TODAY |

Morning Briefing June 11: Damning report reveals struggle for primary schools

An independent review calls for urgent changes in NZ's primary schools, the Government extends the trans-Tasman travel pause, and outgoing MP Nick Smith makes a surprise apology. 

Children in classroom - stock image. Source: istock.com

A review of primary school staffing is recommending urgent and significant changes to a system it believes is broken, racist and inadequate.

The independent report commissioned by the primary teachers’ union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, has found teachers don’t have enough time to ensure all children have quality learning.

It also found teachers are struggling to deal with an increase in behavioural and learning difficulties.

The report says the issues need to be addressed urgently and calls for smaller classes, more teacher aides, and a strengthening of Māori and Pasifika education. The full review can be found here.

Meanwhile, in more positive school resourcing news, the nationwide rollout of free period products for students is finally kicking off, with hundreds of thousands of packs of pads and tampons arriving in schools from Monday.

One of the schools selected to trial the scheme says it’s already made a significant difference for them. Paeroa College says its attendance of female students has gone up by 10 per cent since 2019, which they are attributing to the freely available period products.

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Travel pause extended

The Government will review the pause on quarantine-free travel with Victoria next week after extending the temporary ban for another seven days.

Kiwis in Victoria can still fly home on ‘green flights’ but must return a negative Covid test before departure. It comes as Melbourne’s Covid outbreak climbs to 93 cases spread over four clusters. 

Quarantine-free travel to Queensland and New South Wales will remain in place, as officials believe the risk from two new positive cases in Queensland is low.

However, anyone who was in locations of interest in New South Wales or Queensland are urged to call Healthline and isolate until they receive a negative Covid test. 

Meanwhile, leaders at this week’s G7 summit are reportedly set to call for a new World Health Organization investigation into the origins of Covid-19.

According to a leaked document for the meeting, the G7 is also committing to providing 1 billion more doses of the Covid vaccine to other countries over the next year.

House prices picked to slow

House price growth is expected to slow, according to ASB’s latest economic forecast.

It says while house prices are unlikely to drop any time soon, price growth is expected to gain 10 per cent by the end of this year and 5 per cent by the end of next year.  

That prediction comes as the Government confirms more details of its changes to tax rules for property.

Consultation is now open on proposals to stop interest deductions being claimed for residential investment properties.

Property development and new builds are exempt, which the Government hopes will push investors towards increasing housing stock rather than competing with other buyers for existing homes.

Consultation closes in a month, with legislation expected later this year. 

Smith makes surprise apology

Outgoing National MP Nick Smith has used his valedictory speech to apologise for having voted against marriage equality in 2013.

Smith says he wants his apology to New Zealand’s LGBT+ community put on record after making a promise to his son, Logan, who told him he was gay three years ago.

Logan says it’s “important to demonstrate people can learn and their views can change”. You can watch the full speech here.

Smith is leaving Parliament after being a National MP for more than 30 years.

He abruptly announced his resignation last week, citing personal and professional reasons, including a Parliamentary Services inquiry into a "verbal altercation" with a staffer.

Ardern outlines APEC details

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has laid out the details for the first ever virtual APEC CEO Summit.

New Zealand will be hosting leaders from across the Asia-Pacific, both in person and online, in November.

The hybrid event will tackle a series of issues APEC countries share, including economic recovery, climate change, and pushing against vaccine nationalism. 

Other news of note this morning: 

- New Zealand's involvement in sending military equipment to the Saudi-led coalition was the subject of tense questioning in Parliament yesterday.

- Netsafe says Kiwis have lost more than $5 million to online scams and fraud this quarter.

- A new report into the death of a US tourist who was tandem skydiving in Queenstown has found several factors led to the fatal crash.

- Age Concern is highlighting cases of older people being taken advantage of, with an Auckland woman alleging her daughter tricked her into signing away ownership of her home.

- A Youtuber has sparked furious debate by calling for action against cyclists this weekend.

- A trial near Hanmer Springs is looking to see if maple syrup can be produced in New Zealand.

- And the Black Caps’ bowlers have made a strong start to the second test against England at Edgbaston.

And finally...

Source: istock.com

The pandemic has led to a few changes in our daily routines, including how often we shower.

A recent survey has found one in six people are showering less since last year’s first lockdown – and dermatologists say that might not be a bad thing.

You can find out how long, hot showers might be doing you more harm than good here