fitch says that reflects the extremely high likelihood of support, if required, from their parent banks, as well as the Reserve Bank and the Government. The banks have reported strong profits in recent years, mainly due to fewer bad debts, while tougher rules have reduced their dependence on short term overseas funding.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Kura graduates struggle with university level English

An education body says the lack of formal English lessons in kura kaupapa is hampering its graduates in university studies. Senior Maori development manager Ngahiwi Apanui says many students at Maori immersion schools don't start learning to write in English until Year 9. He says while graduates are excellent students and fluent in te reo, some struggle with the high level of English needed for courses such as law. But he says more English in kura kaupapa isn't the answer. Mr Apanui says what's needed is strong whanau like support groups at university to help with literacy, and extra guidance at kura for those who want to enter high level tertiary studies.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Sunday, March 17

Study shows reading boost from early education

A new report says children who attend early childhood education are much better readers by the time they are teenagers than those who do not. The analysis of New Zealand's 15-year-olds in an OECD reading test says the difference between students with more than a year of early childhood education and those with none is equivalent to a year and a half of schooling. The study says there is a similiar difference between teenagers whose parents read to them in their first year of school and those whose parents did not. It says students are also likely to be much better readers if their parents read books and talk to them regularly.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Last day of Census collections today

It is the last day pounding the pavement for Census collectors today. Door to door collections will come to an end, and anyone not home will be left Freepost envelopes to mail their forms in. Statistics New Zealand says it is also the last day people can go online to complete their Census forms. Anyone without forms or an internet access code should call 0800 CENSUS.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Top Gear Presenter: NZ is the real holy land

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has broken the habit of a lifetime and said something nice about a foreign country - namely New Zealand. Clarkson, who has referred to Mexicans as "lazy, feckless, flatulent" oafs, given a Nazi salute in an episode about BMWs, and labelled Australians "convicts", raves about New Zealand in his column in today's London Sunday Times. New Zealand, he writes, is "absolutely stunning; bite-the-back-of-your-hand-to-stop-yourself-from-crying-out lovely". Clarkson was briefly in New Zealand last week to film an episode of his BBC motoring show, including a race from Coromandel to the Far North between a car and an America's Cup yacht.

Amateur astronomer discovers supernova

A South Canterbury amateur astronomer has discovered a supernova after a two year search. Using his homemade observatory in Geraldine, Peter Aldous and a team of friends and helpers spotted the exploding star despite being frustrated by the cloudy skies created by El Nino conditions. He sent his findings to the Central Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams which confirmed the discovery as did fellow supernova hunter Stu Parker of North Canterbury. Mr Aldous said the sun could be fitted into the supernova up to 400 times and when it exploded and died, it released astronomical amounts of nuclear energy.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Building industry appeals for apprentices

The building industry is trying to entice more people into apprenticeships as numbers signing up hit a new post-recession low. The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation held careers events throughout the country on Saturday. Chief executive Ruma Karaitiana said numbers of apprentices have dropped from about 10,000 before 2008 to just under 5000 now. Mr Karaitiana says there was a good response from the public to the careers events, in particular in Auckland and Christchurch. He said rebuilding in Christchurch and demand in Auckland for more residential housing mean there are plenty of opportunities for those interested in apprenticeships in a range of fields.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Saturday, March 16

'Super Saturday' to wrap up Polyfest

Today marks the final day of this year's ASB Polyfest, with the annual festival expected to draw up to 90,000 spectators by the time it closes this evening at 5pm. ASB Polyfest Event Director Theresa Howard describes today as ‘Super Saturday’, with leading Maori and Pacific Island groups taking to the five festival stages. “It is the day where the 'cream' of the Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Niue groups perform on stage,” she says. “The public will see some amazing Pacific Island performances and kapa haka at its best with the Division One groups battling it out for the title, and places in the national Kapa Haka competition.”
3 News

NZ meat producers should cash in on US: expert

By Jacqui Stanford - NewstalkZB
A visiting US meat industry expert believes New Zealand producers could cash in on major changes in the American market. Rabobanks Don Close says the United States herd is going through an unprecedented reduction. He expects it will continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer (our winter), due to significant drought. Mr Close says even if the US has a good grass season and farmers don't have to send even more beasts to slaughter, there'll still be a beef shortage in 2014. He says neither Canada and Mexico are viable alternatives, and with the horsemeat scandal in Europe, beef from other producers will be in demand.

