Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's shocking data on how many people are assaulted by strangulation, renewed calls to ban private fireworks sales, Air New Zealand's profits slump, and Wellington unveils a giant pride flag at the airport. Hosted by Frances Cook.

You can subscribe to this podcast on Apple podcasts here, iHeartRadio here, and Stitcher here.

Police have charged almost five people a day with strangling or suffocating their partners since a new family violence law came into force criminalising such acts in December.

New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the developed world and police are called to an incident every four minutes.


The new legislation criminalising strangulation and suffocation was brought in in a bid to curb the problem.

Previously there was no separate offence for strangulation as it was treated as assault.

The first person was charged the day it came into force on December 3.

Since then 416 people in total have been charged, around 33 per week and almost five each day.

A woman who was suffocated by her partner almost daily and strangled in a terrifying assault where she blacked out and thought she was dying has shared her story to highlight the atrocious statistics.

She told the Herald her partner strangled her until she was unconscious.

"It was a terrifying moment… he smothered me almost daily, covering my mouth and pushing… he would say 'if you move I'm going to break your neck' - that was way more frightening than being hit.

Women's Refuge says the way police are using a new strangulation law shows they're getting better at believing women who've been abused, and not minimising their experiences.


CEO, Doctor Ang Jury says it's not yet clear if the new law's prompting more women to come forward, because the 300 charges haven't been through court yet.

She says even victims often don't realise how dangerous strangulation is.

Experts say, and statistics show that the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence is shortly after they leave.

Most murders happen at this time.

And, victims are often unable to leave due to isolation, lack of funds and housing and fear.

Domestic abuse charity Shine says it's a grim reminder of New Zealand's shocking domestic abuse record.

General manager Jane Drumm says abusers use strangulation to assert power.

Shine's annual Light it Orange fundraiser starts on Sunday and runs until March 9.

This year, donations to the campaign will help fund specialist advocates who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide urgent support to adult and child victims of domestic violence.

Donations can be made direct to Shine online or through individuals, schools or workplaces fundraising for Light it Orange.

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Major Kiwi building company Arrow Construction has gone into voluntary administration.

Sub-contractors have been removing tools from a Wellington building site today.

The receivers, BDO, confirmed to Newstalk ZB the company went into voluntary administration about 2.30pm.

More on this story on nzherald.co.nz and Newstalk ZB as details come to hand.

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Auckland Council is urging the Government to ban the sale of fireworks to the general public and end their private use.

Only two councillors voted against the decision.

Mayor Phil Goff says he didn't make the decision to support it lightly, but there had been a shift in the public mood toward the private use of fireworks as displayed by the huge number of submissions.

He says they asked the people of Auckland what they wanted, and it gave them a clear mandate to take it to Government.

Of the almost 8000 people who submitted, 89 per cent were in favour of the council asking the Government for a ban.

Goff says there would still be public displays.

But the push could be over before its even begun.

Environment Minister David Parker calls the shots - and he says he has no plans to change the law.

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There could be lean times ahead for Air New Zealand.

The airline's net profit has dropped by 34 per cent - to $152m in the six months to December.

It's blaming lower growth, higher fuel costs and problems with its Rolls-Royce engines.

Looking ahead, chief executive Christopher Luxon acknowledged the rate of growth in the New Zealand market was slowing from previous years.

He says the airline will review its network, fleet and cost base accordingly.

And more bad news for Air New Zealand but good news for travellers.

There's hope a new non-stop service between Auckland and Vancouver will provide some healthy competition.

Air Canada will be operating direct flights between the two cities from mid-December to the end of March.

Air New Zealand already flies that route.

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New Zealand King Salmon has told the Government they're 'desperate', and need help on climate change issues.

Chief executive Grant Rosewarne says the aquaculture industry is not getting the support it needs from a government that says it wants to switch to forms of farming that have less impact on the environment.

He says salmon is already feeling the impacts of climate change, and needs support, but isn't getting any.

Rosewarne was speaking after the company announced a reduced half-year net profit because high sea temperatures last summer caused a high death rate among its farmed king salmon in the Marlborough Sounds.

