Kiwi dollar pares gains on looming RBNZ review

The New Zealand dollar got a strong lift from positive jobs data today but pared the gains late in the day ahead of tomorrow's Reserve Bank's monetary policy review.

That is when it may attempt to jawbone the currency lower.

The kiwi rose as high as US73.45c after government data showed a lower-than-expected unemployment rate, and traded at US73.07c as at 5pm in Wellington, up from 72.63c in Asia Tuesday.

Markets were closed for the Waitangi Day holiday Tuesday, avoiding much of the major market volatility of the past two days when stronger US jobs numbers stoked inflation expectations and eroded stock markets around the world.

Things settled down and a resumption of risk appetite coincided with higher dairy prices at the GlobalDairyTrade auction, stoking demand for the kiwi.

The local currency got a further lift when Statistics New Zealand data showed the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 4.5 per cent in the December quarter to the lowest level since the December 2008 quarter.

"Risk aversion dissipated very quickly ... overseas markets turned around and said it's all good now," after a global sell-off earlier in the week, said Imre Speizer, senior market strategist at Westpac.

Investors were cheered when the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 2.3 per cent. "Then we had our good jobs data, which gave us another leg up," he said.

Mr Speizer said the kiwi pared some of those gains late in the trading day, which could be due to concern that "tomorrow we may get a strong warning that the kiwi dollar is too high" from the central bank.

The local currency rose to 79.89 yen from 79.23 yen and gained to A92.68c from 92.18c. It increased to 58.98 euro cents from 58.72 cents Tuesday and rose to 52.34 British pence from 52.03 pence. The kiwi traded at 4.5698 Chinese yuan from 4.5648 yuan.

New Zealand currency fifty dollar note money
New Zealand currency fifty, dollar note (file picture). Source:

Lack of signs leaves Canterbury swimmers unaware of toxic algae that can make them ill

It kills dogs and is dangerous to humans, but 1 NEWS has found swimmers aren't being warned about a toxic algae deemed unsafe by authorities.

Parts of Canterbury's Selwyn River are in red alert mode due to dangerously high levels of the algae.

But most families, some with their pets, cooling off in the river at Glentunnel over the warm weekend were completely unaware of the risks.

The potentially toxic algal blooms, called cyanobacteria, can make people very sick.

And Environment Canterbury has detected it along sections of the Selwyn this summer at Glentunnel and Chamberlains Ford. 

"If you ingest them, strange and unusual effects are produced.  They might get tingly feelings in their fingers and their legs or they might get unusual rashes or cramping in their stomach, vomiting and diarrhoea," said Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health. 

No one has died in this country from the anatoxin the bacteria produces, but many pets have.  

"It does kill dogs. We've had at least 100 dogs killed by these algal blooms," Dr Humphrey said. 

The only signage 1 NEWS could find at the river's entrance was one saying the algae may be present and to look out for it.

But the sign signalling the water as 'high risk' was 200 metres away, on the road. 

"There is a second sign closer to the water edge, but clearly it's not being seen by people when they're in there. We're open to improve and put additional signage if that'll help get the message through," said Douglas Marshall if Selwyn District Council.  

If you're unsure whether to dive in, the Land Air Water Aotearoa website lists up-to-date data on just how safe New Zealand's swimming spots are. 

Parts of the Selwyn River are in red alert mode due to the algae. Source: 1 NEWS


Maori education success due to targets set to previous government - National's Todd Muller

The National Party are saying recent progress made by Maori in education is due targets they set while in they were in government. 

National Party’s spokesperson for Crown/Maori Todd Muller told TVNZ1's Te Karere that in 2008 "Maori were leaving school, about half of them just on 50 per cent with no NCEA level 2 qualifications."

"We said that it had to be a focus, we put it in a better public service target and now that's a 75 per cent."

He said setting targets was the root of the success. 

"Firstly, the debate here is around these – what we call – better public service targets and we hold the view that if you actually want to change the conditions for people you need to actually have a very explicit target that you want to drive towards."

But Labour Party deputy leader Kelvin Davis says despite Mr Muller saying Maori were doing better in education, "we know that many of them aren't getting jobs, many of them are not mentally well, and many of them are committing suicide". 

The amount of unemployed Maori has decreased to nine per cent, but Mr Davis says they are still not "seeing any of that progress in the community". 

In the area of law and order Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says so long as rates of Maori in prison is disproportionate "to everyone else ... we have failed".

Where can I get support and help?
Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help.
Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354
Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54
Depression Helpline 24/7 - 0800 111 757
Healthline - 0800 611 116
Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email
What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787 - includes The Journal online help service - visit the website, email or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).

Labour's Kelvin Davis says they are still not 'seeing any of that progress in the community'. Source: Te Karere