New Zealand will know the make-up of its new government tomorrow afternoon, says Winston Peters

New Zealand First have released a statement saying they will be announcing their decision on the result of negotiations on the next government tomorrow afternoon.

Mr Peters avoided media after talks with his caucus this afternoon, instead choosing to release the information through a statement which read:

"New Zealand First have said they will be in a position tomorrow afternoon to make an announcement on the result of negotiations following the 2017 General Election.

"New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said he had spoken to the leaders of the National Party and the Labour Party today and, amongst other matters, advised them of that."

The National leader exited a coalition chat with Mr Peters tonight, involving just the two of them, in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS

A wink in a post-talks video at the weekend was 'extraordinarily badly timed', says the Labour leader. Source: Breakfast

The announcement comes after Mr Peters had one-on-one talks with Bill English and Jacinda Ardern last night leading to speculation a decision on which way his party might go was near.

It is unclear at this stage exactly what time the announcement will be made in the afternoon, but 1 NEWS NOW will bring you any updates as soon as they happen.

Read more: Shane Jones stiff-arms media wanting answers – but super keen to talk about ring-sizing - and his wedding

The NZ First leader says they are "98 per cent there" on the policy issues. Source: 1 NEWS

Winston Peters said today the party had made lots of progress on policy, but needs to speak with Labour and National once again. Source: 1 NEWS



Woman accusing US Supreme Court nominee of a decades-old sexual assault to testify

The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a decades-old sexual assault has accepted a Senate committee's request to tell her side next week but Christine Blasey Ford wants to resume negotiations over the exact terms of her appearance, her lawyers said Saturday (local time).

It was not immediately clear whether the Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee would agree to more talks with Ford's team.

Also unclear was when she might come to Capitol Hill and she was offering to speak in a public session or a private one.

The committee wanted her to appear Wednesday, but she prefers her earlier request for Thursday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

Her lawyers' letter to the committee's GOP majority was released just at the 2:30 p.m. deadline set by the chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to respond to the panel's latest offer.

Grassley, R-Iowa, had set a possible Monday vote to decide whether to recommend Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

As Republicans were considering their next move in private talks Saturday, they also made it clear they viewed Ford's offer as a way to delay voting on President Donald Trump's pick for the court.

A senior official at the White House said the letter amounted to "an ask to continue 'negotiations' without committing to anything.

It's a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday."The official was not authorised to publicly discuss the Senate negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The White House views Ford's potential testimony with trepidation, nervous that an emotional performance might not just damage Kavanaugh's chances but could further energize female voters to turn out against Republicans in November against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.

Moreover, the West Wing aides who had urged Trump to remain muted in his response to the accusations worried about how the president might react if she ended up partaking in an hourslong, televised hearing.

In a single tweet Friday, Trump broke his silence to cast doubt on Ford's story in ways Republicans had been carefully trying to avoid.

Trump mused to confidants that the "fake" attacks against his nominee were meant to undermine his presidency, according to a White House official and a Republican close to the White House.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss private conversations.

Other Republicans scoffed at Ford's willingness to accept the committee's request to tell her story.

"When?" tweeted the No. 2 GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the committee.

The lawyers for Ford wrote that she "accepts the Committee's request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct next week."

Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said many aspects of Grassley's latest offer were "fundamentally inconsistent" with the committee's promise of a "fair, impartial investigation."

They said they remained disappointed by the "bullying" that "tainted the process." Yet they remained "hopeful that we can reach agreement on details."

It was unclear whether Grassley would permit more negotiations Saturday, with patience among Republicans is running thin.

The GOP is facing enormous pressure from its base of conservative leaders and voters to swiftly approve Kavanaugh, who would become the second of President Donald Trump's nominees to sit on the nation's highest court, before the Nov. 6 election.

A spokesman for GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a committee member, tweeted that Ford "agreed to nothing. She rejected the committee's offer to testify Wednesday."

Earlier Saturday amid the latest deadline standoff Vice President Mike Pence called Kavanaugh "a man of integrity with impeccable credentials." He expressed confidence that Republicans "will manage this confirmation properly with the utmost respect for all concerned" and said he expected Kavanaugh to join the high court soon.

Grassley had set a Friday night deadline for the 51-year-old California psychology professor to agree to the committee's latest offer setting terms for her appearance.

Grassley said that if she missed that deadline, he would scrap the hearing and his committee would vote on sending Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

Ford's lawyers asked for another day. In a tweet aimed at Kavanaugh shortly before midnight, Grassley said he was giving them additional time.

"She should decide so we can move on. I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It's not my normal approach to b indecisive," Grassley wrote.

Ford's accusations and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have left the appeals court judge's confirmation in jeopardy.  And just seven weeks from an election in which Democrats are hoping to capture control of the House and maybe the Senate, her emergence also has drawn intensified attention to the #MeToo movement's focus on sexual abuse.

Ford says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has denied doing this and said he wants to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clear his name.

In backing away from his deadline, Grassley underscored the sensitivity with which Senate Republicans have tried handling Ford.

Moderate female voters will be pivotal in many races in the elections and the #MeToo movement has elevated the political potency of how women alleging abuse are treated.

In requesting another day to decide, Katz called Grassley's original deadline "arbitrary" and said its "sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family."

Earlier Friday, Grassley rejected concessions Ford wanted if she is tell her story publicly before the committee.

Grassley turned down Ford's request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions.

The committee's 11 Republicans - all men - have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman's assertion of a sexual attack.

He also rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.

Grassley's stance reflected a desire by Trump and GOP leaders to usher the 53-year-old Kavanaugh onto the high court by the Oct. 1 start of its new session and before the November elections, when Democrats are mounting a robust drive to grab congressional control.

Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.

