Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's a country-wide overhaul needed for a mental health crisis, a leaked National Party email, thunder and lightning causes havoc and even injury, and Ports of Auckland paves the way for new hydrogen technology. Hosted by Frances Cook.

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The long-awaited results of the Government inquiry into mental health and addiction have been released, and they show a rising tide of mental distress and addiction that can't be fixed by the government or health system alone.

Among its recommendations are urgently implementing a national suicide prevention strategy, reforming the Mental Health Act and establishing a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission to act as a watchdog.


The report exposes links between social deprivation, trauma, exclusion and increasing levels of mental distress.

It says our wellbeing is being further undermined by aspects of modern life, such as loss of community, isolation and loneliness.

The report says our mental health system is set up to respond to people with a diagnosed mental illness, but does not respond well to other people who are seriously distressed.

Even when it responds to people with a mental illness, it does so through too narrow a lens. People may be offered medication, but not other appropriate support and therapies to recover, and the quality of services and facilities is variable.

Health Minister David Clark won't say which of the 40 recommendations his Government will take up.

The Government is taking until March to formally respond. Clark says they need that time to avoid a knee-jerk response.

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An internal National Party email has been leaked to the Herald, showing instructions from the party's chief press secretary, on how MPs should talk to media about fresh bullying allegations.

The email provided talking points for MPs if asked about bullying.


The leak comes just days after National's internal polls – numbers the party keeps close to its chest – were also leaked to media.

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Thunder and lightning across the upper North Island have caused havoc today, with a woman struck by lightning, disruptions at Auckland Airport, and cows killed in a lightning strike.

Hundreds of lightning strikes hit the northern end of the country, and at one point West Aucklanders were warned to stay indoors.

A woman has been hospitalised after a lightning strike in Māngere.

Colleagues of the woman who collapsed say they're not sure if she got hit or fainted from the shock, but the bolt did strike very close by.

A St John ambulance spokeswoman says a patient was transported to Middlemore Hospital in a moderate condition.

The thunderstorm also caused serious delays at the airport.

A number of planes were struck by lightning so required work before they could fly again.

Air New Zealand Chief Operational Integrity Standards Officer Captain David Morgan says while aircraft are insulated and designed to withstand lightning strikes, they must be inspected before they can go back into service.

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Niwa says Auckland had its wettest December hour on record this morning, with 31.4 millimetres falling in one hour.

Principal scientist Chris Brandolino says the region hasn't seen anything like it in years.

One Blockhouse Bay resident got the fright of her life as she filmed the storm outside her bedroom window.

Amy Buncuga was woken up by the storm, so pulled out her phone. As she recorded the downpour a massive lightning strike hit a tree on her neighbour's property.

She says it made her scream, and the resulting video is certainly impressive.

To watch it, click here.
Acclaimed Kiwi film director Geoff Murphy has died at 80 years old.

He's responsible for one of the most recognisable pieces of New Zealand film history, the quintessential kiwi classic Goodbye Pork Pie.

The Wellingtonian was a leading figure in the fledgling New Zealand film industry in the 1970s - also directing classic films Utu and The Quiet Earth.

His career later took him to Hollywood, where he directed blockbusters including Young Guns II and the Steven Seagal train thriller Under Siege 2.

Murphy also worked as the second unit director on Dante's Peak and for Sir Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings.

In 2014 Murphy was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film. He was previously honoured as one of New Zealand's 20 greatest living artists by the Arts Foundation.

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More trouble for the building sector, as a big Christchurch company which previously handled multi-million-dollar projects, goes into liquidation.

Corbel Construction is a commercial and residential building company. It has carried out extensive seismic, leaky building, education and healthcare projects, including work for the Ministry of Education.

Its liquidation follows the collapse of Ebert Construction.

Corbel's website is no longer active and staff have sent emails out saying the firm is in the hands of Ashton Wheelans, Christchurch accountants.

Companies Office records also show the liquidation.

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Ports of Auckland is set to trial a hydrogen production and refuelling facility, as it seeks to cut its carbon emissions to zero by 2040.

The port has partnered with KiwiRail, Auckland Council, and Auckland Transport, who will invest in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, port equipment, buses and cars as part of the project.

It will produce hydrogen from tap water to help run heavy vehicles like tugs and straddle carriers.

It should be operational by the end of next year.

Ports boss, Tony Gibson, says if it goes well the technology could help the country to become energy self-sufficient.

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New research warns our pension scheme could soon be taking money from the working poor, and giving it to the rich.

Jenesa Jeram, a research fellow at think-tank the New Zealand Initiative, says our current super isn't the best use of public money, and if we continue this way it will be at the expense of more needy group.

She points to hardship rates for the elderly which are three per cent, compared to 11 per cent for the population as a whole and 18 per cent for households with children.

Jeram says politicians should make changes now before ageing voter demographics made it harder to convince the public to make changes.

She says the age of eligibility should be linked to health expectancy, rather than life expectancy, meaning you would measure how long people live for without any major health complications.

Health expectancy is currently 71.8 years for New Zealand women and just under 70 years for men.

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A man has been charged with murder following the death of 71-year-old Francis Tyson, who was found decapitated at his Petone home last week.

The alleged killer appeared in the Hutt Valley District Court this morning, charged with murdering Tyson with a weapon, as well as unrelated charges of intentional damage and possession of non-approved psychoactive substances for supply.

The 41-year-old has interim name suppression.

Judge Arthur Tompkins has ordered a psychiatric report and remanded the man in custody to appear in the High Court at Wellington later this month.

The man was arrested shortly after Tyson was killed at his Jackson St home on Friday evening.

A neighbour told the Herald he had been crying for days since the grisly death.

He says Tyson had been dealing synthetic drugs, as he was an older pensioner who had turned to dealing to get by.

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Four out of five students are entering high school knowing less than they should about science.

A Ministry of Education standards report says just 19 per cent of Year 8 students are at the right level. That's a nose dive from Year 4, when 85 per cent are.

In fact in almost every subject measured, fewer Year 8 students are at the level they should be, compared to Year 4s.

The former head of science at Tauranga Girls' College, Chris Duggan, says it's because a lot primary teachers don't feel confident to teach the subject, and schools often aren't adequately resourced.

She says students come into high school already thinking science isn't for them, which is an attitude that's hard to reverse.

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Some good news for Kaikōura - it's topped the Airbnb trending list for 2019.

It's based on Airbnb search, booking and wish list growth data, and yes, it's worldwide.

Kaikōura has had a 295 per cent increase in bookings and 210 per cent increase in searches.

Second on the list was Xiamen in China, followed by Puebla in Mexico.

Destination Kaikōura General Manager Glenn Ormsby says it's certainly a different story to this time last year, when they were still grappling with the impacts of the 2016 earthquake.

Airbnb manager for Australia and New Zealand, Sam McDonagh, says the town has bounced back well from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

For more on this story tune in to Newstalk ZB

That's the Front Page for today, Tuesday December 4, 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.