Open mike 18/07/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, July 18th, 2023 - 128 comments
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128 comments on “Open mike 18/07/2023 ”

  1. bwaghorn 1

    Does the green policy of Maori getting first right of refusal on land , mean that if Joe farmer wants to sell his farm to Joe jnr and his wife, Maori would have the right to step in and stop that happening and purchase the farm, ?

  2. Bearded Git 2

    RMT Union General Secretary Todd Valster argues powerfully here that it is illogical and unjustified to stop Te Huia coming into Auckland. He says it is an over reaction by Waka Kotahi which if they stick to will stop Te Huia coming into Auckland for 2 years.

    What a ridiculous decision by Waka Kotahi-one wonders if it is politically driven. This is a good listen.

    • Belladonna 2.2

      I suspect that Waka Kotahi will be highly motivated by the Safety legislation.
      Now that they have had 2 alerts of drivers going through red lights – if they did not halt Te Huia, and there was a subsequent accident due to driver error – they would be liable.

      We are seeing this play out over White Island at the moment – and I'm sure it's giving point to concerns.

      Pointing to other trains which don't need the specified piece of safety equipment – is not relevant unless you can also point to them running red lights in a high passenger environment (i.e. during rush-hour in Auckland).

      • weka 2.2.1

        It seems extraordinary they can’t put other kinds of systems in place to ensure safety while they’re waiting for the upgrade to be done.

        • Belladonna

          I don't know what kinds of additional safety strategies that were proposed for Te Huia to mitigate the risk.

          However, running a red light on a busy Auckland train corridor is a pretty serious risk to mitigate.

          And, note, mitigation is what they've done.

          They've said that they're prepared to accept the risk of running Te Huia up to Papakura, but not within the Auckland rail commuter corridor during rush hour – until there are acceptable safety strategies to manage the already-identified risk.

          • weka

            well yes, obviously safety needs to be the priority. I'm just surprised they can't put other systems in place while they're waiting for this one piece of tech that takes 2 years to install. That suggests there's not redundancy planning in the system. Odd, although tbf the couple of MSM pieces I read didn't talk about this.

            Maybe there are politics involved as well.

          • Bearded Git

            Have you listened to the audio Bella?

            The union guy explains the situation coherently, making a very strong case for the resumption of Te Huia now, not in two years, which is madness.

            • newsense

              Look there’s lots of experts like Bella and Ad on what constitutes a failed system.

              And if two carriages go through a red light, we must shut the whole thing down.

              It’s going to be brilliant for our carbon footprint because no one will be driving anywhere by lunchtime!

            • Belladonna

              Just listened to it now – no new information that wasn't in the written sources.

              Union guy seems to see Te Huia as being singled out – whereas freight and another passenger service (Northern explorer) are still allowed to operate on the suburban network – without the required piece of safety gear.

              What he's not addressing, is whether either of these other 2 services have run red lights during the Auckland passenger rush hour.

              [NB: running red lights at all is bad, but it's much worse if there is heavy passenger use on the tracks when it happens]

              He claims that WK should wait for the outcome of the investigation (ongoing) before short-stopping Te Huia.

              I really don't think he'd be prepared to front the media if Te Huia ran another red light and caused a major accident!

              It seems a reasonable safety precaution for WK to halt Te Huia at Papakura – until a suitable mitigation is in place.

              He hasn't mentioned any other risk mitigation possibilities (I don't know if he doesn't have any, or there wasn't the opportunity to air these in the short interview)

              However, as lprent pointed out, it seems entirely unreasonable for NZ rail to take 2 years to install a piece of kit – which is already operational on other trains. Why is no one asking that question?

        • Bearded Git

          Exactly Weka. If you listen to the audio many trains are coming into Auckland without having the safety system Waka Kotahi are uniquely insisting that Te Huia have.

          Political I think.

          • weka

            it's probably reasonable to wait until the investigations into the two incidents are complete.

          • Belladonna

            Do you (or the Union guy) have any evidence that other trains have the same risk levels (specifically running red lights in rush hour within the Auckland commuter rail network)?

            I've read some vague claims from the Train Supporters group that 'incidents' have happened – but no specifics.

            Because, at the moment, the WK response appears to be: Te Huia has the safety problem (and therefore needs to additional piece of equipment); the other trains have not (and therefore it isn't a priority requirement for them).

            Perhaps, a better question would be why it will apparently take KiwiRail so long to install this safety device? It's already operational on domestic trains in Auckland – so isn't new…..
            [Edited to say, lprent has already said this last para in more detail]

            • Bearded Git

              That is not what the union guy, RMT Union General Secretary Todd Valster, says. Have you listened to him in the audio?

    • lprent 2.3

      Does anyone know if there is a page of reported incidents from all trains in the two train commuter networks?

      I'm just surprised they can't put other systems in place while they're waiting for this one piece of tech that takes 2 years to install.

      Had to dig into the article for that.

      Other trains regularly operated on the Auckland rail network that did not have ETCS, including freight trains, shunts and the Northern Explorer passenger service that runs between Auckland and Wellington.

      "The only trains that have got what they call ETCS are the Auckland suburban trains, there's no other trains in the country that have got that system."

      The ETCS sytem is outlined in wikipedia.

      Effectively this is a standardised system running on a variant of the antique GSM system. The only parts are standardised and should be readily available.

      The Auckland network should already have the hardware in stock as spares. They should also have a supply line to get replacements into stock within a short period. They aren't bespoke systems unless Auckland Transport have been complete morons and have used some weird variations from the standard.

      If they don't then they are being quite remiss in their duties.

      But KiwiRail said it would take up to two years to design, install and test the system.

      I would describe that as outright bullshit.

      It would maybe take that time to design it for a full system ready to disperse over the whole rail network.

      But most of the design work is putting in the sensors, and transmission network. Which is already in place and working.

      Hell, even just designing and building on-train hardware on a SBC made to a written and testable standard wouldn't take 2 years. (But I'd be concerned about losing GSM-R network hardware longer term.)

      But to conform to an existing hardware network would just require the purchase and installation of the end-point units on some trains used by Te Huia. Limited testing to make sure that they can reliably see the existing Auckland network. Might take a couple of months depending on KiwiRail phobias about access to the rail corridors and access to trains for testing. Hardly two years.

