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Sunday, June 30

NZ firm linked to suspect spy row

Technology developed at Waikato University and commercialised with more than $6 million in government grants may be part of Britain's top-secret Tempora spy project, disclosed last week by US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Tempora, secretly set up to intercept and record all network traffic into the United Kingdom, uses probes installed on 200 fibre-optic cables as they come ashore, according to information leaked by Snowden. Kiwi-based company Endace is one of few developing such probes - though the company itself remains coy about its involvement, saying only that it does do business with "friendly governments". Until recently, technology constraints limited interception to targeted communications, or taps. However, new systems developed by companies such as Auckland-based Endace now allow intelligence agencies to intercept and record everything on a network, including phone calls, emails, instant messages and social media traffic. Endace's core technology is a new kind of network probe, originally developed at Waikato University, that leaves no trace on communications and does not interfere with network performance.
© Fairfax NZ News

Rudd leads in preferred prime minister stakes

The first national poll taken in Australia since Kevin Rudd returned as Prime Minister shows he has taken a significant lead as the country's preferred leader. In the survey, published in News Limited papers, 51% of respondents said they believed Mr Rudd would make the best prime minister, compared to 34% for Opposition leader Tony Abbott. Of those those surveyed, 15% said they were uncommitted. Mr Rudd's position shows an 18% jump from Julia Gillard's position in March. However on a two-party preferred basis the Coalition continues to lead Labor 51% to 49%, the poll results said.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Botanic garden turns 150

New Zealand's oldest botanic garden is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Dunedin Botanic Garden is holding a year of events to mark its establishment in 1863, and has been refurbishing its entrance gates. Curator Alan Matchett says the 150th anniversary is a chance to reflect on how it has grown into an internationally significant public garden. Mr Matchett says the garden is renowned for its rhododendron and geographical plant collections, and has developed its own special structure. He says the garden is planning many new developments, including a new glasshouse and nursery, and improved visitor facilities. A ceremony led by the city's mayor to celebrate the anniversary was being held from 11am on Sunday.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Ray Columbus terminally ill

He was the first Kiwi to record an overseas No.1, gave the world a signature dance move, and mentored a host of successful entertainers. But now pioneering rocker Ray Columbus, best-known for the 60s chart hit She's a Mod, is terminally ill. Columbus, 71, has suffered poor health since a heart attack in 2004. A popular figure in the Kiwi music industry, Columbus received a string of major awards in his career, and played support gigs to the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Roy Orbison, Shirley Bassey and the Hollies before launching a successful management and TV career. He is suffering from an immune deficiency problem thought to have been brought on by the heavy medication he has had to take in recent years. He is being cared for at his home north of Auckland, where he lives with wife Linda.
© Fairfax NZ News

Local fish - from China

By Lynley Bilby
Squid are making a round trip of more than 18,000km on their way to your dinner plate - after they are caught. Some brands of frozen fish caught in New Zealand waters are processed in China, before being sent back to New Zealand to be sold as local product. Independent, Sanford and Sealord send a portion of their catches halfway around the world to be partly processed before they return to New Zealand for final processing. Independent Fisheries general manager Mark Allison said some squid, southern blue whiting and hoki went to a company-owned plant in China for gutting and skinning, before being flown back for packaging. Allison said the travel miles kept the South Island firm competitive in a global market. Rising costs made it prohibitive to process the product entirely in New Zealand.
Herald on Sunday

Saturday, June 29

Thousands flock to Mt Ruapehu skifields

Thousands have flocked to Mt Ruapehu today as the mountain's skifields open for the winter season. More than 4000 snow enthusiasts turned out to Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas this morning, where conditions were excellent after a dumping of more than 2 metres of snow over the past four days. Mt Ruapehu general manager Chris Thrupp said it had been a huge day for the mountain with plenty of visitors and a good snow base. Mt Ruapehu has invested more than $3 million in new machinery, including five new groomers, road clearing equipment and eight snow guns across both ski areas.
Source: ONE News

Victory for Labour in Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election

Labour Party's Meka Whaitiri is the newest member of parliament after winning the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election tonight. Seven candidates were standing for the seat - the Green Party's Marama Davidson, Mana Party's Te Hamua Nikora, Maori Party's Na Rongowhakaata Raihania, Labour's Meka Whaitiri, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party's Michael Appleby, Independent Adam Holland and Maurice Wairau. The seat was made available due to the death of Parekura Horomia, who held the electorate that spans from north of Wellington to the East Cape since its creation in 1999, winning by a majority of 6,500 votes in 2011. Ms Whaitiri won by a 1761 vote majority. The margin is more than what Mr Horomia held in 2005 and 2008. Labour leader David Shearer congratulated Ms Whaitiri on her win and says it demonstrates that Labour is a formidable campaign machine.
Source: ONE News

Meridian quits Australian wind farm

New Zealand's largest electricity generator, Meridian, is quitting a massive power scheme in Australia just months after the project was built. The 420-megawatt Macarthur wind farm in Australia is three times bigger than the largest wind farm in New Zealand and was completed this year. Meridian is selling its half share in the project to a Malaysian company for $NZ770 million. The company says it had intended to hold on to its investment but low interest rates and the chance to develop further wind farms in Australia triggered a decision to sell early.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Bank gives back money to customers

The Co-operative Bank's annual net profit has risen 1.7% after providing for a $1 million rebate to its customers, who are also its owners. Net profit at the country's smallest bank rose to $5.8 million for the year ended March compared with $5.7 million the previous year. Profit before rebates and tax rose to $8 million, a 21% rise on the previous year. Chief executive Bruce McLachlan says it is the first time the bank has paid a rebate to customers and most will receive between $5 and $200 each.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Friday, June 28

Communities want 'stricter' GE controls

Local Government New Zealand says communities are asking for stricter controls on genetically-engineered material than those set by central government. Environment Minister Amy Adams believes the Government's controls on genetically-modified trials and releases are strict enough and said she will change the law to stop councils restricting the growing of genetically-engineered crops and animals in their districts. Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule said on Friday that councils have taken those steps because many people want a more precautionary approach than central government. Mr Yule, the mayor of Hastings, said his council wants a 10-year moratorium on GE to give Hawke's Bay food and wine an advantage in export markets. Lobby group GE-Free New Zealand said Ms Adams is buying a fight with communities and growers by saying she will block councils from banning GE crops. Spokesperson Jon Carapiet said the minister is defying public opinion, the advice of the previous minister and common sense. He said people all over the world want GE-free food.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rudd outlines Labor's big picture

Kevin Rudd will try to seal a deal on school funding within two weeks and says Tony Abbott's plan to turn back asylum seeker boats risks conflict with Indonesia. At his first media conference since returning to the Australian prime ministership, Mr Rudd pledged to sit down with the leaders of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania to finalise a school funding deal outside the previous June 30 deadline. He said his new frontbench would be sworn in on Monday, but was still being finalised. There will be no major policy announcements until after the first cabinet sitting. It is understood the Government is considering changes to the carbon tax, as well as scrapping a decision to move single parents onto the lower Newstart payment. Mr Rudd, a former diplomat and foreign minister, took aim at the coalition's "turn back the boats" policy, saying it risked diplomatic conflict, and worse, because Indonesia did not agree with it.
Source: AAP

Whooping cough vaccinations urged

Waikato medical officer of health Anita Bell is urging families expecting babies or with newborns to get them vaccinated for whooping cough. Waikato has had an epidemic of whooping cough or pertussis for about a year and a half. Two hundred and five cases have been notified so far this year, up from 63 at the same time last year. Free vaccinations were introduced for pregnant women in November by Waikato District Health Board, which is now extending the offer to partners and others in the household. Ms Bell said whooping cough is particularly dangerous for babies. They can't be given vaccinations until they are six weeks old.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

NZ thinking about new labelling system for food

New Zealand may follow Australia's lead and look to introduce a health star rating system on the front of food packaging. Under the star system - the healthiest foods receive five stars and the worst half a star. Australia is trialling the system after rejecting the traffic light food labelling system used in parts of the United Kingdom. Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye told Parliament's Primary Production Select Committee that officials are investigating whether the star system could work here.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New harbour tunnel in Auckland approved

The Government has approved a new cross harbour tunnel in Auckland. Prime Minister John Key told a business audience on Friday the crossing should be completed in 12 - 17 years. There had speculation the announcement may include plans for a new crossing to supplement the Auckland harbour bridge. The new tunnel will be parallel to the harbour bridge. Tunnels linking the central city to the North Shore are in Auckland Council's 30 year growth strategy.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Auckland Council votes not to support convention deal

By Bernard Orsman
The Auckland Council has voted not to support the $400 million national convention centre for pokies deal on the eve of the Government and SkyCity signing off the deal. In a conscience vote, the council voted 10-7 yesterday not to support "the Government's proposal for SkyCity to develop a convention centre in return for changes in our gambling legislation to increase gambling at the SkyCity casino". Mayor Len Brown - a strong supporter of the deal and who has pushed for harm minimisation measures - voted against the motion by City Vision councillor Cathy Casey, who urged the mayor to stop being a cheerleader for SkyCity. She said the Auckland Plan - a 30-year blueprint for the city - set out to minimise harm from gambling and the convention centre deal did nothing to minimise harm. Ms Casey said SkyCity's game was gambling and they wanted a convention centre to suck people into their casino.

