Checkpoint is RNZ’s weekday drive-time news programme. Our multi-media show broadcasts on 101FM, and you can also watch it live on our website, Freeview Channel 50 and Face TV on Sky Channel 083 every weeknight from 5pm, where we tackle the stories of the day. Hosted by Lisa Owen. Send news tips a…
Now to Waimate, where a local icon has received a half million dollar makeover. The white horse on the hill above the South Canterbury town has been given a fresh coat of paint and is now surrounded by a series of paths and platforms to allow locals, and visitors alike, to enjoy the area's views. Our reporter Timothy Brown and camera operator Nathan McKinnon went along to the grand opening.
A group of angry east coast farmers descended on Napier to protest against carbon forestry they say is destroying their towns. They left their placards on the steps of local MP Stuart Nash's office, who is also the Forestry Minister. But as our Hawke's Bay reporter Tom Kitchin reports, the minister was not there.
Thousands of lightning strikes, reports of tornadoes, freakishly high winds and hail the size of golf balls. For some it was a frightening and tragic start to Friday; a woman has died after being hit by a falling tree in Cambridge, while she was trying to shelter from a flash storm. And Levin locals were rocked by what they describe as a tornedo, that ripped through parts of the town. To explain what's been happening weatherwise, MetService meteorologist Raveen Das.
A last minute change to election rules that will allow all Australians with Covid to cast their vote has staved off court action as the lucky country prepares to go to the polls on Saturday. But more than three million people have made their choice and voted early. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is hoping to cling on to power, despite heavy criticism from within his own party and beyond - with the deputy PM calling him a hypocrite. In the red corner is Labor's Anthony Albanese, one of Australia's longest serving MPs. ABC political commentator Peter Ryan talks to Lisa Owen.
Pundits are tipping a hung parliament when voters hit the polls for the Australian Federal Election tomorrow. The Prime Minister, in the fight of his political life, has spent the final week of the campaign visiting marginal electorates. Many of the government seats are at real risk of falling to independents. Penny Sheffield reports from Sydney.
Pharmac's been given its biggest ever Budget allowance - $191 million - but it falls well short of what patient advocates wanted. The drug buying agency would've needed around $400 million to clear its waitlist, which has about 130 applications. And as Louise Ternouth reports those with rare diseases are still fighting to even get a spot on the list.
Some Levin growers have been hit hard in today's hail and thunder storm, with one likening the damage to a shot gun blast to the veges. Locals describe a mini tornado hitting early this morning, ripping trees up, roofs off and sending debris including a whole garage flying. MetService says over a period of six hours this morning there was about 12,000 lightning strikes around the country. Vegetables NZ CEO John Murphy has told Checkpoint Horowhenua is a key vegetable growing region in New Zealand, "so this will have an effect on national supplies unfortunately". "You're talking about greens, broccoli, celery, and cabbage I've heard have been particularly affected. "But we really need to talk to people next week and assess the damage properly before we can speak too much." He said it is concerning on top of the dry weather affecting Pukekohe. "It's a little bit disappointing because prices were easing. But we would of course say there is the good vegetables out there at good prices, if you look for those that are on special, but today's news was a real kick in the shins for growers."
The government says making public transport half price would cost $250 million a year. As part of the Budget, the policy's been extended permanently for Community Service Card holders, but only until August for everyone else. The Transport Minister says it's all about balance - and it isn't the only way to drive people onto buses and trains. Our political reporter Giles Dexter has more.
A woman has died after being crushed by a falling tree that she was sheltering under during a freakish storm in the Waikato town of Cambridge. The oak toppled in high winds this morning. Arborists have since inspected its roots and confirmed it was healthy. Waipā District Council's Sally Sheedy explains what happened.
Levin has been left to deal with a trail of destruction after a wild storm ripped through the town this morning. Rooves lifted off homes - debris scattered - schools closed and power lines left dangling on the road. Reporter Ruth Hill and camera man Angus Dreaver have the story, and Horowhenua District Mayor Bernie Wanden talks to Lisa Owen.
It was a frightening and fatal start to Friday due to wild weather. A woman is dead after being crushed by a tree in Cambridge, Levin is battered by what locals call a tornado, and golf ball sized hail and thousands of lightening strikes lashed parts of the motu. In Auckland the evening rush hour has been hit by the weather as the harbour bridge is limited and some ferries have been cancelled. For the latest we're joined by Nick Truebridge from near the bridge.
Parents of Orewa College students are concerned for their safety after two brutal assaults surfaced online. Two students from the north Auckland school have been excluded and the school held a meeting for parents and caregivers last night to discuss solutions to the spate of violence. Jonty Dine reports.
