National News Brief, Wednesday November 19

National cabinet sworn in today; verdicts in Nia Glassie case; housing slump worst on record; John Key reconsiders 'fart tax'; birth rate at highest level since 1962; and more

  • National's 28 ministers are to be sworn in this morning as Helen Clark's premiership officially ends amidst pomp and ceremony in Parliament's Grand Hall. But the first Cabinet meeting a few hours later will bring them down to earth, as John Key reveals the "parlous state" of the economy, the New Zealand Herald says.
  • New Zealanders are being urged to stop turning a blind-eye to child abuse and dob in their neighbours, after two men were found guilty yesterday or murdering three year-old Nia Glassie. Glassie was abused for months by Wiremu and Michael Curtis before they kicked her in the head in July last year, and the verdicts dominate today's front pages. Nia's mother Lisa Kuku was convicted of manslaughter, but still says she "did not know what was going on in the house", according to the DominionPost.
  • The Press has details of a housing market report that has found the number of houses sold across the country in the first half of the year was down "an unprecedented 44.3 percent" on the same period last year. The previous biggest slump came in 1974. A price drop of 4.5 percent in Christchurch was the worst in the country.
  • The year to September produced the highest number of recorded births since 1962, The Press reports. Statistics New Zealand data showed the birth rate rose from 2.1 per woman in the previous year to 2.2 per woman and the highest fertility rate was from women aged 30-34.
  • And finally, Auckland Zoo's elephants Kashin and Burma could be the last in a New Zealand zoo. Five million dollars is needed to build a new herd, but with the city council cutting budgets, councillor David Hay says the zoo has to choose between elephants and hippos.