Everything you need to know about the world today, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.
New Prison to be Built in Waitakere
The New Zealand government may be building a new 3000-bed prison in Waitakere despite the fact the Prime Minister's chief science advisor for the justice sector, Dr Ian Lambie, does not think building a new prison is a good response. The estimated prison population has increased by 1,800 people because of policy changes back in 2000. The report said the New Zealand prison population is increasing when crime rates are decreasing. Lambie said resources should focus on prevention rather than building new prisons. The government is aiming to reduce the prison population by 30 percent over the next 15 years. The government will announce in the next few weeks if it will go ahead with building the prison.
Raw Sewage is Leaking Into Middlemore Hospital
Raw sewage has been leaking into the walls of Middlemore Hospital. Middlemore Hospital's Scott Building houses coronary care, medical and surgical care and wards for elderly people. Counties Manukau DHB acting chief executive Gloria Johnson said the sewage pipes were failing as they deteriorate with age. Johnson said pipes are also failing in other buildings at Middlemore and expect to find more sewage problems as the cladding is ripped off. Leaks have also caused decay in other buildings, including 90 percent of the framing tested in Kidz First, 60 percent at Superclinic and 25 percent at McIndoe.
Housing for Asian Seniors Opens in Panmure
Thirty-six housing units opened for Asian seniors in Panmure yesterday, to provide 15,000 local Asian seniors with housing. Eligibility criteria for the housing is that the persons must be over 65 years old, experience difficulty in speaking English and have health or social issues. The development is being built by a partnership between the Chinese New Settlers Trust and the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Jenny Salesa told 95bFM news the trust had been set up to help those in need because they "realised how difficult it was for Asian migrants to adjust to life in New Zealand”. Salesa said the coalition government was following up on its promise to provide 10,000 houses a year.
Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
Aucklanders have mixed responses to a regional fuel tax, a New Zealand Automobile Association survey found. AA asked its Auckland members what they thought of the hypothetical tax, and found 35 percent in favour, 38 percent opposed to the idea, leaving 20 percent neutral. AA spokesman Barney Irvine told 95bFM news the majority of Aucklanders are prepared to accept a regional fuel tax with consideration of the neutral vote. “People aren’t leaping up and down with glee about the idea of paying more. But the majority of them are pretty accepting of the need for it. So I don’t think we’re going to see that sort of situation where it’s totally rejected again. People aren’t really enthusiastic about it, but currently they’re willing to accept it.” The regional fuel tax has only been discussed for Auckland.
Mycoplasma Bovis Compliance Checks Begin
The ministry of primary industries ran three property searches yesterday in response to the cow-culling announcement. More than 20,000 cattle will be culled after the disease Mycoplasma Bovis was found in New Zealand. A compliance investigations team conducted simultaneous searches of properties in the North and South Island. Manager of Compliance Investigations Gary Orr says the Ministry is working hard to find out for the rural community how the disease made its way into New Zealand. Federated Farmers dairy industry group chairman Chris Lewis says uncertainty for farmers is mounting and testing needs to speed up.
New Zealand to Impose Russia Travel Ban
International pressure is seeing the government consider travel bans for some Russians. New Zealand has been the only country in the 'Five Eyes' spying alliance not to immediately deport Russian spies and diplomats from their respective countries. Australia, Canada and the United States have all joined Britain in blaming Russia for the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Jacinda Ardern is now consulting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to weigh up potential travel bans.
Catalonian Minister Arrested in Scotland
The former Catalonian minister for education is under arrest in Scotland. Clara Ponstati, a pro-independence politician from the wealthy Catalan region of Spain, voluntarily handed herself over to police in Edinburgh. With a warrant out by the Spanish courts for rebellion and misappropriation of public funds, the rebel politician awaits an extradition hearing today. The University of St Andrew's, where Ponstati lectures, says they are concerned the separatist politician is being targeted for her political beliefs. The arrest comes on the back of the high profile acquisition of Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont by German police, and the jailing of nine other politicians in Spain.
New Round of European Sanctions on the Cards for Iran.
The European Union is discussing fresh economic sanctions for Iran. The Islamic republic's 2015 landmark nuclear deal with the US has not been viewed favourably by the trump administration. Drafted and ratified under Obama, the negotiation sees the waiving of decades-long sanctions on the middle east powerhouse. The EU is now discussing the possibility of new sanctions, to avoid trump waving the 2015 deal entirely. Instead of targeting the state, new measures would look to punish Iranian individuals associated with the state's ballistic missile program. Iran continues to be sympathetic to Bashar Al Assad's Syrian regime, and support Houthi rebels in Yemen, further raising tensions with the US.
Poland is Arming Up
Poland has signed a $4.75 billion dollar deal to purchase the Patriot missile defense system from the United States.This follows reports that Russia has deployed missile systems in its territory of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland. When Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, it prompted Warsaw to speed up its military defense and technology. President Andrzej Duda said this deal has given Poland state of the art defenses. Poland is the latest country to expel Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom.
Pope Francis Will Not Apologise to Canadians
Pope Francis will not apologise to survivors of Canada's indigenous schools. The schools, largely run by the Catholic Church, took 150,000 children from their families and forced them to convert. Children from the First Nations, Inuit and Metis were not allowed to speak their native language, beaten and abused. Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Pope cannot personally issue an apology for the residential schools in Canada. Canadian minister of Crown indigenous relations, Carolyn Bennett said sorrow is not enough. Bennett said responsibility needs to be taken for the harm done to the children and families left behind.
Kim Jong Un to Denuclearise Peninsula, China Claims
Kim Jong Un has said he will denuclearise the Korean Peninsula according to a state-owned Chinese news agency. The announcement comes after the North Korean leader met with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, in Beijing on Wednesday. Kim reportedly said tensions can be resolved if South Korea and the United States, "respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace." The leader's visit was an unofficial one, where he had dinner with the Chinese President and his wife, and was Kim's first known international trip since he assumed power in 2011. North Korea's official state news agency is yet to state the denuclearisation pledge.
Britain Looks to Cut back on Landfill
Britain is looking at introducing a deposit for recyclable drinks. The proposed levy would see consumers pay a refundable deposit for glass and plastic bottles, as well as steel and aluminum cans. The exact cost is yet to be negotiated but intends to lower the contribution to landfill by single-use drinks. Similar policies are already operating in Germany and Sweden, with deposits of 22p and 8p, respectively. Environment Secretary Michael Gove sez 'return and reward' schemes are a strong incentivising mechanism to achieve results. The UK already has initiatives in place to combat microbeads and plastic bag use.
Additional reporting: Kelly Enright, Darashpreet Johal, Connor Mercer