Good Sorts: Meet the Kiwi woman caring for children on the other side of the world

This week’s Good Sort is Wellington school teacher Julie Ann Kmal. Source: 1 NEWS



Lifeline turns down help offer despite struggling to cope with volume of calls

Lifeline has refused help from another helpline provider, even though it's struggling to cope with the volume of calls it's getting.

Last week, Lifeline launched a new fundraising campaign, saying a lack of money meant it wasn't able to answer one in four calls.

Homecare Medical gets Government funding to operate a number of health, depression, and counselling helplines, known as the national telehealth service.

It said it had offered support to Lifeline multiple times over the last three years, when its call demand outstripped resources.

Homecare Medical chief executive, Andrew Slater, said that to date that offer hadn't been taken up.

"Part of our work is to support the entire health system in responding to New Zealanders' needs. This includes supporting other helplines in their work. This includes advice on technology, sharing operational policy and procedures and during times of peak demand, supporting them when they can't respond to their demand," he said.

Homecare Medical remained willing to work with Lifeline to find a solution to ensure all calls were answered, he said.

Lifeline wouldn't say why it hadn't taken up the offer.

It said its discussions with Homecare Medical were ongoing.

In 2015, Homecare Medical won the contract to operate the National Telehealth Service.

The 24/7 free helplines it operates include Healthline, Quitline, 1737 Need to Talk?, and the Depression Helpline.

Lifeline is part of Presbyterian Support Northern. It does not receive Government funding.

Lifeline declined a request for an interview.

By Sarah Robson

rnz.co.nz

The telco is doing away with the old technology and switching to an internet based system.
Source: 1 NEWS


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Microplastics, native tree diseases among scientific studies given a $249 million Government cash injection

New Zealand's most prestigious science grant has just been awarded to 69 new research projects at a cost of $249 million, the Government has announced.

Among the projects given the green light today are a $12.5 million, five-year study into the impact of microplastics and a $13 million, five-year study into protecting our forests from plant diseases like myrtle rust.

"This year the Endeavour Fund is investing in improving our resilience to climate change, our transition to a low-emissions economy, monitoring of natural disasters, and protecting our biodiversity," Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods said in a statement announcing the big expenditure.

The programme is intended to boost research "that makes a vital contribution to New Zealand's future" - including our economy, our environmental sustainability and "the strength of our society".

Other projects included in today's list included a $1 million University of Auckland study into "thermal shielding" while returning small payloads from space, a $6 million supercomputing project out of Victoria University of Wellington, a $1 million look by NIWA into eel spawning sites, and a $2.2 million University of Waikato study into violence prevention and intervention through "Māori cultural frameworks".

The research projects were chosen by the MBIE's seven-member Science Board.

Myrtle Rust found in NZ
Source: Te Karere

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Cop breaks leg after being hit by police car during early morning Rotorua pursuit

A police officer suffered a broken leg after being struck by a police car at the conclusion of a police pursuit in Rotorua this morning.

The male officer was stepping out of his vehicle to arrest the driver after road spikes had successfully stopped the vehicle at the intersection of State Highway 29 and McLaren Falls.

A second police car struck the officer before going on to collide with a third police vehicle.

The officer was sent to hospital, with no other injuries in the incident. 

The pursuit had begun at about 2.40am when police had attempted to stop a speeding vehicle on Ngongotaha Road.

A 31-year-old man with two outstanding warrants was arrested and charged with driving while disqualified, dangerous driving, failing to stop and possession of a knife in a public place.

He is due to appear in Tauranga District Court today.

"Drivers who choose not to pull over for Police when instructed put themselves, other members of the public and our staff at risk,"Rotorua Area Commander Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi said.

"The message is clear, anyone who is signalled to stop by Police should pull over immediately."

A Serious Crash Unit investigation is underway.

Police car night generic
Police car (File picture). Source: 1 NEWS


Gerry Brownlee defends phone call to law firm in which he's accused of bullying junior solicitor

A law firm is accusing Gerry Brownlee of phone bullying after a 15 minute call he made to their offices, but the National MP says how can you bully a law firm?

A junior solicitor at Adina Thorn fielded the call from Mr Brownlee who was calling to note his concern about a letter from the firm warning Christchurch residents about dodgy steel mesh and inviting residents to join a class action.

Mr Brownlee rejects many of the claims the firm has made in a press release publicising the matter and told Morning Report he was not angry or ranting during the call.

"I was very keen to understand what the basis of the pleading was.

"This is a law firm, asking people to sign up with them, saying they're going to stand before the court and plead a case on their behalf for compensation for ... what?"

He said by signing up to the class action, people would effectively be identifying themselves as having a problem which could have a long term impact well beyond compensation they might get from a court.

"Was it for product failure, or potential product failure, or catastrophic failure in the event of an earthquake or was it because the Commerce Commission had fined steel companies for inappropriately labelling their products and that people might have bought it inappropriately?

"They are not unreasonable questions to answer."

Mr Brownlee said he thought he was speaking to Adina Thorn and did not identify himself in the phone call.

"They wrote to me as a householder so I spoke to them as a householder."

He said he assumed the call was recorded and welcomes the release of the taped call.

"That would demonstrate that there was certainly no ranting and no bullying.

"Had I identified myself right up front, would they have had different answers for me?"

He said the law firm has not contacted him since the phone call despite having concerns for its staff member.

rnz.co.nz

The National MP for Ilam strongly denies what he calls “outrageous accusations”, saying he was just doing his job.
Gerry Brownlee. Source: 1 NEWS