Wellington bars and restaurants trial ban on plastic straws

Those sitting in the sun, enjoying a beverage along Wellington’s waterfront will be doing so without sipping from a plastic straw.

Twenty-six bars, restaurants, cafes and food trucks in the area have pledged to go plastic straw free.

“Our primary position is no straw if we can get away with it, but if somebody request one we will put one in the glass,” Munchen Bar owner John Henderson told 1 NEWS.

Hospitality New Zealand has welcomed the move, but told 1 NEWS it should be extended to take away and fast food outlets too.

But the council doesn’t have the power to enforce bans.

“We have no power to regulate, and we probably wouldn’t want to, but we want to lead a cultural change so that people think about plastic, and if they really need it,” Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett said.

The council hope to see the whole city go straw-free within two years.

“It’s about our commitment to being an eco-city and I’m sure other cities will follow,” she said.

It comes after United Kingdom announced it’d ban plastic straws as early as next year. Businesses in Rangiora in North Canterbury have also made the move to ban plastic straws.

Sustainable Oceans told 1 NEWS plastic is a huge problem for the capital’s beaches.

“If you walk along beaches, especially Oriental Bay and Evans Bay, you’ll see plastic straws strewn around the beaches. We pick up about ten thousand straws a year just as part of our Love Your Coast program in Wellington,” Oliver Vetter said.

It’s hoped the product most of us use only once, but stays around for thousands of years, won’t be staying around the city much longer.

Twenty-six bars, cafes, restaurants and food trucks on the waterfront are trialling a plastic straw-free future. Source: 1 NEWS

Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn set to step down after 15 years

Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn is stepping down after 15 years 

The 63-year-old has led the town through industry changes and one of New Zealand's worst mining disasters. 

Becoming a key figure in the Pike River Mine disaster recovery, Mr Kookshorn says he can see closure in sight for the families and feels it's the right time to pass the baton. 

He is set to step down in October next year to spend more time with his wife. 

Mr Kokshoorn has led the town through industry changes and the Pike River Mine disaster. Source: 1 NEWS


'I want to be a pilot' - Air Force hopes to inspire next generation of female recruits

The Air Force is on a mission to attract more women to its ranks by holding one of its biggest female-only recruitment drives.

Forty-eight secondary school students are spending a week of their holidays at Ohakea Air Base at an all expenses paid camp.

The year 13 girls have been learning about aircraft, and mechanical work, and they have spent time flying helicopters in a simulator.

Akesa Waitai-Ifopo’s school paid for her flights down from Kaitaia and she says the experience is a dream come true.

“I want to be a pilot so I was enjoying playing with the controls… having that fun and getting the gist of what it would be like in the future,” she says.

One camp organiser, George Magdalinos, was inspired by her own experience of being the only female in her class 20 years ago.

“I think it’s the isolation factor and for girls especially, you can’t be what you can’t see,” she said.

Currently fewer than 20 per cent of the Air Force is female, with a goal of a quarter by 2025.

However there are still barriers to overcome.

“[Girls] are worried about the requirement to be masculine, the requirement to be supreme athletes… and there are a few misconceptions that we’re breaking down,” George Magdalinos says.

- By 1 NEWS reporter Mei Heron

Ohakea will be home to 48 students for a week, who are learning about aircraft, mechanical work, and handling helicopters in a simulator. Source: 1 NEWS