Deficit climbs to 92 percent of GDP; Waitangi Tribunal judge steps aside; debate on school hours; don't lick the batter bowl; tasers may kill, says Amnesty; gaming machines "worst" form of gambling
New Zealand's current account deficit grew in the three months to the end of September, pushing the annual deficit to $15.5 billion. Foreign claims on the economy exceed New Zealand investment abroad by $166 billion, or 92 per cent of GDP, reports the Herald.
A Waitangi Tribunal judge has stepped aside after she was accused of being biased. After four years presiding over the East Coast inquiry, Stephanie Milroy stepped down when it became apparent that she had interests in five land blocks in the inquiry area through her Ngati Porou connections, reports the Herald.
The School Trustees Association is calling for a national debate on school hours, suggesting schools should open well before 9am and close much later in the day to cater to pupils' changing needs. The association represents most of the nation's 2700 school boards. Education Minister Anne Tolley said the suggestion was an opportunity to review school hours and teachers' working days, reports the Dominion Post.
A salmonella outbreak that has affected nearly 50 people may be due to contaminated flour, says the New Zealand Food Safety Authority. Christmas bakers are warned not to lick the batter bowl, reports the Press. Champion, Edmonds, Homelife and Pam's brand flours with best-before dates between June and July 2009 could be infected and should not be eaten raw, said NZFSA compliance and investigation director Geoff Allen.
Amnesty International is questioning the safety of tasers--about to become standard issue for New Zealand police officers--in a report that links nearly 350 deaths in the US to the stun guns. Some of those killed had no underlying disease or drugs in their system, bringing into doubt the claim that tasers can't kill relatively healthy people, reports the Dominion Post.
New research suggests gaming machines are the most harmful form of gambling, reports the Press. A Massey University survey showed pokies interfered with gamblers' relationships with family and friends, their sense of self and quality of life. Other forms of gambling, such as betting on the horses or playing poker could have positive effects on the gambler.