Ombudsman – Chief Ombudsman welcomes Protected Disclosure Act review

Source: Office of the Ombudsman
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has welcomed today’s announcement by the Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins that the Government intends to begin strengthening the Protected Disclosures Act to provide better protection for whistle blowers.
"I agree that the Act is not working as well as it could, and allowing people to report directly to an external authority is a prudent move, as is specifically expanding the definition of serious wrongdoing to include NGOs which handle public funds.
"It is also pleasing to see that the Government will consider a ‘one-stop-shop’ for disclosures and continue to increase public awareness of the legislation. As we saw from the public feedback, it is critically important that the ‘one-stop-shop’ is a fully independent authority.
"However, I believe the legislation needs to be clear that bullying and harassment is serious misconduct as this is an increasingly prevalent problem in workplaces, and a matter of extreme sensitivity for employees who may find it difficult to raise such issues with their employer."
The Chief Ombudsman last year commissioned research which showed that just 9% of respondents were aware of the PDA, and only 40% of all respondents currently in work felt their jobs would be safe if they reported the wrongdoing.
"What was more alarming is that 21% of all respondents said they have witnessed serious wrongdoing at their workplace or previous workplaces, so one can surmise that there is a great deal of misconduct not being reported.
"My Office has done considerable work in the past 14 months on providing advice to Parliament and employers on whistle-blowing, and I am committed to ensuring we continue to engage with the public to raise awareness. I look forward to the next phase."

Social Sector – Demand for flexible childcare and gig economy workers on the rise as Juggle Street grows to more than 94,000 users

Source: Juggle Street

New Zealand, February 20, 2020 – The demand for flexible, last-minute childcare, as well as gig economy workers, is on the rise. Neighbourhood network, Juggle Street, has more than 94,000 registered users across New Zealand and Australia with 1000 plus new users signing up every week. Now people have the opportunity to own a share in the business as Juggle Street kicks off its equity crowdfunding campaign to fund the next phase of its expansion.

Juggle Street Founder and father of four, David James, says “investors, as well as mums, dads and gig economy workers now have the opportunity to own a part of the business”. The Juggle Street user base has grown 60 per cent year-on-year (Jan 2019 to Jan 2020), with 35,000 jobs posted on the platform since its launch. The largest segments of new users include working mums and dads, university-age carers and grandparents.

Mr James says the need to bring communities together was the driving force behind the neighbourhood marketplace connecting busy parents with trusted local babysitters, nannies, Au Pairs and home tutors.

“I grew up in a tight-knit neighbourhood where all the kids played outside and all the parents knew each other, back then this was the norm,” says Mr James. “We are all still craving that sense of community which is now difficult due to increased work hours, longer commutes and not having your family just around the corner. That’s why Juggle Street is so important, it creates meaningful and lasting relationships between neighbours of all ages.”

Juggle Street is unique because parents set the price of every job and Juggle Street does not take a cut from the carers’ payments. Parents can pay for each job they post or take an annual subscription and post unlimited jobs. Carers decide if the job is right for them and then apply or decline in real time. The platform works via a mobile-friendly website with text messages being sent when jobs are posted and candidates reply from their phones. The platform also works on a star rating and parent review system.

Now Juggle Street is offering shares to anyone who believes in the concept and the growth of the business through equity crowdfunding platform Birchal from as little as $250. With access to new capital, Juggle Street will fastrack its goal of 1 million users in ANZ. Juggle Street also has plans to expand into the burgeoning high school tutoring market, having recently launched primary school home tutoring.  Beyond this, Juggle Street is exploring offering local services to senior citizens living in the neighbourhood.  

Active angel investor and co-founder of Investible, Trevor Folsom, was a Juggle Street user before he invested in the business.

“I saw Juggle Street was solving a massive problem in our communities while also being a great investment opportunity,” says Mr Folsom. “This equity crowdfunding is a rare opportunity to have a piece of a business at its ‘scale-up’ stage rather than a start up. This is an investment that will have a real social impact, and people will be able to see the positive effect of Juggle Street in their own community.”

