News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Record Advance Voters as Election Day Looms

Plus: the fuel crisis eases, a UN economist criticises TPPA research, and at least 245 dead in Mexico earthquake.
September 21, 2017, 11:25pm

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

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Record Number of Advance Voters, Unregistered Voters Still Concerning
A record number of advanced voters casted their vote in this year's election. Just under one million voters have turned out and voted ahead of election day on Saturday. However, there are over 350,000 left to enrol. The majority of this number is thought to be made up of Māori and young voters between the ages of 18 and 25. Enrolment to vote ends today.

A Decrease in Student Migrants Makes Little Difference to Immigration
A decrease in the number of student migrants has resulted in little change in immigration. The latest figure from Statistics NZ are out and show immigration numbers lower than previous record high. Statistics NZ senior manager Peter Dolan said the biggest increase in migrant arrivals were from South Africa and the United Kingdom, while the biggest decrease in numbers was from India due to a decrease in student migrant arrivals.


Fuel Crisis Eases
Auckland's petrol and jet-fuel shortage has eased today, as airliner rations have increased.
Following the rupture of a key pipeline at Ruakaka, 80,000 litres of fuel was lost.
To manage the shortage, airlines were restricted to 30 percent of their standard supply, which has been raised to 50 percent today. Auckland airport is expecting seven cancellations today, half of yesterday's number and down from 36 on Wednesday.

TPPA Economic Claims Discredited
A senior UN economist has discredited a study supporting the economic claims of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The research was used by Trade Minister Todd McClay to support claims the TPPA would boost the New Zealand economy by $2.5 billion, but the UN's Dr Rashmi Banga said the study relied on modelling that made wide assumptions, and would lead to multiple biases. University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey told bFM News the study contained large oversights. "You cannot rely on the data there. It ignores a whole lot of the more important things like the price of medicine, the risks of foreign investors suing the government and so on." The TPPA-11 group meet today in Tokyo to finalise conditions following the United States' withdrawal from the agreement.

New Zealand's Endangered Dolphins
The United States now classifies two species of New Zealand dolphins as an endangered species. The United States classed both the Hector's and Maui dolphins as endangered. The population of Hector's dolphins is estimated to be 9,000 and Maui dolphins are estimated at just 50 and 60 individuals. The US National Marine Fisheries Service said they hope listing the dolphins has an effect on their conservation.


New World Plastic Poll Rigged—Greenpeace
Greenpeace says New World's plastic bag poll is rigged. The supermarket chain has been polling customers on the price they want to pay for plastic bags. Greenpeace spokesperson, Steve Abel, told bFM News the poll should also include an option of not using them in the first place. "Their poll says you can either choose plastic bags, plastic bags, or plastic bags. If they're serious about dealing with the problem of plastic bag pollution, the science is very clear on this. We need to get rid of plastic bags altogether." Abel added real change would require a regulatory response.


Trump Now Open to Renegotiating Iran Nuclear Deal
The president is open to tweaking an Obama-era agreement with Iran over its nuclear development programme rather than cancelling the thing completely, according to administration officials. One serious option in the mix is to let an October 15 deadline pass without approving Iran's performance, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to reintroduce sanctions and exacting pressure on Tehran.

Rescuers Search for Missing Schoolchildren in Mexico City
On their second night of search efforts, rescuers attempted to free a schoolgirl whose moving fingers could be seen in a pile of debris. One official said the girl, known as Frida Sofia, indicated other children may still be alive under the rubble of a school in Mexico City. Officials in the capital said 52 people had now been pulled alive from collapsed buildings. At least 245 people have been killed by the magnitude 7.1 quake, and some 2,000 more hurt.

Buddhist Nationalists Try to Cut Supplies to Rohingya Minority
Demonstrators in the Myanmar city of Sittwe hurled gas bombs at Red Cross charity workers to prevent them from packing up 50 tons of international aid bound for embattled Muslim communities. Police officers fired above their heads to break up the crowd, made up of hundreds of Buddhist nationalists. Eight people were arrested.

North Korea Dismisses Trump After UN Speech
North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho slammed President Trump's warning that the US was prepared to "totally destroy North Korea." "If he was thinking about surprising us with the sound of a barking dog, then he is clearly dreaming," Ri said in his country's first acknowledgment of the speech, adding, "I feel sorry for his aides."

Reporting by Lucy Austin, Conor Mercer, Ollie Powell.