Auckland's rail operator calls train worker strike 'disappointing and premature'

Commuters across Auckland are advised to allow extra time for travel tomorrow or work from home if possible. Source: 1 NEWS

'This is a social and economic disaster for the country' - Phil Twyford hits out over housing report

The dire state of the housing market has been laid out to the new minister in charge in official documents today.

One hundred and seventy Briefings to Incoming Ministers – from every government department – were made public today.

The housing briefings describe the market as "sub-optimal" and says a shortfall of housing in the private market is creating increasing financial stress and poverty for many, across the country.

Demand for state housing increased by 72 per cent between September 2015 and September this year.

And it says the under-supply of housing is contributing to higher house prices, dragging down productivity potential and increasing government costs.

"High house prices…transfer wealth from younger and less wealthy people to existing landowners, who are generally richer and older," the report states.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford criticised the past government today after receiving the report. 

"The picture that emerges from the briefings … there is a massive level of un-met demand.. the fact the government has been spending $100,000 a day on motels."

He said he did not think it was an "anomaly". 

"It reflects a housing market that has been getting significantly worse since 2010/2011. We've inherited a mess, this is a social and economic disaster for the country it is quite complex."

He said he was shocked to see there was a housing shortfall across New Zealand of 71,000. 

However previous Housing Minister Nick Smith defended the previous government's stance on housing.

"In my period as minister we grew the number of houses in New Zealand from 14,000 a year to 31,000 a year," he said. 

"It's about as fast as you grow the housing sector."

The documents also outline the pressure the health system is under – and says it needs to operate very differently if it is to continue to deliver for New Zealanders.

The new information comes in a briefing to the new Housing Minister, Phil Twyford. Source: 1 NEWS


Stench of sea lettuce worst it's been in years, says Tauranga Harbour residents

Residents who live near Tauranga Harbour say the stink emanating from sea lettuce is the worst it's been in years.

The Tauranga Harbour's warmer waters combined with its depth and nutrients, make it a perfect home for the blooming algae.

Rebecca Joy-Lawton from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council says when all those factors align blooms of sea lettuce "accumulate" and can be a "bit of a nuisance".

The Tauranga District Council and the Regional Council spend $60,000 removing the dead algae from beaches.

But Carma Cunningham, a resident who lives on Beach Road, says the smell is getting "worse".

"It just hits you and after awhile you can even smell it in your house and as you walk out the door", she says.

The regional council says it's been monitoring sea lettuce since 1991 and although there has been some spikes, it says sea lettuce levels and nutrient levels are stable.

Tauranga Harbour