Budget 2022 includes a cost of living package that will see about two million New Zealanders qualify for a one-off payment of $350. Health gets a record $11.1 billion over the next four years - with a focus on creating Health NZ and a Māori Health Authority. Te Puea Winiata (Ngati Ranginui) has worked in mental health and addiction services and is now the kaiwhakahaere at Turuki Health care. Phil O'Reilly is a business leader and was on the government's welfare expert advisory group. Brad Olsen is principal economist at Infometrics. They join Lisa to discuss the details.
Another two month extension to the fuel tax reduction and half price public transport, has been met with relief by many on the streets of Whangārei. The government's also announced New Zealanders with community services cards will get half price public transport permanently from mid September. People told our reporter Katie Todd getting around Northland is costing them enough already.
People over the age of 18 who earn less than $70,000 will get a $350 payment over three months. It excludes beneficiaries and pensioners. Our reporter Nick Truebridge hears from Lifewise community services manager Peter Shimwell.
For Māori the Budget includes $580 million of spending across health, social and justice sectors. The Māori Health Authority - Te Mana Hauora Māori - gets $168 million for Māori health services over four years. That's only about 1.5 percent of the 11.1 billion of new health spending. The budget also includes $167 million for Whānau Ora to support kaupapa Māori approaches to wellbeing. Whānau Ora Commisioning Agency Director of Health Reforms Lance Norman talks to Lisa Owen.
More free dental care will be within reach for people on low incomes - with emergency dental grants more than tripling, as part of this year's budget. They're rising from $300 to $1000. People on the streets of Whangarei told our reporter Katie Todd they think it's a good move.
$188 million has been set aside for the Māori Health Authority - Te Mana Hauora. The government says it's a significant step to addressing long-documented inequities. But it's a sum that's unlikely to quell its critics, with the announced funding a mere drop in the bucket of a record health spend. Here's Māori news reporter Jamie Tahana.
Health is one of the major budget items, with $11.1 billion over the next four years. It's the biggest government investment in health to date with a huge focus on creating Health NZ and a Māori Health Authority. Health NZ, which will replace the District Health Boards, will get $3.1 billion in funding over the next two years. And Pharmac, the government's drug buying agency will receive an extra $191 million, taking its total funding to $1.2 billion. Outside Parliament on Thursday a group of about 30 people - some of whom have rare diseases - were keenly awaiting news of the Pharmac funding. On a cold and windy day in the capital - the group were wearing beanies reading: "let them live". Malcolm Mulholland's wife Wiki died of breast cancer last year after spending her final months campaigning for better access to medications that Pharmac does not fund but are available in places like Australia.
The half price public transport fares will be extended for another two months until August. The temporary cut in fuel tax and road user charges stay in place until then. Our reporter Nick Truebridge joins us now from downtown Auckland.
An extra $350 in the back pockets of more than two million New Zealanders is what the government is promising in Budget 2022. The surprise cherry on top of today's budget is aimed at easing the pain of sky high inflation, hitting the household finances. But the lion's share of the cake goes to health with a record $11.1 billion, as the government presses ahead with its plan to scrap DHBs and replace them with a central agency. Finance Minister Grant Robertson wanted a balanced budget so did he get it right. Here's our deputy political editor Craig McCulloch.
The future of public transport has arrived in the Wellington suburb of Tawa. Metlink is trialling an on demand bus service which can pick up and drop off passengers at virtual stops, many of which are at their doorstep. Our visual journalist Samuel Rillstone went along for the ride.
Experts say antibody testing is being under-utilised as a tool to help long Covid sufferers - who never tested positive on a RAT. One in five people who've had Covid are still experiencing symptoms three months on. Researchers and lab workers say antibody testing needs urgent funding. Louise Ternouth reports.
White Ferns wicketkeeper Katey Martin has pulled stumps after 21 years playing representative cricket. Martin was at the top of her game for so long she played for New Zealand alongside a team-mate who was born after her international debut. Felicity Reid reports.
The government is being urged to implement long-term solutions to tackle poverty in Pacific communities. There are also calls to address rising health issues for Pasifika which have been exacerbated during the pandemic. Eleisha Foon has more.
Birds have fled, humans want to leave and even the midges have gone - Christchurch's damaged waste water plant is driving everyone away with its horrendous stench. The plant's oxidation ponds double as a wildlife reserve and are now also one of the worst causes of the smell. Niva Chittock went to check it out.
Fewer Covid restrictions means it's not just humans now catching winter ills kept at bay during border closures, our canine friends are copping it too. Cases of the highly contagious Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, or kennel cough, are on the rise around New Zealand. It is often caused by both a bacteria and viruses. The good news is that like Covid there is a vaccination. Seton Butler from the Veterinary Council talks to Lisa Owen.
The era of hybrid working could be upon us as inner city businesses invite employees back into the office. Trade Me data also shows an increase of more than 200 per cent in listings that mention 'work from home' in the description. So post-pandemic what will the new normal look like and how keen are staff to return to the office? Our reporter Leah Tebbutt went to find out if the office is still competing with the kitchen table or bach as a workplace.
