News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Major Parties Promise Rail to Address Traffic Woes

Both National and Labour announced their transport policies over the weekend, pregnant mums offered Warehouse vouchers to quit smoking and political unrest in Venezuela.

by VICE Staff and 95 bFM
06 August 2017, 11:03pm

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


Labour and National Release Transport Policies
New Zealand's two major parties both released their transport policies yesterday. Labour's newly minted leader, Jacinda Ardern, pledged that her party will build light rail from downtown Auckland to the airport within a decade. The party's new transport policy includes an Auckland regional fuel tax, costing 10 cents a litre, to raise up to $160 million a year.
National says it will invest $267 million into rail in Auckland and Wellington, including the electrification of the train line between Papakura and Pukekohe, establishing a third main line from Wiri to Westfield, and double-tracking the Wellington commuter network between Trentham and Upper Hutt.

Building Boom to Keep on Keeping On
A new report commissioned by the Government has predicted the New Zealand building boom will last much longer than first anticipated. The construction pipeline report forecasts infrastructural, residential, and commercial building over the next six years. This year's report estimated the value of construction will peak at $42 billion in 2020, three years later and $5 billion higher than last year's report predicted. It is understood New Zealand will require an extra 56,000 construction workers to keep up with demand.

Turei Says Labour Not Behind Her Decision to Step Down
Green party co-leader Metiria Turei has insisted Labour did not pressure her into stepping away from a ministerial role. On Friday, Turei ruled herself out of a cabinet position after admitting to deliberately enrolling in a false electorate in order to vote for a friend in 1993. Following the announcement, new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said she would not welcome Turei into her cabinet if Labour won the general election. Turei has been under ongoing pressure to resign from her position after it was revealed she lied to Work and Income to ensure a larger benefit during the 1990s.

Pregnant Cantabrians Offered Vouchers to Quit Smoking
Smokefree Canterbury, a Canterbury District Health Board service, is offering $50 Warehouse vouchers for pregnant women to attend an information session about a quit-smoking programme. Women who enrol in the programme and who are still smokefree after four weeks receive an additional $80 voucher, while those resist the temptation to smoke during the duration of their pregnancies will receive $200 in baby store vouchers and a gift after the birth of their child. About 45 women have already received the initial voucher, with most committing to the programme.


Political Tensions in Venezuela Continue to Mount
The Venezuelan Government has made seven arrests following a suspected military coup. The failed uprising took place in Carabobo, capital of the state of Valencia, after a group of soldiers released a video accusing President Nicolás Maduro of tyranny. Leader of the uprising, Juan Caguaripano, said the soldiers were not attempting a coup, but were staging an action to re-establish constitutional order. The uprising follows the dismissal of Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega who was an ally of Maduro before becoming an outspoken critic. Protests against Maduro have been an ongoing occurrence since April when opposition parties accused Maduro of trying to implement a dictatorship.

Netanyahu to Shut Al Jazeera
Israel is seeking to close Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera's offices and revoke its journalists' media credentials. Communications Minister Ayoob Kara alleged the channel supported terrorism, and said both its Arabic- and English-language channels would be taken off air. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also accused the broadcaster of "incitement". In a news conference Netanyahu said, "Al Jazeera has become the main tool of Daesh [the Islamic State group], Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran."

China Pushing North Korea to Abide by UN Sanctions
China is placing increased pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear programme. This follows a unanimous vote by the United Nations to impose new sanctions on the country. China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, urged his North Korean counterpart to abide by the new sanctions at a meeting in the Philippines on Sunday. The new UN sanctions include the banning of certain imports from North Korea and increased travel bans.

Fox News Suspends Long-time Host Eric Bolling
The US television network Fox News has suspended host Eric Bolling after he was accused of sending obscene photographs to three female co-workers on multiple occasions several years ago. A Fox News spokesperson said an investigation into the claims was underway. These accusations come amid other recent high-profile harassment cases at Fox News, including those against Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes.

Reporting by Ally Su'a, Katie Doyle and Justin Wilson.

Bill English
Jacinda Ardern
Metiria Turei