'We won't be waiting till Christmas' - NZ First MP says Kiwis won't be put on hold too long for coalition decision

NZ First list MP Tracey Martin says New Zealanders won't be "waiting till Christmas" to find out who their next government will be, and that "everybody would like to get on with their job".

List MP Tracey Martin believes a decision on who her party will form a coalition with will be revealed after the special vote count. Source: 1 NEWS

Martin doesn't believe any party has the moral mandate to form a government as yet.

Arriving for her party's first caucus meeting following the election, Martin said she wouldn't be part of negotiations with Labour or National.

However, she said: "I really want NZ First to influence the next government, regardless of who we're in government with."

National can form a two-party coalition government with NZ First, while Labour will be negotiating for a three-way deal that includes the Greens.

Labour doesn't have enough seats to hold a majority in parliament with just NZ First.

National and Labour have been in contact with NZ First at staff level to discuss a framework for negotiations.

Martin says all policies are negotiable after an election and NZ First won't know who they are more likely to align with until they've sat down with both parties to see what "people are putting on the table or taking off the table".

1 NEWS political reporter Andrea Vance says Mr Peters will hold his first caucus since the election. Source: 1 NEWS

"Seems a little silly to start working things around till you know exactly where the cards lay," she said in Wellington.

She says there is a closer connection with Labour when it comes to policies such as education but they will have to see how flexible National is prepared to be in order to form a coalition with NZ First.

"I think everybody would like to get on with their job, but we are where we are," said Martin.

Ms Martin says it is most likely NZ First won't decide who they will form a coalition with until October 7, when special votes have been counted and announced by the Electoral Commission.



Water meters likely for all New Zealand households in the future, expert says

New Zealand may be blessed with a plentiful supply of fresh water, but our system for getting it to our taps leaves a lot to be desired.

In places like Wellington, our pipe system has a water leakage rate of roughly 15 to 20 per cent, Water New Zealand CEO John Pfahlert told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"It's a fairly aging piping network, quite leaky," he said, adding that the situation isn't any different in "many, many communities" throughout Aotearoa. "You compare that, for example, to places like the Netherlands where you'd probably have less than 3 per cent leakage - a much higher investment in their reticulation network."

And as scientists predict more extreme weather events in coming decades, including extreme drought, that inefficiency paired with our "excessive consumption" throughout the country will have big consequences if we don't prepare for it now, he predicted.

Mr Pfahlert's warnings come as a report in Wellington suggests demand for water there will outstrip supply by 2040 if residents keep consuming at their current rate.

While replacing the piping networks throughout New Zealand is expensive, there is one way to dramatically cut down our consumption, Mr Pfahlert said. Install water meters and charge for it.

The measure is already in place in Auckland, where it costs about $1.80 per cubic metre of water.

"When those meters were introduced, there was an immediate reduction in water consumption by people of about 30 per cent," he said.

"When they did the same thing on the Kapiti Coast a few years ago, they were facing the necessity to build a water treatment plant at a cost of something like $50 million," he added. "They installed water meters, and (there was) an immediate 30 per cent drop in consumption in water by locals.

"It does drive behaviour."

There has been some opposition to installing meters in Wellington, with fears - unfounded, officials say - that it could lead to privatisation of the water supply. But the measure seems inevitable, not just for Wellington but for all of New Zealand, Mr Pfahlert told Breakfast.

"As we approach a world where the weather's going to be drier, I suspect it's going to be something that most communities are forced to do," he said. "It just makes good common sense. It's not only a means of conserving water, it's just a good way to behave in terms of treating the environment."

Our water supply might be abundant, but our pipe systems are inefficient and leaky, says Water NZ CEO John Pfahlert. Source: Breakfast


Greenpeace wants Government to use funds for solar panels instead of oil and gas

Greenpeace is calling on the Government to kit out New Zealand homes with solar panels by using the funds currently subsidising the oil and gas industry.

Earlier this year the Government banned offshore exploration, and Greenpeace said the $88 million used to subsidise it could be used for solar panels and batteries for 1.5 million New Zealand homes over the next ten years.

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson said a report on the future of energy from the national grid operator showed that energy systems were increasingly shifting to electricity, and she said that meant New Zealand needed to increase the amount of electricity that was produced.

"One of their forecasts is that 1.5 million households will need to go solar, and what we're saying is that it's time to kick start that right away by getting 500,000 homes kitted out with panels and batteries over ten years," she said.

Going solar would be financially beneficial for homeowners who would not have to deal with any upfront costs and would provide zero interest loans, she said.

"The plan would provide additional support to 100,000 lower income homes through a Government grant that would cover at least half the system cost. The zero interest loans would be attached to the house that receives the solar panels and batteries, not to the individuals who own it or rent it. They could be administered through Regional Councils, and paid back through rates."

