Amy Adams named as National's new finance spokesperson by Simon Bridges

MP Amy Adams has been announced as National's finance spokesperson.

The desired portfolio has created much speculation, after Steven Joyce, who recently announced his retirement from politics, revealed he was not offered the role.

The shake-up of the party under leader Simon Bridges has kicked into gear. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Adams went for National Party leader but was unsuccessful, missing out to Simon Bridges.

In a press release leader Mr Bridges said Ms Adams would be ranked third on the National Party list, behind Paula Bennett.

Ms Adams missed out on the party leadership, but will still take up a senior role in opposition. Source: 1 NEWS

"Amy is an incredibly experienced former Minister, serving as Associate Minister of Finance as well as holding a range of important and challenging portfolios, from Social Housing to Justice and Environment, which she handled with real diligence and focus," he said. 

"She has chaired Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, has a background in commercial law and is a talented and hard-working member of the National Party caucus."

"Amy follows in the footsteps of the National Party's hugely successful finance ministers, Bill English and Steven Joyce, and I have no doubt she’ll do a great job on behalf of all New Zealanders. I look forward having her on my team."

Ms Adam's first press release said she would fight hard against "government policies that will slow New Zealand down". 

"New Zealand currently has one of the strongest economies in the western world. That's not an accident. That's a result of the hard work of New Zealanders backed by the strong economic plan of the previous National-led Government."

"The Government needs to focus on the quality and quantity of their new spending. They are continuously ramping up expectations. I'll be keeping a close eye on their approach to spending taxpayers' money."

Ms Adams is today lodging a private members bill to allow both parents to take paid leave at the same time.
Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Bridges announced Ms Adams as his number three earlier today. Source: 1 NEWS

1080 campaign turns toxic: Dead animals dumped at Parliament and chalked slogans calling the PM 'a Nazi'

Most experts insist 1080 pesticide is by far the best and safest option to save native species and that science backs them up. How can the media report responsibly on opponents’ noisy protests, social media growth and increasingly alarming threats?

When reports emerged this week that cows had died on a Waikato farm after a 1080 drop nearby, the news spread like wildfire on Facebook.

The likely explanation was that the stock were not where they were supposed to be and ate lethal amounts of bait. Department of Conservation said stock had been seen in the operational area and it had advised the farmer to act.

But for those opposed to using 1080, it was further evidence the stuff is not safe and should be banned.

Other animals allegedly killed by 1080 were dumped at Parliament earlier this month during the ‘Hīkoi of a poisoned nation’ on a day of noisy nationwide protests.

On TV news and news websites people saw images of men in hazmat suits picking up what turned out to be look-alike 1080 pellets that were hurled onto the steps of Parliament.

When questioned by reporters later, organiser Alan Gurden admitted the long dead deep frozen birds and mice may not have been victims of 1080 after all.

Mr Gurden said the hīkoi was "theatre" designed to get the attention of politicians, but it attracted the media’s attention too.

Tens of thousands of people from all over the country mobilising can’t be ignored by the news media - but neither can the increasing militancy of of some activists.

They chalked slogans in Parliament grounds accusing Jacinda Ardern of running deaths squads and branded her "a Nazi."

"It fuels this awful, very abusive approach that 1080 protesters and anti-1080 people are taking towards my staff," DOC operations director David Speirs told RNZ.

Angry threats from anti-1080 people are not new.

Last year some even threatened on Facebook to bring down DOC helicopters used to drop 1080 pellets from the air.

"Be more noisy and cause more trouble"

Anti-1080 activism online has surged in recent months.

Earlier this year, activists began bombarding news media streams of news events with campaigns slogans. The Spinoff's Haydon Donnell found the comments had their roots in a single Facebook page which now has more than 60,000 followers.

Mr Donnell also reckoned some of the claims have become more extreme and irrational. Some members, for example, seem to think 1080 is a part of plot backed by banks or even an exercise in eugenics.

Mr Donnell also interviewed one of the prime movers: Sue Grey, a lawyer from Nelson who has urged activists to use social media and news media alike to “be more noisy and cause more trouble.”

Groups backing 1080 use fight back online. Forest and Bird and Federated Farmers - frequently foes in the past - have formed unlikely union for the website:

And back in April, RNZ's Checkpoint revealed the Department of Conservation had used controversial private security firm Thompson and Clark to monitor anti-1080 activists for the previous two years.

Ahead of the protests earlier this month, Forest and Bird urged the media to cover the protests “with a commitment to science, evidence and truth.”

“Anti-1080 fears appear to have been stoked by an aggressive online campaign of science denial, misinformation, and trolling, said Forest and Bird.

“"Decades of work by thousands of conservationists and scientists has developed a range of tools and methods to protect our wildlife, but this work is at risk of being undone should a vocal, anti-science minority be given uncritical exposure”

So how best to report on them without giving the oxygen of publicity to extreme views - and claims not backed by science ?

On Radio Live earlier this month, Mark Sainsbury devoted his entire three-hour talk show to friends and foes of 1080.

