NewsRoom Digest: Top NZ News Items for April 29, 2015

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Newsroom Digest

This edition of NewsRoom_Digest contains 6 media release snippets and 5 links of the day from Wednesday 29th April.

Top stories in the news cycle include New Zealand joining Australia in condemning Indonesia’s execution of two Australian citizens for drug smuggling, a fall in exports to China puts Australia back as New Zealand’s top export destination, and the waitress who had her ponytail repeatedly pulled by the Prime Minister considers legal action.

SNIPPETS OF THE DAY

Higher Trade Surplus Than Expected Recorded: New Zealand recorded a bigger-than-expected trade surplus in March, as exports fell less than forecast. Statistics New Zealand said the trade surplus was $631 million in March, bigger than the $341 million expected in a Reuters poll of economists and compared with a February surplus of $83 million. Excluding the re-export of a drilling platform to Singapore, last month’s trade surplus was $432 million. The annual trade deficit was $2.41 billion, the biggest in almost six years and ahead of last month’s $2.14 billion, but smaller than the $2.74 billion expected in the Reuters poll.

Chinese Engineers Need To Be Covered: The government must seek a definitive answer on whether Chinese engineers working on KiwiRail’s locomotives are covered under New Zealand employment law says Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) General Secretary Wayne Butson. “Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse must do more than seek a general answer. Allegations of exploitation demand more than a shrug of the shoulders and tentative legal advice”. In 2014 Trevor Mallard revealed allegations of exploitation of Chinese engineers working under warranty on KiwiRail’s imported locomotives. A Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) investigation found the allegations could not be substantiated, but the investigators did not view wage records before coming to their conclusions.

Senior Citizens Care A Must: The Government must stop neglecting older New Zealanders and the people who care for them and give urgent attention to a sector that is in dire straits, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The lead author of the New Zealand Aged Care Workforce Survey, Dr Katherine Ravenswood, says low pay, high workloads, an ageing workforce and an increasing demand for aged care add up to a concerning picture for the sector. “These have long been issues for those providing care to the elderly, yet in seven years of a National-led Government nothing has been done to improve the situation.

Faster Surgical Assessment For Bay Of Plenty: Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says Bay of Plenty DHB patients are receiving their first surgical assessments faster compared to ten years ago. “Speeding up patient’s access to their first surgical assessments has been a priority for this Government,” says Dr Coleman. “At the same time, we have also increased the number of patients receiving their first surgical assessment compared to ten years ago. “Last year a record 16,591 Bay of Plenty patients received their first surgical specialist assessment, compared to 13,909 in 2009. That’s an increase of 14 per cent.

Hastings Will Have Largest And Most Advanced Health Centre: Hastings is set to get a major new primary health centre in 2017. This new centre, which will be one of the largest and most advanced in New Zealand, will offer everything from regular doctors’ visits through to after hour’s emergency care. This facility will be the result of the intended joining of Totara Health and The Hastings Health Centre to create one of New Zealand’s largest medical practices. “This is an incredibly exciting development for primary health provision in Hawke’s Bay,” said Hayley Anderson, Chief Executive of The Hastings Health Centre. “This joining of two medical practices and the development of the new primary health facility will create options leading to better health care for Hawke’s Bay people and a better experience for patients.”

Prince Harry Visit: Prime Minister John Key today released further details of Prince Harry’s visit to New Zealand from May 9 -16. “I am delighted Prince Harry is visiting New Zealand. The Prince has asked to meet a wide range of New Zealanders so his programme has been designed with that in mind,” says Mr Key. “I’m confident Prince Harry will have a fabulous time here and I encourage all New Zealanders to take the opportunity to go and see him.” The Prince will arrive in Wellington on Saturday, May 9, where he will be officially welcomed at Government House before heading to the National War Memorial for a Wreath Laying Ceremony. Later that evening he will attend the Hurricanes and Sharks game at Westpac Stadium.

LINKS OF THE DAY

ANNUAL EXPORTS TO CHINA DIP BELOW AUSTRALIA: The value of goods exports to Australia ($8.7 billion) surpassed those to China for the year ended March 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. For the past five months, exports to China and Australia have both fallen, compared with the same month in the previous year. Falls in exports to China were larger than the falls to Australia. “This is the first time Australia has been our top export destination since the year ended November 2013,” international statistics manager Jason Attewell said. Total goods exports fell $103 million (2.0 percent), down to $4.9 billion in March 2015 compared with March 2014. Exports to China fell $324 million (29 percent), due to whole milk powder. Exports to Australia fell $26 million. For more information about these statistics:
http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/industry_sectors/imports_and_exports/OverseasMerchandiseTrade_HOTPMar15.aspx

NEW FOUNDATION OPTIONS: Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith has welcomed the update to the technical guidance, Repairing and rebuilding houses affected by the Canterbury earthquakes, which provides further options for repairing and rebuilding structures on liquefaction-prone land. “This new guidance on alternative foundation designs for building or repairing homes on land prone to liquefaction is the product of international best practice geotechnical engineering and practical Kiwi know-how developed in the course of the earthquake recovery. Its significance is that it will provide foundation options that are less expensive while still giving homeowners confidence that their home will survive a future series of earthquakes like that which struck Canterbury in 2010 and 2011,” Dr Smith says. Further information on the new options is available from:
www.mbie.govt.nz/news-and-media/news-from-around-mbie/canterbury-technical-guidance-updated

TRAVEL APPS FOR TOURISTS: Leading travel website My Destination New Zealand has launched a series of new mobile apps around the country offering informative guides based on invaluable local knowledge. Visitors to Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown can now tap into specialist local tips and keep up-to-date with what to see and do on the apps, now available to download from the Apple App Store .The apps can be downloaded in the Apple Store by searching for My Destination Auckland, My Destination Rotorua, My Destination Wellington, My Destination Christchurch and My Destination Queenstown or by following this link: My Destination Auckland https://itunes.apple.com/app/id952672856

HUNTING SEASON OPENS THIS WEEKEND: Gamebird hunters across the South Island will have welcomed this week’s rain – the most significant rain event in some regions this year – ahead of the season’s opening this Saturday (May 2, 2015). “Ponds in Fish & Game regions like Central South Island and North Canterbury had been left low or completely dry after the long, dry summer, so the weather system which moved up the country earlier this week will have bought some relief to these water bodies,” according to Don Rood, Fish & Game’s Communications Manager. Fish & Game New Zealand says that with the weather forecast for Saturday likely to be fine across most of the island, those out harvesting gamebirds will need as much assistance as possible, with Southland looking like the best pick weather-wise. Study the 2015 Game Bird Hunting Guide or our Fish & Game website:
www.fishandgame.org.nz

POKIE TAKINGS DOWN: Less money was spent on pub and club pokies in the first three months of 2015 compared with the last quarter of 2014, according to figures compiled by the Department of Internal Affairs. Spending dropped from $210.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 to $193.2 million in the first quarter of 2015. This drop in spending between the fourth and first quarters of calendar years is in line with annual trends. For more on these statistics go here:
http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Information-We-Provide-Gaming-Statistics?OpenDocument#one5

And that’s our sampling of the day that was on Wednesday 29th 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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