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News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Jacinda Ardern Galvanises Public Support

The Auckland housing market shows signs of slowing down, the country is nowhere near its smoke-free target, and hundreds on trial in Turkey over attempted coup.
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All you need to know about the world this morning, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.


The "Jacinda Effect" in Full Swing
In the 24 hours since Jacinda Ardern's confirmation as the leader of the Labour Party, $100,000 has been raised in donations for the party's campaign. Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report that the "Jacinda effect has already kicked in", adding that 600 more volunteers have offered support in election campaigning. Ardern and Davis were both voted unopposed to their positions as leader and deputy by the Labour Party caucus yesterday morning, following Andrew Little's announcement that he would retire as leader. Little's move came after three separate polls showed Labour's support at 25 percent or lower. Ardern says she is ready to put her own stamp on the leadership, affirming she is "absolutely up to the job".

Auckland Property Values Dropping
In certain parts of Auckland property values are dropping. QV data shows values have fallen in Papakura, Franklin and Rodney. A 5.3 percent rise means this is the slowest growth rate in five years. QV's Andrea Rush said that values are still rising across the country, but provincial centres were now a cause of that, not just large cities. She added that winter usually caused a decline in activity, but that it picks up again in spring.


NZ Nowhere Near Smoke-Free Goal
New research suggests urgent action is needed if New Zealand is to reach its goal of becoming smoke-free by 2025. Māori remain the worst affected by smoking, research conducted by the University of Otago and Māori public health organisation Hāpai te Hauora confirmed. The organisation has proposed drastic measures, including increasing tobacco tax by 20 percent annually for three years, and reducing the number of outlets able to sell tobacco. Otago University's Professor Richard Edwards, who was behind the research, says the current reality is stark, and that if the Government wants to reach its goal of the country being smoke-free by 2025, the right actions need to be implemented without delay.

Property Development With a Conscience
A property developer has begun a seven-year project to build 500 social rental homes. Ted Manson, managing director of charitable foundation Mansons TCLM, plans to build the homes in Auckland and lease them to Compass, a state-funded social housing provider. Manson grew up in state housing, and says publicly-owned land should be sold to providers like Compass, not residential property investors. Manson added that his project would halt property investors from buying so much, with the aim of slowing the increase of property prices in Auckland.

Rare Whale Spotted
Passengers aboard Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari spotted a 20m blue whale last night in the Hauraki Gulf. Andy Light, the skipper of the vessel has 25 years of whale watching experience and says he is sure it was a blue whale from its distinctive dorsal fin. The whales are rarely seen in NZ and last night's spotting still needs to be verified. Light called whales the "gentle giants" of the sea, and said none of the 30 passengers with him were in any danger, despite the whale being bigger than the boat they were in.



Almost 500 Standing Trial in Turkish Coup Case
Hundreds of people went on trial in Turkey on Tuesday, accused of planning or playing some role in last July's attempted coup. It is the biggest single trial since the failed effort to topple the Government. The accused, all 486 of them, face a range of charges, including trying to overthrow Parliament, leading an armed terrorist organisation, and trying to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Qatar Airways Set for Flight Routes to Bypass Gulf Neighbours

Qatar's state-owned carrier Qatar Airways is set to receive permission from the International Civil Aviation Organization to

use three new international flight routes

"within a week or so," according to an unnamed source. Qatar has pressed the UN agency to approve alternative routes since its planes were refused airspace over Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt.

Pakistani Lawmakers to Vote on Interim Prime Minister

Pakistan's ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, has put forward Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as a temporary prime minister after the country's Supreme Court forced former PM Nawaz Sharif to step down over corruption allegations. Sharif's brother is expected to vie for the role on a more long-term basis.

Trump Crafted Dubious Russia Meeting Response for Son, Report Says
President Trump personally devised his son Donald Trump Jr.'s initial statement on his meeting with a Kremlin-tied lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, anonymous sources said. Despite concerns that a full account of the meeting might emerge, the President apparently insisted his son asserted he met mostly to discuss "a program about the adoption of Russian children."

Additional reporting by Harry Willis, Josh Storey and Mary-Margaret Slack.