“While equity crowdfunding is relatively new in New Zealand, the model has seen major success overseas for digital consumer platforms and companies, particularly in the UK,” says Birchal co-founder Alan Crabbe. The online platform has worked with other brands such as Shebah since Australian Securities and Investment Commission passed legislation in 2018 to allow private brands to crowdfund for equity.    

“We felt a perfect synergy with Juggle Street as it’s also an online platform that works in a similar way to crowdfunding. That, and the fact David and the team have worked so hard to build trust with its community of users – which is an integral part of the services it facilitates,” says Mr Crabbe.  

New Zealand Mother of four and Auckland resident Ruth Johnson became an avid user of Juggle Street when she lived in Sydney for three years. Upon returning to New Zealand in 2018 she was hugely disappointed when she realised Juggle Street was not available.

“I felt quite lonely and isolated when we moved back to New Zealand,” she recalls. “We had just moved to a new area where I didn't know anybody yet and I had no idea where to even start the search to find help for our family.”

In early 2018, Ruth took her passion for the platform further and approached Juggle Street HQ to launch and establish the marketplace across The Tasman, in New Zealand.

“Juggle Street has already brought back a level of connection in our neighbourhoods. I found my two best babysitters on Juggle Street and they live just 500 metres away. They know the area, they know the schools my kids go to — they are a part of our community — which gives me peace of mind and makes my life so much easier.”

While Juggle Street is helping New Zealand families, it’s also providing a regular source of income for gig-economy workers such as uni students, who make up a significant 45 per cent of the platform’s helpers. Also, catering to empty nesters looking to keep busy or supplement their retirement, the platform is ideal for anyone looking for work, on their own terms.

For expressions of interest for equity in Juggle Street, please go to https://www.birchal.com/company/jugglestreet

RISK WARNING: Always consider the general CSF risk warning and offer document before investing.

Environment – OMV’s deep sea oil drill fails

Source: Greenpeace

Thursday, February 20: South Islanders will be bidding ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Austrian oil and gas giant OMV, which has come up empty handed following a controversial deep sea drill in the Great South Basin.
Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says the news will be welcomed by people across the country who have grown increasingly concerned about OMV’s New Zealand drilling programme.
"This is fantastic news for the climate and for the precious wildlife that calls the Great South Basin home," she says.
"The communities along the Otago Coast and the threatened and endangered sea creatures that live there are now safe from further oil development."
The news comes just one month after OMV accidentally sawed off its own drill shaft, reportedly causing millions of dollars in damage.
In 2018, following a nationwide campaign that saw iwi, hapū, local councils, and hundreds of thousands of people oppose deep sea oil drilling, the New Zealand Government announced a ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits. The ban did not extend to existing permits, the majority of which are held by OMV.
Larsson says the news that OMV has failed to find oil and gas in the Great South Basin means the future of deep sea oil exploration in New Zealand is in doubt.
"As the world experiences the climate crisis intensifying with more devastating fires, floods and droughts, it’s been staggering to see OMV continue to search for more fossil fuels to burn. Today is a clear sign that this company’s time here is up," she says.
"Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders have opposed deep sea oil drilling. In Otago, there has been sustained opposition to OMV’s Great South Basin drill programme from communities and local government alike.
"The increasingly unwelcome reception oil and gas companies are encountering here is testament to the power of all the people up and down the country who are demanding a better future for themselves, their children, and the natural world."
Late last year, nearly 30 protesters occupied OMV’s ‘henchboat’, the Skandi Atlantic, in the Port of Timaru for three days, delaying it from heading to a drill site. A week later, over a hundred people shut down OMV’s offices in New Plymouth for a further three days.
OMV is one of just 100 companies that have caused more than 70% of the world's carbon emissions since the 1980s. The company brought a 34,000 tonne oil rig to New Zealand to drill wells off the Taranaki and Otago coasts this summer.