The plan was launched yesterday as the organisation's flagship, Rainbow Warrior, arrived in Auckland to celebrate the Government's April announcement banning offshore oil and gas permits.

rnz.co.nz

Solar Panels Source: 1 NEWS

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Dying patients with rare chemotherapy reaction paying for own drugs

Dying patients who suffer a rare reaction to chemotherapy are having to pay for their own drugs because their cases are not considered exceptional.

A 50-year-old Auckland woman, Patricia Tear, a sole caregiver to children aged 9 and 11, was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year.

She had surgery followed by chemo but suffered from cardio-toxicity from the chemo drug, known as 5-FU.

It recurred in a second attempt and doctors decided it was too risky to repeat.

Instead they applied to drug-buyer Pharmac for access under an exceptional circumstances scheme to an alternative, unfunded drug - raltitrexed, brand name Tomudex.

That was declined as Ms Tear was not considered truly exceptional. Instead, Pharmac said Ms Tear would be part of a wider group who, when exposed to the 5-FU drugs, would develop heart pain or toxicity. It added they should be considered for funding under the regular method, listing on the Pharmaceutical Schedule, but that's not currently available.

It's left Ms Tear feeling abandoned by the health system. "Up the creek without a paddle as far as I'm concerned. I'm one of the ones that have just been sent home, forgotten about."

She lives at home with her children while under hospice care, and doesn't know how long she'll have left: "I don't know, two years maybe, at the most."

Wellington woman Janet McMenamin, who's a fit 71-year-old, was also diagnosed unexpectedly with bowel cancer three months ago. It was aggressive and has spread to her liver. She also applied unsuccessfully to Pharmac's Named Patient Pharmaceutical Assessment, or NPPA, exceptional circumstances scheme. Similarly to Ms Tear, Ms McMenamin suffered cardiac chest pain, similar to a heart attack, when she went on two different kinds of chemo.

She said the condition is rare at one patient in a thousand, but even so she was refused funded Tomudex. She and her partner Bob Cijffers are paying $4000 a month to get it privately from Bowen Icon Cancer Centre every three weeks, to buy time for Ms McMenamin. About half of that amount was for the drug itself and the remainder for costs associated with having it administered in a private hospital, because of the lack of public funding for the drug.

"It's not a cure," Ms McMenamin said. "It's to make me as comfortable as they can and to extend my life as long as they can."

The couple say say it is discriminatory and unfair that patients like them can afford the drug privately, but that others, like Ms Tear, cannot.

"Pharmac is saying it's no longer an unusual circumstance and therefore they will be applying to put it on the official list of medicines that will be funded," Mr Cijffers said. "This process unfortunately will take at least two years and will not be of any use to Janet or Patricia or anybody else who's in the same position."

Cancer Society medical director Chris Jackson said it was leaving patients in this category "in the lurch".

"We don't know how long that will take. For many cancer drugs that is years, and unfortunately people do not have years to wait when they have cancer because people will literally be dead by the time the process is complete. And people are dying while they are waiting for Pharmac to go through these slow machinations and bureaucratic considerations."

Pharmac records show eight patients received funding under the NPPA exceptional circumstances scheme between 1 March 2012 and 31 August 2017.

Pharmac would not comment on Ms Tear's case but said it had received an application for raltitrexed to be funded for bowel cancer patients who are intolerant or unable to take the fluoropyrimidine treatment because of cardiac toxicity.

"We're not able to provide a timeframe for when the application for raltitrexed will be progressed for funding but further details will be posted on our Application Tracker as this application progresses."

Health Minister David Clark said he felt for Patricia Tear and her family. "However, as Health Minister it is not appropriate for me to intervene in individual cases. We can't have politicians second-guessing clinicians."

He said he was advised that the Auckland District Health Board, which had been overseeing Ms Tear's care, was doing its best to treat and support her.

By Karen Brown

rnz.co.nz

Cancer patient Patricia Tear with son Riley, 9,and Ruby, 11. (Photo: Karen Brown) Source: rnz.co.nz


Most watched: Meet the Iraqi immigrant family learning Te Reo Maori - 'We have a responsibility to speak the language'

This story was first published on Thursday September 13.

Mariam Arif and her whānau are immersing themselves in te reo, as a way to feel more at home. Source: Seven Sharp

This last year has seen the number of people wanting to learn the Māori language skyrocket.

From the cape to the bluff - people are queueing up to get into Te Reo Māori classes.

One of those is an Iraqi immigrant and her whānau - who have immersed themselves in the Māori language.

"We are living on this land so we have a responsibility to speak the language of this land," Mariam Arif told Seven Sharp.

She's been living here for 20 years but has only been learning Te Reo Māori for two of those.

"When I started, I didn't really like talking, but I didn't give up and stop, didn't get shy and didn't get lazy and now I'm a lot better."

Ms Arif can speak three languages, English, Arabic and Te Reo Māori.

With her family also getting in on the act, she has plenty of people to help practice her newest language.


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