News of Zealand: Rates of Teen Self-Harm Shockingly High

Plus other news from around the country, including Bird of the Year vote-rigging and the latest on Winston Peters' decision.
October 10, 2017, 10:08pm

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


High Rates of Self-Harm Among NZ Teens
A study has found that about a third of high school teens engage in self harm. The five-year research conducted by Victoria University found anxiety, stress, self-punishment and "the desire to feel something" were the top-ranking reasons why Kiwi teens engage in self-harm. The study surveyed 4,500 students from a range of schools in the Wellington region, as well as their whānau and school guidance counsellors. Victoria University psychology professor Marc Wilson, who led the study, says young people are "less well-equipped" to understand and manage their emotions than adults. Young people dealing with mental health issues are being urged to reach out for help from family and friends, or organisations like Youthline and Lifeline.

New Zealand Awaits its Kingmaker
Winston Peters says New Zealanders will not be notified of his decision about a coalition until Friday at the earliest. The New Zealand First leader has previously said a decision about coalition partners will be made by the end of Thursday. Peters maintains that discussions will be finished by then, but will not give a timeline on when New Zealanders will know his decision. The New Zealand First team is expected to meet with both National and Labour twice each day, and the party's board is on standby for when the caucus reaches its decision. Meanwhile, a Winston Peters tribute song is gaining traction as NZ continues to await the kingmaker's decision. Called 'The Kingmaker', the song was written by Auckland musicians Rewi McLay and Nathan Judd, and includes: "Side saddling cowboy. Muldoon's golden boy. He's got a whistle blowing, chain smoking, fire poking ploy".


Fake Bird of the Year Votes
Forest and Bird have announced this morning that there has been some fraudulent action with the Bird of the Year vote. On the first day of competition, over one hundred fake votes were made for the white faced heron. Dragonfly Data Science ran a computer program to track the votes and brought the issue to the attention of organisers. The scientist monitoring the votes noticed a big spike for the white-faced heron at about midnight on the first night. They looked into it and found that all 112 votes came from the same IP address, located somewhere in Christchurch. The rules state one vote per person, so all but one of those votes have been deleted. Bird of the Year Coordinator Kimberley Collins says they are not mad, just impressed that someone cares enough to attempt to rig the competition. They don't expect the culprit to come forward but hope they will make a donation to protect native birds. Voting closes October 23.

Employers Urged to Deal With Mental Health
The NZ Mental Health foundation has launched a toolkit for employers to help deal with workers suffering from mental health issues. The foundation advocates five actions to help improve resilience and mitigate harm to employees. These actions are connect, be active, keep learning, give and take notice. Communications manager Sophia Graham says it's critical to the well being of workers that employers are made aware of mental health risks. Graham says a big driver for employers has been the impact on productivity and service that these issues can have.



Catalonia Waits for Independence Results
Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has spoken to the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona about the disputed independence referendum, saying there is a mandate to declare unilateral independence but that it is suspended until he consults Spanish government. Mr Puigdemont told regional parliament in Barcelona that he wanted to "de-escalate" tensions around the vote, which was deemed illegal despite 90 percent support for independence. This follows urges from the mayor of Barcelona to mitigate the crisis. There are demands for Mr Puigdemont to relinquish any independence plans, especially from the Madrid government, after speculation he would declare unilateral independence. Mr Puigdemont acknowledged that people on all sides were worried about what will happen. He said the only way forward was democracy and peace, and condemned how Spanish government acted. Catalonia was being denied the right to self-determination, he said.

Myanmar Refugee Numbers Rising
The United Nations refugee agency is expecting a rise in the number of Rohingya refugee crisis after more than 11,000 crossed the border into Bangladesh on Monday. Rohingya muslims are fleeing killings and burning villages by Myanmar military of the Buddist-majority Rakhine state. More than half a million Rohingya have fled since late August. UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Adrian Edwards said they are on full alert for escalation as 11,000 is a big increase. Water-borne diseases are on the rise among the refugees as a result of the journey.

North Korea Hacks South
Hackers from North Korea have reportedly stolen a large cache of military documents from South Korea, including a plan to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The hackers reportedly accessed plans for the South's special forces, as well as information on significant power plants and military facilities in the South in a hack that occurred last September. South Korean lawmaker Rhee Cheol-hee says the information came from his country's defence ministry, and included wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US and South Korea. North Korea has denied the claim that they are behind the hack, and the South Korean defence ministry has so far refused to comment.

California Wildfires Spread
At least 11 people have been killed by fast-spreading fires in California's wine region. A state of emergency has been declared as about 20,000 people evacuated northern regions Napa, Sonoma and Yuba. 1,500 properties have been destroyed by the fires, which follow a recent combination of dry weather and strong winds. Firefighters hope to take advantage of a drop in winds, but no rain has been forecast in the area, so the fires may continue.

Reporting: Harry Willis, Mary-Margaret Slack, Reilly Hodson