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News of Zealand

The News of Zealand: Tuesday 20 June

The Greens commit to increasing refugee quota, a fifth robot to enter Pike River mine and did a National MP pay hush money to his former employee?
Image via Doing Our Bit - Double NZ's Refugee Quota Facebook page.

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


Greens Announce Plans to Increase Refugee Quota
The Green Party declared they will significantly increase the annual refugee quota if elected in September. In an announcement this morning, the Party said they are committed to increasing the limit to 4000 places over the next six years.
The Party also plans on welcoming a further 1000 refugees through a community sponsorship programme, and create a new humanitarian visa for climate change refugees.
Green Party co-leader James Shaw told 95bFM that the government's plan to increase the quota next year from 750 per year to 1000 simply isn't good enough.
"You've got to remember that this is the middle of the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. There are 65 million displaced people in the world, 21 million of whom are UN-recognised refugees. I would like a government that we can be proud of that says 'we are going to do everything we can to support people, through no fault of their own, [who] have had to leave their home countries'," said Shaw.

Oranga Tamariki Urged to Improve Support For Foster Parents
A foster mother is calling for the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children (Oranga Tamariki) to address problems caregivers say have been ongoing for years.
Wellington based caregiver Jude Pointon said Oranga Tamariki, which replaced Child, Youth and Family, is not providing sufficient information about the children to foster parents so they know what to look out for.
Caregivers are supposed to receive a care plan and have consistent contact with their social worker to talk through issues, but Pointon says this simply does not happen.
Angela Rogerson from Family Crisis Intervention Service said she has spoken to many carers who feel ignored.
Oranga Tamariki say they are working hard to improve help for carers, particularly in training, support ,and specialised help for high-needs children. The government has invested more than $26 million over four years to help these families.


Fifth Robot Set To Go Into Pike River Mine
Solid Energy say that although it may take months to organise, they will send a fifth robot to the Pike River mine.
An explosion in the mine in 2010 killed 29 people. A Solid Energy spokesperson said the best option is to send a robot down modified to fit a 150mm hole. The spokesperson says there are already four robots abandoned in the mine and the fifth will need its aluminium body replaced.
Solid Energy say they are giving fortnightly updates to the families affected by the 2010 disaster.

Family Violence Contributes To Nearly 200 Deaths
A new report released by the Family Violence Death Review Committee released has found there were 194 family violence deaths in New Zealand between 2009 and 2015. Intimate partner violence contributed to almost half of these deaths.
Of the 194 deaths, 83 involved a known history of abuse, and 43 of the intimate partner violence victims had been in contact with police at least once.
These statistics support the committee's fifth report released last year, which stated we need to stop asking victims to keep themselves safe, and instead workers need to protect victims. They added workers need to supply long-term assistance rather than one-off safety, and that there needs to be more focus on the person using violence as well as the victim.
The committee says the Family and Whanau Violence Legislation Bill represents the biggest change to family violence laws in two decades.


Investigation Finds Former Government Worker Received Hush Money Over Bugging Allegations
A breaking Newsroom investigation says taxpayer money was used to make an MP's dispute with a Government worker disappear.
Glenys Dickson, a former staff member for Gore MP, National's Todd Barclay, was allegedly paid hush money to keep quiet over accusations she was secretly recorded. Text messages from Prime Minister Bill English, who was deputy Prime Minister at the time, show he knew of the issue and the settlement was large because of the nature of the privacy breach.
The payout to DIckson came out of the leader's budget, which is a special taxpayer's fund held by the National leader. Barclay denies any wrongdoing.


200 Million Us Citizens Have Personal Details Publicly Revealed
Personal details of almost 200 million US citizens have been exposed to the public by a marketing firm. The data includes birth dates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62 percent of the US population.
The marketing firm is contracted by the Republican National Committee and the data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server where anyone could access it if they had the URL. The information was last updated when President Donald Trump was elected and has been online for an unknown amount of time.
Deep Root Analytics founder Alex Lundry has taken full responsibility for the situation and said that based on their information, they do not believe to have been hacked.

Latest London Attack Targets Muslim Community
Witnesses say yesterday's attack in London targeted Muslims at a Finsbury Park mosque.
A van deliberately crashed into a crowd of pedestrians leaving one dead and ten others injured.
At the time of the attack, the neighbourhood was crowded with Muslim worshippers leaving a mosque after Ramadan prayers.
A local resident says they no longer feel safe going to the mosque and is calling for more security at mosques around the UK. Witnesses say the driver was shouting, 'all Muslims, I want to kill all Muslims' as he was seized.
British Muslim leaders are linking the attack to islamophobia and are urging Theresa May to tackle anti-Muslim rhetoric. A 47-year-old man has been arrested for the attack.

Iran Launches Missile Strikes on ISIS in Syria
Iran has fired missiles at ISIS targets in the Deir Az Zor Province of eastern Syria. The country's Revolutionary Guard said "a large number of terrorists were killed and weapons destroyed." Shortly before the strike, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had warned Iran would "slap its enemies" in retaliation for the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran, in which 17 people were killed and for which ISIS claimed responsibility.

Reporting by Tessa Barnett, Adel Abied, Sam Smith and Ximena Smith.