Barack Obama in New Zealand: Why the fuss, and what will we feed him?

A brand expert says the potential benefits for New Zealand from Barack Obama's visit are huge as his trip is shared around the world via social media posts.

Such pressure leads to some big questions to try and make his trip a positive one, questions like, what do you feed him?

Famous Kiwi chef Peter Gordon has been tasked with answering that one at a gala dinner in Auckland tomorrow night where Obama will be speaking.

"He's such an incredible man and i thought well he's Hawaiian and lived in Chicago so i thought there's got to be a fish poke and then i thought steak cos you know, Chicago," Mr Gordon told 1 NEWS.

This means that Kiwi salmon's on the menu, along with a host of other high quality local produce that is all part of a global marketing opportunity that doesn't come along every day.

"I think he brings a clear benefit to New Zealand because he's probably one of the most well-known personalities in the world.

He was a big hit wherever he went. Source: 1 NEWS

"And he's probably also one of the most liked personalities in the world," Dr Bodo Lang from Auckland University said.

Chef Peter Gordon is just hoping Obama does choose his salmon tomorrow night.

"I hope so, that's what I've put my heart and soul into."

Obama is in the Bay of Islands, where he's believed to be spending a night at a luxury hideaway. Source: 1 NEWS


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Beneficiaries' personal lives are being needlessly probed, says lawyer

Half the beneficiaries investigated for fraud by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) have to answer questions about their relationship status.

Being in a marriage-like relationship can mean changes to someone's benefit entitlements - and their payments may end up being reduced.

Figures from the ministry show that in the 2016/17 year, there were close to 6000 fraud investigations completed.

About half of the investigations closed in that same year involved questions about relationship status.

However, of the total number of investigations completed, overpayments were established in just 1800 cases.

And there were only 431 successful prosecutions.

Lawyer Frances Joychild QC said the figures suggested too many beneficiaries were being needlessly scrutinised.

There should be clear grounds before investigators asked people about their personal lives, she said.

"When you are in a vulnerable position of being on a benefit, it is very unpleasant and stressful to have a fraud investigator contact you and inquire about your relationships with other people.

"It shouldn't happen unless there is reason to believe that there is something amiss."

Beneficiary Advocacy and Information Services worker Karen Pattie said the biggest problem was people don't know what being in a marriage-like relationship means.

"Clients, especially single mothers, are too afraid to even date someone or go out for dinner because does this mean a relationship? Does this mean I'll be investigated? If I talk to my case manager, does this mean I have to continue this relationship because I've declared it? Do I ring them and say, 'oh, we're not dating anymore'."

But MSD deputy chief executive of service delivery Viv Rickard said no one's benefit should be affected by going on a couple of dates.

"Can I unequivocally say having a few dates is nothing to do with this organisation and shouldn't impact on anything to do with what people are entitled to."

When allegations were made without supporting evidence, Mr Rickard said it was more than likely no further action would be taken.

However, he said his staff do need to take suggestions of potential fraud seriously.

"Clearly there are a small number of people who will try things on, and the Ministry of Social Development, we administer $24 billion, so I'm not going to open up the gate to the king's gold.

"But we do need to ensure when there are allegations, we consider them appropriately and if there are matters to investigate we will."

The small number of prosecutions the ministry took showed that sort of action was only taken in the most serious cases, Mr Rickard said.

He said the vast majority of Work and Income's 276,000 clients were following the rules and do get in touch when their circumstances change.

By Sarah Robson

rnz.co.nz

Happy mixed-race couple standing in front of house.
Generic. Source: istock.com

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Ardern says she didn't laugh with other world leaders during Trump's UN speech

While members of the UN General Assembly laughed at US President Donald Trump's speech this morning, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has stated she wasn't one of them.

Ms Ardern spoke to media after a busy day in New York, where the US President spoke to the United Nations about Iran and boasted of his administration's success since taking office.

The latter saw some members break into laughter, forcing Mr Trump to stop and acknowledge he "wasn't expecting" such a reaction.

