Glucose sensor test approved for young diabetics faced with painful finger prick tests

Young people living with diabetes have been given the go-ahead to use a glucose sensor test, instead of painful finger prick tests.

The glucose sensor device was introduced to New Zealand adults last year. 

The system involves a glucose sensor that attaches to the back of the arm, and has to be replaced every 14 days.

Now younger sufferers between the ages of four and 17 can use it too.

Paediatric endocrinologist Dr Ben Wheeler says it will also make a huge difference to parents of very young children with diabetes.

"In some situations you will have families who are testing their children 10 times or 12 times a day and that all requires a painful finger prick," he said.

Unfortunately the cost of the device is prohibitive for many at $2,400 a year, or nearly $100 a fortnight.

Fourteen-year-old Tom Phillips was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes last year.

"The finger pricker sucked. I'm not going to lie," he said. 

He has been trialling the device for the last two weeks, but his mother is having to get a second job to be able to cover the cost of it.

The company behind the product has applied to Pharmac to fund it 

Diabetes New Zealand youth director, Ruby McGill, says the devices is "a real life changing, life saving option that really should be available to everybody that needs it".

Tom says the glucose sensor device means, "I can look after myself with no one even noticing". 

Painful finger prick tests are one of the things that makes living with diabetes tough for the youngest sufferers. Source: 1 NEWS



Researcher talks 'positive knock-on effect' to animal welfare keeping us and our pets happy

Animal professional advocates and scientists are in Auckland for the 2018 Animal Welfare Conference.

Animal Welfare Conference organiser Professor Natalie Warren spoke to TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning about the links between human and animal welfare, and how treating animals well can help improve our lives and the lives of our beloved pets.

Professor Warren says her research in 'one welfare', which focuses on "exploring the links between human and animal welfare", particularly in "parts of the world where we’ve got enormous human welfare concerns and lots of competing human agendas".

She says the idea is about "really trying to emphasise the fact that you’re not just focusing on the animal end of the story, but you're also trying to make the reasons why we need to improve our animal welfare relevant to those people".

"The way that you make things relevant to humans is looking at it through a human lens and saying, 'If you improve things for animals, you will also have a knock-on effect – a positive knock-on effect – from improving the world for humans."

Professor Warren says one example is in developing countries, where you "can see that you have animals that are being kept in quite horrible conditions in many places of the world".

"You also find that you've got humans living alongside those who are dependent upon those animals, [and] dependent on those being productive. But actually, because of the way those animals are being kept, they're stressed, their immune systems are not great, they're more susceptible to disease, have higher welfare problems, and that then means that they don't produce as much food for those humans.

She says while it may appear like a 'chicken or the egg' situation, it also depends on a number of contributing factors which aren't always readily apparent.

"Although we're very familiar with what animal welfare is, in many parts of the world, there isn't even a word for animal welfare.

"There's not a real history or a culture of real care for animals, so you’re trying to make animal welfare relevant to people, and so, yes, you are going to end up with competing human agendas, but you also have to recognise that you provide the evidence, you provide the mechanisms through human behaviour change to show people how they can improve things for animals and why that matters for their welfare."

However, she acknowledges that the shift in thinking can be "very difficult, like boiling an ocean".

"It is a huge effort and lots and lots of different animal welfare charities around the world and in New Zealand - lots of government agencies - spend quite a lot of time trying to work out how to do this.

"I think just saying that people are cruel to animals is really not the story at all. What the truth is is that many people don't know how to improve animal welfare for animals, they don't know why it's important and it's up to us to look at ways that we can change the lens that they're looking through – change their behaviour so that they can see why it's important to improve conditions for animals."

Animal Welfare Conference speaker Natalie Warren spoke to Breakfast about changing our approach to animal welfare to improve the lives of our pets. Source: Breakfast


Three people arrested after police conduct search warrants targeting organised crime, drugs in Bay of Plenty

Police have arrested three people so far today after executing a number of search warrants in the eastern Bay of Plenty as part of Operation Notus II.

Operation Notus II is the second phase of a long-running investgation, led by the National Organised Crime Group, into organised crime and the supply and supplying of methamphetamine and cannabis in the eastern Bay of Plenty region.

Search warrants were conducted this morning in properties in Kawerau, Whakatāne and Te Teko.

Two men and a woman were arrested. 

They are facing a number of charges, including possession for supply, and supplying, methamphetamine and cannabis, as well as firearms-related offending.

They will appear in Whakatāne District Court this afternoon.

Operation Notus, launched in October 2017, revealed the Kawerau Mongrel Mob's involvement in the commercial distribution of meth and cannabis to the community.

As a result of the investigation, 48 people were arrested and almost $3 million in assets were frozen in March 2018.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller, said, "This was a major disruption to organised crime and methamphetamine supply in EBOP".

Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty
Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty Source: NZ Police

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Messages released to 1 NEWS show Massey’s Vice Chancellor had problem with Don Brash speaking long before he was barred from campus talk

Newly released documents show Massey University's Vice Chancellor had a problem with Don Brash speaking long before he was publicly barred from speaking on campus.

A trail of transcripts of voicemail messages and emails to and from the Vice Chancellor's office have been released to 1 NEWS, showing Jan Thomas citing "trails of evidence".

Her decision to block the former National and Act leader from speaking drew widespread criticism.

That decision was made public on August 7, and spoke of a great security risk to students, staff and the public. These newly released documents show the lead-up to that decision.

Emails show Professor Thomas weeks beforehand on July 13 saying, "I am still fretting about the student club invitation to Don Brash… I really want to find a way to indicate that Brash is not welcome on campus unless he agrees to abide by our values and the laws against hate speech".

Professor Thomas continued: "My strong preference is that we stop it occurring."

The next day, Professor Thomas wrote in another email: "But we still have a couple of trails of evidence, then we need to speak to [the] politics club, and then refuse entry to campus if students don’t oblige – and be proactive at that point before Brash can get to the media."

Before both those emails, she wrote in another on July 10 that she "wanted to know what our options re not allowing politics club to hold event on campus… Will hit the fan in the media if we go this way".

Newly released documents show Massey University’s Vice Chancellor had a problem with Don Brash speaking long before he was publicly barred from speaking on campus. Source: 1 NEWS

When Jan Thomas pulled the plug on Dr Brash's appearance, she said it came after security concerns surrounding a threat involving a gun.

But Police told 1 NEWS at the time they were not contacted before the decision to cancel was made.

The new documents confirm this, with Massey University saying there were no written communications sent or received from the police. In an email to staff, Jan Thomas said she arranged a meeting with local police to discuss security but "before that meeting could take place... I made the decision to cancel the booking of the event on our campus".

Included in the documents is a Facebook user comment about Don Brash's event saying "take a gun".

Mr Brash was due to speak at the university, but had his speech cancelled by Jan Thomas. Source: 1 NEWS

BARRAGE OF CRITICISM

Massey University released several hundred pages of emails to 1 NEWS, showing an onslaught of criticism aimed at the Vice-Chancellor. Some called for her resignation.

Messages left on voicemail spoke of disappointment. "I'm absolutely horrified at the decision… I am very very concerned at the lack of free speech," one caller said.

"My son is due to graduate from college very soon, and we're looking at universities and Massey was one of them, but a little concerned about what I’ve heard about some free speech restrictions on campus," another voice message said.

Emails from former students were also critical.

"As an alumni of Massey University I wish to express my displeasure at your decision to ban former leader of the National Party Don Brash from speaking at Massey University," one wrote.

The University remains at odds with police over claims of security concerns and threats of violence. Source: 1 NEWS

A "proud Massey chemistry alumni" said they were very disappointed to learn that their friend Don Brash "had been deplatformed for his talk".

"I am ashamed to have to tell my friends, associates and colleagues that I am a Massey University graduate from this day forward,"another person wrote.

Another message said they had instructed their Trust not to fund any of their children or grandchildren to attend any programme or course at Massey University. "There are always consequences when you attack the freedoms our family spent so much of our lives to protect," they wrote.

"Please do the honorable thing and resign as Vice Chancellor” another former student wrote. “Massey has lost a great deal of credibility as a learning institution and I’m embarrassed to be associated with my former university."

