NZ close to breaking record for annual storm damage cost only halfway through 2018

New Zealand is close to breaking its record for the most expensive year for storm damage, only halfway through 2018. 

Latest figures show there have been more than $200 million worth of insurance claims caused by extreme weather.

The country has taken a battering this year and its costing more than first thought.  

Ex-Cyclone Fehi caused chaos on the West Coast in February, insurers paying out $45.9 million.

Soon after former Cyclone Gita cost $35.5 million.

In April, heavy rain destroyed dozens of homes in Rotorua causing $16 million worth of damage.

"Climate change is upon us. We've seen the biggest year last year. We've seen this year looking like it's going to be the biggest," said Tim Grafton of the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

The cost of weather-related damage has been rising. It peaked last year at $243 million. And after just four months this year, the cost is already at $204 million.

This year is unlikely to be the last record-breaking year which is why researchers are looking into which types of buildings are most likely to be damaged in a storm, to prevent the clean-up costs spiraling.

"We've noticed that new buildings are highly susceptible to flood damage. And this is because new buildings are generally constructed on concrete slab foundations which are located lower to ground level," said Ryan Paulik, NIWA hazards analyst.

With the risk insurance premiums could rise Mr Paulik is warning councils and builders need to be preparing for more storms.

"Those constructing those buildings need to be thinking about what flood resistant materials can be used inside buildings to lessen the damage," he said.

The record could be broken sooner than expected, with costs from recent storms, including the flooding in Gisborne this month, yet to be calculated.

There’ve been more than $200 million worth of insurance claims caused by extreme weather already this year. Source: 1 NEWS


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Strikes still loom as nurses latest pay negotiations with DHBs fail

Two days of strike action for nurses remain on the cards for next month after the latest round of pay negotiations with District Health Boards failed today.

Twenty-four-hour strikes are planned for July 5 and 12 after nurses rejected the largest pay offer in more than a decade on June 18.

DHBs are working on contingency plans to ensure emergency and essential services are available if the strikes go ahead.

Nurses will walk off the job twice next month, if they don't reach an agreement with District Health Boards. Source: Breakfast

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Footage of man sending stunned possum flying off Waimate farm fence with hay-maker punch divides internet - 'What a big man'

Footage of a man punching a possum off a post has drawn the ire of an animal rights group, who labelled it as an act of "deliberate cruelty".

The clip has racked up nearly 150,000 views since being posted to the Facebook page of Newstalk ZB's radio show The Country earlier today.

The video shows a man walking up to a possum that is sitting on a fence post stunned in the glare of a vehicle's headlights on a Waimate farm.

Cocking back his arm the man then launches a haymaker at the possum, hitting it in the face and sending it spinning into the air. 

Comments on the Facebook post show divided opinion among people, with some saying the action was permissible due to the possum's pest classification.

However others were less forgiving, with one user writing: "That is not pest eradication, that is straight out cruelty. What a big man".

A spokesperson for Save Animals From Exploitation (SAFE) told Newshub there was no excuse for animal cruelty.

"Punching an animal in the face is appalling. It's animal cruelty - pure and simple - and there is no excuse for it," the spokesperson said.

"This brutal behaviour has nothing to do with animal management. What we are seeing in this video is someone abusing animals."

According to Newshub the incident has now been passed on to the SPCA for investigation.