1 NEWS' top five stories of 2017 that made you think

Election aside, 1 NEWS' reporters have shed light on a number of important issues throughout the year. Here are some of the biggest.

A mother has called for greater security following the South Island incident. Source: 1 NEWS

Shocking schoolyard bullying

Sam Clarke's story on the bullying of a young girl at a Canterbury college saw an outpouring of anger, as well as heartening support for the victim.

The victim, and her mother, bravely shared their story in the hope there would be greater security in schools.

Sex abuse counsellor Tania Blomfield and researcher Natalie Thorburn say child sex trafficking is a growth industry in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's child sex trade

Paul Hobbs' investigation into children as young as nine being forced to have sex with paying customers was genuinely shocking, and shed light on a part of New Zealand all of us wished didn't exist.

Many of them were being coerced into the sex trade by their families, or "boyfriends".

A wild night out in Suva left Josh Narube dead and a New Zealand diplomat leaving the country. Source: 1 NEWS

Fijian man dies in company of Immigration NZ staffer

The family of Josateki 'Josh' Narube were left searching for answers after the 26-year-old fell from a balcony on a Suva apartment block in 2015.

His companion that night was an Immigration NZ staffer who'd been seconded to the High Commission in Suva to work in Visa Services, and who flew back to NZ two days later.

Josh's friends told Andrea Vance his death was never properly investigated, and they want the diplomat to return to answer further questions.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry say they co-operated with the Fijian police, and the case was closed with no charges laid or any further requests for information.

The danger posed by a huge fault line that runs through NZ is being discussed at a summit. Source: 1 NEWS

Could NZ cope with a giant 'megathrust' earthquake

Sean Hogan's look at New Zealand's ability to cope with a gigantic 'megathrust' earthquake was one of the most widely shared stories on 1 NEWS NOW.

It came in the wake of a conference which saw scientists bring together local councils, iwi and civil defence orginisations together to share their knowledge.

Brian and Hannah Tamaki's church could now face a substantial tax bill as a result of the deregistration. Source: 1 NEWS

Destiny Church charities stripped from charities register

Investigations by Luke Appleby and Simon Plumb into some of Destiny Church's charities highlighted the Department of Internal Affairs' concerns over the persistent late filing of annual financial records.

Last month, DIA stipped two of them - Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited from the Charities Register - a move that would come into force on December 20, a move that has since been delayed after the church appealed to the High Court. 


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First of more than 18,000 crosses installed outside Auckland War Memorial Museum to mark WW1 deaths

On a dim and wet Auckland day, the first of more than 18,000 crosses - one to mark each death from WWI - are being carefully and painstakingly put in place outside the city's War Memorial Museum.

There was a private blessing this morning to mark the start of the installations.

The thousands of white crosses will keep being installed across the weekend and through to Monday afternoon at the earliest.

Auckland RSA president and Fields of Remembrance vice chairman Graham Gibson told 1 NEWS the end result will be a poignant sight.

"This is coming to the final stage, Armistice 2018, when the guns stopped. We're finally putting this field in as a national field," Mr Gibson said.

"It's 18,277 crosses."

The Fields of Remembrance started in 2014, as commemorations began intensifying leading up to this year's 100 year anniversary of the Armistice signing that ended the war.

There is grief behind each of the crosses, and a separate field is especially for the many families that have more than one cross.

"In that field is the nine mothers that lost four, the 51 mothers that lost three sons, and the 636 that lost two sons," he said.

"It's actually quite significant that we're starting to lay the field on this day, the 12th of October. History tells us that's when our bloodiest thing [happened] in the first World War, the Battle of Passchendaele, where we lost 846 men in the time it takes to play three games of rugby."

Current NZDF members have been laying the crosses today.

"It's only fitting that the military lay the crosses for the men and women that went before them.

"It was all for the young ones, and we wanted the young ones to understand what service and sacrifice was about."

From October 20, a bugler will walk through the fields at 7am and 7pm.

