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Friday, May 31

Online Samoan dictionary to use real life language

A new online Samoan dictionary is being compiled in New Zealand using real life language taken from the internet. About nine million words will be culled into a database of the most commonly used words and their meanings. University of Victoria senior lecturer Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin says the work will take several years and update the last dictionary written in 1966. He says the dictionary will be the first to use Samoan language from real life, and they are already finding new words and new uses for existing words. Mr Hunkin says Samoan is under threat from English and a modern, online dictionary will help to retain the language in Samoa and elsewhere.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Quake-damaged Arts Centre to hold festival

By Thomas Mead - Online Reporter
Christchurch's Arts Centre will be bustling with activity again this August, despite its earthquake damage troubles. The centre's Market Square has been announced as the venue for the 2013 Christchurch Arts Festival. Arts Centre chief executive André Lovatt says a temporary venue will be built on-site to hold the expected crowds. "To us it is incredibly important that while our focus is on the significant task of restoring the historic buildings on site, we do not forget the Arts Centre's focus on arts, culture and education," he says. "Hosting the Arts Festival enables us to bring people back to the Arts Centre to celebrate arts once more." Twenty-two of the Arts Centre's 23 buildings were closed after suffering significant damage in the earthquakes, and the space is now the throes of a seven-year $290 million [removed dollar] repair project. The festival will start on August 22 and run over five weekends, ending on September 22.
3 News

Ministers welcome trans-Tasman super portability

Finance Minister Bill English and Revenue Minister Peter Dunne have welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement today that it has completed legislative steps to allow New Zealanders to transfer their retirement savings between complying Australian superannuation schemes and KiwiSaver. The new arrangements take effect from 1 July, 2013. "Australia’s announcement is a direct result of the strong commitment between the New Zealand and Australian Governments to remove an obstacle to the free movement of labour between our two countries," Mr English says. "Trans-Tasman portability of retirement savings will make it easier for people to take advantage of employment opportunities in both countries and take their retirement savings with them. Australia’s Tax Office has estimated that there is about A$17.7 billion (NZ$21 billion) in "lost accounts" in the Australian superannuation system. "We expect that some of this money belongs to New Zealanders who have returned home and these new rules will allow these funds to be brought back to New Zealand," Mr Dunne says.

Price helping smokers quit

Stinging smokers' pockets is helping kick the habit, say University of Canterbury researchers. The Government hiked up tobacco prices 10 percent in January, driving the average price for a packet of 20 cigarettes from $14.40 to $16 and a packet of 25 from $18 to $20. Professor Randolph Grace, Dr Anthony McLean, and Dr Murray Laugesen studied the effects of the tax increase and found cigarette sales dropped 15 per cent as a result. The Government will continue to increase tobacco excise by 10 per cent annually through to 2016.
© Fairfax NZ News

New venue for high-performance athletes

Canterbury's high-performance athletes have a new training facility. The old high-performance sports centre at QE2 was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake and has been demolished. The $3.5 million Apollo Projects Centre based at Jellie Park officially opened on Thursday night. High Performance Sport New Zealand chief executive Alex Baumann says the facility is largely funded by the Government and the land was donated by the Christchurch City Council. Mr Baumann says the centre is the only one of its kind in the South Island and was desperately needed by about 80 athletes. It features a netball court, gym and pool.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Christchurch gets 700 new state homes

Christchurch is getting 700 new state homes under a $170 million project launched in the city this morning. Housing Minister Nick Smith says it amounts to a new house being built every day from now to 2015 - the biggest home building project in the city's history. "It will increase housing supply, provide hundreds of jobs and reinforce the momentum of the Government's earthquake recovery effort," he says. It's the third phase of Housing NZ's response to the earthquakes that damaged 95 percent of its housing stock. The first phase was 27,000 emergency repairs to make properties safe, the second was repairing 5000 homes. The third phase is to build new homes to replace those that were too badly damaged to be repaired.
3 News/NZN

Thursday, May 30

Doctors on alert over virus strain

By Natalie Akoorie
Doctors are being put on alert over a severe strain of hand, foot and mouth disease after some children were admitted to hospital. The childhood illness, which commonly infects babies and preschoolers, has also spread to some adults, which health officials say is unusual. Dozens of children have been treated at Auckland's Starship Hospital for dehydration caused by the disease. Auckland District Health Board director of child health Dr Richard Aickin said two to three cases a day were being seen at the children's emergency department.
* Symptoms include mild fever, red blisters on the tongue, mouth, hands and feet, sore throat and mouth and loss of appetite.
* Contagious for seven to 10 days.
* Spread by coughing, sneezing, contact with mucus, saliva or faeces of an infected person.
* Symptoms often confused with chickenpox.
Source: Ministry of Health

Student loan defaulters face passport hitch

Staying away from New Zealand may not be enough to protect "hard core" student loan defaulters, with Revenue Minister Peter Dunne considering refusing to renew expiring passports. As part of the Budget the Government announced new sanctions for student loan and child support defaulters including the threat of border arrests. Yesterday appearing before the finance and expenditure committee, Dunne was asked if he had considered going so far as to refuse to renew passports. "The issue has been considered," Dunne said. "No firm decisions have been reached on that. There are some obvious potential advantages. "There are also some disadvantages about what you might describe broadly as human rights issues - the rights of New Zealanders to a passport, but it certainly has been looked at, yes. Inland Revenue (IRD) had identified some 9000 "hard core" loan defaulters, who collectively owed about $151 million, who could be subject to border arrests, Dunne said.
© Fairfax NZ News

New equipment boosts electricity flow across Cook Strait

New high capacity equipment has begun boosting the flow of electricity across Cook Strait. The development known as Pole 3 began operating on Wednesday, and is one of several projects by Transpower to increase electricity transmission. The scheme is intended to prevent a repeat of problems that have occurred during power crises, when electricity was expensive in one island but going to waste in the other. Transpower says Pole 3 will increase the flow of electricity between the islands from 700 to 1000 megawatts, and eventually to 1200 megawatts. Pole 3 consists of equipment at Benmore Dam in the South Island and Haywards substation near Wellington.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, May 29

Pumice washing up from underwater volcano

By Peter de Graaf of the Northern Advocate
Pumice found washing up on Northland's east coast beaches in recent weeks is almost certainly from an enormous underwater eruption near the Kermadec Islands last year. No one knew about the eruption of the Havre Seamount in July 2012 until a passenger on a commercial flight between Samoa and Auckland noticed a vast raft of pumice floating on the ocean surface about 600km north of Cape Reinga. It was subsequently spotted by a New Zealand Defence Force Orion and the Navy ship HMNZS Canterbury sailed right through it. The floating mass measured 460km long by 55km wide and covered an area of about 25,000sq km - making it almost twice the size of Northland.

260 job losses as schools learn their fate

Education Minister Hekia Parata says 260 staff will lose their jobs as a result of education reforms announced in Christchurch. Ministry officials visited the schools on Wednesday afternoon to deliver the decisions. Seven primary and intermediate schools will close outright, while another three primary schools will close as part of mergers with other schools. All the schools have been subject to interim decisions since February this year, which proposed that seven of the 17 schools should close and 10 merge into five bigger schools as part of a major reorganisation of education in the earthquake-hit city.
Changes announced
Closures: Branston Intermediate, Glenmoor School, Greenpark School, Kendal School, Linwood Intermediate, Manning Intermediate and Richmond School.
Mergers: Six schools will merge to create three schools:
Burwood School with Windsor School, on the Windsor site
Phillipstown School with Woolston School, on the Woolston site
Lyttelton West School with Lyttelton Main, into a newly built school on the Lyttelton Main site
To stay open: South New Brighton School and Maori immersion schools Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Waitaha and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori.
New Brighton schools proposal: Central New Brighton School has been asked to consider closing outright, or merge with North New Brighton School and Freeville School on the North New Brighton site.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Seafood exports predicted to grow

The seafood sector is riding the crest of a wave according to new industry body Seafood New Zealand, which has had its official launch at Parliament. It was created last year as the representative body for the aquaculture, paua, rock lobster, and inshore and deepwater fishing branches of the industry. Speaking at the launch on Wednesday, chairman Eric Barratt says seafood is now New Zealand's fifth largest export earner, bringing in $1.57 billion last year. Mr Barrat said growth will continue as world seafood consumption increases.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, May 28

Air NZ offers $5 flights

Air New Zealand are offering $5 fares tomorrow to mark the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's conquest of Everest. The 500 fares to a variety of New Zealand destinations will be offered on the Grabaseat website from 9am. Grabaseat manager Duane Perrott said May 29 is a big day in New Zealand's history and it was fitting to offer the $5 airfares with Sir Ed gracing the $5 note. "Customers keen for a cheap fare will need to keep an eye on the Grabaseat website throughout the day as new routes are added,'' he said. "Unlike Sir Edmond Hillary's lengthy climb of Everest these fares will be snapped up within minutes,'' Mr Perrott said.