Buck brought back to front TV heart ads

Former All Black Wayne "Buck" Shelford is fronting new TV ads encouraging the public to get heart and diabetes checks. The first of the adverts, starring Shelford, comedians Urzila Carlson and Raybon Kan, and other well-known New Zealanders, will launch on Sunday. Shelford is following in the footsteps of former All Black Sir John Kirwan, who fronts mental health and depression awareness campaigns. Health Minister Tony Ryall says the new ads are part of the Government's focus on preventing heart disease and diabetes.
Source: NZN

Dunedin woman accidentally uses super glue on lips

A Dunedin woman got herself into a very sticky situation this morning. Police received a call just after midnight from a woman who they initially thought was gagged. Unfortunately for the woman she leant over to use her lip gloss in the dark but instead used super glue on her lips. Police referred the emergency to ambulance and it is believed her gummed up situation has been resolved.
- Newstalk ZB

Thursday, June 27

Wanganui Pak'n Save's liquor licence revoked for selling to minors

Wanganui's Pak'n Save supermarket has had its alcohol licence revoked from July 1 to July 5 for selling liquor to minors. Katherine Klouwens, a spokeswoman for Foodstuffs New Zealand which owns Pak'n Save, said yesterday the company understood the importance of not selling alcohol to anyone under 18. It had a policy of asking for ID if anyone looked under 25. "All owner-operators conduct extensive training with their staff to enable them to fulfil their legal obligations.

Council rejects Tarras Water Scheme

The Otago Regional Council has rejected a request to put money into a Central Otago water scheme and the decision may end the $39 million project. The Tarras Water Scheme would irrigate farmland in the Ardgour Valley, but council chief executive Stephen Woodhead said on Thursday that the backers of the scheme have failed to meet several council-imposed conditions. Mr Woodhead said the council was asked to contribute $3.5 million by way of dry shares. But there was a risk they would not be able to sell those shares in the future to recoup costs. A spokesperson for Tarras Water said he is unable to comment until the share offer on the scheme closes on Friday.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Historic schooner disappears off NZ coast

Grave fears are held for seven people on board an historic schooner that was last seen off the north coast of New Zealand three weeks ago. The vessel, Nina, went missing en route from Opua in the Bay of Islands to Newcastle, Australia. The boat, built in 1928, left Opua on May 29 and has not been heard from since June 4, when it was about 370 nautical miles west-north west of Cape Reinga, Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said. Of the people on board, six are Americans - three men aged 17, 28 and 58, and three women aged 18, 60 and 73 - and one was a British man aged 35.

More teenage girls do homework than boys

A new nationwide survey indicates more teenage girls do their homework each night than their male counterparts. The survey was commissioned by Auckland University as part of a biennial school census. It involves more than 19,000 students aged between 10 - 18 from 600 schools. 74% of teenage girls said they did their homework on a given night, compared to 61% of teen boys. In total, 69% of students said they spent spent an hour and a quarter, on average, doing their homework. 77% of primary school pupils said they did their homework, spending an average of 53 minutes on it.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Average pay packets up $1000 in 5 months - Seek

A survey by Seek, an employment website, shows average pay packets have risen by $1000 during the past five months. It says rising employer confidence in the economy is slowly filtering through to the job market. Seek says the average salary for jobs on its website grew to almost $72,731, an increase of 1.3%. Taranaki led the way as the highest paying region in the country with an average salary of $80,269 - $7500 more than the national average. Seek said Taranaki is home to the largest number of roles in the mining, resources and energy sector which has an average salary band of $103,275. The average salary in Wellington rose by 1.5% to $79,412. In Auckland, it went up 1.4% to $73,828.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New geothermal power station at full capacity

Mighty River Power's new geothermal power station near Taupo has reached full capacity for the first time. It's the third major geothermal plant for Mighty River and took more than two years to build. Development general manager Mark Trigg said reaching full capacity is a milestone. Testing at the station will continue for the next two months, but once it is fully operational it will increase Mighty River's geothermal electricity production to 40% of total generation. The station will run constantly 24/7.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

University to keep places for poor students

By Nicholas Jones
Students from poor backgrounds could have places reserved for them at the country's largest university in a shake-up of admissions currently targeted according to ethnicity. In a first for the country, the University of Auckland council has supported a proposal to improve access to higher education for students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, regardless of ethnicity. At present, the targeted admission programme allows for Maori, Pasifika and students with disabilities.

Wednesday, June 26

Latest - Julia Gillard defeated by Rudd in leadership battle

Julia Gillard has been ousted as Australian Prime Minister by Kevin Rudd in a Labor leadership battle. A petition had been circulating today, calling for Mr Rudd to challenge the leadership position. Gillard called for a caucus spill late this afternoon saying she wanted to see an end to all the speculation. Rudd won the vote over Gillard by 57 votes to 45 votes. Rudd, who failed with aborted leadership coups in 2012 and again in March, confirmed he would challenge Gillard and said he was prompted to act because of fears the party faced an electoral wipe-out in September. He also said he would quit politics if he loses the leadership vote. The moves to oust Gillard and return to Rudd follow a series of opinion polls showing her minority government could lose up to 35 seats at the September 14 elections, giving the conservative opposition a massive majority in the 150-member parliament.
Source: AAP / Reuters / ONE News

Breaking news - Gillard calls meeting over leadership

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called a special caucus meeting for Wednesday night (tonight 9pm NZ time) to allow another vote on the Labor leadership against expected contender Kevin Rudd. Supporters of Mr Rudd have begun moves to try to oust Ms Gillard, less than three months before scheduled elections on 14 September. It is a last-ditch move to try to turn around opinion polls showing the party is on track for a massive defeat. Julia Gillard says she will stand for the leadership at the meeting at 7pm on Wednesday (local time) and says the loser of the ballot should quit parliament.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

$4.5m redevelopment for Wellington Zoo

Wellington Zoo is in for a multi-million dollar redevelopment that will put more of New Zealand's wildlife on show. The $4.5 million project, which will take up around a quarter of the zoo's land, will begin later this year. Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Amy Hughes said the 'Meet the Locals' project is a love story to New Zealand. "Going from the shore with penguins to a farm, bush and then the mountains with kea and endangered skinks," she said. The enclosure is expected to open by 2016.
Newstalk ZB

Unique Kiwi gun hits target 2.5km away

By Rebecca Savory
A group of Kiwis have developed a one-of-a-kind carbon-barrelled gun that can hit a target up to 2.5 kilometres away. Weighing close to 10 kilograms and measuring just over 1.5 metres, the 100 per cent New Zealand-made gun materials and design knowledge were sourced from as far as Christchurch, Gisborne and Auckland, with the barrel technology developed in Bay of Plenty. Glenn Tuck of Broncos Outdoors has been a keen shooter his whole life, competing as a clay bird shooter and now using his expertise to test the gun during its development. The materials and labour that went into the gun cost $14,000 alone, and although being designed for static target shooting, Mr Tuck said it was not for sale and is intended as a show piece.

Happy Kiwis balance work and living better

New Zealand workers are happier, and have a better work-life balance, than their counterparts in other countries, a new study says. The Regus work-life index study, published today, shows New Zealand is seven points ahead of the global average when it comes to the way workers balance their work and home lives. The study is based on the views of 26,000 professionals in more than 90 countries. The index shows New Zealand is ahead when it comes to work-life balance, sitting on 127 points, up one point from 2012 and above Australia, the United States and Germany.
© Fairfax NZ News

Timor Leste wants NZ support to join Commonwealth

The Minister of State for Timor hopes New Zealand will support the country becoming part of the Commonwealth. Jose Luis Gutterres said the Commonwealth is an important forum and will give Timor the chance to express its views and hear what other countries have to say about international issues. Mr Gutteres is in New Zealand with President Taur Matan Ruak, who was elected last year.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Graduates earn less in NZ - OECD report

By Matthew Backhouse
New Zealand continues to have high levels of participation in tertiary education but graduates can expect to earn far less than those in other developed countries, according to the latest OECD report. The Education at a Glance report, released yesterday, shows 39 per cent of New Zealanders aged 25-64 and 46 per cent of those aged 25-34 hold a university degree. That was higher than the OECD averages of 32 per cent and 39 per cent respectively, putting New Zealand within the top 10 of OECD countries for tertiary education. But graduates can expect to get less in return for their efforts if they stay in New Zealand. In 2011, tertiary educated workers in New Zealand could expect to earn 18 per cent more than workers with upper-secondary education. That was well below the OECD average of 57 per cent greater earnings.

Tuesday, June 25

Teeth whiteners subject to new regulations

Teeth whitening products will be subject to new regulations which come into force this week. Following concerns raised by the New Zealand Dental Council and the Ministry of Health, products which contain more than 12 per cent hydrogen peroxide will be available only from a dentist or an oral health practitioner working under the supervision of a dentist. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), which implemented the changes, said all tooth whitening products containing hydrogen peroxide would now have to carry a series of safety warnings, including a statement saying the product is not recommended for children younger than 16.

