News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Beached Sperm Whales Die on Taranaki Coast

Plus $1 billion bill for Mycoplasma bovis solution and Phil Twyford offers resignation for onboard phone call.
Source: Project Jonah

Everything you need to know about the world today, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.


Beached Whales Die
Eight sperm whales have been found dead on a South Taranaki beach. The whales were found across several kilometres yesterday morning on Kaupokonui Beach, northwest of Hāwera. The Department of Conservation has not yet confirmed the cause of the beachings. Local iwi have blessed the area, and will be receiving the jawbones and teeth for carving, and diggers will be burying the carcasses today.

$1 Billion to Solve Cattle Disease
Action against cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is expected to cost $1 billion Federated Farmers, Beef + Lamb, and DairyNZ are meeting today to discuss with government ministers, with Monday’s cabinet meeting having the final decision. The bacterial disease striking the New Zealand cattle population can be traced back to Southland, and is now found in 39 farms across the country. M. bovis can cause lameness, mastitis and abortion in cattle, but does not affect humans.


Ngapuhi Elder and Activist Dies
Ngāpuhi elder Kingi Taurua has passed away after a short illness. Kingi Taurua was the face of many Waitangi protests at Te Tii marae, leading a small group this year after the decision to move the formal pōwhiri away from the marae. After not attending Waitangi in 2016 Taurua said he'd continue to be a thorn in the side of the government as long as they continued to undermine the Treaty of Waitangi and the 1833 declaration of Independence. Funeral arrangements have yet to be released.

Transport Minister Stripped From Roles After Phone Call on Plane
Transport Minister Phil Twyford has been stripped of his Civil Aviation Authority role after making a phone call on a plane. Phil Twyford made a one minute phone call after the doors of the plane were shut which is a breach of aviation regulations. The Transport minister said he "made a mistake and clearly wasn't thinking straight at the time" Twyford offered his resignation to the prime minister but Jacinda Ardern declined the offer.


Attack of the Flatworms
Global trade has led to the spread of flatworms in unlikely places, causing concern for impact on soil fauna. The soil-dwelling worms feed on earthworms, mollusks, and snails, and have made their way around the world through botanical imports. France has been reporting sightings of Asian flatworms for the past two decades, and New Zealand flatworms have also been making an impact on UK soil. Entomologist Archie Murchie of Britain's Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, says grass in the affected areas has shrank by about six percent.

Trump Pulls Out of North Korea Summit
President Trump has cancelled the planned North Korea summit with leader Kim Jong-un. Trump said he feels it would be inappropriate to have the meeting due to North Korea’s recent displays of ‘tremendous anger and open hostility’. North Korea recently dismissed US Vice President Mike Pence claims the North Korean situation could end up like Libya, where Colonel Gaddafi gave up his nuclear programme only to be later killed by Western-backed rebels. The US President’s response came just hours after North Korea destroyed tunnels at its nuclear test site, as promised.

WW2 Bomb Defused
After 48 hours, experts have successfully defused a World War II bomb in the German city of Dresden. The unexploded Allied bomb was discovered on Tuesday after construction work in central Dresden. The first attempt to defuse it resulted in a small explosion and fire. Flights to and from Dresden airport had been suspended, and 9,000 local residents were moved to emergency accommodation. Unearthing of old, unexploded bombs in Germany is a regular occurrence, including a current defusal operation in the city of Kiel.

Pakistan Abolishes Decades of Draconian Regulation in Tribal Areas
Pakistan’s parliament has passed a constitutional amendment extending administrative and human rights to northwestern tribal areas. The amendment merges federally administered tribal areas to become part of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The amendment sees an end to decades of colonial styled autocracy, making its five million population equal citizens of the Pakistani federation. The federally administered tribal areas have been considered a sanctuary for armed groups, once being the headquarters of the Pakistan Taliban.

New Prime Minister Forms Lebanon’s National Unity Government
Saad Hariri has been appointed Prime Minister of Lebanon, forming the new national unity government. Despite his party losing a third of its power in May, Hariri was put forward for the job with 111 votes out 128 in parliament. In a speech after his delegation Harri said "The new government he is tasked to form must commit to staying out of regional conflicts." Under Lebanon's sectarian power sharing scheme the prime minister must be Sunni Muslim, the speaker a Shia Muslim and the president a Maronite Christian.

Additional reporting by Harry Willis, Damian Rowe, and Angus Grant.