NZ fire truck donated to Micronesian island

The New Zealand Air Force has delivered a fire engine to the Micronesian island of Weno after serious fires there. A Hercules plane made the unusual delivery last week, after fires at the tiny island's state legislative chambers and a tuna factory. Christchurch firefighter Keith Norton helped to source the 7.7-tonne truck - the first fire engine the island has had for two years. Mr Norton says the truck was donated by the New Zealand Fire Service and Christchurch firefighters
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Dot Kiwi internet address is secured

A group of New Zealand expats has secured final approval from Icann, the global body that administers the internet's addressing system, to offer website addresses ending in ".kiwi". Christchurch-born Tim Johnson, chief executive of Dot Kiwi, the company which will run the .kiwi registry, said he expected the addresses would appeal both to individuals for personal websites and to New Zealand businesses. He expected ".kiwi" addresses would be available by November. Companies would be able to register interest from September, so as to protect their trademarks and prevent "cybersquatters" taking their desired addresses. Johnson, who now lives in Vancouver, Canada, said Dot Kiwi would donate 10% of its revenues to assist with the Christchurch rebuild.
Source: Fairfax

Deer industry ponders name change for venison in Europe

The deer industry is considering whether to have another go at marketing New Zealand venison in Europe under the name Cervena. It's looking for a new approach to counter falling sales in its biggest export market, Germany, where New Zealand venison is under pressure from cheaper European venison coming from countries like Spain and Poland. Cervena is an appellation for New Zealand farmed venison, developed about 20 years ago. It's been used successfully in the United States, as well as New Zealand and Australia. But Deer Industry New Zealand director, Glenn Tyrell from Silver Fern Farms, says there was resistance in Europe where the focus has always been on selling venison as game, rather than farmed meat.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Snow falls as wintry blast hits South Island

Heavy snow has been falling in parts of the south overnight, closing several roads and causing problems for traffic as what is expected to be the coldest day of the year so far closes in on the country. Southland, central and south Otago, Milford and Queenstown have all had 2-7cm of snow overnight, with parts of the central North Island also affected by snowfall, said MetService duty forecaster Liz Walsh. Chains were required in most places in the south and motorists were being warned to take extra care particularly over the Lewis, Porters, Arthur's and Lindis Passes. Weather Watch analyst Richard Green said bitterly cold temperatures were hitting Christchurch, which registered its coldest day of the year.
- APNZ, NZ Herald and Otago Daily Times

'Elixir of life' falls short of claim for humans, study reveals

By Steve Deane
A popular health supplement often promoted as an anti-ageing substance helps yeasts and worms live longer, but there is no evidence it does the same for humans, an Otago University study has found. Resveratrol, believed by some to be the miracle substance in red wine that explains why French people who consume a high-fat diet suffer comparatively low rates of heart disease, is taken in supplement form by as many as 40,000 New Zealanders, an industry figure estimated. Its benefits are said to include improved cardiovascular health, decreased likelihood of cancer, improved joint mobility, digestive health and brain function. While there is no reason to suspect those benefits - many of which are backed by scientific studies on animals - don't occur, there is no evidence to suggest resveratrol promotes a longer life, said Dr Shinichi Nakagawa, from Otago University. "It's marketed as an elixir of life, that extends life, and there is very little evidence for that." His research found evidence that resveratrol extended the life of yeasts and worms but was not proven to be effective in higher order lifeforms such as animals and humans.

Oxfam urges Kiwis to avoid Dole bananas

By Amelia Wade
New Zealanders are being urged to be wary of buying Dole bananas after the release of a new report claiming the company's treatment of plantation workers is unethical. Commissioned by the New Zealand arm of Oxfam, the report found the world's largest fruit importer employs underage workers in its Philippines plantations, pays less than the minimum wage and forces them to work up to 12 hours a day. Dole NZ controversially labels its bananas as the "ethical choice" - something Oxfam is calling for it to urgently stop doing, saying the claim is unsupported. "The findings of the Philippines report raise serious questions about Dole's claim to support ethical choices. Consumers need real information about the way in which bananas are produced, not unsupported claims," said Barry Coates, executive director of Oxfam NZ.

Monday, May 27

Cantabrians warned to prepare for winter

Canterbury's Civil Defence is reminding people to check that their emergency supplies are fully stocked as bad weather is forecast for the region. Regional group controller Neville Reilly says people should take the opportunity to stock up on essential items in case of power outages or travel interruptions. In previous years, heavy snow has led to road closures and power cuts, affecting large parts of the South Island region. A fall in June last year cut power to thousands of homes, left many roads impassable and disrupted flight services. Mr Reilly says people need to be prepared now for the possibility that winter could again bring hazardous weather conditions and everyone should have the necessities to be self-sufficient for three days.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Ministry to replace relocatable classrooms

The Education Ministry is preparing to replace nearly half its stock of relocatable school classrooms. The ministry says almost half of the 6500 relocatable classrooms now in use were built before 1979 and 42% (about 2700) need to be replaced. It needs transportable classrooms to use as temporary accommodation during building work at schools, and because roll increases at many schools are only temporary. The Principals Federation says schools spend a lot of money maintaining old prefabricated buildings (prefabs) and many are past their use-by date.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Poll: Labour, Greens close gap on National

By Patrick Gower - Political Editor
The latest 3 News/Reid Research poll shows Labour and the Greens closing the gap on National. We've got the numbers on the reason why: the left-wing bloc's joint power prices policy. Labour and the Greens are operating as one, and it's working for them. National remains on top, with 47.3 percent – down 2.3 percent. Labour goes up to 33.1 percent; that's up 2.9 percent. The Greens are up a tad, at 12 percent. And New Zealand First drop to 2.2 percent, beneath the 5 percent threshold required for leader Winston Peters to get back. As for the minor parties, there is not a lot happening there. ACT is on 0.2 percent, meaning just two people in 1000 would vote for them. In the Parliament, National would have 59 seats. It would need its support partners to win electorate seats to get a majority. The Labour-Greens bloc would have 57 seats – close, but even if they got the Maori Party over, it's still a seat away. But the Left is on the up, and you can put that down to its policy aimed at cheaper power bills.

Winter comes early for parts of NZ

Get your woollies ready - winter is coming one week early. Snow has started to fall on the Milford Road, signalling the end of one New Zealand's mildest autumns as cold winds and rain start to blast the country. MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett says the effect will be swift and shocking for many. "This is going to one of the coldest blasts of the year so far and believe me, it's going to have a big bark and a lot of bite," Mr Corbett says. It starts with snow falls across Southland, Otago and Fiordland, with 15cm already lying across Milford Road. Christchurch and Invercargill should brace for cold wintry showers, and Wellington may also be treated to a blast of soft hail and a high of 9degC tomorrow, he says. The cold will spread quickly up the North Island, bringing frosts to Waikato and dragging Auckland's high down from 17degC on Monday to 12degC tomorrow, and just 5degC by Tuesday night.
Source: NZN

NZ to give further $6m to help Samoa's cyclone recovery

By Matthew Backhouse
New Zealand will provide a further $6 million to help Samoa recover from its most devastating cyclone in 21 years. Thousands were displaced and 14 people were killed when Cyclone Evan struck in December last year. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the extra funding would bring New Zealand's total support to Samoa since the cyclone to $12.6 million. He said the Samoan Government was working as quickly as possible to repair and rebuild, and New Zealand was committed to supporting that effort. "This funding will go toward general reconstruction activities, with a focus on rebuilding for resistance to future natural disasters.

Sunday, May 26

Georgie Pie fan forks out for first taste

By Rebecca Quilliam
A pie-lover has forked out more than $400 to be one of the first people in the country to taste a Georgie Pie, 15 years after the last meaty savoury was sold in New Zealand. Two tickets to an exclusive pre-launch tasting event for 50 Georgie Pie fans were auctioned on the Trade Me website. Proceeds from the auction were to go to Ronald McDonald House Charities. McDonald's announced earlier this month it would begin selling the Georgie Pie Steak Mince `N' Cheese pie at 11 restaurants in Auckland and Waikato next month. However, the pie's return comes with a $4.50 price tag - up from the $1 the pies used to retail at and up to three times the cost of other pies.

Light shines on renewable energy in the Pacific

A Canterbury researcher is investigating renewable energy options for Pacific island nations in a bid to cut reliance on expensive diesel generators. Many households, businesses and schools that use the expensive generators struggle to pay their power bills, University of Canterbury Pacific Studies PhD student Emily Laing said. At the Pacific Energy Summit in March, New Zealand pledged $65 million to renewable energy projects in the South Pacific. Ms Laing was looking at solar power projects in the region, and has already helped with the installation of panels in five high schools in Tonga. The systems were installed with a goal of reducing and, in some cases, completely eliminating power costs for the schools which previously, were struggling to keep up with their bills, she said.

Freezing weather on the way

By Rebecca Quilliam
Freezing weather is due to hit the South Island and parts of the North Island, WeatherWatch warns. Snow is due to fall to low levels in Southland and Otago today and tomorrow, which will see temperatures plummet, analyst Richard Green said. "It'll be close to the freezing mark for some places in the south tomorrow and Tuesday." "Icy winds combined with sleety snow showers will make roads marginal at best in some cases, possibly on either or both days." West Coasters are also seeing wintry conditions and falling temperatures, Mr Green said. Heavy showers and some thunderstorms were predicted to settle over Canterbury later today or tomorrow. The air could be cold enough for snow to fall at sea level, said weather analyst Aaron Wilkinson. Meanwhile, the North Island doesn't miss out on the chill, with higher parts of the island possibly getting flurries over the next couple of days.

