Cameron Eagle has today’s headlines, including weather warnings and road closures as the polar blast strikes both the Sth and Nth Islands; the Salvation Army's reaction to the Government's gambling reforms and the 2013 TIP Report on human trafficking; Peter Dunne's frustration at electoral 'bureaucracy'; and International Mandela Day.
From the RBG News Centre for Shine TV.
"Ending modern slavery must remain a foreign policy priority."
- John Kerry, US Secretary of State
It's estimated that up to 27 million people are modern-day slaves, and New Zealand human rights advocates are urging the government to update and act on its anti-human-trafficking legislation.
The US State Department has released the 13th edition of its annual "Trafficking in People" (TIP) Report, which is regarded as the world’s most comprehensive assessment of anti-trafficking efforts. Countries all over the world are ranked in this Report on their progress in combatting people trafficking.
Each government is placed onto one of three tiers based on the extent of its efforts to comply with the "minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" (Section 108, Trafficking Victims Protection Act), with Tier 1 being the highest - indicating the government in question has acknowledged the existence of human trafficking within its borders, made efforts to address the problem, and complies with the TVPA’s minimum standards.
There are 30 Tier 1 countries; 92 nations on Tier 2; and 21 countries on Tier 3.
The 2013 TIP Report recorded the first-time implementation of a 2008 law affecting six of 44 countries on the "Tier 2 Watch List" - warning of a downward trajectory - for whom a waiver possibility for a plan of action and resources is no longer available: Azerbaijan, Iraq, the Congo, Russia, China, and Uzbekistan. The newly-effected law concerned a state of inertia observed in some countries that appeared to be "getting comfortable" in their TIP ranking. At a press briefing, officials commended three of those countries for encouraging developments, such as Iraq.
New Zealand remains on Tier 1, as it fully complies with the minimum standards prescribed for eliminating trafficking. However, the 2013 Report noted that successive governments have not prosecuted or convicted any offenders under its trafficking legislation in the last seven years, nor had any trafficking victims been identified or certified in the last nine years.
There has been some progress, with government action following the ministerial inquiry into forced labour aboard foreign-flagged fishing vessels in New Zealand waters. Visas for the crews of the vessels were suspended, effectively shutting operators down until they proved they were redressing wage issues.
Local advocacy groups are hoping that a legal review - which recommends the alignment of existing laws with international standards, and the expansion of prosecutorial tools - will be approved by Cabinet. The New Zealand Network Against People Trafficking (NZNAPT) says this country has been reported as a destination for women from several Asian countries and Eastern Europe who are trafficked into forced prostitution.
NZNAPT is also seeking harsher penalties for the sex trafficking of children, pointing to evidence that underage girls are trafficked internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.
"Although progress has been made, constant vigilance, monitoring and awareness is needed if New Zealand is going to be a country completely free from people trafficking."
- RBG News/ ECPAT press rls
Brad Mills brings you the latest Shine TV news headlines including an investigation into fradulent student visas, the latest regarding the urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing, and we hear from ECPAT about vulnerable children in NZ.
Shine TV's news bulletins are produced by RBG News and are broadcast on Shine at 6.30, 7.30, 8.30 and 9.30pm each weekday evening.
Eighty non-government organisations are joining together to urge the Government to get it right for children in its upcoming White Paper.
The briefing paper, released by Unicef today, entitled “What Will it Take” summarises common themes from the organisations' submissions to the Government's Green Paper on Vulnerable Children.
It wants the Government to clearly identify who the country's vulnerable children are, and construct an action plan for how they'll be helped.
ECPAT Child Alert Director, Alan Bell, says we need to recognise that all children are vulnerable – but it isn’t just a Government responsibility.
Listen below for the story.
A child protection agency is welcoming the jail sentence handed down to a man for possession and distribution of child pornography.
Aaron Potter has been sentenced to 25 months' imprisonment on a number of charges relating to objectionable publications. The search of his property and equipment at the end of 2010 uncovered a total of over 80,000 picture files and 1,200 movies depicting the sexual exploitation of children.
ECPAT Child ALERT says, while they're technically referred to as ‘objectionable material’, in reality they are crime scenes. Director Alan Bell was pleased to see the Department of Internal Affairs' Censorship Unit was able to stop the man's activities.
- Newstalk ZB
Bike Wise month
February is “Bike Wise month”, and the AA is reminding motorists and cyclists they need to work together to safely share the roads.
This morning in several parts of the country today it’s also “Go-By-Bike Day!”
The AA wants to see more people to get out of their cars or public transport and onto a bicycle and this morning to encourage people they set up five free breakfast food stations in Auckland.
The food stations were located in Takapuna, central Auckland, Orewa, Mangere Bridge and New Lynn.
AA’s Motoring Affairs spokesman, Dylan Thomsen talked about the Go-By-Bike day, and let us in on how the free food stations went.
Listen below for more.
Online Foetal Alcohol Help Site
There’s a new online tool helping GPs inform expectant mothers about the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant. It’s a welcome resource in a country that has a high rate of babies born with alcohol-related problems.
National Addiction Centre director Professor Doug Sellman discusses more below.
Sentencing and Sex Offenders
The director of child protection agency ECPAT Child ALERT, Allan Bell says the 3 year prison sentence given to the New Zealand man for organising child sex tourism to Asia, is seen as ground breaking, and hopes the “sentence” will deter others involved in or considering this illegal practise.
However, the Law Commission is seeking the public's view on criminal trials, which comes after the Government asked the commission to review the trial process, particularly cases involving sexual offending.
Gareth McVicar, national spokesman for the Sensible Sentencing Trust, shared his view on the issue.
Mojo Mather's Hearing
The Greens are asking Parliament's Speaker to bring forward a meeting to resolve the issue of who will pay for electronic note taking for deaf MP Mojo Mathers.
The meeting is scheduled for March the 7th but Greens co-leader Metiria Turei believes the issue needs to be sorted before then.
The equipment needed will cost $30,000 a year, and John Key says he thinks the party's grandstanding on the issue and it's not being harsh to argue the Greens should foot some of the bill for that.
Ms Mathers also delivers her maiden speech to Parliament this afternoon.
CEO of Deaf Aotearoa, Rachel Noble, discusses the issues of funding for Mojo Mathers needs in parliament.
Rachel is in Wellington to watch Mojo Mathers maiden speech to Parliament.
Listen below for the full story.
(Note to listener: The interview was done over the phone with a sign translator, hence the quality of the interview.)
Dan Wooding - Assist News
Dan discusses the situation in Iran where Christians, who hold meetings in house churches, are being arrested by the secret police.
Barry talks about government finance and the different treatment between consultants and public servants.
Darren Ward - CBM
Darren discusses Mojo Mathers and accomplishments she has made by getting into parliament. He also talks about the issues surrounding her note-taking and how new Zealand society is responding.
A child protection advocate says the sentence handed down in a sex tourism case sends a strong signal.
In a landmark case in Auckland, a 46-year-old man has been sentenced to three years in prison for facilitating child sex tours to Thailand.
Child Alert director Allan Bell says it is disturbing this case took 18 months to come to a conclusion. He is grimly satisfied with the three-year prison sentence, and feels it will deter others from committing a similar crime.
Mr Bell says it's a groundbreaking case for New Zealand.
- Newstalk ZB