      If I had to bet, then I'd say this is just another dumbarse stupid pissing contest over who controls traffic in Auckland rail. Or what standard should be used for traffic control on combined urban commuter / freight rail networks.

      • Bearded Git 2.3.1

        lprent, re your last paragraph, agree entirely.

        RMT Union General Secretary Todd Valster is so eloquent, and so very level-headed, about the Te Huia situation in the audio above. He knows what he is talking about.

        I think heads should roll at Waka Kotahi.

        • lprent

          Not all of it. Kiwirail should be completely faulted for not conforming to a local traffic standard.

          Kiwirail and for that matter the Hamilton council should have had the gear on their trains coming into Auckland. Running with two different systems on the same network pushing tonnes of inertia is just stupid.

          Waka Kotahi should have mandated that all trains coming into Auckland used exactly the same control systems that were in use by all parties. ie as soon as the ETCS went into effect, all trains should have been required to use ETCS in the Auckland railways – without any exceptions. Using two different primary control systems is just outright dangerous with that amount stored inertial energy.

          Which means that Te Huia shouldn't have never been able to come in closer than Papakura during the day without having ETCS operational. Nor should have the freight trains on the same lines.

          The reason why it'd have been put into Auckland network was because the signalling system has been a flakey as shit. That in turn was because the short-sighted idiots in National sold NZ Railways in 1993 to some inefficient penny-pinchers who stripped it of maintenance and asset stripped the value.

          The pricing of shares makes that pretty clear, as did their public accounts.

          The government sold New Zealand Rail in 1993 for $328 million to a consortium in which the US company Wisconsin Central was the leading shareholder. From 1996 the New Zealand subsidiary, known as Tranz Rail, was listed on the New Zealand and NASDAQ stock exchanges. Shares were initially floated at $6.19 and peaked at $9 a year later. Wisconsin Central had sold out of Tranz Rail by 2000; in 2003, when Toll Holdings of Australia bought the company, its shares were valued at between $1.34 and $1.65.

          Toll did the same.

          The lines and plant, including the control systems, were a basket case in Auckland by the time they dumped it back on the public. The irresponsible fuckwits in the National party should be charged with the cost of bringing it it back up to standard. I remember looking at this indirectly with a project back in ~2015 and being appalled at just how much of a horrible issue the signalling system and even the comms system to maintenance crews was.

          After the urban rail was revitalised here eventually with electrification, it regularly went offline because the physical signals kept failing. I believe that they still do. The ETCS provides the more reliable system.

          The ETCS was put in because a wireless system was far easier than trying to bring the old system up to reliable. But I'm pretty sure that the old system is still pretty damn unreliable.

          The things that keep the rail system running here the ETCS during the day (0600-0100) and that the rail freight doesn't tend to run on those lines in those hours. Having a daily service running without a decent control system.

          I wasn’t aware that they were running without ETCS. I absolutely don’t want the damn service back on our lines until they bloody well are. I don’t care what Kiwirail or the union think. Putting ETCS on the kiwirail engines

          1. shouldn’t be hard.
          2. should have been done before they were allowed to run into britomart on commuter hours

          The incidents of not obeying the fractured old signals is just icing on the cake.

          • Dennis Frank

            Further to all that is the governance of the regulator. Since Prebs saved rail, we've had an oscillation between cowboy capitalists & neolibs who can't run the thing satisfactorily, so I suppose we're supposed to conclude that neither the left nor the right are sufficiently competent to operate the system properly.

            Best thing to do would be to eliminate both the left and right from the control of the system – select winners instead of losers. Expertise has never been restricted to those wearing a party label. Perhaps, however, there's a need for govt liaison – which makes us wonder at the relation of the minister to the system.

            • lprent

              The problem with NZ rail is the same as usual for NZ.

              We have a very low density of population for the area and length of rail track. That is coupled with a very difficult terrain.

              It means that rail, road, coastal shipping, main transmission lines, and a number of other economically important infrastructural supports are unlikely candidates for private companies to run. They can't make a profit if they maintain the whole of country structures. So they invariably hike prices and drop maintenance to maintain a return to investors.

              Which makes the direct costs to all businesses much higher while also often giving a terrible service in that the risks of complete outages is very high. The borderline electricity supply in NZ at present being a good example. It is one drought away from failing as Huntly is slowly decommissioned and we have had virtually no significant investment in new capacity since the 1990s, while our population has grown by about 40-50%.

              Not having these sectors running efficiently is an effective hobble for the rest of the economy.

              select winners instead of losers

              Selecting winners is always pure guesswork. Whenever it has been tried here it has invariably failed – all of the way back to the 29th century. I've been involved in various kinds of startups and post-startups in my entire career. Most of them have succeeded to one degree or another. But a lot of the companies that I looked at working for 9and a couple that I did work for) did fail.

              It is extremely hard to "pick winners".

              On the other-hand, providing stable, well-maintained, and reasonably priced economic infrastructure (ie pricing related to long term investment in the infrastructure and its maintenance) has invariably worked historically.

              Doesn't matter if it is a good legal framework, or if it is the provision of a electricity grid. Enterprises will build on that and do the much riskier exploitation of those infrastructural resources to build 'winners'. Governments need to concentrate on providing the basis for an economy and not much on "picking winners".

              Prices/costs need to be related to the usage – which is why our roading network is currently unsustainable. That is because the RUC is way too low on heavy trucks because of unfortunately maintained subsidies to the trucking industry as they wreck our roads.

          • PsyclingLeft.Always

            Through all of this…a cynic could think : Are they incompetent? Agenda driven?.. Other ? Anyway, the Fwits, appear between them and by their action/inaction… to just want Rail in NZ…dead and gone.

            Ah..just so absolutely frustrating !

            And the eyewatering amount spent on Aucklands rail….to be completed…2025? or Sometime…?

            Some could and should..have gone to the Passenger Rail South Island.



            A current housing development in Huapai will see 1200 homes in the suburb once it is complete, with many directly next to the railway station.

            The Auckland Council said it expected the suburb's population to grow by 2000 people in five years and double to 10,000 by the 2030s.

            Rose said in its current state its transport infrastructure could not even support the people it has now.

