NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 10, 2015

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Newsroom DigestThis edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains six media release snippets and six links of the day from Friday 10th April.

Top stories in the current news cycle include the Government’s books slip into a quarter-billion-dollar deficit, criticism over job cuts at the Corrections Department in favour of privately run prisons, and MediaWorks putting current affairs programme Campbell Live under review sparks public outrage.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

NZ Govt Records $269 Deficit: The New Zealand government turned to a deficit in the first eight months of the financial year, although the shortfall was smaller than forecast as the Crown took in more tax and costs came in below its estimate. The operating balance before gains and losses (Obegal) was a deficit of $269 million in the eight months ended Feb. 28, compared to a forecast deficit of $612 million, the Treasury said in a statement. That was due to a bigger than expected tax-take of $42.4 billion in the period, some $162 million ahead of forecast, while core Crown expenses were $312 million below forecast at $47.2 billion, which was spread across a number of government departments.

Labour: English Breaking Promise: Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key has spent seven years and two election campaigns telling New Zealanders to trust him, be patient and that he will deliver a surplus this year. But eight months into the financial year the books are over $260 million still in the red. That’s not good enough,” added Mr Robertson.

Green Party: Prison Closure Could Become Community Problem: Closing provincial prisons is counterproductive to rehabilitating prisoners and integrating them back into the community said the Green Party today.The Government yesterday announced that they will be closing units in three provincial prisons around the North Island. It is estimated that the closure will result in over 260 job losses.“The Government is failing prisoners and compromising the safety of communities by closing provincial prisons,” said Green Party corrections spokesperson David Clendon. “Research shows that inmates who maintain families and other relationships while in prison are more likely to be successfully rehabilitated, so moving inmates to Auckland away from their support networks is counterproductive.”

PSA Slams CYF Review: The Public Service Association (PSA) says the recently announced review of Child, Youth and Family (CYF) is putting the wrong people in charge of looking at the wrong things, and won’t provide the improvements to CYF services that it claims to seek.Erin Polaczuk, PSA national secretary, said “A genuine modernisation project for CYF would be driven from the ground up – by CYF staff, their union and the users of their services. This review looks like manufacturing an excuse for outsourcing rather than seeking a genuine improvement of public services.”

Tim Murphy Steps Down As NZ Herald’s Editor In Chief: Tim Murphy has stepped down as editor-in-chief of the New Zealand Herald in favour of the Herald’s current editor, Shayne Currie, who will move into an expanded editorial role. Murphy took on the editorship of the Herald in 2001 at the age of 37, making him at the time the youngest editor ever appointed to the publication. He was appointed editor-in-chief three years ago and oversaw the Herald’s change from broadsheet to a tabloid format.

EPA Chief Executive Resigns: The Environmental Protection Authority’s Chief Executive, Rob Forlong has announced his resignation. Mr Forlong has been the Chief Executive of the EPA since its inception nearly four years ago, and prior to that, was the Chief Executive of the Environmental Risk Management Authority for six years. The EPA Board’s Chair, Kerry Prendergast, said Mr Forlong had made a significant contribution to the EPA, and the Board and staff are very grateful for his leadership. “Rob has led the organisation through the crucial set-up period since the EPA’s creation in 2011.

LINKS OF THE DAY

GOVT FINANCIAL STATEMENTS: The Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the eight months ended 28 February 2015 were released by the Treasury today. The statements are compared against forecasts based on the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) released on 16 December 2014. More details available here:
http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/media-speeches/media/10apr15

PETITION TO SAVE CAMPBELL LIVE: More than 20,000 New Zealanders have signed a petition overnight calling on MediaWorks to save Campbell Live. Grass-roots campaign group ActionStation launched their petition within hours of the announcement yesterday that TV3 is considering replacing the current affairs show with a daily version of the Jono and Ben entertainment show. Link to the petition:http://www.actionstation.org.nz/savecampbelllive

GREENHOUSE INVENTORY REPORT: Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser welcomes the release of the latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory report by the Ministry for the Environment. The report covers the period since 1990 and provides details about emissions and removals for the 2013 year. In 2013 New Zealand’s total gross greenhouse gas emissions were 81 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, a decrease of 1.4 per cent over the previous year. New Zealand is committed to doing its fair share to reduce harmful emissions and has made an unconditional commitment to reduce emissions to five per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. The report is available at:http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate-change/new-zealands-greenhouse-gas-inventory-1990%E2%80%932013

GUEST NIGHTS RISE: National guest nights for February 2015 were 5.4 percent higher than in February 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. This is the 11th consecutive month of rises. “Most of the increase in February was from international guest nights,” business indicators manager Neil Kelly said. “Visitor numbers to New Zealand were boosted by the Chinese New Year and Cricket World Cup.” For more information about these statistics:
http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/industry_sectors/accommodation/AccommodationSurvey_HOTPFeb15.aspx

NZ/CHINA SCHOOL RELATIONS STRENGTHEN: Twenty schools across New Zealand have received NZ$50,000 in total to strengthen their Chinese sister school relationships, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce announced today. Mr Joyce is in Shanghai to foster ties between the two countries’ marine, education and technology sectors. The New Zealand-China Sister Schools Fund was announced during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand in November 2014. The fund is administered by Education New Zealand and schools applied for grants to develop new and existing relationships. The list of funding recipients of the New Zealand-China Sister Schools Fund is available at http://enz.govt.nz/our-services/business-development/tools-for-schools/new-zealand-china-sister-schools-fund

REVIVING POETRY AWARD: Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) is aiming to revive New Zealand’s only national poetry competition for high school students through crowdfunding. The National Schools Poetry Award was established by former IIML director Emeritus Professor Bill Manhire in 2003 and over 300 young poets from across the country entered the competition each year until it was cancelled in 2014. That decision resulted from a lack of funding to run the competition. The IIML wants to revive the award and has established a fundraising campaign which has already attracted support from Creative New Zealand. To donate to the Boosted fund for the National Schools Poetry Award, visit:
https://www.boosted.org.nz/projects/national-schools-poetry-award

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Friday 10th 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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