Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's an unprovoked attack on a member of Parliament, fears support for the disabled is being cut, pre-fabricated houses become a real possibility for solving the housing crisis, and the luckiest store in the country crowns another Lotto winner. Hosted by Frances Cook.

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Greens co-leader James Shaw is "shaken" after being injured in a violent attack on his way to Parliament this morning.

Shaw was punched in the face in an apparently unprovoked attack as he walked to work through central Wellington.


A party spokesperson says Shaw was confronted by a man who stepped out, spoke to him and identified him then hit him in the head.

Shaw suffered a black eye in the attack. Thankfully two passers-by came to Shaw's aid.

He was assessed by ambulance staff at the scene before carrying on to the Beehive, and attending a Cabinet committee meeting.

Afterwards Shaw then went to Wellington Hospital for an assessment given he received a blow to the head.

Police have now arrested a 47-year-old man over the attack.

Trade Minister David Parker told reporters the attacker shouted about the United Nations during the incident.

Parker says his personal view is that there is a danger of extreme opinions, particularly on social media, feeding political biases and causing instability in some people.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says the focus now is on supporting Shaw and his family.


She says they're all shaken by the attack.

Davidson says there's nothing to indicate at this stage that the attack was because of Shaw's or the Greens' work - though she confirmed the attacker appeared to know who he was.

She says Shaw is now under observation in hospital as a precaution.

Shaw did not return to Parliament today and is not planning to speak to media in the near future.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the attack shows New Zealand can't take for granted how accessible its politicians are.

"I think all of us will probably be united in wanting to ensure we have the kind of political environment where everyone can hold their views, but they can do that safely," Ardern said this afternoon.

Ardern says when she spoke to Shaw he told her he was "doing fine", but she encouraged him to take whatever time he needed to recover.

"I would like to acknowledge the members of the public who quickly came to Minister Shaw's assistance. I understand their quick actions assisted in the arrest.

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The attack is shocking, but Members of Parliament have not been strangers to attacks over the years.

In 1980, former National MP Dail Jones suffered a punctured lung in an attack in his electorate office by pensioner Ambrose Tindall, who was obsessed about a $15 traffic ticket.

In 2002, former NZ First MP Brian Donnelly was the victim of a late-night attack in downtown Wellington that left him bloodied and bruised.

Several incidents have taken place at Waitangi, including two men who were sentenced to 100 hours' community work after jostling then-Prime Minister John Key as he arrived at Te Tii Marae in 2009, an attack that also knocked former Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples to the ground.

MPs have not always been on the receiving end.

In 1999, National MP Gerry Brownlee was accused of assaulting Neil Abel, a sympathiser of the Native Forest Action Group, and threatening to throw him down a staircase at National's election campaign launch.

Speaker Trevor Mallard has been involved in a number of incidents. In 2007, he had a punch-up with National MP Tau Henare in a corridor outside the debating chamber.

MPs' properties have also been targeted. In 2009 John Key's Helensville electorate office was attacked with a firebomb.

Two Molotov cocktails were thrown inside the office of East Coast MP Anne Tolley's office in 2016, and shots were fired through the front window of an electorate office of former Mana Party leader Hone Harawira in 2014.

Several MPs have received death threats over the years, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, while in 2011 a Palmerston North man was found guilty of threatening to kill then-Prime Minister John Key.

See the full list here
There are fears support for the disabled is being quietly cut person by person after the Ministry of Health backed down on sector-wide funding changes.

Multiple providers across New Zealand say they have noticed a trend of delayed referrals, reduced support hours, and growing waiting lists in recent months.

They estimate that Disability Support Services, which is run by the ministry, is heading for a $100 million deficit and that it's attempting to find savings before the end of the financial year.

The providers said that in the absence of a formal announcement by the ministry, subtle funding changes are taking place an on individual basis.

Community Care Trust (CCT) chief executive Mike Brummitt says every hour of support is being questioned.

"If someone gets 12 hours, they are saying do you need 10, or eight hours?"

Cambridge mother Sarah Verran, who has a disabled daughter, says families she knows with disabled children are having their support hours reduced despite assessments saying their level of need remains the same.

"It comes down to the fight one has to get those supports, and it shouldn't be like that," Verran said.

The ministry confirmed that an overspend was likely this year, but says no decisions have been made about funding.

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A bank's decision to change the way it loans money on pre-fabricated houses is being called a "game-changer" for the industry, which has previously had to provide finance for the builds out of its own capital.

