Killing rats and possums with your smartphone

This new app delivers 'kill' notification straight to your phone, as part of a project to help save the estimated 68,000 native birds killed each day. Source: Seven Sharp

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Big rise in retail card spending, but sky-high petrol prices only the second biggest contributor

New data released by Statistics New Zealand today has revealed retail card spending has rapidly increased in the past quarter-year but high petrol prices aren't the main cause.

When adjusted for seasonal effects, the statistics show retail card spending was up 2.3 per cent in the September 2018 quarter - the largest percentage rise since the December 2010 quarter.

Spending rose in all six retail industries in the latest quarter.

Retail card spending was up 2.3 percent in the September 2018 quarter.
Retail card spending was up 2.3 percent in the September 2018 quarter. Source: Supplied

The largest rise came from the consumables industry (grocery and liquor retailing), which was up $140 million (2.4 per cent).

The second largest rise came from the fuel industry, up $65 million (3.4 per cent).

Retail statistics manager Sue Chapman says the lift comes after a "slight dip" in the June 2018 quarter.

"The fuel industry rise coincided with rising petrol prices," Ms Chapman said.

"Petrol prices rose to record levels, up more than 15 cents a litre by the end of September and more in Auckland after the regional fuel tax was introduced."

Compared to the September 2017 quarter, was up $773 million (5.2 per cent) to $16 billion.


 

Analysts say fuel prices are set internationally, and a booming global economy is driving demand. Source: 1 NEWS

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Toyota recalling Prius manufactured between 2009 and 2014

Over 1000 mostly Prius hybrid models are being recalled by Toyota New Zealand because of a concern the fail safe mode could lead to stalling.

The recall affects 1,169 vehicles, 1,003 Prius and 166 Prius V hybrids, manufactured between the 23rd January 2009 and 30th June 2014 and sold new in New Zealand, Stuff reports.

How many imported cars it involves is not yet known.

"This is a precautionary recall due to the possibility, that in the event of an internal component failure, the hybrid system could shut down instead of going into fail safe mode," a Toyota spokesperson said.

"This could result in the vehicle losing power while driving, increasing the risk of an accident."

The remedy will take approximately 40 minutes at Toyota stores and will be completed free of charge.

Last week in the US, Toyota recalled 2.4 million predominately Prius hybrid cars to fix an electric issue that caused vehicles to suddenly lose power.

It affected Prius models built from 2009 to 2014, the same vehicles that had been recalled earlier and fixed with software updates that were allegedly not effective in preventing power losses, according to lawsuits.

Toyota NZ will contact vehicle owners through a remedy owner letter.

Owners are asked to contact 0800 TOYOTA (0800 869 682) for further information.

A Toyota Prius car
A Toyota Prius car. Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Pregnant Chinese mother flees to NZ to avoid forced abortion

A woman who was forced to have an abortion by Chinese family planners fled to New Zealand to avoid the same fate for her third child.

She was granted refugee status, and while her husband and three children originally faced being separated from her, they have all now been allowed to stay in the country.

They feared she would be sterilised and he would be detained because the family planning authority viewed them as troublesome for breaching the one-child policy.

The controversial policy was introduced in China in 1979, to slow the population growth rate.

Couples who violated the one-child policy faced a variety of punishments, from fines and the loss of employment to forced abortions.

In 2015, China officially ended its one-child policy, signing into law a bill allowing all married couples to have a second child.

The woman underwent a forced abortion in 2015 and suffered a miscarriage later that same year.

The man said his wife would feel compelled to return to China if her family was sent back.

He would then face being detained to put pressure on his wife, a Jehovah's Witness, to have an abortion if they had another child, he said.

He posted a social media comment about interference in citizens' private lives after the birth of their second child in 2014.

That came to the attention of police, who summonsed him and held him overnight.

He was detained on two further occasions when his wife refused to have an abortion when she fell pregnant again, and he refused to persuade her to have one.

Her husband was summonsed by police again when he made another critical comment on social media.

The family fled China and applied for asylum in New Zealand when she became pregnant with their third child.

She was granted asylum - but not her husband, who appealed his case.

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal ruled the father would continue to face harassment for breaching China's one-child policy if he was deported and was a refugee.

It ruled the children were not refugees, because threats made about their education, vaccination and family registration would not be carried out "once their parents have succumbed to the pressure to undergo forced sterilisation of the mother".

"The father and wife can be expected to come under pressure from the family planning authorities, with whom they already have an adverse profile as persons who have wilfully and continually flouted the family planning regulations," it said.

"They are known to have used unlawful means to have their second child registered and have fled abroad rather than submit to the will of the head of the local authority for the wife to have a contraceptive device fitted or be sterilised."

Immigration New Zealand said all the family were now lawfully in the country and added it could not comment further on the case.

rnz.co.nz

XIANGYANG, CHINA - FEBRUARY 22: A nurse takes care of babies born during the Chinese New Year 2018, the Year of the Dog, at a hospital on February 22, 2018 in Xiangyang, Hubei Province of China. (Photo by Gong Bo/VCG via Getty Images)
In 2015, China officially ended its one-child policy. Source: Getty


Police to begin nationwide drug-testing of waste water

Police will begin testing wastewater networks for several types of drugs across the country after a pilot programmes were conducted in Auckland, Christchurch and Whangarei.

Testing for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, MDMA and Fentanyl has been conducted at treatment sites in the three cities since 2016, police said, and they are now expanding the programme to include a total of 38 sites across 12 police districts.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said testing like this gives good intelligence on the prevalence and usage of various drugs in different communities, which gives police guidance on where they should concentrate their efforts.

"Over the past 18 months, 1.5kg of methamphetamine was estimated to have been consumed on average each week across the three test sites," Mr Bush said.

"This translates to an estimated $2 million a week in social harm.

"Expanding the number of sample locations will help us identify differences in drug use between geographic regions and will act as an early warning system for emerging risks."

The testing will be carried out by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research and is expected to capture data from about 80 per cent of New Zealand's population.

Testing for cannabis will also be introduced in Northland and Auckland regions, and testing for ephedrine/pseudoephedrine will be introduced nationwide.

Police expect to begin the nationwide testing scheme by the end of October.

The information included methods of smoking meth safely, advice on avoiding a jail term and more, but was necessary, Ross Bell said.
Source: 1 NEWS