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Dozens sign Taranaki mum’s petition to ban g-string bikinis at pool

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A mother’s call to ban g-string bikinis being paraded at New Plymouth’s popular public pool has divided opinion across the city.

Amy Dixon, who has three sons, started a petition out of curiosity to see whether she was a prude or if other parents were also uncomfortable about having their children being exposed to skimpy swimwear.

Her campaign started after her eight-year-old son was exposed to some g-string wearers while he was at a swimming lesson.

“It was pornographic,” Dixon claimed.

“I don’t want to be an overprotective mum. Is that the space we’re in with society now? If so, I’ll find ways to prepare my kids for that. But do we have to do that?”

Dixon’s stance found favour with some patrons outside the aquatic centre on Monday who said they also did not want their children exposed to young women dressed in g-strings.

However, others said it was up to the individual to decide if they wore a g-string bikini, because it was a public place and women should be free to wear what they wanted.

The issue had caused debate across the United States, prompted bans in parts of Australia and recently sparked controversy in Taupō over whether g-strings could be worn at thermal spas.

“It was the frustration after spending a summer at rivers, beaches and the pools, of always seeing girls in g-string bikinis,” Dixon explained.

“I don’t want to seem like an overbearing mum, but there hasn’t been a space where my boys can enjoy themselves without having to be on alert, avoid places or look away.

“We’re never completely comfortable to enjoy ourselves as a family.”

Parents could put parental controls on devices to prevent children from accessing inappropriate material, or move to another part of the beach to avoid seeing someone dressed inappropriately, she said.

“But I can’t do that when we’re at the pools.”

Dixon worried the petition would stir up dissent among those who would find her stance on barely-there swimwear overly conservative or old-fashioned.

She wondered if people would feel embarrassed even sharing the petition on their social media page in case they were seen to be judgmental about young women’s bodies and fashion choices.

“I also wondered if it was women of a certain body size wearing g-strings, or men exposing their bodies, would we be okay about that?”

Dixon received comments of “good on you” through the petition, which had already attracted almost 100 signatures.

There was nothing included in the aquatic centre’s dress code that stipulated a minimum level of coverage for bathers.

While swimmers were discouraged from swimming in bras and other undergarments for safety purposes, there was nothing to dictate a level of modesty, apart from adequate coverage of breasts for women.

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Todd Energy Aquatic Centre. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

However, Todd Energy Aquatic Centre operations manager Mike Roberts believed it could be time for a change.

G-string bikinis had become more prevalent with the arrival of European tourists post-Covid, he said.

“I think you’d find the majority of them are tourists.”

Roberts was considering canvassing other aquatic centres on the topic at the upcoming Waves Conference 2024, run by Recreation Aotearoa, and held in Lower Hutt in August.

So far it had been up to individual centres to dictate swimwear etiquette. New Plymouth aquatic centre policy aligned to others in Auckland, Hamilton and Dunedin where all swimmers at all times in the water had to wear recognised swimwear.

That included clean hemmed shorts, shorter than three-quarter length, burkinis, wetsuits and rash shirts.

There was nothing written against swimmers wearing speedos or g-strings in terms of minimalist swimwear, Roberts said.

“But I can certainly put it forward for discussion.”

In 2019, a swimmer at an Auckland pool was asked to cover up by a lifeguard, who told her other women had complained.

The bikini she was wearing was sold at Glassons.

Harvie-Salter said she felt body-shamed and the pool had lost a loyal customer.

– Stuff / Taranaki Daily News
VIA RNZ

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NZ First Minister Casey Costello orders 50% cut to excise tax on heated tobacco products

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Associate Health Minister Casey Costello has cut the excise tax on Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs), as she aims to make them more attractive as an alternative to smoking.

Costello, who is also Customs Minister, has cut the excise rate on HTPs by 50 percent effective from 1 July – a move silently dropped on the Customs website.

Costello refused to be interviewed by RNZ but a spokesman said she had made the move to reduce the cost of the products to encourage smokers to switch to safer alternatives.

But Janet Hoek, a Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, told RNZ that the move seemed weighted in favour of the tobacco industry.

