What’s on RNZ News at midday – Feb 25
The New Zealand stock exchange has fallen more than 2 percent on the opening, following drops in global stock markets amid coronavirus fears; and four men facing Serious Fraud Office charges over donations made to the National Party have pleaded not guilty at their first appearance at court today.
1.The New Zealand stock exchange has fallen more than 2 percent on the opening, following drops in global stock markets amid coronavirus fears. The NZX Top 50 Index is down 238 points, just over 2 percent. Virtually every stock in the index fell, with the tourism-related stocks and those reliant on China among the big losers.
2.Four men facing Serious Fraud Office charges over donations made to the National Party have pleaded not guilty at their first appearance at court today. Sitting MP Jami-Lee Ross, Zhang Yikun, Zheng Shijia, Zheng Hengjia were charged by the SFO after a 10-month investigation. They appeared before Judge John McDonald in the Auckland District Court this morning. A large contingent of media was present.
3.A New Zealander involved in a class action lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein says there is no way she will settle her case. The former Hollywood producer has today been found guilty of sexually assaulting a former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013.
4.There has been little change in the number of children living in poverty, newly released figures show. Under the government's Child Poverty Reduction Act, Stats NZ is required to report annually on nine different measures for child poverty. Three of those measures form the basis of the government's three- and 10-year targets for reducing child poverty.
5.Hector's dolphin expert Professor Liz Slooten says calf numbers off Banks Peninsula are at the lowest level in 35 years. This comes amid a weight for Government measures to protect them from getting caught in fishing nets.
6.The Waitematā Local Board has been accused of failing to consult with mana whenua over its controversial plan to remove dozens of pine trees in Auckland’s Western Springs. The vote to remove the 199 trees was delayed today after Joe Pihema from Ngāti Whātua delivered a stinging rebuke to the board members.
7.Fire restrictions remain in force around the country despite a dose of rain over the weekend. Fire and Emergency says the dry vegetation fuels the risk of fire and the Rural Fire Manager Tim Mitchell says the rains not been enough to lower threat levels.
8.There is no relief insight for drought stricken Northland as the council looks to restrict water usage in 23 coastal communities. Aquifers in the town are so dangerously low, the water starting to taste salty and that can take months to fix.
9.A senior member of the Comancheros gang and an Auckland lawyer acting for them have been sentenced to jail for laundering millions of dollars. Vice-president of the chapter Tyson Daniels and lawyer Andrew Neill Simpson pleaded guilty to the charges in November. Simpson had admitted to 13 money laundering charges, and Daniels to nine money laundering charges and participating in an organised criminal group.
10.The closure of New Zealand’s Immigration office in China because of coronavirus has left more than 13,000 visa applications untouched. The Beijing office administers half of all immigration New Zealand’s temporary visas.
11.A petition has been launched calling on the Government to do whatever it takes to move almost 10,000 tonnes of hazardous waste from Mataura to Tiwai Point. The so called uvea premix or waste product from the smelter at Tiwai Point is stored in a disused paper mill in Mataura which came under threat from flood waters this month.
12.Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange revealed the names of sources who subsequently "disappeared" after he put them at risk, a court has heard. A lawyer for the US government made the claim on the first day of Assange's extradition hearing in London. Woolwich Crown Court was told Assange was guilty of "straightforward" criminality for hacking into and publishing US military databases.
13.A kava ceremony reserved for special guests has kicked off the Prime Minister’s first trip to Fiji this morning. The visit is the first since Sir John Key’s in 2016.
14.The police watchdog has backed the use of force by four officers who arrested a Tauranga man in 2018. The man, who was hospitalised after taking a large quantity of drugs and suffering a medical episode, was then found with drugs in Tauranga Hospital and put under police guard. But once discharged he refused to accompany officers to the police station.
15.Crowds have packed the Staple Centre in Los Angeles for a tribute to former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. The pair died alongside seven others in a helicopter crash last month.
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