            "The development of the area without viable public transport alternatives is car based … full of congestion and inefficient."


  3. scotty 3

    "Centre-right surges as Hipkins desperate to prove he's 'in it for you'"

    A disappointed Luke Malpass decides to run with his pre – scripted headline – despite the center right dropping a percentage point,

    Maybe, Labour's "scandals" – manufactured or otherwise are not having the cut through Luke envisaged.

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      Just after the RNZ news @ 7am I listened to Hipkins grimly telling Morning Report that he takes "full responsibility" for the policy announcement he screwed up yesterday. I gathered he announced a different ram-raid policy to the one Labour actually adopted.

      In the ongoing saga of ram-raiders defeating cops, a year of dramatic escalation of the problem seems to have triggered a Labour u-turn. Instead of watching from the sidelines while telling everyone it's a police operations issue, nothing to do with us, they've suddenly decided that copying National is urgently essential. Wonder why?

      • scotty 3.1.1

        Cos our commercial media demands that Labour buys in to their crime narrative or be accused of not listening /not caring?

      • Belladonna 3.1.2

        While Hipkins is claiming that this policy was developed entirely independently of the ones announced by ACT (first off the block) and National – he's going to struggle to convince voters of this.

        "Hipkins rejected that the Government had adopted National’s policy regarding the targeting of offenders posting to social media, saying the idea had been developed before National announced it."

        It looks like an attempt to eat the right's lunch on law and order. And likely to be characterized as 'too little, too late'.

      • Bearded Git 3.1.3

        Hipkins explained it well though Dennis. At one time the preference was for the new offence option, then they decided not to go with that.

        He seems to have written a draft version of his press release and not amended it correctly. One of his offsiders should have picked this up.

      • gsays 3.1.4

        "Wonder why?" Their polling would have told them so.

        This flip flop carry-on is what happens when one is bereft of a vision, beyond getting re-employed.

        • Dennis Frank

          Seems so to me too. Hipkins surprised me by doing okay for quite a while but two performance errors within 24 hours sends a signal to anyone watching.

    • weka 3.2

      Link please

    • Anne 3.3

      Maybe, Labour's "scandals" – manufactured or otherwise are not having the cut through …

      That's my conclusion too. I was fully expecting Labour to drop more than 2% on the back of the so-called "government of chaos" hysteria currently being indulged in by NAct and their media lackeys.

      I suspect most voters don't know what they're on about and don't care if some minister got a bit uppity or forgetful over some personal matter they're not the slightest bit interested in. Imo they have far more important matters to be concerned about than the relatively minor mishaps around a few ministers.

      • Bearded Git 3.3.1

        I agree Anne. It seems that, no matter how much the MSM tries to concoct anti-Left stories, Labour and the Greens continue to hang in there.

      • lprent 3.3.2

        Feels more and more like the 2005 election. Which Brash and National/Act lost because they were unable to shake the impression that Brash/National/Act weren't ready for government.

        Basically the opposition isn't getting enough traction to shift the goalposts, unless they manage to pull a Jacinda out of the hat. The centre of the potential coalition seats is teetering about that 61, but not moving far from it.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Here'a good example of Aotearoa's economic synergy with China:

    Sir Richard Taylor, the co-founder and creative director of Weta Workshop, suggested that he might not still be in business had he not utilised the skills of China in his changing industry over the past 25 years.

    He made his comments in a presentation to the China Business Summit in Auckland, hosted by the Auckland Business Chamber and Fran O’Sullivan’s NZINC.

    He said what originally took him to China was a desire to make the Lord of the Rings Polystone collectibles looking for a manufacturing relationship.

    It was then that he first met Fred Tang, who then became one of his closest friends, and who introduced him and his family to many others in China.

    They ended up travelling the world together, chasing business opportunities, and they ran a bronze casting foundry together.

    “Rather than it ever being perceived as a business-to-business relationship, I see that it’s a cultural bridge we have formed between our colleagues in China and ourselves as we’ve had the great chance to hang out and work with some mesmerising and amazing people.” Today he and wife, Tania, solely own Weta Workshop [which] employs about 360 people."

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Hipkins on Maori land: "We don't intend to reopen Treaty settlements that have been closed where the settlement has been reached. They were full and final settlements."

    They were proclaimed as such at the time. Times change.

    Hipkins was also asked about ending perpetual leases over Māori land – something the Greens have already proposed to do – but he reiterated the "full and final" Treaty settlement process and how he doesn't intend to add to that. "That would also be inequitable for those iwi who have already reached the conclusion of that process."

    Hipkins speaking for Maori is unlikely to be seen as culturally appropriate. Either Marama or the TMP co-leaders ought to reprimand him thus: "Equity for us is how we see it and describe it – your opinion of how we do this is irrelevant."

    Greens Māori development spokesperson Teanau Tuiono said when indigenous people have control over their land, it boosts biodiversity. He also believed the policy will address "the impacts of land loss and colonisation in Aotearoa" and support whānau and papatūānuku to thrive.

    "Returning land to tangata whenua is the right thing to do to address the ongoing injustices that Māori experience. Aotearoa can be a place where active kaitiakitanga led by tangata whenua guides our relationship with te taiao, ensuring our tūpuna whenua, awa, and maunga are cared for."

    He's speaking for Aotearoans of the future. Hipkins is speaking for NZers of the past.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    This, by the way, is some truly impressive boomer inventiveness. They've found another way to undertake intergenerational wealth theft. What will they think of next?

    • AB 6.1

      It's a policy designed to increase demand in the rental market by removing a hurdle to young people entering that market – rather than (say) living at home with parents. Coupled with a re-opening of the immigration taps to even further stimulate demand, it promises a nice bit of asset price inflation plus increased rental returns for landlords. Meanwhile those young people are not getting the investment return on their Kiwisaver funds now diverted into rental bonds. Accumulation by dispossession – it's been a bit harder recently, but with the Nats back in power it'll be the best gig in town once more.

    • Michael P 6.2

      "intergenerational wealth theft"

      Could you expand on that a bit please? I'm not sure where any theft is occurring?

      As someone who has had to come up with goodness knows how many bonds in the last decade, I think it's an excellent idea for young people who can't afford a bond when looking for somewhere to live.

