Tauranga has been named the eighth most expensive housing market in the world, heading off cities like London and San Francisco.

That’s according to a global study out today, the 15th annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Study, which measures average house prices against average income.

The world’s most expensive city is Hong Kong, followed by Vancouver, Sydney, Melbourne, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Los Angeles – and then Tauranga.

Tauranga residents have a median household income of $68,800 per year yet its houses are a median $623,000.

That means it would take locals just over nine years to pay off a house, if they poured every cent into their repayments.

Tauranga even beats out Auckland. Auckland houses are a median $845,000, but the median household income is $94,400 per year.

Hamilton-Waikato is next least affordable, followed by Napier-Hastings, Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch and Palmerston North-Manawatu.

Survey co-author Hugh Pavletich local councils aren’t taking it seriously enough.

The study blamed what it called “urban containment policies” or ring-fencing cities, which it says has led to land scarcity and pushed up house prices.

Economists have also noted in the years the Demographia study has been published that New Zealand has relatively low household income levels compared to many other countries and particularly those in the survey.

Pavletich warns the Labour-led Government risks election defeat in 2020 unless it makes progress on affordable housing.

In the introduction to the survey results he warns it “will come as a shock” to the Government.

He goes on to say that the “New Zealand public and media will not tolerate political and institutional failure – something the previous government was taught at the 2017 election”.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford has so far not commented on the report.

It seems Hamilton is getting the message, as new City Council data shows it’s been a record year for the number of building consents.

2018 figures are up 28 per cent compared to 2017.

It’s the highest number of new home consents approved since digital records began in the 1990s.

Hamilton City Council’s General Manager for City Growth, Jen Baird says the type of housing is changing, with multi-storied apartment blocks popping up on the fringes of Hamilton’s CBD.

Oxfam is warning wealth inequality is “out of control” and doing particular harm to women.

In a new report it says billionaire fortunes increased by 12 per cent last year — the equivalent of $2.5 billion a day — while the 3.8 billion people who make up the world’s poorest half saw their wealth decline by 11 percent.

The report uses figures from Credit Suisse’ Wealth Databook and the annual Forbes “Billionaires List”.

Oxfam says the number of billionaires has almost doubled since the financial crisis a decade ago, yet tax rates on the wealthy and corporations have fallen to their lowest levels in decades.

Unfortunately, New Zealand is not immune.

It’s thought the two richest New Zealanders added as much to their fortunes, as the poorest 50 per cent lost from theirs last year.

Oxfam’s New Zealand director, Rachael Le Mesurier says taxing wealth is something we have moved away from, and must return to, if we want New Zealand to be fairer.

She is hopeful a capital gains tax and a crackdown on multinationals is recommended by the Government’s tax working group.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will meet her embattled British counterpart Theresa May tonight, and is hoping to discuss trade.

Ardern is in the UK for a brief visit before heading to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She says free-trade agreements with both Britain and the European Union are priorities.

May is in the midst of the fallout from her defeat in the House of Commons last week over her plan to leave the EU.

The meeting will take place just hours before May is due to present her Brexit Plan B to Parliament.

Ardern says she will be seeking a reassurance from May that New Zealand will be no worse off, including in trade, after Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Speaking to reporters in London ahead of the meeting, our Prime Minister says a hard, no-deal Brexit could be damaging for New Zealand business.

Ardern says her job is to “highlight and focus on the best interests of New Zealand business … and there’s no question that a no-deal situation would be very damaging and very difficult”.

The unruly British tourists who have caused a storm up and down the North Island allegedly left a Kiwi motel “stinking of kid’s poo”.

The family and so-called “holidaymakers from hell” have made headlines around the world since after leaving rubbish on Takapuna Beach and abusing a local woman.

Now a Levin motel cleaner says the tourists left a mess in their motel room with cleaners having to spend hours to get the accommodation back up to scratch.

