Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's DHBs standing up to anti-vaxxers, shots fired at a New Zealand school, Queenstown wants a visitor levy, and a viral video shows we've all been eating pineapple wrong. Hosted by Frances Cook.

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

District health boards have anti-vaxxers in their sights, saying diseases almost eradicated in New Zealand are being seen again.

DHB members went to Parliament to answer health select committee questions, including why increasing numbers of parents are refusing to have their children immunised.


Bay of Plenty DHB chief executive Helen Mason says they have achieved five of the six health targets set by the previous government, but "immunisation hasn't moved and has actually deteriorated. It really, really worries us."

The DHB has tried things including reconfiguring its immunisation service and adopting methods used by successful DHBs but it was at the point where it needed to do something completely different, she said.

Board chairwoman Sally Webb says the issue of anti-vaxxers and their negative effects is something that needs to be looked at nationally.

Waikato DHB interim chief executive Derek Wright says it needed to be pushed as a public health message.

He says measles is coming back, when it was almost eradicated.

He says there's no particular 'type' of parent who chooses not to immunise.

"It's across the various different areas. It's people who are extremely well-educated. It's people who are probably struggling at times as well."

He says those who are anti-vaccination have done a good job of raising concerns, but there is a lot of good science out there, and health boards need to be using it.


The Ministry of Health has set a 95 per cent coverage target for all DHBs to achieve community immunity to certain diseases, which stops them spreading to people who can't be immunised, such as the elderly, the very young, or people who are immunocompromised.

The warning comes amidst a measles outbreak in Canterbury.

Now the Canterbury Medical Officer of Health has contacted schools requesting them to warn parents about the issue.

Waimairi School Principal Mike Anderson says the DHB relies on school records to stop the disease spreading.

And fewer people being vaccinated could also explain a rash of early flu symptoms in Dunedin.

There ha been an outbreak of influenza-like symptoms among the Otago student population - a month before this year's vaccine even becomes available.

Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Susan Jack says a number of things could be to blame.

She says people are more susceptible when they don't get regular vaccinations, and students living in close quarters makes it easier to spread.

Anyone born after 1968 can get vaccinated against measles for free.

For more on this story, click here
School students say they thought they might die, when their school was put into lockdown and shots fired nearby.

Police have confirmed at least one shot was fired.

Staff and students at primary school Bellevue School, Otumoetai College and a nearby childcare centre were put into a "lockdown" after reports of a firearms incident at 8.45am in Tauranga.

A parent told the Bay of Plenty Times his daughter had texted him at 9.40 from Otumoetai College and said "Dad we are in lockdown and have been for a while. There is a school shooting."

Gabrielle Sharland was walking up the hill to Bellevue School when she heard what she said sounded like a gun.

"I heard a gunshot go off," she said.

Sharland said she had dropped her 7-year-old daughter to Bellevue School when she heard the principal over a loud speaker warning parents to go into the classrooms.

"We were locked in the classrooms trying to keep the kids safe, reading them books,"she said.

She admitted she was worried about her children after the lockdown.

However she said the teachers handled the situation well.

For more on this story, click here

Police say one adult was arrested after discharging a firearm on a property neighbouring Bellevue School.

Western Bay of Plenty Area Commander Inspector Clifford Paxton says "a firearm was later located at that property".

He says the incident was very distressing for the community, especially staff and students, and he wants to reassure them that they are not looking for anyone else in relation to the incident.

Milly Fives, a Bellevue School pupil, was at school when the incident happened.

"The teacher said to hide behind the board and hide under the tables.

"We thought it was fake but it wasn't."

Milly said she was scared but kept herself busy by drawing on a whiteboard.

Milly's mother Mary said when she picked up her daughter from school at about lunchtime she noticed a change in the pupils' behaviour, and that they were all much more quiet than usual.

One Otumoetai College student said in an email she was freaking out.

She says it crossed her mind that they could die, and she was still feeling a little traumatised.

For more on this story, click here
Queenstown Lakes District Council has voted unanimously for a referendum on introducing a visitor levy to help fund "desperately needed infrastructure".

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult made the announcement about the referendum earlier this afternoon.

The non-binding referendum - for residents and ratepayers - was considered as an urgent item at today's full council meeting.

Mayor Boult called it a "watershed moment".

"Queenstown Lakes has one of highest visitor-to-resident ratios in the world."

But the pressure of funding a premier international destination by 24,000 ratepayers was "unsustainable".

He says Queenstown Lakes is a place synonymous with wealth and luxury, but at the heart of the district are communities where people are struggling to find affordable housing and traffic is a growing challenge.