Education – Changes to strengthen NCEA confirmed and provisional subject list for NCEA Level 1 subjects released

Source: Ministry of Education

Changes to NCEA to be phased in over five years will ensure young New Zealanders continue to be well prepared for work and future study, Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement, Ellen MacGregor-Reid says.
"In May 2019, following a comprehensive review, in-principle decisions were announced on the direction and extent of changes to NCEA. Now that the Government has confirmed decisions we are starting work to make the changes," Ms MacGregor-Reid says.
"The NCEA qualification will be strengthened to help ensure teaching and learning is focused on the most important learning needed to set young people up for success.
"NCEA Level 1 will remain optional but it will change to become a broader foundational qualification that allows students to keep their options open, while Levels 2 and 3 become more specialised. I encourage people to take a look and let us know what they think.
"As a first step we have prepared a provisional list for NCEA Level 1 subjects which is available for public comment over the next two months. Following feedback it will then be finalised so that the development of achievement standards can begin.
"Subjects derived from Te Marautanga o Aotearoa are also being designed currently with sector-based groups and a full provisional subjects list will be confirmed later in 2020."
Two changes to the original proposed NCEA package relate to strengthening NCEA’s literacy and numeracy requirements:
the new, more robust, literacy and numeracy assessment will be offered to students from Year 9 onwards, rather than from Years 7 and 8, andin some cases exceptions to a single literacy and numeracy benchmark qualification without any alternative pathways may be appropriate – particularly for students with English as their second language.
These new assessments will not be mandatory until 2023 because we want to ensure teachers and schools have the time and support they need for these changes," Ms MacGregor-Reid says.
"We will work closely with teachers and other experts to rebuild more than 1,000 achievement standards and accompanying resources in a way that minimises any unnecessary burden on those involved.
"We have been trialling our approach to developing NCEA subjects, with four subject expert groups established in 2019 working on Science, English, Religious Studies and Visual Arts.
"This sector-based development is a new approach. Once it takes in all NCEA subjects it will be a considerable five year project.
"More than 50 subject expert groups may be convened, involving more than 400 senior secondary teachers and representatives from the tertiary sector and industry.
"Implementation of the changes will follow a staged approach, while details and timings may be subject to Budget 2020 and future Budget decisions," Ms MacGregor-Reid says.
More information
Find out more about the NCEA changes – Kōrero Mātauranga website
Find out about the provisional NCEA Level 1 subjects and have your say

Social Sector – More action needed to combat young people’s experiences of period poverty

Source: KidsCan KidsCan is calling for more action to help students dealing with the shame of period poverty. The Youth 19 survey, released today, found over 21% of students in decile one schools had missed school due to a lack of menstrual products, with 14% missing more than a day a month. 
“This is an important piece of research, and one we need to act on,” KidsCan’s CEO and founder Julie Chapman said. “In New Zealand today, girls should not be missing school because they don’t have sanitary products. It affects their education, reduces their career prospects, and can trap them in a cycle of poverty. We’re doing all we can to change that.”  KIdsCan has been providing sanitary items in the decile 1-4 schools it supports since 2013, when teachers reported some students were missing up to a week of school a month. Demand has risen steadily.  Last year KidsCan supplied more than 30,000 boxes of pads, tampons and liners. This year that is projected to rise four-fold to 120,000 boxes after a push to educate students on the support available.  The charity has been working alongside the University of Otago and the University of Auckland to look at the extent of period poverty in New Zealand and test the best ways to reach students in hardship. 4,000 students across 100 KidsCan partnership schools have trialled sample kits with products and educational material, discrete carry bags, and student ordering cards available in English and Te Reo Maori. The new measures resulted in a 300% increase in product demand, with positive feedback from students and teachers’ alike.  Chapman said she would love to see New Zealand follow England, Scotland and Wales, where Governments fund sanitary products for school students.  “We would love to work with our Government to deliver such a scheme,” she says. “KidsCan supports 787 low decile schools throughout New Zealand, and we use our buying power to negotiate amazing discounts on products through corporate partners like Johnson & Johnson. Schools order what they need from us, and we distribute sanitary items alongside food, shoes, raincoats and other health essentials. We are well placed to deliver an expanded programme.” A 2018 KidsCan survey revealed 29% of 15-17 year old respondents said they had missed school due to a lack of access to sanitary items. When unable to afford sanitary items, they reported using toilet paper, rags, old cloths, and nappies.  KidsCan relies on public donations to help deliver its programmes, and needs more monthly donors if you can include this link: www.KidsCan.org.nz  KidsCan statistics KidsCan provides food, raincoats, shoes, socks, and basic health and hygiene items in 787 schools nationwide.  Since October 2018, KidsCan has also been supporting 950 preschoolers in 25 early childhood centres in Northland, Auckland and Hawkes Bay. Every child receives a raincoat, shoes, head lice treatment and five fresh, healthy meals a week. The charity is now planning the programme’s expansion.  Last year KidsCan provided Baked beans, bread, spreads, fruit, yoghurt, supergrain bars and scroggin, fuelling on average 30,000 children a day More than 424,500 servings of hot meals – including soups, curries and pasta  128,000 loaves of bread  More than 40,000 raincoats and 25,000 pairs of shoes to get children to school warm and dry  More than 45,000 bottles of head lice treatment and 45,000 lice combs KidsCan is proudly supported by Meridian Energy, Principal Partner since 2013.

