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Saturday, August 31

Law students cheated in test in Tasmania

More than 160 final year law students have to re-sit their exams at the University of Tasmania. The ABC reports some fifth-year students cheated in a recent online test on criminal and civil procedure. The university will not say how many students are involved or if the culprits have been identified. The ABC reports the entire class is being punished and grades they have already earned this semester are to be wiped from their academic records. Students will also have to sit additional assessments including an in-class test and a formal exam. "Cheating on an exam for somebody who wants to be a lawyer is a serious issue," said Tasmanian Law Society spokesman Daniel Zeeman.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

NZ students rank well as all-rounders

New Zealand 15-year-olds are among the best in the world for all-round academic performance, according to an analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). On average across OECD countries, 16.3 per cent of students are top performers in at least one of the subject areas of science, mathematics and reading but only 4.1 per cent are top performers in all three. Academic all-rounders are rare and the proportion of them varies considerably across school systems. Shanghai-China has the highest numbers of academic all-rounders at 14.6 per cent, followed by Singapore with 12.3 per cent and New Zealand with 9.9 per cent. Finland has 8.5 per cent, Hong Kong 8.4 per cent, Japan 8.4 per cent and Australia 8.1 per cent.
Source: NZN

Army band awarded top prize at Edinburgh tattoo

The New Zealand Army Band has been awarded the top prize for their recent performances at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland. The band performed throughout the three- week festival. It received the Pooley Broadsword prize which is presented each year to the top item, band or dance group that maintains consistently high performances at the tattoo. Band director Major Graham Hickman said the prize is a great honour. He described the band's display as uniquely Kiwi, with lots of variety and entertainment. The band performed to more 200,000 people and to an estimated international television audience of 100 million people.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Test drilling for gas off Otago in January

Anadarko, a Texan oil company, is to drill a test well for gas and oil off the coast of Otago in January. The deep-water well will be drilled 60km offshore from Taiaroa Head, near Dunedin, at the bottom of the Canterbury Basin. The $US100 million well has been delayed for the past two summers for lack of a rig. New Zealand manager Alan Seay said Anadarko has chartered a ship to drill one well off the Otago Peninsula from mid-January after it completes drilling off Taranaki. Mr Seay said the company is targetting large but unproven gas fields.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Friday, August 30

Hefty fine for underpaying staff

Three Auckland convenience and liquor stores have been fined $211,000 for underpaying Indian staff in New Zealand on student visas. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment prosecuted Civic Convenience, Symonds Liquor and Sky Liquor owner Ala'a Bader through the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) after receiving a complaint from 11 employees in July last year. The complainants, in New Zealand from India on student visas, reported being underpaid by the companies. The ERA found Bader breached minimum wage and holiday pay entitlements, did not provide employment agreements and did not keep accurate time and wage records. He was ordered to pay a $211,000 penalty, including $96,000 in minimum wages and holiday pay to the complainants.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

PM says Parliament would debate any Syrian proposal

Prime Minister John Key says Parliament will get to debate any military intervention in Syria. The United States has hinted it could act alone against Syria after the British government lost a vote to endorse the principle of British involvement in a military intervention. Mr Key says New Zealand still wants the conflict resolved through the United Nations Security Council.
Prime Minister John Key on Thursday. But he is not ruling out New Zealand involvement in a military intervention, even if it's not under a UN mandate. Mr Key says that would be subject to a Parliamentary debate. "To the best of my knowledge we've haven't really ever had a vote on whether we join in military action but ultimately there'll certainly be debate within Parliament - opportunity for leaders and others to express their views."
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Water-proof bibles go everywhere a soldier does

By 3 News online staff
New Zealand soldiers will now be able to take The Good Book through any terrain they find themselves in, thanks to the development of a military world-first water-proof bible. The Defence Force says the water-defying bible was developed following a chance find by NZDF Chaplain Lance Lukin. Mr Lukin found a water-proof bible while sorting through a bargain bin in a Wellington store about 18 months ago. He thought the idea could be developed as a resource specifically for new recruits. Each water-proof bible costs $15 and the $32,000 it cost to produce 5000 of them was covered by personal donations as well as private donations from church groups. The practice of presenting military personnel with bibles began in World War I.
3 News

Kiwi journo detained by Egyptian authorities

By 3 News online staff
A group of Al Jazeera journalists, including one New Zealander, have been detained by Egyptian authorities for more than two days, Al Jazerra reports. Kiwi journalist Wayne Hay, who now works as a freelance correspondent for Al Jazeera, was arrested in Cairo along with camera man Adil Bradlow, producers Russ Finn and Baher Mohammed. Mr Hay left New Zealand to take up a role at Al Jazeera in 2006. It is understood there is growing hostility towards journalists in Egypt.
3 News

Fish smuggler caught with wet pockets

A Vietnamese national has been charged under the Biosecurity Act after being caught trying to smuggle live tropical fish into New Zealand in his trouser pockets. The Ministry of Primary Industries says Customs officials noticed water dripping from the man's pockets when he arrived at Auckland airport from Australia this week. When asked to empty his pockets, the man revealed two plastic bags containing water and seven live fish. The man said he was bringing the fish into the country for a friend.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, August 29

Australian bookmaker decides election race over, starts paying bets

An Australian bookmaker has begun paying out bets on a conservative opposition victory, declaring the country's September 7 election race already over for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's struggling Labor government. With nine days to go, online bookmaker Sportsbet said it had begun paying A$1.5 million ($1.72 million) in bets received on a victory for opposition leader Tony Abbott's centre-right coalition, because the outcome was already clear. "As far as Sportsbet's betting markets are concerned, the Abbotts can start packing up their belongings ahead of their imminent move to Kirribilli House," Sportsbet spokesman Haydn Lane said, referring to the prime minister's residence in Sydney. Abbott's conservatives are expected to sweep aside Labor's minority government, with recent opinion polls giving them a 53 percent to 47 percent lead, enough to command a sizeable majority in parliament's lower house.
Source: AAP

Kiwi zoo's lion experience goes global

By Kurt Bayer
A Christchurch zoo has been left stunned, and delighted, with major international news outlets promoting its lions experience, where its the human visitors who are caged and the wild beasts that roam free. Eagle-eyed British news reporters this week spotted photos of the unique experience posted on a private tourist's Facebook page, and pursued a story, which has since gone global. Other major news outlets included the Scottish tabloid, the Daily Record, fellow UK 'red top' paper, Mirror, as well as sites in America and India. "We've been doing this for years, but if they want to tell everybody about it, then it's great free advertising for us. It's great," zoo spokesman Nathan Hawke said today. "It's the reversing of the roles - with the humans being in the cage - which has got the foreign media so excited," Mr Hawke said. The Lion Encounter runs daily at 2.30pm, with an additional cost to park admission of $30 per person.

All Christchurch town hall to be conserved

Christchurch City Council unanimously voted on Thursday to conserve Christchurch town hall in its entirety. Four options for repair of the quake-damaged premises were considered. They all supported the restoration of the hall's main auditorium and theatre, but differed on whether the southern wing be kept as it is, or is replaced with something modern. Councillors voted for option one, which opts to keep the wing, along with the rest of the building. Members of the public applauded when the decision was reached. The work will cost about $127 million. The damage was caused by liquefaction under the building and horizontal ground movement towards the Avon River.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

World War I diaries to be published online

he diaries, personnel files, photos, voices and music of New Zealand soldiers who served in World War I are to be available online. AAP reports Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain announced on Thursday that collections at Archives New Zealand and the National Library will be digitised as part of a programme to commemorate the centenary of World War I. "This huge resource will particularly allow young people, through the National Library's services to schools programme, to gain a much better understanding of events which took place 100 years ago," said Mr Tremain. He said the projects would help people understand how military heritage has shaped national identity
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Govt to post rest-home audits online

By Simon Collins
The Government has agreed to post full audit reports of rest homes online - but will take them down again after a six-month trial if people don't bother reading them. The experiment will start in November after years of lobbying by Grey Power and Consumer NZ, which urges people to read the reports. "We have been lobbying for this because the summary reports published at the moment are very slim on detail," said Consumer NZ research writer Jessica Wilson, who has analysed all reports on the country's 634 rest homes since 2009.
Accessing reports
Rest homes:
District health boards:

Letter wins world essay competition

A New Zealand student has won the world's oldest essay competition with a letter to 100 million girls around the globe. Katherine McIndoe, 19, of Victoria University is the senior prize winner in the Royal Commonwealth Society's 2013 essay competition, which celebrated its 130th anniversary this year. Katherine said she has become aware of the number of girls around the world who don't have the freedoms she has. She said she wanted to share her opinion that all girls should be able to walk down the street without fear and have the same access to education, freedom of expression, that she has.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

World first for icy-road warning technology

By Rosie Manins
Potentially life-saving technology, first trialled on Dunedin roads, is being installed throughout Otago in another world first. About 700 PATeye road markers, which flash blue in icy conditions, are being installed across the region to warn motorists and prevent crashes. The two-year trial of the Christchurch-developed technology has already attracted global interest, as well as praise from national organisations including the New Zealand Automobile Association (AA) and New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
Otago Daily Times

