'We’re behind the eight-ball' – health professor says NZ should follow UK ban on sale of energy drinks to teens

A Kiwi health professor has accused the government and retail industry of being "behind the eight ball" when it comes to protecting teens form sugary energy drinks.

Otago University Professor of public health Tony Blakely applauded the upcoming ban by UK supermarkets on the sale of high caffeine and sugar energy drinks to those under the age of 16.

"It's fascinating, yes it is about time, but the UK's several years ahead of us on the whole sugar drinks scenario, things are unfolding rapidly, we're behind the eight ball here now," Professor Blakely told TVNZ 1's Breakfast. 

In the UK, there is regulation both from the government, who is enforcing a sugar tax as of April 1, and the supermarkets who are implementing their own energy drink restrictions.

Professor Blakely said the motivation from UK supermarkets to place their own ban on the sale of "crap" sugary drinks to kids was intriguing because it seemed to fly in the face of their corporate interests.

But he stopped short of saying the move was purely morally driven.

"It's very interesting, they may have done a social responsibility thing, but I'm sure they did the calculations too on the maths here and there's probably a strong incentive for them to do it because the consumer will support it," Professor Blakely said.

"They don't want kids buying this stuff and they realise society's changing and it's time they got in behind and did some of the leadership as well."

However, Professor Blakely wasn't confident similar restrictions would follow in New Zealand.

"Could this happen in New Zealand? Not sure, it would require Progressive (Enterprises) and Foodstuffs to do it simultaneously probably, but legally as I understand it could happen here if the supermarkets chose to do it," he said.

Otago University Professor of public health Tony Blakely says kids shouldn’t be drinking “crap” sugary energy drinks. Source: Breakfast



Christchurch City Council gives $220 million covered multi-use arena the green light

Christchurch City Council has voted in favour of using $220 million for a multi-use arena - with a roof - in the central city.

After a lengthy discussion, the city officials voted to take the money from the Governments $300 million Capital Acceleration Fund.

The majority of the Government’s $300 million regeneration fund will go towards the stadium, but not everyone is happy with the move. Source: 1 NEWS

The Crusaders Super Rugby team are among those who will benefit from the project, after years of enduring their chilly temporary stadium in Addington.

"It's not going to be in my lifetime playing, but awesome to take the kids along to concerts and rugby," Crusaders captain Kieran Read said in June. "It's great to the whole community down there - it's a rugby stadium but it's more than that. It's for the Christchurch community so it'll be great."

The arena renews hope that Christchurch won't again be snubbed for All Blacks Tests and major crowd-pullers like Ed Sheeran.

Four options for the stadium have been shortlisted. Source: 1 NEWS

City officials decided to parcel out the other $80 million of the Capital Acceleration Fund to the Avon Rover Red Zone green spine and to transportation projects.

"We can't afford not to build a stadium," developer Richard Peebles told councillors today, according to Stuff.

He described the decision as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"If you don't build the multi-purpose arena in the CBD you will have lots more restaurants and bars closing," he said. "We need our engine running smoothly and we need it running well, and our CBD is that engine."

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

But not all agreed, with protestors calling for the money to be spent on "warm dry homes for our kids".

The key message is a new sports arena should not only have a roof, but also a retractable playing field. Source: 1 NEWS


Man charged after loaded gun pointed at Auckland police officers fails to fire during violent late night incident

A man faces multiple charges after a loaded gun was aimed at police officers in Auckland last night.

Police allege the man presented a cut-down rifle at the officers and pulled the trigger twice but it did not discharge as the safety catch was on.

The incident happened in Atkinson Ave, Otahuhu at around 9.35pm.

The 36-year-old is accused of two counts of using a firearm against law enforcement, along with charges for unlawful possession of ammunition, causing injuries, unlawful possession of a pistol and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.

And more charges are possible, police said.

Police were attempting to pull over a stolen vehicle when the driver jumped out and ran up to the police car, pointing the weapon and pulling the trigger before the officers could respond, police said in a statement.

The man dropped the gun after police tasered him, but he had to be tasered a second time when he tried to get inside the officers' vehicle, police said.

One of the officers was punched twice in the face as they attempted to subdue the man, according to police. He was tasered again while attempting to run away.

"Our community will be horrified by this alarming incident, which could have easily had a tragic outcome for our police officers," said Inspector Naila Hassan, the area commander for Counties Manukau West, as she praised the officers for their quick thinking.

"Our brave staff come to work every day to keep the public safe and the absolute last thing they deserve is to be threatened with a firearm."

Deputy Commissioner Districts John Tims echoed the sentiment.

"Our staff should not have to deal with these types of situations, but the reality of policing means our officers are put in dangerous situations every day," he said.

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

The man is expected to make an appearance in the Manukau District Court today.

The two officers were saved by the fact the safety catch was on. Source: 1 NEWS

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Auckland’s median house price increases for the first time in six months

Auckland’s median house price increased year-on-year for the first time in six months as the median house price outside the country’s biggest city had a 6.2 per cent annual increase, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data.

In August, the median price in Auckland rose 1.4 per cent to $852,000, according to the latest data.

"After six months of flat prices in Auckland it is positive to see an increase as we head towards spring," Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ, said.

"Breaking the Super City down into its old regional boundaries has shown that areas with solid annual median price increases were Manukau and Waitakere Cities with rises of 10.1% and 5.1% respectively. Whereas, North Shore City saw a fall of -14.6% year-on-year to a median price of $915,000 the lowest median the North Shore has seen since January 2016," she said.

In New Zealand, the median house price increased 3.6 per cent year-on-year to $549,000.

With the median house price outside Auckland rising by 6.2 per cent, three regions achieved record median prices with two regions equalling previous records.

The record breakers were Gisborne, where the median price went up 42.6 per cent to $335,000, Tasman where the median rose 24.2 per cent to $615,000 and Manawatu/Wanganui, where the price went up 10.5 per cent to $315,000.

Waikato’s median house price increased by 9.4 per cent to $525,00 to equal the record from June while the media price in Hawke’s Bay rose 9.9 per cent to $445,000, equalling a record from March this year.

Auckland, New Zealand - January 11, 2014: New Homes on January 11, 2014. House prices are booming around New Zealand - with the average price of an Auckland city home rocketing to $735,692.
Auckland houses (file picture). Source: istock.com


New Zealand new Ambassador to the US named

Diplomat Rosemary Banks has been announced as New Zealand's new Ambassador to the United States, taking over the role from Tim Groser.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said Ms Banks was "highly experienced diplomat and public servant who will be a consummate professional in representing New Zealand's interests in Washington". 

She currently is a Crown Negotiator in the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process and has held roles in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Ms Banks also was New Zealand's Ambassador to France and Portugal.

"The Government also wishes to acknowledge the departing Ambassador, Hon Tim Groser for his service. He has been a strong advocate for New Zealand and has been successful in cementing the relationship between our two countries," Mr Peters said. 

Rosemary Banks, Political Science and International Relations, 7.11.16
Rosemary Banks. Source: Supplied