Kiwis urged to speak Samoan

New Zealand's third most spoken language is being celebrated across the country this week. Samoan Language Week runs from May 26 to June 1. The Samoan population makes up half the Pacific population in New Zealand. Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says the aim of the week is to encourage Samoan speakers to use the language at home and through stories. "This is a great opportunity to share and learn Samoan, and I'm looking forward to joining in the celebrations." Pacific Island Affairs Minister Hekia Parata encouraged all New Zealanders, but particularly those of Samoan descent, to have a go at speaking some Samoan. It coincides with Samoan Independence Day on June 1.
Source: NZN

Kiwi brought to Kaipara

Kiwi are on the Auckland mainland for the first time in more than 50 years. Fourteen Northland Brown kiwi from Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf are now setting up burrows at a new site near Kaipara. They will have 400 hectares to roam on, after a farm couple restored a third of their land to bush and added pest and predator controls. Kiwis for Kiwi executive director Michelle Impey, says while it often moves kiwi to private land, this project is rare because it involves returning kiwi to an area they were wiped out from decades ago.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Saturday, May 25

$1m donation to rebuild Timeball Station

A charity in Auckland is making a donation of $1 million to help rebuild the Lyttelton Timeball Station. The timeball station was used by ships in Port Lyttelton to tell the time and had stood for 135 years before it was damaged beyond repair in the earthquake on 22 February 2011. It was already damaged in the first quake on 4 September, 2010. The money is from Landmark Incorporated, a charity set up in 1972 to preserve New Zealand landmarks. The Historic Places Trust will oversee the work and says the donation will allow for the rebuilding of the tower and the flag-pole. The trust hopes to raise further funds to help restore the rest of the building. The timeball station was in use from 1876 - 1934 and was one of the few surviving stations in the world.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Maori All Blacks to play Canada and USA

The Maori All Blacks coach, Jamie Joseph, has decided to step down after holding the position for three years. New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has praised him for his contribution to the team, especially leading them through their centenary celebrations in 2010. It means Joseph won't be coaching the team when they play against Canada and the United States on a two-match tour of North America in November. The NZRU will begin the search for a new head coach next month.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Friday, May 24

MetService warns of a cold week ahead

MetService is warning of cooler temperatures and rain for much of the country next week. "A fleeting ridge of high pressure will bring a mostly dry start to the weekend. However, a low from the North Tasman Sea and an active front from the Southern Ocean are expected to bring rain, and eventually much colder conditions," they say. Meteorologist Daniel Corbett says the weekend will be ending on a "wet note" and will usher in "a real taste of winter for early next week." "Extra jumpers will need to be on hand," he says. The Metservice says "on Sunday and Monday a very cold southwesterly flow is expected to spread across New Zealand, bringing snow, to near sea level in the far south, by the start of the working week and hard overnight frosts to some areas.
Check out the latest forecast for your region CLICK HERE.
Source: ONE News

Irradiated tomatoes and capsicum imports approved

Irradiated tomatoes and capsicums imported from Australia could be on supermarket shelves in New Zealand within weeks. New Zealand Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye and her Australian counterparts have decided not to review the decision which approved irradiation for the produce. Ms Kaye said she's investigating what can be done to make sure irradiated produce is labelled as such at point-of-sale in New Zealand. Food which has been irradiated has been subjected to ionizing radiation which kills off bacteria and pests and can also delay the ripening process. Ms Kaye said the FSANZ process involves rigourous analysis of the scientific evidence, and it's her view that irradiated food is safe to eat. She said people dining out at restaurants can ask if the food they're ordering has been irradiated.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Mayors want more scrutiny of $250m scheme

Hawke's Bay mayors are so concerned about the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme they have offered to pay for a peer review of the plan. In a letter The Dominion Post obtained under the Official Information Act, Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott and Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule urge regional council chairman Fenton Wilson to address four "process issues". They say there is insufficient separation between the regional council and its investment arm, which has lodged resource consent applications for the $250 million dam and irrigation scheme. Having councillors as the company's directors meant it was impossible to provide confidence that decision-making processes were fair, transparent and undertaken without some pre-determination, the mayors said. They believed regional council chief executive Andrew Newman should not be involved in both entities as this exposed the council and ratepayers to "significant risk around independent advice that may be given to the council". They were worried about the level of capital and operating cost risks that could fall on ratepayers and noted that private investors were likely to seek to have the investment company carry as much of the risk as possible.
© Fairfax NZ News

Volunteers visit remote Pacific Islands on board US naval ship

A global humanitarian organisation is heading to Pacific islands, led by the United States Navy’s Pacific fleet. Travelling on the USS Pearl Harbor, an amphibious dock-landing ship, Project HOPE volunteers will visit Samoa, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Solomon Islands. Volunteers will offer free medical care with a focus on primary care and health screenings. The volunteers will also train and mentor local health care professionals and contribute to public health programmes. The volunteers include physicians, nurses, community health workers, a logistics expert, a social worker and a physical therapist.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

'Blissful' Waiheke rated one of South Pacific's best

Waiheke Island has made the list of the best islands in the South Pacific. Travel website TripAdvisor rates the best beaches, the most romantic hotels, and the best hotels for families. Its newest list examines the top 10 islands in the South Pacific. Waiheke Island was ranked 7th on the list, with TripAdvisor describing it as a "blissful island, a haven of beautiful beaches, gastronomical treasures and small wineries". "Browse the dozens of art galleries and craft stores of the Waiheke Arts Trail between dips in the emerald waters. Soar above the landscape on a chartered scenic flight, then refuel your engine with a casual beachfront café meal or an upscale, multi-course affair," TripAdvisor said. BoraBora in Society Islands took out the top spot, followed by Moorea, and then Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
Source: ONE News

Mighty River shares 'sold to small number of wealthy'

Prime Minister John Key's talk of the majority of shares in Mighty River Power going to 'mum and dad' investors was "a con", the Green Party claims. Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today that Green Party research, confirmed by Treasury, shows that half of the MRP shares that were sold to retail investors went to just 13,000 people and 10% of the retail shares went to just 400 wealthy people and organisations. "National's myth that it sold Mighty River Power to ordinary New Zealanders has been well and truly busted. John Key's 'mums and dad investors' line was a con," Norman said. "The truth is that 98% of New Zealanders bought no shares at all. Half the retail shares went to just 0.3% of the population, and a tiny group of just 400 wealthy individuals and organisations got 10% of the retail shares."
Source: ONE News

Mothers cop blame for men's poor cooking skills

By Abby Gillies
Some men consider themselves whizzes in the kitchen but more than half the women quizzed in a survey rate their partners' cooking skills as basic at best. And they believe their mother-in-law is often to blame. The Tegel survey was carried out by advertising agency DraftFCB. More than 1700 women aged 15 to 74 who were married or living with a partner took part, answering questions about men's roles in the kitchen. The findings showed more than half of the respondents rated their partner's cooking skills as very limited. Twenty-one per cent described them as "extremely basic", and 2 per cent said their partner couldn't even boil an egg. "I often get my husband to help out in the kitchen but I can only ever ask him to do basic things, and it's a bit frustrating," said one respondent. When it came to who should teach a man to cook, almost all those quizzed - 94 per cent - placed the responsibility on their mothers-in-law.

Petition by heritage groups

Heritage groups in Christchurch will shortly present a petition with 5000 signatures to their Members of Parliament. They are seeking an end to what they describe as the heartless demolition of heritage buildings in the city. Addressed to the prime minister, the petition and an open letter call for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority to institute a heritage recovery plan.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

A lot of people' oppose mine

The fight's not over for conservationists opposed to mining on the West Coast. Australian company, Bathurst Resources, has been given permission to access conservation land on the West Coast. Yesterday Conservation Minister Nick Smith gave the Perth-based mining company the go-ahead to use the land for an open-cast coal mine. However the mine on the Denniston Plateau still requires Resource Consent. Lynley Hargreaves from the West Coast Environment Network says there've been huge turnouts to public meetings about the mine. "There's a lot people that are really concerned about this area across the country. So this fight is not over there's going to be legal avenues but there's also going to be a lot of people that are wanting to camp in front of the bulldozers when that time comes." Lynley Hargreaves is angry that permission was granted a day before the Government would have had to consult the public.
RadioLIVE/3 News

Canterbury quake stories go live

Harrowing stories from people who experienced the Canterbury earthquakes and the aftermath are available for the public to view on Canterbury University's earthquake digital archive. A total of 723 stories were recorded last year in a shipping container converted into a recording studio. Archive director Paul Millar said many of the stories include horrific details of the earthquakes, but they also show strong feelings of hope for the future. Mr Millar said 65 of the interviews are now online and he expects all the rest to be there by the end of the year.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Weather experts predict southerly polar blast

By Kurt Bayer
Winter looks set to arrive on schedule as weather experts predict a southerly polar blast to ice the country early next week. Forecasters say this weekend will be wet in the north, and mild and dry in the South Island as a westerly flow brings a touch of late Autumn warmth. But before an expected dry Queen's Birthday weekend, temperatures will plummet early next week and will stay in single digits for up to three days. The snowy, southerly blast could bring snow down to near sea level for Southland, much of Otago and exposed areas of Canterbury. And both Dunedin and Christchurch have the chance of fleeting snowy showers, according to WeatherWatch analyst Richard Green.

Thursday, May 23

Rugby - Former All Blacks coach called to account by SANZAR

The former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry will have to go before a SANZAR judicial hearing following his criticism of Super rugby referees. SANZAR alleges Henry has breached the competition's code of conduct. Henry's comments came in the wake of the Blues loss to the Crusaders last week suggesting referees have become too pedantic in their interpretations rather than policing blatant offences. He also called the television match official blind. While Henry's comments earnt him a rebuke from All Blacks coach Steve Hansen Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph has come out in support of Henry. The misconduct complaint will be held via teleconference on Sunday.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Ford to close Australian manufacturing plants

Ford Australia says it will close its Australian manufacturing plants in October 2016, with the loss of hundreds of jobs. Ford president Bob Graziano said on Thursday that about 1200 workers would lose their jobs when the Broadmeadows and Geelong plants were shut down. Mr Graziano was speaking in Melbourne after announcing that the company had lost $A141 million over the last financial year - taking losses over the past five years to more than $A600 million, the ABC reports. "Our costs are double that of Europe and nearly four times Ford in Asia," Mr Graziano said.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rush cleans out chickenpox vaccine supplies

Stocks of a chickenpox vaccine have run dry after an unexpected rush by parents to get their children immunised. Drug company GlaxoSmithKline has notified medical centres throughout the country that the Varilrix vaccine would be temporarily out of stock for the next few weeks. ''This situation is because of the phasing of planned vaccine shipments and uncharacteristically high demand recently for varicella vaccine across New Zealand,'' paediatric vaccines product manager Melissa Rich said in a letter. There had been a 37 per cent increase in vaccine update compared to this time last year, general manager Anna Stove said. ''We believe that this has been driven mainly by recent media news around the importance of parents considering vaccinating against chicken pox & that Pharmac are considering funding this vaccine. ''Winter is also the start of 'chicken pox' season, so the increased sales may be purely a phasing issue.''
© Fairfax NZ News

Eight rich Kiwis sign up for space travel

Eight rich New Zealanders are among hundreds of people queuing globally for space travel on Virgin's world-first commercial space service. Tickets cost more than $234,000 per person, and eight Kiwis have spent more than $1.8 million combined on tickets at House of Travel, which is a partner for the service. The travel company expects New Zealanders' interest in the rocket-powered flights - where everyday astronauts will view the planets and stars from above the Earth's atmosphere in zero gravity - to increase. The Kiwis are among more than 530 people worldwide who have booked a seat on the sub-orbital flights. The first of the flights is scheduled for December 25 this year after more than 10 years of planning and testing by Virgin. Each spacecraft sits six passengers and two pilots, and Virgin plans to eventually carry out about five commercial flights a day.

Govt to launch new online security tool

The Government's set to unveil a revolutionary tool to improve online security. The RealMe service will be launched in the coming months under partnership with New Zealand Post. Instead of verifying your identity with dozens of different agencies, banks, and large companies - people will soon be able to use the RealMe identity across all public and some private organisations. Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain says it verifies people's identities in more than one way. "You'll be able to use your identity that you'd gained through RealMe to prove who you are online. If you put in your password then the service checks the information they have with your passport information, births deaths and marriages.It flicks you back a text with a log in number." Banks and financial institutions will use the RealMe service initially, with other private companies expected to follow suit.

Helen Clark ranked 21st most powerful woman

Helen Clark has been ranked as the 21st most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. The head of the UN's development programme is the only New Zealander in the list of 100 women - and moves up from number 50 two years ago and 61 two years before that. It is the ninth time she has featured on the list. Helen Clark is in charge of a budget of almost $6 billion and a staff of 8000 in 177 countries. Once again, first on the Forbes list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is the seventh time she has been number one.
- Newstalk ZB

Wednesday, May 22

Surprise discovery of huge bird colony on small island

By Greymouth Star staff
A survey of a small inshore island at Cape Foulwind, near Westport, has led to the surprise discovery of what appears to be the largest West Coast seabird colony between Cook Strait and Fiordland. Members of the West Coast Blue Penguin Trust were surveying Wall Island to look for sooty shearwaters (muttonbirds) and were astonished to find not only 300 of that species, but an estimated 4500 fairy prions. Even more surprising it appears the island, which is only 120m offshore from Cape Foulwind, is free of predators. Penguin trust chairwoman and seabird expert Kerry-Jayne Wilson said it was exciting to find so many fairy prions as they no longer nested on the mainland. "The entire island is riddled with burrows and is extremely fragile, we had to walk very carefully so as not to fall through any. At night during the breeding season it must be quite something to be there as they are very vocal birds."

Hamilton Council introduces 'living wage'

Hamilton City Council staff will be the first local government workers in the country to be guaranteed a "living wage" after a narrow vote in favour of pay hikes. Staff will be guaranteed wages of at least $18.40 an hour, with the change to be phased in over two years. A majority of the council's strategy and policy committee voted in favour of the move last night, the Waikato Times reports. Currently, 80 council staff are paid less than $18.40 an hour, and it will cost at least $168,000 annually to increase their wages, a council policy document says. Staff currently on the minimum wage of $13.75 an hour would get $150 extra a week, with their net pay increasing from $445 to $595 per week. New Zealand's Living Wage campaign launched in May last year.

Asian vets and doctors showcase work

Overseas Masters students in human and veterinary diseases will showcase their work at the One Health Symposium at Massey University in Palmerston North on Wednesday. About 20 students from China and Mongolia have been studying with Massey University's epidemiology team for the past three months as part of an international project funded by the World Bank. It is designed to get the medical and veterinary professions in Europe and Asia working more closely together when it comes to zoonotic diseases - those that can infect both people and animals.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Super Fund reaches April high

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund returned 2.18% during April, reaching a month-end high of $22.56 billion. The fund's return over the last 12 months was nearly 20% and its return over the last three years has been more than 13% a year.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, May 21

Kakapo named world's favourite species

By Imogen Crispe - Online Reporter
The extremely rare New Zealand kakapo has beaten out tigers, elephants and polar bears to become the world's favourite species in a global online vote. Wildlife video website ARKive, a site created by filmmakers, photographers and conservationists, celebrated its 10th birthday by holding a vote to find the world's favourite species. About 14,000 people voted from 162 countries, and the rare New Zealand bird came out top. The kakapo secured 9 percent of all votes, with most people saying their choice was because the flightless bird is "under threat and we need to protect it". The top 10 animals were the kakapo, the tiger, the African elephant, the grey wolf, the polar bear, the red panda, the cheetah, the snow leopard, the Bornean orangutan and the Amur leopard. Kakapo are facing extinction, and the unusual qualities they have make them fascinating to people. "They're so un-birdlike for a bird. They're cheeky and inquisitive. Everything about them is strange for a bird." As well as being flightless, kakapo is the heaviest parrot in the world, and uses a low-frequency boom to attract mates. Most of the people who voted for the kakapo have probably never seen one, as there are only 125 living birds and they all live on offshore islands with restricted access.
For more information or to help the kakapo, CLICK HERE to visit the Kakapo Recovery Programme website.

Rugby League - Melbourne Storm to be owned by a New Zealander

The Melbourne Storm rugby league club has reportedly been sold to a New Zealander. Reports say News Limited has sold the NRL club to a private consortium gathered by New Zealand entrepreneur Bart Campbell. A media conference is scheduled for this afternoon, but the Australian newspaper reports that Campbell, a former barrister in the New Zealand High Court, has assembled the syndicate of new owners who will take over. News Limited has owned the Storm since they entered the Premiership in 1998.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Kimbra takes home four Billboard Music Awards

Kiwi popstar Kimbra's duet Somebody That I Used to Know continues to haul in the big awards. The Hamilton-born singer's duet with Gotye picked up four nods at last night's Billboard Music Awards. They won Top Rock Song, Top Radio Song, Top Hot 100 Song and Top Streaming Song (Audio) at the Las Vegas event. Earlier this year, the duet won the awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 55th Grammy Awards. They were also nominated for Top Digital Song at the Billboard Awards, which went to Taylor Swift.
Source: ONE News

New species of sea urchins discovered in NZ waters

By Kurt Bayer
Scientists dusting off half-century old archives of sea urchins have discovered seven new species they didn't know existed in New Zealand waters. The dramatic finds include a clarification over the mystery of one giant deepwater species - whose only previous evidence of existence was destroyed when the Berlin museum it was housed in was heavily bombed in World War Two. The sea urchins, known as Tam O'Shanters because of their likeness to the Scottish headwear, live up to 1200m underwater, most commonly in New Zealand around the Bay of Plenty seamounts. They live so deep that divers can't reach them, and they never wash up on beaches. Some of the newly-found species are now on display next to the giant squid at Te Papa museum in Wellington.