Wednesday, August 28

Angler pulls in giant bluefin tuna

A giant two and half metre long bluefin tuna weighing 263kg may have secured a world record for a group of Wellington anglers after an exhausting high-seas battle to best the fish. Lindsey Haagh, from Porirua, was the woman who landed the titan on Monday morning. ‘‘I don’t think I’ve ever experienced an adrenalin rush like it. I’m still buzzing now,’’ she said. Mrs Haagh and friends Warwick Walbran, Lloyd Ditchfield, Rob Paulin and Lindsay Gault, all from Porirua and Kapiti, were on a long-planned deep sea fishing trip down the West Coast of the South Island over the weekend. They think it is a world record size for a female angler standing unsecured on the boat rather than strapped on to any support and are having it officially verified. The current record size is only 235kg. In January this year a bluefin tuna weighing 222kg sold in Japan for 155 million yen ($NZ2.05million) at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.
- © Fairfax NZ News

Expert in NZ to study dairy farming employment

An American agricultural employment specialist is in New Zealand with tips for farmers on how to ensure they hire the best person for the job. Gregorio Billikopf is a professor at the University of California. He's working with Lincoln University to look at the expansion of dairy farming and the rapid increase in the employment of migrant labour. In 2005, there were few migrants working in the dairy industry. Lincoln University believes there are now about 2000 Filipinos working on dairy farms - and that the industry's expansion wouldn't have been possible without them. Professor Billikopf says the same principles apply to farmers whether they're hiring migrants or locals - and they can make a huge difference to their business if they get the best person for the job. He says the best employee on the farm can be four to eight times better than the worst - and he says farmers can use a range of tests to make sure they find them. Professor Billikopf will be giving a public talk about his ideas on Thursday between 11.30am and 1.30pm at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Taranaki oil and gas industry in expansive mood

The oil and gas industry is showcasing its operations in Taranaki as other regions start looking to expand the hunt for petrochemical resources. More than 640 wells have been drilled in Taranaki - the only producing oil and gas basin in the country - and that number is set to increase rapidly. Tag Oil is producing 1300 barrels a day of oil from the Cheal production station and 55,000 cubic metres of gas and plans to dig a series of new wells. The industry is running bus tours to improve, what it calls, transparency by the industry as it expands. This is partly the result of the public's environmental concerns about the industry and the practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Child support lapses push debt to $210m

Waikato parents owe close to a quarter of a billion dollars in child support payments - with mums and dads blaming crippling penalty repayments for their mounting debt. New figures from Inland Revenue show Waikato's child support debt has jumped $83m to $210m in the past five years, while nationally parents owe $2.697 billion. From April next year the government will introduce a raft of changes to child support laws, including relaxing debt write-off rules. But parent advocates and political opponents say the reforms don't go far enough and fail to address the needs of vulnerable children. Union of Fathers national president Allan Harvey said excessive penalties and interest rates had fuelled the nation's child support debt. He expected the law reforms could see more than a billion dollars of debt written off in the next few years but said some parents would still struggle to make their payments. "Currently a lot of the child support debt is unrecoverable, with up to three-quarters of the debt actually IRD penalties," Mr Harvey said.
© Fairfax NZ News

Snow forecast for parts of South Island today

Snow is predicted to fall to 200m-300m in eastern and southern parts of the South Island today, MetService says. A special weather advisory was issued yesterday warning of a cold southerly change, which was expected to spread north over the South Island this afternoon and evening. Snow was predicted to 200m-300m from this evening but snow accumulations were not expected to reach warning amounts, MetService said. The change in weather was predicted to bring rain, with snow about the hills, this evening in Dunedin, and rain and snow showers in Queenstown.
- Otago Daily Times

Tuesday, August 27

NZ workers eyed by London mayor

Kiwis eyeing jobs in the United Kingdom could soon find it easier to get a working visa, with London Mayor Boris Johnson mooting a "free labour mobility zone" for Aussie workers - which could extend across the Tasman. Mr Johnson, who is holidaying in Australia, is outraged after receiving a letter from teacher Sally Roycroft, who was "effectively kicked out of Britain" for not being from the European Union, where workers are favoured by an "outrageous and indefensible" discrimination. "She is Australian, and she has been told to bog off by the authorities in our country because it was, they said, too much of a palaver to go through the business of `sponsoring her' to stay," Mr Johnson wrote in his Daily Telegraph column. He says in joining the EU, the United Kingdom betrayed its relationships with Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries - but he wants to rectify that with a "free labour mobility zone", starting with Australia.
Source: NZN

Cold snap to grip the country

Snow down to 200 metres is expected in the lower South Island tomorrow, with most of the country expected to feel some impact from a change to a cold southerly wind in the next day or two. Snow showers were also expected about the top of the Desert Road, MetService said, and the road over the Rimutaka Range, between Wellington and Wairarapa, could be affected by snow on Thursday. Strong cold southwesterlies were expected in Southland and Clutha from about the middle of Wednesday, with snow gradually coming down to 200 metres. On Thursday snow was expected to about 400m. In Otago the cold wind was expected to kick in tomorrow evening, with snow down to 300m. In central Otago snow was expected to low levels from tomorrow afternoon.
Source: Fairfax

Moa skeletons unearthed in hidden cave

The skeletons of what is believed to have been a family of five moa have been unearthed in a hidden cave on the outskirts of Whangarei. It is believed the extinct birds' remains have been there for more than two thousand years. Two years ago, Ian Calder first stumbled across the narrow gap in the ground under some rocks about three or four metres deep on his 20-hectare lifestyle block at Whareora. However, it wasn't until recently that he shifted the rocks and found a small bone which he initially thought was from a human. He rushed home to tell his wife, cleaned the dirt off it and hopped online. "I had it in my hand and it just came up, exactly what I had in my hand, the bone. We knew straight away what it was and for a few seconds we didn't say anything," said Mr Calder. The bones have been donated to a local museum.
- Newstalk ZB

Key quiet on Kiwi troops in Syria

Prime Minister John Key is making no commitments on any potential role for New Zealand troops in a US-led intervention in Syria. It emerged today that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was briefed by US President Barack Obama on the escalating humanitarian crisis. World leaders have been united in their condemnation of chemical attacks which have reported left more than 350 people dead and calls have intensified for action against President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Rudd today appeared to be indicating Australian support for international action. Key said he had not been briefed on the Rudd-Obama talks. He would not be drawn on what New Zealand's response would be, other to say the Government would continue to work alongside the United Nations.
© Fairfax NZ News

Monday, August 26

Passport validity period extended

Jet-setting Kiwis will now be able travel for longer on their passports, after the validity period was extended today. Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain announced New Zealand passports will now be valid for a full five years. "Some New Zealanders need to renew their passports early because some countries require visitors to have six months validity remaining on their passport at the time of arrival," said Mr Tremain. "This effectively means they do not get full use of their passport's five-year validity period. The validity period will be increased so that time lost on renewing a passport can be credited to the new passport, up to an additional nine months.
Source: ONE News

Ko retains Canadian Open title

New Zealand teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko has made history again by defending her Canadian Open title. The 16-year-old fired a 6 under par round of 64 at Edmonton's Royal Mayfair Golf Club to take a five-stroke lead over nearest rival Karine Icher of France. Ko was in a field which boasted the world's top 10 players and 96 of the world's top 100 players. The win makes her the youngest player to win twice on the US LPGA Tour. She last year became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Job shortage for junior doctors

An oversupply of medical graduates that wasn't predicted until 2017 has left would-be junior doctors out of jobs. In a reversal of the previous workforce shortage, trainee doctors have this year been faced with job uncertainty as district health boards grapple with "unanticipated" interest in hospital placements. Last-minute internship positions have had to be created in hospitals nationwide to deal with the influx, forcing a two-week delay in job offers. While 376 New Zealand residents were finally offered positions last week - 49 more internships than in 2012 - international students who have trained here have not been so lucky. An estimated 30 students have missed out, New Zealand Medical Students Association president Phillip Chao says. "These are extremely intelligent, brilliant students who have funded their own education here, and some are in massive debt. We feel they should have the opportunity to give back to the New Zealand healthcare system if that is their choice. It's just poor planning - we've known this was going to happen since 2008.
© Fairfax NZ News

John Key's 'believability' low

We may trust the prime minister, but we don't necessarily believe him. A majority of New Zealanders do not fully believe what John Key says, despite rating him as a strong and effective leader whom they trust to run the country, the latest Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll testing voters' attitude to our political leaders shows. Asked if they fully believed what Key said, 58.6 per cent said no and just 23.5 per cent yes. Ironically, in the poll taken before David Shearer stood down as Labour leader, the man who was widely criticised for his stumbles actually rated higher on that score than the PM - despite forgetting to declare a New York bank account containing more than $50,000. About 33 per cent said they fully believed what Shearer said, although more - 43 per cent - said they did not. Key's poor "believability" rating comes after a series of so-called "brain fades" over issues associated with Kim Dotcom and the Government Communications Security Bureau and the appointment of its head, Ian Fletcher, whom Key had known since childhood.
© Fairfax NZ News

Auckland's first new electric train arrives

The first of Auckland's state-of-the-art electric trains has finally arrived from Spain. The 70m-long carriage is one of 57 three-car trains that will run through the city. It's currently at the Wiri depot, undergoing certification and testing, ahead of its official unveiling next month. The total cost of the fleet is $420 million, and they will be in full service within two years.
3 News

