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Open mike 24/03/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 24th, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: open mike, uncategorized - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

49 comments on “Open mike 24/03/2012 ”

  1. Carol 1

    The policy aiming for rewarding “quality” teachers is driven by the neoliberal ideology of competitive individualism. This incorporates a distorted understanding of human endeavour that fails to appreciate the importance of collaboration in successful endeavours, including teaching.


    <blockquote.Performance pay for teachers will be developed by the Government, with secondary principals told by Education Minister Hekia Parata to start "sorting the wheat from the chaff".

    "If a teacher can make a difference and raise the achievement levels regardless of where they sit academically, then they ought to be rewarded for it."

    New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) president Ian Leckie said performance pay had been shown internationally to make no positive difference to academic achievement.

    "Rewarding teachers differently creates too much high stakes stuff that actually stops collaboration, stops people working together and that is counter-productive to trying to make a better education system doing more for more kids," he said. He suggested the measure would be tough to implement without the support of unions.

    And education in NZ is generally very successful, it’s the long tail of low achievers that is the problem and where any new policies should be targetted. Classes of high achievers need a different approach to teaching than for classes of low achievers. A teacher who teaches a class of high academic achievers is likely to make no difference to a class of low achievers unless they are able to change or adapt their approach and work collaboratively with others.

    A lot of successful learning depends on a whole school approach. A successful teacher, working collaboratively, can help raise the outcome for all classes, students and teachers.

    • ianmac 1.1

      When will they ever learn?
      Totally agree with your well researched post Carol.

      • Dv 1.1.1

        And they have experinece in the design of contraversal education implimentation.
        Thaey got Nat Stds to work well, so they shouldnt have to much problem with performance pay.

        Oh but wait….

    • Dv 1.2

      I remember asking roger sowey when the nats were pushing a competitive model for schools if he believed that inservice training was important. Yes of courrse it is he replied. I then asked why would schools help ther next door school by helping their teachers improove.

      He didnt have an answer.

    • Herodotus 1.3

      Whilst there is much disagreement regarding incentivising pay for teachers, I notice here as with both the MOE & unions there is still the case of unequal pay for teachers performing the same skilled, learning experiences for their students. That is why does the likes of NZEI/Labour Party (when in govt, and who is funded by the union) support in paying degreee teachers $1k per month more than those with diplomas ? Is it not a union catch cry “A fair days pay for a fair days work” ?

      • Salsy 1.3.1

        Disagree Herodotus- If you look at the Finnish model, teachers have masters degrees and decent wages. I would far rather see teachers rewarded for their qualification level rather than allowing diploma level teachers the opportunity to hike their pay packets based on “performance”…

        Teachers are highly respected and appreciated in Finland, partly because all teachers need a master’s degree to qualify for a permanent job… Finland improved its public education system not by privatizing its schools or constantly testing its students, but by strengthening the education profession and investing in teacher preparation and support.


        • KJT

          While I agree about performance pay, high level qualifications and paying Teachers properly to attract the best.

          It is academic arrogance to assume that trade qualifications are less useful than academic ones. New Zealand’s diploma level Teachers are some of the best. Adding life experience and 10 or more years of success, in a trade, to schools.

          I strongly believe, that school teachers, and police, should have at least 10 years doing something else before they take up Teaching.

          Which does mean higher pay for Teachers. To attract the successful from other occupations.

          Having said that, we have much better Teachers than we deserve, given the working conditions we give them and the way we recruit, pay and train them.

          I.ve seen burnt out Teachers, overwhelmed Teachers and Teachers who cannot handle discipline, but very few lazy Teachers.

    • DH 1.4

      Arguments over education always mystify me. I read the propaganda about bad teachers and ask myself if these people who slag off teachers actually went to school. Sure some teachers were better than others but how many of us had genuinely bad teachers? How many teachers did we have who kept an entire class enraptured & hanging off their every word? Did we get a bad education, could any of us really have done so much better if we had these ‘great’ teachers?

