New Zealand

Alo Ngata’s friends speak highly of him

Alo Ngata, 29, died in Auckland Hospital three days after a fracas with police as they tried to arrest him following an incident on Sunday afternoon in Freemans Bay.

Police allege Ngata violently attacked a 76-year-old, kicking him five or six times in the head and rendering him unconscious.

He then blocked police from getting to the injured pensioner and advanced on officers in a threatening manner.

Police Tasered Ngata several times but he continued to resist them.

It took four officers to restrain him.

NZ giving FFA major grant to help stop illegal fishing

This funding, signed over last Thursday, will be used by the FFA to improve catch documentation schemes for the agency's members over the next five years.

The FFA deputy director general, Matthew Hooper, said this project would help members to access high value export markets while tackling illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

Mr Hooper said it aimed to ensure the member countries could maintain market access, by improving traceability along supply chains through the integration of fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance systems.

NZ's foreign minister announces next steps in 'Pacific reset' aid strategy

When the coalition government came to power last year, it announced a so-called Pacific reset to New Zealand's foreign policy, and this year's budget saw a surge in funds for the foreign ministry.

In a speech on Friday, Winston Peters announced what he called the next steps in that reset, saying his eyes were wide open to "New Zealand's decreasing influence" in the Pacific.

Mr Peters said New Zealand is looking to redefine its spending by partnering with others in projects which last for 50 years or longer, pointing to support for a Kiribati land reclamation project.

New Zealand and Tonga agree NZ$8m support to education, justice and policy reform in Tonga

The New Zealand High Commissioner, Tiffany Babington and the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa signed three agreements for NZ$8 million to support these priorities Tuesday.

Under the NZ$3 million 2-year Tonga Education Support activity, New Zealand will partner with the Tonga Ministry of Education and Training to raise the professional capability of teachers and principals.

Tonga wants 'grudge match' with Kiwis

After Tonga's 38-22 victory over Toa Samoa in Saturday's Pacific Test in Sydney, Woolf also reiterated his call for a Test this year against Australia.

"The game that we really need to have on a regular basis is us versus New Zealand. It's a grudge match. We've obviously got plenty of blokes who played for New Zealand and play for us now and that adds to the grudge match," Woolf said.

NZ may vote on marijuana legalisation in 2019

The government is currently debating whether to hold the referendum in 2019 because it's not sure holding it at the 2020 General Election would be a smart move politically.

The referendum on legalising marijuana was part of the confidence and supply deal struck between Labour and the Greens - although Winston Peters' backs one too.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said the government's contemplating holding it next year, rather than in 2020.

'Closely failed states' in the Pacific blamed for NZ's drug problems

Shane Jones who holds several portfolios, including forestry and infrastructure, made the remark in response to questions about the Government's Pacific reset strategy - where foreign aid is being boosted by roughly $US500-million dollars over the next four years.

"Many of the problems that we are dealing with here, with P (methamphetamine) and drugs, where do you think that is coming from folks? That is coming from closely failed states in the Pacific," Mr Jones told journalists.

NZ gives Tonga nearly $US10m for power upgrades

The grant is expected to directly benefit over 2,000 households and businesses in 12 villages around Kolomotu'a and Kolofo'ou through a safer, more resilient and cheaper system.

The Nuku'alofa Network Upgrade Project follows on from the successful upgrade of 55 rural villages in Tongatapu.

Just over $US2 million will go towards the Tongatapu Village Network Upgrade following damage caused by February's Cyclone Gita.

Britain and NZ to co-host Pacific climate change forum

The New Zealand Herald reports the Foreign Minister Winston Peters welcomed the pledge on closer co-operation in the Pacific made by his British counterpart Boris Johnson following talks between the pair in London.

The two foreign ministers discussed a range of issues including future negotiations on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement post-Brexit in March 2019, and Peters reiterated New Zealand's support for the UK following the attack in Salisbury.

Denver Test appears certain to go ahead

RLIF chairman John Grant was invited to attend the NRL CEO's meeting, along with representatives of the NZRL and England's Rugby Football League, to discuss with clubs and the RLPA concerns about the flight time and recovery process for players in the Test.

The RLPA is still working through some issues with the countries but there is an acceptance that the Test will go ahead after the NZRL outlined details of the insurance coverage and medical processes for Kiwis players.