Political Showdown: Abortion, cannabis and cycle helmets - Labour's Louisa Wall and National's Paul Goldsmith debate the hot topics

Political Showdown puts politicians from different sides of the House together, getting them to test each other on the big questions of the week.

This week, National's Paul Goldsmith went up against Labour's Louisa Wall of Manurewa. 

Questions asked this week:

The former Police Minister said it was not the government’s job to dictate to police how to undertake their duties. Source: 1 NEWS

Should police pursuits be banned?

Cycling advocates want compulsory helmet laws reviewed, saying the law puts brakes on people riding. Source: 1 NEWS

Should we scrap compulsory wearing of bike helmets to encourage cycling?

Marae looks at the possibility of 3,000 beds being added to the prison system. Source: Marae

Should we be increasing prison capacity or be investing more in rehabilitation and prevention?

Dr Chris Wilkins says the Massey University drug report shows meth is widely used, especially outside of urban centres. Source: Breakfast

A study found meth was easier to source than cannabis, would decriminalising cannabis remedy this?

Will the firing of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have an impact on New Zealand?

But all three of National's leadership contenders oppose change. Source: 1 NEWS

Should abortion be moved from the Crimes Act to make it a health issue? 

Finance Minister Grant Robertson acknowledged on Q+A today both groups missed out on a "dividend". Source: 1 NEWS

Should teachers, nurses and midwives be paid more?

1 NEWS sat down with the MPs to see their thoughts on a range of issues. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS NOW's Anna Whyte sat down with National MP Paul Goldsmith and Labour MP Louisa Wall, to ask questions ranging from their view on the recent move to make the Black Ferns professional players, the upcoming Commonwealth Games, and if they think plain packaging will help decrease smoking. 

If you have any questions you would like to ask, or MPs you would like to see go up against each other, tell us via Facebook or email us on anna.whyte@tvnz.co.nz.

The MPs battle out the biggest topics from this week.

The MPs battle out the biggest topics from this week. Source: 1 NEWS

Political Showdown puts politicians from different sides of the House together, getting them to ask each other the big questions of the week. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS gave the big questions to the politicians to battle it out, and they even found a few things they agreed on! Source: 1 NEWS

Previous Political Showdowns:

The MPs battle out the biggest topics of the week. Source: 1 NEWS

Former Auckland community board chairman is jailed for over four years for live streaming child sex shows

An Auckland businessman and justice of the peace has been sentenced to four-and-a half years in prison after earlier pleading guilty to charges involving the live streaming of child sex shows.

The 75-year-old, who also formerly served as an Auckland community board chairman, spent around $100,000 over a nine-year period paying suppliers in the Philippines for both adult and child services.

Martin Henry Lawes told police the amount of money was not significant because he was a multi-millionaire.

He stated he was helping the people involved by giving them money as they were often living in poverty.

Lawes set up two email accounts under fake names to access the sex shows and objectionable material.

Often they would involve children, some as young as 3 years old, undressing and engaging in sexual activity.

He would at times direct them to perform certain acts.

His offending was exposed during an ongoing international investigation.

Lawes resigned as Chairman of the Takapuna Local Community Board in 2010 and has been a Justice of the Peace since 2005.

New Zealand Police, the FBI and Filipino authorities teamed up to bring Martin Lawes to justice. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Rogue circus camel sends kids flying as things go wrong in Pittsburgh

A startled camel started bucking during a circus when a child apparently threw a shovel at its feet, injuring six children and an adult and causing frightened circusgoers to flee the arena.

Two children and an adult were riding the camel during an intermission at the Shrine Circus at PPG Paints Arena when it became startled. Authorities say one child suffered a broken arm, while the injuries suffered by the others were considered minor.

The incident, caught on video , happened around 3:30 pm (local) as people were buying rides on tethered camels, ponies or elephants led by handlers. Ruthie Kester, a Latrobe resident who was at the circus, told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh that a child threw a shovel used to clean up after the animals at the camel's feet.

"They were giving camel rides and camels were walking around calmly. And then a kid threw a shovel at the camel's feet, which startled the camel and it started to buck," Kester said.

Jenny Lynch, who said she didn't see what caused the camel's reaction, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that a woman and two girls were riding the animal before it was startled and reacted "like a bucking bronco."

"The woman was holding onto the littlest one, then she fell right onto her head .?.?. The woman was trying so much to hold on to the child," Lynch told the news site. "I was shouting, 'Jesus help them.' It was very scary."