      My memory of school is that some teachers suited me better than others but no single teacher suited everyone. Teachers that I liked others in my class hated & vice versa. Another memory is that some teachers were very good with the under achievers yet generally not so good with the high achievers, and vice versa again. Slower learners needed a different teaching style, not better teachers per se.

      Paradoxically the irrational claims from the ‘we need better teachers’ mob does suggest that maybe we do need better teachers so we don’t keep getting these gits annoying us with their ideological bullshit.

      • Vicky32 1.4.1

        Sure some teachers were better than others but how many of us had genuinely bad teachers?

        When I look back, I can honestly say that all of the teachers I had were either brilliant, or very good! Primary, intermediate and High school, all were either adequate, good or in some cases, awesomely good! My son, in the 90s and later, had two awful teachers, but the rest ranged from adequate to awesome! In his case and mine, two or three stand out as wonderful…

    • Georgecom 1.5

      In an extension of that article today Waikato Times Parata was quoted as justify increased class sizes “I went through primary in a class of 42, Ms Parata says”.

      So back in the 1960s or 1970s Parata experienced class sizes of 42 huh? Justifies it being done now.

      I wonder where many of the other students in Paratas class of 42 ended up?
      I wonder how many left school with no qualifications?
      I wonde rhow many managed to walk into a job at 15 with no skills?

      Maybe if Parata wants to use her class sizes as justification then we can get back some of the other measurements from that time:
      50% failure to get school certificate
      Unemployment rate around 1%
      Wages probably around $10 per week – (wonder if Parata will be the first the volunteers to work for that sort of money?)

      To state the figure she did from a distant past, is she naive, a little dishonest or was she mis-quoted?

      As for performance pay, maybe her and her Government would like to implement that on themselves first. Lets tag their pay to things like the unemployment rate, the number of people emigrating to Australia and maybe economic growth. I guess not, can’t see Parata et al agreeing to take that big a pay cut eh. Always seems to be something to apply to someone else, never to this group suggesting it.

  2. Adele 2

    Kiaora Carol

    In other words, rather than incentivise the individual teacher, incentivise the school. The education system is significantly failing Māori students, yet, we know there are programs ‘out there’ that have a great success rate for Māori students in terms of keeping them engaged with learning, and for that matter, with the education system towards high academic outcomes.

    Schools that are savvy with how they engage with their Māori students, are those schools that should be incentivised to continue to innovate within their learning environments. Conceptually, I like the thought of Charter Schools, as a means to foster innovation in education.

    • It makes sense to give schools enough flexibility to use their savvy to engage with their students better.

      The quality of schools is often closely related to the quality of principal.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        As has already been pointed out, NZ schools already have that flexibility.

    • logie97 2.2

      Is it schools or parents the main cause of under achievement?
      Is it schools or parents failing their children?
      Don’t think it’s the schools that advise / give the children $$$ for lunch money to spend at the corner shop on loads of junk. (Schools include in their Health units, healthy eating programmes and dietary advice). Some parents might care to examine the shelves of their fridges. Take the trouble to make a nourishing lunch for their children.
      Most parents deliver a well fed, well rested, well mannered, well nurtured child to the school gates, and the school is able to make a difference …

      • Pete George 2.2.1

        Good points, most of the failure starts preschool, it’s just that schools are expected to somehow repair and repackage society’s and families failures.

        But it’s not just a problem with nutrition of the stomach, it’s also a problem with nutrition of the mind and of the soul.

      • Adele 2.2.2

        Tēnā koe, logie

        Why are some schools better able to respond to the needs of their students more so than others, despite the lack emanating from the homes? It seems obvious to me that if some schools can improve on the learning outcomes of their Māori students, despite the decile nature of the surrounding environs, than other schools should be able to do the same.

        Its a poor quality school that throws its hands up to simply say ‘it’s the parents fault why their children are failing us’ yet still operate on the basis (and receive money for) that they are educating those tamariki and rangatahi. Fail.

