Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today, a radical shake-up of the tertiary sector is unveiled, economic inequality detailed in a Salvation Army report, up to 55 Hawke''s Bay patients may have been exposed to serious diseases after a sterilisation botch-up, and a distraught Elton John fan learns about online ticket resellers the hard way. Hosted by Juliette Sivertsen.

The country's 16 polytechs are set to become one, under a radical shake-up of the tertiary sector.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has released a wide-ranging plan, aimed at getting more school leavers into good jobs.

It will see a single national body to take over all polytechnics, apprentices and industry trainees.


The institutes will merge to form the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

That new body will take over all of New Zealand's 110,000 polytechnic students and 140,000 apprentices and industry trainees.

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Life for vulnerable Kiwis barely changed in the past year.

The Salvation Army's released its annual State of the Nation report, which suggests progress in reducing social and economic inequality has stalled.

The report looks into many areas to determine the social progress we've made in the last year.

It collates data on a variety of areas including prison numbers, employment rates and teen pregnancy.

Report author Alan Johnson says this year's report shows a huge gap between the wealthy and the poor.

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Unsterilised tools have been used on surgery patients at Hawke's Bay Hospital for more than a week.

A step was missed in the sterilisation process for a batch of 91 tools at the Hastings hospital on February 1.

The error was spotted nine days later, on Monday afternoon this week.

Health officials say since then 55 people may have been exposed.

Public Health Officer Dr Nicholas Jones says they're testing for the worst - including HIV and hepatitis - as they have no way of knowing what the tools could be contaminated with.

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Calls of schoolyard politics in Parliament this morning.

The Government and Opposition are blaming each other - after a select committee was abandoned when not enough Labour MPs turned up.

National MPs walked out in protest, accusing Labour of failing to get out of bed on time.

During the standoff about 15 submitters, some of whom had travelled to Wellington to have their say on the Government's Budget Policy Statement and the Pike River Recovery Agency, waited outside the meeting room - and were eventually told the meeting had been cancelled.

Under Standing Orders, the meeting cannot take place unless a quorum of at least half the members are present within 10 minutes of the starting time.

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A total fire and equipment ban in the Nelson area has thrown up to 240 forestry contract workers out of jobs and closed two sawmills, with more closures threatened.

The fire remains uncontained burning through a 2400 hectare area with a perimeter 33km long.

It flared up again yesterday afternoon, and breached control lines at Eves Valley overnight.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones says industry sources estimate the cost to the sector of lost production and earnings is $2 million a day.

Jones says the fire and equipment ban is preventing forestry crews from working in forests outside the fire perimeter.

The two sawmills that have closed have insufficient logs to operate.

Across the region other sawmills have enough logs to work until the end of the week and are then expected to shut down.

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SkyCity Entertainment Group has recorded a $97million half year profit - up 11.4 per cent on the previous six months.

But an estimated $25m repair job has pushed back the opening of the New Zealand International Convention Centre.

SkyCity Entertainment Group announced today it's been delayed until mid-2020.

Chief executive Graeme Stephens says the cladding being used was similar material linked to fires including the disastrous Grenfell Towers - aluminium composite panels, or ACP.

Stephens says a safety decision was made to remove it.

Fletcher Construction is building the centre and SkyCity also announced today it had withheld $39.5m in payments from the builder, due to the centre's late delivery.

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Interest rates will stay put as the Reserve Bank announces it's keeping the Official Cash Rate at 1.75 per cent.

While the language of the statement was little changed from the last one in November, the New Zealand dollar rallied by three quarters of a US cent to US68.13 cents in response to it.

Westpac senior markets strategist Imre Speizer says the currency rallied because the statement was "not as dovish as expected".

Economists said the statement delivered was broadly in line with expectations, with a note of added caution on the global environment coming through.

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More New Zealanders are choosing to eat more plant based meals.

A Colmar Brunton survey has revealed one in 10 of us are either vegetarian, vegan or almost meat free.

New Zealand Vegetarian Society Wellington President Caroline Jack says lots of people are reducing the amount of meat they eat.

She says it's encouraging to see vegetarian numbers more than double over the past five years.

For more on this story, tune in to Newstalk ZB

A woman has accidentally spent nearly $8000 on 10 Elton John tickets through Viagogo.

Elton John is set to play three shows in New Zealand early next year, with standard tickets ranging from $130 through to $330.

Ticket buyer, Rosie told Newstalk ZB's Andrew Dickens she didn't know she was buying from the infamous site.

The Australian promoter of the tour, Michael "Chuggi" Chugg, says don't buy tickets from Viagogo or any other reseller sites, claiming those tickets won't be honoured, and half the time they don't even have the tickets and are simply speculating they'll get them.

In response to the criticism, Viagogo reiterated it was a "marketplace and doesn't buy or sell tickets".

A statement from the company said it was a platform for third party sellers to sell tickets to event goers and did not set ticket prices.

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That's the Front Page for today, Wednesday February 13, 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.