Making environmentally friendly choices is something Emma Shi tries to do when she is out shopping - particularly at the supermarket.
But last week she was shocked when she was not allowed to use her own container at the deli.
"The girl at the deli said, 'oh [we] have a new rule that [we're] not allowed to accept people's containers anymore because they're worried people will get sick, not from their products but from not cleaning their own containers properly'," she said.
Ms Shi said these kinds of barriers stop people from doing their bit to reduce the use of plastic.
"It's letting us become complacent to just keep doing what we always do," she said.
In a statement, Countdown said it had a responsibility to make sure all the food it sold was safe for customers.
It said while it understood and appreciated that some customers wanted to bring their own containers, that had to be balanced with its over-arching obligation to guarantee food safety.
Countdown said a container ban was currently the policy but it was a space that was evolving and changing.
But Supermarket company Foodstuffs, which owns New World, Pak'n Save and Four Square, has a trial at one of its stores allowing customers to bring their own containers for meat and seafood.
New World Howick has been carrying out the trial for the past two months.
Its owner Brendon Jones said he has had an overwhelmingly positive response.
"We've had customers saying, 'great, you're preserving the environment for future generations' but we've had other people say, 'it's great not to have our rubbish or recycle bins loaded with the plastic'," he said.
Mr Jones said there were food safety protocols that were followed when dealing with customers' containers and only containers that were clean and had a leak-proof lid were accepted.
He said expanding the BYO containers to the deli section was tricky, but they were not ruling it out.
"Service deli primarily has already cooked or ready-to-eat products, for example sliced meats and salads whereas if you look at the butchery and the seafood, 99.9 percent of those items are there to be taken home, cooked and consumed so it makes quite a difference from a food safety point of view," he said.
Two days ago, the government announced its plans to phase out single-use plastic bags by July next year.
Trevor Craig from the Bin Inn said its customers were encouraged to bring their own containers.
He said the Bin Inn stores were well on their way to getting rid of plastic bags.
The specialty grocery chain sells mainly dry wholefoods - often in bulk.
But Mr Craig said phasing out plastic for packaged meat would be difficult for other supermarkets.
"There's a lot more to that, a lot more research required and you're not going to see an answer to that anytime soon because you have to be careful of protection of food," he said.
Natural changes in the earth's temperature means the world is more likely to see extreme temperatures until 2022.
That's according to a new climate modelling study from UK and Dutch researchers. They found a natural variation in the world's climate, intensified by the man-made warming of the planet, will bring up global temperatures.
These natural changes took place as part of the cooling and heating of the planet's oceans, NIWA's chief scientist of Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards Sam Dean said.
"We've had quite a long period of what we called a hiatus where temperatures were a little bit cooler than you'd be expecting form the underlying climate change trend.
"The last few years, we've had some really hot years, which were above that trend and this model is predicting that's likely to carry on for a few more years," he said.
This year the heatwave in Europe saw wildfires increase by as much as a 25 percent.
But, Dr Dean said the impact on New Zealand would depend on a range of factors.
"Our temperatures are quite dependent on whether we get a lot of northerlies or southerlies, but if the globe is likely to have warmer than average temperatures for the next few years, then it's likely New Zealand will have warmer than average temperatures," he said.
He added the latest findings were supported by other studies, that have come to a similar conclusion.
Victoria University Professor James Renwick said warmer temperatures affected the intensity of tropical cyclones.
"For New Zealand when they drift out of the tropics, it is a bit of a lottery as to whether they'll head towards us, but if they do the chances are they'll be more intense and do more damage when they pass over," he said.
Professor Renwick, from Victoria's school of geography, environment and earth sciences, warned the consequences of a warmer climate were an indication of what was to come.
"The expectation for New Zealand for the rest of the century, is we will see quite an increase in forest fires and high temperature extremes and droughts, as well as floods," he said.
He said the hottest year on record in 2016, would only become the norm by 2040, if action was not taken to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Forest & Bird is calling for a ban on the sale of whitebait as the season kicks off for most of the country today.