Westpac is rolling out a mortgage product aimed at helping people get into pre-fabricated houses - houses built offsite in a factory - after a nine-month trial funding six houses in Auckland and the Waikato.

Until now New Zealand banks have only lent on pre-fabricated houses once they were moved onto the land because of concerns about security over the house while it was being built and risks around transporting it.

It's a change that could save new home builders a substantial amount of money.

Mark Dunmore, head of home ownership at Westpac, says pre-fabricated houses could shave 60 per cent off the build time cutting it down from around 22 weeks to seven or eight weeks.

The cost of an average $350k house build could also be cut by $50k, which makes it an attractive proposition for first home buyers.

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A Herald series looking at police pursuits and fleeing drivers has today turned its attention to the review of police pursuit policy, expected to be released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority tomorrow.

The Chase is a four-day Herald series running from Monday to Thursday ahead of the review's release.

It comes as the number of fleeing driver incidents swells to more than 4000 last year.

The Minister of Police says the review aims to better understand the pursuit environment, identify issues and recognise good practise, and is anything but "a rubber-stamping exercise".

Stuart Nash says he's concerned by the rising number of fatals, calling them a tragedy that is "absolutely compounded" if innocent bystanders are killed.

But he says those cases are still rare.

He says police signal for about 3.5 million drivers to stop annually meaning those who flee equate to roughly 0.1 per cent in terms of driver behaviour.

"They do abandon a number of pursuits when they think it is not in the best interest of the safety of the community or society in general."

Two-thirds of the Police Association members believe the status quo is striking the right balance between deterrence and public safety according to a recent report.

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It's the height of a giraffe and is going to massively clean up Auckland's beaches and waterways.

The $1.2 billion Central Interceptor is the answer to decades of sewage spewing from old pipes every time it rains in our biggest city.

Watercare officially signed the construction contract today.

The giant 13km wastewater tunnel will be built from Western Springs, near Auckland Zoo, to the Māngere wastewater treatment plant.

When it's built, the number of overflows at several central city beaches and waterways will be reduced by more than 80 per cent.

Chief executive Raveen Jaduram says part of the problem is that in the current system, much of central Auckland's rain water is mixed with wastewater.

Herne Bay, Sentinel and Home Bay beaches will go from more than 52 overflows a year to 10 or less.

Water quality will improve at polluted Meola Creek and Pt Chevalier beach, a popular swimming and picnic spot since being resanded in 2009.

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Tomorrow thousands of children are expected to strike across New Zealand, as part of a global protest against climate change inaction.

It's led to some division on the issue, including in the gold mining town of Waihi.

Waihi ward chairman Max McLean - a retired teacher - says the strike is a stupid waste of time.

However, many schools including the local kindergarten still plan to take part.

Waihi Kindergarten head teacher, Kate Mullaney says parents and Waihi kindergarten children will march through the town to deliver artwork and letters to Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga.

Mullaney says they're trying to teach children about world issues from an early age.

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New Zealand researchers have joined a call for a global moratorium on human genome editing, after a rogue Chinese scientist shocked the world by producing two HIV-immune babies.

Last year, Shenzhen-based researcher He Jiankui announced he'd altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far.

He wanted to bestow a trait that few people naturally have — an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the Aids virus.

The experiments were met with horror and outrage by scientists around the world, who denounced it as unethical human experimentation.

They were especially appalled that He allegedly recruited patients using coercion, forged documents and swapped blood samples to achieve his goals.

Now scientists and ethicists from seven countries, including New Zealand, are demanding a moratorium and a new international rulebook for all clinical uses of human germline editing.

Otago University geneticist Professor Peter Dearden says the call is important and timely.

Because the new generation of gene-editing tools are relatively easy to use, and have proven effective in humans, it was possible they might be used to permanently edit the human genome to manage disease, or to improve human characteristics.

He says that raises challenging ethical and societal issues.

Dearden says the DNA changes are permanent, and are passed down to children.

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A Hawke's Bay Lotto shop has sold its 47th lucky ticket, with a customer scooping $11 million in last night's Lotto draw.

The winning ticket was sold at Unichem Stortford Lodge in Hastings, which over the years has cemented itself as the "luckiest" Lotto store in New Zealand.

Last night's prize was made up of $10m from Powerball First Division and $1m from Lotto first division.

Store manager Carole Ormerod says the staff were all "very excited" with the win.

She says they don't expect to become too much busier than usual, although they do get some out-of-towners coming in especially to try their luck.

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That's the Front Page for today, Thursday, March 14, 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.