NZ 'in a very difficult place' if war breaks out with North Korea - expert

An expert in international relations says New Zealand will be put in a very difficult position if conflict breaks out with North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claimed in his new year message that his nuclear weapons ambitions are now realised, with the entire US in range and a launch button on his desk.

North Korea made rapid progress on its missile programme in 2017, and a former US admiral has warned that nuclear war with North Korea is now closer than it's ever been.

International relations expert at Victoria University, Yan Jackson, says if a conflict breaks out, New Zealand is going to be put in a very difficult place.

Under an agreement with the United Nations after the Korean War, New Zealand must maintain a presence on the peninsula.

New Zealand currently has eight troops in the south, the second highest number after America.

"If conflict happens, your choice may be to either renege on an agreement with the United Nations, or put troops in harm's way," Mr Jackson told 1 NEWS.

Winston Peters is one of only a few Western leaders who has been to North Korea. He visited in 2007 in a bid to persuade the country to dismantle its nuclear arms. 

While he has no plans to return, the Foreign Minister told 1 NEWS he wouldn't turn down an invitation.

"Well I don't want this to be misinterpreted as a suggestion by me. But we would do the best we could as a country," Mr Peters said.

Asked if that's "a yes", he said: "Well, the answer is yes." 

And he won't say whether the Government would send more troops if a conflict did break out.

"Oh look, this is purely hypothetical. If what we are trying to do is ensure that the question you're asking, never needs an affirmative answer." 

Any conflict would have an impact on New Zealand's trade in the region at the cost of trillions of dollars.

Mr Jackson said that cost would be felt everywhere, and New Zealand is no exception.

"That's separate from the fact that New Zealand is now in missile range of North Korea," he said.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet said in a statement New Zealand's location makes the country less likely to be the target for any attack, but New Zealand has an all hazards approach to preparedness.

Recent reports that the rogue state plans to test anthrax-tipped ballistic missiles are ramping up tensions as a new year begins. 

A former US admiral has warned that nuclear war with North Korea is now closer than it's ever been. Source: 1 NEWS


Little South Auckland town celebrating their own female pioneers

Next week will mark 125 years since women in New Zealand won the right to vote.

As the country prepares to mark the historic day, a little town south of Auckland is celebrating their own female pioneers.

The residents of Pukekohe say women’s suffrage is about the lasting inspiration it gave to those who followed.

Hundreds turned out today to show their appreciation and remembered those like the woman who started a female fitness club in 1913 or ran for president of the RSA.

Pukekohe's not the only town making big noise this year, a number of towns up and down the country are expected to hold events like this, ahead of next Wednesday's 125th celebration.

Hundreds will join Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Auckland’s Aotea Square for a sunrise salute to those who made the women’s vote and countless other everyday tasks possible.

Pukekohe turned out to celebrate their own as New Zealand gets set to mark 125 years since women’s suffrage. Source: 1 NEWS

Police appeal for sightings after man found dead on Auckland road

A body has been found on an Auckland road after being hit by a vehicle, but police believe the man may have already been deceased before the incident.

Police car generic.
Police car generic. Source: 1 NEWS

Police were called to the scene on Popes Road, Takanini, at 7.20pm after reports that a pedestrian had been hit by a car.

Police say initial indications are that the man was already deceased on the road when hit by the driver who contacted emergency services.

Police are investigating and no further information is available at this time.

Anyone who saw a man wearing a red checkered shirt and jeans hitchhiking along Popes Road earlier this evening has been advised to contact Papakura Police on 09 295 0200.


Boy, 4, found dead in sewage pond after going missing from West Coast farm

A four-year-old boy has been found dead in an effluent pond after going missing from a West Coast farm today.

Police received a report Reuben Nolan had disappeared from a farm in Hari Hari, West Coast, just before 1.30pm today.

Police, local volunteers, family, neighbours and friends joined the search for the boy, whose body was found in an effluent pond at 4pm.

Police would like to extend their condolences to the family for their loss.

Reuben's death will be referred to the Coroner, and his family is being assisted by Victim Support.

Police (file picture).
Police generic Source: 1 NEWS

Police searching for elderly woman with Alzheimers missing on Waiheke Island

Police and family are concerned for an elderly woman who has gone missing on Waiheke Island.

Sylvia Henley suffers from Alzheimers disease and may be confused.

Ms Henley has not been seen since this morning.

She may be wearing a light blue dressing gown and slippers.

Anyone who may have seen Ms Henley has been advised to call 111.

Source: NZ Police