“Certainly that is something that tobacco companies would have been keen to see happen,” Hoek said. “This is not advice that is coming from the Ministry (of Health). It certainly seems to be advice that is suiting tobacco industry interests.”

Tobacco giant Philip Morris owns a leading brand in the HTP market, the IQOS, where sticks of tobacco are inserted into a device and heated, rather than burned.

Philip Morris has lobbied for a cut to the excise tax on HTPs, telling the Tax Working Group in 2018 that the government should “establish a tax rate for heated tobacco products significantly below the tax rate” for tobacco.

In a statement to RNZ Costello said that vaping had been a successful quit-smoking tool and she wanted to see whether HTPs would also be a useful cessation device.

“Vaping does not work for everyone and some attempting to quit have tried several times. HTPs have a similar risk profile to vapes and they are currently legally available, so we are testing what impact halving excise on those products makes.”

HEETS are tobacco sticks or refills that are heated in an electronic device, rather than burned like a traditional cigarette.

There is no evidence that Heated Tobacco Products help people to quit smoking, the Ministry of Health says. Photo: 123RF

Documents released by the Ministry of Health show Costello also asked for advice on liberalising the regulation of HTPs but it was opposed to the idea.

“There is no evidence to support their use as a quit smoking tool,” ministry officials told her. “We do not recommend liberalising the way HTPs are promoted. This would likely compound existing concerns about youth uptake and addiction to nicotine products.

rnz

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26-year-old charged after man found dead in car outside vape store

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Police in Auckland have arrested a man in relation to the homicide investigation launched in Mount Wellington at the weekend.

Officers were called to Penrose Road in Mount Wellington about 10.40pm on Saturday after reports of a gun being fired outside a business.

On arrival they found a man dead in a car.

Police have named the man as 22-year-old Texas Jack Doctor.

They say a 26-year-old man has been arrested, charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

He is expected to appear in Auckland District Court Wednesday.

VIA RNZ

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Police pay deal: Commissioner’s advice to cut super payments ‘foolish’

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Police officers are accusing the police commissioner of “robbing our future”, after a leaked email suggested staff reduce their superannuation contribution to save cash after a disappointing pay offer.

The email to police staff from Police Commissioner Andrew Coster suggested officers forgo their contribution to the police superannuation scheme to compensate for the government’s final pay offer not keeping up with the cost of living.

An officer with nearly 20 years’ experience says cops were feeling “unappreciated and despondent”.

The Police Association and the government have been arguing over pay rates for more than a year.

Independent arbitrator Vicki Campbell was appointed in April to decide which of each party’s final offers would be adopted after no agreement was reached in negotiations.

On Monday, she found in favour of the government’s latest offer, which included a $1500 lump sum payment, a flat $5000 pay increase for officers, plus another 4 percent increase in July and the same in 2025.

There would also be a 5.25 percent increase in allowances backdated to last November.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the officer said backdating the allowances to November instead of July – when the previous pay agreement had expired – was one of the biggest bones of contention among officers.

“It’s always months down the track after after the contract expires before we get a resolution. We’ve been sold short and have we just set a dangerous precedent that we won’t get our back pay from when our contract actually ends?” they said.

Another officer, who RNZ agreed not to name, said members of the Police Association had welcomed the arrival of the new government’s Minister of Police – former officer Mark Mitchell – but he was not “walking the walk”.

“I was optimistic given what Mark Mitchell was saying that it would be a better environment for police. He’s good at talking it up but he’s not supporting the staff who are supposed to deliver on his big promises. He’s just talked shit,” the officer said.

Mitchell has defended the deal saying it was the best the government could do. He told Checkpoint on Tuesday officers would be paid overtime for the first time ever.

The officer RNZ spoke to said his family was struggling and he had hoped negotiations would bring some significant relief.

“We live from pay day to pay day. What they’ve done doesn’t give us anything like inflation or most interest rates costs.

“I don’t understand how that’s okay when you have a review for this date, the police stall negotiations, and then somehow move the date back,” he said.

In a leaked email sent to police staff following the decision Coster said the delays to negotiations were compounded by the timing of the election and the change of government.

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