Deadline for Maori on electoral roll choice

Maori are being urged to decide what type of electoral roll they want to be on before it's too late. The Electoral Commission launched the 2013 Maori Electoral Option on Friday, saying it wants Maori voters to choose what roll they will be on by 24 July. The option, offered every five years, gives New Zealanders of Maori descent the opportunity to choose whether they want to be on the Maori or General Roll for the next two elections. It is also used to revise electorate boundaries. On Monday about 427,000 Maori Electoral Packs will be sent to all voters who declared on their enrolment form that they are descended from or are a New Zealand Maori.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Extinct frog's embryo produced in Australia

Australian scientists have produced an embryo of an extinct frog that could swallow its eggs, brood its young in its stomach and give birth through its mouth. The gastric brooding frog existed until 30 years ago and a team of Australian scientists has taken the first major step in bringing it back to life. They have successfully reactivated its DNA and produced an embryo, the ABC reports. So far the embryo has only survived 36 hours but Professor Archer has told the ABC he is confident that producing a tadpole is only a step away.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Butterfly drop could signal change in eco-system

Butterfly enthusiasts say a drop in the number of monarch butterflies this summer could be followed by population drops in other insects important to agriculture. Monarch Butterfly Trust secretary Jacqui Knight says many people have reported seeing fewer of the distinctive butterflies in their gardens this year, especially in Canterbury. Ms Knight says it could be because of the particularly hot, dry summer, but there may also be more concerning reasons, such as disease. She says monarch butterflies are an indicator species and a drop-off in their numbers could signal a larger change in the eco-system.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Key pledges Myanmar aid for as long as required

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand will continue giving aid to Myanmar to assist in what he calls its remarkable political and social reforms for as long as it is needed. Mr Key made the pledge following his meeting with Myanmar President Thein Sein in Auckland on Friday. He says the aid will be a combination of money, educational support and technical assistance in areas such as agriculture.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Friday, March 15

People urged to put water out for birds

Birds are feeling the impact of the drought and people are being urged to put out water for them. Forest and Bird spokesman Mark Bellingham says both forest and introduced birds are looking for water and some of them have stopped breeding. But he's advising people who are putting out water for birds to make sure it's in a safe place away from predators. "There's very little water around, particularly a lot of streams have dried up and so birds are looking around for sources of water so they'll go for little pools of water - often these are the places where your cat will sit waiting for them to come in."
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Chris Finlayson to represent NZ at Papal inauguration

Cabinet Minister Chris Finlayson is to be New Zealand's representative at the Papal inauguration. Mr Finlayson, a Catholic, is to attend the inauguration mass of Pope Francis I the first next Tuesday. He's describing the event as a momentous occasion for the worldwide Catholic community.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Cryptosporidiosis outbreak spreading

An outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis in Hawke's Bay is spreading with numbers doubling since health authorities issued a warning. Hawke's Bay District Health Board identified the outbreak two weeks ago after 45 people has been diagnosed - that number has now jumped to 90. Medical Officer of Health Nicholas Jones says investigations indicate there are multiple sources of infection including swimming pools, day care centres and water consumption from untreated water supplies.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

