Wellington out to become 'world's first smokefree capital'

Wellington City Council has vowed to ban smoking in many public areas, with mayor Celia Wade-Brown saying she wants to make the city the first smokefree capital in the world.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown today launched a campaign to ban smoking in council-owned areas. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Wade-Brown launched a new campaign to ban smoking in council owned areas including bus stops, parks, Civic Square outside council buildings and in council-owned flats.

The mayor says the council expects a video promoting the plan to go viral.

"This is global leadership," she said.

The video includes commentary such as: "You wouldn't smoke on a public bus, so why would you smoke at a bus stop?"

The council says around nine per cent of Wellingtonians currently smoke. 

There was mixed reaction from residents ONE News spoke to about the ban plan.

"I [will] smoke at home then. But I reckon it's a stupid idea. People are just going to break the law anyway," one man said.

A woman said she totally supports a ban, saying she's asthmatic "and the less smoking there is the better".

And it seems Wellington's wind may be contributing to the problem.

"Wellington is very windy right? The smoke just goes with the wind," a man said.

The city's announcement came on World SmokeFree Day when the Stroke Foundation called for the Government to ban smoking on Parliament grounds, a  proposal backed by the Maori Party.

The Government is committed to a smokefree New Zealand by 2025.

Labour and Greens pact may leave door ajar for potential kingmaker Winston Peters

Despite the Labour Party and Green Party announcing this afternoon they will work together on political policy and campaigns for the 2017 general election, the agreement is not a formal coalition.

Labour leader Andrew Little and Greens co-leader Metiria Turei made the joint announcement this afternoon, but the deal is not the same as Labour's agreement with the Alliance Party in 1999.

The Labour Party and Green Party have announced they are joining forces ahead of the 2017 election. Source: 1 NEWS

There is also room for New Zealand First and its leader Winston Peters to join the fray, if the party are post-election kingmakers.

Source: 1 NEWS

"I want to announce today that the Labour Party and Green Party have signed a memorandum of understanding and have both agreed to work together to change the Government in 2017," Mr Little said earlier today.

"It is our intent to build on this agreement to offer New Zealanders the basis of a stable, credible and progressive alternative government at the 2017 General Election."

Mr Peters has remained coy about any potential threesome.

"We do not like jack ups. ... or rigged arrangements behind the people's back. We'll go into this election just ourselves and our policies seeking to change how this Government is run," he said.

If New Zealand First has a strong showing during the election and refuses to work with the Green Party, a potential pitfall to the Labour and Greens marriage may emerge, with the Greens ditched at the altar.

Earlier Mr Little said the agreement is "a fresh start and a sign of newfound strength in our relationship and our mutual commitment to changing the Government".

"When I was elected Labour leader I made it clear that we would not go into another election without strong co-operation with like-minded parties to change the Government. Today, I am delivering on that promise.

"A new Labour-led Government will focus on the critical issues facing our country. We will provide better housing, health and education and a cleaner environment while building a sustainable economy with decent jobs," said Andrew Little.

Ms Turei backed up Mr Little's comments, saying she believes the two parties are a "great match for Aoetearoa".

It's interesting timing for them - the election is still 18 months away - National Party minister Steven Joyce

"When Labour and the Greens have actively cooperated and campaigned together, New Zealanders did perceive our parties as a credible alternative to National," Ms Turei says.

"New Zealanders want to see politicians working together. This MOU lets people see we are a strong and stable alternative to the current Government."

James Shaw and Metiria Turei are co-leaders of the Greens.

National minister Steven Joyce told Fairfax Media the Opposition was always going to team up, but will struggle without help from NZ First and its leader Winston Peters.

"They've done it at every other election, it's interesting timing for them - the election is still 18 months away - but this is not something that is new if that's what it is.

"National will run its own campaign in due course. If it is Labour and the Greens getting together it's not something we haven't seen before."

There is room in the coalition for NZ First if they’re the post-election kingmakers. Source: 1 NEWS


Call to outlaw plea bargains so case of Moko doesn't set precedent in defence of child killers

The case of abused toddler Moko Rangitoheriri has sparked a petition calling for a law change to outlaw plea bargain negotiations initiated by Crown prosecutors.

The three-year-old Taupo boy died last August after being abused over several weeks by Tania Shailer and David Haerewa, who had been entrusted to care for him.

Rallies were held around New Zealand to protest the country's terrible child abuse record and call for change within families. Source: 1 NEWS

The pair pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the original charge of murder was downgraded, and that change sparked outrage.

Sensible Sentencing Trust founder Garth McVicar says the "plea bargain debacle" that allowed the charges to be downgraded seems to be an unintended consequence of changes designed to reduce cost pressures on Crown law, but "it is none the less totally unacceptable".

"The Moko case sets a terrible precedent and like it or not every defence lawyer will now refer to this case when acting on behalf of any child killer in the future," Mr McVicar said tonight.

"The politicians have made a colossal mistake with this but they need to admit it, apologise to the public and ensure this nonsense can never be repeated. Our children deserve a lot better deal than our politicians and Courts are delivering at present," he said.

Mr McVicar said the petition was to ensure a review of "any and all legislation that encouraged Crown solicitors to enter into plea bargains to severely reduce charges and in some cases dispose of cases".

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is coordinating a series of nationwide rallies to be held at every courthouse on the morning of June 27 when Moko's killers are to be sentenced in Rotorua.

Mr McVicar says judging by public and social media feedback the events will be "massive". 

"Some court staff are already telling us that they are preparing for an unprecedented turn-out," he said.