'No such thing as safe amount of alcohol for a pregnant woman' - expert weighs in

Pregnant women should abstain from alcohol completely because there is no clear information indicating a safe amount for consumption, an expert says.

Christine Rogan from the Foetal Alcohol Network says the recent case of a woman being denied a drink in an Auckland bar highlights how much mis-information there is on the issue.

"There is a lot of conflicting information out there, it concerns me that women are going to the internet to find out whether you can drink," Ms Rogan told TV ONE's Breakfast programme this morning.

"There is no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol when you're pregnant. Biological evidence tells us you can't measure a safe amount."

Ms Rogan's comments come after a waiter refused Nichola Hayes, who is 36 weeks pregnant with her second child, an alcoholic drink during a wedding anniversary night out.

Mrs Hayes, along with husband Michael, spoke to the duty manager, only to be told the restaurant's licence entitled it to "refuse to serve me alcohol ...for health reasons".

Brew Bar co-owner Sam Ansley has since apologised to Mrs Hayes.

"He [the bar tender] erred on the side of caution," he said. "It's not our policy. We shouldn't discriminate."

The latest Ministry of Health survey for alcohol use shows in 2012/13 about one in five women drank alcohol at some point during their pregnancy.

The Ministry advises that pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant should not consume alcohol.



One person injured, road blocked after truck crash in Auckland's Whitford

One person has been injured in a crash involving a truck in the Auckland suburb of Whitford today.

Police say one person has received moderate injuries in the accident at the intersection of Whitford Maraetai Road and Waikopua Road.

Police say the road will be blocked in both directions until approximately 10.15am this morning while heavy haulage works to remove the truck.

Police advise avoiding the area if possible.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS


Two of the four misconduct probes into police recruits are criminal investigations

Two of the four investigations into trainee police over claims of misconduct are criminal investigations, the Police College training manager says.

The four trainee officers from the Police College in Porirua have been stood down, but police won't confirm reports that at least one case involves accusations of indecent assault.

Police have launched the investigations into the four trainee police following allegations of misconduct in separate incidents.

None of the recruits were on duty at the time, he said.

Three of those under investigation were not onsite at the college when the incidents allegedly happened, he said.

Police Minister Stuart Nash told Morning Report he was not surprised that those recruits were allowed to graduate.

"It disappoints me that they were involved in this sort of behaviour - no doubt about that - but what I do trust is the Superintendent and his men and women out there to use their judgement," Mr Nash said.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"If this was so bad that these men and women were not of a good quality to be police, they would have stood them down and see ya later."

Mr Nash also defended the decision to graduate a recruit who was the subject of a misconduct allegation which was not upheld.

The recruit was awarded the Ministers award and the Firearms award and was top graduate of the wing.

"It's not a great look but keeping in mind there are two sides to every story," Mr Nash said.

"The police investigated this and found insufficient evidence."

He said the standard of recruits and graduates was exceptional.

However, Mr Nash said he was not defending bad behaviour and trainees who were deemed unfit by police would not graduate.

Superintendent Scott Fraser told Morning Report if matters of a criminal nature are upheld, recruits do not graduate.

"We will look at any matter, minor to serious, and have done for the past 20 years, so this isn't a different process. We always look at the details and make very sound judgement decisions as to whether people graduate and become police officers," he said.

"The four individuals who have been stood down is over the last 12 months, just to put that into context over 940 recruits have been trained.

"We do not graduate anyone who does not meet our standards."

In a separate matter, a group of recruits from Wing 318 were investigated for drinking alcohol in July.

Mr Fraser said that incident was not serious.

"There was some alcohol involved, and some very minor silly behaviour. They were noisy in the barracks and they were up late at night doing some silly things."

This incident was investigated and the college was satisfied the recruits had changed their behaviour, Mr Fraser said.

Those recruits all graduated earlier this month.

The intake for Wing 318 at the Porirua college in June was the largest in more than a decade.

The Government is aiming to recruit 1800 new police officers over three years as part of its coalition deal.