Tech – Hawaiki seals new capacity deal with REANNZ to boost global research collaboration

Source: Hawaiki * REANNZ strengthens network with additional capacity and resiliency
* Hawaiki delivers all-in-one connectivity solution involving multiple cables and services
* REANNZ expands reach in the Pacific with new subsea routes and PoPs Auckland, New Zealand – February 20, 2020 – Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP and Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand today announced the signing of a significant agreement to provide the country’s peak research network with a crucial boost in international cable capacity and resiliency. REANNZ was an anchor tenant for the Hawaiki Transpacific Cable – launched for commercial service mid-2018. Its high-performance network allows researchers to send and receive massive data transfers within the global research and education communities, supporting real-time collaboration on critical research projects. Following the contract signed today, Hawaiki will provide REANNZ with more resilient end-to-end connectivity, as well as additional capacity on both the Hawaiki network and diverse trans-Tasman and trans-Pacific subsea routes. Dianna Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of REANNZ said: “We are delighted to be able to not only support our members through the robust service that we offer now, however with this next step we will provide a greater level of service resiliency that ensures continuity and grows opportunities”

REANNZ will now expand its reach in Australia and the US, including new Points of Presence in Sydney, Guam and Hawaii, further strengthening its network infrastructure with future-proof capacity. Remi Galasso, Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiki said it is natural the company would extend its partnership with REANNZ, and he looks forward to collaborating further in advancing the digital transformation of the Pacific. “We are very proud to pursue our partnership with REANNZ and increase the scope of our collaboration. Research and Education are at the heart of Hawaiki’s development and this new contract will help to both extend and improve connections between research organisations throughout the region,” The Hawaiki transpacific cable system is the fastest and largest capacity link between New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and mainland United States. The deal announced with REANNZ today comes after Hawaiki was honoured at last month’s Pacific Telecommunications Council awards in Honolulu, taking home prizes for ‘Outstanding Ecosystem Collaboration’ and ‘Outstanding ICT Education Provider’ for the revolutionary HoloCampus telepresence project. About Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP Hawaiki Submarine Cable LP, headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, owns and operates the Hawaiki submarine cable system (Hawaiki). Hawaiki is the first and only carrier-neutral submarine cable linking Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Oregon, on the U.S. west coast. For more information, visit www.hawaikicable.co.nz or connect with Hawaiki on Twitter and LinkedIn About REANNZ REANNZ is a Crown entity that operates the National Research and Education Network (NREN) for New Zealand. They provide a specialised high-performance network and other supporting services that connect and support creators and users in the science, research and education sectors both nationally and internationally. For more information, visit our website www.reannz.co.nz or follow REANNZ on Twitter.

Finance and Investments – NZ SUPER FUND REPORTS STRONG PERFORMANCE FOR 2019; SEES CONSTRAINED INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT AHEAD BUT LOWER GEOPOLITICAL RISKS

Source: New Zealand Superannuation Fund

The NZ Super Fund expects a slightly less turbulent market environment in the near term, following an eventful 2019. The Fund has reported a strong 2019 calendar year performance return of 21.13 percent (unaudited, before NZ tax, after costs), which saw it grow to $47 billion.