Tourist numbers hit record for April month

More than 200,000 people visited New Zealand in April, a record for that month. Statistics New Zealand says arrivals were up 4900 to 200,600 last month - an increase of 3% on April last year. The visitor figure was the highest ever for an April, surpassing the previous record of two years ago. More visitors came from China and Australia, but this was offset by fewer visitors from the United Kingdom, Malaysia, France, and South Africa. There were 2.6 million visitors to New Zealand in the year to April, about the same as the year before. Meanwhile, New Zealand has had its fourth month of migration gains with more people arriving and fewer New Zealand citizens departing for Australia.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Severe thunderstorm outlook issued

A severe thunderstorm outlook has been issued by MetService. There is a moderate risk of thunderstorms, heavy rain and gusts from this afternoon in Northland, Auckland, the Coromandel Peninsula, Waikato, Waitomo, Taranaki, Bay of Plenty, northern Gisborne, Buller and Nelson, said MetService meteorologist Daniel Corbett. Tornadoes were possible, but unlikely. "The main risk is for heavy downpours and hail, [but] we can't completely rule out the risk of a tornado,'' he said.

Bid to name a bird-eating tarantula

By Lloyd Burr - Online Reporter
Wellington Zoo's latest promotion isn't one for those suffering arachnophobia - they're auctioning off naming rights to their new Goliath bird-eating tarantula. The spider arrived at the zoo last week and belongs to the world's biggest species of spider. Naming rights to the arachnid are being auctioned on Trade Me and bidders have until midday tomorrow to win. The winning bidder will get to name the spider - at the zoo's discretion - as well as getting a tour of the zoo and a zoo membership for a year. Proceeds from the auction will be used to fund the tarantula's enclosure.
3 News

Officials cagey about Chinese space-tracking ship

By Scott Yeoman
There are conflicting reports as to whether a ship tied up at Queens Wharf is part of the Chinese navy. The New Zealand Defence Force and Ports of Auckland confirmed yesterday that the Yuan Wang 6 arrived on Sunday and was a space-tracking vessel controlled by the Chinese navy. This detail was later denied by its shipping agency Cosco and omitted in statements by both the Chinese Consulate General and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Lieutenant Commander Vicki Rendall of the Royal New Zealand Navy confirmed yesterday morning that "yes, it is a Chinese navy ship". Ports of Auckland senior communications advisor Dee Radhakrishnan echoed this shortly after. "The Chinese ship at Queens Wharf West is the Yuan Wang 6 - Chinese space-tracking ship, operated by the Chinese navy."

Graduates key to medicine's gender disorder

The growing number of female senior medical professionals entering the workforce is exacerbating a much larger problem - not enough people are graduating from medical schools in New Zealand. This would leave the health system dependent on attracting graduates from overseas for many years to come, cardiologist and Waikato District Health Board member Dr Clyde Wade said. The Waikato Times reported this week that Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell had warned, in a briefing to Parliament, that New Zealand's district health boards could expect to face growing pressure to recruit and retain specialists, partly because female medical specialists worked fewer hours and wanted a better work-life balance. Dr Wade has been analysing workforce data from the Medical Council of New Zealand to determine whether women really are the problem. He said it was evident that women specialists were avoiding areas with high rates of on-call duties - hours when they must be available to work if needed.
© Fairfax NZ News

'Right to success' belief can cause students to struggle

By Vaughan Elder
Students who have an exaggerated belief they have "a right to success" are more likely to struggle come exam time, a University of Otago study shows. The study, which examined the entitlement beliefs of almost 300 students sitting a marketing and consumption paper, found that those with "excessive entitlement" were less likely to put in the effort required to do well in their studies. The results showed that students with a greater perception of personal entitlement performed worse than their peers in the final exam, but only when they found the paper more difficult than expected. "Entitlement attitudes can be altered by shifting students' beliefs about what they can legitimately expect from their learning institutions, and what they need to expect from themselves," she said. The study was funded by Otago University and had been published in the International Journal of Higher Education.
- Otago Daily Times

Monday, May 20

Maori web use to be researched

The New Zealand Maori Internet Society - Te Whanau Ipurangi, hopes its research into Maori domain names, or web site and email addresses, will become part of the drive to revitalise the language. It is surveying 3,000 Maori online about the way they use Te Reo in their email addresses and web sites. It is the first survey of indigenous internet use of its kind to be conducted in the world. Society spokesperson Karaitiana Taiuru says the survey will examine how much, and where Maori language is used; an aspect of Te Reo that he says is always over looked. He says domain names and web addresses are the last frontier of the Maori language and is an area which hasn't been studied.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Review calls for new professional body for teachers

A ministerial review has called for a new professional body for the teaching profession and higher entry standards to teacher training courses. The review, published on Monday, says the Teachers Council needs to be replaced in 2015 by an organisation that is more independent from the Government, can speak for the teaching profession and will set tougher standards for teachers. The Government has appointed an advisory group to lead consultation on the proposal. The review says the new body should keep responsiblity for registering and disciplining teachers, but teachers might have to pay more for its upkeep. It calls for higher entry standards to teacher training courses and for those courses to be at post-graduate level. The review says teacher competency and disciplinary rules should be tighter, and warns that some schools are not very good at managing staff problems. It says the current Teachers Council is answerable to Education Minister Hekia Parata, but the new body should be responsible to the public.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Service sector expanding, index shows

The services side of the economy seems set on a sustained growth path. The latest Bank of New Zealand/Business NZ performances of services index rose half a point in April to 56.1 points. Any reading above 50 indicates the services sector is expanding. Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly says the April reading was the highest for that month since the survey began in 2007. The outcome for the three months to April was also the strongest quarter since the last quarter of 2007.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

New Zealanders enthusiastic online shoppers - survey

New Zealanders are among the most prolific online shoppers in the Asia-Pacific region and security of transaction is a key consideration, according to a survey. Mastercard's annual survey of online shopping shows nearly 90% of those questioned cited security as their main concern. Mastercard New Zealand country manager Albert Naffah said shoppers expressed confidence in the levels of security they experience at the moment, and think it's important this is maintained. Mr Naffah said the survey found people in this country are second only to China in their propensity to spend online.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Blue whale protection may need to increase

By Heather McCracken
The protection afforded to blue whales in New Zealand waters may need to be increased, now a study has found they may be more regular visitors to the South Taranaki Bight than previously thought. The whales had been thought to pass through the Bight while migrating to and from summer feeding grounds in Antarctica. But a study by the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) of whale sightings between 1979 and 1999, and two surveys in 2011, show the whales are a regular presence. NIWA marine ecologist Dr Leigh Torres said the study linked the presence of the whales to the large amounts of plankton - perfect whale food - in the South Taranaki Bight. "Conventional wisdom has been that blue whales only transit through New Zealand waters while migrating," Dr Torres said.

Maori Land Court role could be reduced under new law

The Maori Land Court could be stripped of some of its powers if proposed changes to Maori land laws are passed. Iwi and whanau are being urged to make submissions on a review of the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993. About 1.4 million hectares of land is Maori owned, some 27,000 blocks, of which 80% of it is underperforming or not being used at all. The Maori Land Court oversees much of the process to develop these blocks, including granting permission for land use and appointing governors. Associate Maori Affairs Minister Chris Finlayson says it can take years for anything to be done, and says reducing its role could change that. He says a lot of the court's work could be performed by an administrative officer. The Government says there are no plans to dump the Maori Land Court altogether. Submissions close on 14 June.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

NZ's China relationship puts pressure on its US ties - Goff

Labour defence spokesperson Phil Goff says New Zealand's close trading and diplomatic relationship with China puts pressure on the country's ties with the United States. He made the comment at the United Nations Association conference in Wellington this weekend. Mr Goff said the United States already distrusts China's growing strength and influence in the region. He said it is vital both these super powers put aside any differences for the sake of economic and global security.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Sunday, May 19

Stars get behind Kiwi Bid

By Kieran Campbell
Olympic rower Rob Hamill and young champion surfer Mischa Davis have thrown their support behind a new campaign to protect what they say is a major threat to New Zealand beaches. The duo joined forces today for the launch of the Green Party's bid to stop deep-sea drilling in New Zealand waters. Mr Hamill, also a former Green Party candidate, said the Government could not be trusted to ensure risks were mitigated for exploratory drilling planned for the west coast of the North Island and the east coast of the South Island. "It's our entire national coastline that is under threat," Mr Hamill said. "They're going to say it's fine, there's no risks involved. [But] you simply cannot guarantee that." Green Party leaders announced the campaign today - named Kiwi Bid - which they hope will attract thousands of signatures in support of protecting "our oceans and beaches". Ms Turei said she expected "thousands" to sign the petition, which will be presented to the Government in September.

