Bad weather due over next few days but 'still too early to tell' about cyclone hitting NZ

The north of New Zealand is set to be hit with bad weather over the next few days, but we shouldn't be too worried about talk of a cylcone hitting the country, just yet.

A woman walks through the rain with an umbrella.

That's according to 1 NEWS weatherman Dan Corbett who says "it's too early to tell" if a potential cyclone forming in the Pacific Ocean will "affect us here".

Corbett says two disturbances in the Pacific Ocean, one north of Vanuatu and the other south of Fiji "will help send some moisture and a band of bad weather to northern parts of country over the course of the coming days".

"There could be a cyclone forming (in the Pacific) but it's many days away – it's literally late next week," he says.

"It's still even too early to tell if that'll affect us here."

Government unveils law to scrap charter schools but some can stay on 'case by case' basis

The Government has unveiled new legislation to abolish charter schools, but not all of them will go.

The proposed law will allow some existing charter schools to continue, decided on a "case by case" basis.

That comes after MPs Kelvin Davis and Willie Jackson said they were in favour of the model. Mr Jackson's Manukau Urban Maori Authority runs a charter school in South Auckland and had plans to open another.

The bill also puts into law plans to dump National Standards and introduces a penalty for those who lie about their eligibility for free tertiary education. 

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the bill "ends the previous government's failed National Standards and charter schools experiments".  

He wants "early termination" of charter school contracts by the end of the school year.

"Operators wanting to be involved in education can apply to me to establish another form of school, such as a designated character school. As part of this process, applications would need to meet the relevant requirements," he said.

The move to scrap charter schools was welcomed by education unions NZEI and PPTA.

The bill will have its first reading when Parliament resumes next week.

teacher classroom
A teacher in her classroom (file picture). Source: 1 NEWS


'Amazing' West Coast effort sees thousands of plastic bags collected after storm

A social media call for volunteers resulted in hundreds of West Coasters turning out for a mass clean up after the storm spewed plastic bags from a nearby rubbish dump across a Greymouth beach. 

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn told 1 NEWS he posted on Facebook saying, "It won't take long. Loaders have done their job. Now it is up to us". 

"I said 'hey, we're having a working bee', and that's that."

West Coasters picking up plastic bags on Waitangi Day.
West Coasters picking up plastic bags on Waitangi Day. Source: Tony Kokshoorn

Mr Kokshoorn told Radio New Zealand last week the storm eroded a closed rubbish dump, pulling the plastic bags out of the ground over a 20 kilometres area on the Cobden coast. 

About 200 people rolled up their sleeves to help on Waitangi Day, only taking a few hours to collect tens of thousands of plastic bags that threatened to go out to sea. 

"It was an amazing community effort," Mr Kokshoorn told 1 NEWS. 

He said the area is often looked at as not being environmentally friendly, but the clean up was a "perfect" way to show the passion the local West Coasters have for their environment. 

It was only a week ago when the remnants of an ex-cyclone ripped through the West Coast, taking off roofs, destroying windows and causing Greymouth town centre to close. 

But already it's "back to normal" for the West Coast. 

"Today's a scorcher," Mr Kokshoorn said. "It's business as usual."

However the area doesn't want a repeat of last week's plastic covered beach, injecting up to $1 million into the rubbish dump for repairs.

"We're not messing around,' he said. 

Bags of collected plastic bags collected near Greymouth.
Bags of collected plastic bags collected near Greymouth. Source: Tony Kokshoorn