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News of Zealand

More Housing Price Insanity, Really Sad Suicide Rates and the Terror of a Missing Cat

Here's your Monday morning bulletin, Aotearoa.

(Top image via Flickr user Siyamalan)

Auckland House Prices Continue to Drift into Insanity

Auckland has cemented its dubious title as one of the world's least least affordable cities to live—but other New Zealand cities are rising through the ranks.

The annual Demographia survey found Auckland was the world's fourth most unaffordable city, with average house prices sitting at 10 times average income. It is beaten this year by Hong Kong, Sydney and Vancouver. A ratio of 3 or less is considered 'affordable' in the rankings. Other Kiwi cities were also on the rise—with Tauranga's house prices now 9.7 times income, up from 8.1 a year ago. Also classified as severely unaffordable were Hamilton at 6.2, Christchurch 5.9, Wellington 5.8, and Dunedin 5.4.


Image via Flickr user Ryan Melaugh

Suicide Rates for Young Men Double Australia's

New Zealand's young men are killing themselves twice as much as their counterparts in Australia, a study from University of Sydney has found. Psychiatric professor John Snowdon compared 65 years of data from both countries. He found between 2009 and 2013 the suicide rate among Kiwi men aged 20 to 24 was 29.7 per 100,000 - that's double the rate of their counterparts across the ditch. In the 2015-16 financial year, New Zealand's suicide toll was the worst it had been since the Coroner's Office began keeping records. From July 2015 to June 2016, 579 Kiwis took their own lives.

Image via Flickr user Steve Johnson

Wellington is Leaking

The nation's capital has sprung a leak. According to Wellington City Council, staff worked all night on Friday to find a leak affecting the main supply pipe to Wellington City. A council spokesman said the leak was so severe they were considering asking residents to restrict water use: "There's really only one main supply pipe into central and eastern Wellington, and this was it." They are back again this week, in the bottom of a four metre deep hole, next to the Wellington Railway Station. The damage to pipes was most likely caused by November's earthquakes.

Moturua Island's inhabitants are under threat with a moggy on the loose. Image via Flickr.

Have You Seen this Cat?

In a story that would make Gareth Morgan shudder, DOC rangers are on the search for a cat that might be on the loose in a Northland nature sanctuary. According to The Northern Advocate, the kitty vanished from a yacht moored at Moturua Island's Otupoho Bay last week, and it's believed that it may have either jumped or fallen overboard. DOC were called onto the case and Paihia resident Brad Windust was sent to the island to investigate with his cat-sniffing dog, yet so far no scent, paw prints or "cat scat" have been detected. The owners of said feline believe that it's not a good swimmer, however it's possible the tide could have carried it to the mainland. For now, the mystery continues, but people are encouraged to call 0800 DOC HOT if a cat or any other predator is seen on the island.

The Rocket Lab launch site. Image via Rocket Lab.

New Zealand Company Set for Moon Landing, and Mars in Next

Mahia Peninsula, a sleepy, remote corner of the country south of Gisborne, is about to become a global centre of private space exploration. Kiwi start-up Rocket Lab says final checks are almostcomplete on a mission to launch three rockets to the moon in the next few months. Rocket Lab has a deal with San Francisco company Moon Express, which (you guessed it) wants to mine the moon for precious metals and gases. While they're up there, Moon Express are keen to cash in on the $40 million prize Google is offering to land a privately funded spacecraft on the moon, travel 500 metres and beam video and images back to Earth. And it's not stopping at the moon. Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck reckons the work is so advanced, Mars could be next.