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Wood processing company Juken New Zealand has been fined $365,000 and ordered to pay a staffer who suffered third-degree steam burns $60,000 in reparation.

The North Island firm has had 20 previous health and safety convictions in the last two decades.

The wood processing company admits it's failed as an employer - but says it's trying to improve.

Juken was sentenced at the Kaitaia District Court yesterday for failing to have adequate health and safety systems in place.

The company has apologised to an injured man and his family and plans to make safety improvements at the site.

The injured worker was replacing a heat probe inside an enclosed Triboard manufacturing press in July 2017 when the machine turned on, engulfing him in hot steam.

The man received third-degree burns to his hands, wrists, superficial burns to his face and burns in his throat, lungs and stomach due to inhaling the steam.

The worker may not regain full function in his hands.

A WorkSafe investigation found Juken failed to provide the appropriate controls to ensure the press was prevented from starting up while work was being carried out inside of the machine.

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Three helicopters are fighting a forestry fire south of Picton.

Fire and Emergency has confirmed a fire in a pine tree plantation at Korimako, near the Picton airport.

Spokesperson, Lyn Crosson, says four fire crews from the surrounding area are fighting it, plus the helicopters.

For more on this story, click here

The fire broke out only hours after warnings were issued that last night's fresh wildfire in the Tasman district may not be the last.

Ninety-seven properties were evacuated for several hours yesterday when a fire broke out in a pine forest.

Residents of all but five, were allowed back home about 8.30pm last night.

The fire broke out just hours after the district's state of emergency was lifted.

Fire scientist Grant Pearce says hot and windy conditions continue to dry out forests, grass and scrub.

He says - with little rain in the forecast - Tasman could be in for one of its longest fire seasons ever.

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The man who fatally beat teenager Eli Holtz at a central Auckland intersection last January has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Myron Robert Alf Felise assaulted the 18-year-old after an incident at the intersection of Wellesley St and Queen St early on the morning of Saturday, January 27.

Seconds before the beating Eli had fired a water pistol out of a car window, striking Felise on the back.

The older man believed he had been shot and advanced on Eli.

It's not the first time Felise has been before the courts for his part in a brutal killing.

In 2008 he and six others were charged with murdering Manurewa liquor store owner Navtej Singh during a robbery.

While only one of the group - Anitilea Chan Kee - pulled the trigger, all seven were charged because police said they were party to the killing.

After a high profile trial only Chan Kee was found guilty of murder.

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After today's sentencing, the family of Eli Holtz said they were broken by his death.

But they've vowed to "reset" and work hard to prevent others feeling their immense pain and heartache.

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A bodybuilding national champion has been banned from an Auckland Les Mills gym amid allegations she was training gym members at the facility despite not working there.

Auckland bodybuilder Ashleigh Pope has competed internationally and claimed the New Zealand open figure title in 2017.

But now she's had her membership revoked at the Takapuna Les Mills for what the gym claims was a "health and safety" issue.

In an email the gym's manager told her she had been asked on several occasions to stop training, coaching or providing such services to other Les Mills gym-goers.

He says he believes she's continuing to provide training, but Les Mills only allows trainers they've recruited, who are then exclusively contracted to them.

However the 25-year-old says she was only working out with friends, and her ban is based on assumptions, not facts.

For more on this story, click here
Wellington Airport is celebrating the upcoming Pride Festival by painting a 3000sq m rainbow along the embankment of its runway.

The airport is using the rainbow - which is an equivalent size to eight netball courts - to welcome in those arriving for the festival and the World ILGA Conference in March.

Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson says they're a sponsor of the conference, and are looking forward to welcoming those attending the events.

The embankment area has been painted with special temporary turf paint which lasts about three to four weeks and will display each of the six traditional symbolic pride colours.

Co-chair of the Wellington Pride Festival Roxy Coevers says, to their knowledge, it's the largest painted rainbow in honour of pride in New Zealand.

For more on this story, click here

I'm actually recording today's podcast from Wellington and saw the flag as I came in to the airport, I can tell you it looks just fab.

That's the Front Page for today, Thursday, February 28, 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.