The Fund was established to help smooth the future cost increases of providing universal superannuation. It has a long-term time horizon and invests contributions from the Government into a growth-oriented and diversified global portfolio of investments.

“We are really pleased with the calendar year result against a backdrop of strong market returns,” says CEO Matt Whineray.

“It is a strong contribution to the future economic health of our country. At the same time, we know markets are volatile and this coming year presents a range of challenges for investors.”

Market dominating issues from 2018 and 2019 such as Brexit and the US-China trade war have been suppressed, at least for now. However, unforeseen events, such as the Coronavirus outbreak, illustrate how quickly new risks can emerge and upcoming events, such as the outcomes from the US general election and UK-European trade negotiations, could see those former risks resurface.

At the same time, interest rates remain low and asset prices are high, meaning there are fewer attractive investment opportunities available.

“In the short term the Fund is taking less active risk and we expect lower returns than we have enjoyed in recent years. Looking further ahead we remain well positioned to exploit emerging opportunities and are exploring a range of potential investments in New Zealand and abroad, particularly in infrastructure and real estate.”

As at 31 December 2019, the NZ Super Fund has returned 10.32 percent per year since inception (before NZ tax, after costs) and has earned $8.901 billion in value-added returns over its passive reference portfolio benchmark.

Two-thirds of the Super Fund is invested in its passive reference portfolio, which returned an impressive 22.74 percent for the 2019 year.

Mr Whineray says the reference portfolio did better than the Fund’s actual portfolio largely because of the timing of the Fund’s private market asset revaluations, which are assessed less frequently than listed equity holdings.

The net effect is that during periods when liquid equity markets rally strongly, as was the case during 2019, the performance of those infrequently valued assets tends to lag the reference portfolio proxy (of listed equities and bonds).

Economic and investment environment for 2020

Some of the risk-off drivers of market uncertainty have eased in recent times in response to policy negotiations.  However, some of the damage from those drivers will remain and the permanence of some of those policy solutions is not necessarily clear.

The IMF expects global growth to rise from 2.9 percent in 2019 to 3.3 percent in 2020 and 3.4 percent in 2021. The increase reflects tentative signs that trade and manufacturing activity has bottomed out and favourable news relating to US-China negotiations and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

However, there are some reservations. The IMF notes the hard global macroeconomic data is yet to display any turning points and the forecasts were published before the Coronavius outbreak.

Efforts to contain the outbreak will negatively impact first quarter economic growth, particularly in China, those countries reliant on Chinese spending, and corporates reliant on supply chains through China. Some of that growth will be recovered when the outbreak comes under control, but some of it is lost for good.  Markets were volatile at the start of the year in response to Coronavirus, but have priced in a near-term resolution. However, this could reverse quickly if the impacts prove to be enduring.

The US and China have recently negotiated a deal that has brought some relief to markets that the trade war at least will not worsen in the near term.  At the same time, the lingering damage from the past 18 months of tariff escalation is real and will not reverse quickly. The trade war has had a big impact on global manufacturing activity and countries that are reliant on it .

Europe was particularly hard hit – it is heavily reliant on manufacturing, has demographic challenges, and has little-to-no room for policy maneuver. The outcome of the US presidential election will have the biggest impact on future US-China relationships for the better or worse. Markets will be watching developments closely and volatility will increase or decrease accordingly.

Equities – Despite geopolitical risks, central bank support underpinned global equities, which increased 25 percent in 2019 calendar year. The US market performed strongly, with S&P500 total return up 31 percent. Emerging Market lagged, rising 19 percent, bringing Developed Market vs Emerging Market outperformance to 12 percent.

Rates – 10 Year US Treasury (UST) yields plunged from 3.23 percent (8 Nov 2018, Fed meeting) to 1.46 percent in early September. The 10-2 UST yield curve finally inverted in late August, but has since moved into slightly positive territory. A slew of economic data releases showed a slowdown, particularly in global manufacturing, helping to reinforce central banks’ dovish tilts.