        • logie97

          Sorry Adele, but your children obviously have parents who are fully engaged in their education. Lucky them. On the other hand some parents are in denial and their spokespeople as well. You will know that schools are required to consult with their Maori community. They might be lucky and have a “Ra ra ra response, feel good meeting with lots of kai and then the parents become hard to find for another year…”

          • Adele


            The parents have become engaged because the school has taken the time and considerable energy to involve the parents, and the way they have done so has made the difference. A decile rating generally indicates the level of resources available to the school in terms of parental involvement and capacity. That some schools can achieve remarkable results despite the resources lacking in their community speaks volumes about that school.

            Judgement on the parents does little to foster the learning outcomes of their students. If the children come to school hungry than feed them rather than whine about the parents lack of parental skills. Its not for the school to make judgment on the parents but it is their job to teach children despite perceived limitations they present with.

            My Aunt recently passed away at the Kohanga Reo hearings currently being held in Wellington. This woman was in her mid-sixties when she became one of the first kaiako (teachers) of the kohanga reo movement.

            This movement was driven by the flax roots for the flax roots. This movement was started by old people, for the benefit of their mokopuna (grand-children). The parents learnt with the children and they became actively engaged through that process.

            Kohanga Reo has recently celebrated its 25th year anniversary. It has bought around a fundamental shift in attitude for both students and their parents. Mainstream education, by contrast, is stuck in a educational rut of its own making.

            • Tony P

              “Judgement on the parents does little to foster the learning outcomes of their students. If the children come to school hungry than feed them rather than whine about the parents lack of parental skills. Its not for the school to make judgment on the parents but it is their job to teach children despite perceived limitations they present with.”

              Yet it is acceptable for the head of Treasury to say that parents and children should be able to make judgements on teachers and their performance in the classroom and allow this to have a bearing on what the teacher is paid.

              • Adele

                Tēnā koe, P

                I actually agree with you but unfortunately I am now having to work so can’t get into the ‘why I agree.’ except to say national standards are a crock…

    • millsy 2.3

      Charter schools would be fine and dandy if the corporates and god botherers (and the Brown Table) stayed the hell out of them, and they were used in niche situations, and not as a mean of imposing a winners-and-losers school system.

      The kindergarten system is the model that I would base my charter schools are. Some how, I doubt that Banskie and his ACT mate will.

    • Fortran 2.4

      The brand new super Maori Secondary School in Bethlehem, Tauranga certainly fulfils the concept of a Charter School.
      It has a Maori basic curriculum of its own.

  3. logie97 3

    NZ Nuclear Free

    Doesn’t this headline make you puke. If Brash had been elected, this policy would have been gone by lunchtime, and given Key’s attitude during the Iraq War (where are we, missing in action …) he doesn’t believe in it either.


    • muzza 3.1

      If you think Key does not want rid of our status you are misstaken, he would love nothing more than to please his nuclear masters!

      The IAEA is little more than a puppet joke, the whole article read as nothing more than , blah blah blah, Obama is a hero, blah IAEA, terrorist blah..John Key opportunity, blah blah

      I can’t see the like of GE letting nuclear energy off the menu anytime soon…what event will it take for the NZ administration of thinking about changing our status, and what would it take for the public to accept a change of direction in our policy?

      • Pete George 3.1.1

        I haven’t seen any evidence of Key wanting to change our nuclear status – please link to something that supports your claims.

        Maybe we should at least consider nuclear energy near our biggest populations, it may be less damaging than flooding the remaining natural rivers, or burning more oil.

        • muzza

          It was an opinion Pete, and one which I apply to governments in general. Pressure to allow nuclear ships in our ports is well documented….

          Nuclear issue thrums at heart of US-NZ diplomacy , TVNZ, December 21, 2010 The United States’ focus on New Zealand’s anti-nuclear stance and the Anzus split stands out in the screeds of diplomatic cables sent from the US Embassy in Wellington, and released by Wikileaks.

