Q+A investigates: Transgender rights, water bottling and the state of housing

New Zealand's racing culture, transgender rights and water bottling were among the topics TVNZ1's Q+A investigated this year. 

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Owen goes back to the big stories from the year and sees what progress has been made. Source: Q+A

Reporter Whena Owen looked back and gave updates from the range of issues facing New Zealanders. 


Earlier in the year Q+A went behind the scenes of New Zealand's racing culture, and heard the industry was in trouble. 

Racing Minister Winston Peters had already ordered an independent inquiry into racing and has put funding into all-weather race tracks and given tax breaks to some breeders. 

Following the review's recommendations, Cabinet would be making decisions about the future of New Zealand's racing industry. 

Hamilton Housing

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Our reporter Whena Owen with this investigation into the state of homelessness in Hamilton City. Source: Q+A

With winter looming, Q+A chose Hamilton to get a snapshot of the country's housing problems

For homeless Hamiltonians, emergency housing along the city's motel strip was solving the problems for a few weeks, occasionally months. 

In one of those motels, Abagail and her three children under three lived. 

"It's a big concern being in the motels because I don't know what's going to happen next," she said. 

Abagail did not have to wait long, the family are now settled in a Housing New Zealand home in Huntly.

However, acute housing problems problems in Waikato as a region are getting worse. Over the past year, the numbers of individuals and families seeking emergency housing has doubled, costing the tax payer over $1.9 million. 

Trans Politics

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Penelopy Mansell's case has highlighted the need for more clarity in the law around trans rights. Source: 1 NEWS

Q+A looked into New Zealand's move towards gender self-declaration.

The segment featured Penny Maunsell, who is transgender and tried to join a women's gym in Wellington. 

Penny was not allowed in the gym as the policy was sexual reassignment surgery was needed. 

However, a bill before Parliament proposes to make it easier to change gender on a birth certificate. The second reading of the bill is expected early next year. 

Meanwhile, Penny is still waiting for an answer from the gym. The Human Rights Commission told Q+A the matter was still with their dispute resolution process. 

Water Bottling

In Eastern Hawke's Bay, Q+A found divided communities over the prospect of establishing water bottling plants.

Documents obtained by Q+A showed the Government via trade and enterprise staff actively encouraged the world's third biggest water bottler to set up near Whakatāne. 

Communities in Otakiri and opponents of a water bottling operation near Christchurch fought the matters in court. 

Last week, a High Court decision blocked the public from having its say on Cloud Ocean's plans to export water from a deep bore.