Key not concerned about migrants accessing pension

By Kate Shuttleworth
Prime Minister John Key isn't concerned elderly Chinese are coming to New Zealand and getting the old age pension after 10 years in the country. He said he was totally relaxed about elderly Chinese being eligible for the full pension after 10 years. Mr Key responded to questions this morning on his way to caucus, following an attack by NZ First leader Winston Peters, who says his party would only pay a quarter the old age pension to elderly Chinese immigrants. Mr Key doesn't agree that Chinese immigrants are getting access to the pension without contributing anything to the tax base. "I don't accept that they don't contribute anything. Everyone makes some sort of contribution. "We have rules and yes we could always take the view that we're not going to give people New Zealand superannuation after what is a fairly long period of time in the country, but then those costs often show up somewhere else," Mr Key said.

Getting residency in Australia harder for Maori than others

A new study of Maori in Australia shows that Maori migrants find it harder to become permanent residents than any other nationality. The report from of the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, looks at Maori outcomes in Australia's 2011 census data. There are more than 128,000 Maori living in Australia, with a third of them being born there. A senior research fellow Tahu Kukutai said Maori migrants tend to have lower levels of education than others and work in labouring jobs such as construction and mining. While Maori migrants have easy access to Australia, she said many don't realise they have to pass the same criteria as other migrants to obtain permanent residency. Ms Kukutai said a common way to gain residency is through a Skilled Workers Visa, which is difficult for Maori migrants to obtain because they're in low-skilled jobs and have lower levels of education. Ms Kukutai said that, coupled with their inability to gain social security, puts Maori in a vulnerable position.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

State memorial service for Hazel Hawke

Hazel Hawke will be remembered on Tuesday afternoon at a state memorial service at the Sydney Opera House. The ex-wife of former prime minister Bob Hawke died last month aged 83 from Alzheimer's complications. The ABC reports she was diagnosed in 2003 and used her profile to raise dementia awareness. Prime Minister Julia Gillard will attend the memorial with other dignitaries including Governor-General Quentin Bryce and former prime ministers John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Mr Hawke.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Chickenpox, rotavirus vaccines urged for children

Experts appointed by Pharmac have told the agency to fund chickenpox and rotavirus vaccines for all children as a high priority. Pharmac has released minutes of a sub-committee meeting held in March, which recommended the vaccines be added to the national immunisation schedule. Pharmac said it will consider both recommendations at a meeting in August. Separately, the Immunisation Advisory Centre hopes Pharmac will follow the sub-committee's advice, but noted the Government has turned down the recommendation before because of cost. Research director Dr Helen Petousis-Harris said funding a chickenpox vaccine is the higher priority, as the disease has a greater risk of death and serious complications than rotavirus.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

ALP could lose 35 of 71 seats: poll

A new poll in Australia says federal Labor could lose 35 of its 71 seats at the forthcoming federal election in September, including nine held by ministers. The JWS Research poll, published in the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday, surveyed 47 Labor seats held by a margin of 12% or less. AFP reports it shows there has been a nationwide two-party-preferred swing of 7.6% against the government in these seats since the last election. The poll suggests Labor would improve under the leadership of Kevin Rudd, but a majority does not believe there should be a leadership change.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New Air NZ Dreamliners to fly long-haul to Asia

Air New Zealand's new fleet of Boeing Dreamliners will be focused on flying long-haul to Asia, in a move the company hopes will expand its footprint in the Pacific Rim. The airline is the launch customer for the Boeing 787-9 aircraft which are still being manufactured, the first of which is due to roll off the production line next month. Air New Zealand has confirmed its long distance key destinations for its 10 787-9 aircraft will be Shanghai and Tokyo. The aircraft will also fly some mid-haul destinations like Perth and Honolulu. The new fleet will replace its Boeing 767s.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, June 24

Govt to go online by 2017

Most of the public's government transactions, along with businesses' access to agencies, will be available online from 2017, in a move the government says will save up to $100 million a year. The government is also promising to tidy up its privacy controls after ongoing blunders, to ensure tighter security as online transactions increase. Non-sensitive data will be shared between departments, meaning users can change their details once and share that with multiple departments. Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain stressed that face-to-face services will remain for those who need them, but the government will also look at community hubs and internet access in places like public libraries to help people access the new online services.

Cricket - Australia sack coach just before Ashes series

Cricket Australia has reportedly sacked head coach Mickey Arthur just two weeks out from the Ashes. The former South African, whose contract was due to run until the end of the World Cup in March 2015, was informed of the decision over the weekend, Fairfax media reports in Austraila say. Cricket Australia will hold a media conference in Bristol later today where chief executive James Sutherland will announce a new coaching structure.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Strong monthly rise in immigration

New Zealand has had its strongest monthly gain in immigration in more than three years. Statistics New Zealand figures show there was a seasonally adjusted net gain of 1700 migrants in May, the highest since January 2010. It brought the net gain for the year ended May to 6200 - a sharp turnaround from the net loss of 3700 people in the previous year. The rise was mainly due to fewer New Zealanders departing for Australia, and people moving to the country to work on post-earthquake rebuilding and repairs in Canterbury. The only regions to experience net gains in migrants were Auckland, Canterbury and Otago. Canterbury accounted for more than 40% of annual gain with 2600 people settling there compared with its net loss of 2500 people the previous year.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Cost fears over South Island dam project

Some growers in the Nelson Tasman region fear a proposal to build a dam to protect the region's water supply could ruin them financially. A shortage of water on the Waimea Plains in summer means water allocations could be halved, and heavy water users such as fruit growers say this would hit them hard and could force some out of business. After ten years of discussion, the proposed solution is for a dam to be built south of Richmond, and submissions on proposed changes to the Tasman District Council's water management provisions allowing the dam to be built, are now open. The current proposal is for 70% of the funding to come from users, and the rest from local and central government. Water permit holders would have to pay $500 to $600 per hectare per year. Lifestyle block owners, small farm owners and grapegrowers, who don't use much water, say the plan is unfair and could financially cripple them.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Huge rescue operation underway in Otago's high country

A massive rescue operation is under way in Otago's high country, where thousands of sheep and cattle are stranded in thick snow cover. Volunteers are needed to help farmers access and feed stock on about 40 stations above 500m throughout the region. Otago's high country farms are among the worst-hit in the South Island. Up to one metre of snow has isolated sheep and cattle and prevented farmers from surveying the damage, so it is too soon to know the extent of stock losses. Volunteers would be needed all week to help clear tracks for stock in the snow. Those interested in helping could contact Otago Rural Support Trust co-ordinator David Mellish on 021 102-9890 or via his email: ''Any volunteers who are fit and able and willing will be much appreciated,'' Mr Mellish said. ''They need to have really warm clothing and a change of clothes,'' he noted.
- Otago Daily Times

Penalties for exploiting migrants

Penalties for exploiting migrant workers will be expanded to cover those on temporary work visas, with punishments to include lengthy jail time, fines and possible deportation for employers who are themselves migrants. Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the measures would make it clear that unlawful and exploitative behaviour would not be tolerated. "I plan to amend the Immigration Act to make it a specific offence to exploit migrants who hold temporary work visas," Woodhouse said. As signalled to a select committee last week, Woodhouse said he also planned to make exploitative employers with residence visas liable for deportation if the offence was committed within 10 years of gaining residence. There were an increasing number of cases where crooked employers were themselves migrants, taking advantage of vulnerable people from their own community, he said. The law changes would likely be introduced by August.
© Fairfax NZ News

Sunday, June 23

Auckland Uni conducts world's first e-cigarettes study

Auckland University is carrying out the world's first study into the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as an aid to stop smoking. More than 650 people are participating in the study comparing e-cigarettes with the commonly used nicotine patches. E-cigarettes work by vapourising liquid nicotine, essentially giving a nicotine hit without all the toxins associated with traditional tobacco cigarettes. University of Auckland researcher Chris Bullen said organisations like the World Health Organisation are asking what to do about the devices, but no-one has the answers, as no-one has done a study until now. But e-cigarettes, both herbal and nicotine varieties have been available for some time. However, with increasing restrictions worldwide on tobacco products, e-cigarette sales are booming. E-cigarettes containing nicotine have been banned in some countries. In New Zealand, they must be approved by MedSafe before being sold or supplied, but no-one has applied for approval yet.
Source: ONE News

Huge take-up of digital TV in South Island

South Islanders have set records with their uptake of digital TV. Research by Colmar Brunton for the Governments 'Going Digital' programme shows 99 per cent of all South Island households with a working TV have converted at least one of their sets to digital. It's a higher uptake than anywhere in any country which has made the switch to digital. Freeview says it sets the bar high for the rest of New Zealand. The lower North Island, Taranaki, most of Ruapehu District and East Cape will go digital on September 29.
- Newstalk ZB

Pharmac to fund new heart drug

Pharmac will fund a new drug to fight heart disease. The Government's drug buying agency will spend $14.3 million a year on ticagrelor, which is being described as a new generation blood thinning drug. Pharmac medical director Peter Moodie says the drug will help patients who have had particular types of heart attacks. He estimates that 3300 people in the first year and up to 12,000 by the fifth year, will benefit from the funding of the drug.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Exercise beats breakfast

By Edward Rooney
The Government might have better spent it's $9.5 million school breakfast money on walking school buses, findings from a Danish study into children and exercise suggest. The Danish study, cited at a symposium in Washington this week, had set out to prove the benefits for children having breakfast and lunch. "The results showed that having breakfast and lunch has an impact, but not very much compared to having exercised," co-author Niels Egelund said. The Government is spending $9.5million on giving low-decile schools a Sanitarium breakfast with Fonterra milk. The outcome was pounced on by Green MP Julie Anne Genter, who was a keynote speaker at the Bicycle Urbanism Symposium hosted by the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington this week. "They tried to explore the link between nutrition and concentration and instead found that kids being driven to school was a bigger influence on how well they could learn," she said.
- Herald on Sunday

Brazilians take to Auckland streets in solidarity

Up to 1000 expat Brazilians have taken to the streets in Auckland to show solidarity with their countrymen back home. Huge protests have taken place in Brazil, with people angry about rising public transport costs, poor services, inflation and corruption. They may be 10,000km away, but Brazilians here are just as angry. A sea of green, blue and yellow was moving peacefully but noisily down Queen St waving hundreds of signs with demands for political reform, one reading: "We needs schools, hospitals; we don't need more stadiums." A spokesperson for the group says they've had enough of corruption and there's nothing about Brazil right now that he can be proud of.

Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan

An Australian soldier has been killed in a firefight in Afghanistan and two other military personnel were wounded. The Chief of the Defence, General David John Hurley, said the special forces soldier was killed by small arms fire on Saturday during an insurgent engagement. Another soldier was seriously wounded, while an airman was also wounded during the incident, AAP reports. The special forces soldier is the 40th Australian soldier to have died in Afghanistan since Australia became involved in the conflict.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Ray-treated food on way

By Lynley Bilby
Irradiated Australian tomatoes and capsicums will arrive for the first time on shop shelves soon. Public submissions closed last Friday, and a decision to change import health standards to allow the irradiated produce, to prevent the spread of Queensland fruit fly, is expected early next month. The Ministry for Primary Industries says all irradiated produce must be clearly labelled, whether it is a whole vegetable or a slice of tomato in pizza or a burger. Horticulture NZ chief executive Peter Silcock says irradiated food is a concern for consumers. "The primary concern is what impact has radiation had on the product and what impact will it have on my body when I eat it." Four years ago, the Australian Government banned irradiated cat food when animals developed neurological defects after being fed high-dose gamma-irradiated food. The European Food Safety Authority is investigating the safety of irradiated food.
- Herald on Sunday

The pills bills: It's life or death

The Government's drug-buying agency is asking New Zealanders whether young people should be able to jump queues for costly drugs at the expense of older people who've already had a long life. Pharmac also wants to know if poor people are more deserving of help than rich people, and whether underprivileged groups such as Maori and Pasifika should get priority access to drugs. The proposals are among a raft of provocative questions being asked by Pharmac as it conducts a consultation exercise about the criteria it uses when deciding how to spend its budget, which last year was $783 million. Since it was set up in 1993 to control soaring drug spending and reduce political involvement in drug-buying decisions, Pharmac has assessed the value of a treatment using the same nine criteria, which include the risks, benefits and cost-effectiveness of a given medicine. From Tuesday, Pharmac is hosting a series of free community forums seeking the public's views on what its decision criteria should be. For details see Pharmac's consultation
- © Fairfax NZ News

Saturday, June 22

All Blacks defeat France 24-9

The All Blacks have defeated France 24-9 in their third and final test, at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth. New Zealand had two try scorers, Ben Smith and Beauden Barrett, and one conversion by Daniel Carter who also kicked four penalties. For France, Jean-Marc Doussain kicked two penalties and Florian Fritz kicked a drop goal. New Zealand was ahead 8-6 at half time.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Auckland protest to highlight Brazil unrest

Over 2000 people are expected to attend a protest in Auckland today, to highlight the current unrest in towns and cities in Brazil. More than a million Brazilians have poured into the streets of at least 80 cities in anti-government demonstrations, protesting for better public services and against the high cost of staging the Football World Cup. The Auckland protest is being organised through social media by members of the Brazilian community. So far almost 2,100 people have said they will be attending. Protesters are emphasising the protest is to be peaceful and not aggressive. Protesters in Brazil are angry about the money being spent on sporting events such as the Confederations Cup football tournament, next year's soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Today's protest is expected to start at 2pm in Albert Park, Auckland.
Source: ONE News

Remarkables ski field opens with 'perfect' conditions

By Bevan Hurley
Queenstown's Remarkable ski area opened this morning for the winter season, to near perfect snow conditions. The entire mountain is open for business. Fifteen hundred skiers and boarders had already hit the snow at 9am. Four centimeters of additional snow fell this morning adding to the 110cm of snow at the upper mountain base.

Hotspot for illegal overstayers

Waikato is a hotspot for illegal overstayers, with new statistics putting the region second only to Auckland City for the number being caught here. Authorities have apprehended 317 people in the Waikato region since 2011 who were here illegally - more than the rest of the country except Auckland combined - Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry data shows. The data, released under the Official Information Act, also shows where the illegal overstayers originated from, with the most common nationality since 2011 Samoan (216); Chinese (212); Tongan (185) and Indian (160).
© Fairfax NZ News

Friday, June 21

Rugby - All Blacks devise new tactics for French

The All Blacks say variety on attack will be needed to beat France for a third time, believing a kick-heavy approach won't work again. New Zealand will clinch a three-Test series clean sweep against France for the first time since 1968 if victorious at New Plymouth on Saturday. While coach Steve Hansen would like his team to improve to the same degree as they did between the first Test in Auckland (won 23-13) and the second in Christchurch (30-0), he suspects that could be unrealistic against the proud tourists. Success at Christchurch was built on a strategy to turn France around via a host of tactical kicks. While first veteran five-eighth Dan Carter - who replaces Aaron Cruden in one of five changes - will be called on to play for territory, Hansen doesn't think it will be as effective in the series finale. "I don't think France will give us the back field as easily as they did last time," he said. At Christchurch, the All Blacks kept France scoreless for the first time in 53 Tests.
Source: NZN

Albatross battered in wild weather

By Matthew Theunissen
An adult albatross that got lost in the wild weather battering Wellington has been rescued from the city's airport. Wellington Airport fire services manager Daniel Debono said the bird was discovered distressed on the runway at first light. "Albatross are not usually found in this area, so this adventurous bird had obviously became lost as a result of the weather. ``We even suspect he could have braved the storm all the way from Antarctica, as this type of albatross is not common in the region," he said. The bird was rescued and taken into the warmth of the airport fire station. "He was surprisingly happy to be inside, and stayed here for the rest of the morning," Mr Debono said. "Even with significant weather related disruption, the welfare of this albatross was a priority for the airport team." Airport staff contacted the SPCA and the bird was transported to Wellington Zoo's animal hospital to ensure it was fit to fly.

Pregnant women urged to get vital booster jab

By Mike Dinsdale of the Northern Advocate
A three-week-old baby hospitalised with whooping cough has sparked a warning from health officials for pregnant women to get a booster vaccination against the disease. The number of whooping cough cases in Northland has soared past last year's total. New Zealand has been in the grip of a whooping cough epidemic for more than two years and while the number of cases is dropping in most areas, they are on the rise in Northland, Northland District Health Board medical officer of health Clair Mill said. "The highest risk is for the newborns. They cough and cough and stop breathing and turn blue, which scares the hell out of their parents, and they can need to be in hospital for days or weeks." Pregnant women can get a booster jab for free from their birthing unit or GP, and it's recommended for the last third of their pregnancy to provide protection for the unborn child until it is vaccinated. Children are supposed to have whooping cough immunisations at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months of age.

Nicotine inhaler gives instant 'hit'

Wellington smokers will trial a new inhaler that gives a hit of nicotine without the hundreds of harmful chemicals hidden in cigarette smoke. The inhaler is based on puffer devices used to deliver medication to asthmatics. It isn't the first inhaler to contain nicotine but previous prototypes made the nicotine too harsh to inhale, Otago University researcher Brent Caldwell said. "Nicotine is quite peppery and makes you cough but this can be improved - and our new formula is very tolerable." Just over 700 smokers are being recruited to take part in a study over seven months. Half will have a placebo and half will have nicotine. All will wear nicotine patches and they will have a month to reduce their cigarette consumption before cutting them out completely and using the inhaler instead. While nicotine was highly addictive, it did not cause lung disease or cancer, Dr Caldwell said. "It's responsible for the addiction to smoking but is not actually harmful in itself. It would be fine if you used our inhaler for the rest of your life, it wouldn't do you any harm.
© Fairfax NZ News

NZ will benefit from shake-up in govt banking - Greens

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman welcomes moves to put the government’s banking contract out for tender. A Treasury and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment discussion paper is seeking input on a new ‘All of Government’ approach to banking with a tender document to be issued in September or October this year. "I’m very pleased that after years of Green Party pressure the government master banking contract will finally be tendered," Dr Norman said. "Australian-owned Westpac bank has held the contract uncontested for 23 years. "Tendering out the contract should result in better value for money for the New Zealand public. It should have been done years ago. "Ideally, our government's banking should eventually be done by a New Zealand bank," Dr Norman said. "Now that the contract is to be regularly tendered that is a real possibility for the future."

