NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 9, 2015

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Newsroom DigestThis edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains five media release snippets and six links of the day from Thursday 9th April.

Top stories in the current news cycle include the parent company of several fast food chains, bows to union pressure and moves to scrap zero hour contracts, police searching for a missing Southland boy say evidence points towards a murder suicide, and people in rural West Auckland ask why no air quality research is being conducted there, despite plans by a factory that emits dangerous dust particles to double in size.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

Zero Hour Contracts Scrapped: Union members have won the removal of zero hour contacts in negotiations with fast food giant Restaurant Brands (owner of KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr and Starbucks).

“Members of Unite Union have campaigned successfully – they’ve highlighted what the reality of zero hour contacts mean and how impossible it is to pay bills and make plans when you have no security of income,” CTU Secretary, Sam Huggard said. “This is a win against a one of the world’s fast food giants and a real example of how powerful workers can be when they stick together.”

Labour To Resubmit Paid Parental Leave Bill: John Key’s insistence on using a financial veto to stop Labour from working with other parties to deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave for families smacks of arrogance and double standards, says Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney. “National has lost a lot of credibility on financial responsibility after its failed attempt to bribe Northland voters with $70m of new unplanned bridges. My Bill to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks was defeated 60-60 just four weeks prior to National losing the Northland by-election. I will now submit an updated version of the Bill into the next Member’s Bill ballot” said Ms Moroney.

Prison Restructure Proposal: Department of Corrections Chief Executive Ray Smith has today proposed that over the next year parts of three prisons will close. “While overall the number of beds for prisoners will increase by 433 this year, they’ll be modern, safe and focused on rehabilitation, unlike the units in Waikeria, Tongariro/Rangipo and Rimutaka Prisons that are proposed for closure. Over the next year we expect around 260 Corrections staff will be affected and Corrections will help them move to other prisons if they wish.

Fruit Flies Could’ve Been Avoided: New Zealand First is concerned the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) have admitted they are in for the long haul with their fight against the Queensland Fruit Fly. “Our concern is based on the fact that this could’ve been avoided and this surely should be a huge learning opportunity for the government,” says Richard Prosser, Primary Industries Spokesperson. “Something like nine million people have come through the Green Lane without any kind of inspection since 2012.

NZ Firms Open Marketing Office In China: Primary Collaboration New Zealand, a group of New Zealand primary sector firms, has opened a joint marketing office in Shanghai, completing a three-year gestation to make life easier in breaking into the world’s second biggest economy. PCNZ’s members include fishing group Sealord, meat processor Silver Fern Farms, dairy firm Synlait Milk, vintner Villa Maria Estate, seafood company Kono and horticulture collaboration Pacific Pace.

LINKS OF THE DAY

CROWN MANAGER REPORT: Local Government Minister Paula Bennett and Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith today welcomed the publication of the final report of the Crown Manager for Christchurch City Council’s building consenting functions. “Substantial progress has been made during Doug Martin’s tenure, with the Council now processing consents on time and to a high quality standard, leading to their reinstatement by International Accreditation New Zealand as a Building Consent Authority in December,” says Mrs Bennett. Link to report:
www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Our-Policy-Advice-Areas-Local-Government-Policy?OpenDocument#crownmanager

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY MEASURED: The ANZ Truckometer is a measure of economic activity using real-time traffic data. It is timely and contains hard activity data as opposed to measuring sentiment. The ANZ Heavy Traffic Index fell 0.4% in the month of March, but is up 0.8% in the first quarter of the year (seasonally adjusted). The ANZ Light Traffic Index leads GDP by six months. It was flat in March, though is up 1.6% in Q1 (sa). See the attached report for full analysis:
http://www.anz.co.nz/about-us/economic-markets-research/truckometer/

STEWARDSHIP LAND REVIEW: Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, has called for the Department of Conservation to pick up the pace in reviewing stewardship land. Today Dr Wright released an update to her 2013 report Investigating the future of conservation: The case of stewardship land. About one third of the conservation estate is categorised as ‘stewardship land’. The Commissioner said she was pleased that the Minister of Conservation has accepted her recommendations regarding stewardship land and has moved to implement them. Find the update report here:
http://www.pce.parliament.nz/assets/Uploads/Update-report-Investigating-the-future-of-conservation-Web.pdf

NUTRIENT LOSS REDUCTION COSTS: Case studies of dairy support farms in the Upper Waikato River catchment indicate that the effect on profits of reducing their nutrient losses to water is as variable as the systems themselves and could potentially be minimal. Improvements in productivity and efficiency could hold the key to minimising any negative financial impact from reducing such losses, the studies found. The information will be made available to farmers to help improve their business efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of their operations, as well as to other interested parties. A full copy of the dairy support case studies report is available at:
http://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/tr201514

NZ RANKED 5TH FOR SOCIAL PROGRESS: New Zealand is the world’s 5th most socially advanced nation according to the Social Progress Index 2015 published today by US-based nonprofit,the Social Progress Imperative, and released at the 2015 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.
The full, interactive dataset from the Index can be found here:
http://www.socialprogressimperative.org/system/resources/W1siZiIsIjIwMTUvMDQvMDgvMTUvMjkvNTQvNTkyL1NQSV8yMDE1X0VYRUNfU1VNTUFSWS5wZGYiXV0/SPI%202015%20EXEC%20SUMMARY.pdf

SAFETY ON QUADS: Farmers are being urged to take special care on quad-bikes after two fatalities this week. A farmer died on his Wairarapa farm on Tuesday, while a 17-year-old died today on a farm in Kaikohe. “These two tragic events are a reminder to the farming community that while quad-bikes are a useful tool on the farm, they need to be used safely,” says Francois Barton, Manager of National Programmes at WorkSafe New Zealand. For more information on staying safe on farms, go to:
www.saferfarms.org.nz

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Thursday 9th 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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