NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 14, 2015

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Newsroom DigestThis edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains five media release snippets and four links of the day from Tuesday 14th April.

Top stories in the news cycle include the Prime Minister announces extra education and research and development funding for next month’s Budget, McDonald’s steps away from zero hour contracts as the Government is accused of dithering over the issue, and a multinational observer group declares Fiji’s election last year to be credible.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

Budget Will Including Funding For New Schools: Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye say next month’s Budget will provide $244 million of funding for new schools, additional classrooms and expansions to existing schools.The money will come from the remaining proceeds of the government’s share offer programme – channelled through the Future Investment Fund.

$80m For Research And Development: Innovative Kiwi businesses investing in research and development (R&D) will benefit from a boost in funding for Callaghan Innovation as part of Budget 2015, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today. The Government will invest another $80 million over four years in R&D growth grants, administered by Callaghan, to encourage more private sector research and development and grow New Zealand’s R&D ecosystem.

Labour: Need To Ban Zero Hour Contracts: It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. “However the minister is dithering, suggesting the law should be clarified. “There is no need to review legislation or overcomplicate the issue. Michael Woodhouse simply needs to outlaw these nasty practises now.

Competition Pushes Fuel Prices Down: Petrol stations have taken a big jump up in consumers’ esteem in the past year, with 68 percent of those polled in a survey undertaken in January saying they believe petrol station prices are competitive, up from 56 percent last year and 41 percent in August 2011, “on the back of lower petrol prices in recent months,” according to pollster UMR. The improving score for petrol stations is revealed in a poll commissioned annually for the past four years by the Electricity Authority, which seeks to measure competitiveness both within the electricity industry and also when compared to other sectors with similar characteristics.

Environment Ministry Gets New Chief Exec: State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie has today announced the appointment of Vicky Robertson as Secretary for the Environment and Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment (MfE). Ms Robertson is currently the Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer at The Treasury, and was recently Acting Secretary and Chief Executive of The Treasury from November 2014 to March 2015. Her other roles have included the Treasury’s, leading a strategic and structural review of the United Nations Development Programme, and involvement in many interdepartmental strategic policy programmes; including the Social Housing Programme, establishment of KiwiSaver and the New Zealand National Retirement Savings Scheme.

LINKS OF THE DAY 

COSTLY CANCERS: The cost of treating cancer in the New Zealand public health sector is more than $800 million annually – hundreds of millions higher than previous estimates, according to University of Otago research. Researchers from the University’s Department of Public Health, based in Wellington, have used a new method to calculate the total cost of treating cancer in the public sector, including costs by cancer type. They calculated that the total cost of treating cancer in the public health system was $880 million, which is 26 percent greater than the Ministry of Health estimate (of $526 million) for the same period (based on data collected between 2010 and 2011). For more go here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4379114/

BE FAIR, GIVE THEM A VOICE: New Zealand’s mainstream media need to make sure they include the voices of the very people they report on says the Human Rights Commission. Last night on Maori Television’s Native Affairs show the Commission launched “Talking About Ourselves” a scan of 2014 mainstream news items relating to race relations carried out by the company Mediamine. “The media play an influential role in how we understand or misunderstand each other and it’s a role that’s grown with the internet as well as our rapidly changing demographic,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy. To find out more please go to:
http://bit.ly/HRCmedia

EDUCATING ANIMAL WELFARE LAWS: A series of workshops will begin this month to help dairy farmers understand animal welfare laws and work out their options for keeping on the right side of impending new regulations. The DairyNZ ‘Welfare Matters’ two-hour workshops kick off in Hawera in Taranaki on Wednesday 29 April, then go to Stratford and Waihi on 30 April. Longer, four-hour sessions on stock welfare will also get underway this month in Southland with one on 28 April in Winton and another on 30 April in Gore.

YOUNG FARMERS COMPETE: The final ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined this weekend, Saturday 18 April at the Northern Regional Final held in Dargaville. “This contest season is shaping up to be very impressive, every year the calibre of contestants continues to impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event. Further details and Evening Show tickets are available from:
www.youngfarmercontest.co.nz

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Tuesday 14th 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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