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News of Zealand

Gang Members Have "Less Human Rights" Than Others, Says NZ Deputy-PM

Plus all the other news you need this Monday, in the VICE morning bulletin.


Government Announces Crackdown on Gangs
On Sunday National Party announced a new set of tough new enforcement measures, including giving police new powers to search the homes of "serious gang members" at any time without a warrant.
At the press conference, deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett admitted the warrantless searches presented a human rights issue, but said some gang members had "fewer" human rights than others. Prime Minister Bill English added it was good that New Zealand lacked a written constitution as it gave governments flexibility.
"It probably does breach the rights of some of those criminals but they have to have had a serious violent offence behind them already… and on the basis of that we are going ahead with it," Bennett told reporters.
But in an interview this morning, English criticised Paula Bennett for her comment that gang members have fewer human rights. In an interview with RNZ's Susie Ferguson, the Prime Minister admitted that while Bennett understood the policy she had been incorrect when discussing human rights. English stressed that everyone in New Zealand had human rights, and that the policy would not erode these. The policy in question would give police the right to search the homes and cars of New Zealand's most serious gang members at any given time. The changes are part of an $82 million dollar package to clamp down on organised crime and drug dealers.

Calls for Government Funding New Breast Cancer Drug
The Breast Cancer Coalition is calling on the government to provide public funding for a new cancer drug. The drug, which has been approved for use in New Zealand, works by interfering with certain proteins in the body to help to stop cancer cells dividing and growing. Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition's Libby Burgess says the drug has the potential to help hundreds of women with a particular strain of breast cancer, but that it would be too expensive if it was not government subsidised. At around $5000 per month, the high cost of the drug means it will be out of reach for most people.


Government to Pardon Rua Kēnana
The government has announced it will pardon a Tūhoe prophet and leader who was unlawfully arrested in 1916. Rua Kēnana was arrested on April 2, 1916 after 70 armed police invaded his home and killed his two sons. All charges related to the arrest were later dropped, but Kēnana still spent 18 months in prison. The Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell, said this was a proud moment, both for New Zealand and for Kēnana's family, who had suffered immeasurable pain.


Trump Won't Rule Out Retaliatory Action Against North Korea
Donald Trump says a retaliatory strike against North Korea is a possibility following the latest nuclear test by the rogue nation. On Sunday, North Korea detonated a powerful nuclear device claimed to be a hydrogen bomb capable of reaching mainland United States. In an announcement on state TV, Pyongyang said it had successfully tested a two-stage thermonuclear weapon of unprecedented strength. Trump has called the test "hostile and dangerous to the United States". Following a meeting with the president, Pentagon chief James Mattis said any threat to the US or its allies by North Korea would be met with a "massive military response".

Aid Agencies Call for Financial Support in South Asia
Devastating floods have torn through South Asia, affecting 41 million people in Bangladesh alone. Aid agencies are calling on the international community to pitch in with aid and financial support to help the situation. The death toll across Nepal, India, and Bangladesh has risen to 1,300, with thousands of people losing their homes, crops, and livestock. The floods have also triggered a refugee crisis with an estimated 58,000 people crossing the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape the crisis.

Brexit Negotiator Pledges to "Educate" British on Consequences of Leaving the EU
The EU's Brexit negotiator says he see the process an opportunity to educate the British people on the consequences of leaving the single market. Michel Barnier's comments are the latest in a series of blows traded by Brussels and UK government ministers after a tense round of exit talks. Barnier says there are extremely serious consequences of leaving the EU and it hasn't been explained to the British people. The EU suggested little progress has been made on three key "separation" issues, the size of the UK financial liabilities to the EU, the future of the Irish border, and citizens' rights after Brexit.

Reporting by: Alessandra Nixon, Jean Bell, Adel Abied