Thursday, June 20

Severe winds lash Wellington

A violent storm is battering the Wellington region late on Thursday, leaving tens of thousands of households without power. The council is warning people to stay inside to avoid flying debris as winds exceeding 140km/h lash the capital. The MetService said the wind reached 200km/h at Mount Kaukau in the suburb of Khandallah late on Thursday and 142km/h at Wellington Airport. Lines company Wellington Electricity said 25,000 customers were without power because of damage caused by high winds and torrential rain. It said trees and debris are being blown into lines, and staff are trying to repair the damage across Wellington City, Porirua and the Hutt Valley.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Largest snowfall in decades in south

Some inland areas of Otago and Canterbury have received their largest snowfalls in decades, in a winter storm that has cut power to thousands of people. Some coastal areas are also flooded. MetService has been warning of the storm's power all week, but the amount of snow and rain dumped in the last 18 hours has still surprised many people. Farmers at Clark's Junction, inland from Dunedin, say 1 metre of snow has fallen there - the most for 20 - 30 years. Electricity lines companies across the south are reporting faults. The worst was at Fairlie in the Mackenzie Basin, where 1200 households lost power at about 6.30am. Alpine Energy chief executive Andrew Tombs said 300 have been reconnected. About a dozen state highways are closed, mainly high roads and those through mountain passes.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Benefits of electronic prescription system

An electronic prescription system being rolled out over the next few years is expected to make the illegible handwriting of doctors a thing of the past. All doctors and nurses will use the mobile computers to administer and prescribe medication. The $17 million system is predicted to save 75 lives per year. Health Minister Tony Ryall said it will eliminate errors like the wrong patient's name being entered, and under or over prescribing which occurs with illegible handwriting. Southland, Taranaki and west Auckland and North Shore hospitals are already using the mobile computers. Other hospitals will receive the devices over the next few years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Snow, flooding closes roads

Snow has closed highways in many parts of the South Island as an icy winter storm takes a grip on the country. The NZ Transport Agency said the Lewis Pass, Porters Pass, Lindis Pass, and Burkes Pass were closed due to snow. Other highways closed included State Highway 85 from Omakau to Palmerston, SH87 from Keyburn to Outram, SH80 from Glentanner to Mt Cook, and SH6 and 97 from Kingston to Lumsden and Five Rivers to Mossburn. Up to 150 centimetres of snow is expected to fall over Porters Pass by Saturday afternoon, including up to 90cm between 6am today and midnight.
- Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera): 0800 RING CERA
- Christchurch City Council: (03) 941 8999
- Earthquake Commision: 0800 DAMAGE
- Red Cross: 0800 RED CROSS
- Canterbury Earthquake Temporary Accommodation Service: 0800 67 32 272
- Christchurch Hospital: (03) 364 0640
- Emergency services: 111
© Fairfax NZ News

Hayley's right royal baby gift

Christchurch songbird Hayley Westenra will celebrate the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton's first child by giving New Zealand babies born on the same day a copy of her new album. Westenra will gift every newborn born between 12am and 11.59pm NZ time on the day of the royal baby's birth a copy of her latest album Hushabye - which features a single penned for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby, expected in July. The tune, titled Sleep On, was written by composer Paul Mealor, who also composed some of the music for the royal couple's wedding. Westenra composed the new album for ''parents and babies the world over'', and is ''clinically proven to calm and soothe listeners of all ages'', according to a media statement released yesterday. Hushabye features songs such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Hush Little Baby and Dream a Little Dream of Me. It will be released in Britain on June 21.
Parents eligible to claim the album are asked to visit

Rugby - Carter, Weepu return as Ranger starts on wing

Big-hitter Rene Ranger will start on the wing, while star All Black first five-eighth Daniel Carter returns from injury for the third and final Test against France this weekend. With the series won 2-0, and the Dave Gallaher Cup retained, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has made five starting changes to the All Blacks to play France in New Plymouth on Saturday. Hansen has brought in Ranger on the wing, while giving blindside flanker Victor Vito his first start of the year at Yarrow Stadium. "While the series has been won, we certainly won't be underestimating the French in this final match," Hansen said in a statement. "We have put a full stop in last weekend's performance and expecting further improvement from ourselves, and another hard, physical contest from the French," said Hansen, who is ramping up the rebuilding process for the team's World Cup defence in 2015. Carter missed the first two tests with a broken hand and returns to give Aaron Cruden a much-needed rest. Halfback Piri Weepu is also back after suffering concussion in the Blues' Super Rugby defeat to the Otago Highlanders in Dunedin earlier this month.
All Blacks: 15-Israel Dagg, 14-Ben Smith, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Ma'a Nonu, 11-Rene Ranger, 10-Daniel Carter, 9-Piri Weepu, 8-Kieran Read (captain), 7-Sam Cane, 6-Victor Vito, 5-Samuel Whitelock, 4-Luke Romano, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Andrew Hore, 1-Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16-Keven Mealamu, 17-Tony Woodcock, 18-Ben Franks, 19-Steven Luatua, 20-Matt Todd, 21-Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22-Beauden Barrett, 23-Charles Piutau.
Source: ONE News/ Reuters

Justin Bieber to perform in Auckland again

Justin Bieber is returning to New Zealand later this year. The Canadian singer will perform at Vector Arena in Auckland on 24 and 25 November. On his previous trip to New Zealand he was mobbed by hundreds of teenage girls at Auckland airport. After his shows here, Bieber will perform at several venues in Australia.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, June 19

Puzzlement over NZ-Asia fruitbowl forecast

Government claims that New Zealand could become a fruit bowl to Asia have drawn some puzzled responses from the people who grow and sell the fruit. Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said a new Government report shows there are significant opportunities for an increase in fruit exports to Asia. Mr Joyce said the report showed avocados, blueberries and cherries are the three fruits which have stand-out growth potential. But Blueberries New Zealand chairman Dan Peach said he thinks the report's findings require a big stretch of the imagination as blueberry exports to Asia have collapsed in the last eight years. The high dollar means New Zealand blueberries simply are not competitive in many markets. Mr Peach said nearly all New Zealand's blueberries are now exported to Australia. New Zealand exports about $1.5 billion worth of fresh fruit per year in total. About $1 billion dollars of that value is from kiwifruit. And the industry's fortunes are in decline, after biosecurity breaches resulted in the PSA disease getting into the country. After kiwifruit, New Zealand's next most valuable export fruit is apples - those exports are worth around $400 million.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Air NZ wins top honours

By 3 News online staff
Air New Zealand has won top honours at the Skytrax World Airline awards in France overnight. The awards were handed out at the prestigious Paris Air Show, where Air New Zealand won all three Premium Economy categories including best premium economy class, seat and onboard catering. The awards are in recognition of the premium economy class available on the Boeing 777-300 fleet. The cabin offers travellers the Spaceseat, as well as New Zealand food and wine. The World Airline awards are determined each year by the Skytrax passenger satisfaction survey, with travellers from over 160 countries. The survey covers more than 200 airlines.

Aussies snap up our homes

By Anne Gibson
Australians are contributing to New Zealand's skyrocketing house prices, with new research showing they bought more property than any other overseas group. The figures have prompted calls to ban purchases by foreigners or impose a tax on top of the sale price. BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander has found Australians are the biggest single group of overseas buyers with 22 per cent of all property purchases by foreigners. Chinese are second at 20 per cent and British at 13 per cent. The BNZ-REINZ survey asked real estate agents to identify the proportions of their sales to various groups. It found 8 per cent to 9 per cent of sales were to foreigners.

Dalziel running for Chch Mayor

Labour MP Lianne Dalziel has formally announced she will run for Christchurch's mayoralty later this year. The long-serving Christchurch East MP confirmed it on Twitter, saying "it's official now - I'm running for the Christchurch mayoralty". Ms Dalziel had said in March that she was "99 percent sure" she would not stand against Mayor Bob Parker, but a month later she was revealed to have courted Student Volunteer Army leader Sam Johnson to be her running mate and deputy mayor. However, Mr Johnson, who is on the Riccarton-Wigram Community Board, turned down the offer. Local body elections take place in October.
NZN / 3 News

Fonterra to stop taking milk from farms with oil and gas waste

Fonterra will no longer accept milk from new farms that have converted marginal land into dairy pasture using oil and gas drilling waste. Waste made up of ground rock, drilling mud, and lubricant fluids is increasingly being dumped in the practice known as 'land farming'. The sludge is trucked to about a dozen sites in Taranaki, stored in pits to let petrochemicals settle before being spread thinly across the land where it is covered and becomes pasture. Fonterra currently collects milk from six farms that have spread petroleum-tainted mud, but says it won't take on any more farms. The company said the cost of specially testing the milk for petroleum contaminants is too high, about $80,000 per year, and the testing is more trouble than it's worth. Taranaki Regional Council backs the use of the waste spreading saying it is strictly monitored and the drilling muds improve coastal sandy soils for productive farming.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, June 18

More community clout over liquor licensing

A new law is in force giving communities a bigger say on whether new bars or liquor stores should be allowed in their neighbourhoods. It's the first part of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act to be implemented, and it's effective from today. Justice Minister Judith Collins says people can oppose a liquor licence application if they believe the location of the premises will have a negative impact on the neighbourhood, including increased noise or vandalism. Previously, applications could only be opposed on the grounds of the applicant's suitability to hold a licence. "The Government has given communities the tools they need to challenge unwanted bars, bottle stores and other licensed premises and stop them from setting up in particular parts of their neighbourhood," Ms Collins said.
Source: NZN

Parliament TV to get a shake up

By Kate Shuttleworth
A shake up of the way proceedings in Parliament are broadcast is underway. The Government has put out to tender the contract to deliver Parliament TV. Kordia has held the $3 million contract for six years and a spokeswoman for the Office of the Clerk would not say if they one of "several" companies who had been shortlisted to deliver the service. A spokeswoman for the Office of the Clerk said they have asked companies to put forward idea on how to make better use of the Parliament TV channel. The office is also looking at webcasts and podcasts from some select committees. There will be no funding for this, so it will initially be trialled and screened via the Parliamentary website to see if there is an appetite for it.

