NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 13, 2015

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Newsroom DigestThis edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains five media release snippets and five links of the day from Monday 13th April.

Top stories in the news cycle include a call by Auckland’s deputy mayor for a cross party accord to try and solve the city’s housing woes has been dismissed by Labour and National, demand for affordable homes at a state owned development in Hobsonsville Hill is so high a ballot system has had to be used, and Hillary Clinton launches her campaign to become the first female President of the United States.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

Key Should Acknowledge Auckland Housing Crisis: John Key has once again shown how out of touch he is with ordinary New Zealanders by denying there’s a crisis in the Auckland housing market, the Green Party said today. “John Key’s claim today that there are ‘many, many, many’ homes for sale for between $300,000 and $500,000 is wrong” said Green Party housing spokesperson Kevin Hague. “He needs to stop denying there’s a housing crisis and do something meaningful about it instead.

$269m Deficit Too Much, Says Peters: New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is calling out the Prime Minister for his comments on Newstalk ZB this morning, where he dismissed the government’s latest $269 million deficit for the eight months to February as “plus or minus a few hundred million.” “National’s mounting failure to make a Budget surplus since 2008 is causing damage to the economy.The Prime Minister is absolutely wrong to dismiss another budget deficit as just “plus or minus a few hundred million.” Peters said.

Union Says Offer Is Meaningless: Strikes and protests are going ahead at McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s on Wednesday as part of an international fast food workers day of action. Unite National Director Mike Treen said McDonald’s had put out some PR spin while they were in bargaining this morning with us that claimed an end to zero hours but is far from a genuine secure hours offer. Their offer was for a “guarantee” of 80% of “rostered hours”. This is a meaningless formula. Rostered hours are a long way from hours worked which is the formula we have used at Restaurant Brands.

Kiwi Dollar May Fall: The New Zealand dollar may fall this week in the face of a resurgent greenback and as dairy futures suggest prices will decline at this week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, raising concern about the outlook for the country’s largest export commodity. The kiwi may trade between 73.85 US cents and 77 cents this week, according to a BusinessDesk survey of 13 currency advisors and strategists. Seven expect the currency to decline, two bet it will rise, while four say it will remain little changed. It recently traded at 74.89 US cents.

Study Shows Packaged Food Is Unhealthy: Fewer than half of all packaged foods available in New Zealand and Australia in 2012 met nutritional criteria to carry health claims, according to recently published research from the University of Auckland. The study based on large, regular surveys of food composition provides a comprehensive, quantitative assessment of the nutrient profile of packaged foods in Australia and New Zealand. It was published this week in the international journal, Public Health Nutrition. In the study, nutrition information data was collected from food packages in major New Zealand and Australian supermarkets and was assessed using a regionally accepted nutrient profiling scoring standard. The proportion of products eligible to display health claims was quantified along with the associations between each product’s score and energy density, saturated fat, sugar and salt content.

LINKS OF THE DAY

CLINTON LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN: Hillary Clinton has confirmed she will run for President of the United States in the 2016 general election. Watch her announcement video “Getting Started” on her offiical campaign website:https://www.hillaryclinton.com/

CARD SPENDING UP: Retail spending using electronic cards was $4.7 billion in March 2015, up $167 million (3.7 percent) from March 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. In actual terms, card spending rose in all retail industries except for fuel. When adjusted for seasonal effects, retail spending was up 0.8 percent in March 2015 compared with February 2015. This rise follows a 1.1 percent rise in February. For more information about these statistics:
http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/businesses/business_characteristics/ElectronicCardTransactions_HOTPMar15.aspx

FOOD INDUSTRY TECHNOLOGY COULD HELP THE SICK: The same technology used in the food industry to measure the antioxidant properties of edible plants, tea, and wine could be adapted to monitor the oxidative stress of critically ill patients in intensive care. University of Auckland surgical researcher Dr Anthony Phillips has just received a $150,000 Explorer Grant from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) to develop a device to perform routine oxidative stress measurements in patients for the first time. The device uses technology called cyclic voltammetry that is widely used in the antioxidant food industry, but which has never been used for clinical use in acute and critically ill patients. To view lay summaries of the recipients’ projects, go to www.hrc.govt.nz/funding-opportunities/recipients and filter for ‘Researcher initiated proposals’, ‘Explorer Grants’, ‘2015’.

NEW GST APP: Revenue Minister Todd McClay says Inland Revenue’s new mobile app is simplifying GST filing for small businesses and, already, 7,270 people have downloaded it. Inland Revenue’s myIR mobile app was developed in collaboration with the winners of Inland Revenue’s crowd-sourcing challenge called APP4IR, a competition to find a way to make it easier for small businesses to interact with Inland Revenue. The winners of the competition were Wellington friends Matt Innes and Josh Lee who grew up together in the small Rangitikei town of Marton.
IRD wants to hear your ideas for making tax simpler by joining the discussion at www.makingtaxsimpler.ird.govt.nz

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS MARINE ADVENTURE: Mangrove forests up to 20 metres high, snakes, wasps and a whole lot of mud have been the making of an intrepid journey for three University of Waikato scientists conducting research in Vietnam. Senior lecturer Dr Julia Mullarney, Technical Officer Dean Sandwell and PhD student Benjamin Norris have just returned from living on a river boat in the Mekong Delta where they were studying currents in the mangrove forests as part of an international collaborative research project. “We’re studying currents around the roots of mangrove trees with the aim of determining how the obstacles affect waves and currents. The work we’re doing has implications for sediment transport which in turn controls the expansion or shrinking of the delta as a whole,” says Dr Mullarney. Their adventures can be followed on the photo blog:http://schoolofsciencetheuniversityofwaikato.pixieset.com/vietnammangroveresearch/

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Monday 13th 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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