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What’s on RNZ News at Midday – Nov 14

A single public broadcaster would be "too powerful" and "bad for democracy", National leader Simon Bridges says, after news of a proposal to replace RNZ and TVNZ; and farmers have poured into Wellington from around New Zealand to protest at what they see as a “creeping takeover” of rural areas by forestry. 

1. A single public broadcaster would be "too powerful" and "bad for democracy", National leader Simon Bridges says, after news of a proposal to replace RNZ and TVNZ. An advisory group, with representatives from both media companies and a range of public service agencies, has presented three options to Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi: a merger of the two, increasing funding to NZ On Air, or this third - and preferred - option to disestablish both companies and replace them with a single entity.

2.Farmers have poured into Wellington from around New Zealand to protest at what they see as a “creeping takeover” of rural areas by forestry. The fear is that large scale forestry conversions are putting the rural way of life at serious risk by replacing the daily flow of community life with trees that will take 25-years to be milled and in some cases not be milled at all. 

3.The man accused of murdering Grace Millane told the police in his second formal interview that he put her body in a suitcase and buried it in the Waitakere Ranges. The jury in the 27-year-old’s trial has watched footage of the interview which took place a week after Millane was last seen walking into a Central Auckland Hotel with him.             

4.The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found a former officer unlawfully detained a teenager in 2015 and repeatedly abused his power while he was in the force. Hurimoana Dennis was acquitted of kidnapping charges relating to the teenager in 2017 but the authority says he did act outside the law and misused his authority more than once.    

5.The Supreme Court is holding hearing to decide whether Peter Ellis appeal should go ahead, despite his death. Ellis served seven-years of a 10-year jail sentence for abusing seven children at the Christchurch Civic Creche in 1991.

6.The High Court in Dunedin has heard that blood that could have come from Amber-Rose Rush was found in the car and on the shoes of the man accused of killing her. The 32-year-old former Dunedin doctor Venod Skantha denies murdering the 16-year-old in February last year.  

7.A Political Communications Analyst says voters maybe overwhelmed by the prospect of two referendums in a general election at the same time next year, as well as deciding the make-up of the next Government. Voters will be asked to say whether recreational cannabis use should be legalised and whether voluntary euthanasia should be legal.

8.Palmerston North Hospital's mental health services are to get a $30 million upgrade - as long as the final business case is signed off. The funding injection, announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Palmerston North this morning, follows similar announcements in Waikato and Tairāwhiti.

9.The top US diplomat in Ukraine has linked President Donald Trump more directly to a pressure campaign on Ukraine aimed at giving the President political advantage.      

10.In Britain the Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has turned down the ruling conservative party’s offer of an electoral pact going into next month's general election. 

11.David Owen Lyttle has been found guilty of murder by a unanimous High Court jury in Wellington.Lyttle was on trial in the High Court in Wellington for the murder of his friend Brett Hall in May 2011.

12.The housing market's revival continues with the national median house price ticking over $600,000 for the first time.The Real Estate Institute's (REINZ) house price index, which measures the changing value of property in the market, rose 3.9 percent in the year to October to a record high compared with a 3.6 percent annual growth the month before.

13.Anyone in the market for a flood prone property in Christchurch could soon snap up a good deal. The city council has voted to sell off 19 now empty sections along the Heathcote River, that have repeatedly flooded in recent years.

14. New Zealanders are far more likely to be delivered into the world by a female midwife, live in a house built by a man, be taught at a primary school by a woman and get their final sendoff by a male funeral director. That is according to new data released by Statistics NZ which analysed more than 1000 occupations listed in last year’s census.

15.Russia's Aeroflot on Tuesday stripped a passenger of his air miles after he boasted online of sneaking his overweight cat on board by switching him for a slimmer cat during check-in.

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