New Zealand

NZ union keen to support Pacific RSE workers

Over 11,000 workers from nine Pacific countries worked in New Zealand's horticulture and viticulture sectors last year under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme.

New Zealand recently announced it would increase the number of Pacific workers on the scheme to 12,850.

Amalgamated's national secretary Maurice Davis says they're trying to break down resistance to unions in the islands by explaining their role.

Kiwis to play British Lions, Tonga in 2019

New Zealand will play Mate Ma'a Tonga on 22 June at Mt Smart Stadium in the first match of the new Oceania Cup.

The Kiwi Ferns will also play against an unnamed opponent in the double header - they'll play a second match against Australia in October.

The Oceania Cup will be played in June and November during the international Test windows.

Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji and Australia make up the six-nation competition.

Kangaroos to face Kiwis in Wollongong in October

The announcement of the trans-Tasman Test provides the first details of the international calendar which is expected to include an Oceania series and Great Britain Lions tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

It will be the first time the Kangaroos have hosted the Kiwis in Australia since the mid-season ANZAC Test was cancelled in 2017.

The two nations have only met once since, with New Zealand defeating Australia in Auckland last October.

New Zealand's fire danger highest it's been in a long time - Fire and Emergency

Most of the country is under a total fire ban after weeks without rain led to tinder dry conditions.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) principal risk advisor Peter Gallagher told The AM Show New Zealanders weren't used to living with such high fire risk.

"If we were all living in Australia we'd be having that awareness about all these things that may cause that little tiny spark.

"That's all we're talking about - just has to be a mower blade striking a rock, or an emission from a chainsaw, something like that.

New Freemasons centre in NZ part of modernisation drive

After about two years of work, the Canterbury Kilwinning Lodge is opening in Woolston's Ferry Road today.

It's hoped that the new centre will give the Freemasons a renewed presence in Christchurch, after earthquakes forced the closure of a number of centres.

For the past five years a centre in Shirley has hosted the majority of masonic events in the city.

Freemasons New Zealand Grand Master, Mark Winger, said the new, purpose-built, boutique-style building would accommodate masonic ceremonies, as well as social activities for the wider community.

NZDF delivers voting equipment for Solomons

Air Commodore Tim Walshe said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided the voting screens to the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission.

New Zealand, together with its Pacific partners, contributed to restoring peace and stability in the Solomons in the early 2000s so they are pleased to support the islands again in a tangible way as it prepared for the elections, Mr Walshe said.

The RNZAF Boeing 757 flew to Honiara to deliver the voting equipment, as well as supplies for the Fred Hollows Foundation, an NGO providing eyecare in the region.

     

NZ ups its diplomatic presence in Pacific

The reset aims for a heightened focus on the Pacific and today's announcement will see 14 new diplomatic and development positions created offshore.

Mr Peters said the new posts would be in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Honolulu.

In addition four new diplomats will be placed in Tokyo, Beijing, Brussels, and New York, "to co-ordinate development policy and partnerships for the Pacific region".

Strong, deep earthquake felt across central New Zealand

GeoNet has reported the quake was a magnitude 6.7, although it was centered at a depth of 193km.

Parliament has been suspended after the quake.

More than 15,000 people have already reported feeling the quake on GeoNet.

GNS Science duty siesmologist Lara Bland warned local residents to expect aftershocks.

Ms Bland said longer, rolling quakes tend to produce fewer aftershocks but there would "certainly" be some coming.

Civil Defence said there is no tsunami threat.

Tonga and NZ sign agreement on quarantine certification of foods

Tonga Ministry of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Understanding that covers the quarantine certification of food taken into New Zealand.

Head of Biosecurity New Zealand Roger Smith said the agreement meant Tongan passengers would bypass long queues in quarantine when they landed in New Zealand.

He said Tonga posed a low biosecurity risk to New Zealand.

The Ministry’s CEO, Dr. Viliami Manu, said the MOU showed Biosecurity New Zealand trusted Tongan quarantine officers to carry out the certification process.

Heavy snowfall blankets New Zealand's South Island

MetService warned heavy snow from overnight and carrying into this morning, at Central Otago, Southland and Fiordland, may disrupt travel and could damage trees and powerlines.

The cold conditions may also cause stress for livestock, MetService said on its website.

The weather agency stated snowfall may hit warning amounts above 500m in inland Dunedin and North Otago.

Fiordland, Westland south of Otira and Otago Headwaters and Canterbury Lakes and rivers are also expecting heavy rain today.