Each week day The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today, Jacinda Ardern signals an overhaul to the country's polytechnics, the Tasman inferno forces more families from their homes, name suppression lapses for one of the 'unruly tourists' and a little style advice for those heading to Hawkes Bay's Art Deco festival. Hosted by Juliette Sivertsen.

The country's polytechnics are in for a shake-up

Jacinda Ardern gave her 'State of the Nation' speech to a business audience this morning, outlining the economic challenges facing New Zealand, and foreshadowing a major restructure of polytechnics and institutes of technology.

The restructure proposal is to be released next week.


It's expected to recommend turning the vocational education sector into a flexible network, which focuses on greater cooperation between institutions to meet the needs of business.

Polytechnics and institutes have cost the Government $100 million in recent bailouts.

Ardern told the business audience the reforms would be far reaching.

She said the system was struggling, and had been left to drift and muddle through.

She questioned why at a time when they're facing critical skill shortages, polytechs and institutes are going broke.

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The other big topic in the Prime Minister's speech - the economy

Ardern says while business confidence had been less gloomy, she said it was important to lay solid foundations to prepare for a slowing global economy.

She repeated her wish to the have the unemployment rate below 4 per cent by the end of the parliamentary term.

The latest figures, released yesterday, saw the rate rise from 3.9 to 4.3 per cent.

Ardern said the global economy was already beginning to slow down, with the International Monetary Fund projecting worldwide growth to ease from 3.7 per cent in 2018 to 3.5 per cent in 2019.

Ardern also plugged the Government's Wellbeing Budget planned for this year, which will prioritise transitioning to a low-emissions economy, lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, supporting innovation, improving child and youth wellbeing, and addressing mental health needs.

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Tasman continues to burn

The Tasman inferno continues to rage, with more evacuations in Wakefield, and a new fire in Nelson City.

The call was made at 12.50pm today to start evacuating the 3000 residents of Wakefield.

Civil Defence recovery manager Richard Kirkby said residents had no time to dampen down their properties.

He says everyone had hoped the fire would be under control by now but that's not the case.

Saxton Stadium's been opened up for evacuees, while others are encouraged to stay with friends and family.

There have been reports of embers from the blaze jumping 600-800metres.

It's feared that embers could spark a new front by landing on the tinder-dry area, which has been declared by Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor as being a drought zone.

One firefighter says the Pigeon Valley fire is on a par with Australian bush blazes.

Fireman Murray Palmer is leading a team in Tasman and says his experience overseas has helped here.

He says firefighters are working long, hard hours.

There are some health concerns as a result of the thick smoke blanketing the district.

The smoke may irritate the eyes, nose, throat and airways of those in homes closest to it.

However, people with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or other lung diseases are at greatest risk, while smoke inhalation could also affect those with angina or heart diseases.

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In the Far North, a bach and a shed were destroyed in a fire in Ahipara

The blaze burned through 5ha of vegetation before it was finally contained about eight this morning.

All major structures have been protected, but some small sheds were lost in the fire.

Northland Age editor Peter Jackson says about half a dozen homes off Gumfields Rd were threatened but all except for one bach and a shed have been saved.

Ground crews are expected to remain at the scene for several days, dampening hot spots.

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A homicide investigation's been launched in Hawke's Bay following the death of a man at a property in Hastings

Police were called to a Lumsden Rd address about 2.35am after receiving a report of a critically injured man.

The man was given CPR, but died at the scene.

Two people were assisting with inquiries and police were not seeking anyone further.

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In West Auckland, a man's been charged with murder after the death of a 59-year-old woman in the suburb of Oratia

Police were called to the scene just after midnight.

Police say the scene is under guard while they carry out an examination.

They're not looking for anyone else in relation to the death.

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Endangered gulls killed at Rotorua

The Department of Conservation has released photos of men with air rifles after the killing of five of the world's most endangered gulls.

Five of the black-billed gulls were found dead at Rotorua's Sulphur Bay during a routine check by a Department of Conservation volunteer in mid-November.

An X-ray of one of the birds found a BB bullet lodged in its breast.

The images, released this week, show two men with air rifles who appear to be pointing them at the gulls.

The Black-billed gull/tarāpuka is the most threatened gull species in the world and endemic to New Zealand.

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A member of group charged with fraud, reckless driving and assault with a weapon can now be named

A warrant is out for the arrest of 26-year-old James Anthony Nolan.

The runaway British tourist failed to appear in Auckland District Court for a second time this morning where name suppression lapsed.

He's charged with fraud, reckless driving and assault with a weapon.

The assault and driving charges are the result of an incident on Auckland's Takapuna Beach last month.

The family of British tourists made headlines around the world after a video emerged of rubbish being strewn on the beach reserve, a court appearance for theft, refusal to pay for food or services as well as hectoring hospitality staff.

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Safety concerns as a dog that attacked a Christchurch toddler gets a second chance

Two-year-old Amelia Johnson has undergone plastic surgery and had a tooth removed, after being attacked by a dog while she was at the letterbox with her mum last week.

The Christchurch City Council has decided not to put the dog down.

But Amelia's grandfather, Kevin Johnson, says the dog could attack someone else.

He says someone in council needs to make strong decisions.

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Queenstown's been revealed as the most popular location for overseas buyers in 2018

Stats NZ figures show foreign nationals bought 105 properties of the 1842 property transfers in Queenstown last year, which accounted for 5.7 per cent of transactions.

But that demand tapered off once the government effectively blocked foreign purchasers in October.

Queenstown boasts one of the country's most expensive streets, Speargrass Flat Rd, and commands an average property value of $1.19 million.

In 2014, it was just over $693,000.

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A new report on iwi holdings show wealth rose by $1.2 billion in the past year, reaching nearly $9b

The TDB Advisory Iwi Investment Report 2018 focuses on the financial performance of eight of the largest iwi, which among them represent about $5.5b of the total asset base.

All eight iwi delivered positive returns for the year, although as the property sector has slowed, so has total growth.

The report reveals several of iwi have relatively undiversified investment portfolios with few assets outside their rohe or traditional region - meaning they're heavily exposed to a single asset class, in a narrow geographic area.

While there often strong cultural and historical reasons for that, it can be risky from a financial perspective.

In other areas iwi are relatively risk-averse - with a low level of debt.

Report author Phil Barry says iwi are playing a more and more important role in the New Zealand economy, but their successes and strategies are not reported on often enough.

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Men, women and children are getting ready to dress up for the Hawke's Bay's Art Deco Festival

The 31st festival opens next Wednesday.

And with that comes a little style advice.

Clarence Bertram St John Fitz-Montague says white pants, striped blazer and boater were common attire for promenading in the 1930s.

He says a Panama gave a more sophisticated look, but the man in the street wore suits.

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That's the Front Page for today, Friday February 8, 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 Juliette Sivertsen on Twitter.