Watch: First video of Barack Obama and John Key strolling side by side while golfing at Northland's Kauri Cliffs course

The first vision has emerged of Barack Obama and John Key strolling leisurely side by side along the Kauri Cliffs golf course in Northland today.

While the shots are taken from a distance, the former US President can be seen in a green golfing top, with Key having opted for a black number.

Judging by his reaction it was a narrow miss by the former US President. Source: 1 NEWS

It is believed the pair, along with Key's son Max, and millionaire Kiwi businessman Craig Heatley are playing 18 holes today.

Mr Obama is playing golf at the exclusive Northland location. Source: 1 NEWS

Footage taken by 1 NEWS shows Obama taking a putt and judging by his reaction he only narrowly missed it, with a companion picking up the ball next to the hole for a gimme.

On his first visit to New Zealand the former US President is at the Northland location. Source: 1 NEWS

Following the golf, it is understood President Obama will be staying at the Northland luxury lodge The Landing.

The former US President is enjoying a beautiful summer's day in Northland. Source: 1 NEWS

Farmers fear summer El Nino drought as Spring rains wipe out lamb stocks

Farmers across the North Island counting the cost of a wild start to spring, with thousands of lambs lost due to heavy rain, may soon have another problem to contend with.

Their attention has turned to the coming summer, with those on the East Coast concerned a predicted El Nino weather pattern could bring drought, turning the green hills bone dry.

"It's a matter of making decisions early and keeping an eye on it, a drought normally happens slowly, and you've got some time to get used adapt to it," Federated Farmers Jim Galloway says.

The warning comes as some Hawke's Bay farmers have reported losing nearly 30 per cent of their flocks due to recent heavy unseasonal rain.

Farmer Ben Crosse told 1 NEWS that he lost around 750 of his new-borns.

"New-born lambs are very vulnerable, particularly in the young ewes who are having their first lamb and are a bit more hesitant.

"The lamb birth weight's lighter, so it takes the first-born lamb a wee while to get a drink, and they sometimes can't get going in the rain," Mr Crosse said.

After a wet start, it could be a long hot summer ahead for many New Zealand lambs.

Some Hawke’s Bay farmers have reported losing nearly 30 per cent of their flock. Source: 1 NEWS


Clever kea using tools to raid traps

A native bird famous for its mischievious behaviour has now figured out how to use tools, researchers have found.

Researchers have found that world's only alpine parrot - the kea - in the South Island's Murchison Mountains is using sticks to get food out of stoat trap boxes.

The findings by Gavin Hunt and Mat Goodman have been printed in the Scientific Reports Journal.

The pair found that over a 30-month period, 227 different traps had been raided using sticks across the ranges, which indicated many kea were responsible.

The trapping is part of a Department of Conservation operation to protect Takahe.

From 2002 to 2009 the traps were untouched, but then trappers began to notice the boxes tipped upside down. Some had stones in them and a growing number had sticks in them.

"It's an incredible amount of tool-using," Mr Hunt, an ecologist, said.

Trail cameras were set up and filmed a kea probing a trap-box with sticks.

It is the first evidence of non-humans using a tool in the country.

Mr Hunt said it would have taken many years for kea to develop the technique.

"It seems to be unique... a non-tool using bird having such extensive tool using behaviour and repeatedly using tools over many years."

"It shows the kea has high general intelligence to invent the tool use and keep using the tools to get the eggs out of the trap-boxes."

This suggests how cognitively demanding its been for the birds to figure out the technique, which shows its intelligence, he said.

It may be more difficult to invent tool use in the wild because the natural food is better hidden and more demanding to find, he said.

Having a situation where the food is sitting in a box and easier to see and reach could have encouraged the birds to invent the tool, the research suggests.

Kea are known to have used tools while in captivity but not in the wild, Mr Hunt said.

He said this makes kea one of the better candidates for New Zealand's "smartest bird".

Further research is now needed to discover if kea can use the tool to hunt for legitimate sources of food in its natural environment, he said.

Forest and Bird estimate less than 7000 kea remain.
Source: 1 NEWS


Rising gang numbers in Gore part of a 'planned effort by the Mongrel Mob' - council

A Southland community's plan to tackle growing gang and drug issues has been welcomed by a leading gang expert.

The Gore District Council is proposing patch bans, increased police visibility and a rural gun security campaign as part of a report tabled for a council meeting tonight.

A report from the council's social capacity and health co-ordinator Bernadette Hunt has been tabled for the meeting called in response to growing community concern about increasing gang numbers.

In the report, Ms Hunt said it was part of a "co-ordinated, planned effort by the Mongrel Mob" to grow its southern presence.

University of Canterbury sociologist Jarrod Gilbert said a collaborative community approach was more likely to make a difference when facing gang issues.

"Any time a community takes an approach that doesn't just rely on the police, although they have an important role to play, but looks to take community initiatives to deal with these types of issues, I think you are going to have far greater success," Dr Gilbert said.

He said the council was taking a mature response to a complex issue.

About $9,200 has been earmarked for initiatives which include establishing a patch ban in retail areas, a meth awareness conference, responsible alcohol programmes and domestic violence campaigns.

Eastern Southland area response manager Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley said police worked collaboratively with community leaders to ensure the public was safe.

"The safety of our community is a priority and everyone has a part to play in this," Ms Fairley said.

"Criminal behaviour by anyone in our community will not be tolerated and anyone who has concerns about crime in their neighbourhood should report it to police immediately."

A Mongrel Mob patch

Most read: Some KiwiBuild apartments redesigned after being too small for banks to lend on

This story was first published on Tuesday September 18.

The Housing Minister is calling it a one off and says it’s no big deal. Source: 1 NEWS

Inquiries from 1 NEWS have led to some KiwiBuild apartments being redesigned because they're too small for banks to lend on.

The 25 apartments announced last week at the 340 Onehunga development in Auckland are to be the first KiwiBuild apartments sold off the plans.

However, the six $380,000 KiwiBuild studio apartments were just 39.2sqm in size.

That's below the minimum 40sqm that major banks insist upon for buyers with KiwiBuild sized deposits.

After 1 NEWS made inquiries into the matter, the developer scrambled last night and adjusted the floor plans of the studio apartments.

The developer now says the apartments will meet the 40sqm criteria.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford told 1 NEWS today the incident is "no big deal".

"No look, it's no big deal, it's a very, very, small difference in the floor area, actually the apartments now are going to be slightly bigger," Mr Twyford says.

Loanmarket Director and mortgage broker Bruce Patten can't understand how it happened.

"The minimum size that a lender will lend money on an apartment has been 40sqm for some time.

"It's interesting they make these assumptions without approaching the people who are going to be funding it," Mr Patten says.

National MP Judith Collins says Mr Twyford should be embarrassed for not getting the details right.

"This is a blunder alright, but then most of what KiwiBuild has been, has been a bit of a blunder," Ms Collins says.

1 NEWS understands the plans for the six studio apartments are now being revised.