DHB and nurses to consider recommendations after strike saw thousands marching around New Zealand

The nurses' union and district health boards will be considering recommendations to enable them to "agree to a path forward". 

Industrial action by nurses around New Zealand kicked off at 7am this morning. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes as thousands of nurses, midwives and health care assistants walked off the job today for a 24 hour strike, asking for better pay and staffing after rejecting the latest pay offer from DHBs. 

DHBs are going to be considering recommendations from the Employment Relations Authority, said spokesperson Helen Mason today. 

More than 20,000 nurses hit picket lines, demanding a better offer from health bosses. Source: 1 NEWS

She said the DHB will be making contact with NZNO to discuss the recommendations "to agree to a path forward".

"We want to work closely with NZNO on how we approach the recommendations."

Ms Mason would not say what the recommendations were. 

DHB spokesperson Helen Mason said they wanted to work closely with the nurses' union NZNO to look for a way forward. Source: 1 NEWS


Auckland Transport proposes 30km/h zone for city centre

Auckland Transport (AT) is looking at lowering speeds in the city centre, in a move they say will "improve road safety for the large number of people walking, cycling and living in the area."

They have proposed a 30km/h zone around the CBD which will be consulted on as part of a speed bylaw review in November.

AT says the move is part of its work to improve road safety in Auckland, where one person dies and two are seriously injured on the roads each week.

AT's Group Manager Network Management and Safety, Randhir Karma, says many of the crashes in the city centre involve vulnerable road users.

"Eighty-four per cent of all crashes involve vulnerable road users. Nearly half of the crashes involve people walking and this is not acceptable.

"If a person walking is hit by a vehicle travelling at 30km, the chance of dying is 10 per cent. At 50km, the chance of dying is 80 per cent," he says.

AT say they're currently determining the exact locations for the start of the lower speed limit and what physical changes would need to be implemented.  

Auckland CBD Source: Seven Sharp


Rising jet fuel prices could lower Air New Zealand's profit

High jet fuel prices could be affect Air New Zealand's profits in 2019. 

Recent changes in jet fuel prices have outpaced the $US85 ($NZ127.35) per barrel Air New Zealand had assumed in it's financial year earnings for 2019, chairman Tony Carter said today.

"As we look forward to the year ahead, we are optimistic about market dynamics and demand trends, but note that the current levels of jet fuel price will be a headwind on profitability compared to the prior year," Mr Carter told Reuters.

Airline companies around the globe are expected to be affected financially, with jet fuel prices rising to $US93.81 ($NZ140.57) per barrel.

As a result of higher fuel prices, pretax profit was expected to fall up to 21 per cent from $540 million in 2017 in the current financial year, according to Air New Zealand.

The airline's shares have also fallen 1.6 percent to a seven-month low in the market.

An Air New Zealand plane.


Wellington bus drivers vote for 'ongoing' strike if collective agreement not reached in a month

Hundreds of Wellington region bus drivers have voted for an "ongoing" strike if a collective agreement is not reached by October 23, just under a month away.

Tramways Union Wellington says companies facing industrial action are Tranzurban Wellington and Hutt (Tranzit), Uzabus and NZ Bus.

Drivers have also passed a unanimous vote of no confidence in the Greater Wellington Regional Council and called for a commissioner to take over the region’s public transport.

Tramways Union secretary Kevin O’Sullivan says the strike is a matter of last resort.

"We have been trying to get Tranzit to negotiate for months and still have no offer from them or any indication they are taking the bargaining seriously. This is why we have now had to set a deadline," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"Meanwhile the GWRC has been telling us everything is fine and refusing to hold their contractors to account for their lack of good faith. It’s become clear that the council has no intention of fixing the industrial dispute or the public transport system. They need to have it taken away from them before they make matters worse.

"There is no way that Wellington’s bus system can be fixed without a fair deal for drivers. Until this is settled the driver shortage will continue, the industrial action will continue, and drivers will continue to have no reason to even try to make this broken system work," he said.

"We don’t want to make life harder for Wellington commuters, the council has already done enough of that, but if we don’t take a stand things are only going to get worse for everyone. I think the people of Wellington understand that which is why our members have had so much support."

Mr O’Sullivan said he wanted to wait and see if a collective agreement is reached before commenting on how long drivers were prepared to strike for.

A spokesperson for bus operator Tranzit said negotiations have been underway with Tramways Union Wellington for two weeks, following talks between both parties that started last year.

The spokesperson, who did now want to be named, denied the union comment that Tranzit is not taking negotiations seriously.

"Tranzit is not involved in tit for-tat. Negotiations are just that - dialogue. The onus is on getting it right," he said.

The spokesperson said he didn’t think a strike by Tranzit members, if it were to happen, would have a significant impact.

A Uzabus spokesperson said negotiations were underway between the company and Tramways Union but referred further questions to Greater Wellington Regional Council.

NZ Bus has been contacted for comment.

Many are calling on central Government to fix the capital’s public transport woes.
Source: 1 NEWS

Man who took two human toes from Auckland exhibition avoids conviction

A judge has thrown out one charge laid against a man who stole two human toes from an Auckland exhibition and discharged him without conviction on the other.

Joshua Williams, 28, appeared for sentence in the Wellington District Court on charges of interfering with a dead body and theft of the toes.

However, Judge Bill Hastings said in an earlier case the Supreme Court had ruled a dead body did not constitute property, which meant the toes taken by Mr Williams could not legally be deemed to be stolen.

He was concerned the stigma attracted by a conviction for interfering with a dead body would be out of all proportion to the gravity of what Mr Williams did.

Judge Hastings said that conjured an image of someone digging up graves in a cemetery at night, when all Mr Williams had done was pluck two toes from a plastinated body.


Joshua Williams in the Wellington District Court. Source: rnz.co.nz