Sunday, August 25

Warmest winter since the 1800s

A climate scientist says New Zealand has experienced the warmest winter since the late 1800s, when reliable records began. Jim Salinger says September-like temperatures have been occurring in August, with this month and winter overall being the warmest ever. He says the mean temperature for this winter season has been 9.5 degrees Celsius - 1.2 degrees above normal. Dr Salinger says the previous warmest winter was in 1998, with a mean temperature of 9.3 degrees.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Early start to pollen season

An adviser with Allergy New Zealand says the pollen season has started earlier than normal because of a mild winter and signs of an early spring. The agency, which provides information and advice, believes about one in five New Zealanders suffer from allergies associated with pollen. Adviser Penny Jorgensen says pollen from pine trees, grass and weeds can affect human health more than other types of pollen. She says that's because the pollen dust is lighter than the sort found in trees and travels more easily in the wind. Ms Jorgenson says pollen can affect sleep, as people allergic to it can't breathe through the nose. It can also trigger asthma. She says the season usually finishes in March.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Banks pressured to make swaps easier

By Susan Edmunds
Banks could be forced to allow customers to take their account number with them when they shift to a new bank, in the same way customers can take their cellphone number with them when they move telcos. Britain, India and the US have all been looking into the idea and MPs here confirm that they too, want bank account portability. National MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga said he was first asked to consider it by credit union NZCU, which had also had discussions with Green Party co-leader Russel Norman.
Herald on Sunday

Saturday, August 24

Trust says it has financial support to save cathedral

The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust says it's got plenty of financial support for its fight to save the quake damaged Christ Church Cathedral. The trust has announced it will ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeal's decision last month ruling the building can be demolished, and replaced with something new. Co-chair of the trust Jim Anderton says a decision needs to be made by the highest court in the land. Mr Anderton says there are many locals who are financially backing the action. "Cost is not an issue, I mean one of the people who is helping to pay the bills is putting up $1 million for the restoration, so these are in a way petty cash items compared to what people are prepared to contribute to restore the cathedral." Mr Anderton says demolition has been halted while the matter is before the courts.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rugby - All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup

The All Blacks beat the Wallabies 27-16 to retain the Bledisloe Cup in front of a sold-out Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday. Reuters reports that All Black winger Ben Smith followed up last week's hat-trick of tries in Sydney with two more. Debutant first five eighth Tom Taylor was far from over-awed with 14 points from the boot and a composed performance in general play, while Israel Dagg added a penalty when Taylor was receiving medical treatment late in the game. Christian Leali'ifano kicked three penalties for the Wallabies and converted Israel Folau's late intercept try but it was not enough for the visitors, who have not beaten the All Blacks in New Zealand since 2001. The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup, the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy, since 2003 and the third match in the series in Dunedin in October, which is not part of the Rugby Championship, is now a dead rubber.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Hockey praises New Zealand economy

Australia's shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has praised the New Zealand economy and says Australia can learn lessons from the way it is managed. "Your economy is doing so well. You've got your act together in New Zealand," he told The Nation today. The Liberal Party member for North Sydney said the cost of doing business in New Zealand was 20 percent lower than in Australia but lower wages were not the only factor. He said he was prepared to look at the issue of tax credits on dividends paid by Australian companies to New Zealand shareholders. Australia needed to make prudent cuts to expenditure, pare back on waste and get rid of taxes that were a hand-break to growth, he said.
Source: NZN

Report slams reading recovery programme

The effectiveness of New Zealand's long-standing reading recovery programme for primary school children has been slammed in a new study. Despite spending $40 million a year on the system, the study has found it does little for those most in need and has a failure rate of around 20%. Massey Institute of Education research shows the programme is failing around 20% of participants and Professor James Chapman says a "disproportionately large" number of Maori and Pacific island children are in that group, as well as children from low income backgrounds. Experts are calling for an overhaul of reading recovery.
Source: ONE News

Fines at lowest level in almost a decade

The amount fines and reparations owed has dropped to the lowest level in almost a decade. "A combination of falling crime rates leading to fewer fines being imposed, as well as the range of new tools this Government has introduced to chase fines-dodgers have produced a superb result," Courts Minister Chester Borrows said. The total fines and reparations owed currently sit at $564 million, down from a 2009 peak of $806m, he said. Coordination between Inland Revenue and the Ministry of Social Development had made it easier to track down those not paying, and had brought in more than $80m of hard-to-reach fines in the past year. Cooperation with credit reporting agencies had brought in a further $16.7m, he said. "These two initiatives allow the Ministry to find people who may not have been aware that they owed fines or who have been completely resistant to paying, and recover money we otherwise might never have brought in," Mr Burrows said.

Friday, August 23

Rugby - Otago lift Ranfuly Shield for first time since 1957

Otago have ended 56 years of Ranfurly Shield heartache with a thoroughly deserved 26-19 win over Waikato in Hamilton tonight.
Waikato 19 (T.Mikkelson; T.Renata 4 pens; con)
Otago 26 (H.Parker, T.Ioane tries; H.Parker 2 cons; 4 pens)
Source: ONE Sport

NZ tops adventure list

New Zealand is again the toast of the international tourism scene, this time grabbing 33 of lonely planet's top 1000 adventures. Wellington earned the title of the world's most remote capital city, while the best pooch pursuit was in Napier. White Island is also on the list, as a hottest volcanic adventure. White Island erupted this week sending a plume of steam 4km into the sky. Patrick O'Sullivan from White Island tours hopes that that this will draw more attention to one of New Zealand's most beautiful spots. "It's great to get recognition of such a spectacular place; it's hard to get the word out there."
Source: Newstalk ZB

Kiwis killed in South Africa air crash

Two New Zealand men, including an Auckland pilot, have been killed in a light plane crash in South Africa. The pair died when their aircraft crashed in Matibidi in Mpumalanga province on Thursday. One of those killed is pilot Richard Primrose who was president of the Pukekohe Flying Group.
Source: NZN

Caution on wine supply and demand urged

New Zealand Winegowers is calling for some discipline in the wake of this year's record harvest. The 2013 crop is 28% bigger than the 2012 harvest and 5% ahead of the year before that. Winemakers have welcomed the improved supply as they look to continuing building exports. But NZ Winegowers chair Steve Green is urging caution. He said a new sense of optimism in the industry has led to new vineyard plantings, mostly in the Marlborough region. But, he said, the industry has to be careful not to let supply get out of kilter with demand again.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rudd battling falling polls

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he will keep fighting through the election campaign despite polls showing Labor could lose five seats in western Sydney and he could struggle to keep his own in Queensland. "We entered this election campaign as underdogs, I'm a fighter," Mr Rudd told the Nine Network on Friday. "We have just under 2½ weeks to go in this campaign ... and I intend to take the argument up." Mr Rudd said there was still a "long way to go in this election campaign". When questioned about the possibility of losing his own seat, the prime minister said he took the election contest and the battle for his own seat seriously. "I believe in fighting for our own cause wherever it is, including in my own constituency, I certainly respect my opponent," Mr Rudd said. The Daily Telegraph reports the seats of Reid, Werriwa, Lindsay, Greenway and Banks are in serious trouble according to the poll of 550 voters in each electorate. Parramatta is too close to call.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

New Labour leader by mid-September

By Simon Wong - Online Reporter
The Labour Party hopes to have a new leader by September 15. Party general secretary Tim Barnett has laid out the new process the party will use to choose a new leader following the resignation of David Shearer yesterday. Nominations for leader will close at 10pm on Monday and are expected to be released to the public the next morning. Then it’s all on for the candidates who will make a speech at a number of candidate meetings throughout the first two weeks of September. This is the first process involving thousands Labour Party members participating in the selection of their new leader. At the party’s annual conference last year, Labour joined a number of progressive political parties around the world in agreeing to a more democratic process to choose a leader.

Group opposing ChristChurch Cathedral demolition going to Supreme Court

The group opposing the demolition of the ChristChurch Cathedral is taking its legal case to the Supreme Court. The appeal will be against the findings of the Court of Appeal which ruled the Anglican Church can complete the demolition of the earthquake-shattered Christchurch icon.
- Newstalk ZB

Thursday, August 22

Supermarket chain rolls out bilingual signage

A store manager for Countdown is praising his company for exposing more shoppers to the Maori language. Countdown has installed bilingual signage in 31 stores around the country. The initiative began at the Tokoroa store two years ago, after requests from its staff and with help from the Raukawa Trust. Tokoroa's former store manager, Mike Olsen, who's a Pakeha - says after mainly positive feedback Countdown's decided to introduce the Maori-English signs permanently in all its new stores.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Shearer stepping down

David Shearer has resigned as the leader of the Labour Party. In a short statement at Parliament just after 1.30pm on Thursday, Mr Shearer said he had lost the confidence of a number of MPs and is stepping down. He said the party's polling had not lifted as much as they had hoped. Mr Shearer said there will be a clean change and a new leader chosen. The Mt Albert MP said he will stay on as a Member of Parliament. Party whip Chris Hipkins said there was no challenge for the leadership to spark the resignation. Mr Shearer, 56, was elected to Parliament at a by-election in 2009 and became party leader in 2011. He previously worked for the United Nations for almost 20 years. Labour will now start the process for a new leader to be determined. The election process is expected to take three to four weeks.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rugby - Debutant Taylor gets nod at 10, Retallick in for Romano

