Video: Jacinda Ardern fawns over police pup – 'You I would take home in a second!'

A police puppy named Hana was treated to pats and compliments from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, as she attended the police and custom dog graduation in Porirua today. 

"You I would take home in a second," she said to Hana, who has not yet completed her training. 

Ms Ardern presented the dog and police officer with their graduation certificate, with a dog named 'Skudder' after New Zealand rugby star Nehe Milner-Skudder, up first. 

"You're such a vital force for us," Ms Ardern said during her speech. 

Ms Ardern, who came from a policing family, finished her speech saying, "I hope you don't mind if I always continue to see myself as a member of your wider family."

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

It's a step back from the Green Party's policy to make te reo compulsory in schools. Source: 1 NEWS

After the graduation, Ms Ardern spoke to the media about her view on Donald Trump's move to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and the possibility of compulsory Te Reo Maori education in schools. 

Watch the full clip here. 

The daughter of a policeman, the PM says she still considers herself part of the policing family during police and custom dog graduation. Source: 1 NEWS

Volkswagen manager sentenced to seven years prison over emissions scandal

A judge has sentenced a Volkswagen senior manager to seven years in prison today, for covering up a scheme to evade pollution limits on US diesel vehicles, calling it an astonishing fraud on American consumers.

Oliver Schmidt, who is the second person to be sent to prison over the scandal, was dispatched to the US from Germany in 2015 to meet with suspicious California regulators.

But he didn't disclose rogue software that had long fooled authorities into believing that VW was meeting emissions rules on nearly 600,000 vehicles.

He also misled American investigators and destroyed documents.

"I'm sure, based upon common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine — to climb the corporate ladder at VW," U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said. "Your goal was to impress senior management."

The judge called Schmidt, who had led VW's engineering and environmental office in Michigan for three years, a "key conspirator" in the deception.

"Without trust in corporate America," Cox said, "the economy can't function."

The diesel vehicles were programmed to trigger certain pollution results only during testing, not during regular road use. The plan was hatched in 2006, and the vehicles were marketed as "clean diesel." Justice Department prosecutor Ben Singer called it the "height of irony."

Schmidt, 48, was arrested in Miami in January while trying to return to Germany after a vacation. He's been in custody without bond.

"For the disruption of my life, I only have to blame myself. ... I accept the responsibility for the wrong I committed," Schmidt told the judge.

Engineer James Liang cooperated with the FBI and was sentenced to 40 months in prison last summer.

Six others at VW or Audi were charged, but they are in Germany and out of reach of US authorities. Among them is Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who was described as Schmidt's boss. He was head of engine development and, later, VW brand development.

VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March and agreed to pay $US4.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties on top of billions more to buy back cars.

Schmidt's lawyer, David DuMouchel, argued that his sentence should be identical to Liang's, noting that his role only heated up in 2015 in the last months of the scheme.

But Judge Singer noted that Schmidt still was a major player at key events and purposely "lied and deceived."

"He could have made a lot of different choices," Judge Singer said.

Volkswagen New Zealand’s General Manager Tom Ruddenklau says he’s disappointed with the company’s deception. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: 'Lethargic' sperm whale spotted drifting in Raglan Harbour

A male sperm whale has delighted onlookers after making an appearance in a Waikato harbour this afternoon.

The Department of Conservation and the harbourmaster were concerned the whale might drift onto the shore of the nearby Wainamu Beach, but it has since left the harbour and is presently heading further out to sea.

Raglan Kayak and Paddleboard owner Stephen Reid told Fairfax he raced down to the water with his paddleboard after hearing the news. 

"It was pretty emotional. I had an internal cry," he said.

"It looked like it was just drifting, it never dived down, but would pop its head up now and then and blow its spout," Mr Reid said.

Marine life charity group Project Jonah posted to Facebook today: "The whale is a mature sperm whale and is looking very lethargic."