Another international award for Kim Hill

Radio New Zealand's Saturday Morning presenter Kim Hill has won a second international broadcasting award. The gold medal for best talk show host was awarded by the grand jury at the 2013 New York Festival Radio Awards. In November, Ms Hill was named the 2012 international radio personality of the year by the Association for International Broadcasting in London.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Target bank to be named by a class action group

The first bank to be taken to court accused of charging high bank fees to customers will be named at 1pm. The Fair Play on Fees group will make the announcement. The group will also introduce the legal team who will represent the bank's customers in a class action. Fair Play on Fees was launched in March to fight excessive bank fees. It claimed customers are charged on average $15 every time they overdraw their accounts, pay their credit card late or bounce a cheque, but these cost banks only a few cents. The group said up to 1 million people in New Zealand could be eligible to claim excessive default fees, estimated to be around $1 billion over the past six years.
Note: The bank named is the ANZ bank.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Polar blast to bring heavy snow

By Matthew Backhouse
There will be a brief reprieve today for towns cleaning up from yesterday's floods as they prepare for the threat of "blizzard conditions" later this week. Snow could reach as far north as the Coromandel Peninsula and the Kaimai Range later this week as a huge winter storm looks set to batter the country. MetService has issued a special weather advisory for the entire country, warning of a "significant cold outbreak" expected to start sweeping up the South Island from tomorrow night before reaching the North Island on Thursday and Friday. Temperatures are expected to be "very cold", snow may fall in many areas, and "strong, cold, blustery" winds will affect most of the country. "People should be aware that snowfalls are likely to cause widespread disruption to traffic especially about alpine passes and higher level roads, and more generally in Marlborough, Canterbury, Southland and around Dunedin," the bureau said. "Exposed parts of the South Island east coast are likely to experience blizzard conditions for a time during Thursday and Friday, which will put stress on livestock and make outdoor pursuits hazardous." MetService said it would issue warnings throughout the week for the "significant winter storm".

Monday, June 17

NZ Truth to cease publishing after 125 years - reports

Tabloid newspaper NZ Truth will reportedly cease publishing after 125 years. Staff at the newspaper, which was founded in 1887, were reportedly told today that it would not go to print on Thursday and there may not be another print edition. The paper's website this evening made no mention of its print edition ceasing publishing.

Drink bottle designed to fight child obesity

By Sonya Bateson
A Tauranga student hopes his product - aimed at making drinking water fun - will help combat child obesity. Sam Thorpe, a University of Otago student who grew up in Tauranga, began developing the Flowbot drink bottle nine months ago and hopes it will be on shelves next year. It features pictures and games on the side that are only activated if the bottle is filled with water or a low-sugar drink. The 21-year-old said he and some classmates created the bottle as a result of their goal to try to tackle child obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. There will be two versions of the drink bottle, one aimed at under-5s and another for older children. The first will display a happy face when filled with water or an discouraging message when filled with a high-sugar drink. The older children's version will have a pinball-style game on the bottle that will be de-activated if the bottle is filled with a high-sugar drink.

Kaipara rates case in High Court next month

Mangawhai ratepayers who refuse to stump up for the debts of Kaipara District Council, will have their day in court next month. Landowners in the coastal town are seeking a judicial review of rates charged for a sewerage system that was supposed to cost about $25 million - and ended up costing nearly $60 million. A bill to validate the dubious rates retrospectively, has passed its first reading in Parliament. Mangawhai Ratepayers Association chairman Bruce Rogan said the wrong-doing involved is too important to be swept under the carpet. He said the council borrowed without the ratepayers' knowledge to cover cost blow-outs that were also hidden from the public and the Auditor-General failed to pick up those errors. Mr Rogan said ratepayers should not have to pick up the bill where a council acted illegally. The Kaipara rates case is set down for 16 August, in the High Court at Whangarei.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

McCully travels to Israel for bilateral meetings

By Kate Shuttleworth
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will travel to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories today for bilateral meetings and discussions on the Middle East Peace Process. Mr McCully will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as senior members of their governments. "I will be making clear to both parties New Zealand's strong wish to see them commence direct talks while the two-state solution remains a viable prospect," Mr McCully said. "With a balanced and constructive approach New Zealand can well support this process." Mr McCully will also visit Cyprus for meetings with President Nicos Anastasiades and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Kasoulides.

Consumer confidence at highest level in three years

Consumer confidence is at its highest level since before the first major earthquake in Christchurch nearly three years ago. The Westpac - McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence Index rose 6 points to nearly 117 in June, the highest it has been since June 2010. A figure above 100 indicates optimists outnumber pessimists. Westpac says it appears economic optimism has surged, prices for many consumer goods have fallen, and sentiment in rural regions has recovered as the immediate impact of the drought fades, and is replaced by the prospect of higher dairy payouts
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Massive dinosaur fossils found in Outback

A dinosaur dig in outback Queensland over the past two weeks unearthed a "treasure trove" of massive fossils, believed to be 98 million years old. Field palaeontologist David Elliott of the Australian Age of Dinosaurs at Winton said giant limbs and two-metre ribs were uncovered. "We didn't stop finding stuff - as fast as you would try and dig around one bone, you started uncovering another,'' he told the ABC. "We had some (plaster) jackets there the size of the back of the ute - they were massive. "In actual volume, I suppose there is a couple of tonne of bones, and in actual bones I suppose there would have been over a couple of dozen." Mr Elliott said it will be next year before they begin preparing the bones. "That is a new species and it is like nothing else on the planet.''
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Big snow set to follow the rain

Canterbury could be hit by the worst snowfall in 20 years as the warm wet weather causing havoc in the South Island turns icy later in the week. Today, rivers in north Otago are at or above record highs as police urge motorists to avoid much of the South Island's roads due to flooding and slips. The comparatively warm, wet weather that has been battering the country will give way to icy blasts later in the week, with the possibility of snow in Christchurch.
© Fairfax NZ News

Sunday, June 16

New Zealand can take advantage of demands for fruit in Asia

A report on the fresh fruit sector released this week suggests New Zealand can become a fruit bowl for Asia. It also also addresses the obstacles such as the high tariffs imposed in some of those markets. Earlier, Zespri said the summer drought has helped to make sweeter fruit, which is boosting sales in Asia. The Coriolis Research report, Driving Growth in the Fresh Fruit Sector, is the latest in a series of reports released under the Food & Beverage Information Project. Exporters and producers are focusing more attention on Asia to take advange of higher prices and lower freight costs and shipping times, compared with traditional markets such as Europe. Sweeter tasting new varieties of apples and other fruits are specifically being developed to cater for Asia taste preferences. The report says that avocados, cherries and blueberries stand out as having the potential for export growth. The wine industry is also crediting the long, hot summer for what's expected to be one of its best vintages.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Australia puts national ban on synthetic drugs

The Australian government is imposing an interim national ban on 19 synthetic drugs after Sydney teenager Henry Kwan took an LSD-like drug and fell to his death. The ban will prohibit the sale and supply of the drugs for 120 days, giving state and territories time to update their legislation and outlaw synthetic drugs, AAP reports. "Synthetic drugs are dangerous substances that can kill and should not be available for sale," minister assisting for deregulation David Bradbury said. "The synthetic drugs market is fast-moving and suppliers have shown they are willing to change brand names and packaging to get around bans made under consumer laws." He called on the state and territory governments to conduct an urgent review of their drug laws to make sure that synthetic drugs "are not falling through the cracks".
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Sisters sue dad over lost pocket money

Two teenage sisters have successfully sued their father for the return of $20,000 worth of pocketmoney they earned from their grandparents. Ellisha and Amanda Basher, now aged 18 and 15, worked as young children in their maternal grandparents' joinery business doing odd jobs on weekends and school holidays over several years. The Napier pair each had a bank account that their father, Wayne Basher, deposited their pay cheques into. When mother Karleen died of breast cancer in 2005, family relationships deteriorated, with the girls and their grandparents on one side and Wayne Basher on the other. The grandparents got custody of the girls. Ellisha said that in 2008, she and her sister discovered their bank accounts were empty; Ellisha was missing $11,154 and Amanda $9226. When asked about the money, Wayne sent them an email saying: "The money in the savings account WILL be returned upon Ellisha turning 25, not BEFORE!!" Fortunately, the grandparents kept "careful business and banking records" that detailed what each girl had been paid during their childhoods. The court ruled that, "Put simply, it is not his money and now the time has come for him to return it to his rightful owners."
Source: Fairfax

