NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 1, 2015

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Newsroom Digest
This edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains seven media release snippets and four links of the day from Wednesday 1st April.

BREAKING NEWS: Mark Lundy has again been found guilty of the 2002 murders of his wife and daughter. The jury delivered the unanimous verdict at the High Court in Wellington after deliberating for 16 hours over two days.

Top stories in this news cycle currently include the Government’s housing affordability targets losing momentum as latest figures reveal nationwide property values rose 7.7 percent in the year to March, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to take enforcement action against 19 farms for breach of employment laws, and a report in the NZ Herald that protocols are being drawn up by doctors to refer obese children to protection services should parents ignore medical advice.

Earlier today we tweeted our congratulations to Radio New Zealand on the occasion of Morning Report’s 40th anniversary – follow us on Twitter at @newsroom_nz and check out our latest posts of featured content at http://newsroomplus.com/the-journal/ – including today’s article by correspondent Richard F. Naidu: A Tale Of Two Flags.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

Iraq Training Prep Moves To Next Phase: New Zealand Defence Force personnel bound for deployment to train Iraqi security forces will have an Easter break with their families before the contingent heads to Australia and the next phase of preparation with the Australian Defence Force. A number of NZ Defence Force personnel have already travelled to Australia, to train with their Australian counterparts as they routinely would during preparation for a joint mission. About 50 soldiers travelled to Australia last week, with most now returned to New Zealand. A further 60 went to Australia this week, and will be back in New Zealand for Easter.

Green Party: Children Must Come First: The well-being of children must be the paramount consideration underlining the Government’s review of Child Youth and Family (CYF), the Green Party said today. “CYF has a long history of performance and organisational issues, and has been long in need of an overhaul. The Greens are giving our qualified support to the review announced by Social Development Minister Anne Tolley today,” said Jan Logie, the Green Party’s Social Development Spokesperson.

NZ First: Air NZ Snubs South Island: New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters is calling on the Prime Minister to use taxpayer control of Air New Zealand to stop the airline axing its Christchurch to Tokyo route in favour of Auckland. “This latest axing by Air New Zealand is a massive snub to exporters and tourism in the South Island,” Mr Peters said.

More Support For Families: Additional support for families through an extension to Paid Parental Leave and an increase to the minimum wage comes into effect today, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse says. Paid Parental Leave will extend from 14 to 16 weeks today and by another two weeks next year, while further improvements to the scheme are also being progressed. The adult minimum wage will increase from $14.25 to $14.75 an hour from today and the starting-out and training hourly minimum wages will increase by 40 cents to $11.80 an hour.

SFF And Forestry: New Zealand’s forestry sector will benefit from five new projects in the latest round of the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew announced today. “Around $1.2 million has been committed over four financial years towards five new SFF projects involving the forestry sector,” Ms Goodhew says. “SFF continues to be a great example of government supporting foresters to ensure the sustainability of our primary industries.” The forestry projects are part of the 29 new SFF projects announced today—following the 2015/16 SFF funding round held last year.

Protecting NZ Wine: New Zealand’s largest wine exporter has welcomed yesterday’s announcement from Steven Joyce, the Minister of Economic Development, and NZ Winegrowers, that the government will implement legislation for approved geographical indicators to protect New Zealand’s internationally famous wine growing regions and products. Geographical indicators are considered a mark of quality due to the positive reputation of products from the area of origin and are often seen on international products – such as Champagne and Scotch whisky – to protect brands and regions.

Dairy Audit Results Reaction: Federated Farmers is disappointed in the findings released today by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment in their compliance operation. Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair, says “It is not a great look for our industry to have this number of dairy farmers not meeting the minimum employment requirements. This is why Federated Farmers has and will continue to focus on this area.” “MBIE inspectors targeted some of the farmers who were known to have existing employment compliance concerns, while others were random, so ratios of compliance cannot be generalised to dairy farmers at large.

LINKS OF THE DAY

TAX ON EMPLOYEE SHARE SCHEME: Revenue Minister Todd McClay has welcomed the release this week of an Inland Revenue officials’ issues paper that seeks feedback on options to simplify the way tax is collected from employees participating in employee share schemes. “The options presented in the paper represent a small but important step in Inland Revenue’s longer term Business transformation programme to modernise the way the tax system is administered and make it easier for New Zealanders to get their tax right,” Mr McClay says. The issues paper, Simplifying the collection of tax on employee share schemes,can be found at: www.taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz

COUNTERFEIT BANK NOTES: Police have received a number of reports in recent days of counterfeit bank notes being used at retailers around the North Island. The notes have been $20, $50 and $100 denominations. Typically the offenders have gone into shops and supermarkets, purchased a small item using a large denomination note and then received legitimate cash as change. You can also view this release, including any additional images, online at:http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/counterfeit-bank-notes

ANZ BUSINESS MICRO SCOPE: Finding skilled staff remains the No 1 challenge for small firms as sentiment lifts further to near-record levels, according to ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms. Business owners expect to further up their activity, investment and employment over the coming year, pointing to solid growth for small firms, but cite a lack of staff with the right skills as their biggest constraint. Read more here:
http://www.anz.co.nz/about-us/economic-markets-research/business-micro-scope/

BEST NEW ZEALAND POEMS: Launched today, Best New Zealand Poems, published by Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML), brings together 25 poems rich with place and locality, selected by New Zealand’s Poet Laureate Vincent O’Sullivan. The diverse collection of poems attests to the strength of voices both long established and new—featuring work by poet Kevin Ireland whose first book came out more than 50 years ago, and Victoria Master of Arts 2013 graduate Claire Orchard who is yet to publish a book. Best New Zealand Poems 2014 can be viewed at: www.victoria.ac.nz/bestnzpoems

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Wednesday 1st April 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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