Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today, new figures reveal house sales have plummeted nearly 13%, a report confirms Chorus failed to prevent migrant worker exploitation by subcontractors, and the gruelling journey ahead for one of the Al Noor mosque shooting's youngest survivors. Hosted by Juliette Sivertsen.

Real Estate Institute data out today revealed a whopping 12.9 per cent drop in sales volumes in the last month.

It's significant not only because of the figure, but because at this time of year, sales volumes are normally very strong.

In fact, typically the number of sales usually sit well over the 7000 mark - but 6938 sales was the lowest number of properties sold for the month of March since March 2011.


The median number of days to sell a property increased by two days from 34 to 36 last month compared to March last year.

In Auckland, it took five days longer to sell last month, from 37 to 42 when compared to the same time last year.

Chief executive Bindi Norwell says mortgage interest rates have never been cheaper - but the legislative changes on the horizon, and the difficulty accessing finance are now starting to affect the housing market, in terms of sales volumes.

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Meanwhile, the New Zealand dollar fell against the greenback after the central bank governor kept the door open for a May rate cut.

And strong US labour market data has eased fears of a possible slowdown in the economy there.

The kiwi was trading at 67.28 US cents at 8am in Wellington, down from 67.62 at 5am.

The trade-weighted index was at 73.02 points from 73.24.

RBNZ governor Adrian Orr gave an interview with Bloomberg yesterday, saying it's a mixed picture and it's hard to say what to will happen.


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An independent report released today shows Chorus failed to prevent migrant worker exploitation by subcontractors.

The report's found Chorus and its subcontractors should have done more to identify and mitigate the risk of breaches in employment law.

In October last year, the board of Chorus commissioned company Martin Jenkins to investigate its subcontractors' employment processes.

The move followed a Labour Inspectorate report that found 73 of 75 Chorus subcontractors systematically exploited workers.

Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie says her company was dealing with unprecedented demand for new broadband installs, and needed technicians.

The MBIE agency completed 75 visits as part of a joint operation with Immigration New Zealand and Inland Revenue in June last year.

Initial analysis identified 73 subcontractors rolling out broadband networks throughout Auckland had breached minimum employment standards

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A group that represents contractors - and sub contractors - says oversight of workers needs addressing.

Civil Contractors New Zealand CEO, Peter Silcock, says despite the pressures, all workers need to be treated in a fair and lawful way.

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In early December last year, the Labour Inspectorate said it had taken cases against two subcontractors to the Employment Relations Authority against two Chorus subcontractors, and in January, it laid charges against a third.

In February this year, union E tū industry coordinator Joe Gallagher told the Herald he wasn't surprised only three of the 73 subcontractors accused of exploitation, were hauled before the ERA.

The union organiser said at the time some cases had been resolved through mediation, but added that taking a case to the ERA required workers to appear as witnesses or otherwise provide evidence - and most didn't want to out of fear.

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Another telecommunications company that's making headlines today for all the wrong reasons is Spark.

The provider's been fined $675,000 for making false and misleading representations in its customer invoices and when making a $100 credit offer to new customers.

Spark's pleaded guilty to the consumer law breaches and was convicted of nine charges under the Fair Trading Act for conduct that occurred over the period from June 2014 and December 2017.

Commissioner Anna Rawlings says overcharging customers - even small amounts - can result in hefty fines for companies.

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The story of the little girl who has been in Starship hospital since the mosque shootings, still has a long way to unfold.

Four-year-old Alem Alsati survived the shooting but has critical injuries, including brain damage.

Her father, Wasseim, who also suffered multiple gunshot injuries at the Al Noor mosque, has revealed a heartbreaking message through a video from his hospital bed.

He says Alem woke up five days ago, and has had seven to eight surgeries, but has brain damage, is currently blind and unable to speak.

And doctors have told him it'll be another four to six months before they know how bad the damage is.

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A 33-year-old man has admitted yelling abuse at worshippers outside the Al Noor Mosque.

Daniel Tuapawa has pleaded guilty to disorderly behaviour in the Christchurch District Court, after yelling "all Muslims are terrorist" at the mosque on Wednesday.

Outside court, he told media, he wanted to meet the victims and apologise.

Tuapawa will be sentenced in July.

He was photographed on Wednesday wearing a Donald Trump T-shirt outside the mosque where 42 Muslims were murdered by a gunman on March 15.

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That's the Front Page for today, Friday 12 April, 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.