Foodstuffs says not likely NZ will see same backlash to plastic bag ban as Australia

After the news that Australian supermarkets are facing a backlash against a ban on plastic bags that saw a customer in Western Australia reportedly grab a shop assistant by the throat on the weekend, Foodstuffs NZ say the same reaction isn't likely in New Zealand.

Antoinette Laird from Foodstuffs NZ outlined some of the reasons Kiwis might be more accepting of the plastic bag ban.

"Firstly, we asked our customers what they wanted to do – and we've responded to that. In fact, we've gone further and we’ll be out of single use plastic bags in all New World, PAK'nSAVE and Four Square stores by the end of this year.

"Since Bag Vote, New World has given away in excess of 2 million long life reusable bags to help customers get into better habits and we've supported the nationwide and online campaign which is designed to help people transition.

"We’re trialling alternatives for people caught short without their reusable bags in selected New World, PAK'nSAVE and Four Square stores, which have been met with great enthusiasm from our customers," Ms Laird said in a statement today.

She went on to say that PAK'nSAVE customers have already had a head start in the transition.

"We've always charged for plastic bags in PAK'nSAVE so our customers are already most of the way there – they are used to using their own bags, boxes and the boot of their car to save money (and the planet).

"Having started the conversation in the first place we’re delighted that so many other retailers have now jumped on board – which makes the transition for customers out of single use plastic bags at the checkout even easier."

The statement concluded that "New Zealanders are ready for the change, but we think we’re doing everything we can to get everyone sorted."

Countdown started withdrawing single-use plastic bags from May, beginning with 10 of its stores, RNZ reports.

The EU is considering banning single use plastic bags, as well as things like cotton buds, drink stirrers and takeaway containers Source: Breakfast

Six injured, four seriously, as car and campervan collide on SH1 north of Timaru

St John Ambulance have confirmed six people have been injured as a result of a two-vehicle crash on State Highway One at Orari north of Timaru. 

Emergency services were called to the scene on the stretch of road known as the Canterbury Pacific Highway at 3.40pm.

Police say the crash was reported to be between a car and a campervan.

St John Ambulance spokesperson Ngaire Jones says four people have suffered serious injuries with two further people suffering moderate injuries. 

Two of the seriously injured patients have been driven by ambulance to Timaru Hospital.  

The other two seriously injured patients were airlifted to Christchurch and Dunedin respectively along with the remaining two patients.      

The road was closed with diversions in place while emergency services attended.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Great spotted kiwi charges hikers in rare daytime encounter on Heaphy Track

A rare daytime encounter with a kiwi protecting its territory has been captured on camera by a family hiking on the Tasman Region's iconic Heaphy Track.

The footage was taken by Areta Milne, who was walking the track with her mother Marian on Sunday, September 9 when they spotted the kiwi.

At first the kiwi seems curious to meet his visitors, but then begins snapping its beak at the pair before charging them.

Areta and Marian then back away respectfully leaving the native bird to go about his business.

The family believe the kiwi, which they have identified as a great spotted kiwi, lunged at them as it was protecting its nest.

Department of Conservation's Principal Science Advisor Hugh Robertson gave 1 NEWS his insight into the encounter.

"It is pretty unusual for a great spotted kiwi to be out and about during the day, but perhaps it was recently disturbed from its daytime den. Sick/starving/blind birds can sometimes be out and about in daylight. 

"The bird is either a male or a subadult, and I think the latter is most likely judging by its apparent size.

"This video clip is a good opportunity to remind people that our wildlife, including kiwi, are wild animals and should be given space. It's an offence to touch or hold kiwi without permission from DOC," Mr Robertson said.

The Milne family also hope their video will highlight kiwi conservation in New Zealand and don't want to reveal the exact location where the encounter took place so the kiwi isn't disturbed.


Oxfam claims NZ among countries hit by tax-shifting drug companies

Global charity Oxfam claims four pharmaceutical corporations are not paying $21 million in New Zealand taxes every year by stashing their profits in overseas havens.

It says Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer are systematically shifting their profits to unfairly avoid paying higher tax in the countries where they operate.

Oxfam said the companies avoid billions of dollars in tax across 16 countries.

It found subsidiaries located in tax havens were on average significantly more profitable than those located elsewhere.

"That is not what one would expect if the geographic distribution of profits reflected the geographic distribution of the real value of economic activities," it said.

It is calling on the Government to require multinational corporations based here to publish key financial information about their operations in every country.

The charity said New Zealand took positive steps this year by passing the Tax (Neutralizing Base Erosion and Profit Shifting) Act.

