'Key, you are in cloud cuckoo land'- ONE News readers slam cost of bringing pandas to Wellington

The idea of bringing rare pandas from China to Wellington Zoo at a significant cost to the taxpayer has been slammed by a large group of ONE News readers.

Prime Minister John Key says he'll raise the subject of procuring pandas for the capital with China's President Xi at their next meeting.

The cost of getting and keeping China's iconic bear at Wellington Zoo is estimated to run into the tens of millions of dollars and Mr Key has even suggested we could send endangered kiwis to China to help secure a deal.

That suggestion has been met with resentment from many, including ONE News reader Ria Aleyda Morgan, who said buying the pandas would be too expensive.

"What about the ongoing costs and having to bring in a certain type of bamboo that it eats, these animals aren't cheap. Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes."

Others thought the money would be better spent elsewhere.

"Cute & cuddley isn't going to help our "housing crisis" nor put food on the table... among other needs that need to be met in NZ!!! stop rubbing arses with "China" John Key!!!!," wrote Daph Pawson.

Prime Minister John Key says he will talk to the Chinese president about a possible swap of kiwis for pandas. Source: 1 NEWS

Citizen's Resistance said New Zealand should concentrate on saving the Kiwi rather than acquiring pandas.

"I cannot believe PM John Key is considering pouring millions of taxpayers money into this venture. Pandering to China by the looks, disgraceful waste of money. How about he look after the future of our national bird the Kiwi, by not cutting the preservation funding for our iconic kiwi."

Todd Madden wrote: "Wow there is potentially 36 million (26 on the flag 10 on the panda)that could gave gone into housing (20,000 needed in Auckland) into health sector so people aren't discharged with no way to get home or clothes to wear home... and we won't mention the funding of more refugees."

ONE News reader Bettina Ward simply wrote: "Spending tax payers money in a stupid way again,Key, you are in cloud cuckoo land".

But a few readers thought buying the pandas would be a good idea.

Murray Corby wrote: "What a great idea for Wellington we saw the Pandas in Adelaide when we were their on holiday, I would think we would increase tourist dollars to the Capital."

Prime Minister John Key says investing taxpayers’ money into the panda project will be good for the economy. Source: 1 NEWS



Powerball struck for fourth time in a month as winner scoops $7.2 million

Powerball was struck for the fourth time in a month tonight when a punter from Silverdale north of Auckland scooped $7.2 million.

The prize is made up of $7 million from Powerball First Division and $200,000 from Lotto First Division.

The winning ticket was sold at Pak'nSave Silverdale in Silverdale. 

It's the fourth time in as many weeks that Powerball First Division has been struck, following on from late-August’s $5 million Powerball win by a Christchurch couple. Those lucky winners plan to use their winnings to go on the trip of a lifetime to Italy. 

Four other Lotto players will also be celebrating tonight after each winning $200,000 with Lotto First Division. 

The winning Lotto tickets were sold at Kelson General Store in Lower Hutt, Richmond Night N Day in Nelson, Ilam New World in Christchurch and New World Gore.  

Meanwhile, Strike Four was won by two players in Waikato and Tauranga, who each take home $50,000. Both those winning Strike tickets were sold on MyLotto.

Lotto Powerball (file picture).
Lotto Powerball (file picture). Source: Lotto


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Eighteen kilo meth import in printer toner cartridges sees Canadian man jailed in Auckland

A Canadian man was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years’ imprisonment in the Manukau District Court today for importing and possessing 17.9 kilograms of methamphetamine that was found in printer toner cartridges and had a street value of up to $9 million. 

Jingyuan Zhang, 28, will serve at least half of this term before facing deportation.

Zhang and his travel companion arrived at Auckland Airport from Canada in January and Zhang stayed in temporary accommodation in south-east Auckland. 

In March, Customs examined a mail consignment from the United States linked to Zhang, locating finely powdered methamphetamine in 12 printer toner cartridges. Customs monitored the delivery of the cartridges and arrested Zhang.

Michael Blades, Customs’ Acting Group Manager Intelligence, Investigations & Enforcement, says renting short-term accommodation to receive illegal drugs is a known tactic of criminal syndicates.

He says if someone has concerns about anyone renting short-term accommodation and making out-of-the ordinary inquiries about receiving packages, they can be reported in confidence to 0800 4 CUSTOMS or to Crimestoppers.

Customs says based on the New Zealand Drug Harm Index, the potential social harm avoided through this seizure is estimated to be $22.1 million.