Tom Taylor will make his Test debut at first-five eighth when the All Blacks take on the Wallabies for the second Bledisloe Cup match on Saturday. The starting XV, announced this morning, features two injury-enforced changes from the team that started last week's Bledisloe Cup Test, with lock Brodie Retallick moving from the bench to replace Luke Romano and Taylor slotting into the pivotal first five-eighth position for Aaron Cruden. The All Blacks will look to seal the Bledisloe Cup for the 11th successive season on Saturday in their clash against Australia. The All Blacks have held the Bledisloe Cup, the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy since 2003 and a victory at Wellington Regional Stadium would ensure it remains in New Zealand for another year before the third match in Dunedin on October 19.
All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Tom Taylor, Aaron Smith; Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt), Steven Luatua, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Dane Coles, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Jeremy Thrush, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Colin Slade, Charles Piutau.
- With Reuters

Doctors aim to beat hepatitis C battle

The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand is rolling out a pilot programme in Wellington that it hopes will revolutionise the treatment of hepatitis C in New Zealand. It targets those who have chronic hepatitis C and aims to provide them with the latest treatment. Wellington Hospital gastroenterologist Reese Cameron said traditional treatment cured only between 50 and 60 per cent of people. Patients require weekly injections and daily tablets for 6 to 12 months which nasty side effects. The new treatment was just tablets and would cure all hepatitis C with none of the side effects, he said.
The Wellingtonian

Rugby - Yum, yum, wallaby in a big bun

First the All Blacks devoured the Wallabies, now hungry Wellingtonians are looking to do the same. Wallaby burgers went on sale at the Edward St cafe Meow last night as a tribute to the All Blacks ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup clash in Wellington. The burgers will be served with the usual fare of lettuce, cheese and tomato - with an egg if requested - cafe owner and avid All Blacks fan Damian Jones said. "Egg on the face is part of the optional egg. If Quade Cooper wants to come in and get some egg on his wallaby, he is welcome." Wellington Restaurant Association branch president Mike Egan said the tongue-in-cheek delicacy would give people a chance to try something different. "It would be quite funny if they did it on toast, because that's what the Wallabies will be this weekend.
© Fairfax NZ News

Digitised data reveals era when women were scarce

By Calida Smylie
New Zealand records dating back 170 years were put online yesterday for the first time - and show that Kiwi men endured a 56-year women drought. Digitised versions of statistical resources dating from the 1840s to the start of World War I are now available on Statistics NZ's website. This is the second batch of historical records to go digital, after New Zealand's official yearbooks from 1890 to the present day were put online last year, with more than 13,000 people searching through them since then. The online records show that among the European population in 1860 there were approximately 70 females for every 100 males. By the 1916 census the proportion of women in the New Zealand population was almost equal to men. Statistics NZ's latest data shows the tables have turned and there are now 100 females for every 97 males. New Zealanders researching their heritage can now search online through the country's earliest available records to find out how their forebears lived, but core users of the new, digital information will be economists, demographers and academics, Ms Wareham said. "For them it's a rich source, as instead of looking at books they can cut and paste tables directly into Excel." The tool will be particularly useful for Maori individuals and community groups, as the 1857-58 Maori Census is available for the first time.

N Korea beats NZ to Games tickets

By Simon Collins
If you're wanting a ticket to next year's Commonwealth Games this week, you can apply from Mongolia or North Korea - but not from New Zealand. New Zealand has been left off a drop-down menu of countries for delivery of tickets for the Games, which open in Glasgow in July next year. But we're in good company. Australia, Canada, Malaysia and South Africa are also among 34 of the Commonwealth's 54 member states who are not on the menu. NZ Olympic Committee communications manager Ashley Abbott said Australia and New Zealand are not there because they have been allocated blocks of tickets to be sold within each country.

Whooping cough epidemic strikes

Southland and Otago are in the midst of a whooping cough epidemic, which medical experts say could have been prevented by subsidising immunisations for all ages. In 2012 there were 261 confirmed cases of pertussis - whooping cough - in the Southern District Health Board area compared with just 61 cases in 2011. The health board has confirmed 208 cases so far this year. The board's medical officer of health, Dr Keith Reid, said the southern area was treating a higher number of young adults and elderly as their immune systems and previous booster shots waned. "The disease is highly contagious, spreading quickly among the general public," he said. The Ministry of Health currently provides subsidised immunisations for pregnant mothers in their last trimester, and children up to the age of 11. "The immunisation only lasts 10 years, as people's immunities wane they become more susceptible to contracting the disease," Dr Reid said.
© Fairfax NZ News

Wednesday, August 21

Growth in shipping trade prompts multi-million dollar development

Lyttelton Port near Christchurch says a multi million dollar development there is due to the rapid growth in shipping trade. The port, a subsidiary of the Christchurch City Council, has unveiled the latest step in its $21 million infrastructure investment. It has set to work four new straddle carriers on Wednesday which lift containers from ships and transfer them around the port. The fleet of carriers now stands at 22. Chief executive Peter Davie says container trade has increased by more than 20% in the past two years and is expected to double in the next eight years.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Dam owner could face big bill

The owner of an earthquake-damaged private dam in Marlborough could face a repair bill of tens of thousands of dollars. Contractors are digging two trenches to drain the Haldon Dam, upstream from Seddon, at the Marlborough District Council's direction. Concerns were raised about the dam's stability following Friday's big earthquake. The council has warned of shallow flooding to downstream properties if the wall breaks. Council assets manager Mark Wheeler says there will be legal issues and insurance companies will be called in but who ultimately pays is yet to be decided. Mr Wheeler says owners of private dams are responsible for their maintenance and the cost of this work is likely to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Parliament passes GCSB bill

Legislation allowing the Government's spy agency to carry out surveillance on New Zealanders has passed its third and final reading in Parliament. The controversial Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill was passed by 61 votes to 59 with the support by United Future and the ACT party at 7.45pm on Wednesday. The Maori Party, which opposed the bill, was only able to cast votes for two of its three MPs in Parliament meaning only 59 votes could be cast in opposition, rather than 60.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Kiwis still flock to Oz but only to visit

By Pam Graham
More New Zealanders are taking short trips to Australia but fewer are going to live there. The seasonally adjusted net loss of 1,200 migrants to Australia in July was the smallest since November 2009 and was down from a high of 3,500 in July 2012, Statistics New Zealand said on Wednesday. But there were 9,300 more trips taken to Australia, and 5,200 more visitors from across the Tasman, compared with the previous July - with totals of 97,300 and 97,200 respectively. New Zealanders took 237,000 overseas trips in July, the highest for any month and 15 per cent more than July 2012. But after adjustment for an earlier winter school holiday period in 2013, the rise was only two per cent. New Zealand welcomed 183,700 visitors in July, the highest for a July month and up six per cent on last July. More visitors arrived from China, the UK, and the US as well as from Australia. In the year ended July 2013, there were 2.647 million visitors from all countries, up one per cent from the previous year.
Source: NZN

Three-quarters of Kiwis concerned about GCSB bill - poll

By Isaac Davison
More than three-quarters of New Zealanders hold some concerns about reforms to spying laws, a Fairfax poll has found. The survey of 1000 people by Fairfax Media-Ipsos found that a total of 75.3 per cent were "very concerned'', "somewhat concerned'' or "a little concerned'' about plans to allow the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to monitor New Zealanders as well as foreigners. The poll result was contrary to Prime Minister John Key's assertion that New Zealanders cared little about the GCSB bill. He has previously pointed out the small number of submissions on the GCSB law change compared to the public response on proposed changes to snapper quotas. Just over half of the survey respondents said they trusted Government to protect their right to privacy, while 40 per cent did not.

Volunteer Army to change core focus

The Student Volunteer Army, which helped clean-up Christchurch in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, has switched to long term projects. The University of Canterbury students have chosen to step away from earthquake-related service projects, to those with a more sustainable focus. Army president Bridget Williams said the platoons of old have now implemented a new mission to make service become part of the student lifestyle. She said students will be aligned with community projects, depending on their interests and skills. Miss Williams will give a presentation at the first New Zealand Tertiary Engagement Summit at the University of Canterbury on 30 August.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

St Andrew's band best in the world

The pipes, the pipes are calling . . . for St Andrew's College Pipe Band, which has been named the top youth pipe band in the world. The band won top spot in the juvenile category of the World Pipe Band Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland, at the weekend. It is the first time a New Zealand school has won the international competition. This is the third year the school has sent a team, placing third and fifth on previous trips. This year, 32 students, ranging in age from 12 to 18, travelled to Glasgow to compete.
© Fairfax NZ News

Tuesday, August 20

Labour, Greens overtake National in new poll

By Isaac Davison
Support for Labour and Greens has overtaken National as Parliament debates controversial spying law changes, the latest Morgan Poll shows. The poll showed that support for National had fallen 7 percentage points since July to 44 percent. Labour's support increased by 5 percentage points to 34 per cent. The Greens' share of the vote jumped 4 per cent to 14 per cent - the party's highest level since August 2012 - which meant that if an election were held tomorrow, a Labour-Greens coalition would win.