About-face means more choc in block

Cadbury has fired the latest salvo in the Kiwi chocolate wars, backtracking on an earlier decision to cut the size of their family range of chocolate blocks. Tomorrow the company will unveil a new-look chocolate block that is 10 per cent bigger and features larger, rounder pieces. The 200g block will be increased to 220g for the same price. Managing director Alastair de Raadt said Cadbury had an "ongoing process of listening to consumers" and, unsurprisingly, those consumers said they wanted a bigger chocolate bar. Four years ago the company faced an angry backlash from customers when it cut the size of its family chocolate blocks by 50g and substituted cocoa butter with cheaper palm oil.
© Fairfax NZ News

NSW bill would ban non-vaccinated pupils

Legislation to be introduced by the state opposition in New South Wales would give preschools and childcare centres the right to ban non-vaccinated children from attending. Labor leader John Robertson proposes to introduce amendments to the Public Health Act which would give early childhood centres the right to refuse kids who have not had their shots. AAP reports some parts of NSW have high rates of non-vaccinated children. There are also "anti-vaxers" who oppose vaccination. Mr Robertson said the move will remind those who had forgotten to fully vaccinate their children to do so. He also said parents who chose not to vaccinate their children were putting the lives of other kids at risk.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, May 18

New technology allows early heart disease detection

New technology could hold the key for battling diabetes and heart disease, after the Government pledged $16 million in this week's Budget to the issue. The Counties Manukau DHB has been trialling new testing machines for a month which allow busy patients to find out their risk of heart disease and stroke with a quick and easy finger prick test at the doctor's office. In 10 minutes the machine delivers the results and a computer determines the patient's risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the next five years. "By the end of June we'll have reached our target of at least 7000 patients assessed," said East Tamaki Medical Centre's Dr Richard Hulme. "There's about 50% of patients who don't know they've got diabetes, so this for us is going to be huge." Heart and diabetes checks are one of the six Government health targets DHBs are scrutinised for. The goal is to have them testing 90% of eligible patients by next July.
Source: ONE News

Rugby - Kiwi women capture first sevens series title

New Zealand women have matched their male counterparts, winning the IRB Women's Sevens World Series in the Netherlands tonight. After tournament wins at Dubai and Guangzhou, the Kiwis secured their title by defeating Spain 14-5 in their quarterfinal at Amsterdam's NRCA Stadium. They came out of Day One pool play undefeated, with only five points recorded against them, after wins over Russia (17-5), China (24-0) and Netherlands (15-0).
Source: ONE Sport

Protests against deep sea oil drilling across the country

Hundreds of campaigners have gathered at beaches across New Zealand today, as part of a global protest against deep sea oil drilling. The rallies, organised by the Hands Across The Sands group, were from Dunedin to Auckland, with plans for protests on beaches in other parts of the world, including America, Canada and Brazil. One of the organisers, Siana Fitzjohn, who's also part of Oil Free Otautahi, says she's concerned about proposed test drilling in the Canterbury Basin by American company Anadarko.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Christchurch Airport kicks out freeloading tourists

Christchurch Airport has had a gutsful of freeloading tourists dossing down for the night. People who previously were allowed to shelter inside are now being kicked out to sleep rough in bus shelters and stairwells. Up to 200 people were using the international terminal every night, after flying in late. But airport chief Jim Boult says it is not in the accommodation business. He says the number of people overnighting has grown since the earthquakes, with up to 200 bodies strewn across the floor on busy nights.
- Newstalk ZB

Shoppers become DJs of the aisles

Ever wished you could change the background tunes in supermarkets? This will be music to your ears. Supermarket songs are getting personal, with Pak 'n Save installing touchscreen terminals at its Porirua, Papakura and Riccarton supermarkets that let shoppers pick what music is played in the aisles. Shoppers can choose from 3500 songs, including tracks from New Zealand bands Fat Freddy's Drop, Opshop and Goldenhorse, and big- name acts like the Eurythmics, Madonna and Oasis. Pak 'n Save plans to install the terminals in all its supermarkets by the end of the year.
© Fairfax NZ News

Feedback sought on Auckland smoking ban

Auckland Council is close to finalising a smoking ban in parks and other public spaces. Feedback is being sought from communities through their local boards about the policy, before a committee decides next month whether to approve it. The ban would take effect in all parks, playgrounds and other outdoor facilities in September, extending to bus stops in 2015, and to spaces such as beaches and civic squares in 2018. Cr Sandra Coney said the council will rely on social pressure from members of the public, rather than regulation, to enforce the ban.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Friday, May 17

NZ meat stuck on wharves in China

Container loads of frozen sheepmeat and beef have been held up by customs in New Zealand's largest export market, China, because of a paperwork problem. The cause may be the change in branding that occured when the old Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry became the Ministry for Primary Industries. Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says the change would have been discussed at government level but many not have filtered through to customs. Mr Ritchie says ministry officials have been in discussions with their Chinese counterparts all week to solve the problem. He says the meat will not spoil in the refridgerated containers, but meat companies will not be paid for the product until the containers clear customs.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Australian mainland off-limits to asylum seekers

The entire Australian mainland is now excised from the migration zone in a bid to deter the arrival of asylum seekers. Even asylum seekers who reach the mainland can now be sent to offshore processing centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Previously, they could not be sent offshore for immigration processing. The idea was one of 25 recommendations put forward by an expert panel on asylum seekers and introduced to the Parliament by the Government last year.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Immigration NZ discover adviser scam in India

More than 50 applications from India for permanent residence in New Zealand have been declined after it was discovered they were submitted through an unlicensed immigration adviser. Immigration New Zealand's New Delhi branch identified 54 such applications submitted by Hyderabad-based Opulentus Overseas Careers. INZ says the branch reviewed all applications it held after identifying that there may be an unlicensed agent involved in Skilled Migrant Category applications from the Chennai/Hyderabad area. Anyone seeking immigration advice is urged to read the Authority's Immigration Advice Consumer Guide to find out who can give them immigration advice, how to use a licensed immigration adviser and what to do if they have a problem with their adviser.
Source: ONE News

Kiwis most transient people in the world

By Matthew Theunissen
New Zealanders are the most transient people in the world, with a quarter of the population having moved to a different part of the country in the past five years, according to Gallup. The survey on internal migration, published yesterday, asked 236,865 adults in 139 countries whether they had moved from another city or area within their country in the past five years. While countries with advanced economies were found to have the highest rates of internal migration, nations where people were displaced due environmental change, natural disasters or conflict also had high rates, such as Syria. New Zealand (26 per cent) was found to be the most mobile country in the world, followed by the United States (24 per cent), Syria (23 per cent) Finland (23 per cent) and Norway (22 per cent).

38 gold medals won by NZ wines in London

New Zealand winemakers had record success at the 30th International Wine Challenge in London. They won 38 gold medals, 13 for pinot noir and 11 for sauvignon blanc, against thousands of competing wines. The International Wine Challenge is regarded as one of the world's most meticulously judged wine competitions.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Survey exposes 'most racist' countries

An international study has revealed the "most racist countries in the world", with New Zealand ranking among the most tolerant. Among the dozens of questions that the World Values Survey asked respondents across more than 80 countries over three decades, Swedish economists found one that, they believe, could be a good indicator of tolerance for other races. Hong Kong topped the list, with 71.8% of the population saying they would refuse to live next to someone of a different race. Bangladesh followed closely behind Hong Kong at 71.7%, followed by Jordan on 51.4%, India with 43.5% and Saudi Arabia at 37.7%, Fisher reported. The survey found Western countries were most accepting of other cultures, with fewer than 5% of Britons, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders showing signs of racism. Fisher said France appeared to be one of the least racially tolerant countries in Europe, with 22.7% saying they didn't want a neighbour of another race
Source: ONE News

Lockwood Smith meets the Queen

New Zealand High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Lockwood Smith has met with the Queen this week. Dr Smith had an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in central London, on Thursday. Dr Smith took up the position of High Commissioner in London in February after serving as a Member of Parliament since 1984, including almost five years as Speaker of the House.

Campion honoured at Cannes

New Zealand director Jane Campion has received the Carrosse d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Campion was honoured by her peers at the opening of the Directors' Fortnight on Thursday. Previous recipients include Clint Eastwood. The Carrosse d'Or, (Golden Coach), is a tribute by the Film Directors Society to reward innovative qualities, courage and independent-mindedness in directing. The only other woman to win the award since it was created in 2002 was French director, Agnes Varda in 2010.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, May 16

Netball - Former Australia captain joins Silver Ferns coaching staff

The former Australian international, Vicki Wilson, has been named as the Silver Ferns new assistant coach. She has signed a two-year contract to assist head coach Waimarama Taumaunu through to the end of the 2015 World Championships. Since retiring from her 15 year international career in 1999, Wilson has served as a coach, most recently with the Queensland Firebirds. She says the opportunity to work with Taumaunu and the Silver Ferns players was to good to pass up. Wilson's first task will be working alongside the Silver Ferns selectors at the trials in August.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Kim Hill judged outstanding broadcaster

Radio New Zealand broadcaster Kim Hill has taken out the top prize at this year's New Zealand Radio Awards. Ms Hill, the presenter of the Saturday Morning programme on Radio New Zealand National, was given a special award for an outstanding contribution to radio broadcasting. She also won the award for best talk or current affairs host, while her programme was named best daily or weekly series of an hour or more's duration. Ms Hill has presented the Saturday programme since 2002, and before that presented Morning Report and Nine To Noon. Long-serving presenter Hewitt Humphrey was named newsreader of the year. Radio New Zealand's Insight and Mediawatch programmes shared the award for best programme of less than an hour's duration.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Meridian Energy next asset sale

Meridian Energy will be next off the block in the Government's asset sell-down programme. Up to 49 per cent of shares in the energy company will be offered for sale in the second half of this year depending on market conditions, State Owned Enterprises Minister Tony Ryall confirmed today as part of the Government's Budget. Legal and capital market advisers are due to be appointed by June. The widely expected announcement follows hard on the heels of the Government's partial sale of Mighty River, which raised $1.7 billion in its initial public offer this month. That money went into the Government's Future Investment Fund, earmarked for major capital investment projects. Today's Budget announced the fund has allocated spending of $1.5b over the next few years, with $426 million of that going to redevelop Christchurch and Burwood hospitals.
© Fairfax NZ News

