News of Zealand

News of Zealand: 3000-Bed Mega Prison Dropped

Plus links between health and climate change, and beehives for the Christchurch Red Zone.

by 95 bFM and VICE Staff
20 May 2018, 10:51pm

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


The 3000-Bed Prison Will Not Be Built
The government has decided not to build a new mega-prison in Waikato, but has not been clear what alternatives they are adopting to cope with increasing prisoner numbers. Corrections minister Kelvin Davis announced yesterday the plan to built the 3000 bed-prison in Waikato is off the table. He said that a smaller expansion is still possible, but the decision "will be considered, and not reactive". The government's decision to extend Waikeria prison has been postponed for months. The recent budget planned $200 million for temporary prison units.

Climate Change is Messing With Our Health
A report released by the Environment and Science Research Institute has linked human health to climate change. Possible factors that will impact health include air pollution, UV pollution and extreme weather. The report collated international research on health effects that may become present in the next 100 years. The Ministry of Health, who commissioned the report, plans on working with the institute to address some of the most immediate issues.

Thousands of Bees to Make Red Zone Home
Ten beehives housing over 500,000 bees will be set up in the Christchurch red zone for a year-long trial. The plan is to help increase the numbers of the threatened species and to make good use of unused land in the city. Simon Phillips, the local beekeeper in charge of the project, says that the red zone is perfect for beekeeping because it is not being used by the public. Phillips adds that decreasing bee numbers is a global issue as strong bee populations are necessary for pollinating plants. Land Information New Zealand has encouraged the project. Spokesperson for LINZ, Jeremy Barr, says that the hives will be in safe locations away from pedestrian traffic.

Downtown Stadium not Doable
A report commissioned by Auckland Council says a downtown stadium would not be financially viable. The nearly $1 million report does not specify if such a stadium would be feasible near Auckland's CBD. Auckland mayor Phil Goff has advocated for a national stadium purposed for rugby games as well as concerts. The report blacked out possible locations of the stadium, but Goff mentions a site close to Spark Arena, land owned by Ngati Whātua. PW., the consulting firm who wrote the report, says that downtown stadiums cost more than they earn in revenue. It took five months for Radio New Zealand to access the report from Auckland Council, after an intervention of the Ombudsman.

Health Group Urges Government to Assess CPTPP
A health group is calling for an impact assessment of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The New Zealand Climate and Health Council is advocating for changes in the current agreement, arguing for the need of future-proofing legislation. New Zealand is one of the 11 countries that signed the deal aimed at improving trade around the globe.


Low Turnout Expected at Venezuelan Election
Venezuelans will head to the polls today to elect their president. Current president Nicolas Maduro is expected to win as most of the opposition decided to boycott the election. They expect widespread electoral fraud, and two representatives have been barred from running. Another opponent, Henri Falcon, a former member of Maduro's socialist party, also decided to run in the election. Venezuela is currently experiencing a major economic crisis.

US and China Drop Trade Conflict
The United States and China have agreed to suspend their ongoing conflict on trade. China agreed to buy more American goods to reduce the trade balance between both countries. In return, the US threat on tariffs is lifted and the Commerce secretary will travel to China soon to work on the details of the plan. In March, President Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese imports, and China threatened to retaliate. China said this decision was a "win-win choice as it can promote the high-quality development of the Chinese economy”.

Ebola Not Yet an Epidemic
An outbreak of Ebola is not an international public health emergency according to the World Health Organisation. Fourteen confirmed cases and 31 probable or suspected cases of Ebola have occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak has caused fears that the disease may spread to epidemic levels as it did between 2014 and 2016. The illness is contracted by eating contaminated meat or by contact with bodily fluids from those infected.

Additional reporting by: Jemima Huston, Bailley Verry and Ulysse Bellier.