Four of the five native whitebait species are in danger of extinction and the organisation wants commercial whitebaiting banned until they have time to recover.
Forest & Bird freshwater advocate Annabeth Cohen said New Zealanders should be asking whether it's okay to have endangered species on restaurant menus.
"The idea that it tastes good is not an excuse that we would accept for the kiwi so I don't think we should accept that for our fish."
She said catch limits should also be imposed for recreational whitebaiting.
"We understand that it's an important cultural pastime so we're not discouraging people from catching a feed with their family but most people are actually surprised when we tell them there's no limit on the recreational catch despite the fact that these fish are struggling."
"Maybe people don't understand that they're endangered, so it's first about understanding that this fish could possibly disappear in our lifetime," Ms Cohen said.
The whitebaiting season runs until the end of November for most of the country, except for the West Coast where it runs from 1 September to 14 November.
Cool science in (1000) hot springs
New Zealand scientists have published the first major results from their study of the unique & extremely resilient organisms living in the Taupō Volcanic Zone, in the world's most comprehensive look at geothermal springs. Over two years, researchers from the 1000 Springs Project carried out a systematic sampling of more than 1000 springs - to find out what lives in the hot, steamy and chemically extreme environments. The joint GNS /University of Waikato project was co-led by University of Waikato's Professor Craig Cary and Dr Matt Stott, who is now at the University of Canterbury. They discovered 28,000 different microorganisms and observed what's driving their distribution, and the importance of the springs' chemistry and physical conditions to their survival in such harsh conditions.
Residents in the West Coast town of Punakaiki - home to the Pancake Rocks - have been left frustrated by delays over improvements to vital infrastructure.
The previous government had planned to upgrade carparking, toilets and access ways last year, but that was put on hold after the new government introduced its own master plan proposal in February.
More than 500,000 people visit Punakaiki every year - and while the tourist revenue is welcome, it is also causing problems in the town.
Punakaiki Beach Camp owner Craig Findlay said the town has fewer than 100 residents, but it was being overrun by tourists, including some freedom campers.
"A typical summer for us is 25,000-plus visitors staying with us - that's only a small percentage of the half-a-million [tourists who visit the town yearly]."
Mr Findlay said the community was frustrated, as the town had one public toilet block and limited car parks.
He said successive governments had let the town down.
"We had been promised by National for significant improvements to infrastructure, and now the change of government with Labour - [it] has gone into a phase of master planning. I don't know if we'll have anything on the ground this summer coming."
Further down State Highway 6, Hydrangea Cottages owner Neil Mouat said the town was quiet for half the year, before it boomed over summer.
He said it was important changes were made so they could serve more tourists year round.
"If you trade [in Punakaiki] - six months of the year you make no money. Almost all your money has to be made within five months, and most of it within three months."
Tourism West Coast has set a target of 1.1 million visitors by 2021, which will mean the town and the region will need more financial investment.
Mr Mouat said with limited infrastructure, tourists should be made aware that there were toilets in other nearby towns.
"Tourists are only 35 minutes from Greymouth and 50 minutes from Westport. It's not the Australian outback."
No quick fix
Buller District Council projects manager Glenn Irving said there was no quick fix to the problems the town was facing.
However, he said they were working on a freedom camping solution.
"Unfortunately, some of the challenges that exist in Punakaiki aren't ones that are going to be solved in a couple of months.
"I do know that the [Buller District Council] is looking at quite a few solutions to the freedom camping issues that exist down there during the summer months, so that's something that we can tackle in the short-term."
Mr Irving said they were putting a proposal - another step in the master plan process - together for investors to look at.
"The plan is to produce a business case to put to future funders for some of the things that need to be done. The plan is to have this part of the project finished by the end of September."
Local businesses are going to have to make do for the meantime, but remain hopeful relief is coming in the form of the Punakaiki master plan.
The master plan is set to be developed and implemented from next year onwards.
Forest and Bird says too many regional councils are letting dairy farmers get away too easily with breaking the rules. A report just out from the group says even when farms are found to be flouting the rules, some councils did not take any action. That patchy oversight has the government worried enough that it's setting up a unit that will keep a check on how councils manage consents.