Earlier, Trump ended a week of constraint and sarcastically assailed Ford, tweeting that if the episode was "as bad as she says," she or "her loving parents" surely would have reported it to law enforcement.

Trump's searing reproach defied the Senate Republican strategy, and the advice of White House aides, of not disparaging Ford while firmly defending his nominee and the tight timetable for confirming him.

The president's tweet brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who hasn't declared support for Kavanaugh, called the remark "appalling."

Grassley rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses.

Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the room where the incident occurred.

Grassley consented to other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.

Ford's request for security comes after her lawyers said she has relocated her family due to death threats.

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, September 4, 2018, to begin his testimony in his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Source: Associated Press


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New Zealand resident involved in people-smuggling to be deported

A Pakistani man involved in a people-smuggling operation in America, who gained residence in New Zealand, is the subject of a fraud investigation and is going to be deported.

But he has been told he can make a fresh application for residence.

In 2005, the stepfather-of-two was caught by a United States border patrol crossing from Canada, driving a van carrying eight Indian nationals, none with visas.

He changed his name and arrived in 2013 to enter into an arranged marriage.

When he applied for residence, the 39-year-old failed to disclose he had been convicted, deported and had used another name.

He had also previously unsuccessfully claimed refugee status in Canada.

When his visa deception was revealed, the former immigration minister, Michael Woodhouse decided he should be deported.

He appealed to the immigration and protection tribunal, which heard about his part in the people-smuggling.

He met an "agent" who offered to get him a legitimate visa for the United States for $US5000 ($NZ7479) and offered to reduce the cost if he agreed to drive a vehicle to the border for him, he told the tribunal.

He was arrested and jailed, meeting his New Zealand resident-wife online once he had been deported back to Pakistan.

His lawyer said he would face severe risks to his safety if he was again deported there, because he is a Shia Muslim.

He suffered threats to his life on his last visit there, she said, and deportation would result in the permanent separation from his family to whom he was a "pillar of support".

The tribunal heard he was the subject of an open fraud investigation by the police in relation to his directorship of a car company. The sum under investigation is said to be substantial.

It ruled he did have exceptional humanitarian circumstances because of his wife and stepson's health issues but it would not be unduly harsh to deport him.

"[His] concealment of his deportation from the United States (bolstered by his concealment of ever having lived there, or in Canada) went to the heart of his residence application," it said, in its written decision.

"The concealment undermined the integrity of New Zealand's immigration system in a serious way.

"He was not the architect of the scheme but more of a 'mule'. It does not, however, alter the fact that he sustained a conviction for a serious, immigration-related offence."

But it lifted a ban on him re-applying for visas.

"While deportation is not unjust or unduly harsh in all the circumstances, the tribunal considers that any adverse effect on [her and her children] ought to be mitigated as far as is possible, given the genuineness of the marriage and the fact that she and her children are innocent parties."

By Gill Bonnett

rnz.co.nz

Generic passport Source: Breakfast

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New Zealand airports 'woefully underprepared' for tourist influx - aviation expert

New Zealand's airports are woefully under prepared for the numbers of tourists coming through their gates, an aviation commentator says.

In an email sent to customers, Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon said he was frustrated with the under investment by local airport companies that has created backlogs for travellers.

Mr Luxon also announced that Air New Zealand will stop flying to Vietnam from next year due to engine maintenance issues involving Rolls Royce powered planes.

Aviation commentator Peter Clark said Air New Zealand's problems have been ongoing for years.

"Auckland Airport is a classic example, it's been trying to play catch up for years and it's too late, it should have been done," Mr Clark said.

"The government needs to look into this, where have we gone so badly wrong in New Zealand?"

Mr Clark said he was also concerned New Zealand businesses have not learnt enough lessons from last year's Marsden Point pipeline shut down.

The 10-day shut down last September was caused when a digger burst the pipeline near Ruakaka, spilling up to 80,000 litres of fuel on nearby farmland and causing severe disruption to flights.

Mr Clark said if another burst were to occur, it would be catastrophic.

"If we have a problem and a plane is stuck on a runway for even more than half a day it causes absolute chaos in New Zealand by diverting aircraft, putting people up, accommodation, getting crews to fly aircraft's. Where is the total back up?"

In a statement, a spokesperson for Auckland Airport said it was planning to invest around $2 billion in its business over the next few years as part of a 30 year plan to develop the facility.

He said that included plans for a second runway, new car parking options, improvements to the Domestic Terminal, and new food and beverage outlets.

New facilities for aircraft have already opened.

rnz.co.nz 

New Zealand airports are under prepared for the amount of tourists coming through the gates. Source: rnz.co.nz


What's up with Southland's 'cat killer'? SPCA refuses to be drawn on investigation

The SPCA won't say if its investigation into a man who claims to have buried 170 cats in his vegetable garden is complete.

Ian Gamble, from Invercargill, posted the claim on Environment Southland's social media page in September.

The Facebook comment was a response to a Council proposal to microchip and register cats in some areas.

"I have lived here for over 30 years and have 170 cats in my veggie garden, which is the best place for a cat in a bush suburb," Mr Gamble wrote.

The comment upset other posters, with one saying they were going to contact the SPCA.

Mr Gamble's remarks since been removed from the Council's page.

At the time, the SPCA confirmed that it was investigating this claim, but when Stuff contacted a spokesperson on Tuesday they said the organisation was "unable to give any further comment on the investigation at this time".

Last month, Mr Gamble told Stuff he made the comments to "rark up the cat ladies of Otatara".

"I’m legally allowed to use a humane kill trap on my property and almost all of those cats were feral," he said.

Mr Gamble added he had not killed any of his neighbours cats and had not used firearms to kill them.

A kitten, aged six to eight weeks, looks upward.
A kitten, aged six to eight weeks, looks upward. Source: istock.com