NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for March 27, 2015

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Newsroom Digest
This edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains seven media release snippets and four links of the day from Friday 27 March.

Top stories in this news cycle currently include the Police watchdog finding numerous flaws in Police custody protocols, a group plans legal proceedings to halt an extension of wharfs by Ports of Auckland, and the last day of campaigning for the hotly contested Northland by-election.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

Police Custody Flaws: In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. The first report, entitled “Review of Police Custodial Management”, is a review of 31 complaints and incidents that have been referred to the Authority over the last three years, combined with more general enquiries undertaken by the Authority. “From the moment they take custody of a person, Police have a legal duty of care to take all reasonable steps to ensure that person’s wellbeing while they are in custody,” said Judge Sir David Carruthers, Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair.

Police Accepts IPCA Report: New Zealand Police accept the findings of two Independent Police Conduct Authority reports released today highlighting issues with the management of people in custody, and is continuing to work with the responsible agencies to address them. The reports include an investigation into the death of Sentry Taitoko in Police custody in Counties Manukau in February 2014, feeding into a wider review of Police custodial management. “Police accepts both reports’ findings, which highlight that there are a number of ongoing and recurring issues regarding the management of people in custody, particularly with regards to training, staff expertise and consistency of practice across the country,” says Acting Assistant Commissioner Response and Operations, Barry Taylor.

Labour: Transparency On Investor State Clauses: The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which includes well drafted ISDS provisions. We also support the FTA with South Korea. Some investor state dispute settlement provisions have enabled inappropriate claims by multi-national corporate investors for alleged losses suffered as a consequence of quite proper government decisions. We believe these sorts of ISDS provisions are inappropriate and should be avoided.”

Inflation Target Could Overheat Economy: Targeting 2 percent annual inflation could force the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to cut interest rates too sharply and overheat the economy, says Bank of New Zealand, which suggests current low global inflation rates mean the local target is “unreasonably high in the current climate.” “We wonder if the target band should be lowered from its current one to three percent or, in the least, that its lower reaches be tolerated as the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future,” writes senior economist Craig Ebert.

Crown Apologises To Ngāruahine: Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson today delivered the Crown’s formal apology to Ngāruahine for historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. The apology was delivered in Hokitika at the conclusion of Ngāruahine’s week-long Hikoi ki Te Waipounamu to honour the memory of the 405 members of those Ngāruahine tupuna who were transported to and detained in the South Island by the Crown after the Taranaki Wars.

Milk Powder Prices Expected To Fall: New Zealand whole milk powder futures dropped after Fonterra Cooperative Group said it will increase the volume of product it puts up for sale on the GlobalDairyTrade platform, suggesting prices may extend their decline in next week’s auction. Auckland-based Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has increased the amount of whole milk powder it will offer at the upcoming April 1 auction in Contract 2, which covers product with a June shipping date, by 14 percent to 4,965 metric tonnes. Whole milk powder futures for June delivery dropped US$230 a tonne to US$2,400 a tonne today. At last week’s GDT auction, whole milk powder fell 9.6 percent to US$2,928 a tonne.

Faster Transfer Of Patient Information: Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says Southern DHB has now completed the South Island’s rollout of eReferrals, enabling faster more accurate transfer of patient information. “West Coast, South Canterbury and Nelson Marlborough DHBs replaced paper-based referrals with electronic referrals, and now Southern DHB has begun introducing the system,” says Dr Coleman. “More than half a million patient referrals from a GP to a hospital specialist have been sent electronically since Canterbury DHB launched the eReferrals system in 2012.

LINKS OF THE DAY

ACC REPORT CONFIRMS VOLATILITY: ACC’s latest quarterly report highlights the impact of short-term volatilities on the ACC scheme’s financial position. ACC’s second quarterly report for 2014/15 is available here: http://www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/reports-and-strategy/index.htm

SAVING ONE OF THE WORLD’S RAREST BIRDS: A University of Canterbury scientist is investigating ways to ensure the survival and recovery of critically endangered kakī (black stilt) in the wild. Dr Tammy Steeves is making recommendations to support the management of one of the world’s rarest birds, the kakī, which is a critically endangered endemic wading bird restricted to the Upper Waitaki Basin in the South Island.  For more details on the kakī see: http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/black-stilt.

INCREASING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT EXPENDITURE: Businesses are spending more on research and development (R&D) and this expenditure is expected to rise again in 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. Business expenditure on research and development (BERD) increased by $53 million to $1,246 million in 2014. The greatest increase came from the services industry, partly offset by decreases in R&D expenditure by the primary and manufacturing sectors (down $33 million and $14 million, respectively). Total expenditure on R&D in New Zealand remained around $2.6 billion in 2014, despite the increase in BERD, as R&D expenditure by the government and higher education (eg universities) sectors fell. See Research and Development Survey: 2014 for tables with more detailed industry and sector breakdowns: http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/businesses/research_and_development/ResearchandDevelopmentSurvey_HOTP2014.aspx

SWEDES FARMER RESULTS: The results of an in-depth farmer survey carried out to help understand the factors behind the toxic swedes issues that hit Southland dairy herds last year are expected to be available by the end of May. DairyNZ’s Southland regional leader Richard Kyte says DairyNZ interviewed 134 affected and unaffected farmers and 34 graziers last year as part of its study into why many cows became ill after feeding on swedes last season. The detailed interviews followed a general short survey of all dairy farmers that generated more than 400 replies. Analysis of all the survey data is now nearly complete. Information on the DairyNZ website to help farmers: www.dairynz.co.nz/swedes.

ONLINE BULLS TO HELP FARMERS: A new online bull team builder, developed by NZ Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of DairyNZ, will allow farmers to see the impact of genetic improvement on farm profit and team averages. Instead of flicking through catalogues to compare bulls; farmers will have all the information now available in one place, says NZAEL manager Dr Jeremy Bryant. “They will be able to visit the DairyNZ website and select bulls which meet their specific needs without compromising Breeding Worth (BW). Preferred traits might include enhanced BW, productivity, fertility, long-life, calving ease, conformation or temperament,” he says. For further details visit: http://www.dairynz.co.nz/bullteam

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Friday 27th March  2015.

Brought to EveningReport by Newsroom Digest.

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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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