: It's been an unusually warm and sunny weekend, but that's about to change for some parts of the country. MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths tells John Campbell there's a front about to hit Auckland, and Waikato and Taranaki may also be tested.
The Head of the University of Auckland's Physics Department Richard Easther talks about the Parker Solar Probe. What does NASA hope to learn by sending a spaceship the closest to the Sun that we've ever been? A mere 6 million kilometres away.
Professor Richard Easther on the NASA probe sent to the sun
About 10 percent of the population is left handed and today is International Left-handers Day. The annual event started in 1992, and hen left-handers are asked to celebrate their sinistrality and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-hand .
We talk to Dr Katrina Phillips of the University of Auckland, an expert in applied behaviour analysis, who tells us why left and right handedness comes about and why you can be left handed but not left footed!
Firefighting foam contaminants have been found at "elevated levels" in eels in two south Taranaki streams and in groundwater at five other sites.
The Taranaki Regional Council has not so far specified what it means by "elevated levels".
It has been investigating as part of a nationwide inquiry into contamination by the PFAS class of damaging chemicals.
The Ōaonui and Ngapirau streams were relatively inaccessible, it said, and iwi and local residents had been notified.
The council is seeking food safety advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The five other sites are New Plymouth airport, the Paritūtū tank farm, the Omata tank farm, and the Māui Production Station and adjacent Hot Fire Training Facility at Ōaonui chemicals.
"In each case, the groundwater is not known to be used to supply water for human or stock consumption, so there are no direct pathways for human health risk," the council said.
RNZ last month asked the council to release the results of its PFAS investigations.
New Zealand had no standards for PFAS chemicals in foodstuffs, the council said.
The contamination investigations that begun at Defence Force bases have since spread to include airports, and the government has ordered regional councils to check other possible sources such as factories.
Firefighting foam is held in large quantities at petrochemical facilities like those in Taranaki.
It remains unclear how those facilities are being checked out, though the regional council said it had "focused on sites where it had been stored. In most cases, the companies involved were doing their own checks and investigations".
The Defence Force transferred its firefighting training from its Ohakea airbase to the Ōaonui site after it found PFAS contamination around Ohakea in Manawatu.
The Ōaonui site has stopped discharging wastewater while investigations carry on.
New Zealand's rarest kiwi could one day roam the capital's hills as efforts to eradicate predators received major funding today.
Predator Free Wellington and Capital Kiwi received a $3.27 million funding boost today, as they seek to eradicate possums, rats and stoats from Wellington.
Paul Ward of Capital Kiwi said he foresees a future where brown kiwi, and possibly the rare rowi, are roaming Wellington backyards alongside kākā and kererū.
"We can have kiwi [in Wellington] if we reduce the predator pressure, primarily stoats, and we provide suitable habitat," Mr Ward said.
"The habitat has a provisional thumbs up from the kiwi recovery scientists and managers, and it's steep, crumbly, scrubby north island hill country.
"The key thing over the next couple of years is getting rid of those key predators, primarily mustelids, stoats, and then showing we can keep them out. If we can do that, we can look at bringing our national symbol back to our back yard."
Rowi are the rarest species of kiwi in New Zealand, but Mr Ward said they have a surprising link to the lower North Island, making Wellington a potential home.
"There will be a type of brown kiwi, but, intrigingly, in the fossil records in Wellington the kiwi that was here was the rowi, which is at the moment our rarest kiwi and is only found in Okarito in South Westland," Mr Ward said.
"That population has been managed enough to be able to have potential conversations about bringing it back to a landscape like Wellington.
"We've got a bit of work to do before we have that conversation."
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said the project would help native plants and wildlife thrive.
"Wellingtonians have shown their commitment to saving nature by achieving the country's first predator free suburb with Crofton Downs, and a further 43 of the city's 52 suburbs are running active community-based predator control programmes," Ms Sage said.
"Wellington's Zealandia has also been inspiring. As New Zealand's first fenced sanctuary it has seen the return of many species of native birds, insects and lizards.
