Each weekday The Front Page keeps you up to date with the biggest news in New Zealand. Today it's news of a looming rental crisis, with more retirees not owning their own homes, and Red Cross and the New Zealand Government disagree over the best way to keep Isis hostage Louisa Akavi safe. Hosted by Frances Cook.

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

The growing number of New Zealanders who do not own their homes are in for a tough retirement.

That's according to a study out of the University of Otago that argues for a revamp of NZ Super to better protect Kiwis who will still be paying a mortgage when they stop working.


Data from the Commission for Financial Capability says that while today 70 per cent of people over 65 are mortgage-free, another 13 per cent are homeowners with some mortgage.

But for those nearing retirement, the 55-64 year olds, only one-third of them have paid off the mortgage. Another nearly one-third of this generation don't own a home at all.

Today 14 per cent of seniors rent, but that figure is expected to grow to 24 per cent by 2036 according to research last year by the Ageing Well National Science Challenge. And Auckland University's Retirement Policy Research Centre says right now, 41,000 seniors need the accommodation supplement to boost their superannuation.

The Otago University research team believe the Government needs to act now to ensure that Kiwis have enough to retire comfortably.

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This news comes at the same time as more bad news for renters, with the rental squeeze tightening in Auckland.

Rents in our biggest city rose 4.6 per cent across the board from January to March but nearly 10 per cent in the city central area, according to Barfoot and Thompson, the city's biggest real estate agency.

Director Kiri Barfoot says the highest increases were for two or three-bedroom apartments in the CBD, and two-bedroom homes in other parts of the city.

In January, the Herald reported how the hunt was on for properties in Auckland's already-squeezed rental market, with an America's Cup challenger team appointing a local agency to snare places for their staff and athletes.

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In the plight of a New Zealand nurse kidnapped by Isis, it seems disagreement has broken out between our Government, and the Red Cross.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it's surprised by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's objection to Louisa Akavi's name being released.

Director of operations Dominik Stillhart says the decision wouldn't have been made without the New Zealand Government's support.

But the Prime Minister's office disagrees, saying the ICRC should have been "under no illusion" that New Zealand did not want Akavi's name to be made public because it could increase the danger to her life.

Akavi, a 62-year-old nurse, was working for the Red Cross when she was taken hostage in Syria by the Islamic State five and half years ago.

Her captivity was kept quiet as part of an agreement between successive governments and media because of concerns she would be killed by her captors.

Islamic State territory was wiped out with the fall of Baghouz last month, but security forces have not yet been able to find Akavi or get confirmation of whether she was still alive.

The ICRC decided to name her in a public statement yesterday as part of a public plea for any information that could lead to her location.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government did not want Akavi's name in the public domain, standing by the long-held position that doing so could endanger her life.

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Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says the Red Cross' belief it had New Zealand Government support is 'balderdash'.

He went on to call the Red Cross position a "screw-up", saying if necessary he will release proof to show the Government opposed the public release of her name.

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At the heart of the worldwide public appeal is the hopes that going public will flush out information.

The 62-year-old's five-and-a-half year kidnapping is the longest in the 156-year history of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

ICRC director of operations Dominik Stillhart says they thought they were close to winning her freedom back in 2017.

But with the trail now cold, they chose to release her name yesterday morning in a bid to maximise the chances of finding her and two fellow detainees.

Security forces have been unable to locate Akavi since the Islamic State territory was wiped out with the fall of Baghouz in eastern Syria last month.

However, at least two people described seeing the nurse in December at a clinic in Sousa, one of the final villages held by Islamic State.

In a statement, Akavi's family yesterday said they loved her and wanted her to come home.

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That's the Front Page for today, Tuesday, April 16, 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 Spotify 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.