Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's a health initiative making life worse for poorer families, a mental health patient dies in police altercation, and the Bunnings sausage sizzle becomes political fodder. Hosted by Frances Cook.


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One of the country's biggest health initiatives isn't picking up serious problems and could actually widen the rich-poor divide.

When every child in the country turns four they are offered a "before school check".

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The programme helps identify health, behavioural, social or developmental issues, such as a hearing problem, which could affect learning. The aim is to help those children access health and learning support.

However, a Herald investigation has revealed serious concerns about the programme, including the perverse possibility it could actually worsen inequality.

Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waitemata DHBs have jointly written to the Ministry's chief adviser on child health, urging a review.

The letter says their data shows the checks may be increasing inequalities, as children at the highest risk of poor health outcomes are less likely to be identified and referred.

If they are referred, the families are less able to navigate the system to receive timely appropriate follow-up.

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A man has died after an assault at Whangarei Hospital, police confirmed.

The man was a patient in the mental health unit, and had been restrained by police and hospital staff after assaulting a staff member.

Police said they were at the hospital to deal with an unrelated incident.

The man became unresponsive and CPR was carried out but the man died shortly after midnight.

Acting Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid from Northland CIB said police are investigating.

A post-mortem will take place tomorrow.

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Two national medical organisations have called for ban on boxing.

It comes following the death of Christchurch man Kain Parsons after a charity boxing match on November 3.

He was seriously injured in the fight and died four days later in the intensive care unit in Christchurch Hospital.

New Zealand Medical Association today said boxing should be banned immediately.

Chairwoman Dr Kate Baddock says there's little distinction between the professional or amateur ranks because the primary focus is to harm the opponent.

She says the evidence is overwhelming that it's harmful, and its time in modern society is up.

The Professional Boxing Association is dismissing the calls.

National secretary Pat Leonard says he's sick of the one-eyed calls for bans, when so many other sports and activities have risk attached.

Parsons was the third New Zealander to die while boxing in just over two years. Earlier this year Lucy Aroha Brown died after suffering a head injury during a sparring session and in September 2016 Neville Knight also died after a charity fight in Hamilton.

ACC statistics show there's been 13,864 boxing-related injury claims since January 2016.

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A Manurewa community leader says residents shouldn't be scared despite two shootings and another fatal incident in South Auckland in the past 36 hours.

A man was critically injured early this morning in Manurewa when he was shot at a Gibbs Rd address.

The overnight incident followed the death of a 56-year-old man in Manurewa yesterday.

A 57-year-old woman, known to the man, was arrested in relation to the death.

Manurewa Local Board deputy chairman and chair of Manurewa Marae, Rangi McLean says it's important to support all families involved.

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A proposed passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland could be up and running by 2020 if it gets council approval.

Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today that Waikato councils will consider the business case for train after the Waikato Regional Transport Committee voted unanimously to include it in its local land transport plan.

It will now be considered by Waikato Regional Council, the Waikato District Council and the Hamilton City Council.

Twyford says the initial service should start in March 2020, be run by KiwiRail, and have a northbound morning-peak service and a southbound evening-peak service.

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Property managers are making up for a ban on letting fees by introducing a new charge for landlords.

And some of them are suggesting or encouraging landlords to pass the costs on to tenants.

Parliament passed a law banning letting fees earlier this month. It comes into force on December 12.

Now, in an email to homeowners, Harcourts says it can't absorb the letting fee because of the extensive work involved in finding new tenants for a landlord.

It says it will charge a new fee to landlords from next month, which would be the equivalent of one week's rent plus GST, and would come out of the first rental payment after a tenancy changes.

Harcourts adds that it anticipates "landlords will attempt to recover the cost of the letting fee through increased rent".

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More than $80 million from the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund will boost services across the Manawatū-Whanganui region, including rural broadband, an expanded driver-training centre near Fielding, and a new freight hub near Palmerston North.

About half of the funding will go on the freight hub, keeping Palmy a key staging point for domestic, imported and exported freight in the Lower North Island.

About 2.4 million tonnes moved through the current Palmerston North rail facility in the last year, and freight demands are expected to increase by 60 per cent in the next two decades.

$2.8 million will go towards the National Driver Training Centre, boosting training for those driving trucks, diggers, 4WDs, forklifts and rollers.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says it's an opportunity for people to get qualified where there's a need in the market.

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Claims court industrial action is a threat to safety after a brawl at a Christchurch court.

Across the country PSA court staff members are taking industrial action over unresolved collective bargaining with the Ministry of Justice.

This morning, police arrested three men at the Christchurch District Court, when they attacked a man appearing on firearms charges.

Law society president Kathryn Beck says the attack wouldn't have happened if the lawyer was able to apply for a video link appearance.

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Air New Zealand has been toppled from its position as the best airline in the world, according to an Australian ranking that has deemed another carrier a more worthy recipient.

Singapore Airlines has been named the Airline of the Year for 2019 by AirlineRatings.com, which ranks the world's carriers according to safety and in-flight product.

It's the first time Singapore Airlines has taken out the award, and it pipped Air New Zealand, which held the top spot for five consecutive years.

Singapore Airlines was recognised for its strong in-flight service, revamped cabins, impressive new A350 and Boeing Dreamliner aircraft, operational safety record, and its new Singapore to New York service, which at 19 hours is the new longest non-stop flight in the world.

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A memorial's opening in Wellington tonight to remember the children killed in the Holocaust.

The exhibition at the National Library honours the one and a half million children who lost their lives.

The deaths are symbolised by an art installation of one and a half million buttons, gathered from all around New Zealand.

It also features stories and photographs of the children.

Matthijs Siljee designed the installation that displays the buttons in tables that get bigger and higher.

He says it was inspired by a teacher who initially started collecting buttons to show her students the scale of children killed.

For more on this story, tune in to Newstalk ZB
A sex worker outed online by an angry wife says she hasn't spoken to her daughter in two-and-a-half years since being exposed.

Margaret Herewini-Te Huna posted "derogatory and unpleasant" comments exposing Danna Burton as a sex worker, after finding out her husband had been seeing her.

Herewini-Te Huna appeared in the Wellington District Court this morning for sentencing on one count of posting a harmful digital communication.

Reading from her victim impact statement, Burton cried, took shaky breaths, and had to pause several times as she described how the offending had ruined her relationship with her family.

The first she knew of the posts was when her eldest daughter called her on April 2016, having seen the information online.

The daughter's last words to her mother were "I'm so worried that they're going to find you one day dead in a gutter."

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New Zealand researchers are working on a vaccine to protect people with coeliac diseases from the harmful effects of gluten.

Coeliac disease is caused by an immune reaction to the gluten protein and is estimated to affect 1 in 70 New Zealanders and 1.4 per cent of the global population.

An initial trial of the drug in New Zealand and Australia was successful and researchers were now looking for volunteers in Auckland, Wellington and Havelock North for the next phase of testing.

Coeliac New Zealand general manager Dana Alexander said the programme was identifying a way to desensitise the body's immune response to gluten - similar to turning off an allergic response.

Dunedin born researcher Dr Bob Anderson has been working on the drug, Nexvax2, at Massachusetts biotech company ImmusanT since 2012.

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New Zealand Rugby has created history in Dublin, securing the 2021 women's rugby World Cup for New Zealand.

Former Black Ferns captain, and now New Zealand Rugby board member, Farah Palmer led the final presentation to World Rugby in Dublin.

She says when moving into the board role, she wanted to do all she could to help women's rugby progress.

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New information has come out on how the onions at the Bunnings sausage sizzle became so controversial.

It turns out, one Australian man slipped on an onion, then sued for emotional distress.

Three years ago, a farmer named Trevor slipped backwards after stepping on an onion while entering Gympie Bunnings, in Queensland, to buy a weed eater.

He told local outlet ABC that after the incident, the company offered to call him an ambulance, but he declined as he felt okay.

However, the next day he noticed the extent of his injuries and became concerned about his recently replaced hip.

He had to undergo an MRI to ensure that the hip was not damaged, saying it left him no choice but to pursue Bunnings for the emotional stress caused by the accident.

He told ABC "It is serious stuff, this onion thing."

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Kiwi company The Warehouse is making mileage out of the social media outrage, taking a cheeky dig at rival Bunnings.

Taking to Twitter, The Warehouse took aim at Bunnings' customers' lack of class.

The tweet said Warehouse customers know onions are for eating, not dropping.

It says the only thing at ground level on the daily, is their everyday low prices.

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That's the Front Page for today, Thursday November 15, making sure you're across the biggest news of the day. For more on these stories, check out The New Zealand Herald, or tune in to Newstalk ZB.

You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts here, iHeartRadio here, and Stitcher here.

If you like to stay up to date on social media, you can find host Frances Cook on Facebook here, Instagram here and Twitter here.