'Saying it's a train wreck for Maori and Pasifika is an understatement' - Maori Public Health boss warns NZ can't hit 2025 Smokefree goal

Health sector leaders have told politicians today there is no way the government's goal of being Smokefree by 2025 will be achieved.

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The chief executive for Maori Public Health Lance Norman told a combined Health and Maori Affairs Select Committee this morning: "We will not hit Smokefree 2025 New Zealand… categorically I'm saying that out the front".

Mr Norman told the MPs that's because the rates of smoking remain stubbornly high.

He said 35 per cent of Maori smoke, 25 per cent of Pasifika and 12-13 per cent of all other ethnicities.

"The target is 5 per cent and we are nowhere near that.

"We are currently sitting at about 16 per cent for total population. But when you look at it by ethnicity saying it's a train wreck for Maori and Pasifika is an understatement."

The health leaders gave recommendations on how to lower the rate of smoking, which included making cigarettes illegal by 2025.

Mr Norman said there needed to be an "aggressive supply reduction strategy" which would require legislation to be passed now and cigarettes to be phased out. He suggested dairies should be the first to see them gone.

Some of the other suggestions included fast-tracking better access to vaping and e-cigarette products, and a public awareness campaign around smoking alternatives.

The study found youngsters whose parents smoke can have nicotine levels so high they may as well be smokers.
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Watch: Gripping timelapse shows storm, lightning lashing Oriental Bay last night

Wellington has endured a wild and wintry evening as thunderstorms saw a plane struck by lightning, surface flooding in the CBD, and large hail battering some suburbs.

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A time-lapse video of Oriental Bay overnight captures the storm hitting and repeatedly lashing the city.

The storm which hit the capital yesterday evening moved north to drench much of the North Island overnight. 

Check the full forecast for the upcoming wintry week across the country.  


Woman jailed for three-and-a-half years for organising female associates to smuggle meth-filled condoms from Hawaii into NZ

A 49-year-old woman was sentenced today for organising associates to smuggle methamphetamine in condoms inside their bodies from Hawaii, at the end of 2015. 

A statement from Customs New Zealand said they began investigating Shimaine Riviere who has both New Zealand and American citizenship, in October 2015. 

A 10-year study just released shows P is getting cheaper and easier to acquire.
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"Two of her associates left for Hawaii in mid-December 2015, and Customs officers were waiting when they returned through Auckland International Airport a week later," the statement said.

"A baggage and body search did not reveal any drugs, but it was determined they were both concealing the methamphetamine internally."

About 224 grams of methamphetamine with a street value between $44,800-$224,000 was said to be hidden in double-layered condoms. 

Riviere was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court to three and a half years' jail. 

The two female associates had been setenced to home detention in 2016 and 2017, the statement said. 

Customs Investigations Manager Bruce Berry said: "There are obvious health risks associated with this method of concealment and internal drug couriers put their lives in danger."

"If one of the packages were to burst, it would be fatal."