Saturday, June 15

Rugby - All Blacks touch down three times on way to easy win over France

The All Blacks delivered their promised of improving in Saturday night's second Test in Christchurch, with a 30-0 thrashing of France. It was New Zealand's 500th Test and it also marked captain Kieran Read's 50th game in black. The French were unlucky not to score first, missing a penalty and a dropped goal. The All Blacks took advantage with an early try by Julian Savea, which was converted by Aaron Cruden, who later kicked a penalty, to lead by ten points at half-time. The second half saw a long-range try by Ben Smith, converted by Cruden who also kicked two penalties. And there was a try in the final minutes, another long-range effort, by replacement Beudan Barrett, which was again converted by Cruden. The win means New Zealand take out the three-test series following their 23-13 victory last Saturday in Auckland. The third and final test is at New Plymouth next weekend.
Copyright © 2013, Radio New Zealand

Rugby - Lions slammed as 'serial cheats'

The British and Irish Lions would sooner "cheat" the best than "play" the best rugby, and it's no surprise given their coach is a New Zealander, according to former Australia coach Bob Dwyer. Dwyer, who guided Australia to their maiden World Cup triumph in 1991, told The Australian newspaper the Lions were cheating at the scrum, the breakdown and in loose play. The comments are certain to ignite tensions between the Warren Gatland-coached Lions and the Wallabies ahead of their three-match series starting with the first Test in Brisbane on June 22. "One comment I'd like to make after having seen the Lions in action on tour is that it doesn't come as any surprise they're coached by a New Zealander because they play outside the laws of the game as every New Zealand side does Dwyer said." Dwyer, 72, has long accused New Zealand teams of cheating, and in recent years has criticised captain Richie McCaw and the All Blacks forwards for using negative tactics and duping a succession of referees. On Saturday, however, he failed to mention the Wallabies are also coached by a New Zealander, Robbie Deans, who was a long-term coach of McCaw at the Canterbury Crusaders before he took the Australia job in 2008.
Source: Reuters

Trans-Tasman cable project out for tender

A tender has been put out for the construction of a new undersea cable between New Zealand and Australia that could make the internet cheaper. In February, Telecom and Vodafone in New Zealand and Australia's Telstra signed a memorandum of understanding to construct the $71 million cable which they expect to be in place by 2015. Expressions of interest are now being sought from several international submarine cable contractors. The successful tender will be chosen in the next few months and construction of the 2300km cable is expected to begin next year. Internet NZ's chief executive, Jordan Carter, says the new cable would be a big boost to New Zealanders. "At the moment there's only the Southern Cross cable, so having a second link would be good for resilience and should help bring down prices on that route. It would also be good of they could land it at Raglan or somewhere other than where the Southern Cross lands to give a bit more physical diversity to the network."
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Google launches balloon internet project in Canterbury

Google has launched an ambitious project in a bid to bring the internet to rural areas - using balloons. The online giant aims to build a network of balloons, floating high in the stratosphere, which would beam internet down to the earth below. Google revealed the plan today at a press conference in Christchurch, where it has begun trialling the idea. It has launched 30 balloons into the skies over Canterbury, and has around 50 testers ready to try to connect to them. It is hoped that the "balloon-powered internet access" will eventually be rolled out around the globe, to form a ring which would enable people to connect to the web no matter where they are in the world. The New Zealand pilot was launched this week, starting with a few dozen balloons in the Tekapo area. A group of around 50 testers in Christchurch and other parts of Canterbury now have special internet antennas which can connect to the balloons when they are in a 20km radius. Cantabrians have been invited to come along to Google's Festival of Flight at the Air Force Museum in Christchurch tomorrow, to be among the first people in the world to see the technology behind Project Loon. The Festival kicks off at 10am and finishes at 2pm, at the Air Force Museum at 45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch.
Source: ONE News

Fijians offered rewards for catching invasive ignuanas

A bounty programme to capture American Iguanas has been launched in Fiji. American Iguanas, which can grow up to 2m and weigh 9kg, aren't native to the Pacific and cause damage to indigenous ecosystems. Fijians will receive a reward of about $NZ6 for every adult iguana handed in over the next four months. The introduced lizard has become established on the Fijian island of Qamea and there are fears it will spread to other islands. The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and the nature conservation trust, Nature Fiji, hopes the programme will eradicate the pest.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Mt Hutt skifield opens today

Mt Hutt ski field officially opens for the winter season today. Mt Hutt, located 80km west of Christchurch, is the second ski field to open this year, after Coronet Peak opened last week. Thousands turned out for the first day of action with Coronet Peak ski area manager Ross Copland saying he hoped the good start meant a good season. Conditions are "looking great" for its opening day, Mt Hutt ski field said. The Remarkables in Queenstown is scheduled to open on June 22.
Source: ONE News

Elder son to stand in for ill King Tuheitia

By James Ihaka
Ill-health has forced King Tuheitia to stand down from public-speaking arrangements and choose his eldest son to represent him in the immediate future. A King's Council will also be established to advise the son, Whatumoana Te Aa Paki. Iwi leaders and members of the kahui ariki (royal family) met at Turangawaewae House, Ngaruawahia, yesterday where King Tuheitia, who is 58, told them that Te Kaunihera a te Kiingi (the King's Council) had been established, and his elder son would represent him until his health improves. A statement from the King's office said his ill-health was affecting his ability to carry out his official duties.

Kiwi's unwanted place in cricket history

New Zealand test opener Hamish Rutherford joined an unwanted chapter of Essex cricket history today as the English county side were dismissed for 20, their lowest total ever. Batting at No 3 in his first county championship match, Rutherford scored a three-ball duck as Essex were skittled in 14.2 overs and 68 minutes by Lancashire on their Chelmsford home ground, which is renowned as batter-friendly. Lancashire won the second division match by an innings and 105 runs after totalling 398 in their first innings. It was the sixth-lowest total in county first-class history, and the worst since 1983 when Essex dismissed Surrey for 14, also at Chelmsford.
© Fairfax NZ News

Eye specialist helps Cambodia treat childhood eye problems

A New Zealand ophthalmologist will travel to Cambodia to help show local surgeons how to treat eye problems in children. Australia-based charity Sight For All Foundation is paying to send 12 eye specialists to Cambodia over the next 18 months. Justin Mora will be the first to go and says when he arrives next month he will begin teaching two ophthalmologists how to treat children, because Cambodian eye surgeons are trained only in adult eye care.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

NZ soldiers install water systems for Samoan schools

New Zealand Army personnel have helped to provide freshwater resources to schools on Samoa's Upolu Island. They're being led by their American counterparts in giving humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. In December, Cyclone Evan caused major flooding in Samoa, wrecking buildings and destroying crops before moving on to batter Fiji. The Defence Force says water catchment systems installed by its crews will benefit more than 3000 staff and students. It says a number of its medics have also treated thousands of people and performed dental examinations. The Defence Force says some personnel have since gone to Tonga to do further aid work.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Friday, June 14

Idiot Radio DJ sacked over gay question to Julia Gillard

An Australian radio presenter has been sacked after asking the country's Prime Minister Julia Gillard if her partner Tim Mathieson is gay. Howard Sattler asked the question during an interview on Fairfax Radio's 6PR, in which he challenged Ms Gillard to address a series of myths and rumours. The DJ said to Ms Gillard he wasn't making the statement, but it was a popular myth. He then said "But you hear it. He must be gay, he's a hairdresser." Ms Gillard told him the line of questioning was absurd. Sattler had six months remaining on a two-year contract and said he is planning to take legal action over the termination. He said he had no regrets over the incident and there are other factors at play in his sacking. The ABC reports that the station has released a statement apologising "unreservedly" for the incident.

Low pressure over Tasman to bring heavy rain

Low pressure over the Tasman Sea will bring rain to much of New Zealand during the second half of the weekend, MetService spokesman Daniel Corbett said. "The approaching low will have a lot of available moisture from the sub-tropics, which could make it quite a wet end to the weekend in many places." First in line for a drenching is the West Coast of the South Island on Saturday night, and across the rest of the country during Sunday, Mr Corbett said. "There could be some heavy bursts of rain, especially in northern and western areas from Nelson over to Northland." MetService had already issued a severe weather warning for Nelson and a watch for many districts further north as well as eastern parts of the South Island. The Otago Regional Council is on flood watch with heavy rain expected on Sunday through to Tuesday.

Fee for mail delivery an option

Households may be offered the option of paying an extra fee if they want to continue to receive five or six postal deliveries a week, Communications Minister Amy Adams says. The Government is reviewing NZ Post's minimum service obligations, with the most radical suggestion being to cut deliveries of standard mail down to three a week. The state-owned enterprise posted an interim profit of $59.6 million in February but said then that its core postal service was barely breaking even after an 8 per cent slide in mail volumes. Adams told the Commerce select committee that she expected to take a proposal to the Cabinet on changes to NZ Post's base-level service in two or three months, but NZ Post had indicated any changes would not kick in for two or three years. The biggest impact from reducing deliveries would fall on remote, rural communities, Adams said.
© Fairfax NZ News

Antarctic research projects get funding

The newly formed Antarctic Research Institute has announced grants for seven projects. The institute is giving a total of $574,00 for research into subjects such as the impact of ice and glacier breaks and the adaptation of sea creatures to warmer, more acidic habitats. Director Gary Wilson says the money may not sound like much but is a big boost for Antarctic research, which is not well funded. The grants are for one year and researchers can reapply next year. The institute was established last year as a public-private partnership.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, June 13

Fleetwood Mac tickets on Trade Me at double original price

Tickets to legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac are going for almost double the original ticket price on Trade Me after they sold out in just 15 minutes this morning. When sales opened at 9am there was a "phenomenal demand" for tickets to the two shows on December 6 and 7 at Auckland's Vector Arena. Including the three rounds of special presales, all of the estimated 24,000 tickets were sold out by 9.15am. Some of the tickets have made it on to TradeMe already, with a listed price of around $300 each.
Source: ONE News/Fairfax

Call for urgent action on Pacific smoking

A national smokefree agency is calling for a massive boost to efforts to reduce smoking among Pacific people. One in four Pacific adults is a smoker and Tala Pasifika says if that trend continues Pacific communities won't meet the national smokefree target in 2025. Programme manager Stephanie Erick says 35,000 Pacific smokers need to get off cigarettes in Counties Manukau alone in the next five years. She says the Ministry of Health needs to shift its focus from individual smokers to getting whole families and church congregations to quit. The ministry's director for Pacific health, Hilda Fa'asalele, says an extra $20 million will be spent over the next four years to reduce smoking among Pacific people, Maori, pregnant women and young people and a media campaign targeting Pacific and Maori youth will be launched next year.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Wednesday, June 12

Afghan interpreters officially welcomed to NZ

By Kieran Campbell
Thirty Afghan interpreters and their families have been officially welcomed to New Zealand in a ceremony at Auckland's Government House this afternoon. Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae told the interpreters, who were offered resettlement in New Zealand for their assistance to Kiwi troops in Bamiyan province, that their presence would strengthen and enrich the fabric of the country. Sir Jerry said today's ceremony marked the completion of the families' resettlement into New Zealand.- APNZ

Biggest Fieldays year for international buyers

By Susie Nordqvist - Reporter
It's the biggest agricultural event of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Hundreds of international visitors have descended on the annual New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays event in Mystery Creek in Hamilton today, as the Government eyes a goal of doubling the country's agricultural exports within 12 years. It was the 45th Fieldays, and this year there wasn't just one flag represented. "This year we expect near to 700 international visitors," says Fieldays' international business executive Marcelo Mieres. "We're working with 22 delegations." They came from countries including Russia, Colombia and Pakistan. It's the first day of Fieldays, and by lunchtime more than 25,000 people had passed through the gates. That number is expected to reach 130,000 by Saturday, generating more than $430 million in sales.
3 News

Govt to override Chch city council

By Thomas Mead - Online Reporter
The Christchurch City Council has just over two weeks to improve its consenting processes, or it will lose the power to grant building consents. The measure follows an ultimatum from International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ), who have given the council a June 28 deadline to improve consenting processes or lose accreditation as a Building Consent Authority. Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government is willing to take up the slack but, in a media release this afternoon, delivered a scathing critique of the council. "The council has failed to adequately address its systems, resources and improve the culture of its consenting staff," he says. "This is, to say the very least, alarming and - in the circumstances of the massive rebuild we face in Christchurch - a crisis point." Mr Brownlee said the Government has been trying to help the council with its workload, offering "considerable support and advice." “For some time now we’ve had grave concerns about consenting processes at the Christchurch City Council," he says. “When I’ve asked for information about that in recent months I’ve been assured things were changing, and improving." The minister says the Government is now working on a contingency plan for implementation ahead of the IANZ deadline. “The council knew this workload was coming and hasn’t adequately addressed it," he says.

Drought spells good drop for wine lovers

The wine industry says this year's just-completed grape harvest is likely to be one of the best vintages ever - thanks to the summer drought. Some 345,000 tonnes of grapes was harvested throughout New Zealand, almost 30% more than last year. New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan says winemakers have told him the 2013 vintage will be one to look out for. He says the drought, while bad for pastoral farmers, provided consistently warm dry weather which are ideal conditions for grape-growing. New Zealand wine is exported to more than 90 countries with a total estimated annual value of $1.2 billion.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Challenge mooted to fast tracking of dam

A lobby group in Hawke's Bay is challenging moves to fast track the proposed Ruataniwha dam and irrigation scheme. The project, which could cost up to $600 million, is to have fast-track hearings by a ministerial board of inquiry. Transparent Hawke's Bay unsuccessfully tried to have the project delayed to allow for an independent assessment of environmental and financial assumptions used by the regional council. Chairperson Pauline Elliott said very little is known about the financial and economic viability of the project and she and other people are sceptical about the costs and benefits.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Gluckman wades into fluoride debate

Sir Peter Gluckman, the prime minister's chief science advisor, has waded into the fluoride debate saying the scientific facts prove there is no health risk from adding it to drinking water. Hamilton District Council voted last week to remove fluoride from its water supply. Other councils are looking at doing the same. Sir Peter said it is absolutely clear that fluoride doses used in New Zealand water have beneficial effects on dental health. He warned against what he calls the inappropriate and alarmist use of science in the debate. Sir Peter said scientists can clarify when science is being misused in arguments, but ultimately the debate must be resolved through the political process.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Tuesday, June 11

Rugby - Blues (Auckland) vs France

FULLTIME France 38 ( Noa Nakaitaci (2), Gael Fickou, Benjamin Kayser tries; Jean M Doussain four pens, three cons)
Blues 15 (James Parsons, George Moala tries; Baden Kerr pen; Marty McKenzie con)
France only had one Test starter from Saturday night's first Test loss to the All Blacks, in outstanding fullback Maxime Medard, but the visitors again showcased their proficiency at the breakdown and the set-piece to outscore the young Blues four tries to two.
Source: ONE Sport

Ministry forecasts 130,000 more jobs

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is picking rising economic activity will create about 130,000 jobs in the next three years. The ministry's latest jobs report forecasts strong growth in the construction and utilities industries, led by the Christchurch rebuild following damaging earthquakes and Auckland. Unemployment is expected to decline slowly, falling to 6% by March next year, 5.7% in 2015 and below 5% in 2016. The ministry estimates half of the jobs created will be in highly skilled positions such as managers and professionals, with a third being lower-skilled including food processing, retailing, accommodation, agriculture and construction.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Students to login to see brain

New Zealand high school students will soon be able to jump online and see what is going on inside their heads during puberty, including the effects of relationships, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol. From next year, an online, digital brain will enable students to explore how the brain generates electricity, produces chemicals and regulates itself. The digital brain, pioneered by Life Education founder Trevor Grice, aims to educate high schoolers of the neurological consequences of hormones, relationships, drugs and alcohol. Mr Grice says the project is about showing teenagers the importance of preserving their brain from damaging substances. "Their brains are all accelerator and no brake," he told NZ Newswire. "We're not saying don't do this, don't do that - we're saying look at what you've got, this is what you've got to protect. Parents and teachers will also be able to access the tool to facilitate their understanding of their children and pupils. Life Education is a charity that aims to educate primary and intermediate school children on health and relationships and reaches about 225,000 New Zealand kids each year.

Urgent Family Court cases move online

The Family Court has introduced a new online regime allowing judges to immediately hear urgent cases, such as child protection. eDuty means six Family Court judges are available each day to make decisions within an hour of a case being received. Before now, applicants would wait up to half a day for a judge to become available. Courts Minister Chester Borrows said the system will cut the waiting time to less than half an hour. He said people needing urgent help are doing so at a vulnerable time, and fast-tracking the process enables applicants to feel safer, sooner.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New citizens mark historic day for all NZ women

By Rebecca Quilliam
Twenty-five women from 21 countries became New Zealand citizens at Government House in Wellington yesterday in a ceremony to mark 120 years since women here were given the right to vote. The Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, congratulated the women for completing their journey in making New Zealand their home. "Putting our markers in the sand is important in setting out new beginnings," he said. "One hundred and twenty years ago, New Zealand marked another new beginning that set it on a new course, a radical course at the time and yet one that almost every other nation in the world has followed. "In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote in national elections," Sir Jerry said.

Monday, June 10

Super Fund cuts ties with nuclear-linked companies

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has sold its $2.2 million investment in five companies involved with maintaining nuclear weapons. The companies are: Babcock and Wilcox, Fluor Corporation, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Jacobs Engineering Group, URS Corporation and Serco - the private operator of Auckland's Mt Eden Prison. The Super Fund said on Monday it cut ties with the companies because they are involved in the modification and upgrade of nuclear explosive devices. It said the divestment would not have any financial impact on the overall fund, worth $22 billion. Prime Minister John Key said the move is appropriate. "They have set guidelines from the Government and that indicates what their parameters are for investing and they include moral and ethical rules, and my experience in the past is that they follow that.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Online map honours war dead

By Kurt Bayer
An interactive map that plots where 18,000 New Zealand soldiers who died in World War I are buried has been created for a project marking the conflict's centenary. It shows 428 cemeteries in Western Europe, mainly in Belgium and France, where Kiwis are buried. The map, posted on New Zealand History online, was created by historians at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage for WW100, the centenary project of New Zealand participation in the 1914-18 war. Ten per cent of the population of one million served overseas, with 18,000 killed and more than 40,000 wounded. A separate map for Gallipoli, the Middle East and North Africa is in development.
CLICK HERE for NZ History website
OR HERE for commonwealth War Graves Commmission

Govt agencies on track to return to central Christchurch

The Government says it is on track to return public sector offices back into central Christchurch, after they were abandoned because of the earthquakes. The Ministry of Justice was the first agency to completely move back into the city last week. Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said there has been a strong interest from developers to build offices for 20 government agencies. He said the suppliers will be selected by the end of the year.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand


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