Auckland, New Zealand - May 17, 2014: New Zealand Police car, Holden Commodore, parked in a downtown Auckland alleyway at night.
File picture. Source: istock.com


Fonterra lowers forecast milk price for 2018/19 due to stronger global supply

Fonterra has lowered its forecast milk price for 2018/19 today from $6.75 per kgMS to a range of $6.25-$6.50 per kgMS due to stronger global supply.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell also announced an increase in forecast New Zealand milk collection volumes to 1,550 million kgMS, up by 1.3 per cent.

"I know how hard it is for farmers when the forecast Farmgate Milk Price drops, but it’s important they have the most up to date picture so they can make the best decisions for their farming businesses," he said in a statement.

"We are still seeing strong production coming from Europe, US and Argentina. While the hot weather in Europe has slowed down the region’s production growth, it is still tracking ahead of last year, US milk production is up slightly and Argentina’s is up 6.8%.

"At recent Global Dairy Trade (GDT) events, prices for all products that make up the milk price have fallen. Demand for WMP, in particular, continues to grow in China, and it remains strong across South East Asia, but it simply isn’t matching current levels of supply."

"In New Zealand, the season has got off to a positive start, mainly thanks to good weather and early calving in the South Island."

Mr Hurrell said providing a range for the forecast price was due to the volatile nature of production.

"We operate in a hugely volatile global market place, so it is very difficult to pinpoint an exact forecast Farmgate Milk Price this early in the season. For example, weather conditions can change suddenly and this can have a significant impact on the global milk supply."

"The final price could be outside this range as we are still early in the season and up against considerable volatility, we therefore recommend farmers budget with ongoing caution."

Fonterra is required to give a forecast for Dairy Industry Regulation Act purposes by 15 December 2018. 

Fonterra has cut its forecast for full-year earnings per share. Source: 1 NEWS

Greens expect big spend after Government posts $5.5 billion surplus

What's the point in a $5.5 billion surplus if there's still people living in cars and garages?

That's the question Green Party co-leader James Shaw is asking Finance Minister Grant Robertson after the Government books revealed a much higher than forecast cash surplus yesterday.

But the business lobby says the accounts are just what's needed to boost confidence.

Mr Robertson has been at pains to tell people the Government is not awash with cash following the announcement of a $5.5 billion surplus - up $2.4 billion on the Budget predictions in May.

But his ministerial colleague is not so convinced and wants to see more spending - although he won't say exactly how much.

The Government’s books revealed a $5.5 billion surplus, well up on what was predicted. Source: 1 NEWS

"What point is kind of a $5 billion surplus if you've still got people living in cars and garages, right?" Mr Shaw said.

Mr Shaw was expecting significant social, environmental and infrastructure spending in next year's Budget, given the Government had fallen well within the Budget Responsibility constraints it set itself when the coalition was formed a year ago.

He said teachers and nurses wages were contributing to the social deficits the country was facing and holding their incomes down led to shortages and that "starts to tear at the social fabric".

In short, he said, if you've got the money you ought to spend it.

"I would argue that actually we were elected as a Government to solve some of those really endemic poverty issues, to fix the housing crisis, to clean up our water, to fix transport, and so on. We've got the opportunity to do that - we should allow ourselves to do that,'' he said.

Mr Robertson described the surplus as a balancing act between having the money to invest in roads, schools and hospitals while also being mindful of rainy days.

"We remain a small open economy more susceptible to the economic challenges provided by the rest of the world and the natural environment challenges provided by the planet than other countries," he said.

"It is important to me that we continue to manage our accounts in such a way that we are resilient.''

He told Morning Report last year was a good year for the coffers but more expenditure was expected.

The Government was already putting millions of dollars into addressing homelessness, he said, including in transitional housing and supporting the Housing First programme, and had put a half-billion dollar offer on the table for teachers' pay.

"The Government's got an ambitious programme in health, housing, education, transport ... We balance that against making sure we've got a buffer, and I think we've got that buffer about right."

Kirk Hope from Business NZ said that was the right message of reducing debt while still spending on the essentials for growth.

He liked how the accounts and Government spending was shaping up and thought the rest of the business community would too.

"Given the government's continued commitment to meeting the debt reduction targets, which they've already done, and some of the spending. Those things are really going to contribute to improving business confidence,'' he said.

By Jo Moir


James Shaw. (Phil Smith) Source: rnz.co.nz