Last weekend, Three’s weekend politics show Newshub Nation had a timely report setting out the basics about 1080 use in New Zealand.

The report dealt with fears about effects on other animals, human fertility and drinking water and gave a clear picture of where scientists stand.

The government-funded Science Media Centre released a digest of views from six expert scientists - all of whom reckoned 1080 was the best and only viable option we have right now.

"The case of 1080 use is well established and it works. Where it is used our native species are recovering, where it is not they die, it really is that simple," said Prof Neil Gemmell, who is is actually working on alternatives to 1080 for pest control.

So is Dr Belinda Cridge, from Otago University's Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

"1080 is amazing. The information far outweighs resources we put into other chemicals we use," she told Mediawatch.

"Time and time again the science has been challenged. Time and time again the scientists say this is a good option and safe in the way we use it. But still people are worried and not understanding and there is still cherrypicking of the data," she said.

She concedes media are entitled to report alternative viewpoints especially when they appear to be convincing to increasing numbers of people.

"But if you hear it often enough people will think they are right. We've got to keep hearing from the experts," Dr Cridge said.

"Social media has changed our landscape. Journalists have a responsibility to give a balanced account but there's none of that on social media," she said.

"The issue is that fewer people are engaging with high quality media."



Mount Ruapehu crater death prompts warning

A second death at Mount Ruapehu's crater lake in 12 months has prompted calls for people to take extra care at the top of the mountain.

A man's body was pulled from the lake by members of the group he was with yesterday afternoon.

Another man died at the lake one year ago.

Ruapehu District Mayor Don Cameron said the snow was becoming soft around this time of year, and people needed to be extra vigilant at high altitudes.

"I understand it's a skiier that's fallen in, but also apparently someone climbing also slipped on the ice and lost their ice axe," he said.

Mr Cameron said people venturing near the crater lake should take extra advice before heading up, or stick to well known trails.

Yesterday's death is being referred to the coroner.

An American tourist also died while skiing on Mount Aspiring yesterday.

Police said the 35-year-old man was skiing downhill toward the Bonar Glacier when he fell and died.

Another person they were skiing with attempted first aid but the man died at the scene.

An investigation into his death is now underway.

Good news for skiers and snow boarders as a $10 million grant helps the project get off the ground.
Source: 1 NEWS


Plane substance drop ruled out in mystery school illness

The 10 students from Carterton's South End primary school that were hospitalised due to an unusual smell will be back at school tomorrow.

Police now believe they can rule out initial reports that a plane flying overhead may have dropped a toxic substance on the school. Source: 1 NEWS

Multiple students fell ill on Friday afternoon following reports of an unpleasant smell.

Originally the smell was thought to have come from a plane that flew near the school but police have ruled that out after speaking with the pilot.

South End board of trustees chairman Brian Chin said it will be business as usual tomorrow for everyone at the school, including the children who fell ill.

"All children were discharged on Friday evening. They were sent home with information about what to do if they feel unwell again.

"They have contact numbers on hand if they feel unwell again and at this stage we envisage all those children will be at school again on Monday," Mr Chin said.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Scott Miller said the police were turning their focus to neigbouring properties and the surrounding area to find the source of the smell.

"There will be a couple of people in the [neigbouring] houses that we haven't spoken to and we'll be looking closely at the area to see whether there's anything in our police intelligence systems that may indicate where this smell may have come from."


New charges revealed: Jobseeker with 'Devast8' across his face is back before the courts

A man with 'Devast8' tattooed across his face, who last year opened up about his job struggles as he tried to turn his life around, is back before the courts.

Mark Cropp - also known as 'DEVAST8' due to his distinctive facial tattoo.
Mark Cropp - also known as 'DEVAST8' due to his distinctive facial tattoo. Source: Screenshot/NZ Herald

Mark Cropp, 21, will face two charges of assaulting a female and threatening to kill.

The NZ Herald reports Mr Cropp will face a judge alone trial in November.

Mark Cropp became internationally known last year after he approached the Herald about not being able to get a job because of his inked face.

He said his brother tattooed the nickname 'Devast8' on his face during a heavy night drinking in jail.

On his release from jail, Mr Cropp wanted to get off the employment benefit so he could put food on the table for his family and to do that he needed a job.

But, employers didn’t take him seriously.

"One employment place said to me 'I wouldn't employ you with that on your face, I wouldn't even take a second look at you'," he told the Herald last year.

"I've had other people that just shrugged and laughed at me."

Last year the 21-year-old revealed his regret over the tattoo., saying:  "Once it was started, I thought, I can't go back on it now," he said of the night his brother tattooed the word on his face,

"I wish I had stopped while the outline was there to be quite honest."

Despite the regrets he initially wanted to keep the tattoo and hoped potential employers could look passed it.

However, after his Herald interview the story went viral and he decided to have it removed.

He accepted an offer from Sacred Laser in Kingsland to have it removed for free and he attended one appointment but did not return for further work.

New Zealand Herald