Everything you need to know about the world today, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.
Government Pledges to House Homeless
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pledged to provide housing for all the nation’s homeless people within four weeks, before winter hits. Housing Minister Phil Twyford unveiled on Friday a $100 million plan, including an additional 1,500 transitional accommodations. Twyford pledged that "the Government will make sure everyone is helped to find warm, dry housing this winter". Habitat for Humanity Chief Executive Claire Szabo has said the plan is welcome alongside the long-term policies. Speaking to 95bFM Szabo said “striking that balance between funding the immediate needs of people and then also addressing the underlying factors that are making them homeless, that is quite a combination”. Phil Twyford called for private solutions like seasonal workers accommodations to provide decent housing for those in urgent need this winter.
Human Trafficking into NZ
Malaysian police have intercepted human traffickers attempting to smuggle undocumented migrants into New Zealand and Australia. 131 Sri Lankans being smuggled through a modified tanker were intercepted last Tuesday. Malaysian police believe the smuggling syndicate has been operating for over a year with connections in New Zealand. Immigration minister Ian-Lees Galloway thanked Malaysian authorities for their work in capturing the smugglers.
The 160th anniversary of the Kingitanga movement was held in Ngaruawahia this weekend,
with concerns over its future. Kingitanga began in 1858 as a way of uniting Māori during a period of land confiscations and European settlement. King Tūheitia believes it is vital that Kingitanga continues to challenge the crown and government on issues important to Māori. Hundreds gathered around the Waikato river for a flotilla of waka celebrating the anniversary.
Kiwi Kids' Tooth Decay a Serious Concern
A new Child Poverty Action Group report believes New Zealand's high level of child tooth decay is a socio–economic issue. Dental public health specialist Rob Beaglehole says the number one risk for poor oral health is poverty. Māori and Pasifika families are also at greater risk. While 45 percent of five–year–olds in New Zealand have some tooth decay that figure is 60 percent for Māori and 66 percent for Pasifika families. The report also says there is a shortage of dentists and nurses to keep up with the demand.
Ministry of Education Seeks Strategy to Ease Teacher Roles
The Ministry of Education is looking at a new strategy to make teachers' jobs easier. Minister of Education Chris Hipkins said that the focus will be placed on the number of administrative burdens teachers face. The move is to combat the declining number of students graduating with a teaching degree and teachers leaving the profession. The announcement has been met with praise from all levels of the sector, hoping to relieve the pressure on educators.
Middlemore Maternity Ward at Risk of Seismic Damage
Manukau District Health Board has received an assessment suggesting the maternity ward at Middlemore hospital is earthquake prone. The DHB's remediation report last December revealed that the Galbraith building is at high risk if a seismic quake occurs. Acting chief executive Gloria Johnson said managers are looking at the extent of the building's occupation during the short and medium term. Faced with the current winter rush, the Galbraith building is currently converting its top floor offices into additional wards to take more patients
European Customs Partnership is on the Brexit Negotiation Table
UK Business Secretary Greg Clark says a new customs partnership is still on the table in Brexit negotiations. The proposal is for no new customers checks at the border and the UK would collect tariffs set by the EU in goods coming in on behalf of the EU. However the secretary has faced opposition from within his own party. Conservatives that voted to leave say that the partnership model will effectively mean the UK does not leave the EU. The UK will leave the EU customs union in 2019 due to Brexit – with or without a deal.
Seismic Activity Erupts Hawaii with Large Earthquakes
An eruption from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has caused a string of severe earthquakes. A 6.9 magnitude earthquake was the strongest to hit the region in 40 years. The earthquakes have caused further eruptions from smaller volcanoes, with lava to destroying surrounding bush. The local area is in a state of emergency and 1700 residents have been evacuated.
Iran warns Trump of “Historic Regret”
Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has warned the US that they will face "historic regret" if they scrap the Iranian nuclear deal. The 2015 Iranian nuclear deal lifted economic sanctions against Iran which would limit its nuclear programme in return. Trump has threatened to withdraw from this programme when its review period ends on May 12. France, Germany, the UK and the United Nations have been trying to persuade the US to stay in the deal.
Trump’s “Dirty Ops” Spy Allegations
Reports have emerged that the Trump Administration hired a spy to undermine the Iran Arms Deal. British newspaper the Observer has reported at aides to President Trump hired an Israeli Intelligence agency to discredit negotiators of the Iran Deal. Reports say that the Administration contacted the agency in May 2017 to 'get dirt' on top National Security advisors to the Obama administration. Sources said the attempt to discredit former negotiators would make it easier for Trump to back out of the deal he has publicly criticised. The allegations come a week before the deadline to decide whether the United States will continue with internationally–backed deal.
Last Stand for Cambodian Free Press Ends
The last independent newspaper in Cambodia has been sold amongst allegations of corruption. Phnom Penh Post was forced to sell after a disputed million–dollar tax bill was imposed by the government. Other newspapers have been forced to sell to government-linked businessmen under similar circumstances. Journalists say they have harassed by secret police and arrested on false charges for reporting on human rights abuses and political scandals. The Cambodian press has gone from being one of the freest in the region to the least over a one year period.
Pakistan Minister Shot During Election Rally
Pakistan Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal has been shot during an election rally in a central Punjab province. On Sunday, Iqbal was shot in the shoulder by an unidentified gunman in his native Narowal district. Federal Minister Talal Chaudhry said one man was arrested at the scene of the attack with investigations still ongoing. Provincial authorities have said Iqbal is not facing any life-threatening wounds.
Additional reporting by Jemima Huston, Damian Rowe, and Bailley Verry