NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 15, 2015

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Newsroom Digest

This edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains five media release snippets and six links of the day from Wednesday 15th April.

Top stories in the news cycle include a new report that urges a ban on importing materials containing asbestos, the Reserve Bank urging new policies to bring balance to the housing market, and the Government being accused of not being transparent about when New Zealand will commence troop deployments to Iraq.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

RBNZ Calls For Housing Reform: The Reserve Bank today urged greater attention on housing market imbalances presenting an increasing risk to financial and economic stability, saying policy measures to address housing’s tax-preferred status, especially housing investment, need fresh consideration. In a speech to the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce, Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Grant Spencer said part of the trend “is no doubt being reinforced by the expectation of high rates of return based on untaxed capital gains.”

Speculation Of NZ/AUSD Parit: The New Zealand dollar jumped half a cent against the Australian dollar, moving above 99 Australian cents and sparking renewed speculation of parity, after weaker Chinese economic data weighed on the Australian dollar. The kiwi rose as high as 99.11 Australian cents, from 98.51 cents immediately before China released economic activity indicators for March, which were weaker than expected, at 2pm New Zealand time. It recently traded at 99.07 Australian cents.

Labour: McDonald’s Should Up Size Work Hours: Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says.“This offer has been dismissed as ‘a joke’ by the Unite Union representing them. “These people often work much less than their rostered hours so they still won’t have any certainty they can pay their rent and feed their families each week.

Green Party: Public Should Be Informed Of Deployment: New Zealanders deserve to know when our troops are being deployed to Iraq, said the Green party today. Reports out of Australia say that New Zealand troops will begin their deployment today. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the deployment of Australian troops and has also disclosed when troops will be operational. “The New Zealand public have a right to know when our troops are in Iraq,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman. “It is unacceptable the Australian public are told when their troops go to war and the New Zealand public are not.

Work Talks For Disabled: Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner says her meeting with Australian counterpart Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield in Melbourne was an opportunity to discuss issues of common interest, including enabling disabled people to get into work and providing choice over disability support. Senator Fifield is Assistant Minister for Social Services, with responsibility for disability and ageing. “Both countries have a significant focus on improving employment outcomes for disabled people and providing disabled people with greater choice and control over the supports they receive,” Ms Wagner says.

LINKS OF THE DAY 

RBNZ HOUSING SPEECH: Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Grant Spencer’s speech to the Rotorua Chamber of Commerces on house prices can be found at:http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/research_and_publications/speeches/2015/action-needed-to-reduce-housing-imbalances.pdf

DATA ON SOCIAL HOUSING DEMAND RELEASED: Information about what social housing is needed and where has today been made available to housing providers for the first time says Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett. “The Ministry of Social Development’s (MSD) Purchasing Intentions information release is the first of its kind, and marks a milestone in the Government’s Social Housing Reform Programme,” says Mrs Bennett.A link to the Purchasing Intentions release is here: http://www.msd.govt.nz/irrs-purchasing-intentions/

GOVT INVESTS IN MAORI SCIENCE AND INNOVATION: Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell today announced the third annual investment in the Vision Mātauranga Science Fund, which was established to grow skills and capacity in science and innovation and support outcomes that benefit Māori and New Zealand. “A total of $1.9 million will be invested in 17 new programmes over the next two years,” Mr Joyce says. “This is in addition to the $2.4 million invested in 2013 and $1.8 million in 2014. More information is available at: http://www.msi.govt.nz/get-funded/research-organisations/vision-matauranga-capability-fund/

FOOD PRICES RISE: In March 2015, food prices rose 0.1 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. This follows a 0.7 percent fall in February and a 1.3 percent rise in January. “Less discounting on items such as biscuits, yoghurt, and sauces contributed to higher grocery prices. This was countered by lower prices for fruit and vegetables,” prices manager Chris Pike said. Grocery food prices rose 1.2 percent, with higher prices across most of the subgroup. This was the highest monthly rise for grocery food prices since January 2013. Higher prices for meat, poultry, and fish (up 0.4 percent) were influenced by higher prices for beef, partly offset by lower prices for chicken and pork. For more information about these statistics:
http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/economic_indicators/prices_indexes/FoodPriceIndex_HOTPMar15.aspx

ACC RISK RATINGS NOW ONLINE: ACC Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the publication of details about risk rating, which will see car owners pay much lower and fairer levies from 1 July. “Information is now available on ACC’s website, so car owners can see what levy they’ll pay for a specific vehicle. “A tool will also be available on the rightcar website in the near future, which will let you key in your registration number and see what levy you will pay.” More information about risk rating, including the new levy bands from 1 July, is available here:
http://www.acc.co.nz/for-individuals/other-motorists/WPC137732

POSSUM HUNTING ALLOWED ON CONSERVATION LAND: Greater conservation and economic benefits will follow an agreement signed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and New Zealand Fur Council (NZFC) today. DOC already works with individuals who wish to hunt and trap on conservation land, but this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the collective voice of the possum fur industry will make it easier for Fur Council accredited hunters and trappers across the country to gain access to public conservation land for fur recovery operations. Read more at:
http://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2010/possums-eat-kea/

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Wednesday 15th 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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