Auckland’s Regional Fuel Tax: Amount of money generated in first month revealed

In its first month of operation, the Regional Fuel Tax has generated $13.2 million (excluding GST).

The figure was released by Auckland Council today.

The first projects made possible by this revenue have already been announced including delivering rural road safety upgrades in Rodney and Franklin, and six new red light safety cameras at dangerous intersections across Auckland.

Building the Matakana link road, funding ferry terminal upgrades and a new bus interchange in downtown Auckland are other early priorities, according to the council.

The council says of the $13.2 million collected from 1–31 July this year, $11 million directly funds critical transport projects across Auckland with a one-off set-up fee accounting for around $1 million, and rebates and service costs accounting for the balance.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, "with a 78 per cent increase over four years in road fatalities and serious injuries in Auckland, spending on road safety will be an immediate priority from this revenue.

"Aside from road safety spending, the focus of new investment from the RFT is to fix Auckland’s congested transport network."

The tax has added about 11 cents a litre to the cost of filling up. Source: 1 NEWS

Material from soft plastic recycling bins at NZ supermarkets is sitting in storage

The soft plastic recycling scheme, run by the Packaging Forum, has been operating since 2015 and now covers about 70 per cent of the country, with further expansion planned.

The material being put in the bins in supermarkets had been going to a company in Australia, to be turned into things like park benches, bollards and playground equipment.

But the scheme's manager, Lyn Mayes, said the company wasn't taking soft plastic from New Zealand anymore, because it was getting too much.

Ms Mayes said the scheme had been looking for a local company to process it instead.

"We have actually signed a supply agreement with a new company and we'll be making some announcements around that very soon," she said.

In the meantime, a lot of that soft plastic is being kept in storage and stockpiled until it can be recycled, or it is being used in processing trials.

The scheme was also looking at other recycling options overseas, Ms Mayes said.

But she said they had found that processors had become a lot fussier about the quality of plastic they were being sent.

That meant people needed to be much more careful about what they were putting in the bins, Ms Mayes said.

"If people do put in metals, or coffee cups, or drink containers, then that will contaminate the whole bag."

Those bags would not then be collected.

Waste consultant Sandra Murray said part of the problem was soft plastic couldn't be sold to recyclers, unlike other materials, like PET plastic.

"That has a value, you can sell it to someone who wants it, but the soft plastic material doesn't really have much value at all, so either you have to pay someone, or not recycle it."

Ms Murray didn't think people would be too impressed their soft plastic was sitting in storage, waiting to be recycled.

"If people have gone to all this effort, they have an expectation that it is going to be recycled, but if it's just being stockpiled, that's not what people are expecting is going to happen, and if it ends up in landfill because there isn't a proper recycling outlet for it, then that's not what people were expecting either," she said.

Last year, 365 tonnes of soft plastic was collected by the recycling scheme.

That figure was expected to grow to 600 tonnes this year.

The soft plastic recycling scheme got some initial funding from the government, but it is now fully funded by the packaging industry.

By Sarah Robson

The soft plastic recycling scheme, run by the Packaging Forum, has been operating since 2015 and now covers about 70 percent of the country. Source: Facebook / Love NZ Soft Plastics Recycling

Finding the carb 'sweet spot' can improve life expectancy over high-meat diets, extensive study finds

Diets that drastically curb carbohydrates while upping the intake of meat appear to be reducing life expectancies, according an extensive new study outlined this week in the Lancet medical journal.

"Basically, there's a sweet spot for carbohydrates. There's a good amount," Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull explained on TVNZ1's Breakfast today. "Too much can reduce your life expectancy. But it's really too little when you're replacing carbohydrate with animal protein and animal fats. (It) can reduce your life expectancy."

The findings come after scientists looked at the data from nearly 500,000 people.

People may swear by low carb or no carb diets like Atkins, Keto and paleo, but weight loss is not the only indicator of health, Ms Turnbull pointed out.

"What's happening to your inside?" she said. "Your longevity does need to be considered."

For optimal health, we should be eating around 50-55 per cent of our calories as carbs, she said. But with carbohydrates ranging from lollies to lentils, it's also important we choose the right ones.

"That can be oats, brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, fruits, but it's not as nutritionists we're saying eat lots of white bread and get your carbohydrates," she said.

Targeting and reducing unhealthy carbs can certainly help improve health, she said. But there's a big caveat that Atkins adherents might not want to hear, she said.

"It's the plant-based fat and proteins that you need to replace the carbohydrate with - not increasing the amount of animal products," she said.

Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull helped explain the study, which involved nearly 500,000 people. Source: Breakfast


Pink bids fond farewell to most of NZ- except for one bar in Auckland's Ponsonby

Pop superstar Pink's short but scathing review of an Auckland bar has garnered it widespread attention - and a few keyboard critics who appear to have never set foot in New Zealand.

"Man I've been to some cool bars around the world, and Dead shot on Ponsonby road is not one of them," she said in a tweet to her nearly 32 million followers late last night.

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.”

The put down came shortly after a more gracious tweet focusing on Aotearoa in general.

"Thank you Auckland! Dunedin! New Zealand! What a heavenly trip we've had! You gave me life!!!" she wrote, adding the hashtag #gratitude.

Pink arrived in New Zealand earlier this month, performing before 37,000 at Dunedin's Forsyth Bar Stadium before travelling with her partner and children up to Auckland for an additional six shows.

She celebrated her 39th birthday in Auckland over the weekend, posting photos on Instagram of her Auckland penthouse decked out with balloons and of her holding two "birthday brew drinks" while out on the town.

She eventually found her way to Deadshot, a speakeasy-style bar in Ponsonby. Her one-sentence review was liked nearly 3000 times in the first 10 hours it was on Twitter and received over 100 replies, most from other parts of the world. Many fans replied with suggestions for bars in their own cities, but a few took it a step further.

"Oh my god! I Will never go in To this bar if you my hero @Pink you don't like it!!!!" wrote one Twitter user who resides in France.

Another user took issue with her criticism: "Using your celeb to crush a business, nice".

The pop star did eventually find a bar that she described as "the perfect place in Auckland", but she didn't name it.

"They were closing when we came in, but the bartender had a fire lit, and booze to sell, so he welcomed all 16 of us to celebrate the end of a truly magical journey through New Zealand," she wrote on Instagram overnight. "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for showing all of us (including my dad and stepmom who flew from Philadelphia) the best time of our lives. Smitten."

Pop star Pink performs in Dunedin on September 1, 2018.
Pop star Pink performs in Dunedin on September 1, 2018. Source: Getty

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

Man suffers serious head injuries in Whanganui assault and robbery

Police are appealing for information about a violent assault and robbery in Whanganui in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A man with serious head and facial injuries was found in Smithfield Road at about 2am.

The man appears to have had several items stolen from him after being attacked by several people, police said in a statement.

He was taken to hospital and has since been discharged.

Any witnesses to the alleged attack or anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Greg Gray at Whanganui Police on (06) 215 4138.

Alternatively they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be supplied anonymously. 

Police car night generic
Police car (File picture). Source: 1 NEWS