Government promising more traffic cops to fight road toll

The government is promising more traffic cops on the roads to help fight the rising road toll after releasing a report critical of the previous government's safe roads programme.

This highly critical report, which was produced in 2015 but never made public, said National's 'safer journeys' plan failed to improve road safety.

Associate transport minister Julie Anne Genter says dramatic change in thinking is needed - and that could lead to more cops on the road and higher penalties for speeding or drink driving.

"We haven't even been enforcing speed and drink driving to the extent we did several years ago and that's probably why we're having increasing deaths and injuries on the roads," Ms Genter said.

"It's obvious there are real opportunities by having a focus on national and regional targets, we invested a lot of money in new roads and built a lot of new roads that are the safest in the country."

Among the report's recommendations are increasing penalties for drink and drugged driving and speeding.

"It's not clear that penalties in themselves are major deterrents but nothing is off the table," Ms Genter said.

National transport spokesperson Jami Lee Ross says the current government "just want to criticise what we did, actually we put a lot of effort in trying to make the roads safer," he said.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford says NZTA have told him there's $800 million worth of improvements needed on local roads - that if fixed would save 160 lives

The government want to pay for local road improvements rather than big motorway projects

"The kind of changes we'll be making for instance, redesigning intersections, median barriers, adjusting speed limits locally in order to save lives," Mr Twyford said.

Taupo Mayor David Trewavas says improvements are needed in his district

"We are the main traverse spot, we go north south east and west, it's a busy carriageway, we need to put more passing lanes in, median barriers," Mr Trewavas said. 

The Labour-led Government has released a report produced in 2015 that was never made public. Source: 1 NEWS

Meka Whaitiri says she accepts PM's call to sack her as she faces media barrage on return

Meka Whaitiri accepts Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to sack her as a minister, saying she is committed to self-improvement as she returned to parliament.

Ms Whaitiri was sacked as Customs Minister after an investigation by ministerial services into an alleged assault of a staffer during an event in Gisborne in late August.

The Prime Minister says she took action after an investigation deemed an incident did happen. Source: 1 NEWS

She batted away repeated questions from the media about the investigation and its findings, which she disputes.

“It’s been a debilitating time, but I really want to reflect on what I need to do to improve myself, to regain the confidence of the prime minister,” she said.

“I’m absolutely gutted, but I accept the prime minister’s decision but I’m going to work really hard and reflect on what I need to do to improve myself.”

“I can’t talk about the report until it’s released but like I said, I accept the prime minister’s decision.”

Ms Whaitiri, the MP for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, said she was grateful for the support from Māori caucus and others.

“Willie has declared and so have my Māori caucus members that they continue to have confidence in me to do the job that I was elected to do,” she said.

“You know, I’ve got a lot of work to do here on behalf of the people of Ikaroa-Rāwhiti.”

“I’m very humbled by the support of the Māori caucus and those that have sent support but I’m here to do a job.”

“As I travel throughout the electorate we’re having meetings and I will tell them when I see them face-to-face my plans going forward.”

Whaitiri says she is determined to earn the Prime Minister’s trust back, and work hard for her electorate, after her sacking as a minister. Source: 1 NEWS


Sanitarium loses court battle over Weetabix import

Sanitarium has lost its argument that a British goods importer breached the Fair Trading Act by importing a product similar to its own iconic product, Weet-Bix.

The cereal giant took Christchurch store A Little Bit of Britain to the High Court over its British cereal Weetabix, arguing it breached the Fair Trading Act.

Sanitarium claimed customers could be misled into thinking the imported version was in fact its own Weet-Bix product.

Justice Gendall today released his reserved decision which said there was no chance of customers being misled, given the cereal was only on sale at a British speciality goods store.

However he did find importing the item with a similar name breached the Trade Marks Act and the store would need to cover up the Weetabix brand if it was going to sell the cereal in future.

The judge has asked both sides to make submissions on whether either side should be liable for costs.

Because of the Trade Marks Act breach, the 108 cartons being held by Customs will have to be destroyed.

The judge made the point that the cereal was already past its use-by date and would not be able to be sold anyway.

RNZ has approached the owner of the A Little Bit of Britain store for comment.

Sanitarium said this was the outcome it was looking for as it would protect its brand and prevent any confusion.

A statement from the company said the outcome would allow 'A Little Bit of Britain' to continue selling Weetabix in a way that respected the Weet-Bix brand.

Sanitarium is trying to block the importation of Weetabix.
Source: 1 NEWS


PM has baby Neve sit in on UN meeting, Clarke Gayford shares story of awkward encounter with Japanese delegation

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's baby daughter has made a splash at the United Nations, sitting in on a meeting with her mother.

Ms Ardern is among world leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York this week and has had daughter Neve, born in June, in tow.

While the prime minister spoke at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit on Tuesday (AEST), Neve got a front-row seat on father Clarke Gayford's lap, catching the eye of cameras. She earlier watched proceedings with her mum.

Having become the second woman to give birth in elected office - and the first to take maternity leave - earlier this year, 38-year-old Ms Ardern has drawn the attention of global media during the visit.

The Prime Minister is attending the United Nations General Assembly, and took her family along today. Source: 1 NEWS

It marks the first time a female leader has brought an infant along to a general assembly meeting.

Ms Ardern also spoke about motherhood during the first of her scheduled high-profile US television appearances, on the Today Show .

"You don't know until you are there of course, but it's met my expectations, the joy though has far surpassed my expectations," she said.

However, she joked that taking a three-month-old on the 17-hour flight to New York felt about "on-par" with the pressure of running a country.

"There's that look you get when you walk onto a plane with a little one, that stare you get from other passengers ... I did actually apologise in advance."

Meanwhile, Mr Gayford - now a full-time dad travelling with the prime minister - on social media posted photos of a mock ID card that had been made up for Neve by staff at the UN, listing her title as "first baby" of New Zealand.

He also had a story to tell about Neve's first diplomatic incident.

"I wish I could have captured the startled look on a Japanese delegation inside UN yesterday, who walked into a meeting room in the middle of a nappy change," he said.

"Great yarn for her 21st [birthday]."

There was a very public appearance for the Prime Minister’s baby in New York. Source: Reuters


Former Prime Minister Sir Bill English officially knighted by the Governor General

Former Prime Minister Sir Bill English was officially made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit at Government House today.

The former prime minister was one of three men named to receive a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday honours in June.

The 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand was honoured for his services to the state including 27 years in parliament.

His wife, Mary, was in the audience as he received the honour from Governor General Patsy Reddy. 

Sir Bill English was officially made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit at Government House today. Source: 1 NEWS