Commodities – Gold rose 10 percent in the second half of 2019, benefitting from easing monetary policies globally and safe-haven flows driven by economic uncertainty. Oil spiked at the end of 2019 on the back of Middle East tensions, but has since come back.

FX – The USD continued its march higher against most other major FX with the exception of the Yen. Cross-asset correlations have risen over the past year suggesting we may be returning to a ‘Risk On – Risk Off’ world. USD-CNY depreciated through 7.0 in August on trade war and China growth concerns; this is a level not seen for 11 years.

Developed Markets vs. Emerging Markets – Developed Markets (DM) have outperformed Emerging Markets (EM) handsomely since the GFC – relative earnings performance being a key reason. Over half of DM’s earnings (Earning-Per-Share) out-performance originates from lower interest/tax expenses vs. EM. The effects of the US tax cuts are well understood, but it is also notable that net leverage has been trending in opposite directions for EM vs. DM, which helps to explain higher interest expenses in EM. Yet for DM, that trend may be reversing raising questions about the durability of DM’s earnings out-performance.

Fragilities rising – The market now exhibits pockets of elevated corporate leverage and vulnerabilities. The US leveraged loan market has more than doubled in size to over $2trn since 2012, which is a particular area of concern given reports of some deterioration in lending standards. In addition, slower earnings growth and technological disruption suggests there could be trouble ahead.

Universities – Fast-Start grant supports UC-led research on energy-saving nanotechnology

Source: University of Canterbury

Many raw materials used in everyday consumer goods are produced using industrial separation and purification processes that are incredibly energy-intensive. With the support of a $300,000 Fast-Start grant from the Marsden Fund Te Pūtea Rangahau, UC researcher Dr Matthew Cowan is leading a project to develop innovative energy saving alternatives.

Tiny yet complex nano-crystals made of molecular chickenwire may sound like unlikely candidates to save the world from burgeoning energy over-consumption, but for UC Chemical and Biological Engineering lecturer Dr Matthew Cowan they hold a lot of exciting potential.

He is leading research to explore using the molecular chickenwire to create new membrane technology that could eventually replace today’s energy-hungry industrial separation processes, which currently account for eight percent of global energy use.

“In particular, the purification of ethylene by distillation – used to make many plastics and chemicals – requires more energy than New Zealand currently generates,” says Dr Cowan, who observes that improving energy efficiency in this area would be both economically and environmentally beneficial.

Other researchers on this ground-breaking project, which has been awarded a prestigious three-year Marsden Fund Fast-Start grant, are UC Professor Paul Kruger and US-based Professor Gregory Parsons of North Carolina State University.

The membrane processes under investigation would use only a fraction of the energy required for traditional distillation separation.

“Imagine the energy required to filter water, compared to boiling it,” suggests Dr Cowan.

He and his fellow researchers aim to produce high performing, defect-free thin-film membranes of molecular chickenwire, suitable for industrial applications. Currently, no sure production method exists for this.

“We will investigate fundamental strategies to develop a general method for producing these high performance membranes within tubular ceramic supports, allowing their widespread implementation into the existing and future separation processes that support our everyday lives.”

This is one of six 2019 Marsden Fund Fast-Start grants of $300,000 awarded to UC, recognising the university’s emerging researchers. Another six standard Marsden Fund grants of between $530,000 and $960,000 were also awarded to UC. Covering four of UC’s five colleges, the grants acknowledge and support world-class research across a variety of disciplines.

Universities – Law reform public talk: A cross-examination of rape myths

Source: University of Canterbury

Despite more than 40 years of law reform aimed at improving the experience of giving evidence for adult rape complainants, Ministry of Justice research in 2018 re-confirmed that the process remains distressing and re-traumatising.

According to experts, more worrying is the unchanged opinion of many working within the criminal justice system, including judges, lawyers and police; that they would not advise a family member to complain of rape.

In response to, in particular, the reform-resistant nature of cross-examination, and with funding from a Marsden grant, UC Law Professor Elisabeth McDonaldand her co-researchers have analysed complainant evidence, closing arguments and jury directions from 30 adult rape trials, with the aim of establishing why there has been no real change in complainants’ experience.

With support from UC and the New Zealand Law Foundation, a comparative analysis of 10 cases from the Sexual Violence Court Pilot has also been completed. In an upcoming UC Connect public lecture, Professor McDonald will present an overview of the findings, some reform proposals and outline her future work.

The lecture will also mark the online launch of the researchers’ Open Access book, Rape myths as barriers to fair trial process: Comparing adult rape trials with those in the Aotearoa Sexual Violence Court Pilot, published by Canterbury University Press, with research and writing contributions from Paulette Benton-Greig, Rachel Souness and Sandra Dickson.

Professor Elisabeth McDonald has established teaching and research interests in legal issues related to criminal law, criminal justice, the law of evidence, gender and sexuality. She has particular expertise with regard to the evidential and procedural rules relating to the prosecution of sexual offences. She was part of the New Zealand Law Foundation-funded research project which culminated in the publication of From “Real Rape” to Real Justice (VUP, Wellington, 2011). Elisabeth is widely published in the area of the law of evidence, and has been a regular consultant to the Law Commission in this area, as well as many others. She was co-convenor and co-editor of the Law Foundation-funded Feminist Judgments Project Aotearoa (Hart, 2017) and was appointed to the New Zealand Law Society Working Group on Harassment (2018). In June 2018, she became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to Law and Education.

UC Connect public talk: A cross-examination of rape myths, Presented by Professor Elisabeth McDonald, UC Law, 7pm – 8pm, Wednesday 26 February 2020, in C1, Central lecture theatre, University of Canterbury’s Ilam campus, Christchurch. Register to attend free at: www.canterbury.ac.nz/ucconnect

Health and Tech – Aroa Biosurgery expands options for soft tissue repair with launch of Myriad™

Source: Aroa
 

Auckland, NZ.  Aroa Biosurgery, the Auckland-based privately held soft-tissue repair company, has launched Myriad™, a new product for soft tissue repair and reconstruction, in the United States market.

 

Aroa Chief Executive, Brian Ward says the product name, Myriad™, reflects the multitude of potential uses for this product in soft tissue repair and reconstruction.  

 

“As the name implies, our latest ECM (extracellular matrix) product has a myriad of uses.  Myriad™ is a graft designed for the operating room and can be used for a wide range of plastic and reconstructive surgical procedures where soft tissue needs to be repaired or reinforced, including plastic surgery, limb salvage, burns, and trauma. It may also assist healing in patients with impaired or compromised healing due to factors at the wound site or within their body such as compromised blood circulation,” says Mr Ward.

 

“The release of Myriad™ in the United States marks the next step of growth for Aroa and our commitment to providing leading solutions that are accessible for both clinicians and their patients,” says Mr Ward. 

 

Aroa’s Vice President Technology, Dr Barnaby May, says Myriad™, utilizes the company’s core Endoform™ ECM technology platform with engineered elements to promote the formation of blood vessels and rapid ingrowth of cells.

 

“The biological structure of Myriad is designed for rapid cell infiltration and blood vessel formation, to enable the patient’s cells to kick start the tissue building process,” he says.

 

Myriad™ contains over 150 protein components, including structural, adhesion and signalling proteins that naturally exist in tissue and are known to aid the healing process.

 

“Residual natural vascular channels present in the Endoform® ECM technology facilitate a process we’ve termed angioconduction. These channels provide the architecture to support migrating endothelial cells to establish new vasculature and a robust blood supply,” says Dr May.  

 

Myriad™ is available in a range of formats and requires no special handling. The product is rehydrated prior to use and conforms to the tissue defect during both routine and more challenging procedures.

 

Aroa intends to make Myriad™ available in a range of global markets as and when regulatory approvals are granted. Further technical information and clinical evidence can be found at www.myriadmatrix.com.

 

About Aroa Biosurgery:
Aroa headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand is a private, venture-funded soft-tissue repair company that develops and manufactures medical products to improve healing in complex wounds and soft tissue reconstruction. Its products are developed from their Endoform
® platform, a novel extracellular matrix biomaterial and distributed in the United States by Appulse and Tela Bio. Aroa strives to improve patient outcomes and provide better healing, every day, everywhere for everybody.