Methamphetamine was found in toner cartridges. Source: Supplied

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Most read: Auckland bar responds to Pink's outburst: 'It was a bit of a shock'

This story was first pubksihed on Wednesday September 12.

The pop star wasn’t happy her group wasn’t allowed into Deadshot, and let her millions of followers know. Source: Seven Sharp

After seven world class concerts Pink decided to celebrate and head to Auckland's food and beverage hotspot of Ponsonby on Tuesday.

Pink’s first choice of bar was Deadshot, but unfortunately, her large group was turned away.

Soon afterwards, the whole world heard about it when the pop star Tweeted about the encounter to her millions of followers.

After the unwanted publicity, manager Heather Garland spoke to Seven Sharp.

“One of the crew came in earlier in the day and spoke to Brian over the bar and he told them we just couldn’t take a group that big, and offered to find them somewhere else," she said.

“But they showed up anyway and we couldn’t fit them in.”

Garland said they simply couldn’t cater for 30 people.

“They just went on their way and we didn’t realise there was a problem.”

Pink then took to Twitter saying, “She’s been to some cool bars around the world and Deadshot is not one of them.”

Garland said it came as a bit of a shock, but was pleased by the support they had been shown.

“We never even saw her, we didn’t even know she was part of the group.”

But when Deadshot couldn’t cater for them, they went across the road to the Revelry bar.

Alex Dunn was about to shut up shop when the superstar and her crew dropped in.

“She came to the bar herself, so we were just sitting down together discussing what cocktail she was going for.”

It turns out Pink likes pink drinks so she had a blush negroni.

Dunn says, ‘It wasn’t intentional but I had a feeling that she might like the colour and that I might get a few extra bonus points.”

Her posts here were a little kinder calling the Revelry bar, “The perfect place in Auckland.”

Pink got down to some Kiwi tunes and the party ended around 2am.


Russian troops sweep across Siberia in war games with China amid tensions with US

Hundreds of thousands Russian troops have swept across Siberia in the nation's largest ever war games also joined by China - a powerful show of burgeoning military ties between Moscow and Beijing amid their tensions with the US.

Moscow said the weeklong Vostok (East) 2018 manoeuvres will span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans and involve nearly 300,000 Russian troops - nearly one-third of the country's one-million-strong military. They will feature more than 1,000 aircraft, about 36,000 tanks and other military vehicles and 80 warships.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has described the drills as even bigger than the country's largest Cold War-era exercise called Zapad 1981 that put NATO allies on edge.

A retired Russian general said that the giant war games come as a warning to the US against ramping up pressure on Russia.

"The manoeuvres are aimed at deterring the aggressive intentions of the US and NATO," Retired General Leonid Ivashov said. He was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that the drills are "also a response to the US sanctions."

China is sending about 3,200 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft to join the drills at a Siberian firing range, a significant deployment that reflects its shift toward a full-fledged military alliance with Russia. Mongolia also has sent a military contingent.

Asked if the US is worried about a possible military alliance between Russia and China, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told Pentagon reporters on Tuesday that, "I think that nations act out of their interests. I see little in the long term that aligns Russia and China."

As the manoeuvres kicked off, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russia on Tuesday to attend an economic forum in Vladivostok. 

President Vladimir Putin treated Xi to pancakes with caviar and shots of vodka in a show of their warm rapport.

Moscow and Beijing have forged what they described as a "strategic partnership," expressing their shared opposition to the "unipolar" world, the term they use to describe perceived US global domination. However, the military drills they had until now were far smaller in scale, reflecting China's caution about alliances.

Some experts pointed out that the US helped spawn closer Russia-China military ties by labelling them strategic competitors.

"They feel they need to embrace to deal with the increasingly high pressure and containment from the US," said Yue Gang, a military expert and retired Chinese army colonel.

He noted that China feels that the Washington's hostile attitude and actions, such as deploying the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, relieve it of any need to take US views into consideration when deepening strategic trust with Moscow.

"The war games have laid a foundation for China and Russia to enhance cooperation on international arena and will lift the combat proficiency of both sides," he said.

The Chinese media touted the Chinese involvement in the manoeuvres as the country's largest-ever dispatch of forces abroad for war games.

Some noted that the People's Liberation Army, which hasn't fought a war since the attempted invasion of Vietnam in 1979, is keen to learn from Russia's experience in the Syrian campaign, where it tested its latest weapons and tactics.

Around 300,000 troops will take part in the Vostok war games, as well as 1000 aircraft and 900 tanks. Source: 1 NEWS


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