Zipline operator clears native bush of predators and challenges other businesses to follow suit

A Rotorua businessman is challenging others to make their backyards predator-free after ridding a 220-hectare block of native bush of pests, for eco-tourism.

Rotorua Canopy Tours has established ziplines above the reserve near Rotorua.

James Fitzgerald of the company told Seven Sharp the unmanaged forest was overrun with predators, possums, rats and stoats and it just felt like the right thing to do to clear them.

Traditional labour intensive traps was driving his business into the ground, but the Department of Conservation later gave them better trapping options, using resetting traps.

"If you can hand on heart say your patch in the world is better off because your business exists, I think that's a good business to take into the 21st century right?" Mr Fitzgerald said.

After seeing the success of Canopy Tours, DOC is also is challenging others to give pest control a go.

"We're up for any Kiwi that wants to have a crack like this. We'll back them to the hilt," said Lou Sanson, Department of Conservation director general.

James has turned a rundown block into a high-flying slice of predator-free land. Source: Seven Sharp

Watch as feisty Winston Peters denies NZ First 'swallowed dead rat' over new oil and gas exploration ban

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has angrily denied that New Zealand First has “swallowed a dead rat” and that a ban on new future oil and gas exploration was a win for the Greens.

Mr Peters said NZ First had long said sound environmentalism made good economic sense and the ban was a win for all the parties in the coalition.

“The reality is we campaigned as a political party, that’s NZ First, we started way back 25 long years ago saying sound environmentalism is good economics, we’ve never changed our view on that and that’s why we’re not the problem here at all,” Mr Peters told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“This is a win for three political parties, the two in coalition and the support party.”

“Put it that way and you might be doing better for the people of this country than to put up something so confrontational which you know we are seriously averse to.”

Mr Peters said the ban on new future oil and gas exploration made sense given the way the world had been tracking in the last 10 to 15 years.

“We don’t know the future, we don’t know how it will develop, we are pretty certain of one thing, the way the world has been going the last 15 years or 10 years is any indication than a lot of this will be wanton theory without future relevance and I believe that is critically important,” he said.

“The coalition government is very set and firm about where we want to go in the future while ensuring our economic survival and sustainable lifestyle.”

Mr Peters also said the numbers MBIE had provided about the economic harm the ban would cause were incorrect.

“Let me tell you, without being nasty on MBIE, that if NASA had had those sort of calculations, I think Neil Armstrong would still trying to be find the moon,” he said.

“Here’s the point, they start at $200 million and the gap is between $200 million and possibly not just $8 billion, but $22 billion.”

“So really this is totally uncharted territory and would require something far better by way of formulaic solution then what they put out.”

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has angrily denied the ban on new future oil and gas exploration was a win for the Greens. Source: Breakfast


Derek Handley releases correspondence with Jacinda Ardern and Clare Curran

Tech entrepreneur Derek Handley says his correspondence with the prime minister and former Digital Services Minister Clare Curran shows there was nothing inappropriate or untoward.

Mr Handley this morning released a statement and redacted email and text correspondence between himself and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and himself and Ms Curran about the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) role and his move back to New Zealand.

Mr Handley was paid $100,000 of taxpayers' money after he was pulled from his job as chief technology officer. Source: Breakfast

In the statement, Mr Handley said there has been continued questioning and speculation over this correspondence and what role it may have played in the CTO appointment process.

"I felt throughout that the right thing to do was to refrain from commenting as I did not see it as my role to clear up concerns regarding a government process or contents of related communications," he said.

"However, the resulting vacuum has fuelled speculation and demands to see emails and texts between myself and Clare Curran and Jacinda Ardern. The government has chosen not to fill that vacuum."

Mr Handley provided to media copies of text messages to and from himself and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The communications have become the focus of ongoing scrutiny by the opposition.

Ms Curran was stripped of the Government Digital Services role after it was revealed she used a personal Gmail account and did not properly record a meeting with Mr Handley, who was applying for the position of CTO.

The job offer to Mr Handley was withdrawn earlier this month as part of the fallout from Ms Curran's dismissal from Cabinet.

The entrepreneur also released text messages between him and Ms Curran.

Earlier this month, Megan Woods, the Minister for Government Digital Services, who took over the ministerial role from Ms Curran, said a full-stop had been put on the process as the government reconsidered its approach to digital transformation.

Derek Handley says he’ll donate the compensation but is disappointed at the way the issue was handled. Source: 1 NEWS

"Derek Handley was offered the role and we are honouring the agreement we had with him. This decision in no way reflects on him as a candidate and the State Services Commission review shows that the process was suitably robust. Derek showed energy and passion for the development of a digital strategy for New Zealand," she said.

"However as the new Minister I have asked officials to review the CTO role and provide advice on the best ways to drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand."

Mr Handley said he still hasn't received an explanation as to why the government isn't going ahead with his appointment as CTO and he's disappointed the prime minister hasn't provided one.

"The handling of the Chief Technology Officer appointment and subsequent fall out in the last four weeks is likely to be discouraging to anyone from the private sector contemplating making a contribution to New Zealand through a government role," he said in a statement.

Mr Handley said he will donate the $100,000 he received for the termination of his contract to the funding of digital innovation projects.


Derek Handley says he’ll donate the compensation but is disappointed at the way the issue was handled.
Source: 1 NEWS



MPI concerned strawberry risk could be blown out of proportion amid needle contamination

Authorities are worried the risk could be blown out of proportion as the strawberry needle scandal that swept across Australia crossed to New Zealand.

A punnet of strawberries bought from an Auckland supermarket on Sunday was found to have needles in it.

Paul Dansted from the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said the incident in Auckland was under investigation but he was concerned that the risk could be blow out of proportion.

“That is one of the things we’re concerned about…I’m going to continue to eat strawberries, we don’t see any particular threat at the moment but obviously when we do get reports, we’ll take them seriously and we’ll work with police to ensure that whoever is doing it can be tracked down and dealt with,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

He said any strawberries exported from Australia are now going through metal protection processes. 

Paul Dansted from MPI said the discovery of a needle in a punnet of strawberries in Auckland was under investigation but he was concerned the risk could be blown out of proportion. Source: Breakfast

‘I've been forced to do it’ - Breakfast’s Hayley admits she’s stood in a car park to reserve a spot

Following yesterday's 1 NEWS NOW story about car parks being 'reserved' by pedestrians blocking vehicles' access, TVNZ 1's Breakfast hosts have - unsurprisingly - taken different sides on the issue.

As video of a stand-off between a vehicle and pedestrian at Auckland's St Lukes Mall went viral, the topic was of course discussed among the Breakfast cast.

"I think it's terrible," began Haley Holt.

"It's a really, really bad thing to do - but I've been forced to do it.

"I was forced to stand there, and I did have people going past me and beeping at me. It's horrible, I'll never do it again."

Matty McLean said that although he'd never been forced to take such action, he was unsure about what he'd do if the situation ever arose.

"You know me, I'm very susceptible to peer pressure, and I could easily be talked into standing there," he said.

The incident took place at St Lukes Mall, and eventually led to the woman giving up the park.

"We all know what it is like, driving around this city, trying to find a car park, and sometimes it is the most infuriating thing for your day.

"I kind of get it."

Meanwhile, Daniel Faitaua didn't mince his words for anyone who decides to stand in a car-park with a tongue-in-cheek:

"You can not stand in a car park. A car park is designed for a vehicle.

"If that was me, I'd be reversing right back into her."

Video was shot recently of an Auckland woman and child standing in a spot – and it got the Breakfast crew talking. Source: Breakfast