Not everyone impressed with 'giant disco ball' sent into space by Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab NZ has gifted the world with a man made star and not everyone is happy about it.

Travelling at 27 times the speed of sound, 500 kilometres above our heads is The Humanity Star, sent into orbit in a recent launch from the North Island's east coast.

Astronomer Ian Griffin has called the satellite an act of environmental vandalism and a New Zealand light pollution project.

The star spins like a disco ball and will circle the earth every 90 minutes. Source: Breakfast

The satellite has no scientific function, and begs questions about who can fire things into space. 

Space Lawyer Maria Possa says "People can't just launch anything they like... They will need to acquire a licence from the New Zealand space agency, and they'll need to undergo all of the usual licencing regime that's in place there now"

New Zealand will get their first good look at the Humanity star on February 20.

The sphere, a secret project developed by Rocket Lab head Peter Beck, is made up of 65 panels that reflect the sun's light.

It will be visible from everywhere on earth as it orbits the planet every 90 minutes and is designed to spin so rapidly the it reflects sun back to earth.

"We're a tiny little fragile species on a rock floating in the universe," Mr Beck.

"The point is to get people outside and look at The Humanity Star, but I hope people also look beyond The Humanity Star and into the universe and realise some of these things."

The Humanity Star is the brainchild of Peter Beck, Rocket Lab's Kiwi boss, but not all are impressed. Source: 1 NEWS

Keeping 90-day trials at small firms may pay off for Labour - Corin Dann

The coalition Government's decision to keep 90-day trial periods for workers at small companies may work politically for Labour, despite the party having campaigned to scrap the trials altogether, according to 1 NEWS political Editor Corin Dann.

The law that allows firms to fire workers without reason in their first 90 days is to remain for businesses with less than 20 staff, at the behest of New Zealand First. The trial periods will be scrapped for those working at larger companies.

Labour campaigned strongly on removing the trial periods, but Dann says he's not sure the politics of the matter have ended up that badly for Labour.

"This is a period where we've seen very low business confidence, there's a lot of uncertainty, and to not be going through with that change for small business will be welcomed, I think, by many employers, particularly with those small numbers of staff and perhaps they don't have a HR department," he said. 

"So that might work out reasonably well for Labour, because it is worth remembering that in many ways this isn't the big game when it comes to industrial relations and Labour. That is coming in about a year's time with fair pay legislation."

Fair pay legislation is around minimum standards and minimum wages for specific occupations or industries such as bus drivers and is is far more controversial, Dann said.

The main points include guaranteed rest and meals breaks, and the scrapping of the controversial 90 day trials for big companies. Source: 1 NEWS

"The business community feels it's a return to the award systems of the '70s and '80s. It'll be far more contentious and I think everyone's keeping their powder dry until that."

Dann says it's a little surprising that Labour is compromising on the 90-day trial period after they campaigned so strongly on removing it.

"Perhaps they could have pushed harder given how much unions, for example, dislike it as a blanket rule. But look, this is MMP. They could not get the numbers from New Zealand First, so they really didn't have much choice on that," he said.

Sweeping changes to employment law unveiled by the Government yesterday also include a return to guaranteed rest and meal breaks for most Kiwi workers.

There'll also be extra measures to ensure more protection against discrimination aimed at union members.

1 NEWS political editor Corin Dann assess the impact of the government's changes to employment laws. Source: 1 NEWS


Shameless thief pretends to be Guide Dogs worker and steals donations

A Gold Coast man who pretended to be a charity worker was caught on camera stealing a charity collection 'dog' container.

The man was captured on CCTV taking the life-size Guide Dogs container on a removalist trolley from Woolworths on Saturday, 9News reported.

He dressed professionally in a white shirt and tie and inspected the collection dog several times before stealing it from the store.

The man reportedly tricked the supermarket staff into thinking he was an employee of Guide Dogs Queensland.

The empty collection dog was found dumped behind a medical centre with a suspected $A300 worth of donations gone.

"The man spoke with staff prior to removing the collection 'dog' located at the entrance of the store, instructing staff that he was replacing it with a new one," Queensland Police said in a statement.  

Guide Dogs Queensland CEO Michael Kightley said, "It really is a low act to be stealing donations from our generous supporters who are willing to donate what they can towards such a great community cause."