Morning Briefing June 4: A spotlight on police conduct – at home and abroad

While the world’s attention was focused once again on protests over police brutality in the US yesterday, New Zealand police made the rare move of charging three of their own officers with manslaughter after the death of a man in custody last year.

Source: 1 NEWS

It’s alleged the Taranaki officers were grossly negligent in their duty of care for the arrested 55-year-old at the Hawera Police Station. All three officers have been stood down from their duties.

The Police Association says there’s no suggestion the man’s death was the result of any physical confrontation with the officers.  

Meanwhile, police across the Tasman have been rejecting comparisons to the US after an indigenous teenager was injured while being arrested in Sydney this week.

An officer is under internal investigation after video emerged of him kicking the 16-year-old’s legs out from under him.

But Australia’s Police Minister David Elliott says, “what happened in the United States is not what happens here.”

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More charges over Floyd’s death

Tensions continue to simmer in the US over the death of George Floyd in police custody, although the nation’s streets were calmer following days of violent clashes.

All four officers involved in Mr Floyd’s death are also now facing charges, with local media reporting three of them will be charged with aiding and abetting.

Meanwhile, the country’s Defence Secretary Mark Esper has directly contradicted President Donald Trump over deploying the army to end the protests that have swelled since Mr Floyd died.

Mr Esper says using the military should only be used in “the most urgent and dire of situations”.

“We are not in one of those situations now,” he says.

Is NZ ready for Level 1?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined what life at Level 1 will look like as the Government considers whether to make that move next week.

With Level 1 seeing current restrictions on businesses and services “essentially” lifted, Ms Ardern says the battle with the coronavirus isn’t over. So, she’s asking Kiwis to adopt new behaviours when the move to Level 1 does eventuate and has outlined the “golden rules” that will be in place. 

Ms Ardern says next week should show if the loosening of rules on bars and gatherings has had an impact on any Covid-19 infections.

If it hasn’t, she says the country “should be in a good position to move” to Level 1.

Searching sewage for virus

Meanwhile, ESR, the Government’s science and research agency, has received $1.6 million in funding to investigate the detection of Covid-19 in the country’s sewage.

Similar wastewater testing overseas has successfully identified the presence of the virus in communities before there’s been any confirmed cases.

Scientists say the testing will mean early intervention if the virus does begin to spread again.

Students thrown NCEA lifeline

High school students disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic have been given some good news ahead of their NCEA exams.

Students will now be able to earn additional credits to help them reach their annual requirements, with the requirements for different qualifications also being reduced.

Secondary Principals' Association of New Zealand president Deidre Shea is impressed with the changes and says they’re appropriate for the length of time that students have been disrupted.

"It's a superb package which will provide acknowledgment and incentive for students around the country," she told 1 NEWS.

A Super return for Carter?

All Blacks great Dan Carter is reportedly set to make a sensational Super Rugby return.

The Herald says the former Crusaders star is being lined up for the Blues squad as injury cover for young first-five Stephen Perofeta.

Thirty-eight-year-old Carter spent 13 seasons with the Crusaders before leaving New Zealand to play in France and Japan. 

Other news of note this morning:

In breaking news, a German prisoner has been identified as a suspect in the long-running Madeleine McCann case.

The Teaching Council is considering complaints against a teacher who wore a MAGA hat to Monday’s Black Lives Matter rally in Auckland. 

A road through Queenstown’s town centre remains blocked off this morning after a burst water main flooded the CBD.

High profile doctor Lance O'Sullivan claims he damaged a vehicle outside a Rotorua cinema because it was in a disabled parking space.

The Council of Trade Unions is campaigning for sick leave to be doubled, saying it will benefit all of New Zealand.

A petrol price war is being promised as an independent South Island fuel provider makes plans to move north.

And essential workers are gracing the cover of British Vogue’s July issue. 

And finally...

Jacinda Ardern Source: Getty

The Prime Minister seems to be personally doing her bit for the economy through her choice of earrings.

Ms Ardern has been spotted wearing a Christchurch recyclable plastic company’s “huia feather” earrings made from 3D printer waste.

Artist Anthea Madill chips up the plastic, melts it into sheets and then laser cuts jewellery designs out of them – and it looks like she’s going to be very busy for the next wee while, with 800 orders flooding in following the Prime Minister’s latest fashion choice.