TVNZ will be broadcasting Auckland's Armistice centenary service live.

First of more than 18,000 crosses put in place at Auckland War Memorial Museum ahead of Armistice centenary commemoration. Source: 1 NEWS

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Dunedin teen in viral video urging truck driver to run over cyclist apologises

The teenager involved in a now-viral video who was heard telling a truck driver to run over a cyclist in Dunedin has apologised.

In the clip, the teenager, sitting in the passenger seat of a truck, can be heard urging the driver to run over a cyclist while swearing and hurling abuse at them after being unable to pass them along Portobello Road, Newshub reports.

"Run him over, Greg, mate - do it. Out of the way, you f****** cabbage!" the 16-year-old Clearwater Civil Ltd employee can be heard saying.

Newshub has since received a letter sent by the teenager's mother, who said her son was remorseful for his actions.

"He now realises that he foolishly underestimated how seriously his comments would be taken and deeply regrets both the offence that they caused and the harm that they have created," she said. 

In the letter, the teenager wrote, "It was a dumb decision to post the video to social media and I am very sorry for any offence I've caused to the public and the affect my actions have had on my employer, my colleagues and the rest of the trucking community."

A Clearwater Civil spokesperson said they were satisfied that he "is very regretful of his actions".

 

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Criteria for MSD debt write off 'cruel and unnecessary', benefit levels need to increase - Greens

The $1.5 billion debt Kiwis owe to the Ministry of Social Development for loans shows "how low benefits are and how we desperately need to put the heart back into our social support system", say the Green Party.

Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson called the system "fundamentally cruel and harsh". 

"People are surviving from day to day and then having to take out a loan from MSD just to go to the dentist”.

It comes after 1 NEWS found the Ministry of Social Development handed out $1.5b in loans, interest free, to 509,571 people for necessities such as dentistry, school supplies and housing.

The Ministry of Social Development has handed out $1.5 billion in loans to half a million people to pay for the likes of the dentist and a house to live. Source: 1 NEWS

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said a large amount of that money is over payments, "and then it's also hardship and then it's also fraud".

Ms Davidson said the criteria for debt write-offs needed to be reviewed. 

"At the moment that criteria is too harsh and people living in desperation are trying to cover the basics whilst paying off a debt. This is cruel and unnecessary and just entrenching poverty."

She said benefit levels needed to increase "so people aren't getting into further debt or turning to loan sharks". 

"Current benefit rates are not enough for people to save money for unexpected expenses, and we know that going into debt compounds existing hardship. It is vital that we put our heart back into our social support system and fix these issues properly".

The backbencher MP beat out Julie Anne Genter garnering three-quarters of the vote, while pushing social issues as her priority.
Source: 1 NEWS


Quick-thinking dad pushes kids out of harm's way as bus goes through Auckland pedestrian crossing, ploughs into cafe

A quick-thinking man pushed his two children out of the path of an oncoming bus as they crossed a pedestrian crossing on Auckland's North Shore but was himself hit by the bus before it ploughed across a footpath and into a cafe.

The incident happened on Birkenhead Ave shortly before midday today.

Inspector Kai Shao has told 1 NEWS at the scene he understands the bus was stationary and picking up some passengers at a nearby bus stop, when for some reason it accelerated. 

A father and his two children were on the pedestrian crossing and the man realised the bus was coming, "so he pushed his children away," Inspector Shao said.

"And the children were not injured and the father was struck somewhere by the bus, and with very minor injury," he said.

Police say in a statement two children were taken to Starship Hospital as a precaution and an adult male was transported to North Shore Hospital with moderate injuries.

Police remain at the scene of  the crash.

The road is now open in both directions, however there is a small cordon around the building involved.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Team is investigating the incident and the driver is being spoken to as part of the police inquiries.

The man suffered minor injuries and the children were unharmed, but a building was a badly damaged in the Birkenhead crash. Source: 1 NEWS