          New Zealand adopted nuclear-free legislation in 1984 when David Lange’s Labour government swept into power – effectively blocking visits by US warships.

          In a February 2006 cable then Ambassador Bill McCormick talks about the National Party being open to dropping the ban.

          He said the anti-nuclear issue dominated a National Party caucus retreat and MP Murray McCully suggested the party drop its nuclear ban policy, which required a referendum before making changes……

          Green MP Keith Locke yesterday said he was concerned by revelations in the Wikileaks cables that senior civil servants are pushing the US government’s agenda rather than acting in New Zealand’s interests.

          “It is apparent from the documents that changes to our anti-terrorism laws over the last few years have been driven by the US government, with leading police and Foreign Affairs Ministry people willing partners in this process,” Locke said.

          “Most disturbing is a report that our Defence Chief in 2006, Bruce Ferguson, seems to have complained to the Americans about our anti-nuclear policy being too inflexible. The head of the armed forces is supposed to be our most loyal citizen.

          [lprent: not particularly well documented. Your quote appears to be from here, which in turn has no links supporting it. There is a reason that we frown on people putting in unlinked quotes or a description of where to find the data. Essentially without it, whatever you say can be complete crap, selectively rewritten, or just taken out of context. This quote for instance was hard to google because it appears to have been transcribed – in the process it lost whole words.

          Link what you quote, damnit. Otherwise you’ll wind up getting dumped as a troll like many in the past. ]

          • muzza

            LP, actually I was very aware where it came from and there is a link in the article, which is http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/nuclear-issue-thrums-heart-us-nz-diplomacy-3980709

            Notice the content is no longer on the tvnz link, which could perhaps have been something I paid attention to….It seem when I pasted the text I did that the link above which was at the bottom of the copy, was left off….

            Not into editing cut and pastes personally, and would rather have had the tvnz link been alive, but given that you have read the location of my cut and pastes you, will in this instanance know that I have not edited the text.

            Cheers for the heads up though….

        • Morrissey

          LOON ALERT! Our dear old friend Pete George has evidently been cogitating. Just look at what he has come up with…

          Maybe we should at least consider nuclear energy near our biggest populations, it may be less damaging than flooding the remaining natural rivers, or burning more oil.

          Given what we have all (including you) seen happening in Japan for the last year, your statement of faith in nuclear power makes you seem not only uninformed, but even more stupid than usual.

          Why don’t you do some serious RESEARCH on the topic before commenting on this issue again?

          • Pete George

            I said “we should at least consider”, a point to discuss. Technology changes, relative safety changes.

            I’m not a fan of nuclear. I traveled past nuclear stations in Switzerland and Greece a couple of years ago, discomforting and eerie. However a way of life for many people.

            But I’m also not a fan of damming every last South Island river and blotting even more landscape with pylon lines stretching north from virtually one end of the island to the other.

            Sometimes we have to consider least bad choices.

            • Colonial Viper

              But I’m also not a fan of damming every last South Island river

              Don’t worry about it. There are almost no South Island rivers left capable of hosting another 500MW hydrodam.

              • Colonial Viper

                I should say that there are of course many sites on which a fairly robust 1MW to 10MW scheme could be sited, but at that scale they are neither here nor there in terms of supplying power to major North Island cities.

  4. Campbell Larsen 4

    Nats cling to “unnecessarily complex, incoherent” terror law, despite criticism from ex-Solicitor General & Law Comission

    Meanwhile the ex Justice Minister has an attack of forgetfulness and has become as accountability shy as the rest of his buddies:

    Mr Power, now a banker, said yesterday he could not recall why he allowed the review of the act to be dropped. He had made a decision when he left politics last November not to comment about events that occurred while he was in Government.

    • That’s very odd, Collins seems to be saying that a mess of legislation is too complex so they shouldn’t bother to fix it.

      Hopefully it won’t get tested again, but it does leave the possibility of another Urewera type ballsup.

    • NickS 5.1

      Heh, though like Slater’s ever going to pay attention until the crazies come to roost on his blog.