Waikato River waka regatta full steam ahead

A significantly low Waikato River won't stop the Turangawaewae Regatta from going ahead. The event begins on Friday with school crew dugout canoe races, followed by Saturday's main event in which at least seven waka paddle along the river. The regatta is celebrating its 118th year and the lack of rain has members of Turangawaewae saying the river is the lowest they've seen it in about 50 years. Previously, dams have been opened to make the river wider to allow a parade of waka taua (war canoes) to paddle three abreast. Instead the waka will travel nose to tail. The regatta is held to encourage and preserve Waikato-Tainui culture and traditions and customary activities on the river.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

India our biggest source of skilled migrants

New statistics show India is now the largest source of skilled migrants coming to New Zealand. The 12th annual Migration Trends and Outlook report shows India has overtaken the United Kingdom. The number of skilled migrants from India increased by 27 per cent in 2011-2012, compared with the previous year. Most of the increase is from former Indian international students going on to temporary work and then becoming permanent residents. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment research spokesman Sankar Ramasamy says numbers will increase due to the Christchurch rebuild.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

National Maori choir to reform for WOMAD

The Aotearoa Maori Choir is reforming for this weekend's World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) festival in New Plymouth. The 80-strong group has been dormant for about 10 years, but will perform with New Zealand group The Yoots on Sunday evening. About 300 musicians and artists from more than 20 countries perform at the three day event, which attracts more than 12,000 people each day.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

NZ one of world's friendliest nations for tourists

New Zealand, along with Iceland, has been judged the world's friendliest nation for tourists, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum. This year's "Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report" ranked 140 countries based on attractiveness and competitiveness in the tourism and travel industries. One of the rankings looked at how welcome tourists were in each country on a scale of one to seven, categorised as "Attitude of population toward foreign visitors". The analysis showed that New Zealand and Iceland were the friendliest, with a score of 6.8 out of 7 apiece. Morocco was next in line, while Macedonia and Austria ranked in at fourth and fifth. Adversely, Bolivia was found to be the least welcoming to foreigners, followed by Venezuela and then Russia. In the overall Travel and Touris

Scientists have new theory on whale strandings

Scientists researching whale strandings have hit on a new theory that social disruption prior to strandings might be the cause, rather than following sick family members to a shallow beach. A whale specialist with both the University of Auckland and the University of Oregon in the United States, Scott Baker, says genetic testing has found 120 pilot whales which stranded on Stewart Island were not all closely related. Nursing calves were stranded well away from their mothers, on whom they would have been dependent. Professor Baker says it may be that whale strandings are caused by competition to catch prey and social disruption prior to strandings as well as whales finding themselves in unfamiliar and disorienting territory. He says research on whale behaviour in New Zealand shows whales gather offshore in a large group and then smaller pods break off and head to shore quite deliberately.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Thursday, March 14

Fijians, Kiwis gather to voice human rights concerns

Fijians and New Zealanders are gathering in Auckland and Wellington today to voice their concerns about the state of human rights in the Pacific Island nation. Speakers, including MPs, trade unionists and Amnesty International representatives, will address issues such as the rule of independent law, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of religion, freedom of the media and the inhumane treatment of people in Fiji. The gathering in Auckland will be from 1pm on the grass verge opposite Aotea Square at 360 Queen St, and in Wellington outside the Fiji Embassy on Pipitea St. It follows the release of a brutal video recording which apparently shows Fiji prison guards beating and torturing detainees.

Maori Catholics welcome Pope Francis I

Maori Catholics are celebrating the election of the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. New Zealand Maori Catholic Council executive member Danny Karatea-Goddard says Maori Catholics will appreciate his advocacy for social justice. He says Katorika Maori will be excited about the appointment of the first ever South American Pope from Argentina. Mr Karatea-Goddard says Maori parishioners will identify with the fact Pope Francis I comes from an impoverished country and a place that is deeply involved with social justice issues.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Weekend rain for drought-stricken areas

Rain is forecast this weekend for drought-stricken areas. MetService is predicting what it describes as a good chance for decent rainfall over most parts of the country by Sunday afternoon. Five regions of the North Island have been declared in a state of drought, while a decision is pending on another five. MetService says the remains of Cyclone Sandra will combine with a low pressure system in the Tasman Sea, but it is not yet clear how much rain this will create. It says the heaviest rain will fall on the West Coast of the South Island, with more modest amounts likely over the North Island.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Kiwi author nominated for top prize