      I wish it was for everybody rather than just under 30's but I understand why they're restricting it to youngsters.

      • weka 6.2.1

        rent of $600/week might have a bond of $2400. If that gets taken out of KS a few things might happen.

        They lose the bond either through carelessness or no fault of their own.

        They lose interest on that $2400. Say 5% over 5 years, roughly $600 (someone else can work out the actual interest rates and how interest accrues etc).

        Both of those things reduce the ability of young people to save and have some chance of improving their income and wellbeing over time, that flows on to the ability to have and raise children with good income and wellbeing. It's intergenerational because younger generations are hit harder by housing costs than previous generations.

        • weka

          I guess I need to point out that it's lower income people that have trouble paying a bond.

  7. ianmac 7

    Sir Peter Gluckman on Morning Report at about 8:40 on integrating Science. Sounds a lot like the recent Draft Science Curriculum. Needs cooperation collaborative across the sciences.

    Maybe the Draft Curriculum is right on the mark.

    • Nic the NZer 7.1

      I'm would be pretty confident that the NZ curriculum revisions (apparently being put to PISA) are not addressing the actual causes of NZ's PISA score declines. The issue with the PISA scores is a small percentile of NZ students are falling well behind the average or best NZ students on the test. This doesn't indicate a general failure of the NZ curriculum it indicates (most likely) some schools and teachers are not reaching all their students.

      To actually improve the PISA scores would likely involve additional targeted teaching regularly bringing members of the class back towards the average. This should probably not even be targeted by special needs, but just based on assessment of strengths and weaknesses in achievement. But this will require actual investment via the MoE. A new curriculum on the other hand is relatively inexpensive.

      As far as I have seen the thrust of the new curriculum is a terrible idea, basically the much vaunted holism, is another way of saying your teaching science while your actually trying to focus on the big picture of ecology and climatology. Its going to be quite difficult to teach biology, chemistry and physics while focusing only of specializations of those subjects and avoiding all the detailed ground work.

      If anything the curriculum revision should focus on creating a detailed science curriculum with reasonable expectations of achievement set for all the levels. That would be a fantastic resource for teachers who can then focus on teaching that rather than the question of what to teach that is presented by the draft curriculum. Either the author or someone from the ministry was presenting the draft as a massive challenge to teachers, and that is quite correct. We really don't need teaching science to be more challenging right now, what we need is the science were teaching to be more challenging and for the majority of students to be never the less meeting those standards.

      • ianmac 7.1.1

        The great advantage of a holistic approach to all learning as it offers meaningful contexts. A College in Palmerston North back in the late 80s had a collection of teachers from Maths, Science, Social studies and English collaborate in a single program for the year. One theme was the operation of Local government. The surge in enthusiasm for the teachers and students was remarkable. Well worth it.

        • Nic the NZer

          Think there might be a few different meanings to holistic in play here. From other uses of the term I've seen it seems to fit scientific thinking quite well. Science students certainly can get a kick from the feeling of understanding gained by applying new ideas and being able to predict outcomes. But from everything I've seen of the new curriculum its light on important details, which was already a weakness of the current curriculum.

    • Dennis Frank 7.2

      He starts off commenting on the failure of science to provide sustainability. He then complains about billions going into yet more particle physics instead of solving global problems. He's right to point at Big Science as a failure complex. Useless losers.

      He makes the point re integrative thinking, that it "leads to a different way of doing science". "Most funding and most institutions are designed around silos." Progress consequently is minimalised via antiquated beliefs being recycled ad nauseum.

      "We desperately need an integrated approach." Says "we've been working with the United Nations over recent months" to develop "a much more integrated way of moving ahead." Doesn't know if funding will be provided "to change the paradigm".

      The idea that paradigms change when money is tossed at them will be a revelation to readers. "Nations like ours need to change their own funding systems, and universities need to change their incentives." To incorporate "stakeholder engagement right from the outset." He's right: such operational holism is the path to the future.

      He ends by citing turnaround of a particular social ecosystem in another country, facilitate by a scientist he mentions, regenerative results produced. Thing is, Ian, this applied science interface with geopolitics blends examples with holistic theory. Showing how it works in one situation provides a good example. Use three such (a triad) and you establish a correlative pattern in the minds of others. A pr expert would therefore advise him to include a couple of others in his repertoire.

      • Incognito 7.2.1

        He then complains about billions going into yet more particle physics instead of solving global problems.

        No, he didn’t; you made that up to suit your narrative.

        • Mac1


        • Dennis Frank

          He says that 2 mins into the interview. He cites the billions spent on particle physics then asks why we aren't spending that on sustainability. Listen for yourself:

          • Incognito

            I did listen to it, which is why I can say that you made it up.

            • Dennis Frank

              Just because left-wingers often get delusional when faced with reality doesn't mean you need to. You can do better. Get real! angel

              • Incognito

                You can stick to your story and I’ll stick to what I heard Sir Peter Gluckman actually saying. You only have to know a little about Gluckman to realise that he’d never say such a thing as you allege he said.

                Let me just say that I call your judgement into question, generally speaking.

  8. Sanctuary 8

    George Monboit has a bad habit of over-egging the pudding

    But by the same token our local media are largely pinched faced parochial naval gazers who steadfastly refuse to link rising food prices here with the slump in global food production in the last year

    So when the government is too chickenshit to even regulate against the domestic supermarket duopoly

    you have to be concerned as to whether or not questions like is the current laissez-faire food production and distribution and sale model still fit for purpose in an era of climate crisis are even being explored by anyone in government or the bureaucracy.

    If we are not careful, we'll end up in an emergency situation where food is still being exported while NZer's suffer price-induced famine. Remember, Anglo-Irish landowners continued exporting wheat to the UK to get the best market price even while millions of Irish peasant starved to death or emigrated during the great famine of 1845-52. The bengal famine of 1943 was also at least partially caused by reluctance of the British to regulate the food market, despite natural disasters and military defeats disrupting food production and supply.

  9. PsyclingLeft.Always 9

    Heavy rain events reveal landslide problems on Pūhoi to Warkworth highway

    The Auckland Anniversary floods have reactivated a landslide that now threatens a new $880m motorway north of the city.


    Waka Kotahi has known for years the land in the area is unstable but thought the motorway would bypass it.

