Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's an announcement for healthy home standards, but will landlords just turn to AirBnB instead? Fatal jet boat accident leaves a community in shock, and New Zealand researchers pave the way in the search for a cure for Parkinson's. Hosted by Frances Cook.

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Opinions are divided on the Government's new healthy home standards, with landlords saying they need exemptions or will go elsewhere, while renters and advocacy groups applaud it.

New Government rules will require every rental home in New Zealand to have a heater in the living room and an extractor fan in the kitchen and bathroom.


The standards set minimum requirements for heating, insulation, ventilation, moisture and drainage, as well as rules to stop draughts, in all residential rental properties across the country.

They'll apply from mid-2021.

Kitchens and bathrooms will have to have extraction fans or rangehoods and, where rental homes have an enclosed subfloor space, property owners will need to install a ground moisture barrier to stop moisture rising into the home.

About a third of rental homes currently don't meet those standards.

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One of the responses is from an Auckland property investor and developer, who says new builds should be exempt from the new rental standards.

David Whitburn, who owns more than 10 Auckland rental properties, says the requirement for landlords to provide heaters is unnecessary for insulated homes that remain warm enough throughout winter.

He says newly built houses, particularly in the North Island and coastal areas, aren't the ones causing concern.


Whitburn says a better way to address health concerns was making sure homes had breathability through weep holes and air circulation.

Overall, he says the new standards are good for landlords and tenants, creating "hot, healthy and happy homes".

However, property investors were "feeling pain" due to numerous government regulations against landlords, which were also forcing up rents.

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One tenant says new rental standards can't come soon enough.

Christchurch tenant Hannah Huntly says she's previously had a nightmare experience in a mouldy home, with her kids constantly sick even in summer.

Huntly has been renting for five years.

She says her previous rental was freezing, leaking and mouldy, and her family were evicted when they tried getting help.

Community Housing Aotearoa CEO Scott Figenshow also says the standards are a step in the right direction.

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There might be an unintended consequence though.

Housing officials say the new renting rules mean landlords could opt for Airbnb over renting

They have also warned Housing Minister Phil Twyford that low-quality rental properties were more likely to be sold off, as it would be too expensive for landlords to comply with the rules.

A regulatory impact statement written by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, details the warning.

They point out that a property is more likely to be sold if the costs of retrofitting are large, either to another landlord who has more money, or to an owner-occupier.

This is more likely to be the case with low-quality properties.

It says alternatively, some rental properties may be removed from use in long term accommodation altogether, and switched into short term accommodation such as Airbnb.

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The other housing issue of the moment is the continuing fallout from the recommendation the Government bring in a capital gains tax.

Now a top economist says the tax would lead to higher living standards for Kiwis, but is warning it would also slow the economy in the short-term.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens is picking house and farm prices will fall, if a capital gains tax is brought in.

He says the combination of the proposed income tax cuts and the implementation of the capital gains tax would "lead to higher long-run living standards for New Zealand".

Stephens says one of the biggest impediments to the New Zealand economy in recent years has been "skewed investment choices" due to an uneven tax system.

"[The Government] taxes the income earned on investments very heavily, but [it] taxes the capital gain earn on investments hardly at all."

In other words, people's paychecks are taxed according to their income level but if someone sells a house for a large profit, they haven't had to pay tax on that gain.

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Cheeky billboards have gone up in Auckland's city centre, including one near the Sky Tower, promoting Timaru's median $350,000 house price with the tagline: "We love our first homes".

The ad campaign comes as the Herald recently revealed Auckland first-home buyers were labouring under crushing mortgages of up to $950 per week and that one couple fled the city to Invercargill where they paid just $160,000 for a four-bedroom villa.

Aoraki Development - the government agency responsible for driving economic growth in the Timaru district - is behind the new billboards and a welovetimaru.nz website.

It is part of a broader advertising and social media campaign aiming to attract new businesses and skilled workers to the coastal city, two hours south of Christchurch.