Queenstown has 34 international visitors per resident.

By comparison the Auckland ratio is one to one and Christchurch is three to one.

For more on this story, click here
Westpac has apologised to author and journalist Nicky Hager for releasing his private banking information to police.

In October 2014, police raided Hager's Wellington home, in a bid to identify who had provided information for his book Dirty Politics.

In the lead-up to that raid, they asked Westpac for over 10 months of Hager's bank transactions.

The settlement includes compensation.

In a statement released today, Hager welcomed the development.

"I was confident we were going to prevail before the HRRT, but that was likely to have been several years away. Westpac have done the right thing here by owning up to the breach and putting in place much better procedures to protect against it happening again," he said.

"This is an important victory for privacy in New Zealand. It will help many people."

In 2017, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards ruled the bank had breached Hager's privacy without any legal obligation to do so, knocking back Westpac's claim during arguments that their client's rights to privacy were waived in their terms and conditions.

For more on this story, click here
An Auckland health professional is facing charges after alleged sexual assaults on patients spanning more than 30 years.

But his name and specific occupation cannot be published due to a suppression order.

The alleged offending took place in 1985, 1990 and 2017 and relates to three separate complainants.

The man denies the offending and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He was remanded on bail until his next court appearance on May 15.

The name suppression order will be revisited on that date.

A condition of his bail is that he is not allowed to consult female patients under 16 without a chaperone.

And he must not contact the complainants.

For more on this story, click here
A former New Zealand naval officer who was allegedly raped and sexually harassed while on deployment in Britain has lost an appeal to have her case heard in the Supreme Court.

Hayley Young has spent the past four years trying to have a legal case brought against both the New Zealand and British governments - here in New Zealand.

She wants to argue the NZ and British defence forces failed to keep her safe.

Young said she was physically assaulted twice, once when a British officer raped her in 2009, and once when a male officer placed his hand on her crotch while she was climbing a ladder.

Both incidents happened after she was posted to the United Kingdom for officer training.

Young decided not to take legal action against the man who allegedly raped her and instead decided to challenge the culture that enabled it.

She claims there was a lack of action and support from the Royal NZ Navy in relation to the complaints she made about her treatment.

Now the Supreme Court judges say the courts of England and Wales are better suited to hear her case, because the people alleged to have committed the acts, and the witnesses, were all based in the UK.

The Supreme Court declined Young's appeal and awarded costs of $2500 to the UK Ministry of Defence.

For more on this story, click here
Three New Zealanders have hit the Forbes rich list, but it has apparently been a tough year for the wealthiest among us.

New Zealand's richest man has slid in the rankings of Forbes magazine's richest people in the world, dropping an estimated $1 billion in the past year.

Graeme Hart, who built a packaging empire using leveraged buyouts, came in at No 158 on the list of billionaires with an estimated net worth of US$9.1b ($13.4b).

Fellow Kiwi Richard Chandler, who lives in Singapore, came in at No 715 with a fortune of US$3.1b ($4.5b).

The third and final New Zealand citizen on the list is high profile immigrant Peter Thiel, who is ranked No 916 at US$2.5b ($3.7b).

There are now 2153 members on the Forbes billionaires list (55 fewer people than last year).

For more on this story, click here
An increase in the number of syphilis cases across New Zealand has prompted a sexual health expert to call for people to stay safe and get tested.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board sexual health physician Dr Massimo Giola says we're in the midst of a syphilis epidemic and the number of cases have increased dramatically in the last five years.

"Five years ago we were seeing only a few cases in a whole year at the sexual health clinic, now we're seeing two to three new cases every week."

In 2012 there were 80 confirmed cases of syphilis in New Zealand. For 2017, that number had grown to 477.

Tests for syphilis and other STIs are free so if you are in a new relationship and need to have an STI check or if you are concerned that you may be at risk call your family doctor or visit a sexual health clinic for confidential advice and testing.

The early symptoms of syphilis include a sore or ulcer at the site of infection.

But not everyone has symptoms and the sore may be painless and hidden from view so may not be noticed.

If caught early, syphilis can be easily treated with antibiotics.

For more on this story, click here
Of all the things you've been doing wrong in your life, you probably didn't think eating pineapple was one of them.

Luckily, this can be fixed right now (or as soon as you have some pineapple on hand).

A video showing a much easier way to eat pineapple has gone viral.

It shows how you can grab one of the outer spike segments of a pineapple and pull... easily pulling out bite-sized segments of the fruit.

If you can't work out what I'm talking about, then check out the video using this link

That's the Front Page for today, Thursday, March 7, 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.