House sales reach six year high during November, recovering after quiet NZ winter

A dramatic jump in the number of houses being sold across the country has seen an almost 18 per cent rise in properties trading hands between October and November this year - the highest move in six years.

Chief executive of REINZ, who collected the statistics, Bindi Norwell said they did not expect the house sales spike, which also measured record median property prices across seven New Zealand regions.

"There was a 17.8 per cent increase in the properties sold in New Zealand from October to November - this is the largest October to November increase we've seen in six years," Ms Norwell said.

"After taking into account seasonal adjustment that increase is 4.5 per cent.

"While there was a significant increase in properties sold, November traditionally sees a robust increase, although the change in November compared to last month was stronger than we would have expected based on past data."

REINZ also reported that median house prices across New Zealand rose 1.9 per cent in November to $540,000, up from $530,000 in October 2017.

Auckland's median price increased even more than nationally, up 3.8 per cent to $880,000, up from $848,149 in October.

"There is no denying that with one of the wettest winters on record and the election, that it has been a difficult few months for the industry,"

"However last month has provided the industry with a boost in optimism and confidence which has seen the market return to normal November conditions."

There was an increase in properties sold in 15 out of 16 regions across the country, and seven regions recorded record prices.

The seven regions with record prices in November were: 

- Bay of Plenty, up 7.8 per cent month-on-month to $567,000 

- Hawke's Bay, up 6.2 per cent month-on-month to $420,000

- Manawatu/Wanganui, up 4.8 per cent month-on-month to $300,000

- Wellington, up 6.8 per cent month-on-month to $549,777 

- Marlborough, up 4.0 per cent month-on-month to $437,000

- Canterbury, up 2.2 per cent month-on-month to $460,000

- Southland, up 11.8 per cent month-on-month to $265,000 

For sale sign outside of house. Source: 1 NEWS

'We are seeing more need' - Kidscan alarmed at prospect of $350,000 funding cut

Kidscan chief executive Julie Chapman says $350,000 in annual funding which she was told will no longer be provided by the government could fund basic items for impoverished children at 35 schools.

Ms Chapman, speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast today said she was informed on Thursday last week by Oranga Tamariki that the baseline funding would end, however the government has said that is not confirmed.

"We had every hope and knowledge that would continue," Ms Chapman said.

"The level of deprivation that we're actually seeing in the community is getting worse, we are seeing more need for food."

Ms Chapman said she was told that, under Labour's 100-day plan, there was no ability to continue the funding, but that she understands Labour has a considerable focus on reducing child poverty itself with new policies.

"Material hardship is one of the most difficult things to move children out of," Ms Chapman said.

The charity estimates it's providing meals for 30,000 children a week. Source: Breakfast

"My thinking is that they [the government] need to continue to fund organisations like ours while those policies are being bedded in - because in between children are going to go hungry and without the basics."

The $350,000 in funding would be enough to help children from about 35 schools on the organisation's waiting list, she said.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin has said she was unaware of the issue and that the funding cut is not yet decided.

"I've only just become aware of this issue and I have asked officials to provide me a briefing on this relationship and the funding issues," Ms Martin said.

"This government values organisations that provide real help to children and Kidscan has obviously done some great work with a lot of kids."

Chief executive Julie Chapman is calling for the Government to step in. Source: Breakfast

Labour and National have disagreed over who is responsible for funding, with each blaming the other's government.

Ms Martin also said this morning in a statement that "from what I’ve seen from [Kidscan's] Annual Report, it has been running surpluses and has cash reserves, so doesn’t look like it is at any immediate risk".

CEO Julie Chapman says she $350,000 would be enough to fund basics for kids at 35 schools. Source: Breakfast


Scientists discover fossil of colossal human-size penguin in New Zealand

It was taller than the average man and weighed around 100 kilograms.

The newly discovered Kumimanu Biceae, a giant prehistoric penguin, has got palaeontologists around the world excited. It's believed to be the world's first ever penguin.

Fossil bones believed to be of the world's largest penguin were discovered in Otago, and now new research is shedding light on the exciting find. Source: 1 NEWS

But no one is more excited than the scientists who discovered it, here in New Zealand.

"New Zealand is famous for its birds already, and its giant birds. So this puts another feather in New Zealand's cap; we also might have had the largest ever penguin once up on a time," palaeontologist Alan Tennyson said.

Scientists believe these giant prehistoric penguins had vast breeding colonies along the east coast of the South Island.

New research is shedding light on the exciting find. Source: 1 NEWS

"This one is unique, there's never been one found like it before. One of the key distinguishing features is its size, it's just so enormous," Dr Tennyson said.

Standing at around two metres tall it would have weighed around 100kg, compared to the emperor penguin which weighs about 23kg.

The colossal penguins had longer, thicker flippers than modern penguins, so were strong swimmers.

The fossil bones were discovered on a beach not far from Otago's Moeraki boulders in 2004.

The fossils sat on a shelf for several years and when they were re-examined palaeontologists realised how exciting the find was.

Kumimanu means "monster bird" in Māori.

A display of the fossils and a life-size comparison, will go on display at Te Papa in the new year.

Te Papa vertebrate curator Alan Tennyson says New Zealand is already famous for giant birds and this identification adds to that reputation. Source: 1 NEWS