A spokesperson for the motel told Daily Mail Australia there were cigarette butts scattered on the ground, empty red bull cans thrown around the room and towels bunched up in the shower.

She claims items from the motel room were missing, including teaspoons, forks, a bowl and a wine glass.

Traditional six-monthly school reports to parents may be axed as part of changes to school curriculums.

A review group on curriculum, progress and achievement wants parents to get real-time digital information about their children’s learning instead of traditional reports.

The group was set up to develop new ideas for primary schools after national standards were abolished in 2017, and has also suggested more localised teaching topics.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed he received a report from the review group just before Christmas, but says Hipkins is “still considering the advice”.

However, National Party education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye says she would fight to keep “standardised information” being reported to parents.

Some educators say the digital report cards could help parents become more involved in their child’s education.

Finlayson Primary School principal Shirley Maihi says parents would be able to log on at any time and get an update on how their kids are doing.

Learning support service managers, who allocate and manage support services for children with extra learning needs, are beginning a partial strike today.

They’ll still go to work, but won’t stay for any longer than eight hours or go to some meetings for more than a month.

They voted to strike after a bid to gain parity with other Ministry of Education managers failed.

NZEI President Lynda Stuart says the service managers “are the glue that hold the learning support system together”.

“They each manage 10-25 specialist staff as well as up to 25 support workers, and they play a critical role in ensuring relationships with parents, schools, services, teachers, boards, other agencies and NGOs work to meet the needs of children.”

The partial strike will run until January 28.

Serious assault charges against a New Zealand media personality have been dismissed.

The man, who now has permanent name suppression, was accused of assaulting a woman with intent to injure.

He was also charged with assaulting a second person on two separate occasions.

The allegations, however, have now been dismissed after no evidence was offered against the man before Christmas, according to the Auckland Crown prosecution’s office.

Further suppression orders prevent the Herald from publishing more details about the charges and allegations.

Interest rates could stay low if inflation data for the December quarter comes in flat.

That data is due to be released on Wednesday. Economists expect the consumers price index to be zero or to show a very slight gain in the December quarter, making for a 1.8 or 1.9 per cent gain over the year.

Westpac says the recent plunge in fuel prices has taken some of the edge off inflation. The tightening labour market and the lower New Zealand dollar are expected to support a pick-up in underlying inflation.

Kiwibank’s Jeremy Couchman also expects to see a flat outcome, and therefore the Reserve Bank to keep the Official Cash Rate unchanged at 1.75 per cent until mid-2020.

Paracetamol and contraceptive pills are both in short supply.

Pharmac says the contraceptive drug Levlen ED, New Zealand’s most popular oral contraceptive, is currently being rationed.

Pharmac is working to manage a supply issue with the Levlen ED brand – but in the meantime, it’s being rationed until late March.

Paracetamol stocks are also low, partly due to a fire at an overseas manufacturing plant last year.

A new Auckland advertisement tips medicinal cannabis sales to be the next hot thing and has urged mum and dad investors to put their money behind the product.

Greenfern Medicinal Marijuana today put up billboards across Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch, likening the future sale of medicinal cannabis to striking gold or oil.

The billboards read “we’ve struck oil in Taranaki. Want to invest?”

It comes as competition starts to heat up between a series of start-up companies hoping to grow and sell cannabis now that a Government Bill has passed opening the way for the plant’s processing in New Zealand once regulations are in place.

Greenfern plans to grow cannabis in Taranaki and has so far raised about $600,000 through a crowdfunding campaign finishing at the end of the month. It hopes to raise as much as $2 million.

It comes as East Coast-based Hikurangi Cannabis – the first company to be granted a medicinal cannabis licence – was this week granted further permission to grow 16 new varieties of the plant.

The Ministry of Health’s amendment to Hikurangi’s licence included permission to grow some of the first high-THC strains to be imported under new biosecurity rules.

THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

Hikurangi managing director Manu Caddie says it’s important to have plants with diverse genetics for “research and breeding efforts”.