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A fatal jet boat crash near Wanaka has left the community in 'total shock'.

One person died yesterday afternoon after a jet boat left the Clutha River, near Wanaka Airport, and skidded 40m along a bank.

The crash involved a vessel racing in day two of the Otago Rivers Jet Boat Race, organised by the New Zealand Jet Boat River Racing Association.

Cameron Moore, 46, died in the crash. He owned Ballinger's Hunting and Fishing in Christchurch.

Spokesman Paul Mullan says it was a tragic loss that left everyone in shock.

Navigator Adam Wilton, 34, is recovering in Dunedin Hospital from concussion and broken fingers.

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New Zealand retail sales were up more than expected in the December quarter, boosted by spending on pharmaceuticals, duty-free goods, and food services.

Retail sales volumes rose a seasonally adjusted 1.7 per cent in the December quarter according to Stats NZ. That's higher than economists expected.

Sales volumes grew a record 8.2 per cent for pharmaceutical and other store-based retailing while food and beverage services lifted 4.2 per cent. However, these large increases followed sizeable falls in the September 2018 quarter for both industry groups, it noted.

Retail statistics manager Sue Chapman says increased visitor numbers to New Zealand could be a factor in the higher sales for both of industries.

More than half a million visitors arrived in New Zealand in December 2018, breaking the previous December 2017 monthly record.

In the other direction, the largest falls in volume sales were in hardware, building, and garden supplies, down 2.1 per cent, and department stores, down 2.6 per cent.

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Fonterra is set to lift its milk price forecast this week in response to the big lift in internationally traded dairy prices since the start of the year.

Prices firmed slightly for the sixth time in a row at last week's GlobalDairyTrade auction, but the price of most of Fonterra's key "reference" products have improved dramatically so far this year.

Since December 2018 whole milk powder prices have rallied by 13 per cent. That's the most important measure with the greatest bearing on Fonterra's milk price.

Another important reference product, skim milk powder, has shot up in price by 26.3 per cent.

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A man who lost $1.4 million in retirement savings to a fraudster says he has developed severe health issues since his nest egg was gambled away.

The man is one of several people who fell victim to Waikato fraudster Joshua Paul Johnston, who is being sentenced this week for scamming people out of millions of dollars.

The victim, who has name suppression, told the Herald he lost $1.4 million in the "rort", and has less than $300,000 left to retire on when he turns 66 next year.

He says he would like to see Johnston locked up and the key thrown away, and if he saw him in person he would likely be moved to violence.

The man entered into what turned out to be a phoney business deal with Johnston, along with a couple of friends.

Johnston said he was starting up a business installing electronic equipment, and that the money his victims put in would be returned to them with a 20 per cent mark up.

But as he failed to make payments, the victims became suspicious. The horrible truth was revealed in late 2017 - Johnston had never intended to start up a business, but had instead been taking the money and gambling with it.

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A world-renowned charity founded by Hollywood star and Parkinson's sufferer Michael J Fox has put its weight behind a pioneering Kiwi project tackling the disease from a promising new angle.

Parkinson's is a progressive neurodegenerative condition caused by a lack of dopamine in the brain, resulting in slow and awkward movement.

Fox partly retired from acting soon after going public with his own battle against the disease 20 years ago.

He has since gone on to become one of the world's best-known advocates for research toward finding a cure.

His Michael J Fox Foundation has just joined another United States charity, the Silverstein Foundation, in putting $226,000 toward a potentially ground-breaking New Zealand study.

The project focuses on a genetic mutation that poses one of the biggest risk factors for Parkinson's disease, which affects about one in 500 Kiwis and millions more around the world.

The new study, led by University of Auckland Associate Professor Justin O'Sullivan, will draw on a powerful 3D genome-mapping tool created to reveal the connections of the mutation to other genes.

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That's the Front Page for today, Monday, February 25, 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.