The former National Party leader and free speech advocate has hit out at the university over its decision. Source: 1 NEWS

A short statement drafted for the university's contact centre to reply to people with said the decision wasn't taken lightly, and that Professor Thomas made the decision taking the gun threat into account.

It further added that "recent events… suggest the current situation is potentially volatile."

A trail of transcripts of voicemail messages and emails to and from the Vice Chancellor's office have been released to 1 NEWS, showing Jan Thomas citing "trails of evidence". Source: 1 NEWS


Loving mother taking severely disabled son to court in a bid to get paid fairly for his care

An elderly Auckland mother is taking her severely disabled son to court for failing to be a good employer.

Diane Moody wants the Employment Court to declare her son Shane Chamberlain isn't capable of employing her.

She said she was reluctant to go to court, but she had no choice because it was the only way to change the system so that she and other families caring for their adult disabled children could be paid fairly.

Diane Moody, 76, cares for her profoundly intellectually disabled son in their home, and she's paid for 21 hours a week at the minimum wage through the Ministry of Health's Funded Family Care scheme.

Under that arrangement her 51-year-old son, who has the mental age of a two-year-old, is deemed to be her employer.

"Shane's not going to be able to do the tax or the ACC or say to me, 'You are my employee so I would like you to do, blah, blah, blah', he's just simply not capable of doing anything like that," she said.

To illustrate her son's lack of comprehension, she said when she raised the prospect of a court case, he asked her what was for dinner.

She said the Ministry of Health knew the employment relationship was a farce and even admitted as much in the Court of Appeal earlier this year, agreeing the relationship was a "mere fiction" and conceding many people with disabilities were so impaired they did not have the mental capacity to employ another person.

"[On] one hand they say, 'Shane and his friends lack the mental capacity to be able to do these things'. But then all of a sudden if it is convenient for them, 'Just let them be the employer, just fill out the forms it will be all right, we know it's illegal and it shouldn't be, but just fill out the forms'," she said.

Shane's advocate, Jane Carrigan said the lack of action since the Court of Appeal case had forced their hand.

"Seven months, all the fake promises issued by the minister and his ministry, nothing has happened. And nothing in all of our dialogue with the Crown and the Ministry has given us any confidence that anything is going to change. In fact reading the documents and the cabinet papers I suspect they are going to try and hold off until the end of 2020," Ms Carrigan said.

The Employment Court action doesn't yet name the Ministry of Health as a party, but Ms Carrigan said that would probably happen when the case began.

She said if the ministry was found to be the employer there would be ramifications as family carers were currently paid the minimum wage, rather than the equal pay rate.

"There are also other things around holiday pay [and] sick leave. You can't tell me the Ministry of Health have not known this all along, they simply have but they just believe they can get away with stuff so they completely ignore court directions, their own concessions in court and they just go off on their own merry frolic, is the only way to describe it" she said.

Mrs Moody first took the case to the Employment Relations Authority, which has referred it up to the Employment Court for a decision.

The Authority said the case had implications for the 354 families who were currently receiving funded family care, as well as the other funding arrangements the ministry had for people caring for the severely disabled.

It suggested trade unions might want to be involved in the case on the wider policy and employment issues.

The Public Service Association said it has had discussions with Etū and the Council of Trade Unions and the three had agreed to be involved, it was just a question of how.

PSA assistant secretary Kerry Davies said the disabled person who was supposedly the employer had no control over the pay rates, hours or conditions, which were set by the Ministry of Health.

"It looks like it's a bit of a device that's been set up to blur responsibilities and in fact shift responsibilities from the actual employer and the funder to people who don't in fact have any control over the core elements of what an employment relationship should involve," Ms Davies said.

Mrs Moody said she would like to see the Health Minister David Clark get involved directly.

"Maybe he'd like to have a cuppa tea and meet Shane and then perhaps he's never actually met these people to realise that they can't be an employer. He's very welcome to come to my home. He's not likely to because he never replies to anybody. But I think they've just got to be realistic about the whole thing, which they're not," she said.

A date is yet to be set for the hearing.

- By Catherine Hutton 

rnz.co.nz

Diane Moody, 76, cares for her son Shane Chamberlain full-time. Source: rnz.co.nz