24 Feb 2017

Top Stories for Friday 24 February 2017

From Morning Report, 6:00 am on 24 February 2017

New Zealand dairy farmers in Australia are surviving on food parcels while their neighbours get a 500-dollar-a week government allowance for each household. "I went in there just to explain to them that I've been made redundant, my husband's broken his back, we're dairy farming, we're from New Zealand - nah, nah, as soon as you say that 'New Zealand' word, see yah, sorry, we can't do anything." The government has lowered the threshold for what qualifies as the cleanest water as part of its target to make 90 percent of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. Scientists are divided over precisely what this means. The Green Party Co-leader James Shaw slams the Government's weakened water quality measures. Says water announcement means rivers that were only good enough for wading/boating in will now be rated as good enough to swim in "if you went into a restaurant and one in 20 people got sick would you eat in that restaurant... the chances are not?" CNN's Ben Wedemen tells us Iraqi forces have regained control of the airport in Mosul after a months-long operation to push Islamic State militants from the key city. Voters can go to the polls in Mt Albert tomorrow but talking to some locals, it seems quite a few don't even know the elections on, or who they can vote for, if they decide to. "It is all about manaakitanga." Ngati Kahungunu say hosting the biggest ever Te Matatini kapa haka competition is hard work but fun. The Environment Minister, Nick Smith, says the country's water quality being better than any time since the Second World War. Dismisses criticism that one in 20 people could get sick in "swimmable" rivers as "junk science.