Increase in sexual assault allegations shows shift in culture, survivors able to come forward, says charity

The increase of sexual assault allegations did not mean that there is more sexual assault, but instead more people were able to come forward with their stories, says Sexual Abuse Prevention Network manager Fiona McNamara.

"We know a lot of people don't speak out about sexual assault, what it actually means is there has been a bit of a shift in our culture now," she told TVNZ 1's Breakfast. 

"People are starting to feel more comfortable coming forward, more comfortable going to police... their bosses, and talk publicly about it, and ultimately that is a good thing."

Ms McNamara said "absolutely something that can change" about the current culture. 

"There's a huge amount of work to do to change all those attitudes and behaviours that are making sexual abuse happen."

She said the increase in conversation around sexual abuse and harassment was helping to raise awareness on the issue and empower people to speak out about their experiences. 

Ms McNamara said it would be better to see the onus on perpetrators to come forward about sexual assault, instead of the survivors/victims, "but I do think it shows amazing strength from all the survivors who have spoken up and it is really good to see this coming into public conversation more". 

A lot of people did not want to report incidents because "they don't want to go through the process of having to re-tell it again and again, and also we know conviction rates are really, really low in New Zealand". 

"For a lot of people they just don't see the point."

Ms McNamara said development of sexual education in school was needed and happening, but adults also needed to be educated over consent as that was where a lot of the present issues lay. 

The Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says the increase in conversation around sexual abuse and harassment was helping to raise awareness on the issue. Source: Breakfast


Median house price jumps 6.9 per cent across NZ to $530,000, Hawke's Bay up massive 18.4 per cent

The New Zealand median house price increased 6.9 per cent over from $496,000 in February 2017 to $530,000 in February 2018, reports the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ). 

The Hawke's Bay jumped up 18.4 per cent to a record high of $444,000, up from $375,000. 

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said median prices rose in 14 of New Zealand's 16 regions over the year time period.

"The only regions not to experience an increase were the West Coast and Gisborne which saw decreases of 10.7 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively," Ms Norwell said. 

She said Hawke's Bay was "proving extremely popular". 

"The recent announcement by the Regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones, that nearly $9 million will be spent to reopen the Wairoa-Napier line for logging trains will bring significant development for the Hawke's Bay region."

Auckland prices went up by 3.7 per cent to $858,000, with Ms Norwell saying this moderate rise was "far more positive for the region as we know double-digit increases are not sustainable in the long term". 

Source: Breakfast


'My helmet saved me from pretty serious harm' – Labour MP Kieran McAnulty on why cyclists should wear helmets

The topic of compulsory helmet wearing in New Zealand has resurfaced after some cycling advocates say making helmets optional would get more people biking and increase public health, but critics say that opens them up for brain trauma.

Cycling Action said yesterday that they agree helmets are the safest option, but want the law reviewed.

Choice Biking's spokesperson Lisa Clist said there are different styles of bike riding, from casual to high speed, and the law doesn't recognise that.

On TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, Labour's Kieran McAnulty and National's Chris Bishop supported compulsory helmet wearing. 

Cycling advocates want compulsory helmet laws reviewed, saying the law puts brakes on people riding. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Bishop said he understood the case for scrapping the law, but said it needed to be proven cycling rates would increase if people were not forced to wear helmets. 

Labour MP Kieran McAnulty said he had been in two accidents on his bike, one that involved a truck. 

"Both times my helmet saved me from pretty serious harm."

He said while infrastructure may have improved in cities like Auckland, it had not across much of New Zealand. 

Eighteen people died cycling in New Zealand last year, while almost 6000 died of heart disease. 

The MP said he had been in two accidents on his bike, one that involved a truck. Source: Breakfast