'About good health' - Defence Force to stamp out smoking on bases by 2020

The New Zealand Defence Force has announced plans to become one of the first smokefree militaries in the world.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

At an event in Parliament hosted by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) New Zealand, marking World Smokefree Day today, the NZDF announced the bid to become smokefree by 2020.

An NZDF spokesperson told 1 NEWS NOW they are aiming to reduce the smoking rate of personnel from the current 10-12 per cent to less than five per cent, which will make it "smokefree" under the government's Smokefree 2025 definition.

Reaching the target will put the Defence Force five years ahead of the government's 2025 target, also making it one of the first militaries in the world to be officially smokefree.

Smokers tell Rachel Parkin what it's really like maintaining a habit that goes against a Government goal. Source: Seven Sharp

Brigadier Andrew Gray, the Director of Defence Health, said the Royal New Zealand Air Force was already well on its way to achieving this target and achieving it across the entire Defence Force would bring significant benefits.

It would also be an important contribution to the Government's Smokefree 2025 goal.

"The NZDF is committed to the health of its people. A smokefree Defence Force will lead to significant health gains and improve people's quality of life both across NZDF and our wider Defence community," Brigadier Gray said.

To become smokefree by 2020 the NZDF plan to ban sales of cigarettes on camps and bases, making housing smokefree, which will all evolve to become smokefree environments.

"This is a huge milestone, the New Zealand Defence Force is one of the largest employers in New Zealand with over 14,000 personnel, and the biggest Government department to go smokefree," saod ASH Chair Robert Beaglehole. 

New Zealand's fourth-biggest employer is to outlaw smoking at all bases and housing. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's financial system in good shape, but risks remain - RBNZ

The Reserve Bank is warning that not enough houses are being built to meet rapid population growth, and says resurgence in house prices would be of concerning.

The warning comes in its six monthly report card on the health of the country's financial system.

Overall it says the financial system is in sound shape, but that risks remain.

The Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler says house price growth has slowed in the past eight months, in response to tighter loan to value ratio restrictions, and a more general tightening in credit.

However, he says while building activity has continued to increase, the rate of house building remains insufficient to meet rapid population growth and the existing housing shortage.

He says house prices remain elevated relative to income and rents and any resurgence would be of concern.

Mr Wheeler says the Reserve Bank will soon release a consultation document proposing the addition of a Debt to Income tool for its macro-prudential toolkit.

The government has not yet said if it will give the go ahead for such a tool and wants more information before doing so.

In today's Financial Stability report, Mr Wheeler says the outlook for the global economy has been improving however global political and policy uncertainty remains elevated and debt burdens are high in a number of countries.

He says a sharp reversal in risk sentiment could lead to higher funding costs for New Zealand banks and an increase in domestic borrowing costs.

He says New Zealand's banks are vulnerable to these risks because of their increasing reliance on offshore funding for credit growth.

Meanwhile, Mr Wheeler says dairy prices have recovered in the past 12 and majority of dairy are likely to be have returned to profitability in the 2016/17 season.

However, he notes parts of the dairy sector are carrying excessive debt burdens and remain vulnerable to a fall in income or an increase in costs.

He says banks should continue to closely monitor and maintain full provisioning against lending to high risk farms.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank, Graeme Wheeler Source: 1 NEWS


Person in critical condition after east Auckland car crash

A person is in a critical condition after two cars collided in east Auckland this morning.

Emergency services were called to the serious crash on Whitford-Maraetai Road between Trig Road and Clifton Road at 6.30am. 

Two other people are in a serious condition and a young child has moderate injuries. 

Police said the cars are partially blocking the road which has caused diversions to be put in place. 

Police are advising motorists travelling from Beachlands to go through Clevedon and said there will be significant delays. 

Source: 1 NEWS