A Wellington author is among the names nominated for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction in the UK. Emily Perkins is part of the longlist of authors announced in the running for the 2013 award, which has been previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is nominated for her novel 'The Forrests' a book about a woman's life in New Zealand. The shortlist for the prize will be announced next month with the winner taking away GBP$30,000.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

New Zealand bishops welcome new pope

Catholic bishops in New Zealand are welcoming the announcement of the church's first Latin American leader, with the election of Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pope. Bergoglio, 76, who will be known as Pope Francis, appeared on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica in Rome on Thursday morning (NZ time). New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop John Dew says they have been awaiting the announcement of a new Pope with hope and anticipation. "It's a wonderful time for our church, we welcome the news that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has said yes to this special ministry that is now entrusted to him," he said. "We believe that through prayer and reflection the Holy Spirit has guided the choice of a man for the time, that whatever his papacy holds he is the man chosen for it." New Zealand bishops will be sending an official message offering their prayers and support to the Vatican shortly.
Source: NZN

Outdoor water ban for Wellington

As one of the driest summers on record continues to take its toll, the Wellington City Council has announced a region-wide ban on outdoor water use which will come into effect on Saturday. The region's water levels have dropped significantly in the past few weeks and the regional council estimates there may only be 20 days of water left for the city. The ban will be enforced by councils across Wellington, Hutt Valley and Porirua, and irrigation systems designed to keep council parks and sports grounds green will also be turned off. Westpac Stadium and the Basin Reserve will be exempt from the ban. But there does appear to be some good news on the horizon - rain is forecast to fall across most of the country over the weekend and early next week.
3 News

Sun will power new Canterbury school

A new school in north Canterbury will be the first in the country to be completely powered by solar energy. Enough solar panels will be fitted to the roof of the school at Pegasus to cater for the electricity needs of up to 600 pupils and staff. "We're definitely going to be a flagship school," principal Roger Hornblow said. Considerable research has gone into working out how much power a school of that size would consume and how many solar panels would be needed, Hornblow said. "We want to make sure the capacity is there to power the school 365 days a year." The school would still be connected to the national grid, but Hornblow said he did not expect to use it. Electricity generated on the weekends and during school holidays would be fed back into the national grid, providing additional income for the school.
© Fairfax NZ News

Maori TV airing Te Kaea in Australia

The head of Maori Television says it's looking to air more of its in-house programmes in Australia. Its flagship news programme Te Kaea aired for the first time on Australia's free-to-air National Indigenous Television on Sunday night. A partnership between the two broadcasters will see Maori TV's Saturday night news programme play every Sunday across the Tasman. Maori TV chief executive Jim Mather says social media feedback shows many Maori in Australia have felt moved by being able to get a weekly update on key events in Aotearoa, especially because a lot of the news is in te reo Maori. He says it's more and more important to air Maori content in Australia, where about 140,000 Maori and more than 800,000 New Zealanders live.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, March 13

Art gallery re-opening again delayed

The re-opening of the Christchurch Art Gallery has again been delayed due to further earthquake damage discovered in the basement. The art gallery was due to reopen this year after a multi-million dollar refit, but that will now not happen until the middle of 2015. Gallery executives say engineers have confirmed liquefaction damaged the basement floor, causing it to settle unevenly. Director Jenny Harper says the damage was not factored into the initial repairs and the problem has not been obvious until recently. Ms Harper says the building needs to be relevelled before other repairs are made.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Ombudsman inquiry raises new residency hopes