But Ms Ardern said she wasn't one of the one's amused by the comments.

The Prime Minister has been busy at the UN and doing interviews in New York. Source: Breakfast

"You'd have to ask some of the people that responded," she said when asked if the UN was laughing at or with the President.

"I didn't laugh. I was listening to the words being spoken... The President made a statement around his view around his success relative to past presidents.

"For me, I was respecting the fact he had the floor and what he had to say."

The UN general assembly found the US President's boasting entertaining. Source: Associated Press

When asked if she agreed with Mr Trump's statements, the Prime Minister said she acknowledged the "significant" financial support from the US.

"Each president will take their own view of their relative position in history. It's not for me to judge. It's for the American people to judge."

Ms Ardern is due to speak at the UN later this week and said she'll take a different approach.

"New Zealanders, as self-deprecating as we are, never tend to talk about ourselves in particularly grandeur statements. I certainly wouldn't.

"I think it's up to our voters to determine our place in history."

The Prime Minister said it's up to Americans, not her, to decide how truthful the President's speech was. Source: 1 NEWS

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Baby living in Auckland 'swamp house' still in intensive care

A tenant whose landlord was forced to fix an ankle-deep swamp under their Auckland rental says her baby is still getting sick.

Papakura mother Dawn Robbie's daughter Atamarie has already been sick twice this winter with the breathing illness bronchiolitis.

The eleven-month-old baby was admitted to Middlemore Hospital's intensive care unit a third time at the weekend.

"I found her at 11.40pm not alert and we were quite worried so we called an ambulance ... she had to fight to breathe because of the mucus from her nose," Ms Robbie said.

A medical letter shows it's the third time the child has been hospitalised for the breathing illness this winter and Ms Robbie said she believes it's because of her Papakura rental.

Ms Robbie's rental home was labelled an "absolute disgrace" by Housing Minister Phil Twyford last month.

It was deemed unsanitary by the Auckland Council, who gave the landlord 10 days to resolve the property's issues which included non-compliant stormwater pipes, poor drainage and mould.

The medical letter about Atamarie's third hospital admission for bronchiolitis states damp, cold living conditions increase the likelihood and severity of breathing problems in infants.

Ms Robbie was served a 90 day notice, which was later lifted, after the rental conditions were exposed in the media. She said she's juggling rental viewings with hospital visits to get her family into a new home.

"I'm running around while my daughter's still in hospital with my three year-old who is going to kindy 9 till 3 everyday so I don't interrupt her lifestyle because she doesn't deserve it. We're trying to do what we've got to do to get out."

She said she has already been denied one rental property the family applied for, but had hopes another application for a Papakura property would be successful.

By Anneke Smith

rnz.co.nz

Atamarie has been admitted to the intensive care unit with bronchiolitis for the third time this winter. Source: rnz.co.nz


Jacinda Ardern and Donald Trump discuss Neve, Korea and tariffs during UN chat

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has briefly spoken with US President Donald Trump this morning while the pair attended the United Nations.

Both Ms Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford attended a Manhattan function put on by Mr Trump last night before the Kiwi leader posed for a photo with her American opposite.

The two then had a brief conversation.

From New York, the PM also announced a big funding boost for the Pacific. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Trump took time to congratulate Ms Ardern on the birth of daughter Neve while she acknowledged his political efforts in the Korean Peninsula.

Ms Ardern also used the short conversation as a chance to promote the work of New Zealand and US officials on the lifting of steel and aluminium tariffs.

The pair were in the UN General Assembly as the general debate got underway this morning but their paths didn't cross again.

The UN general assembly found the US President's boasting entertaining. Source: Associated Press

The Prime Minister sat during Mr Trump's 30-minute speech this morning in which he spoke about Iran and the International Criminal Court. He was also left speechless after the General Assembly laughed at his claims about his administration's successes.

"I didn't expect that reaction, but that's OK," he said.

The Prime Minister has been busy at the UN and doing interviews in New York. Source: Breakfast