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Don't risk not knowing what's going around New Zealand and the world - catch up with interviews from Early Edition on Newstalk ZB.

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Don't risk not knowing what's going around New Zealand and the world - catch up with interviews from Early Edition on Newstalk ZB.

    Victor Billot: Maritime Union spokesperson on the ballooning costs of maintaining the Interislander ferries

    Victor Billot: Maritime Union spokesperson on the ballooning costs of maintaining the Interislander ferries

    Maintenance on ageing Interislander ferries is seen as a short-term solution by the Maritime Union. 

    Estimated annual maintenance costs to keep KiwiRail’s three ageing Interislander ferries running could almost double to $65 million by next year, and keeping the ferries afloat will be an “ongoing battle”. 

    A previous assessment of the fleet’s condition raised concerns about steel corrosion, metal getting weak and cracking, and prohibitive maintenance expenses. 

    The project to replace the fleet with two mega ferries was left dead in the water in December after overall costs, including new terminals and wharf upgrades, ballooned to almost $3 billion and the new Government refused to fund the blowout. 

    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has previously refused to commit to replacing the fleet by 2026, which is when the now-cancelled mega ferries were due to arrive. 

    Given the project’s history of delays, budget blowouts, and other problems, Willis said people were “dreaming” if they thought the mega ferries would be up and running with the necessary port development in place by that time. 

    A Ministerial Advisory Group is looking into new options for the future of the ferry service. 

    Maritime Union spokesperson Victor Billot told Mike Hosking that ships of this age will have issues, especially on Cook Strait. 

    He says they are maintaining ferries that are nearing the end of their lives anyway.  

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    • 3 min
    John Moffat: Bovine disease vaccine research lead on the impact of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea on costs

    John Moffat: Bovine disease vaccine research lead on the impact of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea on costs

    There’s hopes an improved vaccine against an infectious disease running rife through New Zealand cattle could ease costs for farmers. 

    The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project which aims to develop a modified vaccine against Bovine Viral Diarrhoea. 

    It impacts about 80% of our dairy and beef herds and costs the industry more than $190 million each year. 

    Research lead John Moffat told Mike Hosking that it's one of the many threats farmers face. 

    He says the virus is one of the most important issues needing to be dealt with in the cattle industry. 

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    • 2 min
    Ruth Money: Victims advocate on the introduction of time frame goals in the justice system

    Ruth Money: Victims advocate on the introduction of time frame goals in the justice system

    A victims' advocate says new measures to address court backlogs are doable if all players in the system play their part.  

    The Chief District Court Judge has introduced maximum waiting times based on the seriousness of the crime.  

    For the least serious category —where there's no risk of prison— the aim is six months.  

    Independent victims' advocate Ruth Money told Mike Hosking that the courts are jammed and delayed. 

    She says people have their lives on hold waiting. 

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    • 4 min
    Donna Demaio: Australia Correspondent on the talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang

    Donna Demaio: Australia Correspondent on the talks with Chinese Premier Li Qiang

    Following his visit to New Zealand, the Chinese Premier has begun his visit to Australia. 

    Li Qiang was greeted by hundreds of supporters and protestors upon his arrival in Canberra on Sunday, receiving a ceremonial welcome at Parliament House. 

    Australian Correspondent Donna Demaio told Mike Hosking that there has been talks of better military communication, as well as extending the offering of visa-free travel to Australians. 

    She said that Albanese says the bilateral relationship is back on track. 

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    • 2 min
    Ro Edge: Save Women's Sport Spokesperson on the Government taking a watching brief on transgender involvement in community sport

    Ro Edge: Save Women's Sport Spokesperson on the Government taking a watching brief on transgender involvement in community sport

    The Government's changed its tune on transgender people participating in community sports.  

    A policy in the New Zealand First-National Coalition agreement threatened to withhold public funding if sports bodies didn't separate trans athletes from grassroots competitions.  

    After feedback from Sport New Zealand, Sport and Recreation Minister Chris Bishop says the government will now take a watching brief.  

    Save Women's Sport spokesperson Ro Edge told Mike Hosking that she thinks Bishop's been given inaccurate information.  

    She says a letter she received from Bishop wrongly stated Sport NZ's guidelines have exemptions for fairness and safety in female sport. 

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    • 3 min
    Malcolm Fleming: Certified Builders CEO on the proposed building law change to building small dwellings

    Malcolm Fleming: Certified Builders CEO on the proposed building law change to building small dwellings

    The Government promises “granny flats” of 60 square metres or less will be easier to build after planning changes that will force councils to permit small dwellings on rural and residential zones without resource consent.

    Making it easier to build granny flats was part of NZ First’s coalition agreement with National. NZ First leader Winston Peters, taking over as Acting Prime Minister while Christopher Luxon is in Japan, used Monday’s post-Cabinet press conference to announce consultation on changes that would fulfil that policy promise.

    “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them best,” Peters said.

    “Over a quarter of households that do not own their home spend more than 40 per cent of their income on housing. High housing costs have a greater impact on Māori, Pasifika, and people with disabilities, as well as seniors - so unlocking the space in the backyards of family members opens the door to new ways of living.

    “We know granny flats are a great option for seniors, but they’re also increasingly popular with other families such as those who want homes where their university-age children can live at home but maintain some privacy and independence, or families who want to provide extra support to a loved one,” he said.

    Feedback's being sought on the proposed change.

    Certified Builders Chief Executive Malcolm Fleming told Mike Hosking that it's good that proposed designs are required to meet the building code.  

    But he says there's no checking to ensure designs and constructions adhere to the building code, which isn't such a good thing. 

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    • 2 min

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