News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Waikeria Prison Overcrowded, Unhygienic

Plus frustration about lack of resources for Māori-language education and foreign tourist to pay more on NZ's Great Walks.

by 95 bFM and VICE Staff
05 June 2018, 10:58pm

Image via Shtuterstock.

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


Waikeria Prison Not Fit for Purpose
The prison inspectorate has found Waikeria Prison's the current facility's high-security wing is not fit for purpose. Corrections' chief prison inspector Janis Adair said inspections—after an increase in funding allowed 13 inspections in the past year—highlighted a range of issues, including overcrowding, double bunking and at-risk prisoners being kept in their cells for up to 22 hours a day. The reports also found Waikeria's cells had limited light and airflow, and in some cases toilets had no lids in cells where meals were eaten. The panel is currently consulting prison staff, inmates and local iwi in order to remedy these conditions. One of the proposed solutions is a new type of pop-up unit for vulnerable prisoners, ideally providing more space and improved conditions.The aim is to trial the units within the next two years

Māori Leaders Frustrated Over Education Funding
Kura kaupapa Māori leaders are frustrated with new government funding aimed largely at mainstream teachers and are considering laying a complaint with the UN. Last month’s budget announcement proved to be the breaking point after years of concerns from kura kaupapa over a lack of resources and acknowledgment. Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa chair Cathy Dewes says frustration is extremely high after the announcement that new funding will mainly be spent on mainstream teachers speaking better Te Reo Māori. Education received $1.3 billion over four years in the 2018 budget; of that, only $16.3 million is focused on lifting Māori achievement.

Charges Laid Against ANZ Bank
Criminal cartel charges have been laid against the Australian branch of ANZ bank. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission laid the charges against ANZ, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and six senior executives after it was discovered $2.5b of ANZ shares were sold to institutional investors in 2015. A royal commission into Australia's financial services sector found banks to be cheating customers and lying to regulators. Many of New Zealand’s banks are offshoots of the Australian financial sector, and the Financial Markets Authority in New Zealand has been investigating for similar behaviour here. FMA chief executive Rob Everett says there is so far no evidence of similar offending occuring in NZ, although monitoring is ongoing.

Price Hike for Foreign Tourists on NZ’s Great Walks
New foreign-tourist fees for accommodation on the country’s nine Great Walks were announced over the weekend. The price for overseas visitors to stay in a DOC hut in Abel Tasman National Park will rise from $38 to $75 a night, while a night on the Milford Track will now cost $140. Darryl Wilson, owner of a tourism operation in Abel Tasman, says it's a commercial decision on DOC’s part and could put some tourists off, although the move is timely and fair from an operator's perspective. Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says the price-hike will begin its seven-month trial period from October.


Saudi Arabia Driving Into a New Era
Saudi Arabia has issued its first driving licences for women, three weeks before the world’s only ban on the ability of females to apply for licensing is to be lifted. The initial licenses were given to 10 selected women who already held international licenses. Rema Jawdat, a risk analyst at the Ministry of Economy and Planning and one of the first 10 women given licenses reflected on the impact of the situation: “Driving, to me, represents having a choice: the choice of independent movement.”

Fuego Death Toll Rising
The effects of Sunday’s eruption of Fuego, a Guatemalan volcano in the rural community of San Miguel Los Lotes, are still being felt mid week. The eruption has reportedly killed 69 and injured over 300. These numbers are expected to rise. The combination of lava and and clouds of ash and gas are hindering rescue workers. While low levels of activity are normal for the volcano, Sunday's eruption has already caused more fatalities than any of those previously recorded at Fuego.

Frenchman Aims to Swim Across the Pacific Ocean
A French swimmer has embarked on an attempt to become the first person to swim the 9000km width of the Pacific. Ben Lecomte, 51 set off from Choshi, Japan yesterday on a journey that will see him swim eight hours a day for more than six months until he reaches the West Coast of the United States. Lecomte will be followed by a team of scientists, who will be studying the effects of plastic debris. Preparations for the attempt have taken more than six years.

Same-Sex Spouses Given Okay From EU's Top Court
The EU’s top court has ruled in favour of a gay Romanian man’s right to have his husband live with him. The country, which prohibits same-sex marriage, argued that the American spouse, Adrian Coman, was not entitled to the EU residency rights given to spouses. However the European Court of Justice ruled that the term “spouse” was gender-neutral, giving the couple the same rights heterosexual couples enjoy. Coman, who married his partner in Brussels in 2010, says he is grateful to the EU courts and institutions that supported him, adding that it was human dignity that won the case.

Anti-Migrant Bill “Stop Soros” Debated in Hungary
Hungary’s parliament have begun debating laws imposing jail terms on those deemed to have aided illegal migrants seeking asylum. The controversial set of measures, named after Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, is part of a campaign by Prime Minister Viktor Orban against Soros, who is accused of encouraging refugees into the country. The Hungarian International Communications office says the people of Hungary have made it clear that they do not want their country to become a country of immigrants. The ruling right-wing government claim NGOs financed by Soros act as a network to facilitate illegal migration.

Turkish Student Protesters Condemned
A group of 22 university students in Istanbul are facing charges after protesting Turkish military action in Syria. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a statement describing the students as "communist traitors” and “teenage terrorists", stating they will be denied the right to study at university. Students and their supporters say they were simply demonstrating their constitutionally protected free speech.

Additional reporting by Jenn Tamati, Harry Willis, Tu Natanahira and Oscar Perress

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