Jobs to be cut as forestry firm Juken upgrades Northland mill

Japanese-owned wood products company Juken is to upgrade its board mill in Kaitaia but also cut the workforce.

The company says it will invest millions in new technology to modernise and streamline production at the 30-year-old mill over the next few years.

Juken's New Zealand manager Dave Hilliard said it would mean job losses among the 250 employed in the region, although it's not known how many.

Juken cut about 100 jobs at its Gisborne plant at the start of the year as it cut production because of slowdown in the Japanese housing market.

He said the mill was a money loser, with outdated machinery, and production is limited by uncertain supply.

"The mill's machinery and technology is old, despite investment in recent years the site presents health and safety challenges that need to be urgently addressed, and the mill's production is severely constrained by inadequate and uncertain log supply in Northland.

"Because of these issues, the mill is making a substantial loss."

Security of log supply in Northland was having an impact on all mills in the region and was not an issue JNL could fix on its own, Mr Hilliard said.

"We are in early but constructive discussions with the government about the shortage and how it can be solved."

Juken will carry out a two-week consultation period with staff in Kaitaia.

The company has four wood processing mills and employs about 1000 people across its forestry and processing businesses in New Zealand.

Juken says its Kaitaia mill is losing money.
Juken says its Kaitaia mill is losing money. Source:

Most read: Spark, Google release free photo recognition Māori translation app

This story was first published on Monday September 10.

New mobile app Kupu uses photo recognition technology to offer Māori translations of words.
New mobile app Kupu uses photo recognition technology to offer Māori translations of words. Source: Spark

A free mobile app that uses photo recognition to identify items in te reo has just been released, in conjunction with Māori Language Week.

Called Kupu (translation: "word"), it is available at the iOS App Store and via the Google Play Store.

"There are some amazing resources for learning Te Reo Māori, including books, websites and apps," said Auckland University of Technology Māori language expert Dean Mahuta, who served as an advisor on the project.

"However, this is the first learning tool to translate pictures in real-time. It's an evolution of the resources that are out there."

The project was funded by Spark, pairing Google's artificial intelligence technology with the Te Aka Māori Dictionary, on online resource that has more than 300,000 visitors per month.

"It would be amazing if, as a nation, we could learn together through an immersive interactive experience - one picture and translation at a time," Google's creative director, Tara McKenty, said in a statement announcing the app.

Spark has released the Kupu mobile app, which uses photo recognition technology to translate images into te reo. Source: Spark

"Just learning a single word each day can collectively have a huge and lasting impact on our collective knowledge of Te Reo Māori."

Google's artificial intelligence platform is expected to continue to learn, improving te reo translations on Kupu as it receives more feedback.

Jacinda Ardern responds to glowing New York Times column describing her as 'trying to counter Trump's ugly impulses'

Jacinda Ardern was the subject of a glowing profile in The New York Times over the weekend that described her as a counter to Donald Trump and "a preview of what could be possible" for women with political aspirations in the US - "albeit one with much better scenery."

But it was the recent controversy over the Prime Minister's quick-turnaround trip to Nauru that garnered much of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Maureen Dowd's attention.

"Look, I expect to be criticised. I'm in politics and I'm made of tough stuff," the Prime Minister told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning as she shed more light on the profile. "You don't go through 10 years of politics without being able to take it on the chin.

"I think probably the reason it stood out for me a little bit: It was the first occasion where there was two jobs I was juggling. Two roles. But I absolutely stand by my decision."

Ms Dowd travelled to New Zealand for the column, and described meeting Ms Ardern at her home after returning from Nauru.

In her column Dowd said Ms Ardern, she said, is "part of a club of young, progressive leaders...trying to counter President Trump's ugly impulses against the environment and multilateralism".

After ticking off a list of firsts achieved by Ms Ardern, including being the first world leader to take maternity leave, Dowd suggested "the fantasy of easy equality evaporated" when the Nauru criticism surfaced.

Ms Ardern was criticised for taking a separate Air Force flight to Nauru at instead of sharing an earlier flight with Winston Peters.

The Prime Minister is making a one-day appearance at the Pacific Island Forum. Source: 1 NEWS

"...She wanted to attend because all Kiwi prime ministers consider it a can't-miss; and also because she didn't want to seem like she was shying away from an ongoing debate with Australia, as she tries to rescue refugees from the hideous holding facilities in Nauru, the shame of Australia," Dowd wrote.

"Never mind that in a nation dependent on tourism, Jacinda is the biggest thing to hit here since Frodo dropped the ring into Mount Doom. Her ministers had to defend her."

In the column, Ms Ardern opened up about her "damned if I do, damned if I don't" response to the controversy and admitted she was surprised by "how hard I took that" criticism.