    Hipkins did not know at the time, but Waka Kotahi did, that already a large slope had begun sliding down toward the motorway at an average 5 to 11cm a week.

    Waka Kotahi…WTAF !?

    • Ad 9.1

      It's the PPP that will be on the hook for Defects, particularly if it affects the "availability" of the motorway to traffic.

      Labour or National should toll it.

    • Dennis Frank 10.1

      An artful ploy. Use of four-letter words will appeal to traditionalists everywhere. Deplorable is ever so 2016. I assume the White House is now able to speak for itself due to getting AI installed. Damn good idea. However it does lack charisma in the interim until the WH incorporates either a robot or android to do pr for it.

      • tWiggle 10.1.1

        The very-much-there White House press secretary used the word ‘vile’ in answer to a question about JFK jnr’s claims during her daily press briefing. Unless she has a direct interface to AI, unlikely that this was AI generated.

        Remember that Trump gave up on having a representative give daily press briefings when in office. Who needs AI generating White House output when you can just tweet baseless Fox News memes conveniently anytime, as he did? Of course, Fox News is no doubt using AI these days to ‘create’ content.

      • Phillip ure 10.1.2

        Are you a fan of this table-leg chewing kennedy..?..there d.price..?

        If so…why..?

        • Dennis Frank

          Quite rare for me to ever be a fan of someone nowadays, but I'm okay with giving credit where it's due. From a biodiversity perspective, rabble-rousers like him try to insert a wedge into the trad binary. Helpful activism. Doesn't really matter that he's seemingly locked into the paranoid world-view. A competent therapist can always extricate him if necessary…

          • Phillip ure

            You so easily dismiss the harm done by the likes of him…?

            He is a conspiracy theory peddler..

            Influencing the dumb and the gullible…

            Trying to mop up the covid conspiracy nutbars who clustered around trump..

            ..and going by this latest outburst..he is racist/and anti-semitic .

            And you call this 'helpful activism'…?

            How so…?

            • Dennis Frank

              All consciousness raising is inherently good. I do agree that you get a toxic downside when in-crowds generate sociopathy as a result of realising that govt often lie to the people. That's a different issue. Likewise the tendency of left-wingers to call out racism & antisemitism whenever an opinionated other irritates them.

              • Phillip ure

                Yeah..calling out racists/anti-semites when they peddle their racism/anti-semitism is a 'tendency' this left-winger plans to continue…

                And how you can pimp such garbage as 'consciousness raising'…calls into question pretty much all you say…

                And makes one wonder at your motives for spreading such lies…

                • Dennis Frank

                  Which lies?? Why not cite evidence? Are you trying to suggest that your personal assessment of bad behaviour is not evidence-based? Why do left-wingers hallucinate like that so often? Irrationality in political commentary is evident elsewhere online but I'd rather it didn't get traction here as trendy behaviour,

                  • Phillip ure

                    'what lies'…?

                    The racism/anti-semitism peddled by the barking mad kennedy…

                    That you seem to have no concerns about..

                    How about addressing that..?..those lies…?..that you are seemingly so comfortable with..

                    Do you agree with him..?

                    Do you think he has a point..?

                    • tWiggle

                      Browsing in a shop today, overheard a conversation between shopkeeper and customer that started off describing being in hospital with lung issues.

                      The story finshed with 'of course that covid's engineered, the vaccine causes disease, and anyway all the water and food is delibetately contaminated now'! JFK jnr's target demographic, in the US.

                      The shopkeeper wisely kept comments to hmmms.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Try to focus on what I actually write rather than wackydoodle notions circulating in your head. It's the best way to communicate online. Address the topic instead of losing the plot.

                    • tWiggle []

                      To paraphrase you, DF, JK jnr is good for US democracy because he tells lies about covid. Why?

    • joe90 10.2

      Of course wealthy Trump supporters are funding the anti-science loon's campaign.

      Mark Dickson, a Californian who amassed a fortune treating aluminum for the aerospace industry, has donated more than $450,000 to federal candidates since 2015. The total includes $400,000 to Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee that allows individuals to contribute large amounts to support Donald Trump. That money was then distributed to Trump's presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee, state Republican parties, and others working on behalf of Trump.


      According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, neither Dickson nor Sheldon has ever donated a dime to a Democrat. Until now. This year, both donated $6,600 — the current legal maximum — to Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a Democratic candidate for president.

      Dickson and Sheldon's sudden interest in a Democratic primary candidate is unexpected. But, for Kennedy's campaign, it is not uncommon. According to a Popular Information analysis of Kennedy's first FEC filing, the lion's share of Kennedy's biggest donors have previously only donated to Republicans.

  10. tWiggle 11

    The Guardian reports that Keir Starmer’s decision not to scrap the two-child benefit cap if UK Labour wins power 'has exposed deep splits within the party, as he faces mounting calls to rethink the policy.'

    This cap, crafted by the Conservatives, 'prevents parents from claiming child tax credit or universal credit for any third or subsequent child born after April 2017. It was introduced by the former chancellor George Osborne in his austerity drive with the aim of encouraging parents of larger families to find a job or work more hours.'

    Instead, it has impoverished many families, proving it to be a useless policy. Why Starmer would carry on with it, I don't know…trying so hard to be tory-lite so as to pick up tory votes? Dyed-in-the-wool tory voters will never vote Labour. They will just stay home and not vote if they don't support the current government.

    Guess Luxon might apply a similar cap on Working for families. Pinching useless Tory ideas is part of his modus operandi.

  11. joe90 12

    Nine years ago a Russian Buk missile killed all 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

  12. Muttonbird 13

    Right wing pundit Liam Heirer tries to run interference for the National Party's regressive KiwiSaver/bond switch policy. But he does highlight one of the many drawback of the policy:

    There are drawbacks. When KiwiSaver funds are used as a bond, they are not actively invested, potentially resulting in missed growth opportunities.

    I replied questioning whether bond monies were indeed not invested by Tenancy Services actively or otherwise. Tried to find out:

    Tenancy Services hold more than $750m of bond money from tenants in the Tenancy Bond Trust Account.

    Hand't thought much about it but my long time assumption is that bond money is invested to offset the cost of the service and tribunal. If it is not, it seems like poor financial management, and if it is then under the Nats policy then the lost interest from renters' KiwiSavings will definitely be used to fund Tenancy Services and the Tenancy Tribunal.

    Question: Is $750M of tenants money invested, or not?

    Edit: over the course of the morning Hirer has walked back defending the policy at a rate of knots…

    • Nic the NZer 13.1

      Say your favorite landlord invested your bond how would you feel about that? Now say he lost a lot of your bond in that investment how would you feel about that?

      Tenancy services don't pay interest on bonds and one would hope have not put them at risk (they haven't).

      • Muttonbird 13.1.1

        I know Tenancy Services don't pay interest on bonds but to have $750M sitting there devaluing without even low risk investment like govt bonds (?) or a bank seems weird.

        Just wondering if that huge pot of tenants’ money is doing any work at all, even though it clearly does no work for tenants.

        • Nic the NZer

          Tenancy services is a government department, it really doesn't need to make a profit.

          • Muttonbird

            So essentially the bond scheme is highly regressive in that tenants, mostly lower income people, pay through lack of access to capital in the form of held bond and subsequent lost interest, for the security of wealthy, multiple property owners.

            The bond scheme should be scrapped entirely and replaced with a fund from within the progressive tax system.

            • Nic the NZer

              Not sure what your going on about here. You could propose, for example, that landlords be required to collect zero bond. I think that's going to encourage frequent rental fraud to unacceptable levels of course, but that's a proposal which actually leaves tenants with more of their income in their pockets.

              Putting the bond money at risk by investing it really just adds risk where its unnecessary. Doing it to improve the government finances (because your not paying interest to the depositors anyway) seems to be helping the wrong people (I think for largely partisan reasons).

              • Muttonbird

                Well, I'm not advocating for the investment of bond money for profit, government or otherwise, but the fact is tenants' capital is eroded by inflation because they cannot access it, and it is also not protected by the custodian against inflation.

                $2K bond in a bank is $3K after 10 years at 4% which covers inflation over the same period.

                So tenants are required to stump up the lump sum and lose on it for what, an incentive for themselves to not commit fraud or criminal damage? Gee, thanks for that characterisation, I’m sure tenants appreciate it!

                To replace the bond scheme (regressive), a govt fund (progressive) should be established to address disputes. Tenancy Services can chase unpaid rent using a progressive fund rather than a regressive one.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Again, its not clear what your going on about. As far as I can see Tenancy Services does run at a loss, making it already the progressive scheme your demanding.

                  Its unclear what your proposing regarding the govt funding of bonds here? You think maybe each time a tenancy ends the tenants and land lords should collect a share of the 'refund' from the government? This might result in a surprising high turnover of tenancies in practice.

              • Michael P

                "…landlords be required to collect zero bond."

                Landlords don't collect the bond, it is held by tenancy services.

                How would it encourage frequent rental fraud? Remember, renters don't only have to cover the bond, but usually two weeks rent in advance for the landlord and a weeks letting fee for the parasite. (real estate agent).

            • tWiggle

              Please don't suggest the Residential Tenancies Act be scrapped. Of course the money will be invested, because the cost of running Tenancy Service mediation and bond administration comes from that fund. I imagine excess goes into the general tax pool.

              Tenancy Service fairly provides a win-win position for both tenants and landlords, and has for the past 36 years. Landlords need bonds to cover rent arrears and insurance excess on damages. Tenants need the service to mediate when landlords cheat them or refuse arrears or unfairly claim the bond.

              A friend of mine who had work in tenancy advocacy contributed in the design this legislation, and was rightly proud of it. I think it's fantastic, clearly few here have experienced the iniquities that renting and bonds used to involve. For landlords, a benefit in losing interest on the bond is the Tenancy Tribunal, where you don't need a costly lawyer to chase bad tenants.

              For those who can't afford bonds, the answer is not scrapping the Act, but providing them with a bond grant, as MSD already does. Abuse the grant, and lose your entitlement.

              • tWiggle

                ..'refuse repairs', sorry, not arrears

              • Muttonbird

                Ok, so you claim tenants' bond money is used to run the Tenancy Service. This is highly regressive and no leftie should support it.

                Why shouldn't NZ's amateur landlords' money run the service? Or, the progressive state?

                For landlords, a benefit in losing interest on the bond is the Tenancy Tribunal, where you don't need a costly lawyer to chase bad tenants.

                What interest do landlords lose on bond? They don't pay any bond.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Tenancy Services doesn't use bond money to pay staff or operate. The meaning of a trust account is that the money in there is in no way invested or paid for any other purpose other than bond return (in this context).

                  Legal firms will usually have a trust account for similar purposes and again the funds are separated from how they pay staff and paid out only on the basis of why they were accepted (such as a property sale final settlement).

                • tWiggle

                  The landlord used to hold the bond. In days of high inflation the bond was a tidy earner for them. All sorts of excuses not to pay back the bond to tenants, and they had you over a barrel.

            • Michael P

              Excellent idea Muttonbird. The bond system is just another area where those with less are penalized

    • bwaghorn 13.2

      You know it's a stinker when that bastion of balanced reporting

      ZB run a negative headline on it

    • Craig H 13.3

      To answer the question, the money is invested, and as assumed, the interest offsets (partially at least) the costs of Tenancy Services, mediation, investigations and the Tribunal. This is done by the interest being departmental revenue meaning MBIE requires less funding than it otherwise would. References follow:

      Bonds are paid into the Residential Tenancies Trust Account by the Chief Executive if received by them (usually from landlords or property managers) or the tenant directly if agreed with the landlord. Although the Act refers to the Chief Executive, naturally this is delegated to the relevant business unit (of MBIE in this case).

      S127 of the Residential Tenancies Act covers the Residential Tenancies Trust Account and its operations. Among other things, the money must be invested in line with the Public Finance Act and any revenue from doing so is treated as departmental revenue. The relevant section of the Public Finance Act is s68 which provides for investing either in interest-earning bank deposits or public securities (Crown-backed debt e.g. government bonds).

      The MBIE Annual Report 2021-22 (pg 142) states "Revenue from Residential Tenancies Trust Account" in 2021-22 as being $15,909,000 and $18,694,000 in 2020-21.

      • Muttonbird 13.3.1

        Thank you Craig H, I really appreciate you taking the time to cover all that. I didn't know where to look so I asked the forum. Your comment answers my question @ 13 and informs others who were interested.

        Broadly, my issue is that the running of tenancy services and tribunal is partially or even largely funded from interest on the capital provided by low income people, either the young or those families resigned to long term renting situations.

        So, $16-$19M is about a 2.5% return on the total $750M owned by tenants. It is regressive and I just don't think it should be this way.

      • Incognito 13.3.2


    • Michael P 13.4

      "When KiwiSaver funds are used as a bond, they are not actively invested, potentially resulting in missed growth opportunities."

      So what? It's their money. (The person paying the bond) and finding somewhere to live right now today is more important than potential lost interest on a couple of grand of kiwisaver funds when you've got 30+ more years of Kiwisaver contributions ahead of you. Furthermore, if someone has to borrow the money to pay a bond then guess what, those funds are not actively invested, potentially resulting in missed growth opportunities…,. Not only that but the borrower has to pay interest on the bond money.

      Or alternatively a person suspends contributions on their Kiwisaver and instead saves that money until they have enough for a bond. Again, that will result in missed growth opportunities for that money…. Of course that's no use at all if you need somewhere to live now rather than in a years time when you have saved up enough.

      Much better sense to make temporary use of their own money rather than taking on debt. (Apart from the fact that many renters are unable to get loans)

      Regardless of all that, this would undoubtedly be only a relatively small number of people. I doubt there's many students for example with a few thousand dollars in Kiwisaver. (Just a guess I don't have evidence either way). Others under the age of 30 are more likely to have enough funds in Kiwisaver but there still will be many more who don't.

      Plus, if someone can use their Kiwisaver funds to help with buying a house then why can't someone on a lower income who will probably never be able to buy a house use it to pay their bond. It's pretty much the same thing (Seeking somewhere to live) but as per usual, those with less (renters not buyers) are told no, but those who can afford to buy a house are told yes. Doesn't seem fair to me. If it was the other way around then no doubt people would be saying how unfair it is.

      Maybe taxpayers (the government) should give them a 0% interest loan to cover it if they are so against them using their own money.

      • Muttonbird 13.4.1

        If anyone is struggling to come up with bond, MSD currently provides a grant, whether the applicant receives a benefit or not:

        Bishop is a dangerous idiot who has deliberately limited knowledge about the welfare system. When explaining policy he often claims, 'he's been talking to people'. In the case of the KiwiSaver raid policy he'd been talking to the Young Nats, apparently.

        I imagine his thinking is to have vulnerable, low income people withdraw from their own KiwiSavings to meet bond rather than having MSD provide a grant, something which he now knows about, and will surely shut down if in office.

  13. Sanctuary 14

    Now old QEII has shuffled off this mortal coil, time to send another ancient and anachronistic institution of empire quietly off to the knackers yard?

  14. ianmac 15

    Crikey! Just read Audrey Young's complete history of Chris Hipkins. No sly digs an no anti-government spin. What an amazing chap he is. Thanks Audrey.

    Hipkins: “I think there’s a range of areas where we have picked too many battles all at the same time and at the same time, we haven’t always explained to people what we are doing and why we are doing them.”

    • Bearded Git 15.1

      …but paywalled.

      • ianmac 15.1.1

        Sorry BG. The item is many pages long. (Coming on Thursday: Read Investigations Editor Alex Spence’s profile of National leader Christopher Luxon.)

        “He will handle it,” says Rosemary Hipkins. “He won’t buckle.”

        Rose, as she is more often called, is the Prime Minister’s mother. She and Chris’ father, Doug, live in Raumati South, about 50km north of Wellington.

        They are a hugely important part of their son’s life, and even more so as he juggles leadership with being a father to a 7-year-old son, Charlie, and 4-year-old daughter, Isabel.

        “I think he’ll cope with it very well because he is disciplined, because he can focus on what matters,” she said.

        “He doesn’t sweat the small stuff. He doesn’t bear grudges. He just moves on, accepts how things are and does the best he can in whatever circumstances confront him and that’s what he will keep doing.”

        While Hipkins brands himself simply as “a boy from the Hutt” Rose Hipkins reveals more about her son’s character than his penchant for sausage rolls and mince pies and suggests he was not a typical boy.

        “Chris was always a very singular boy. He marched to his own drum right from the time he was little.

        “He was curious about the world and how it worked.”

        “He really wanted to know what made things tick. He was quite different to other children … He wasn’t a typical Kiwi child at all.”

        Hipkins made it clear just before being sworn in as Prime Minister in January this year that Jade and the kids were strictly out of bounds and that he would not talk about their split last year.

        He was not charismatic like Ardern but not polarising either, in control but not controlling, intelligent but not intellectual, tribal Labour but collegial with it, pragmatic, non-ideological, and known and liked by the public after his role as Covid-19 Response Minister.

        By the time of the election, Hipkins will have had almost nine months in the job. It is long enough for him to have demonstrated his own style – sensible, practical, and upfront.

        • Dennis Frank

          “He was curious about the world and how it worked.”

          I recall at age nine realising that about myself, and how it became a path into the future for me. The most auspicious thing I've heard about him so far.

        • tWiggle

          Hipkins was also head boy at his Hutt Valley College.

          Where's the equivalent article about Luxon's youth? Perhaps because he was an uncharismatic non-entity at school?

        • Bearded Git

          Thanks ianmac…..that is interesting and very positive about Hipkins.

          I think Hipkins is clever, eloquent but also a tough cookie. This means he will fight the election well. When I compare him to Keir Starmer in the UK, he looks pretty damn good.

      • Belladonna 15.1.2

        Here it is archived

        • Bearded Git

          thanks Bella.

        • ianmac

          Yes thanks Belladonna. Be interesting to read Luxon's write up in the Thursday Herald. by Alex Spence. Wonder if Alex is a National office holder unlike Audrey who is certainly not a Labour supporter.

        • Patricia Bremner

          Thank you, much appreciated.

  15. gsays 16

    Just in case any of y'all are long suffering Warriors fans…

    I never tire of hearing praise for them in an Australian accent, this is half an hour of intelligent, informed analysis.

    Webster's a shoo-in for coach of the year. SJ is near top for Dally M, lot's of players in career best form and the squad has depth.

    All aboard, plenty of room on the band wagon.

  16. newsense 17

    A slim majority of voters! Lol.

    When the major parties command around 33% and a capital gains tax is favorited by 52%. Slim, slim almost not there!

  17. SPC 18

    Between July 8 and July 12 the 1News Verian poll asked eligible voters if they opposed or supported capital gains being taxed when people sold rental properties.

    Of those polled, 52% said they supported it, 37% said they opposed it, while the remaining 11% said they didn’t know or refused to answer.

    National leader Christopher Luxon said his party did not support capital gains tax.He said capital gains taxes on landlords “only leads to higher rents”.“That doesn’t help people in a cost of living crisis.

    He makes the case for a rent freeze to complement the extension of the bright-line test to 10 years, to support the continuance of the policy in the next term (blocking the NACT alternative).

    Green Party co-leader James Shaw said he was unsurprised by the poll result, as Green Party polling showed most New Zealanders wanted a “fairer tax system” which included capital gains tax on investment properties. “We have one of the least-fair tax systems in the world.

    Sure, but do not forget to ask Luxon to support lower rents/rent freeze.

    “It’s distortionary in the economy and it means that the government doesn’t collect the revenue it needs to be able to solve some of the great challenges, like lifting all of those families that are still below the poverty line up above that line.”

    He said he hoped the poll would be a wake up call for Hipkins but the major parties had repeatedly “made decisions against the weight of evidence and against the weight of public opinion”.

    True, be the champion for doing the right thing, give people a reason to vote.

    Those groups of eligible voters who were more likely than average (52%) to support a capital gains tax on rental properties included Green party supporters (73%), Labour party supporters (62%)

    The good, not so good

    and the bad and just as ugly

    Those groups of eligible voters who were more likely than average (37%) to oppose a capital gains tax on rental properties included Act Party supporters (50%), National Party supporters (49%)

    • Incognito 18.1

      I assume this was a reply to the comment above @ 17, as yours does not contain one single link to your quotes.

      The copy & paste contained some creative editing without indication!?

      I cannot find anywhere someone (?) making a case for a rent freeze. Did you make this up?

      • SPC 18.1.1

        I cannot find anywhere someone (?) making a case for a rent freeze.


        Luxon believes quite passionately that the existence of a bright-line test (currently to 10 years), a form of CGT, leads to a rise in rents. And this is problematic during a cost of living crisis.

        Surely he has made the case for a rent freeze during a cost of living crisis?

  18. Shanreagh 19

    Of course this was not the thrust of the Greens policy on wealth

    Between July 8 and July 12 the 1News Verian poll asked eligible voters if they opposed or supported capital gains being taxed when people sold rental properties.

    I am interested to note that 52% supported an idea to tax on change of ownership of rental properties. I think this has a lot going for it.

    A tax could also be imposed on the sale of any property (I doubt this would get over 50% support), and on shares. Those who don't sell during their lifetime could have the tax imposed on death when their estate is being wound up. Untaxed gains passed on to beneficiaries of an estate could be taxed at the rate applying to the beneficiary. (NB not talking about people who get a benefit)

    • Incognito 19.1

      You didn’t scroll down & read all the way to the end, did you?

      We wouldn’t hear the end of it …

      • Shanreagh 19.1.1


        Those groups of eligible voters who were more likely than average (52%) to support a capital gains tax on rental properties included Green party supporters (73%), Labour party supporters (62%)

        I knew I did not fall into either of those categories right at the end

        oppose a capital gains tax on rental properties included Act Party supporters (50%), National Party supporters (49%)

        and it was a shockingly worded question…….I was heartened that some thought that taxes on sales going through on sale was worth considering. Rather than every year as proposed by the Greens

        But I had to laugh at Luxon's response to this parliamentary question.

        18 July 2023 at 6:19 pm

        Are people with a sense of humour are allowed to laugh at anything funny or is this something that has to be cleared if it involves a Labour politician?

        • Incognito

          Never mind

        • SPC

          It was a question about a CGT.

          The second part to the question was about the family home being included in a CGT – the result is why CGT around the world either do not include the family home, or only include a small proportion (so CGT is made on the transfer of ownership of high value estates).

          • Shanreagh

            This seems so sensible/fundamental, ie not including the family home, that I wonder why The Greens policy included it?

            Was it included as part a sort of self scuppering internal time bomb to destroy the policy? /sarc

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    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    7 days ago
  • Penk travels to Peru for trade meetings
    Minister for Land Information, Chris Penk will travel to Peru this week to represent New Zealand at a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on behalf of Trade Minister Todd McClay. The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held on 17-18 May ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister attends global education conferences
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford will head to the United Kingdom this week to participate in the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) and the 2024 Education World Forum (EWF). “I am looking forward to sharing this Government’s education priorities, such as introducing a knowledge-rich curriculum, implementing an evidence-based ...
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  • Education Minister thanks outgoing NZQA Chair
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford has today thanked outgoing New Zealand Qualifications Authority Chair, Hon Tracey Martin. “Tracey Martin tendered her resignation late last month in order to take up a new role,” Ms Stanford says. Ms Martin will relinquish the role of Chair on 10 May and current Deputy ...
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  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
    New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and President Emmanuel Macron of France today announced a new non-governmental organisation, the Christchurch Call Foundation, to coordinate the Christchurch Call’s work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.   This change gives effect to the outcomes of the November 2023 Call Leaders’ Summit, ...
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  • Panel announced for review into disability services
    Distinguished public servant and former diplomat Sir Maarten Wevers will lead the independent review into the disability support services administered by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha. The review was announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago to examine what could be done to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister welcomes Police gang unit
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
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  • New Chief of Defence Force appointed
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  • Government puts children first by repealing 7AA
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  • Defence Minister to meet counterparts in UK, Italy
    Defence Minister Judith Collins will this week travel to the UK and Italy to meet with her defence counterparts, and to attend Battles of Cassino commemorations. “I am humbled to be able to represent the New Zealand Government in Italy at the commemorations for the 80th anniversary of what was ...
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  • Charter schools to lift educational outcomes
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