Restrictions on medical cannabis product CBD to be removed

Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne has announced that the CBD cannabis medicine will have restrictions on its use and prescription removed in line with other countries.

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it is known, is the part of hemp usually used for medical purposes and has little to no psychoactive traits.

Its use rose to prominence - and controversy - in 2015 with the case of Nelson teen Alex Renton, whose family campaigned for better access to the drug which may have improved Alex's quality of life in his final months.

Mr Dunne announced this morning that the substance has potential therapeutic value and yet it is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"At present CBD products for therapeutic use are only available if approval is given by the Ministry of Health," he said in a statement.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced CBD would have restrictions on it use and prescription removed. Source: 1 NEWS

"I have taken advice from the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) that CBD should not be a controlled drug and am pleased Cabinet has now accepted my recommendation to make this change. Therefore, I am now taking steps to remove restrictions accordingly.

"In practical terms, the changes mean CBD would be able to be prescribed by a doctor to their patient and supplied in a manner similar to any other prescription medicine.

"Australia has already taken a similar step while other countries are also responding to emerging evidence that CBD has a low risk of harm when used therapeutically.

"This change is about future-proofing access to CBD products, as the reality is that there will continue to be barriers beyond New Zealand’s control to people accessing such products from overseas.

The changes will remove the requirement for ministerial approval prior to treatment, and for pharmacies, prescribers and wholesalers to have an import licence, special storage areas and to keep controlled drug records and stock keeping.

Prescriptions will be allowed for up to three months' of the drug, rather than one.

Despite that, the Associate Health Minister says the government won't interfere with Pharmac funding decisions.
Source: 1 NEWS

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'New set of memories for a new generation' – five-storey, $92 million library opens in Christchurch

Christchurch's new $92 million central library has opened to the public.

Thousands turned out for a first look through Tūranga, which sits next to Cathedral Square.

The five-storey building expands on the traditional idea of a library, adding robots, recording studios, playgrounds and technology to its wide range of books.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says it could be a much-needed boost for the heart of the city.

"Tūranga will create a new set of memories for a new generation in a way I would never have dreamed as a child. It is much more than a library and I think it’s going to transform the central city," she said

"It's a massive game changer in terms of giving people of all ages and interests a reason to come into the centre of town and giving them an inspirational place to meet, learn, create and discover."

The library was gifted the name by the people of Ngāi Tūāhuriri. Tūranga was the name where their ancestor lived and now reflects the libraries new home in the heart of the city.

It took an extra three years and millions in funding, but Tūranga will change the face of modern-day libraries. Source: 1 NEWS

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NZ sharemarket stages a comeback after more than a week of losses

The New Zealand sharemarket has closed higher after nine days of falls with companies such as A2 Milk, Spark and Mercury leading the recovery.

The benchmark NZX 50 index rose 1.4 per cent to 8,843 with 28 of the index's stocks gaining, 17 lower and five unchanged. 

The index opened nearly 1 per cent lower as it followed another big fall on Wall Street, but RNZ reported early this afternoon that bargain hunters had emerged and helped turn around the battered local market.

The US President said he thinks "the Fed is making a mistake" with interest rate increases. Source: 1 NEWS

It came after US stocks sank more than two per cent on Thursday, the second day of steep declines around the globe driven by concerns about rising interest rates and trade tensions that could slow economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 545 points after dropping 831 points on Wednesday. The two-day loss of 5.3 per cent is the biggest for Dow since February. 

The S&P 500 is also down more than five per cent over the two days and after falling for the past six trading days is almost seven per cent below its September 20 high.

The recent turbulence in financial markets is a contrast to what investors have grown accustomed to in a bull market that has lasted more than 10 years, the longest in history. A hallmark of the past decade has been ultra-low interest rates, which the US Federal Reserve used to promote growth in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

The Fed has been gradually raising interest rates over the past two years, after not having increased them since the recession. Those higher rates have been the catalyst for recent selling, stoking concerns that slower growth would impinge on corporate profits.

The selling on Thursday was widespread. Energy companies sank along with oil prices and CVS lead a rout in health care stocks. Technology companies and retailers, including longtime market favourites Apple, Alphabet and Amazon, extended their recent slide.

"There isn't much of a place to hide right now in the equity market," said Willie Delwiche, an investment strategist at Baird.

Seeking safety, investors bought gold and government bonds. That pushed bond prices up and their yields down, ending a surge in yields that had touched off the market's current decline. But investors found more things to worry about.

There are ongoing concerns about the unresolved trade dispute between the US and China, the world's second-biggest economy.

Strong earnings reports in the coming weeks could soothe investor nerves, but negative comments from company executives about future profits could have the opposite effect. Recently a larger-than-normal number of companies have warned that their third-quarter results could be weaker than analysts expected.

The benchmark S&P 500 index rose in morning trading, but ultimately gave up 57.31 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 2,728.37, its lowest close in three months. The index has declined 6.7 per cent during its current losing streak. That's its steepest downturn since a 10-per cent drop in early February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 545.91 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 25,052.83 after falling as much as 698. The Nasdaq composite skidded 92.99 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 7,329.06. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 30.03 points, or 1.9 per cent, to 1,545.38.

Thursday's losses in the US followed steep declines overseas. Markets in France, Britain and Germany fell after stocks declined sharply in Hong Kong and Japan.

The New Zealand Stock Exchange has been reacting to global turbulence after dramatic falls on Wall St. Source: 1 NEWS


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Search for crewman missing from Sealord ship off Wairarapa coast called off

The search for a crewman who went missing from a Sealord ship yesterday has been called off following deteriorating weather conditions in the area, the company said today in a statement.

The crewman, named as Patahi Rewi Hawaikirangi Kawana Jnr, 25, disappeared from the FV Otakou at mid-morning yesterday.

Sealord were today advised by Maritime New Zealand that the inclement weather contributing to the decision to call off the search at around 4pm.

Maritime New Zealand suspended their search at approximately 8pm yesterday.

Two Sealord vessels remained searching in the area until the early hours of this morning, when the weather conditions made it unsafe to continue.

Next of kin have been notified.

"Sealord is deeply saddened by this tragic event and extends their sympathy and support to the family and friends of Patahi, crew of Otakou and Sealord staff," the company said.

Sealord has begun its own internal investigation into yesterday's incident.

Sealord's Otakou
Sealord's Otakou Source: Sealord


Road closed after large sinkhole found in South Auckland

A South Auckland road has been closed after a large sinkhole opened up.

Manurewa's Alfriston Rd is closed between Saralee Dr and Porchester Rd until further notice after it was discovered around 6pm, Auckland Transport said on Twitter.

An Auckland spokesperson told 1 NEWS the sinkhole is believed to have been caused by a failed water culvert half a metre under the road, but investigators will confirm the exact cause when repair work begins on Monday.

"Contractors will be on-site to conduct traffic control," the agency said.

Alfriston College students have been advised to allow for extra travel time early next week, while all other motorists have been advised to consider using an alternative route or avoid the area if possible.


A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS