Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's family fears a pregnant woman was murdered, a stabbing in central Auckland, agreement between the Government and Airbnb, and a plan to save the Hauraki Gulf. Hosted by Frances Cook.

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The devastated family of Wellington woman Sonam Shelar believe she may have been murdered

Wellington police searching for the 26-year-old, who was five months pregnant and went missing on Saturday, recovered her body from Wairarapa's White Rock Beach late yesterday.


Family spokesperson Harshal Patkar told the Herald Sonam's mother collapsed when news of her death reached home in India.

Patkar said the family, especially her mother, believed it was a murder.

The family are adamant that Sonam was not upset about an ultrasound scan indicating that she was having a girl and say she would not harm herself.

Her husband previously said she was upset after the ultrasound. But her family say that the night after the scan, Sonam called home and explained to her mother and family she was having a girl.

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After the discovery of her body, a dive squad searched Wellington's south coast today.

It's believed surfers found Sonam Shelar's body washed up on a difficult to access private Wairarapa beach.

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A woman has been stabbed in central Auckland this afternoon.


Police attended an incident at Anzac Ave, where a police cordon is now place.

Police confirmed a man is in custody and is assisting them with inquiries. He has not been charged.

Bystander Abhi says he saw a woman lying down on the ground, just outside Wilson carpark.

He says he spoke to a woman at the scene who apparently witnessed the event, and saw a tall man stab the woman with a kitchen knife.

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More than 1150 DHB-employed midwives begin strike action today over pay and conditions.

They'll be striking for two hours, twice a day, over a two-week period through to December the 5th.

Their union Meras says they'll still provide life preserving services for women and their babies.

College of Midwives co-leader Caroline Conroy says midwives are put on the same pay scale as nurses, and they don't have any say in the matter.

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A New Zealand Herald investigation has found women are waiting up to half a year for procedures to help rule out cancer - and a GP fears lives are at risk.

Counties Manukau DHB has been short seven gynaecology beds for the past year, a shortfall it says carries a "very concerning" risk.

Dr Mark Arbuckle, a GP at Otara Family and Christian Health Centre, has patients caught up in the delays.

He says gynaecology is under huge pressure, and they're having to try manage patients who should have had surgery.

He says the real risk is that cancers are missed if these procedures are being delayed, and delayed diagnosis can be life-threatening.

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Fears 200 jobs are on the line, just before Christmas, as New Zealand Post and Kiwibank move to separate.

E Tu Union says NZ Post is fast-tracking shutting down about 30 branches it shares with Kiwibank.

Spokesman Joe Gallagher believes 14 are set to close before Christmas.

New Zealand Post says it needs to talk to staff about any planned changes before commenting publicly.

And a Kiwibank spokeswoman says it's not right to say 14 branches are closing, as its intention is to open new, stand-alone branches.

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ACC has backed off the idea of increased petrol levies, after public backlash to the idea.

Instead, it's recommending a higher vehicle registration fee to increase ACC funding, asking the Government to boost average rego levies by 12 percent, from 114-dollars to 128.

ACC chairwoman Dame Paula Rebstock says after receiving 6000 submissions the board decided against increasing the petrol levy.

That number of submissions is six times more than the last time it sought public consultation of levy changes two years ago.

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Meanwhile, Kiwis are feeling more positive about the Labour Government, however fuel prices are now one our biggest concerns.

That's from an Ipsos survey of more than 600 people.

Research director Jonathan Dodd says 45 percent cited housing as their biggest concern, with petrol coming in second.

Most respondents said they believe the Labour Party is now stronger than National.

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Airbnb is partnering with the Government to provide displaced people refuge during a natural disaster

This morning the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (Medem) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the company.

The agreement is a first of its kind in the Pacific region and only the second national-level partnership behind the United States.

Medem director Sarah Stuart-Black says while most people stay with friends and family if they've been displaced during a disaster, not everybody has that option.

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Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross has made his first public appearance since receiving mental health care last month.

Ross attended the opening of the Taiaho Mai building at Middlemore Hospital, which will provide 38 beds for those needing acute treatment.

He was attending as a local MP – he remains the MP for Botany – and as someone who has received care at the hospital. He was accompanied by his doctor at the event.

Ross told reporters he was unsure when he might return to Parliament, but said it could be in December or early next year.

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The case of Czech drug-smuggler Karel Sroubek is expected to be back with Immigration New Zealand tomorrow.

His lawyer Paul Wicks QC told the Herald they'll hand their material over for the investigation into Sroubek's residency.

He's hopeful of a response from Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway within a week.

The Minister has faced opposition calls to resign, after he decided to cancel Sroubek's deportation and grant him residency under his real name, despite Sroubek having gang associations and serving a prison term for smuggling MDMA

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The possibility of a Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service is gaining momentum.

The Waikato Regional Council is backing a business case to apply for Government funding.

Regional transport committee chair Hugh Vercoe says it's a significant step, and it's satisfying that plans are moving forward.

If funding from NZTA is successful, the first train would roll out of Hamilton in March 2020.

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Passengers could expect to pay up to $40 per day for a round trip on the Hamilton to Auckland service.

The business case says the train would run from Hamilton's Frankton station, stopping at a new station at The Base, as well as Huntly, and then Papakura.

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Fonterra is staying quiet over speculation icecream company Tip Top may be up for sale.

The Australian newspaper reports Fonterra is considering a sale of its South American operations, as well as Tip Top, as the co-operative looks to streamline its operation and reduce its debt.

However, Fonterra told the Herald it was natural for people to speculate, and the company was doing a stock-take of its portfolio.

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The meat alternatives company Sunfed has taken a swipe at Air New Zealand, for not backing local companies.

Sunfed is known for its chicken-free chicken, and is now about to launch a new product, bull-free beef.

Air New Zealand does already have a beef substitute on its menu: the Impossible Burger, from American company Impossible Foods, bankrolled by Bill Gates.

Sunfed co-founder and chief executive Shama Lee says Air NZ was "innovative and ahead of the curve" for seeking out a meat-free, beef-substitute burger.

But she's not so happy about its choosing the American-made Impossible Burger over her own company's chicken-free chicken.

A spokeswoman for Air NZ says they haven't actually been approached by Sunfed, but they're always open to hearing from potential suppliers about their products.

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The Government has moved to salvage a master plan to save Auckland's blue backyard, the Hauraki Gulf.

The Sea Change Plan aimed to create a marine spatial plan would determine what areas should be safe-guarded, and what activities should take place and where in the 1.2 million hectare gulf marine park.

But in a bleak report this year, the Hauraki Gulf Forum warned the effort would "probably fail" because it wasn't enforceable, and difficult to fund.

Today Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash offered hope the Sea Change plan might be revived, with the establishment of a new ministerial advisory committee tasked with helping to implement it.

Nash said the Government was serious about moving forward, and they would start consultation soon.

The gulf is under unprecedented pressure from pollution and over-fishing – and has been dogged by legislative conflicts, particularly between the Fisheries Act and Resource Management Act.

Estimates suggest that, after decades of over-harvesting, the gulf today supports less than 45 per cent of the fish "biomass" that it did in 1925.

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It should be a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but for the Hamilton Lotto shop which sold the winning Powerball ticket last night, it's second time luckier.

The Glenview Centre Lotto & Post sold last night's $6 million Powerball ticket also sold a first-division winning ticket last year, almost to the day.

The manager of the shop Matt Zander, said last year's winning Powerball ticket, which won $4.25m, was sold on November 25.

He says this time is like déjà vu ... and he hopes the exciting win has gone to someone who needs it.

Lotto New Zealand has confirmed that the winning ticket has not yet been claimed and advises people to check their tickets immediately.

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That's the Front Page for today, Thursday November 22, 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.