A Tongan community leader is calling for an inquiry into immigration service failures because he believes an ombudsman's report represents only the tip of the iceberg of immigrants who have been let down by the system. The Chief Ombudsman says overstayers were given inconsistent advice on the policy for filling Pacific residence quotas in 2004 and 2005 and some should have their cases reassessed. The chair of the Auckland Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka, says many Pacific Islanders were badly advised but it was all swept under the carpet. Mr Maka says many people remain here illegally or have been deported, some only three months ago, although they did the right thing at the time. Immigration lawyer Richard Small says the failures at Immigration New Zealand mean more Pacific Islanders may be re-assessed for residence. Copyright © 2013 Radio New ZealandHe says about 1000 people were denied visas in 2004, and many were deported while others simply gave up on residency.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

NZ to provide $4m to Samoan tourism sector

By Newstalk ZB staff - NewstalkZB
New Zealand is providing a $4 million cash injection for Samoa's tourism industry. Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the aid's being given to help the sector recover from the impact of Cyclone Evan. He says tourism is important for employment, foreign exchange earnings, and government revenue in Samoa

Crackdown on bad behaviour by foreign firms

Minister of Commerce Craig Foss says new rules will ensure the country's reputation will not be abused by errant foreign firms and organisations. The Financial Markets Authority will get powers to investigate financial service providers such as overseas banks, insurance companies, brokers and financial advisers which want to register here. The authority will be able to deny foreign firms' registration, or remove them from the register. Mr Foss says changes are also being made to the resident requirements for directors of New Zealand companies.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Red meat, fish, chicken prices all down from 2012

By Jenee Tibshraeny - NewstalkZB
Shoppers have been able to justify forking out for porterhouse steak and lamb during February, with red meat up to eight percent cheaper than it was in February last year. Statistics New Zealand says the prices of fish and chicken have also fallen during this time. Yet lower meat prices have been offset by avocado prices increasing by 150 percent, kumara by 59 percent, and lettuce by 30 percent. Overall, food prices dropped by 0.1 percent over the year.

Stamps celebrate life of Margaret Mahy

The life of late children's author Margaret Mahy will be celebrated with the release of stamps featuring her most popular work. With the help of Mahy's family, five of her books were chosen to have the front cover illustrations feature on the stamps. The stamps are A Lion in the Meadow (70c), A Summery Saturday Morning ($1.40), The Word Witch ($1.90), The Great White Man-Eating Shark ($2.40) and The Changeover ($2.90). The stamps will be available from tomorrow from selected PostShops, online at or 0800 STAMPS (782 677).
- © Fairfax NZ News

'Piano' beach included in NZ's top spots

By Lincoln Tan
Karekare has been named among New Zealand's best beaches by an American publication focused on the outdoors. The West Auckland beach was named by Outside magazine as one of the country's top 10 beaches, along with Ninety Mile Beach in the Far North, Hot Water Beach in Coromandel and Mosquito Bay on the Abel Tasman coastal walk. Described as the beach made famous by the 1993 film The Piano, the magazine said Karekare "is a vast, still-empty paradise of black sand and craggy cliffs that loom over the Tasman Sea". Four beaches on the list are in the South Island, including Koekohe Beach near Moeraki, in North Otago, and Gillespies Beach, near Hokitika.

Young people flock to sign up for apprenticeship bonus

By Simon Collins
More than 350 young people have signed on as building apprentices since a $2000 bonus became available last Wednesday for the first 10,000 apprentices who sign up. Another 60 have already signed up with the Skills Organisation for specialist trades such as plumbing, drainlaying, roofing, scaffolding and rigging. The bonuses - $2000 each for apprentices and their employers in "priority" building-related trades and $1000 each in other trades - were due to start from April 1 to boost training nationally for the rebuilding of Christchurch.

Drought trouble: More regions ask for help

By Matthew Backhouse
Most of the North Island could be declared a drought zone by the end of the week, but Prime Minister John Key says the impact on the Government's books remains to be seen. Droughts have been declared in Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay, with farming districts in Auckland covered by the Northland and Waikato droughts. Further areas including Wairarapa, Manawatu-Rangitikei, Taranaki and Gisborne are also asking for help as the dry spell continues to have devastating effects. Urban areas are also feeling the impact, with authorities in the Wellington region looking to draw water from the Hutt River as water reserves dwindle to only 20 more days of supply.

