News of Zealand

The VICE NZ Morning Bulletin

More female judges are sitting on the New Zealand Supreme Court bench than men this week for the first time ever, NZ-Israel diplomatic ties to be renewed and Jeff Sessions gets a grilling.
June 13, 2017, 10:44pm
NZ Law Society

Everything you need to know about the world this morning, curated by bFM and VICE NZ.


Female Majority In New Zealand Supreme Court Makes History
History was made yesterday as New Zealand's Supreme Court held a majority of women sitting on the bench during a hearing.
The Law Society applauded the milestone, saying it was a fantastic achievement for the profession.
Chris Moore from the Law Society's women's advisory group noted that 68 percent of judicial positions in New Zealand are held by men. Moving forward he said it was important the law profession improve its gender diversity, especially around women returning to the workforce after maternity leave.

Israel and New Zealand to Renew Diplomatic Ties
Israel have agreed to restore diplomatic ties with New Zealand, ending a six-month political divide between the two nations.
Israel recalled their ambassador in December last year, following New Zealand's involvement in the UN security council resolution which condemned Israel's current settlements.
Prime Minister Bill English wrote a letter of regret to the Israeli Prime Minister, which was followed up by a phone call several days ago.
Israel will now send their ambassador back to New Zealand.


Chief Ombudsman Says Ministers Must Follow Rules When Dealing With Official Information
Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has written a letter to the Prime Minister Bill English asking for assurances that his ministers are committed to the Act and understood their obligations—particularly in an election year. The Official Information Act sets out the rules for responding to requests and is designed to keep ministers and officials accountable.
The letter comes after Transport Minister Simon Bridges urged KiwiRail not to release the business case for a proposed new rail line in Auckland.
Bridges defended his office's actions and said his officials' objections were reasonable saying it was part of an unsuccessful budget bid. But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said Bridges is clearly trying to urge KiwiRail into keeping the information secret. Peters said the Official Information Act is not about the comfort zone of governments or ministers, it's about the right of the public and the media to have critical information that they need. Prime Minister Bill English said in a statement he expected all ministers and their staff to comply with the law.


Jeff Sessions Grilled By Senate Select Committee On Intelligence
United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning to testify about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 election.
Sessions has excused himself from all Russia-related matters at the Justice Department due to his role in the Trump campaign, and his multiple undisclosed meetings with top Russian officials.
During his testimony, Sessions denied any collusion with Russia and vowed to "defend his honor against scurrilous and false allegations".
To date, the Russia inquiry has interviewed 35 individuals regarding interference in the US elections, most notably former FBI director James Comey.

North Korea Releases US Student
Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state has announced a student from University of Virginia student has been freed from jail in North Korea.
However, the news comes bittersweet as the family has released a statement to the Washington Post saying the student has been in a coma for over a year while in detention.
The student was arrested in January last year after he was accused of attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel while a tourist in the hermit state.
The US has accused North Korea of detaining its citizens to use them as pawns in negotiations over its nuclear weapons programme, which, most recently has fired test missiles into the Japanese ocean.

Dozens Killed in Bangladesh Landslides
At least 90 people have died as serious flooding continues to rock Bangladesh, after monsoon rains caused landslides in the country's southeast region Monday night. Response teams have been sent to affected areas, but the country's disaster management department warned the death toll could continue to rise.

Reporting by Alessandra Nixon, Tash Aull-Timbers, Jack Marshall and Mark Casson.