Stink bug poses major threat to NZ's fruit industry sparking call for extra vigilance

A kiwifruit biosecurity organisation is urging extra vigilance this spring for an invasive insect posing a major threat to New Zealand's fruit industry.

The brown marmorated stink bug has wreaked havoc in Europe and a border breach in this country could be catastrophic.

The Asian native has spread to 14 countries across Europe and in the US. It breeds fast, damages crops and also infests homes.

While not established in New Zealand, 147 of the bugs were intercepted last season and the pest poses a risk to many different species.

"It eats about 300 different plant species, so our native plants as well as our productive plants," said Barry O'Neil, Kiwifruit Vine Health chief executive.

If an outbreak were to occur here, harvests would be hammered and growers also left facing big eradication jobs.

Kiwifruit Vine Heath says people can help by following three simple steps. If you happen to stumble across the brown marmorated stink bug catch it, snap it on camera, and it report it to the Ministry for Primary Industries.

"We're talking billions of dollars. So stink bug has the potential to be a really significant horticultural pest. There's probably not a single thing grown in New Zealand for sale that it would not affect," said Catherine Duthie of MPI.

The ministry says it has stringent measures in place, including a sniffer dog to find a stinky bug that could leave more than a bad smell in the air.

The invasive insect wreaked in Europe and a border breach could be catastrophic. Source: 1 NEWS



PM pulls out of weekend media appearances due to 'diary issue'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pulled out of two weekend media appearances due to a "diary issue". 

Ms Ardern's appearances on TVNZ's Q+A and Newshub Nation were cancelled this weekend. 

"There's been a bit of a diary issue in my team. That's something they've worked through.

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, which saw Clare Curran resign from her Ministerial positions and MP Meka Whitiri stand down while an investigation is pending, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not". 

"There's no question I remain very much available for comment on any issue of the day."

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not". Source: 1 NEWS


$3m spent by Government on two education summits

The Government spent $3 million on two education summits, with 1400 people attending the events to discuss making the NZ "education system fit for the future and for the needs of all", said Education Minister Chris Hipkins. 

A paper was released today on the findings of the summits, which included the identification of values in the education system, finding a shared vision and to enable the Minister to be provided with "well-founded and challenging reccommendations" through a broad engagement approach. 

The Tomorrow's Schools Review, the Early Learning Strategic Plan and the NCEA Review were "drawing on those ideas and suggestions to inform their work on the changes". 

"The summits put special emphasis on inviting the voices and communities not usually heard in the education debate, ensuring they could attend. The events were specifically designed for a different style of engagement which enabled an open-ended and genuine exchange of ideas," Mr Hipkins said. 

The two summits were held in May, with about 1400 people in total attending. The Christchurch summit cost $1.41m and Auckland cost $1.26m, with $440,000 spent to design and develop the summits. 

It comes after the Government faced criticism over the cost of its Justice Summit held last month, aimed at overhauling the country's prison system, which cost $1.5 million - more than twice the amount budgeted.

The summit aimed at overhauling what Labour says is a "broken" system blew is budget. Source: 1 NEWS

National's education spokesperson Nikki Kaye told 1 NEWS that "most New Zealanders would be very supportive of ensuring the education sector are involved in policy discussions about the future of our education system".

"However, this needs to be done in a fiscally responsible way and I am concerned that there are anywhere between 13 to 20 reviews at the moment in education and the summits have been expensive.

"I think the Minister needs to demonstrate in the future that he can provide some efficiencies in the way that we are having these conversations, because quite rightly there will be teachers and principals out there saying that should be spent on front line education rather than just on consultation."

Speaking on TVNZ 1’s Q+A, Chris Hipkins said teachers also need to committ to the process.
Source: 1 NEWS

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‘Never have I ever heard Winston Peters request a question in writing’- 1 NEWS political team bemused by Deputy PM’s response to grilling

The Crown-Māori Relations portfolio has caused a headache for the coalition Government, after the influence of Winston Peters appears to have put heat on the Prime Minister and hampered announcements and the passing of legislation.

1 NEWS understood disagreements within the coalition forced Labour to abandon announcing detail of its Crown-Māori Relations portfolio earlier this week.

Mr Peters was unwilling to answer questions about the matter and when asked by 1 NEWS if NZ First vetoed the establishment of an agency for the Crown-Maori portfolio in the Ministry of Justice, he replied: "Well look I can't answer that question 'cause I don't have any recall of that."

The influence of Winston Peters is also believed to be putting the Prime Minister under pressure from rival MPs. Source: 1 NEWS

"Send me a written question, I'll give you an answer because I'm not going to do it off the top of my head. I don't have a very present recall of that."

On Inside Parliament this week, 1 NEWS reporter Maiki Sherman said she thought Mr Peters "had the memory of an elephant". 

"Never, have I ever heard Winston Peters request a question in writing. For him to say that he couldn't remember what happened just two days earlier, on quite a crucial issue, I knew there was smoke, and there was fire there."

Fellow reporter Benedict Collins said it was just "one of a string of events where NZ First appears to have pulled the rug out of Labour's feet at the very last minute". 

"It has to be embarrassing," Ms Sherman said. 

A weekly catch up with our political reporters about the stories they have been covering. Source: 1 NEWS

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Is there trouble in coalition paradise? The Inside Parliament reporters discuss the developments. Source: 1 NEWS


Who is South Auckland's rogue zebra crossing painter?

A mysterious pedestrian crossing painter has struck again after a rogue zebra crossing popped up outside a South Auckland school - the second such occurrence at the school over the past year.

Patumahoe Primary School principal Jade Tawhiti spoke to TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning about the latest incident.

"The first one was in, I think it was November last year and it was quite a good job, that one - looked like a mini roller, pretty good white lines," he siad. "And they were actually good from the footpath when you're viewing them, but when you drove down the road, they were all over the show.

"It was quite funny at the time, but sort of when you thought about the safety implications of that, it wasn't so funny."

Mr Tawhiti said after the first incident, "Auckland Transport came rushing here (and) tore shreds out of our staff, sort of thinking that we did it".

He said Auckland Transport painted over the lines with blank paint, but the second time "someone's gone and used a spray can and spray painted the zebra lines".

A pedestrian crossing does need to be installed outside the school, the principal said, explaining that there are "a few variables" in place making it difficult to cross the road safely.

"(There's) high speeds from locals and passersby and there's a couple of funny corners and bends which create low visibility, and a few issues for kids crossing and parents," he said.

However, he says homemade paint jobs could be dangerous for students due to the confusion over whether or not it is safe to cross.

"At the end of the day, it creates confusion, so if you've got white lines and kids assuming it's a legal, proper pedestrian crossing, they're going to walk," he said. "As it stands now, it's what they call a care crossing, which actually has to be manned by patrollers or monitors, and we have the swinigng arms."

Auckland Transport spokesperson Mark Hannan said a real zebra crossing will be installed outside Patumahoe School by March or April of next year.
 

Patumahoe Primary School principal Jade Tawhiti spoke to Breakfast this morning about the incident. Source: 1 NEWS