The camel was brought under control within seconds, and the circus resumed without any further problems. The animal was not injured, officials said.

It was the event's third and final day.

Authorities are seeking to verify that the shovel caused the animal's reaction, and police are reviewing video of the ordeal to determine the cause.

In a video posted on social media, an announcer can be heard saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, remain calm, please. Please remain calm. No unnecessary movement. Slowly leave the arena floor if you feel safer. We are looking for a medic, an EMT."



Who are NZ's homeless? Thousands of Kiwi kids and it could be getting worse, expert warns

An estimated one in 100 New Zealanders are homeless with 24 per cent of the total homeless population being children and there are warnings this number could be higher.

According to 2013 census data, which was collated by the University of Otago, Wellington's Dr Kate Amore in her Severe Housing Deprivation in New Zealand study, around 41,000 Kiwis are classed as homeless.

"Before we did this we had no idea what the scale of homelessness was and if you need to address something you need to measure it and I think it has changed the conversation about homelessness," Dr Amore told 1 NEWS.

The data has always been collected every census but wasn't tapped into until 2001 when the first study by Dr Amore was published.

"This is the first work that shows the scale of the problem."

Dr Amore's study also uncovered the number of children 15 and under who are classed as homeless was close to 10,000.

"There are minors, children, sometimes on their own, but often with their family," says Dr Amore.

Discovering this last number in the 2013 census data, she predicts the number of homeless could have risen since.

Who are the homeless in New Zealand?

It was in 2009 that Statistics New Zealand, Housing New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development produced a definition for homelessness in New Zealand.

It defines homelessness as: "Living situations where people with no other options to acquire safe and secure housing are either without shelter, in temporary accommodation, sharing accommodations or living in uninhabitable housing".

This includes those sleeping rough, in cars and people who are in boarding houses, camping grounds and staying in other’s lounges or garages.

"For most people we're not talking about home ownership, we're talking about accessing a place to rent so anyone who can't access a place to rent is homeless," says Dr Amore.

Although rough sleeping and families living in their cars have become the picture of what homelessness looks like in New Zealand, 70 per cent of the homeless population are living in overcrowded conditions.

"There's only a small portion of the population sleeping on the streets. Half of the overall population are under 25, so it's a lot of young people, young families."

Nearly half of the population are women and a quarter are aged 15 to 24-years-old.

What causes someone to become homeless?

Dr Amore says homelessness is largely about affordability of housing for those on low incomes with nearly half of the homeless population in work or study.

"We know if there was a plentiful supply of affordable housing we wouldn’t have a homeless problem."

Other causes of homelessness are low incomes, care and support failures and for a small proportion personal circumstances.

Homeless numbers on the rise

The next census data should reveal the current number of New Zealand's homeless population which Dr Amore says could exceed the estimated 41,000 number.

"I hate to speculate, but since 2013 there are things that have happened that make us suspect that it's worsened."

Growth in population, the shortage of homes especially in Auckland and surging house prices have largely contributed to this.

"We know from population growth and demand on housing overall that the gap in the number of new dwellings we need to house the population is at least that number in Auckland."

This is despite there being enough dwellings in New Zealand to house the total population.

"It's not a lack of housing per say it's just that it's not equitably distributed with some people having multiple houses while some people have none."

Dr Amore says both governments have worked hard to address the issue of homelessness but that the number is "many times" higher than they currently building for.

"It's a great start, but we know that the need is every day growing and growing."

There’s no official record of how many Kiwis are homeless, however census data gives an estimate of those without a home. Source: 1 NEWS

Police arrest four teens, aged 14, 15, 16, 17 and two adults after violent Palmerston North dairy heist

Palmerston North Police have arrested four teens and two adults accused of participating in a violent aggravated robbery of a Bunnythorpe dairy yesterday afternoon.

The group entered the business around 3.30pm armed with baseball bats, threatening the shop attendant, authorities said.

Those charged yesterday included a 14-year-old, a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old, a 17-year old and adults aged 20 and 29.

The group had fled the dairy in a stolen vehicle, which was later found abandoned, said Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Sheridan.

But police stopped a second vehicle a short time later and detained those inside it, police said.

Authorities are still looking for witnesses to the robbery, or anyone who might have noticed a white Mazda Atenza station wagon around the time of the incident.

Those with information are asked to call police at 06 351 3880 or leave an anonymous Crimestoppers tip by calling 0800 555 111.

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