Its New Zealand executive director, Rachael Le Mesurier, said the companies' practices were not unlawful but they were depriving governments of money to spend on public services and alleviating poverty.

"In no way is Oxfam saying that these companies have undertaken anything strictly illegal but what it does involve is a complex mechanism of setting up where their patents are based for their medicines," she said.

Inland Revenue calls Oxfam report methodology "completely misrepresenting"

But John Nash from Inland Revenue said the charity was using methodology which completely misrepresented what was happening in this country.

"Oxfam have applied a global average profit margin, which attributes just far too much profit to New Zealand, you really need to look at what is actually done in New Zealand, what functions are performed here, what assets are utilised and what risks are taken."

He said IRD's monitoring of companies is detailed.

"We have a comprehensive compliance programme which looks at all multinational companies with $30 million of turnover and upwards so we really do cover the field quite comprehensively.

But Mr Nash would not be drawn in on whether the four multinationals named by Oxfam were shifting profits overseas and said he could not comment on specifics.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said he had asked officials to look into Oxfam's report.

"I won't be talking to the companies [named by Oxfam] but I will be asking officials just for a brief report on the Oxfam document and give me an idea on whether their figure was close to the mark or in fact the modelling they used was way off," he said.

New legislation tightening rules on tax for multinational companies came into effect in July, Mr Nash said.

He suspected the effects of the legislation to already be happening.

All the firms say they abide by tax laws and pay all taxes owed in New Zealand.

In a statement, a Pfizer spokesperson said it abides by all accounting and tax laws wherever it does business and pays all taxes due.

Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel said it does not sell pharmaceuticals in New Zealand.

"Abbott is a responsible and transparent tax payer, paying all of its taxes owed in every country in which it operates around the world," Mr Stoffel said in a statement.

"With businesses in more than 150 countries, our tax contribution is substantial and global in scope, and we make significant contributions to the health and economies of societies around the world.

"This includes the impact of our products, people, taxes, and purchases of local goods and services, as well as public-private partnerships to strengthen health systems and meet critical health needs."

Johnson & Johnson said as well as paying its fair share of taxes, it also worked closely with the New Zealand government to deliver greater access to life-saving medicines.

"The Oxfam report released today paints a distorted picture of Johnson & Johnson's commitment to the patients and the global communities we serve and to Johnson & Johnson's commitment to paying our fair share of taxes," it said in a statement.

"Johnson & Johnson complies with tax requirements in every jurisdiction, including New Zealand, where we operate with consistently high accounting, tax filing and tax reporting standards.

"Johnson & Johnson's publicly filed financial statements show $27.67 billion in income taxes from 2013 to 2017, before significant additional contributions for VAT/sales taxes, employment taxes, social contributions, property taxes, import and customs duties," it said.

"In addition, Johnson & Johnson values and strives for cooperative and transparent relationships with taxing authorities including the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand."

By Gill Bonnett

Pharmacist holding medicine box and capsule pack in pharmacy drugstore.
Pharmaceuticals on pharmacy shelf (file picture). Source:

Details of new Māori Crown agency released

The details of the Māori Crown portfolio have been released, after a tumultuous fortnight saw the announcement delayed amid disagreements within the coalition Government. 

Crown/Māori Relations Minister Kelvin Davis said today an agency would be created to look over the Government's work with Māori.

"Called the Office for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti (The Bridge), [it] will help facilitate the next step in the Treaty relationship," Mr Davis said. 

It will finish Treaty Settlements and Marine and Coastal Area applications, ensure the Crown meets Treaty obligations, develop an engagement model for the Government, and provide leadership on contemporary Treaty issues. 

Last week, 1 NEWS understood disagreements within the coalition forced Labour to abandon announcing detail of its Crown-Māori Relations portfolio.

The influence of Winston Peters is also believed to be putting the Prime Minister under pressure from rival MPs. Source: 1 NEWS

The Cabinet meeting was a chance for the Government to lay out the detail of its new Crown-Māori portfolio, but in an unusual twist the information didn't follow.

When asked by 1 NEWS if New Zealand First vetoed the establishment of an agency for the Crown-Maori portfolio in the Ministry of Justice, Winston Peters replied: "Well look I can't answer that question 'cause I don't have any recall of that."

Is there trouble in coalition paradise? The Inside Parliament reporters discuss the developments. Source: 1 NEWS

Wellington, New Zealand - March 10, 2017: Beehive Administrative Government building towers over green vegetation screen. White Maori obelisks and symbols up front. People in photo. Blue sky.
Māori statues outside the Beehive. Source: