Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's a $100 million boost for regional employment, families turning to food banks to get through back-to-school season, changes for commercial fishing, and good news for our native birds. Hosted by Frances Cook.

The Government is ploughing more than $100 million into regional employment, focused on Māori and Pasifika people.

It's one of a series of announcements made in the lead-up to Waitangi Day.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says up to $82.4m from the Provincial Growth Fund will go into the new regional skills and employment initiative called Te Ara Mahi, or Pathways to Work.


The lion's share of the funding will go to five regions the Government says need extra help. They are Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke's Bay and Manawatū-Whanganui.

Those regions face issues including high unemployment, low wages and lower productivity compared with the rest of New Zealand.

The Government is investing in two programmes to support Māori and Pasifika, and creating hubs to bring together government agencies.

Ardern says the hubs will allow people to access the full range of government employment support services, including access to work-readiness courses and training opportunities.

A further $21m is going into connecting marae to the internet and establishing regional digital hubs.

The first hubs will be created in Northland, and will offer free Wi-Fi, co-working spaces and advice on the use of the internet for business.

The New Zealand Māori Council is applauding the announcements, particularly the support for high-value land use.

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Some Tauranga families are turning to foodbanks for school lunches, as back-to-school costs mount.


KidsCan's data shows that one in every five children in low-decile schools around New Zealand will go back to class this year without enough food.

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin says there's been high demand for food parcels during the school holidays, as allocated food money was paying for back to school costs.

She says children going back to school without food and uniforms was a "growing issue" in Tauranga.

Local principals are also noticing the back to school pressures on vulnerable children.

Greerton Village School principal Anne Mackintosh says schools have become more of a social agency by ensuring children have the necessities provided by volunteers such as KidsCan.

She says without that, many of their students would go hungry, or not have clothes or shoes.

Mackintosh says the school has extra food baskets in all classrooms for children to help themselves if they needed.

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At the other end of the scale, some families are making a last minute dash into rentals near Auckland Grammar School, to get their children in zone.

The demand has added to struggles to find rentals, with an Auckland property manager saying families have been willing to pay premiums for tenancies in the most sought-after school zones.

The Herald is aware of one recent case where a family reportedly bought a Remuera home as a ruse to enrol in the local primary, but now largely leave it vacant to live in a house elsewhere.

Auckland Grammar School - as one of the nation's most sought after secondary schools - employs two full-time staff to check students are living where they claim, and, in serious cases, also hires private investigators to crack down on parents trying to cheat the system.

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Two British brothers linked to a group of troublesome travellers are now searching for a lawyer, as they face charges related to alleged roofing scams in Auckland.

The men face charges including obtaining $5000 and $18,800 by deception during the past two months.

Judge Field today remanded both Brits in custody until tomorrow morning so they could find appropriate legal representation.

The judge also continued their interim name suppression.

Meanwhile, another member of a group of unruly tourists remains on the run from police.

The 26-year-old British man, charged with fraud, reckless driving and assault with a weapon, failed to appear in court last week after previously being granted bail.

The assault and driving allegations were a result of an incident at Takapuna Beach in Auckland on January 13.

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Former Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox has been disqualified from driving for six months for drink-driving.

The 48-year-old appeared in the Hamilton District Court this morning - and was sentenced and fined $590.

Fox was pulled over by police in Hamilton last year on her way home from Claudelands Events Centre.

She blew more than two times the legal limit.

Fox was emotional as she thanked her supporters outside court following the hearing.

She told media she had been drinking earlier in the night, but stopped drinking after she felt threatened by someone who had previously assaulted her.

She says she took the decision to drive thinking she was okay to do so, but in hindsight, that was the wrong decision to make.

She says she should have rung the police and trusted that they would deal with the matter.

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A 21-year-old Tauranga woman has been charged with neglect of a child - after a baby was left alone in a car last week, during the heatwave.

The baby was left unattended in a vehicle on Gravatt Rd, Papamoa Beach on January 31.

Members of the public told of how the baby, left alone in a hot car, cried as they searched for its mother.

Witnesses say they eventually found the woman in charge of the baby, inside playing pokies at the TAB.

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The results of the Australian Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial services sector should be released very soon.

The Australian Government is due to release the report findings publicly after 6.10pm today New Zealand time, after financial markets have closed in Australia.

Analysts predict tighter credit in New Zealand is likely to be the biggest fall-out here.

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New Zealand businesses wanting to break into China are being urged to work with an influencer.

In western markets influencers usually dominate the fashion and beauty sectors but in Asia, and particularly in China, social media stars can make or break a brand.

Sarah Heller, founder of Heller Beverage Advisory and a Master of Wine, says female influencers now play a critical role in China's wine trade, as shown by rising female consumption statistics in Asia.

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The Government's casting the net for a culture change in commercial fishing.

It's looking at tightening rules that allow commercial fishers to throw small fish back to the sea

But it has also announced that mandatory on-board cameras for commercial fishing vessels - which was originally meant to be in place last year - has been pushed back again.

The information comes from a discussion document released by Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash this afternoon.

They're also looking at the penalties regime, and streamlining ministerial decision-making on catch limits.

Greenpeace says the proposals completely lack teeth.

Executive director Russel Norman says it's merely tinkering, and the Government has abandoned plans for an independent review.

Consultation is open until March 17.

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Celebrations at Zealandia today as their 1000th hihi chick has hatched.

Hihi, or stitchbird, were nearly wiped out by predators and habitat loss, with one small population left on Little Barrier Island.

In 2005, 60 were moved to Zealandia in Wellington, in a return to the mainland after an absence of more than 100 years.

Despite the 1000 hatchings, hihi are still under significant threat - and classified as Nationally Vulnerable.

For more on this story, tune in to Newstalk ZB.

That's the Front Page for today, Monday February 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.