"They flourish behind the predator proof fences and species like tieke/saddleback are now nesting beyond the sanctuary."
Predator Free Wellington and Capital Kiwi will receive $15 million in funding over 10 years, including the $3.27 million announced today.
The project is community-led, relying on people to buy into the project by getting involved in trapping in their region.
There are 26 individual groups running trapping operations across Wellington suburbs.
Meanwhile possums have already been eradicated from Miramar Peninsula, while more than 1300 rats were caught in the area over the past year.
Science commentator Siouxsie Wiles talks about a new study that suggests both teetotallers and those who drink too much during middle age are at increased risk of developing dementia, an Australian study finds that a multidrug-resistant superbug has become increasingly tolerant to the alcohols used in hospital hand disinfectants and she explains how spider venom may help treat a devastating form of childhood epilepsy. Associate Professor Dr Siouxsie Wiles is the head of Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland.
Auckland Council is investigating the circumstances of a cattle attack in a park at the weekend.
A man was injured on Sunday when he went to help a woman being attacked by cows in Totara Park in South Auckland.
Auckland Councillor Daniel Newman has since raised questions about whether the leaseholder breached his agreement with the council.
Farmer Peter Linton has leased the land for 19 years.
The most recent agreement with the council was signed at the end of 2015.
It states that the licensee can only graze cattle and sheep on the land and not use it for other purposes.
All cattle on the property must be de-horned and can be no more than two years old, and bulls are prohibited.
Manurewa-Papakura ward councillor Daniel Newman said he had written to council officers to find out if those conditions were being met.
RNZ understands council staff met this morning to discuss their policies around keeping cattle on public land.
Mr Linton declined a recorded interview with RNZ, but he said he was not breaching any of the rules set out in the agreement.
He said he made the decision with the council to send the heffer and her eight-month old vealer calf to the slaughterhouse after the attack.
Even if the cows were not killed yesterday, it was likely they would have been next week, he said.
Sunday's cattle attack occurred during calving season.
During that time, cows are typically very protective of their young and do not like people getting close.
Animal behaviour specialist Elsa Flint said during calving season cattle and the public should be separated
"They should just go into a safe zone, at least have a fence between them and the area that the people run or frequent.
"Generally, most of the animals that live in the shared spaces are very used to people and so at other times of year, I wouldn't expect this sort of behaviour because they are used to all sorts of things going past them and around them," Ms Flint said.
People would benefit from having signs at the entrance of the park that described how to act around a cow and what to do if the animals become agitated, she said.
An Auckland council spokeswoman said its development agency, Panuku, managed the lease and it would review the attack, including considering any necessary changes.
We have received a letter from a frustrated listener, Brian in Wellington, who has been keen for us to play the huia as one of our birdcalls. Unfortunately no recording of the huia exists but Nga Taonga Sound and Vision does have a recording made in 1949 by Henare Hāmana who mimics the different calls of the extinct huia bird. Mr Hāmana had been a member of an expedition in 1909 that tried unsuccessfully to find any remaining huia in the North Island bush. The recording is Nga Taonga Sound and Vision's most requested item. So for you, Brian, here's the male huia's call, as remembered by Henare Hāmana.
Volunteers have spent the night on a beach in Northland caring for a stranded humpback whale. The humpback and her calf became stranded on Ripiro beach near Dargaville on Sunday morning. The calf died on Monday morning. RNZ reporter Eden Moore has been on the beach since before daybreak. She tells Susie Ferguson the mother is still alive, but it's not looking good.
Thousands of people are fleeing the Indonesian island of Lombok after yesterday's severe earthquake. Nearly 100 people have been reported dead. Witnesses have spoken of chaos and terror as buildings collapsed and power and communication lines were cut. Boats have also been sent to evacuate more than 1,000 tourists from the nearby Gili islands. New Zealander Jon Braithwaite runs a scuba diving centre and a backpackers hostel on one of the Gili islands. His two sisters and three brothers from New Zealand were visiting him on the island to celebrate his wedding when the quake struck. He told RNZ reporter Kate Gudsell they'd all run for the hills, fearing for their lives.