Dam risk reducing - council

Marlborough District Council says good progress is being made in reducing the water level of a dam near Seddon. There were concerns about the stability of the Haldon dam after Friday's big earthquake. The council on Monday issued a warning to people living nearby. Contractors are digging a trench so water can drain from the dam. Mr Wheeler said he hopes the risk of the dam breaching will have gone by Tuesday evening. However, he is still asking residents below the dam to be prepared to evacuate should something go wrong.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Meridian Energy to be floated in November

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed Meridian Energy could be listed on the share market by early November. The company is the second state-owned power company to be floated on the share market following Mighty River Power earlier this year. Mr Key says the shares will be sold under an instalments receipts model which involves buyers paying for their shares in two instalments. "It is not an uncommon model with large share offers. I think New Zealanders will view the ability to pay around 60 percent of the share price at the time of the IPO and receive the full benefits for the first 18 months as a positive feature of this offer." The Government is committed to 85 to 90 percent of New Zealand ownership of Meridian, he says.

Bill will enable border arrests of tardy student loan debtors

Legislation allowing the Government to arrest at the border people who refuse to repay their student loan, and require those living overseas to increase their repayments, has been introduced to Parliament. The changes were flagged in the Budget in May. The bill gives the Inland Revenue Department new powers to deal with a small group who persistently refuse to repay their loans. That includes the ability to issue an arrest warrant at the border, for the most serious cases. Currently overseas borrowers make payments based on a percentage of their loan balance. The bill will change the percentage payments to a fixed amount so the loan is repaid more quickly.The Government said on Tuesday that overseas borrowers are responsible for 80% of overdue loan repayments which now total about $535 million.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Brown leads in Auckland mayoralty election - poll

The first opinion poll on the mayoral election in Auckland shows incumbent Len Brown has nearly three times the support of his nearest rival. The UMR poll found 47% support for Mr Brown. Centre-right candidate John Palino has 14% and John Minto of the Mana party is on 5%. Nearly a third of those surveyed supported none of the leading candidates or did not know.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Early voting begins in Australia

Early voting opens across Australia on Tuesday for the federal election on 7 September. Mobile polling will be rolled out from 26 August for voters in selected hospitals and nursing homes and remote areas. AAP reports overseas voting in more than 80 locations around the world will also start on 26 August. Postal vote applications can be submitted up until 5 September. The Australian Electoral Commission said early voting is available to people for a range of reasons, including work, illness, travel and religious belief.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, August 19

Key walks out of press conference

By 3 News online staff
Prime Minister John Key walked out of his weekly post-cabinet press conference today before fully answering a question from a journalist about his proposed GCSB bill. He appeared to get a little frustrated near the end of the press conference after a series of questions being asked. "Is this a question, buddy? Because I tell you what - hold on there, well , I'll give you the answer. Here's the answer – no, I know what the question is." The journalist interjects and with a smile, Mr Key looks down at the papers on his lectern and replies: "Thanks very much, guys" and leaves the press conference. Mr Key was fielding questions to clarify his GCSB and Related Legislation Bill. The bill will go through its final reading this week and is expected to pass by one vote.
3 News

GCSB Bill protest meeting held in Auckland

By Brendan Manning
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, Labour Leader David Shearer and internet tycoon Kim Dotcom were met with rapturous applause at a rally tonight at the Auckland Town Hall, where legal experts and Opposition politicians are set to speak against the GCSB bill. "Well, this is what democracy looks like'', MC Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury told a near-full Town Hall. "Tonight we hear the other side of the argument.'' Dr Rodney Harrison QC from the Law Society said Prime Minister John Key's comments that New Zealand was not sleepwalking into a surveillance state were flawed. While John Key wanted to leave a strong economy in his legacy as Prime Minister, he did not care about the society he left behind, MR Harrison said. Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom told eager listeners that Mr Key was lying to the New Zealand public. "It's not the GCSB doing it, it's the Americans doing it. But the Five Eyes [government partnership] turns it into one.'' "We're being lied to; we're being fooled into thinking this GCSB bill here is to protect us. "We have a prime minister in New Zealand who thinks he can just push this through with one vote against the will of New Zealanders.'' The public had the opportunity to change that at the 2014 general election, Mr Dotcom said.

First same-sex couples marry

The first same-sex weddings have taken place around the country. It became legal on Monday for same-sex couples to marry, making New Zealand the first country in the Asia-Pacific region, and the 13th in the world, to enshrine marriage equality in law. Some 31 same-sex marriages are expected to take place on Monday in Auckland, Manukau, Wellington, Christchurch and Rotorua. The Labour MP who introduced the Marriage Amendment Bill to Parliament says her dream has become a reality. Manurewa MP Louisa Wall attended one of the first same sex weddings and says it's an exciting day. Ms Wall says she hopes other countires, where same sex marriage is still illegal, will follow in New Zealand's foot steps. The Presbyterian and Anglican churches are considering their position on marrying same-sex couples, while the Catholic church won't marry gay couples and is not reviewing its stance. The Australian Marriage Equality lobby group says about 1,000 Australian couples have indicated they plan to travel to New Zealand to marry. The Department of Internal Affairs says almost 1,000 marriage forms were downloaded from its website last week, three times the usual amount.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Satellite tracking to probe duck behaviour

By Matthew Theunissen
Space-age technology is being fitted to mallard ducks which researchers hope will provide vital information about their nesting and breeding habits. Fish & Game experts are attaching tracking devices called Argos, developed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, the French space agency, to female ducks in Waikato. The satellite-based technology will allow researchers to pinpoint the ducks' location to within 200 metres then track and observe them to see whether they have paired up or mated. "What we want to find out is when the birds are nesting, when their eggs were laid, how many hatched, and then be able to follow the offspring through to fledging (when they start flying)," said Waikato-based Fish & Game officer David Klee, who will take part in the study along with long-time mallard researcher Matthew McDougall.

Risks identified to Marlborough dam's stability

More risks have been identified at Marlborough's Haldon Dam. After Friday's earthquakes Marlborough district council decided to lower the dam level as a precautionary measure in the interest of public safety. Heavy weekend rain has slowed that work. But while the drainage process was underway, the dam engineer identified more problems with the stability of the dam. The council says it has put emergency services on standby in Seddon and issued a warning to nearby residents. It says in a worst-case scenario, eight rural properties, approximately 12 houses and up to 24 sections in Seddon township on the south-eastern side of Starborough Creek could be flooded if the dam was to breach. Property owners are currently being advised that they would get an hour and a half's notice of the danger and a warning note is being delivered to each household on Monday afternoon advising occupants of the increased risk.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

SkyCity petition gathers 8000 signatures

A petition against the SkyCity convention centre deal has been handed over to a Green Party MP in front of the casino. The Government has signed a deal with SkyCity that will allow the casino exemptions from gambling laws in exchange for building a national convention centre.
Mark Beale hands the petition to Green MP Denise Roche. The bill that would allow the deal to go ahead passed its first reading last month and is currently before a select committee. Green Party gambling spokesperson Denise Roche received the petition with more than 8000 signatures on Monday morning and promised to table it in Parliament tomorrow.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Sunday, August 18

Planned oil exploration outrages Kaikoura residents

A proposal to explore the coastline of Kaikoura for oil and gas reserves has sparked outrage within the local community. Texas oil giant Anadarko will begin seismic surveying of the area in four months, where the sea bed will be mapped with sonar to search for oil and gas. Kaikoura residents say the exploration could threaten the abundant marine life in the area that attracts tourists to the seaside town. Whale Watch Kaikoura chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora said the planned exploration was in the middle of a pathway for whales. "Obviously that does cause us concern for those whales who could, in some way, be impacted on in terms of their ventures down here," Mr Ngapora said. Anadarko already has licences to drill exploration wells off Taranaki and in the Canterbury Basin, waters that humpback whales pass through each year on their way north to breed. Kaikoura locals are planning a flotilla to Wellington in protest of the exploration in October.
Source: ONE News

Christchurch construction outpaces Auckland

Non-residential building activity in Christchurch has already overtaken Auckland, even though most of the city's major rebuilding projects are yet to get under way. The latest figures from Statistics NZ show that the number and floor area of non-residential building consents issued in the year to June was greater in Canterbury than it was in Auckland. Non-residential consents include commercial premises such as offices, shops, factories and warehouses, as well as public buildings such as schools, hospitals and libraries. There has been a sharp increase in the amount of new non-residential building space approved in Canterbury since the 2011 earthquakes, but the latest figures are the first time consented work in the region has overtaken that in Auckland.
© Fairfax NZ News

Australian couples flock to wed in NZ

An Australian marriage equality lobby group says about 1000 same-sex couples plan to cross the Tasman to tie the knot in New Zealand. Legislation allowing same-sex marriage was passed by Parliament in April and comes into effect on Monday. Australia Marriage Equality chair Alex Greenwich says New Zealand is becoming the wedding destination of choice for gay Australian couples. He says Australians are heading to New Zealand to get a human right they can't get at home. Mr Greenwich says the New Zealand legislation has added to pressure on Australian politicians to legalise same-sex marriage.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rugby - All Blacks dominate Wallabies

The All Blacks have chalked up their 100th test win over the Wallabies with a commanding 47-29 triumph in Sydney. Winger Ben Smith scored a hat-trick as the All Blacks opened their Rugby Championship title defence on Saturday night with a six-try romp to ruin Ewen McKenzie's first match as the Wallabies coach. Aaron Cruden, Conrad Smith and captain Richie McCaw also scored for the New Zealanders, giving them three tries in each half. The clear win gives the All Blacks a bonus point in the championship. It also means the Australians must win both the return match in Wellington next week and a third test in Dunedin in October to get their hands on the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2003. In the weekend's other match in the Rugby Championship, South Africa walloped Argentina 73-13 in Soweto. The Springboks ran in nine tries to the Pumas' one.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Saturday, August 17

Dunedin council to debate cuts to gambling machines

The Dunedin City Council is to debate drastically cutting the number of gambling machines in the city. A council subcommittee has recommended reducing over time the number of poker machines in the South Dunedin area from 168 to 50 and halving the number of machine gambling venues to five. If adopted, the policy would operate as a sinking lid, meaning existing machines could stay, but not be replaced or new machines added. The move is being applauded by Labour MP for South Dunedin, Clare Curran, who says the council is showing leadership to the whole country on problem gambling in vulnerable communities. The policy will be debated by the councillors on Monday.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Egyptians in NZ to rally against 'massacre of protesters'

Members of the Egyptian community in New Zealand will rally in Auckland's Aotea Square tomorrow against what they call "the horrific crackdown on civilian protesters" in Egypt over the last week. At least 600 protesters, many of them women and children, "were mercilessly gunned down by security forces Wednesday," said Mohamed Hassan, an Egyptian in New Zealand. Protesters turned out to denounce the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and a crackdown on his followers.
Source: ONE News

Scheme aims to turn e-trash into cash

He helped give us free kerbside recycling and now he is getting rid of our old computers and printers on the cheap as well. Wellington City Council's waste unit CitiOperations manager, Zac Jordan, has clinched a deal with e-waste specialists RemarkIT to give capital dwellers the country's first free, non-subsidised e-waste recycling service. The self-sustaining scheme is funded through selling parts from the recyclables, making it free for both ratepayers and the council. Although there have been other e-waste schemes where users pay or partially subsidise the cost, Mr Jordan says the free model is the way of the future. With the right infrastructure, this model could transform New Zealand into a serious player in the global e-waste commodity market.
© Fairfax NZ News

Friday, August 16

Kiwi travelers urged to avoid Egypt

By Kate Shuttleworth
New Zealanders are being urged to stay away from Egypt and North Sinai after violent clashes yesterday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its travel advice for Egypt saying a state of emergency had been declared. In a statement, the ministry said due to the unpredictable political situation, civil unrest and threat from terrorism, New Zealanders should not visit Egypt unless it is essential. "New Zealanders currently in Egypt are advised to avoid all protests and large public gatherings, exercise a high degree of security awareness in public places and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities. New Zealanders in Egypt are strongly advised to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade via

Severe earthquake hits near Seddon

Updated 1 minute ago
A major earthquake has shaken the centre of the country, sending people running out of shops and buildings in downtown Wellington. The 6.2 magnitude quake struck near Seddon in Marlborough at 2.31pm on Friday. Geonet says the earthquake, described as severe, was recorded at a depth of 8 kilometres, 10 kilometres south-east of Seddon. The quake was felt as far north as Hawke's Bay and as far south as Christchurch. There have been several aftershocks ranging as high as magnitude 5.7. Mass power cuts are being reported in the upper South Island. Marlborough Lines says its teams are assessing which areas have been worst hit and will then start trying to restore electricity but is asking customers to be patient. The police communications centre says there have been no reports of injuries so far. The New Zealand Stock Exchange has stopped trading as a result of the earthquake. The New Zealand dollar dropped about a third of a cent against the US following the quake. Two large earthquakes centred in a similar area hit the lower North Island on Sunday 21 July. The first shake, which Geonet says measured magnitude 6.5, struck at 5.09pm 20km east of Seddon at a depth of 17km. A second quake, registering 5.5, hit minutes later at 5.13pm at a depth of 5km, 50km east of Seddon.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Latest - Quake rattles central New Zealand

Central New Zealand has been rattled by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake this afternoon. The quake, which struck shortly after 2:30pm, was located 10km south-east of Seddon at a depth of 11km. GeoNet is listing its intensity as severe. There are reports the quake was felt as far south as Christchurch. Wellington City Council says CBD appears largely unscathed but still assessing damage. TranzMetro services are currently suspended. There are unconfirmed reports a house has collapsed in Grassmere, south of Blenheim. Phones have just come back on and the Marlborough District Council is trying to contact their emergency management team. Details of any damage are not available at this stage. "We are shaken not stirred," said a council spokesperson. Vodafone says their services are still up and running, but there may be some congestion due to the volume of calls being made. Telecom says it is experiencing some issues and its network is also congested. "We do recommend that people stay off the network as much as they can so emergency traffic can get through," says Telecom spokesman Richard Llewellyn. "We recommend texting."

Quake rattles central New Zealand

Two strong earthquakes in quick succession have rocked central parts of New Zealand this afternoon. The first of the quakes was at 2.31pm and measured as a magnitude 6.2, 12kms deep and 10kms south-east of Seddon, GeoNet reports. A second quake hit at 2:37pm and was a 5.7 magnigude quake, 9km deep and 5km south east of Seddon. The first quake was first measured at a 6.9, but was revised down. All TranzMetro services in Wellington are currently suspended and a power lines are reportedly down in the Awatere Valley in Marlborough. There have also been reports of damage around Kaikoura. This is breaking news. More to follow
3 News

Williamson: Bulk homes the future

By Audrey Young
New Zealand buildings including houses will increasingly be manufactured in bulk in factories and assembled on site, and the consenting process will have to change accordingly, says Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson. He also believes that first-home buyers should overcome the aversion to living in identical houses in a development to further reduce the costs of house-buying. Mr Williamson said the pre-manufactured trend was well established overseas but just beginning in New Zealand. "It is only in its embryonic stage," he told the Herald. He had visited a development in San Diego of 900 identical, three-bedroom, "beautiful houses", built for US$180,000 ($222,000) each. They trucked in 900 kitchens, 900 bathrooms, 900 laundries, 900 garages - more than half of the job was pre-manufactured. "That's where the world trend is going to head and we've got to stop the old idea of consenting each one."

Voter deadline today

Voters removed from the electoral roll must sign up again today if they want to vote in October's local body elections. The Electoral Commission has removed 70,000 people nationwide from the roll since July 1, due to people not updating enrolment details after moving house. Those wanting to update their enrolment details can visit, call 0800 36 76 56 or visit the nearest PostShop.
- © Fairfax NZ News

Book suggests NZ too reliant on primary sector

The Government is dismissing claims the country relies too much on the dairy and agriculture sectors. Two award-winning New Zealand scientists, the late Sir Paul Callaghan and Professor Shaun Hendy, have written a book that says the Government needs to invest more in science and technology. Get off the Grass says New Zealand's economy relies too heavily on the primary sector and is lagging behind because of a lack of innovation. Professor Hendy told Morning Report if New Zealand wants to build on its clean and green image it needs to focus on industries which are not agriculture related.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Thursday, August 15

NZ dollar higher against US after positive economic news

A raft of positive economic news pushed the New Zealand dollar a cent higher against the US. An increase in manufacturing activity, consumer confidence and job ads saw the kiwi hit 80.78 US cents. It has since backed off a little and on Thursday at around 5.20pm it was buying around 80.66. Bancorp Treasury Services senior client advisor Peter Cavanaugh says all the good news makes the kiwi a more attractive investment.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Labour calls for stand-alone agency

New Zealand needs a stand-alone food safety agency because the Ministry for Primary Industries hasn't been able to assure customer countries about product safety, Labour says. Primary industries spokesman Damien O'Connor says bans on Fonterra products following the contamination scare show MPI isn't up to the job. "Bans by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus because they can't be assured of the quality of our goods show MPI doesn't have the systems in place to support our trade representatives who are dealing with food safety issues," he said today. "This must change. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy should reassess the formation and functions of MPI - it aims to support the entire primary sector but trade bans show it is failing." MPI was established last year through the merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Fisheries, Biosecurity New Zealand and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority. Mr O'Connor says countries as diverse as China, the United States, India and Norway all have stand-alone food safety agencies.
Source: NZN

Prisoners to pay for TV access

Prisoners will have to start paying for television access under a new scheme to prevent weapons and contraband being hidden in cells. Corrections Minister Anne Tolley said clear, plastic-cased televisions, which will allow officers to detect any hidden objects, will be available for rent for $2 per week. Personal television sets will be removed. The scheme is expected to pay for itself within three years. Savings and any profits would be used to develop two prison education channels. The scheme will start at Christchurch men's prison in November and rolled out to other prisons in the following year.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Prince William family to visit Australia next year

Prince William intends to visit Australia next year with the Duchess of Cambridge and their first child, Prince George. The visit will be reminiscent of the 1983 trip by Prince Charles and Princess Diana with William, who was then aged nine months. The trip to Australia will be William and Kate's third tour together. They previously visited Canada in 2011 and southeast Asia in 2012. The new prince was born on 22 July and named George Alexander Louis two days later. There was no mention of New Zealand being included in the Australian visit.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Rugby - All Blacks name experienced side for Wallabies

The All Blacks have named an experienced side to take on the Wallabies in the opening Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney on Saturday night. The side features the return of Captain Richie McCaw, who missed the three Test June French series on sabbatical, while Aaron Cruden replaces the injured Dan Carter at first-five.
The All Backs side to play the Wallabies in Sydney is:
1. Tony Woodcock (98 Tests), 2. Andrew Hore (76), 3. Owen Franks (47), 4. Luke Romano (14), 5. Samuel Whitelock (41), 6. Liam Messam (23), 7. Richie McCaw (capt.) (116), 8. Kieran Read (51), 9. Aaron Smith (15), 10. Aaron Cruden (22), 11. Julian Savea (11), 12. Ma'a Nonu (79), 13. Conrad Smith (69), 14. Ben Smith (15)15. Israel Dagg (28)
16. Keven Mealamu (104), 17. Ben Franks (25), 18. Charlie Faumuina (7), 19. Brodie Retallick (14), 20. Sam Cane (7), 21. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (4), 22. Beauden Barrett (8), 23. Ryan Crotty
Source: ONE Sport

NZ first to get Windows 8.1

By Dan Satherley - Online Reporter
New Zealand will be the first country in the world to get the new version of Microsoft's operating system, Windows 8.1. It will be a free upgrade available through the online Windows Store, released on October 18 at 12am. Full details on what the upgrade contains are available on the official Microsoft blog.

