NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for March 24 2015

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Newsroom DigestThis edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains six media release snippets and four links of the day from Tuesday 24 March.

Top stories in this news cycle currently include Finance Minister Bill English confirming the Government will need to spend $1.5 billion upgrading State houses as they’re sold to social housing providers, the Government raising fears about what might happen to its legislative programme if New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wins this weekend’s Northland by-election and the only surviving pilot from the Second World War group known as the ‘Dambusters’ accepting an offer that will keep his medals in New Zealand.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

McCully Visits Iraq: Foreign Minister Murray McCully travelled to Baghdad yesterday for talks with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mr Haider al-Abadi and Foreign Minister Dr Ibrahim al-Ja’afari. “New Zealand is committed to supporting Iraq as they address the threat posed by ISIL and build a more law-abiding and democratic country,” Mr McCully says.

Green Party: Rule Out Profit From State Homes: The Government must rule out selling state homes for private developers to profit from, the Green Party said today. “The Government looks set to sell off these assets to property developers, and then pay the same developers to house low income tenants through the Income Related Rent Subsidy. It’s a perverse money-go-round in which only the developers win,” Green Party housing spokesperson Kevin Hague said.

US Company Buys Fletcher Building Shares: US fund manager BlackRock, which manages more than US$4.7 trillion in assets worldwide, has built up a 5 percent stake in Fletcher Building. The US fund manager declared it held 34.4 million shares, or 5.005 percent, of the Auckland-based construction and building supplies firm through various related companies, according to substantial shareholder notice lodged with the NZX. The notice covers trading in the shares starting in November, and includes purchases at prices ranging from $8.04 to $8.97.

Deputy Governor Chairs OECD Committee: Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Grant Spencer has been appointed chair of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s Committee on Financial Markets (CMF). The membership of the CMF includes representatives of the OECD’s 34 member countries and senior management of the OECD Secretariat. The role of the Committee is to guide and manage the work programme of the OECD’s Financial and Enterprise Affairs Directorate. Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler said: “The appointment is a reflection of the high regard with which Grant is held in international financial markets.”

Canadian Behind Bars For $2 Million Drug Import: A 19-year old Canadian woman has been jailed for nine years for importing almost $2 million worth of methamphetamine or ‘P’ labelled as “vitamins and supplements”. Kionie Downing was sentenced in the Auckland District Court for importing and possessing methamphetamine, a Class A controlled drug. She was arrested by Customs officers in August 2014 after they intercepted a package sent to her from Canada of four containers of supplements which had drugs hidden inside.

RNZAF Hercules Turns 50: Hercules NZ7001 turns 50 today, and is spending her birthday doing what she has so often done before – delivering aid in the Pacific. Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130 NZ7001 was the first of five C-130s which arrived at RNZAF Base Auckland in Whenuapai in 1965. Since then, the C-130 has been at the forefront of many New Zealand Defence Force operations, missions and exercises. The hard-working C-130 flew out of Whenuapai on Sunday morning with aid for Tuvalu and picked up more in Suva. After delivering that cargo to Tuvalu, she returned to Suva for the night.

LINKS OF THE DAY

KIWIFRUIT GROWERS KEEN ON CHANGE: Kiwifruit growers have made a strong statement about the direction they want for their industry in the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KSIP) referendum. There is a clear mandate for change with interim results from the referendum showing two-thirds of growers, representing 80 percent of production, voting so far, says Zespri chairman Peter McBride. “Over 90 percent of growers have clearly stated their desire for change in three areas which affect Zespri – ownership of Zespri shares by growers who have left the industry, the mechanism by which the Zespri margin is calculated and changes to Zespri’s board to formalise the three independent members. A full set of interim results can be found at: http://kisp.co.nz/

COM COM DROPS INVESTIGATION: The Commerce Commission is taking no further action in its investigation into Wilson Parking New Zealand Limited’s acquisition of rival Tournament Parking Limited’s parking assets. The Commission’s investigation focused on areas in city centres where the loss of Tournament following the acquisition in July 2013 reduced the competition Wilson faced. The most acute of these were Auckland’s Parnell Rise and Symonds Street areas. A copy of the full investigation report outlining this decision can be found on the Commission’s website.  http://www.comcom.govt.nz/business-competition/enforcement-response-register-commerce/investigation-reports/

CHILD AND YOUTH CASES PLUMMET: The number of young people (aged 10 to 16 years old) appearing in court has more than halved since 2007, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams announced today. The latest Conviction and Sentencing and Child and Youth Prosecution Statistics for 2014 show the number of children and adults facing charges in courts is decreasing. Trends in Child and Youth Prosecutions 2014 infographic: www.beehive.govt.nz/sites/all/files/Trends-in-Child-and-Youth-Prosecutions-2014-infographic.pdf

SPORT COACHING GAINS TRACTION: Sport coaching is gaining wide appeal at the University of Canterbury because the degree is providing graduates with excellent jobs, an expert sports researcher says. Professor Richard Light, Head of the School of Sport and Physical Education, says several hundred students have enrolled in the sports coaching degree this year, including All Black Kieran Read. Professor Light has coached rugby in Australia and Japan and has conducted extensive research on sport in Japan with a focus on rugby. He has 30 years’ training in karate, holds a 5th dan black belt and was Australian kickboxing champion. He will give a public lecture on campus tomorrow night. View a preview interview here:

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Tuesday 24th March 2015.
Brought to EveningReport by Newsroom Digest, Tuesday March 24,  2015.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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