Video: Auckland's rail operator calls train worker strike 'disappointing and premature'

Auckland's rail operator says the strike action planned by workers tomorrow is "disappointing and premature".

The industrial action means the 30,000 Aucklanders who commute on trains will have to find alternative transport.

The worker's union is protesting a plan that'll introduce driver only trains, which are already used in several places overseas including Melbourne, London, and France.

The rail operator Transdev says it calls the system driver-door operations.

"Because 'driver-only operations' suggests there's only one person on board that train,"  says Transdev Managing Director, Michel Ladral. "That's not the case".

Maori wardens and transport officers would still be on carriages at times, with security guards at stations.

But the Rail and Maritime Transport Union believes the system will put lives in danger.

Transdev is frustrated with this, as it says rigorous testing and discussion is still ongoing.

"We are half way through and they are already calling this strike," says Mr Ladral. He also says the union has been asked to work with them during the testing process.

"If they had said to me 'we're worried about jobs' then we would fully understand," he said.

Commuters across Auckland are advised to allow extra time for travel tomorrow.

Auckland Transport chief transport services officer Mark Lambert said: "Roads will be busier tomorrow".

"We're looking at putting additional capacity on key bus routes, but unfortunately due to the short notice of the strike action and the sheer volume of train service affected we haven’t been able to put on alternative bus services for those rail services," he said.

If possible Auckland Transport is encouraging people to ride share, travel at alternative times of the day, or work from home.

The rail workers will be striking for 24 hours from 2am tomorrow.

Commuters across Auckland are advised to allow extra time for travel tomorrow or work from home if possible. Source: 1 NEWS

Jacinda Ardern critical of Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital saying 'this will make things difficult'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern criticised the United States' move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying she has "no doubt this will make things difficult". 

President Donald Trump announced the shifting of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, despite intense Arab, Muslim and European opposition that would upend decades of US policy and risk potentially violent protests.

Ms Ardern said New Zealand has always supported a two state solution.

"The way Jerusalem is defined is an issue that needs to be resolved within the context of resolution of issues between Israel and Palestine," she said today. 

When asked if she thought it was a step towards peace or a step backwards she said, "this won't take us further".

Its director is now calling for the New Zealand government to do the same. Source: 1 NEWS

"Our view is that Jerusalem and issues around Jerusalem's religious sites need to be resolved within the context of establishing that two state solution."

It comes after the US recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Source: 1 NEWS


'This is a social and economic disaster for the country' - Phil Twyford hits out over housing report

The dire state of the housing market has been laid out to the new minister in charge in official documents today.

One hundred and seventy Briefings to Incoming Ministers – from every government department – were made public today.

The housing briefings describe the market as "sub-optimal" and says a shortfall of housing in the private market is creating increasing financial stress and poverty for many, across the country.

Demand for state housing increased by 72 per cent between September 2015 and September this year.

And it says the under-supply of housing is contributing to higher house prices, dragging down productivity potential and increasing government costs.

"High house prices…transfer wealth from younger and less wealthy people to existing landowners, who are generally richer and older," the report states.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford criticised the past government today after receiving the report. 

"The picture that emerges from the briefings … there is a massive level of un-met demand.. the fact the government has been spending $100,000 a day on motels."

He said he did not think it was an "anomaly". 

"It reflects a housing market that has been getting significantly worse since 2010/2011. We've inherited a mess, this is a social and economic disaster for the country it is quite complex."

He said he was shocked to see there was a housing shortfall across New Zealand of 71,000. 

However previous Housing Minister Nick Smith defended the previous government's stance on housing.

"In my period as minister we grew the number of houses in New Zealand from 14,000 a year to 31,000 a year," he said. 

"It's about as fast as you grow the housing sector."

The documents also outline the pressure the health system is under – and says it needs to operate very differently if it is to continue to deliver for New Zealanders.

The new information comes in a briefing to the new Housing Minister, Phil Twyford. Source: 1 NEWS