Extra funding to combat rising diabetes

The Government is to spend an extra $35.5 million over four years on better services for those with diabetes and heart disease. The new funding, which amounts to an extra almost $9 million a year, was announced in the Budget on Thursday. It includes $15.9 million to increase the number of people getting heart and diabetes checks - one of the Government's six key health targets that has been widely considered the most difficult for health boards to achieve. As well, $12.4 million of the total is to expand local diabetes care programmes, such as specialist diabetes nursing and podiatry services. Funding for so-called Green Prescriptions, which involve a family doctor or a nurse prescribing exercise or an improved diet or lifestyle change for a patient, is doubled at a cost of $7.2 million over the next four years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

No work for all foreign PhD students

New Zealand is attracting more and more international students here to study for PhDs, but a lack of jobs means only half are likely to stay after they finish their degrees. Foreign PhD enrolments have trebled since 2005 when the Government allowed them to pay domestic rather than higher international fees. However, a survey in 2011 found only half of all international PhD students plan to work in New Zealand after completing their studies. The New Zealand Association of Scientists wants the government to increase the opportunities for graduates, to ensure the country retains their skills.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

People with common sense needed by schools

The School Trustees Association says schools need people with common sense and people skills to stand for places on their boards. Nominations close at midday on Thursday for the elections which are held every three years. Election project manager Elaine Hines said schools will hold a ballot only if there are more candidates than places on their board. She said parents and caregivers should consider the skills their board needs when they vote. The association says the elections are a big event, with nearly 2500 state and integrated schools electing about 15,000 trustees.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, May 15

More Afghan interpreters apply to come to NZ

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is considering applications from a small number of Afghan interpreters still living in Afghanistan who want to move to New Zealand. In April, 30 interpreters and their families who had been employed by the New Zealand Defence Force in Afghanistan arrived in Auckland under a special resettlement package. The Goverment agreed to accept them because of fears they would be targeted by the Taliban when New Zealand troops left Bamyan province. A spokesperson for the minister says five or six interpreters not included in the original package have applied for resettlement.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rare native bird found after two years

The rare native bird that went missing from a bird sanctuary near Auckland two years ago has been recaptured. After his disappearance Duncan the Kokako was believed to be dead. But the semi-flightless bird has now been netted in the Auckland suburb of Glendowie, 31 kilometres from where he went missing. Duncan, one of only 750 kokako pairs left in the North Island, will be re-released back into the Waitakere Ranges Wildlife Park today.
Source: ONE News

Taranaki hapu stops drilling waste being dumped

Members of a South Taranaki hapu have prevented trucks from dumping oil and gas drilling waste at a dump site on vacant farmland near Opunake. More than a dozen protesters from Ngati Haua barred the gates to the land at Oeo from 6am on Wednesday, anxious about the waste spilling beyond the property's boundaries. Spokesperson Karl Adamson says protesting has been the only way to get the company involved in managing the site, BTW, and councils to listen to concerns. "We want to be assured that 20 years down the track, it's not going to have an impact on our people and our whenua (land). "Because what we're saying is they've gone right up to the foreshore and we believe there's the potential for contamination down into the sea."
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Discovery a step towards preventing allergies

Scientists in Wellington say there's been a major breakthrough in the quest to prevent allergies. Working with scientists in Sydney, the Malaghan Institute has found a rare immune cell in the skin that could help in the development of a vaccine for eczema, asthma and hay fever. Institute director Graham le Gros says the discovery is another step towards a vaccine for what he calls the allergic march, which is when eczema develops into asthma and hayfever in infants.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Samoa’s largest church group to launch a tv and a radio station

Samoa’s largest church denomination, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa is launching a television and a radio station tomorrow. General Secretary Reverend. Dr Iutisone Salevao says the stations will be called EFKS Television and Radio Broadcasting for now and will operate in a building behind the church’s headquarters in Apia. The initial focus is youth, and all programmes will be in English and Samoa.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International

Wellington museum among world's best

Ranked alongside the likes of America's Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Wellington City & Sea has been named as one of the world's 50 best museums. Britain's The Times has commissioned a panel of ''inveterate'' museum-goers to come up with the a list of the world's 50 best museums. The list largely favours European and United States museums with just a handful from the Southern Hemisphere. No other New Zealand museum made the list and only the Australian Museum in Sydney got a mention in Australia. Among the big names, at number 41, is the small Museum of Wellington City & Sea on Queens Wharf. The Times says Wellington has a tiny population but a great heritage ''as this museum proves''. ''Set on three floors, it takes in social and cultural history from early Maori and European settlement through to its maritime past, including a memorial to the 1968 Wahine ferry disaster.''
© Fairfax NZ News

Vic holds biggest-ever graduation

Wellington's Victoria University will hold its biggest-ever graduation parades when more than 2100 graduates hit the streets today and tomorrow. The university will award 2415 degrees, diplomas, and certificates and 35 PHDs this week. Many new graduates will parade through the streets of Wellington, leaving the Law School near Parliament at noon today and tomorrow. The parades will go along Lambton Quay and into Willis and Mercer streets before ending in Civic Square with a welcome from Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown.
© Fairfax NZ News

Tuesday, May 14

Chinese visitor spend continues to grow

Figures for the first three months of the year show a big lift in spending by Chinese visitors to New Zealand. Chinese tourists spent almost $680 million in the year to March, an increase of 42% over the same period in 2012, figures from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show. Ministry spokesperson Peter Ellis says the Chinese market has grown steadily over the past two years and China has overtaken Britain as the country's second biggest tourist market. Over the March quarter, spending by British visitors declined by 25%.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Rugby - All Black selectors retain bulk of last year's squad for training camp

The All Blacks selectors have retained the bulk of last year's squad in a 38-man training squad. The Chiefs loosie Sam Cane is the only openside flanker in the group and he'll be expected to play the June tests in the absence of captain Richie McCaw. Four halfbacks have been included, Aaron Smith, Piri Weepu, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and TJ Perenara. The Blues provide a number of their backs with Frank Halai, Charles Piutau, Rene Ranger and Francis Saili all given a chance to impress the selectors. Six Highlanders will attend the second camp on their return from South Africa. The first camp starts in Mt Maunganui on Sunday in preparation for the three Test series against France next month.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Public allowed access to Cathedral Square

The public have been given access to Cathedral Square on Tuesday for the first time in two years after the central city rebuild zone cordon was reduced. The change is part of ongoing cordon reductions in earthquake-hit Christchurch. A pedestrian walkway opened at 11am from Worcester Street Bridge to Cathedral Square, along with parts of High Street.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Government announces new housing initiatives

Housing Minister Nick Smith has announced two initiatives aimed at providing more state house bedrooms at a cost of $377 million over three years. Dr Smith said on Tuesday the initiatives are part of the Government's agreement with the Auckland Council to increase the supply and affordability of housing. The Government is to add 3000 bedrooms to existing state houses and install 500 pre-fabricated homes on large Housing New Zealand properties. Dr Smith said there is a shortage of large homes - particularly in Auckland. Some 2000 three-bedroom houses would be converted into four- and five-bedroom homes using modular units.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Milk for Schools program begins

By Thomas Mead- Online Reporter
A nationwide rollout of a programme that will provide free milk for primary schools began with an official event in Southland this morning. The Milk for Schools program, funded by dairy giant Fonterra, is set to roll out across the country in upcoming months. More than 1100 schools have registered interest in the free milk, but Fonterra is yet to confirm how many will be signed up. Canterbury schools are expected to receive their first milk delivery early next week and organisers hope that the program will be nationwide by 2014.
3 News

NZ Red Cross sending team to Republic of the Marshall Islands

By Matthew Theunissen
The New Zealand Red Cross is sending an emergency response team to the Republic of the Marshall Islands to assist with a potential humanitarian crisis caused by drought. The team of three aid workers and 348kg of equipment were to reach the island nation in the North Pacific this week, the Red Cross said. A state of emergency in the Marshall Islands was declared in April but this has now been elevated to a state of national disaster. New Zealand Red Cross international emergency manager Glenn Rose said people were surviving on less than one litre of water per person per day. Much of what remained of the depleted water stocks were tainted by high salinity levels and other contamination.

NZ should increase surveillance for new virus - virologist

A virologist says the new strain of coronavirus has not yet reached the pandemic stage but New Zealand should increase it awareness. Since 2012, there have been 34 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (NCoV) across Europe and the Middle East and 18 people have died, a recent World Health Organization (WHO) update said. WHO officials have said it is likely the virus can be passed between people in close contact. The director of the WHO National Influenza Centre in Upper Hutt says New Zealand should beef up surveillance, have a good diagnostic test and increase awareness of the virus for healthcare workers.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Herald Online leading the way

The online news environment in New Zealand is in terrific shape, according to the judges of the Canon Media Awards. The Herald Online was one of the big winners in the online category at this year's media awards, winning Best News Website for, Best Innovation in New Technologies and Best Breaking News Coverage. Tony Gillies, Australian Associated Press editor-in-chief, rated the Herald site best overall for news for "its multiple layers to stories and excellent presentation and engagement".

NZ dream lures top Brits

By Amelia Wade
Thousands of Britons have been lining up for a new life in New Zealand just as figures show a dramatic drop in the number of UK migrants coming Downunder in the past six years. More than 2000 people, lured by the promise of higher-paid jobs in Australasia, including the Christchurch rebuild, attended the first of four migration and job exhibitions in Newcastle at the weekend - an event that will also head to London, Birmingham and Glasgow. The Down Under Live exhibition is pushing the Christchurch rebuild as one of the "world's largest construction projects as the city looks to get back on its feet after the earthquake". "... companies will require significant skilled and experienced staff across all trades and supporting professions," says the event's website. The site also links to sectors considered to have a shortage of skills, either long- or short-term, in New Zealand including education, construction, finance, agriculture, health services and engineering.

Monday, May 13

More oxygen better for premature babies - study

An international study involving the University of Otago is expected to change the treatment of premature babies in hospitals worldwide. The study examined data relating to 5000 babies in New Zealand, Australia and England - half of whom were New Zealand babies born at least 12 weeks premature. The study began in 2006 and considers the health effects of oxygen levels on the babies. One of the lead researchers, Brian Darlow of Otago University's Christchurch campus, says premature babies need extra oxygen for several weeks after birth - but up to now the correct amount has been unknown. He says hospitals have traditionally treated such babies with a lower level of oxygen, but the study shows those given a higher amount have a better outcome. Dr Darlow says premature babies given more oxygen have a higher rate of survival and are less likely to suffer from vision and neural development problems in later life. The study's recommendations are expected to be adopted by hospitals worldwide.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Maori-owned fishing ventures in Australia feature at conference

The success of Maori-owned fishing ventures in Australia will feature at a Maori fisheries conference on Wednesday. Te Ohu Kaimoana - the Maori Fisheries Trust has two Sealord businesses in Australia. They include a freshwater barramundi farm in north Queensland and a multi species operation in Tasmania. Te Ohu Kaimoana chief executive Peter Douglas, says speakers from both companies will talk about the challenges of operating in a country other than New Zealand. He says the scale of running fishing businesses in Australia will be examined, along with a comparison of fishing employment opportunities in both countries.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Kiwi nurse awarded highest honour for aid work

A New Zealand nurse has been awarded the highest international honour for nurses, the Florence Nightingale Medal. Gisborne nurse Janet Askew has been awarded the medal by the International Committee of the Red Cross for her work on aid missions in Sudan, Indonesia and Iraq. New Zealand Red Cross secretary general Andrew McKie said the medal recognised Ms Askew's outstanding commitment and devotion to duty. "Janet has exemplified the personal qualities of courage and bravery many times during her career," he said. Ms Askew's first overseas mission with Red Cross was to Sudan in 2003 as a health aid worker. In 2004-2005 she worked in Indonesia in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami, which was followed by missions to Sudan in 2007-2008, Iraq in 2009-2010, and Sudan again in 2010-2012. She leaves for Lebanon next month on her sixth Red Cross mission.

Canterbury NZ's irrigation capital

Canterbury has cemented its position as the irrigation capital of New Zealand, converting an area the size of Lake Taupo into irrigated land during the last five years. The province has increased the area of irrigated land by 60,000 hectares since 2007. Statistics New Zealand's agricultural production census says that nationwide, total irrigated land increased by 102,000ha between June 2007 and 2012. Agriculture statistics manager Hamish Hill said Canterbury had led the irrigation advance followed by Southland and Manawatu-Wanganui. "This increase in irrigated land has helped support increases in agricultural production," he said. Dairy cow numbers have risen in line with increased irrigation, with the national herd increasing nearly 20 per cent from 5.3 million in 2007 to 6.4 million in 2012
© Fairfax NZ News

Keep calm and kava on

Fiji's national drink, Kava - famous for its reputed recreational effects - could be a natural treatment for those suffering from anxiety. A world-first clinical study by the University of Melbourne has revealed the South Pacific plant could significantly reduce the symptoms of people suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorders (GAD). In Fiji, Kava is a ceremonial symbol used to bring two groups together, and is one of the most important crops and exports for the country. According to lead researcher Dr Jerome Sarris of the Department of Psychiatry the natural alternative could also offer less risk of dependency and less potential for side effects than other options. Another finding of the study, which is set to be researched in more detail, is that Kava increased women’s sex drive compared to those in the placebo group. This is believed to be due to the reduction of anxiety, rather than any aphrodisiac effect.
- © Fairfax NZ News

IRD gets access to tax haven data

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is working with counterparts overseas to crack down on tax evaders. Tax authorities in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States have decided to share data on those involved with international tax havens. IRD says some New Zealand residents and shell companies have participated in such offshore arrangements. It says it is working with its major partners, in particular Australia, to access information regarding any New Zealand residents who have been involved. The IRD says it will not only identify New Zealand residents using offshore schemes but will focus on those who actively manage and promote them.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Minister to announce social housing plans

Dr Smith says he has had discussions with community groups about allowing them to own and manage houses built in partnership with Housing New Zealand. He says there may be instances where the Government sells a small number of current state houses to community organisations, but newspaper reports that the Government plans to sell off 12,000 state houses are incorrect. Dr Smith says the Government is also looking at how it can subsidise the rent for people who live in social housing, so it is similar in cost to state housing.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Increase in businesses owned by women - survey

A survey of more than 1000 small to medium-sized businesses has found 41% are owned and operated by women, up from 37% three years ago. The survey by accounting firm MYOB found that, on average, women employ more staff than men. Of women running businesses, 25% work in rural areas compared with only 19% of male business owners.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Thousands tuned into webcast of Horomia's tangi

Tens of thousands of people from across the world tuned into an internet broadcast of the funeral of the late Parekura Horomia. The long-serving Labour Party MP died on 29 April. Hera Ngata-Gibson was in charge of the live webcast of Mr Horomia's tangi at Hauiti Marae in Tolaga Bay, north of Gisborne. A relative of Mr Horomia, Ms Ngata-Gibson, says people from countries all over the world tuned in to the web-feed. She says 29,000 people connected to the webcast on the burial day from 103 different countries including the United States, Iraq, Iceland and from throughout the Pacific.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Sunday, May 12

Hone Heke to be buried in Far North

Maori chief Hone Heke's remains are to be buried near Kaikohe in the Far North next month. The bones of the nineteenth century warrior, notorious for cutting down the flag pole at Waitangi several times, lay in a cave from 1850 to two years ago, when they were moved to protect them. Ngapuhi leader David Rankin, a descendant of Hone Heke, said a permanent location for the remains had been nominated. "We will be announcing the location and the date of their interment in the next few weeks. There are just a few more details to finalise." Hundreds are expected to turn out for the dawn ceremony in June.
Source: ONE News

Trampers welcome reopening of Tongariro Crossing

Hundreds of trampers have flocked to Mount Tongariro over the weekend to complete the Tongariro Crossing. This is the first weekend the full crossing has been open to the public after the northern part of the circuit was closed when the mountain erupted in August last year. The crossing was closed after eruptions in both August and November last year. Following the second eruption, hundreds of people had to be evacuated from the track, including a group of school children. Scientists are confident it is safe enough to reopen the track, with their assessments also peer reviewed by experts in Hawaii. The re-opening of the track, described as one of the best day walks in the world, is being welcomed by the local tourism industry.
Source: ONE News

Easier entry to Australia for Papua New Guineans on cards

Australia’s Prime Minister says it will soon be easier for Papua New Guineans to apply for visas to come to her country, but has stopped short of promising swift access. Julia Gillard on Friday morning told a breakfast event hosted by the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce and Industry that a new online registration system will help reduce the lengthy process around visa applications. PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told her at an official ceremony Thursday night that PNG is frustrated at being excluded from a list of about 40 countries with swift travel access into Australia.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New proposals for Mackenzie Basin unveiled

New proposals have been put forward for the future of South Canterbury's Mackenzie Basin, but they're dependent on funding from the Government and changes to legislation. The Mackenzie Agreement, unveiled on Sunday, has been produced by a wide range of organisations connected to the area, including community groups, farmers, environment experts, and irrigation groups. The basis of the agreement is to form a Mackenzie Country Trust, which would aim to help landowners and organisations work together to boost the region's agriculture, tourism, and biodiversity.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Public sector cuts likely in Australian budget

Australia's public service is being asked to find $580 million in savings to help fund disability care and education reforms in Tuesday's federal budget. The savings, over four years, will be made through management changes, reducing office space and consolidating administrative functions across departments, AAP reports. Finance Minister Penny Wong says they will build on more than $A14 billion in public sector efficiencies and better government practices already achieved by the Labor government.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tourists' unpaid health bills leave less for Kiwis

District health boards are spending millions of taxpayers' dollars on treating people who are not eligible for public healthcare, and are being left out of pocket by tourists and illegal immigrants who don't pay their bill. It has been estimated that at least $630 million was not recovered from ineligible patients who were treated between 2000 and 2010 and it's money that could have been spent on providing Kiwis with more services. The bad debt is expected to climb to $1 billion in the current decade if there is no change in the process of identification, billing and recovery of costs. Permanent residents, citizens and Australians who have lived or intend to live here for at least two years are eligible for free healthcare.
© Fairfax NZ News


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