Total ban on cell phones in NZ schools 'very difficult', Principals Federation says, as France cracks down

The President of the NZ Principals Federation Whetu Cormick says introducing a total ban on students having cell phones at school, like what is happening in France, is unlikely in New Zealand.

France is introducing an outright ban on mobile phones at schools starting this month, in what they called a "detox" law for a generation increasingly reliant on screens.

The ban in France will last until pupils are aged about 15.

Mr Cormick, speaking this morning on TVNZ 1's Breakfast, said most schools in New Zealand already have a policy around when pupils can and can't use mobile phones.

"In terms of whether this type of ban would happen in New Zealand - I doubt it would," Mr Cormick said.

"I think they'd find it very, very difficult."

Mr Cormick said many schools, including his own, required pupils to hand over their cell phones if they were brought to school, and they would get them back at the end of the day.

He said some parents are still keen for their child to have a cell phone to keep in touch, but Mr McCormick said his view was that if parents needed to contact children, or vica versa, this could go through the school office.

The curriculum being taught today is also increasingly digital, Mr Cormick said, and it would be important to differentiate in any ban between casual cell phones and digital devices used to learn.

"We live in a digital age now and we have a digital curriculum that the government is asking schools to implement," Mr Cormick said.

"At the moment we don't have enough digital devices to realise that vision ... in many instances schools are asking young people to bring their own device to school."

Mr Cormick said it was always worthwhile for parents to think about the screen time their children are getting, as some research showed too much could be detrimental, especially at young ages when the brain is still developing.

Whetu Cormick’s comments come in response to France’s nationwide ban on pupils having mobile devices at school. Source: Breakfast



One person dead after crash in Bay of Plenty

One person is dead after a crash in the Kaimai Ranges, Bay of Plenty, this afternoon.

Police say the crash was reported to emergency services shortly after 2pm on SH29, Old Kaimai Road.

One person was killed in the crash.

Diversions will be in place for some time, and motorists are ask to delay travel if possible.


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


'Wow what an experience!' Rare Hector's dolphins delight boaties in Golden Bay

A pod of three rare Hector's dolphins has thrilled people on a boat in Golden Bay, swimming around the vessel.

A Golden Bay boatie captured footage of the pod swimming in front of the boat as well as underwater and provided the video to conservation organisation Forest & Bird anonymously.

The vision shows one dolphin swimming fast in front of the boat, followed by shots of it underwater before all three dolphins come into view in front of the vessel.

'Wow what an experience!" a man on the boat is heard saying.

Forest & Bird says the footage of the rare dolphins has locals worried the resident dolphins could be killed in set and trawl nets.

While delighted by the find, Forest and Bird is worried about their future, due to a lack of protection in Golden Bay. Source: 1 NEWS

“Golden Bay Hector’s are much more important that we previously thought,” Forest & Bird marine specialist Anton van Helden said.

“These small populations with little or no protection from human impacts such as fishing nets need our attention.

"Little pods like these ones in Golden Bay could be genetic 'stepping stone' groups between larger populations, like those on the east and west of the South Island," he said.

A pod of Hector's was killed last year in a set net near Bank’s Peninsula, and 200 fluttering shearwaters were reportedly found in a single set net in Auckland earlier this year.

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Fake 1080 pellets and dead birds left on Parliament steps

Fake 1080 pellets and dead birds were placed on the steps of Parliament today by Ban 1080 protesters. 

The fake 1080, which was said to contain porridge, was scattered on the steps of Parliament in Wellington. 

1 NEWS was told by protesters from the West Coast that the dead birds were collected over time, then left on the top step of Parliament. 

Environment Minister David Parker spoke to the protesters, and said he affirmed their right to protest. 

Senior Sergeant Braydon Lenihan said police attended the protest today, which comes after a large protest on Saturday by anti-1080 demonstrators, who wrote their message in chalk across the fence and grounds at the front of Parliament. 

"Following on from the good interaction between protesters and police on the weekend, no one was arrested and Police did not need to intervene at any stage," he said. 

Director-General for DOC Mervyn English said he respected people's right to protest, however there was "significant science behind the safe use of 1080 and its effectiveness in reducing predators that kill our native wildlife in the wilderness".

"During August, DOC staff have faced more abuse than normal," he said. "There have been eight incidents where staff have been physically confronted, abused and harassed. There have been seven incidents of abusive phone calls or emails. There have been countless incidents of social media threats and abuse."

The DOC, OSPRI (TBFree NZ), Federated Farmers, Forest and Bird and WWF-NZ back the use of the pesticide, calling 1080 an "effective, safe and valuable tool in the fight to protect New Zealand's forests and native birds, bats, insects and lizards".

"1080 is saving our birds, plants and insects. We have a choice between rats, stoats and possums or our unique native species. The situation is urgent and we have a predator crisis," Mr English said. 

Fake 1080
Workers picking up fake 1080 pellets left on the steps of Parliament. Source: 1 NEWS


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Watch: Jacinda Ardern says Simon Bridges is 'jealous' of Government during heated exchange over starting wage

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said National leader Simon Bridges is "jealous" of the Government, during a heated exchange over the starting wage in Parliament's Question Time today.

Mr Bridges was seeking clarification on whether the starting wage (also known as the youth rate) would be abolished in October, after he said a press statement from Iain Lees-Galloway in December stated this would be the case.

Ms Ardern didn't answer the question directly, instead giving a passionate defence of her Government's processes.

"It's clear that we have established policy between this coalition Government that is set out in the public domain, everything else goes through a Cabinet process.

"Now I know the member continues to be jealous that he is not on this side of the House in the position to make the changes that this Government has made and that we have achieved in one year more than that government achieved in nine, but we stick to a process," she said.

National's deputy leader Paula Bennett could then be heard saying that "the fairy dust has settled" before Mr Bridges continued to press the Prime Minister.

"So when Iain Lees-Galloway said in December in a ministerial press statement that we will abolish starting out wages by October 2018 was that just a personal commitment?" he asked.

Ms Ardern answered again that the coalition Government follows a process, saying Mr Bridges might find it hard to understand how three parties can work together.

"So can we no longer believe ministerial press statements unless they are signed off by Mr Peters?" Mr Bridges replied.

"No, ridiculous," was Ms Ardern's brief response.

The starting-out wage applies solely to workers aged between 16 and 19 and who are entering the workforce for the first time and is currently set at $13.20 per hour.