Watch: Winston Peters looks back at 25 years of New Zealand First with 1 NEWS political editor Jess Mutch

Winston Peters has given a revealing interview looking back at 25 years of New Zealand First with 1 NEWS political editor Jess Mutch today.

Among other things Mr Peters addressed was how the party has survived and his long running stoush with the media.

"The main reason [it has lasted so long] is we have kept faith in what we originally started with, the belief that ordinary people would be strong enough without resources to maintain the party.

New Zealand’s third-largest political party is celebrating its 25th birthday. Source: 1 NEWS

"We survived because we didn't need big business money, we got very little of it, but we had a thing that's far more important - sheer commitment from people on the ground," Mr Peters said.

Watch what else he had to say in the full interview embedded above.

Mr Peters addressed how the party has survived and his long-running stoush with the media. Source: 1 NEWS


Jacinda Ardern says moving Australia's Israeli embassy to Jerusalem won't help peace talks in the region

The shifting of Australia's Israel embassy to Jerusalem would not help peace talks in the region, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed he's considering following United States President Donald Trump's lead by relocating Australia's embassy from Tel Aviv.

His New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, told reporters today that while she was waiting for official confirmation of the proposed move and couldn't comment directly, any such move was not helpful for talks in the region.

"We support a two-state solution and our view has been that any shift in representation, in the way we saw with the United States, does not move us closer to that peaceful resolution," she said.

The vast majority of countries voted against Donald Trump's move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, NZ included. Source: 1 NEWS

President Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries if they vote to condemn the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern was earlier this year critical of the US move, describing it as a step backwards for peace.

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


DOC to begin tahr control to reduce population numbers by 10,000 in South Island

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is set to begin tahr control this week following the release of its operational plan outlining how it will work with the hunting sector to reduce tahr numbers in the central South Island.

The Himalayan tahr population on public conservation land alone totals more than 35,000, DOC monitoring has found.

The Tahr Control Operational Plan was developed following a recent meeting with representatives of the Tahr Liaison Group, and includes ideas from the hunting sector on the best way to decrease their numbers over time.

Officials say tahr numbers have to be limited to protect the landscape. Source: 1 NEWS

DOC's acting lead director for tahr control, David Agnew, said, "By the end of August next year, DOC aims to reduce the tahr population on public conservation land by 10,000".

Heavy browsing and trampling by mobs of tahr can damage, and potentially wipe out, the native plants they feed on, including tall tussocks and the Aoraki/Mt Cook buttercup.

"With the support of the hunting sector, DOC aims to remove 6000 animals from public conservation land between now and mid-November," Mr Agnew said.

DOC is expected to begin aerial control on Thursday.

The results of the initial operation will be reviewed alongside the Tahr Liaison Group in December.

The cull has been opposed by some, with thousands getting behind moves to challenge the decision in court. 

NZ Tahr Foundation spokesperson Willie Duley told Breakfast last month that he questioned the science behind DOC's plans, and said it was "nothing short of eradication."

A NZ Hunter spokesperson Willie Duley told Breakfast about the damage a proposed cull would inflict. Source: Breakfast

Fair Go: English test holding teachers back, prompts petition

At Bizzykids Early Childhood Learning centre in South Auckland, the children are just finishing a lesson counting in te reo before heading over to the story mat. 

Their teacher, Razia, quickly engages them in a tale of an angry bear and his quest for honey. 

Razia is on a quest of her own too, and like the bear, she's angry.

She wants to be registered as an Early Childhood Teacher.

It's been three years now since she achieved her Bachelor's degree with flying colours here in Auckland and she feels stuck.

Stuck on $18 an hour, rather than at least $23 an hour that she'd get as a registered teacher.

Stuck in the position of being unqualified which means she can't be promoted, and she can't even open or close the centre where she works by herself. 

Razia's problem is that she was born in Fiji, where English isn't the first language, so she has an additional requirement to pass an English Language test before she can get her registration.

To listen to Razia, you wouldn't think this was much of a barrier.

She chats away in good English, throws in typical kiwi expressions, and with the children she also speaks in te reo.

Despite this, Razia, and many others like her, are at breaking point.

Despite taking the test repeatedly, she's narrowly failing to get the marks she needs. Razia has scored the required level of 7 in her reading, speaking and listening every time. In writing though, she repeatedly gets 6.5. Her biggest frustration is that the tests are never returned so she never knows where she's going wrong. "Are you losing point five from grammar? or spelling? or not putting things in the right paragraph?" Razia is never sure, and the costs keep mounting. Each test is $385. Razia has taken the test five times. She's also spent a whopping $14,000 on tutoring over three years. She says she can't face taking the test again and is considering leaving the profession to find work that is better paid. 

The testing is set by the Teaching Council of New Zealand. They use four tests designed and assessed abroad. The most popular is the IELTS test as it's easily accessible, but many involved in Early Childhood Education question whether the tests used are the right ones. IELTS was designed in Britain some thirty years ago. It has been updated, but many still believe it's too hard, and that a New Zealand specific test would be better. It's fair to say everyone involved in Early Childhood Education wants high standards, but not at the cost of losing good teachers. In fact, a petition has been started which now has nearly 700 signatures asking for a change to the current testing practice. 

If we go back to Razia, it does seem a little crazy. She was educated in English where she grew up in Fiji. She came to New Zealand, and did her Bachelor's degree in Auckland in English. She can't understand how her language isn't good enough, after all the reports, essays and speeches she has completed, along with three years using English in her daily work. One parent at the centre said "from day one, I remember Razia being the best in the classroom with my daughter Harper. Personally, I think [the testing] is a little ridiculous, she is more than capable. I don't think an English test improves her ability at all."

The Teaching Council stands by the fact that it has a responsibly to maintain standards, but does admit IELTS can be frustrating for some, especially regarding tests not being returned. Rex Smith, Team Leader of Registration, says they have been listening to the profession and are now looking at alternative tests. They're also considering working with Colleges that provide tertiary education to get them more involved in ensuring high standards of English Language as people begin their degree.

This is all very good news. But it's too late for Razia. When we got involved in her plight, her employers at Bizzykids were trying one last ditch attempt at getting her registered. They'd put together a dossier of testimonials from parents, teachers and staff, all praising Razia for her command of English, along with records of all her qualifications. Thankfully this story has a happy ending. Whether it was down to the dossier, or to Fair Go's involvement, we're very happy to report that just before Fair Go went to air, Razia was called to say her registration application had been granted, without her having to re-sit the test.

An over-joyed Razia couldn't quite believe it.

"There were lots of tears! This is a big, big achievement. Thank you to everyone who supported me, and thanks to Fair Go for showing how people are struggling with their career."

It seems we have too many school children and not enough teachers. Source: Fair Go