Whitebait season starts today

The whitebait season is now open in most of New Zealand until the end of November, except for the West Coast of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, where fishing starts in a few weeks and ends earlier. As usual, Department of Conservation officers will be checking to make sure nets are the correct size and not taking up more than a third of the water channel. Taranaki ranger Bryan Williams said how good the season is depends on the weather.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Antarctic flights resume from Christchurch

Flights between New Zealand and Antarctica are about to resume as light and conditions suitable for aircraft return to the frozen continent. A United States Air Force C17 Globemaster is scheduled to fly from Christchurch today, weather permitting, ending the winter isolation for both the US McMurdo Station and New Zealand's nearby Scott Base. In March, an RNZAF Boeing 757 flew out 60 staff, leaving 10 Antarctica NZ and five Antarctic Heritage Trust conservators to overwinter at the base. The last sunset was seen on April 24 and the sun won't be seen again until Monday. After months of darkness and extreme cold, the overwinter crew were looking forward to today's flight, said Antarctica NZ spokeswoman Lisa-Marie Brooks. "They are very keen to get all of their post. There will be mail bags and also 100kg of `freshies'. The freshies are fresh fruit and vegetables, which the Scott Base crew won't have tasted for about five months. Another cargo flight will leave Christchurch on Saturday, before the spring and summer season resumes at the end of September, and the bulk of the overwinter staff can return to New Zealand. Antarctica NZ will next month farewell its long-time chief executive Lou Sanson, who is taking up the same role at the Department of Conservation. Antarctica NZ is choosing a replacement from 60 applicants.

Wednesday, August 14

Christchurch quake used as case study for global military

By Kurt Bayer
The deadly 2011 Christchurch earthquake is being used as a case study for China, the United States and Australia, who are all taking part in a unique military training exercise outside Christchurch this week. Military officials from each country have teamed up with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to work through how they would respond if the South Island's Alpine Fault generated a large-scale tremor. About 45 military personnel from the Australian Defence Force, the US Army, the Peoples Liberation Army and NZDF took a tour of the rubble-reduced Christchurch central business district yesterday. Today, and for the rest of the week, they are at Burnham Military Camp on the outskirts of town talking about how each country would react to a similar humanitarian disaster as the February 22, 2011 quake, which claimed 185 lives.

Baby Prince George gets royal stamps

The New Zealand Post is joining those welcoming the new royal baby – for the first time in its 170 year history, it is commemorating a royal birth. A new stamp set showing off Prince George of Cambridge will be released on September 11. And the stamps come with a royal seal of approval. "The Queen and the Duke and Duchess have personally okayed the images," New Zealand Post spokesman Simon Allison said in a statement. A limited edition silver proof coin will also be issued.
3 News

TV recycling scheme hits 100k mark

The Government's TV takeback scheme has hit the 100,000 mark. Environment Minister Amy Adams took her worn out set to a recycling centre on Wednesday to mark the moment. She says there's no excuse for not disposing of old TVs responsibly, and she doesn't want to see them in landfills. "Old televisions are a difficult recycling challenge, but through people thinking about the environment we have stopped thousands of tonnes of harmful material going into landfill," she said. The scheme was launched in October last year. There are recycling centres in 20 cities and towns, and the scheme is expanding. It costs $5 to have a TV recycled.

Greens announce $A350m gun buyback plan

The Greens in Australia want to ban semi-automatic firearms and buy them from their legal owners at a cost of $A350 million. "We need strong action to reduce the number of handguns falling into the wrong hands,'' said party leader Christine Milne. ''They have become the firearm of choice for criminals in Australia, especially in the drug trade and in gangs," she said in a statement. Under the plan, which is costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at $351.5 million, semi-automatic handguns would be banned, with a 12-month amnesty and buyback.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Johnsons TV drama to screen in US

The Almighty Johnsons, a TV drama series made in New Zealand, has been sold to a US cable television channel, SyFy. It is the first time a series produced in New Zealand will be shown on American TV in its original format. South Pacific Pictures chairman John Barnet said SyFy is a popular channel in the United States with a loyal following. The Almighty Johnsons is in its third season. It is about a group of brothers with the powers of Norse Gods.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Boom in the over 65 population - Statistics NZ

The New Zealand population aged 65 and over has doubled since the early 1980s and is likely to double again by 2040, Statistics New Zealand says. At 635,200, the population aged 65+ now makes up 14 per cent of the population, the National Population Estimate shows. The population aged 65+ has risen by 48,200 over the last two years as baby boomers - those born from 1946 to 1965 - start to move into the 65+ age group. "The first of the baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 and we will see this group leading continued growth in our older age groups in the years to come,'' population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said. New Zealand's estimated population was 4,470,800 at 30 June 2013. The population grew by 37,700 (0.9 per cent) from the previous year.

Tuesday, August 13

Defence Force seeking more to join SAS

The Defence Force is again recruiting for civilians to join its elite special forces unit - the Special Air Services. An advertisement on the job-hunters' website SEEK outlines the benefits of joining the SAS, including a competitive salary and the potential for overseas travel. Traditionally, only military personnel from within the Defence Force have been able to join the SAS, but since 2011 civilians have been able to apply.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Govt tougher on beneficiaries than tax debtors - study

The Government has tougher treatment for beneficiaries who are in debt than it does for taxpayers who have not paid their tax, a new study reveals. It has found the Ministry of Social Development puts much more effort into chasing its debt than the Inland Revenue. Lisa Marriott, an associate professor at Victoria University's School of Accounting and Commercial Law, says her research shows that tax debtors are treated much more leniently than beneficiaries. Dr Marriott says it indicates there is a level of beneficiary bashing which ensures their debt is more closely scrutinised. In the 2011-12 year, she says the Ministry of Social Development wrote off nearly $ 9 million of debt and Inland Revenue $435 million. Yet Dr Marriott says unpaid tax totals nearly $6 billion - much higher than the $1 billion of welfare debt. She says beneficiaries are seen as less deserving, while taxpayers - even those who do not pay their taxes - are seen as worthy of preferential treatment.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Plan to eradicate rheumatic fever kicks off

By Lorelei Mason ONE News Health Correspondent
A programme to eradicate a third world disease has kicked off in south Auckland today. Glen Innes and Panmure Bridge primary are the first of 16 Auckland schools taking part in the Government's $45 million programme to cut the incidence of rheumatic fever by two-thirds by 2017. Children will have their throats swabbed to check for strep throat (Group A streptococcus), the bacteria which can lead to the disease. Around 160 children are diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever each year in New Zealand. Maori and Pacific children are between 47 to 60 times more likely to be admitted to hospital with it than anyone else. Auckland DHB pediatrician Dr Alison Leversha said the programme would help children, parents and caregivers understand the risks of rheumatic fever.

Govt action wanted to save Cook Is language

The Cook Islands community is calling for official recognition of its language and more Government support to ensure its survival in New Zealand. A to revive Cook Islands Maori and promote economic progress for the community of 60,000 has been launched. The Cook Islands Development Agency says the decline of the language was raised as a major concern during the development of the action plan. Vice-chair Henry Herman said the trust will ask the Government to pour resources into teaching the language from pre-school to secondary school. Mr Herman said the trust also wants Cook Islands Maori to be recognised as an official language of New Zealand.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Adams wins another world title

Valerie Adams of New Zealand has won her 4th consecutive world shot put title. Adams won the final in Moscow on Monday with a throw of 20.88 metres, 47cm ahead of Christina Schwanitz of Germany. Schwanitz took silver with a personal best of 20.41m. Gong Lijiao of China was third with a throw of 19.95m. Adams is the first female athlete to win four successive world titles.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Monday, August 12

Maori Battalion museum under way

The ground has been blessed and the first sod turned to start construction on a new Gisborne war museum dedicated to the C Company of the Maori Battalion. Dr Monty Soutar, one of the trustees tasked with building the museum, said getting to this point had been a long time coming as it was four years since the Maori Battalion-dedicated exhibition in the local museum was taken down and the search for a more permanent home started. He said $1.2 million had to be raised for the museum, which was scheduled to open in April.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Kiwis take top awards at Japan film fest

By Simon Wong - Online Reporter
Two novice Kiwi filmmakers have won top honours at the world's third largest wildlife film festival, beating the likes of the BBC and National Geographic. Wairarapa documentary maker James Muir won the top overall award and Best Environmental Film for his film River Dog and 17-year-old Wellington high school student Natasha Bishop was awarded Best Animation at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival last night. For both, the awards have been an affirmation of their abilities as filmmakers.