Ms Ardern repeated her reasons today for taking a separate trip via air force plane to Nauru so that she could be back within 24 hours, to look after Neve. She hesitated, however, to express exasperation with what Winston Peters and Dowd both called "the trolls".

The PM has to take an extra flight to the Pacific Islands Forum as baby Neve is unable to travel with her. Source: 1 NEWS

"There's only been one occasion when a prime minister hasn't attended the Pacific Island Forum since 1971," she said today, mentioning her upcoming trip to New York City, where she plans to discuss climate change at the United Nations General Assembly.

"Some of those Pacific leaders who are at the Pacific Island Forum just don't have the chance to attend and be on that platform, and yet some are in the most climate affected parts of the world," she said.

"I see New Zealand as needing to play a leadership role and we can't do it unless we are working alongside our Pacific neighbours. New Zealand needed to be represented at that meeting, so I stand by it."

The PM is heading to Vietnam where she'll rub shoulders with the likes of presidents Trump and Putin.
Source: 1 NEWS

Making a final comparison to American politics, Dowd pointed out that Mr Trump's visits to golf clubs have cost taxpayers there more than $70 million, and President Barack Obama was once hailed as "a romantic hero" after taking his wife on a date in Manhattan that cost an estimated $72,000.

"I was most happy to contribute to our urbane president’s date nights," Ms Dowd concluded.

Columnist Maureen Dowd visited her home and called her an antidote to Trump politics. Source: Breakfast


Most read: TVNZ's Project Runway NZ starts in three weeks - meet the designers

This story was first published on Sunday September 9.

Ms Fowler will be following in the footsteps of model and host of the US show Heidi Klum. Source: Breakfast

With just three weeks until the season premiere, seven of Project Runway New Zealand’s designers can now be revealed.

From a rugby player; to a stay-at-home mum; to a previous farm-hand, these designers come from all walks of life with one goal: to win TVNZ 2's Project Runway New Zealand.

The first announced group of designers are:

Beth Hornsby-Hunt, 31, Fashion Student from Auckland

Caitlin Crisp, 22, Retail Assistant from Christchurch

Kerry Ranginui, 33, Pattern Maker from Whanganui

Lenon Wakuwa, 27, Caregiver from Invercargill

Massey Williams, 38, Alternative Education Tutor and Mentor from Christchurch

Nicole Schmidt, 28, Stay at home Mother from Hawke’s Bay

Peni Moala, 29, Retail Assistant from Arrowtown

All seven bring a unique design aesthetic into the competition. Whether it’s taxidermied ducklings or floaty and feminine dresses and blouses, Kiwis won’t be disappointed with the quality delivered each week.

Seven more designers will be announced Sunday 16th September. Every Monday night Project Runway NZ will give the 14 a task of meeting a brief and creating something wow to bring to the judges. If their garment fails to meet the brief, they risk being eliminated from the competition.

The last remaining designers will be tasked with designing and creating an entire collection, which ultimately decides who is crowned the winner.

Kiwi model Georgia Fowler will host the series. She shot to international stardom in 2012 where she appeared on the Chanel catwalk. She has since modelled for the likes of Victorias Secret, Miumiu,DKNY and Kanye West’s Yeezy. 

It will be judged by Sally-Ann Mullin editor of Fashion Quarterly and Benny Castles designer and director from WORLD.

AUT senior fashion lecturer Andreas Mikellis will mentor the contestants.

The series premiere is on Monday 1st October, 7:30PM on TVNZ 2.

Who will win and who will walk?

Join the conversation on Social Media with the hashtag #ProjectRunwayNZ
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Teachers union will vote on new pay offer from Government next week

The Ministry of Education has tabled a new pay deal for New Zealand Educational Institute members to vote on.

The NZEI said this morning in a statement that online ballots will be held next week to vote on the revised offer.

NZEI lead negotiator Liam Rutherford said it remains to be seen whether teachers, parents and the wider community thought the new offer would make a difference for children.

If NZEI members reject the offer, there will be more consultation, the union said, during their annual conference in early October, and further steps will be decided there.

ONN 1 News at 6 promo image
For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS


The revised offer for primary teachers includes:
• 3 year term from date of settlement
• Increase base salary scale by 3 per cent each year from date of settlement.
• No funding for supporting children with additional learning needs, such as funding the Special Education Needs Coodinator role (SENCO) in each school.
• No provisions for reducing workloads or class sizes

The revised offer for primary principals includes:
• 3 year term from date of settlement
• Increase base salary scale by 3% each year from date of settlement for principals of schools with more than 100 students.
• Increase base salary scale by 4.5%+4.5%+4.4% a year from date of settlement for principals of schools with fewer than 100 students.
• No provisions to address workload