Jacinda Ardern begins talks for 'hugely significant' proposed NZ-European Free Trade Agreement during meeting with French President in Paris

The New Zealand Prime Minister has touched down in Paris, and says she was warmly welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron for their discussions on a proposed New Zealand-European Free Trade Agreement (FTA). 

Jacinda Ardern said in a press release a key objective of the trip was establishing a European Union FTA and would be seeking a mandate soon. 

She described the proposed deal as "highly significant". 

1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Joy Reid has the details. Source: Breakfast

"It represents $15 billion worth of trade so it's hugely significant to us. We anticipated that given the vote was coming soon, that we needed to build support for that mandate as broadly as possible."

"We know there have been roadblocks in the past, but the sense I have come away with today is that our focus on building an agreement that models environmental standards and social outcomes is something France is very much in support of so I was very heartened by the response of President Macron today," Ms Ardern said. 

The PM also discussed climate change with the French President, with Ms Ardern aiming to assemble a meeting of Towards Carbon Neutrality Coalition in late 2018. 

In a press conference after the meeting, Ms Ardern said the pair discussed issues in the Pacific region, especially around climate change. 

The pair were said to have agreeed on the promotion of climate friendly agricultural technologies, and Ms Ardern invited Mr Macron to New Zealand.

Ms Ardern will be continuing her European trip to Germany today, where she will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

The PM is attempting to create a European FTA, and also discussed climate change and the Pacific with President Macron. Source: 1 NEWS

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Most watched: Hundreds of metres of Greek coastline blanketed by spider webs

This story was first published on Saturday September 23. 

A recent increase in the mosquito population has resulted in perfect conditions for spiders to thrive and multiply. Source: Associated Press

It's not quite the World Wide Web - but the spiders of Aitoliko in Greece have made a good start.

Spurred into overdrive by an explosion in the populations of insects they eat, thousands of little spiders in the western Greek town have shrouded coastal trees, bushes and low vegetation in thick webs.

The sticky white lines extend for a few hundred meters along the shoreline of Aitoliko, built on an artificial island in a salt lagoon near Missolonghi, 250 kilometres west of Athens.

Experts told local media that the numbers of lake flies, a non-biting midge, have rocketed amid humid late summer conditions. Spiders, which fancy the flies, reproduced fast to take full advantage of the feast.

Residents say the extensive spider webs have another benefit: keeping down mosquitoes.


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Man in serious condition following assault near Christchurch mall

A 41-year-old man is in a serious but stable condition in a Christchurch hospital, following an attack in the early hours this morning.

Police have cordoned off an area beside the Hornby Mall, on Shands Road, for a scene examination.

It is expected to be cleared by midday today.

Police are continuing to investigate the scene to establish what occurred.

File image of an Ambulance outside a hospital. Source: 1 NEWS

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Police in stand-off with man barricaded in Huntly house

Police are currently involved in an ongoing stand-off in Huntly, which started around 2am this morning.

The eight-hour stand off began when police were called to a home on Harris St, where a man and woman had been fighting.

Upon arriving at the scene, police found the man had locked himself inside and was refusing to come out. 

At 9am, he was still refusing to come out of the home and police negotiators are currently on site, Waikato police Senior Sergeant Charles Burgess told Stuff.

"He's barricaded himself in the house and is threatening to harm himself," Senior Sergeant Burgess said.

He's not known to have access to any guns, Burgess said but does have access to knives and other items inside the home. 

"A police negotiation team are trying to speak to the man so we can bring an end to this event."

A section of the road has been cordoned off and detours are in place.

No one else is inside the home and no one has been injured.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS


Truck rolls on Pahiatua Aokautere Road, causing road closure in Tararua

A truck has rolled in Tararua and is blocking lanes in both directions.

The truck rolled on Pahiatua Aokautere Road, also known as the Pahiatua Track, about 7.40am this morning.

The driver sustained moderate injuries. 

No other vehicles were involved.

Police are advising motorists to use an alternative route.

A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS