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Tourism NZ revamps ‘IF YOU SEEK’ campaign
Tourism NZ revamps ‘IF YOU SEEK’ campaign

07 July 2024, 6:01 PM

Locals and visitors alike can look forward to more enticing travel opportunities as Tourism New Zealand has refreshed its 100% Pure New Zealand global brand campaign, ‘IF YOU SEEK’. This update emphasises the diverse, year-round experiences the country has to offer.The campaign, which has significantly supported tourism recovery over the past two years, is now focusing on inspiring travellers to visit New Zealand throughout the year. “Tourism is now New Zealand’s second-largest export earner, and it’s important we maintain that momentum,” said Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive René de Monchy.Mr de Monchy noted that the campaign has been successful in driving a record high preference for New Zealand as a visitor destination. “We know 46% of people who are seriously considering visiting New Zealand have us at the top of their bucket list. This puts Tourism New Zealand in a great position to convert that desire into bookings,” he said.The refreshed content highlights New Zealand’s unique offerings, showcasing various regions and experiences, such as the Manea Footprints of Kupe in Northland, West Coast beaches in Auckland, Waka Abel Tasman in Nelson/Tasman, Cloudy Bay in Marlborough, and Skylark Lodge in the Mackenzie District.Tourism New Zealand’s new four-year strategy aims to increase international tourism revenue by $5 billion to $13.2 billion by 2028, with a significant portion of growth expected from off-peak visits. “Growing off-peak tourism supports the government’s goal to double the value of exports over the next ten years and helps alleviate seasonal challenges faced by New Zealand’s tourism industry,” Mr de Monchy added.The campaign, first launched in August 2022, marks Tourism New Zealand’s first global effort since the reopening of borders. The initiative will also see updates to the organisation’s consumer website and trade channels, featuring content tailored to off-peak seasons and resources to assist trade partners in promoting New Zealand holidays from March to November.

Government wants to 'flood the market' to make houses more affordable - how will that work?
Government wants to 'flood the market' to make houses more affordable - how will that work?

06 July 2024, 10:13 PM

Housing Minister Chris Bishop has told real estate agents that the government wants to "flood the market" with opportunities for housing development.It has agreed to a range of changes that would free up land for housing, and, the government hopes, make housing more affordable.Here is what is planned and how it might work.Housing growth targets for tier one and two councilsTier one (places like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Tauranga), and tier two (places like Whangārei, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Dunedin) councils will have to "live zone" for land with enough feasible development capacity to cater to 30 years of housing demand at one time.Live zoning means the land can be used under a plan that is already in effect, not planned to become available in future - feasible development refers to being commercially viable for a developer to undertake the work.Infometrics chief executive Brad Olsen. Photo: RNZ / Samuel RillstoneA wider range of funding sources will be able to be used to meet medium-term infrastructure requirements. Prescriptive rules will be set for councils to determine how much capacity they need, such as requiring that they use "high" demand projections rather than more cautious estimates.Infometrics chief executive Brad Olsen said it could be difficult for councils to allow for 30 years' worth of development when the infrastructure was not yet there."But equally the infrastructure wasn't there beforehand either, so at least with the more permissive options, it will force a greater need to develop infrastructure at a greater pace over time."New rules requiring cities to be allowed to expand outCouncils will not be able to impose rural-urban boundary lines in their planning documents, but they will still be able to have rurally zoned land.Ministry officials are also looking at options to improve councils' future development strategies, potentially requiring them to plan for growth over 50 years, not 30.Strengthening of intensification provisions in the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD)Tier one councils will have to enable "appropriate" levels of density across their urban areas, and they must deliver housing intensification along "strategic" transport corridors like major bus routes.They must also offset, with more development elsewhere, any capacity they lose due to deciding some areas are "special character" and should not be intensified.Housing Minister Chris Bishop.New rules require councils to enable mixed-use developmentTier one and two councils will need to allow things such as cafes, dairies and other retail in urban areas. Industrial activities will still be able to be kept away from housing.No minimum floor area and balcony requirementsIt will be up to developers, not councils, how big apartments have to be and whether they have a balcony.Bishop said these requirements could significantly increase the cost of new apartments and reduce the supply of lower-cost apartments.He said evidence from 2015 showed in Auckland, balcony size requirements pushed up the cost of an apartment by $40,000 to $70,000 per unit.AUT professor John Tookey. Photo: https://www.aut.ac.nz/Bishop told the Real Estate Institute that people complained about shoebox apartments."I agree that they won't be the right housing solution for everyone. But do you know what is smaller than a shoebox apartment? A car or an emergency housing motel room."AUT professor John Tookey said there would be questions around how far the rules were relaxed. "We might have to draw a line and say there needs to be toilet facilities separated off, for example.""What do we sacrifice on the altar of lowest cost?"MDRS is made optionalThe MDRS was the bipartisan agreement between National and Labour that was designed to allow for more density - enabling houses up to three-storeys without a resource consent.All councils currently required to implement the MDRS will have to vote on whether they retain, alter or remove its standards from their areas.If they remove or alter the MDRS they need to implement their housing growth targets, the intensification changes to the NPS-UD and the mixed-use provisions.What will it mean for house prices?Olsen said the plan would make a difference."We spend a lot of time talking about how awful the housing market is, how bad affordability is, I don't know if that's going to change immediately but I certainly feel more optimistic about the outlook for the future and that feels like a big thing to say."He said New Zealand had failed horribly at trying to dictate terms to the housing market, to the country's' "utter detriment"."Anything that will create more housing is a good thing, full stop."Tookey said it would probably lead to more apartments being built, if the new rules made it more profitable for builders to do so.But he said the availability of more affordable apartments would not necessarily make other types of housing more affordable."We're assuming they're all competing in the same marketplace, and they're not. People who want to buy a standalone property on a quarter-acre aren't going to be competing in that space, anyway."Olsen said if apartments were what people needed, more would be built."It shouldn't be up to us whether that's good, bad or otherwise."Tookey said, for prices to fall, there would need to be more homes available than there was demand for them - and there was no guarantee that builders and developers would rush to build houses before there were sufficient buyers because it would reduce their margins."The way in which government could ultimately change the game is by using the power of the public purse to procure and build the right sort of houses in the right sort of places... Even if you went for 10,000 homes in a particular location you could actually get houses built ahead of the market."Corelogic head of research Nick Goosall said the changes were welcome."It's the right thing to do."He agreed that any development would still need to stack up for builders and developers to make use of the new rules."It will take some time for them to have a major impact on the market. It's definitely the right thing to do to say you can build in more places, make it more available, make it more palatable. As that demand comes, as it becomes more affordable, we'll start to see them build off the back of that."

Auckland Council rejects move to scrap lower speed limits, favours 'safety'
Auckland Council rejects move to scrap lower speed limits, favours 'safety'

05 July 2024, 7:00 PM

Auckland is telling the government it does not want speed limits in the city to go up to save lives.The government wants to scrap blanket reductions - introduced under Labour at the start of 2020 - on suburban streets, arterial roads and state highways by July 2025.Transport Minister Simeon Brown said lower speed limits have slowed Kiwis and the economy down, rather than targeting high crash areas.The government is asking for feedback on a range of speed limit changes, including limiting 30km/h restrictions around schools to only pick-up and drop-off times.On Thursday, Auckland Council voted to oppose reversing the reductions and the variable limits outside schools in its submission to the government.Transport and Infrastructure committee chair, councillor John Watson, said where speed limits had been lowered there had been a reduction in injuries and death."As the council we've been pretty aware of the high rate of road deaths and serious injuries that occur in New Zealand and Auckland as much as anywhere, so our record over the years isn't too stellar."The council was definitely coming down quite clearly today on the side of real safety, drivers and particularly vulnerable groups like around schools."He said the council also agreed it should be up to communities to set speed limits outside school gates."The dynamics of every school can be a bit different. There's kids going to every school but the number of gates and the configuration of schools and the number of roads can all differ. And really the schools are the ones best placed to make the call."Watson said Auckland Council represents a third of the country's population but it would be up to the government to decide what to do with its submission.The Green Party said the council's vote shows people did not want to raise speed limits.Transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said she had spoken to teachers, parents, and emergency department doctors who were appalled by the government's plan."I think the government, well, Simeon Brown, the transport minister, is just completely out of touch with reality, hasn't looked at the evidence and I think the government's going to be surprised how much opposition there is to this proposed change. I hope they will listen to people and listen to reason."She said the government's plan was lethal and increasing speed limits would not help people get places faster."What we've seen is driving at a higher speed when you still have to stop at a bunch of intersections as you do in a residential neighbourhood or a Town Centre means that you don't actually save any time. And if there's people getting hurt, if there's crashes, ambulances, all of that actually slows people down."This is really just about making our streets more dangerous for people who are travelling outside cars for no gain whatsoever."Public submissions on the government's speed limit plan close on 11 July.

Government unveils housing growth targets
Government unveils housing growth targets

04 July 2024, 11:31 PM

Coasties will see significant changes in local housing policy as the Government rolls out stage one of its Going for Housing Growth plan. The initiative aims to make housing more affordable and accessible across New Zealand.Housing and Resource Management Act Reform Minister Chris Bishop announced the plan, focusing on freeing up land for development and removing unnecessary planning barriers. “Housing in New Zealand is too expensive because we have made it very difficult for our cities to grow,” Bishop said. “Fixing our housing crisis will improve our economy and decrease material hardship.”The plan includes six major changes:Establishment of Housing Growth Targets for Tier 1 and 2 councilsNew rules allowing cities to expand outwardStrengthened intensification provisions in the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD)Requirements for councils to enable mixed-use developmentsAbolition of minimum floor area and balcony requirementsMaking Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) optional for councilsBishop emphasised the importance of balancing urban expansion with increased density, saying, “The Government rejects the view that cities can only grow outwards, as well as the view that density is the answer to everything.”The new policy aims to ensure that housing capacity aligns with demand and connectivity to services and transportation. It also seeks to abolish restrictive planning instruments like the Rural-Urban Boundary in Auckland.The Government's commitment includes setting long-term housing growth targets and ensuring that infrastructure costs are covered, with a focus on sustainable urban development. This move is expected to result in more mixed-use developments, making cities more liveable and connected.Bishop concluded, “Solving our housing crisis will mean a more productive, wealthier, and better New Zealand.” The Government plans further announcements on infrastructure funding and incentives for growth in the coming months.

Do we still care about the 6pm TV news?
Do we still care about the 6pm TV news?

04 July 2024, 8:00 PM

Analysis - 'No-one watches the 6pm news anymore,' many claim. But plenty of people this week read and watched lots in the media about the end of Newshub at 6 - and the start of ThreeNews by Stuff this weekend. So do we still care about the old-fashioned evening TV news? And if so, what do we want at 6pm?Former broadcaster Paul Henry hosts a new reality game show The Traitors in primetime on Three each Monday.Former colleagues at the channel's news operation may have labelled Henry as one himself recently when he told a conference of ACT Party backers he'd advised his bosses to kill Newshub in 2020."We don't need to congregate around a TV at 6pm any more to find out who's dead and what the weather will be tomorrow," he said to rich applause.Henry also said so to actual Newshubbers on one of the last ever AM shows this week."Sorry guys. If I'd been running the place, I'd have closed it down four or five years ago. Habits are changing," he told them.They are, but they are also enduring. And national TV still has clout.Henry is only hosting The Traitors long after his prime because he was a TV news personality in the past.Paul Henry during his AM hosting days. Photo: screenshot / NewshubAnd without a broadcast channel, even big TV personalities fail to launch.Former AM host and 3 News political editor Duncan Garner is a household name. His new live morning show Editor-in-Chief streams on every possible online platform live. Short on-demand video bits are pushed out later and boosted on social media.TV3's Duncan Garner reads Sky's statement announcing free-to-air coverage of the Americas Cup.Duncan Garner had a post at the AM desk as well. Photo: screenshotBut not much of it seems to find an audience. One item about renting this week had been watched just once hours after it was posted on YouTube.Former Newshub chief Hal Crawford recently told Mediawatch a live news bulletin also gives a TV channel life. Without one, they end up mere "content databases" that quickly shed alienated viewers.That is the reason that, after deciding to kill off Newshub, Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) agreed to pay undisclosed millions to Stuff to make the 6pm replacement - ThreeNews - starting on Saturday.That - and the fact that more than a million Kiwis still tune in for news at 6pm at least once a week these days. And many of them watch the entire news hour (including commercial breaks) while most comparable countries have far shorter evening bulletins.The received wisdom says it's a thinning cohort of the boomer-age-and-beyond still watching. And like newspaper readers, viewers who die are not replaced.But the sun may take a while to set yet."I'm still an appointment viewer at six o'clock every day," the Between Two Beers podcast co-host Seamus Marten told Mediawatch last month. Marten is 42 - squarely in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 age bracket TV3 used to target heavily in primetime. He's probably not typical of people his age.But while not many Kiwis Marten's age or younger will be keeping the 6pm appointment with him, timeshifting has been an option ever since '+1' digital channels appeared in 2012. The +HR=E Now and TVNZ+ apps mean you can watch when and wherever you want.TVNZ+ stats show 1News content is important to the platform - even though it's not exactly highlighted on the homepage.1News at Six was the most watched programme on TVNZ+ (with Shortland Street a distant second) accounting for a significant chunk of the 40.5 million streams in April alone.Even if people aren't watching the full 1News at Six bulletin on TVNZ+, many online users will still see the content created by the TVNZ newsroom for 1News.The video-heavy 1NewsNow site and app had 22.3 million views and 2.8 million unique browsers in April. Many would have been attracted by news alerts and push notifications to phones.Spinoffs from TV news also find new audiences and relevance.For example, The Spinoff's Duncan Greive pointed out Newshub succeeded in reaching younger people unlikely to watch its 6pm news with the Paddy Gower has Issues current affairs show.Mark Jennings has overseen more 6pm news than anyone else New Zealand. He was head of news at TV3 for more than 20 years.These days he's a co-editor at Newsroom.co.nz which also pitched to make the replacement for Newshub at 6."I think it should go back to being an 'uber' summary of the day with high-quality vision and articulate reporters layering in context - and all curated expertly by good producers. But the economics of TV news make that very hard."Jennings says interactive gimmicks would be a mistake."People respond to conciseness and don't want reckons or opinions from young reporters. People do want astute balanced analysis in context. You don't get that with people just whacking breaking news video online. That's the chance at 6pm."6pm news is also a product that must attract advertisers though. Do they call the shots in the end?"They're looking for large aggregated audiences - and those are disappearing. The networks have had to reduce the rates and it becomes a vicious circle."What do we want from TV news?When TVNZ operated under a public service charter from 2003 to 2011, the state-owned broadcaster was obliged to survey Kiwis annually. Year after year, a healthy majority said they did watch local news and current affairs - and the proportion of those who said they valued it was often even higher.But that was then.After super-popular current affairs shows Fair Go and Sunday were controversially culled by TVNZ in May, they have been replaced by Border Patrol repeats and local property porn hosted by British import Phil Spencer.Fair Go was pulled back in May. Photo: YouTube / 1NewsThree's timeslots vacated by Newshub will be filled with foreign renovation, baking and Bondi Rescue. There have not been howls of outrage about that either.Digital disruption is also acute for Māori TV news.Whakaata Māori - which recently marked 20 years on air - doesn't publish news audience figures but a recent Te Mangai Paho survey found 34 percent of the Māori general population accessed Māori TV content online - and only 28 percent of rangatahi.The bilingual Te Ao Māori News and the Māori+ app give instant online access to Whakaata Māori news.Te Ao with Moana current affairs show airs at 8pm on Mondays but also finds an audience via its 124,000 Facebook followers.The dilemma for Stuff in replacing Newshub at 6 is whether to mimic what's familiar to the rump of habituated TV appointment viewers - or pivot to something new, like ThreeNews did back in 1990 when 'digital' was still synonymous mainly with wristwatches from Japan.A preview piece in the Stuff-owned TV Guide seemed to suggest the latter:"ThreeNews will have a new set and a new, vibrant look and feel. There will be innovative opportunities for audience engagement and participation," it said.But Stuff digital managing director Nadia Tolich signalled the former when she told the New Zealand Herald this week: "We don't want this to be a cold plunge pool for the existing audience."The reality is there is an expectation there that it will feel somewhat similar."We'll see for ourselves how they square the circle from Saturday at 6pm.

Major Australian bank raises alarm bell on cyber 'warfare': Claims 'entire community is at risk'
Major Australian bank raises alarm bell on cyber 'warfare': Claims 'entire community is at risk'

04 July 2024, 6:01 PM

Australia's "big four" banks are under constant attack, says the National Australia Bank's executive for group investigations Chris Sheehan."Every bank. Every bank is being attacked all the time."Australia's big four banks, it has been revealed, are being bombarded by cyber attacks every minute of every day, leaving customers increasingly vulnerable to scams.The attackers were trying to get into the banks' computer systems, deny services to customers, use malicious code or breach security logins.And the purpose of these attacks?"If it's not us being attacked, then our customers are being attacked, in an effort to steal their information and their money."There's no typical demographic."The entire community is at risk," Chris Sheehan told ABC's The World Today.Indeed, Chris Sheehan is blunt - it is warfare out there."We're engaged in asymmetrical warfare on a day-by-day basis," he said."We're dealing with threat actors of all different types."From, being colloquial, Larry the loser, in the basement at home that's having a bit of a chop away at the laptop and trying to steal money from people or hack into a system, all the way to highly sophisticated, ruthless and resilient transnational organised crime groups and they're the ones that are driving 90 percent of the scams that are hitting Australian victims."And then at the top end of the scale, we're dealing with nation-state actors, malicious nation-state actors."So, it's asymmetrical warfare."It changes every day," Sheehan said.Massive theftAustralians were being fleeced to the tune of $3 billion (NZ$3.3bn) a year by cyber criminals via scams, according to cyber security expert Troy Hunt.And while he was hesitant to label the attacks "warfare", he said the extent of the cyber attacks on Australia's financial institutions was not well understood by the public."I imagine most people are not aware of how prevalent the online attacks are, probably in part because they don't have a sense of the fact these attacks do originate from all over the world, all sorts of different demographics are mounting them.""There are attacks online, attacks against individuals, attacks against corporations."It really is prevalent," Hunt said.He argued the exponential increase in cyber crime related to the perceived lower risk compared to, say, physically robbing a bank.The risk involved with engaging in cyber crimes was different for those in countries where it was unlikely the perpetrator could be extradited."The risk is totally different. And the reward's totally different as well."It's not about grabbing cash out of a till, it's about potentially grabbing hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions of dollars in one go," Hunt said.Daily defenceThe result was that banks, including the NAB, worked hard on their cyber defences."We have a call centre and an operations team focused on the frauds and scams issue that is close to 350 to 400 people - they're on the phone and available to our customers 24/7, 365 [days a year]," Sheehan said.Like other institutions, the NAB had also told customers it no longer sent text messages to customers with links, so if there was a link in a text message, the customer knew it was a scam.Sheehan conceded, though, that once a bank customer hit "send" on a scam payment, it was usually too late for the money to be recovered."If it looks or sounds too good to be true, or if someone's applying pressure to you that you're going to miss out on something, or you're going to suffer a penalty, if you don't make that payment, they are massive red flags."If the story you're being given, either by a text message, email, whatever, contains either of those elements, don't hit send on a payment, run a mile."Seek advice from your bank, talk to friends or relatives, but don't hit send."The Australian Banking Association, which represents the banking industry, agreed with the NAB that the nation's financial institutions were effectively at war."We are amidst a scams war in this country," an Australian Banking Association spokesperson told the ABC."Banks are working around the clock to protect Australians from scams and the industry will continue to invest record amounts in the latest scam-fighting technology to protect customers."Extra safeguards from banks are helping to ensure less Australians are losing money to the international criminal gangs who run many scams."The ABA said Australian banks were known to have some of the strongest anti-scam protections in the world.- This story was first published by the ABC

Updated: Pair arrested in Gulf Harbour body case
Updated: Pair arrested in Gulf Harbour body case

04 July 2024, 4:45 AM

Two individuals have been arrested and charged with interfering with human remains, months after a woman's body was found in a rubbish bag in Gulf Harbour.The pair, both in their 30s, were apprehended while attempting to leave New Zealand.The arrests followed the discovery on March 12 when fisherman Paul Middleton found the woman's body wrapped in multiple layers of black bin bags.Despite extensive efforts, the victim has yet to be identified.Acting Detective Inspector Tim Williams stated in May that DNA tests indicated the woman was likely of Chinese descent, aged between her early 30s and early 50s.The police have sought help from forensic experts and issued a black notice through Interpol in April to gather more information.The pair first appeared in court on Monday.Their names cannot be published until the opportunity to appeal the ruling against continued name suppression expires.Despite requests from their lawyer, the judge declined to keep their identities confidential, stating it would not affect their fair trial rights.In Ōrewa, a residence has been cordoned off since Monday and is currently under police investigation.Authorities have stated that the examination of the scene is ongoing.Further details about the case, initially suppressed by a court order, were allowed to be published following another hearing today.Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 0800 755 021 to speak to the investigation team directly.Information can also be provided via 105 or online, referencing file number 240312/9837, or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

All Blacks Squad Named for England Clash
All Blacks Squad Named for England Clash

04 July 2024, 12:00 AM

Coasties are gearing up for a thrilling showdown as the All Blacks prepare to face England in the opening match of the 2024 Steinlager Ultra Low Carb Series at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.Head Coach Scott Robertson, alongside his selectors, has unveiled a formidable squad of 23 players for Saturday’s encounter. Leading the charge will be lock Scott Barrett, who will captain the team for the first time on home turf. The lineup includes seasoned stars like TJ Perenara, returning after a two-year absence due to injury, and Sevu Reece, noted for his stellar Super Rugby Pacific season despite overcoming ACL injury setbacks."This was a very tough squad to pick, but we’ve selected the best 23 players to beat England on Saturday," said Robertson. All Blacks match-day 23 (Test caps in brackets) 1. Ethan de Groot (22)2. Codie Taylor (85)3. Tyrel Lomax (32)4. Scott Barrett (69) (Captain)5. Patrick Tuipulotu (43)6. Samipeni Finau (1)7. Dalton Papali’i (32)8. Ardie Savea (81) (Vice Captain)9. TJ Perenara (80)10. Damian McKenzie (47)11. Mark Tele’a (9)12. Jordie Barrett (57) (Vice Captain)13. Rieko Ioane (67)14. Sevu Reece (23)15. Stephen Perofeta (3) 16. Asafo Aumua (6)17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (57)18. Fletcher Newell (13)19. Tupou Vaa’i (25)20. Luke Jacobson (18)21. Finlay Christie (21)22. Anton Lienert-Brown (70)23. Beauden Barrett (123)With a collective 934 Test caps, the team boasts experience and depth, bolstered by the leadership of vice captains Ardie Savea and Jordie Barrett.The All Blacks, having last faced England in New Zealand in 2014, anticipate a spirited contest for the Hillary Shield. The series, honouring Sir Edmund Hillary, marks a significant chapter in rugby history between the two nations.7:05 pm Kickoff at Forsyth Barr Stadium promises a spectacle as fans eagerly await the clash between these rugby giants.

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