Dunne no fan of KiwiSaver deposit plan

The Government shouldn't use KiwiSaver as a "slush fund" for popular policies, former Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says. Mr Dunne, a Government ally and Revenue Minister until June this year, says he doesn't support the plan to make it easier for first home buyers to use their KiwiSaver funds for a deposit. "KiwiSaver was established to boost New Zealanders' retirement savings, given our notoriously bade track record in that regard," he said on Monday. "Weakening it by extending it to home ownership detracts from its original aim and establishes a precedent for adding other items it can be used for." Mr Dunne says that when he was Revenue Minister he resisted "several approaches" to use KiwiSaver for purposes like student loan repayments. "KiwiSaver isn't a political slush fund for governments to dip into to fund attractive policies," he said. Prime Minister John Key announced the plan at the National Party's annual conference on Sunday - it's one of the ways the Government says will help first home buyers get into the overheated housing market.
Source: NZN

International tsunami workshop opens

Disaster management officials from 15 Pacific islands are in Wellington learning about tsunami warning systems. Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye opened the workshop on Monday and says it's about enabling countries to issue more accurate warnings. "With the majority of the world's earthquakes and tsunami occurring in the Pacific and the seas on its margins, it's very important that Pacific Island nations are prepared," she said. "Between 2009 and 2013 we have seen several destructive and deadly tsunami in the Pacific - we can't prevent them happening but we can work towards improving our warning and response arrangements." The workshop is being run by the Ministry of Civil Defence and GNS Science. Countries attending are the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

BDO early bird tickets sell out

Early bird tickets for Auckland's Big Day Out festival have sold out within 45 minutes, with organisers announcing a second round of pre-sale tickets. Organisers made 10,000 early bird tickets available at a cut price for eager fans this morning. Big Day Out 2014 will feature headline sets by heavy-hitters Pearl Jam, Blur, Arcade Fire and enigmatic hip-hop legend-turned-rasta Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dogg). The hotly anticipated return of the festival saw tickets sell out within 45 minutes of going on sale at 9am this morning, organisers said. The tickets were so popular the festival has announced a second release of 10,000 early bird tickets at the reduced $165 price, to go on sale today.
Source: ONE News

Holiday hotspots snare cricket action

Nelson's Saxton Oval will host its first men's international cricket match and the Black Caps will return to Queenstown when the West Indies tour New Zealand in December and January. The West Indies will play three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches in eight towns and cities from Auckland to Queenstown. The three Tests will be played in Dunedin, Wellington and Hamilton. In a move that takes the Black Caps to New Zealand's top holiday spots over Christmas and New Year, Napier will host the second ODI on December 29 before the action moves to Queenstown on New Year's Day then on to Nelson three days later.
Tests: Dunedin, December 3-7; Wellington, December 11-15; Hamilton, December 19-23.
One-day internationals: Auckland, December 26; Napier, December 29; Queenstown, January 1; Nelson, January 4; Hamilton, January 8.
Twenty20: Auckland, January 11; Wellington, January 15.

NZ snapped by photographers

Scenes from the furthest reaches of New Zealand territory, from Antarctica to Tokelau, have been brought together for an exhibition in Christchurch. The month-long New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year exhibition, housed in containers on the corner of Cashel and High streets, features 80 images from this year's competition finalists, and winners from previous years. Past winners include Press photographer David Hallett, who won the wildlife category in 2012. The exhibition is on from August 9 to September 8. To see the photographs online and vote, visit
© Fairfax NZ News

Asylum seekers found in Torres Strait

Two asylum seekers found in the Torres Strait spent Sunday night in the Thursday Island police station. The Immigration Department said the men, claiming to be Somalis, were found by Customs and Immigration officers on Boigu Island on Saturday morning. The ABC reports the department said they were likely to be transferred to either Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. AAP reports Immigration Minister Tony Burke said they will be treated no differently than others arriving by boat in Australian waters. "They are now discovering that the rules that apply to them are identical," Mr Burke told ABC Radio on Monday.
Copyright © 2013 Radio New Zealand

Sunday, August 11

Jabs helping make flu rare

By Cherie Howie
If you've come down with a dose of the flu this winter, you can consider yourself one of the unlucky few. Flu rates have plummeted as increased vaccination, mild weather and better hygiene keep the spread of bugs at bay. Canterbury District Health Board virologist Dr Lance Jennings said national health monitoring showed flu had lessened its grip this year. "There really is very little influenza about ... just sporadic cases throughout the country." Increased vaccination played a part - rates of take-up soared 25 per cent on last year, with 1.25 million people vaccinated nationally this year, Jennings said. Infectious diseases physician Dr Hasan Bhally urged people to keep up their good habits as the flu season usually peaked in the second half of August.
- Herald on Sunday

Smoking: The endgame

By Lynley Bilby
As smoking numbers drop and new statistics reveal it is no longer New Zealand’s worst killer, health workers are convinced we can eradicate smoking within just 12 years – much like we eradicated the southern saltmarsh mosquito, smallpox and polio. The tobacco industry, it seems, is in its final days. The language is unscholarly and uncompromising. This is the endgame. Big Tobacco, the king that has presided for so long over the chessboard of public health, is isolated, and the pawns are closing in. "The New Zealand government's goal of achieving a smoke-free society by 2025 reflects growing interest in 'endgame' solutions to tobacco smoking," the British Medical Journal reported last year.
- Herald on Sunday

Gardeners risk cold ambush

It's been dubbed "sprinter" - the winter that feels more like spring, but those with green fingers should think twice before rushing into the garden. The days are getting longer and warmer, and already magnolia trees and daffodils are in bloom, but a sudden cold snap would spell disaster for unprotected baby crops, NZ Gardener editor Jo McCarroll warns. "It's very tempting to get planting but you just can't beat mother nature, you never know what's going to be in store," McCarroll said. "You can see an unseasonal blossom in the garden but if there's a cold spell that will be knocked right off." "At this time of year, you're fine to sow beetroot, broad beans, lettuces and radishes - the seed will germinate even though the soil's still quite cold. "You can plant out seedlings of asparagus, lettuces, silverbeet, spinach and Asian greens too. They're all tough enough to cope if there's a cold snap, and in fact some of those leafy crops don't like it too hot and will bolt to seed at the height of summer. © Fairfax NZ News

Criminal record may soon be a click away

Finding out someone's criminal history could soon be as easy as clicking a button, under major changes to improve public access to court documents. Justice Minister Judith Collins told the Sunday Star-Times the current system, where people often have to apply in writing to the courts for access to information, is "completely insane". She wants all decisions online once the courts have completed a move to an electronic operating model next year. The documents would effectively act as a public register of criminals and improve public safety, she said. It would also make the court process more open. "If a matter is heard in open court that anyone can attend, why is it the next day they strangely can't access that information? People have a right to know about what goes on in their courts."
© Fairfax NZ News

Saturday, August 10

NZ to spend up to $10 million on Cook Islands infrastructure

New Zealand will spend up to $10 million over the next four years upgrading residential sanitation infrastructure in the Cook Islands. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced the investment sum while visiting the Muri lagoon in Rarotonga today. "The beaches and lagoons of the Cook Islands are a major tourist draw-card on which the economy depends," Mr McCully said. "Protecting the health of the Cook Islands' many lagoons is a priority for the Cook Islands Government and New Zealand wants to support this effort." A statement from Mr McCully's office said about 40 per cent of the pollution entering lagoons in the Cook Islands were estimated to be from residential sources.

NZ issues travel advisory as new plane cleared to fly

The Government is warning Kiwis to be extra vigilant when travelling on the Real Tonga airline from today. The airline's MA-60 aircraft, which has one of the world's worst safety records, is now in service. "The MA-60 has been the subject of serious concerns amongst aviation experts. It is not certified to fly in New Zealand and would not be allowed to do so without a thorough certification process under Civil Aviation rules," Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said. "The MA-60 is not certified by comparable jurisdictions such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EU), the Federal Aviation Administration (US) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (AUS)." Tonga was gifted a MA-60 for its Real Tonga airline to use for domestic flights by China. Since 2009 there have been 11 serious incidents involving MA-60s, three of them in the last two months.
Source: ONE News

NZ pension rule change for Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau

The Government is making changes to legislation that will allow people wanting to retire to the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau to get their New Zealand pension. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully yesterday joined Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna in Rarotonga to announce improved pension portability. Under the current rules, people wishing to retire to the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau have to be a "resident and present" in New Zealand at age 65. Mr McCully says retirees will still need to qualify for New Zealand Superannuation and must have been a "resident and present" in New Zealand for more than 10 years since the age of 20 - including five years since the age of 50. He says the changes to the Special Portability Arrangement will allow eligible residents to apply for their pension or veteran's pension from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau. "The practical effect of the change is that people who are entitled to New Zealand Superannuation, regardless of whether they are of Cook Island, Niuean or Tokelauan ethnicity, will be able to depart New Zealand to live in one of these three countries after the age of 55 and apply, without returning to New Zealand, for their super once they turn 65," Mr McCully said.
Source: ONE News


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