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News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Andrew Little Quits as Labour Leader

Dire poll results lead to shock resignation. Jacinda Ardern the favourite to take over just eight weeks from the general election.
Jacinda Ardern and the guy who used to be leader of the Labour Party. Image via Instagram.

All you need to know about the world this morning, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.


Andrew Little Gone
Andrew Little has resigned as the leader of the Labour Party after days of speculation about his leadership. Little made the announcement at a press conference at 10 AM this morning following a string of poor poll results led him to ask his senior colleagues whether he should step down. No decision has yet been made on who will replace Little as leader, although he told the press conference that his deputy, Jacinda Ardern, would have his "100 percent backing". Little's announcement leaves the new leader just eight weeks to galvanise the support of the party and the public before the country goes to the polls.

Government to Scrap Decile System
The Government has announced it is scrapping the decile rating system, which dictates how much funding each school gets. Instead, schools will have a Risk Index, which will indicate the likelihood of children underachieving. The information collected for the index will remain anonymous, and schools' ratings will remain private. Education Minister Nikki Kaye has long argued that the current decile system was discriminatory and stigmatised schools. The Labour Party backs the move to get rid of the decile system but, according to the party's education spokesperson Chris Hipkins, it thinks the new system is even worse.


Stressed Out Workers Showing up Sick
A new workplace health survey has revealed stressed workers are turning up to work even when unwell. The third Wellness in the Workplace report indicates that workload, understaffing, and high pressure to meet targets are making people increasingly stressed. The survey found that almost than half of workers turn up even if unwell. Organisational psychologist John Eatwell says the inability to leave work behind is adding to the problem, with many people now having access to emails after hours. Eatwell says the sweet spot for productivity is just 36 hours a week.

United Future to Scrap Tuition Fees
United Future has announced a policy to scrap student tuition fees—but the move would come at a cost. Party leader Peter Dunne told 95bFM that student allowances would have to be abolished to pay for the policy. Dunne said the change would reduce student debt to roughly half the current level. However, New Zealand Union of Students' Association's president Jonathan Gee said that under the scheme students would be worse off than they currently are.

Lifeline Loses Government Contract
It's been revealed today that the Ministry of Health has cut an $800,000 contract for Lifeline to provide suicide-prevention training to frontline workers. The funding, removed in March, has been reallocated to Le Va, a national health provider based in Manukau, who will roll out a new suicide-prevention programme in September. For the past 15 years, Lifeline has provided training to over 8000 frontline workers, including teachers, counsellors, and nurses. Lifeline described the termination of the decade-long contract as a "massive loss and huge blow", adding that over 20 companies had requested their training services since the funding had been disestablished.



Russia to Force Out 755 US Diplomatic Staff
Vladimir Putin said 755 US diplomats and support staff in Russia will be booted from embassies and consulatesacross the country in response to a new set of US sanctions. "I thought it was the time to show that we're not going to leave it without an answer," Putin said. The US State Department described the move as a "regrettable and uncalled for act."

ISIS Attacks Iraqi Embassy in Afghanistan
Gunmen entered and attacked the Iraqi embassy compound in the Afghan capital of Kabul Monday after a suicide bombing at the security gates. ISIS declared responsibility for the attack in a statement broadcast by its news agency, claiming seven security guards were killed.

At Least Ten Killed as Venezuelan President Claims Referendum Victory
Ten people were killed in Venezuela over the weekend amid a controversial referendum on a new constituent assembly. President Nicolás Maduro's government claimed victory Sunday night, saying the votes of more than 8 million people sanctioned the establishment of a new assembly to bypass opposition in the National Assembly. An independent estimate pegged the figure at closer to 3.6 million.

Indian Coastguard Seizes Almost $550 Million Worth of Heroin
India's coastguard agency has claimed the country's biggest-ever drug bust after finding 1,500kg of heroin believed to be worth roughly $550 million. The stash was discovered on a boat in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Gujarat.

Reporting by Lachlan Balfour, Jack Marshall and Alessandra Nixon.