The soaring cost of living is playing out in the Far North with people sleeping in cars, begging for food, and seeking support in 'astronomical' numbers. When it comes to poverty and crime, Kaitaia has felt it for years, but locals say it's getting worse. They desperately want some sort of reprieve from the price of petrol, food and rent in tomorrow's Budget. Our reporter Katie Todd and camera operator Marika Khabazi are in Kaitaia.
It's the day before Budget 2022, a day of big numbers, big promises and politics. Checkpoint visited Ōtara Town Centre to heard what is important to residents as they deal with the impact of an ongoing pandemic, sky-rocketing living costs, and unresolved social inequities. Nick Truebridge and Nick Monro have the story.
ACT's candidate in the Tauranga by-election has called for Commissioner Anne Tolley's head. In Cameron Luxton's words: "The right to choose who speaks for us is our democratic birthright, but nobody told Anne Tolley, Tauranga's Marie Antoinette. "It's time Tauranga gave her the same treatment. The power has gone to her head, and we say off with it." Former National MP & minister, Tolley was appointed Commission chair after the collapse of the city's council. Cameron Luxton explains the frustration behind his press release.
Patients and staff could start moving out of Hutt Hospital's quake-prone main block within weeks. The building is at just 15 percent of the current code - meaning it needs to close and services move out. The services are many - a maternity wing, children's ward, a coronary care unit, a burns unit among the main ones. Now the search is on across the region to find beds and care for the potentially thousands of patients affected. Ruth Hill reports.
Food waste advocates are welcoming plans to kick food scraps to the kerb and save them from landfill. The government wants roll out kerbside collection of food waste for most urban households by 2030, as part of its Emissions Reduction Plan. The plan also includes more investment in waste infrastructure like composting, and helping businesses to reduce their food waste. Tess Brunton has more.
An e-car leasing trial is gearing up to provide low income families with hybrid vehicles. The government yesterday announced $20 million for a low-emissions vehicle leasing scheme for low-income families. But charitable foundation Akina is pulling ahead with its own pilot. Chief executive Nicola Nation says it'll be launched next week.
Auckland's biggest supplier of sand for concrete is appealing a decision to stop taking it from Pakiri Beach. McCallum Bros has been sucking up sand from three different depths, but Auckland Council's decided the risks are too high for it to keep extracting from the 'far shore' section of the coast. Industry reps say it could lead to a shortage of sand for construction, infrastructure, and sports grounds. Reporter Katie Todd and camera operator Marika Khabazi have the story.
It's potentially the biggest investment of your life - buying a house - so how do you know the real estate agent you're dealing with passes the sniff test. Well the Real Estate Authority is working on new guidelines for what makes a 'fit and proper' agent - and they're asking for your views. In the past year the Authority saw its highest ever number of licensees. But at the moment the 'fit and proper' requirement in the law that governs real estate agents is not actually defined. The authority's chief executive Belinda Moffat talks to Lisa Owen.
The Mental Health Foundation is welcoming $100 million more over four years for mental health and addiction services, but says a major part of the government's plan is still missing. $27 million is for community-based crisis services including home-based respite and community crisis teams to help get people out of hospitals. $19 million is for specialist child and adolescent mental health and addictions services. Workforce development gets $10 million. There's an extra $90 million to expand Mana Ake, the school-based mental health programme that gives children the skills and support to deal with challenging things like bullying, grief and the separation of parents. Sophia Graham from the Mental Health Foundation talks to Lisa Owen.
A Wellington school has called police in after two instances of racist graffiti in the toilets. The vandalism targeting pacific students at Wellington Girls' College has been removed, but some students are worried it will happen again. Our reporter Soumya Bhamidipati has more.
Some Auckland drivers believe the government's clean car upgrade subsidy still won't be enough to get low income earners into Aquas, Priuses and Leafs. The government says it'll stump up for those willing to send their old gas guzzlers to the scrap heap, but there's no detail yet on how much they'll fork out. In the meantime, we sent reporter Nick Truebridge and cameraman Nick Monro car shopping.
The government's promising to take some of the pressure off child and adolescent mental health services as part of a $100m Budget 2022 spend over four years. It includes $27m for community-based crisis services including home based respite and community crisis teams to help get people out of hospitals. Almost $19m is for specialist child and adolescent mental health and addictions services. Workforce development gets $10 million. But the big ticket item, at $90 million, is the expansion of the Mana Ake - the school based mental health programme that gives children the skill and support to deal with challenging things like bullying, grief and the separation of parents. Health Minister Andrew Little details how it will work.
The Climate Change Minister James Shaw is sending a strong signal to voters - the plan to slash emissions would have been stronger if his party held the balance of power. Green Party co-leader says he delivered a plan for a Labour government. Here's our political reporter Katie Scotcher.