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What’s on RNZ News at midday – Feb 26

The Government is planning for a serious hit to the New Zealand economy following the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak; and a senior official from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries two prepare immediately for the further spread of the coronavirus.

1.An Auckland man has been charged with terrorism in what is the second case in New Zealand history. The man, who has name suppression, appeared before Justice Davison in the High Court at Auckland this morning. He is the second person to be charged under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

2.The Government is planning for a serious hit to the New Zealand economy following the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. World stock markets have fallen further amid investor concerns over the spreading virus. Wall Street's three major stock indexes fell more than two percent after officials said the coronavirus was "a rapidly escalating epidemic".

3.A senior official from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned countries two prepare immediately for the further spread of the coronavirus. There is particular concern about the scale of an outbreak in Iran.   

4.In China, factories and businesses are reportedly resuming production after shutdowns caused by the coronavirus. New Zealand Trade and Enterprises, China Director Fiona Acheson says its team of 60 people in China are assessing the impact of the virus, reports that businesses are starting up again.     

5.A senior member of the International Olympic Committee says it has about three months to decide whether to cancel the Tokyo games because of the coronavirus but it remains optimistic the games will go ahead.  

6.The Government wants to phase out high emitting coal and wood burners in a bid to clean up the country’s air. It’s one of the proposed amendments to air quality regulations released today.       

7.Immigration New Zealand has spelt out how its prioritising residents decisions after complaints to the Ombudsman about its unpublished policy and it says it will fast track fewer applications bringing hope to thousands of people waiting.   

8.Lake Okaru, South of Rotorua, has been returned to the Te Awarua people a century after they lost control of it. The Minister for Māori Crown Relations Kelvin Davis made the formal announcement at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua this morning.  

9.New Zealand Golf will incorporate tikanga Maori into the New Zealand Open in Queenstown this week. The organisation came in for criticism last year when it gave the winner a fake korowai and it doesnt want that to happen again.    

10.The Prime Minister’s focus in Fiji shifts towards women leaders in the Pacific today. Starting with lunch at the New Zealand’s residence in Suva, Jacinda Ardern’s three day visit is the first by New Zealand Prime Minister since 2016.     

11.A Wellington Residents Association says it won’t support the Mayor’s task force on the capital’s wastewater crisis, if it doesn’t include community representatives. At a city council today to discuss the task force, Sue Reid from the Owhiro Bay Association said the group is made up of councillors and officials.  

12.Watercare is asking Aucklanders to rein in their water use as consumption levels skyrocket. It said city water restrictions may be in place in April if the hot and dry weather continues. Records for how much water is used in the region were broken three times last week, with Aucklanders using more than 560 million litres in just one day.

13.A former employee of Auckland Council has pleaded guilty to a charge of corruption in relation to bribery. A charge was brought against Sundeep Dilip Rasila, 42, by the Serious Fraud Office, and Rasila today admitted that he accepted $7500 in return for awarding a contract to an associate of his. That associate, Sunil Chand, 56, also pleaded guilty at the hearing, and admitted giving Rasila the kickback in return for his company being awarded the contract, which was worth about $140,150.

14. A police officer has been investigated and cleared over an allegation he assaulted his partner and her children. Police said there was insufficient evidence to charge him with anything.   

15.Norwegian oil giant Equinor has abandoned plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, declaring the controversial project did not make commercial sense. The company said on Tuesday it had told federal, South Australian and local authorities it had decided to scrap the $200m project to deepwater drill in the Great Australian Bight Marine Park.

16.The Scottish Parliament has become the first in the world to approve plans to make sanitary products freely available to all women. The legislation would make tampons and sanitary pads available at designated public places such as community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies, at an estimated annual cost of 24.1 million pounds ($31.2 million).    

17.Three World War 2 era gun emplacements have been officially open to the public in Godley Head near Christchurch. The concrete bunkers and network of tunnels were badly damaged in the 2011 earthquakes and have now been only repaired and given a fresh look of paint.

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