Tuesday, March 12

NZ Parliament condemns Fiji torture

Parliament has unanimously passed a motion condemning the beating and torture of two detainees by security personnel in Fiji. The event was captured on video and the Fiji police say they are investigating. The United Nations has condemned the video and has called for Fiji's military regime to bring the attackers to justice, and hold an impartial investigation. Labour MP Phil Goff says New Zealand can't remain silent when confronted with evidence of human rights abuses in neighbouring countries. Mr Goff is also calling on Fiji's interim government to publicly condemn the use of torture, and Fiji's prison departmetn says three prison guards have been sacked over an online video that appears to show officials beating and torturing two men. Fiji's military leader Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama - who seized power in a 2006 coup- said last week he would stand by officers implicated in the video, arguing they were just doing their duty.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Australia - This way up: standing room only at the Top End

A Darwin city councillor is proposing that people be buried standing up to make more economic use of cemetery space in the Northern Territory - commonly known as the Top End. While the Territory is one of the most sparsely populated jurisdictions in Australia, the greater Darwin area is facing land shortage pressures. Alderman Gary Lambert put forward the idea after the Northern Territory Government called for suggestions for reforms to the Cemeteries Act. Corpses would need to be frozen before being buried upright, the ABC reports. "If it's not frozen, it will wobble and move," Mr Lambert says. "(Freezing) makes sure that the body is in a straight position and can fit inside the hole. "The frozen body just slides into the hole with a lot more efficiency". "It is just a very efficient use of space," he said.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Breakthrough in leukaemia treatment

A medical trial conducted in Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands has doubled the survival rate for children with an aggressive form of blood cancer, researchers say. Ten years ago, just over a third of children with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) recovered from the illness. But research from the Australian-led trial detailed in the journal Leukaemia today has boosted the survival rate for those children to 75 percent, in what is being described as a major step towards personalised cancer care. Overall survival rates for ALL patients have lifted to 83 percent. The decade-long clinical trial was initiated at the Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick and The Children's Hospital at Westmead and conducted across Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
Source: NZN

Quick-build house could solve housing issue

By Jessica Rowe - Reporter
Several building industry businesses have teamed up to design a high-performance home they say could be a solution to the country's housing crisis. The new, innovative design is quick to build, energy efficient and cost effective. A two-bedroom prefab takes only 10 weeks to build and the construction companies behind it say it could be the answer to the housing shortage in quake-damaged Christchurch. Beacon Pathway is one of the companies involved, and chief executive Nick Collins says the method is very quick. "Time is of the essence. To rebuild a conventional house will probably take about six months, whereas a house fabricated offsite can be constructed while foundation work is being done." The house costs around $250,000 and has solar water heating, a wood pellet burner, and a rain water tank. It will also stand up in an earthquake. The show home will stay on display in Christchurch for a year, but the designers say the flat roof design means it can be transported anywhere in the country.

Still time for late census forms

For those who have not yet completed their census forms, time is running out. Census collectors will continue door knocking until this Sunday, while the online website will stay open until April 10. The general manager of the 2013 Census Carol Slappendel, says everyone who was in New Zealand on Tuesday March 5 is expected to fill in a census form.
Copyright 2002 - 2013, TelstraClear Ltd

10,000+ sign up for banks class action

By Anna Cross - NewstalkZB
More than 10,000 people have signed up to join a legal case against New Zealand's major banks. The case is against what's being called illegal and unfair default fee charges. Fair Play on Fees says within the first seven hours of their website launching, 7000 people signed up - at the rate of 1000 an hour. The lawyer leading it all, Andrew Hooker, says he now expects 20,000 people to register in the first 48 hours of the campaign.


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