  5. Morrissey 6


    June 19, 2006

    THE SYSTEM WORKS – The Independent on Latin America and Hugo Chavez

    An Understandable Mistake

    Readers may recall our alert of May 8, 2006, ‘Lining Up The Next Victims’. We described how the Independent has been stoking up fear of “left populism” in Latin America. Despite many articulate and polite complaints to the paper from readers, the misinformation and smears continue. (See also our two-part alert, ‘Ridiculing Chavez’, May 16 and 18, 2006)


    In particular, The Independent, together with its sister Sunday paper, has consistently maligned Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected leader of Venezuela. Chavez has been labelled a “firebrand leader” who is “virulently anti-American” and whose “attachment to democracy [has] a temporary and improvised feel” (Leader, June 6, 2006). He is a “demagogue” (Leader, May 14, 2006) who wields a “brand of aggressive socialism” (May 14, 2006); a “high priest of political theatre” (May 13, 2006); “the new mouthpiece of the anti-American fervour” and a “divisive force in Latin America” (June 6, 2006). The Independent even resorted to quoting Chavez’s psychiatrist: “Chavez’s character is unpredictable and disconcerting – He is a dreamer of impossible dreams.” (May 13, 2006)

    A recent Independent news article by reporter Jude Webber continued the same trend. Webber described Chavez as an “authoritarian… his pockets full of the bonanza of booming oil prices”, someone who “has close ties” with undesirables such as “Cuba and now Bolivia”. Bolivia’s leader, President Evo Morales, is clearly of the same dangerous persuasion as the Venezuelan leader, having “recently nationalised gas fields in a move widely seen as inspired by his northern mentor”. (Webber, ‘Garcia claims Peru win spells end of regional takeover by Chavez’, The Independent, June 6, 2006)

    Read more by clicking HERE…


  6. ianmac 7

    That is not much comfort:
    “……. Bradley Ambrose and the fallout led to police raiding media offices for information.
    ………..Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper understands the police have decided it would not be in the public interest to press charges.”
    Not in the Public Interest??? That is a long way from saying Innocent!

  7. A street thug that claimed a prison sentence was a bit harsh for starting an altercation and continuing to bludgeon an unconcious victim on the ground has been given a further reality check by the court of appeal.

    Tough stand taken on street violence. Good.

    • DH 8.1

      Totally agree. Too many people labour under the mistaken belief that fights are two willing participants. Most are in reality a bullying thug picking on someone they’re sure they can beat, and those thugs need serious jail time.

    • David H 8.2

      Why can’t you link to the ORIGINAL story and not your bloody rehash on your site. Or is that too hard?

    • RedLogix 8.3

      Just for once PG I can totally agree with you here.

      And it’s one thing to get a bit bruised and bloodied… but the moment you have someone on the ground and you start kicking them in the head then you are trying to kill them. That should be an automatic attempted murder charge with a minimum 5 year sentence.

  8. millsy 9

    Queensland state election today, with Labor due to get the boot. As per usual when the left wing party tries to be ‘just like’ the right wing party, eventually the voters put the right wing party in. In Bligh’s party’s case, they flogged of the power grid and the railways.


    With the announcement of the week being the governments local government reforms, I thought I would share my letter to the editor about the huge debates about council spending in my area:

    There has been much discussion by various commentators about the level of council expenditure and its consequence on rates. As is the usual case, there is never any suggestions about what services should be cut in order to keep rates down, neither from Mr Bouwers, Mr Brown, or those on the council who wish to pander to their rhetoric.
    Pukekura Park has been a jewel in the city’s crown for over 100 years, enjoyed by young and old alike, with its glistening water features, exotic fernery and bush that you can get lost in, would funding for that get cut? Or to the other city parks, reserves and playgrounds that are avalible for all people to enjoy, whether it be a day picnicking in the sun, or getting fit and healthy? Or what about the public libararies, which provide an important social service to the public – one of ensuring literature is avalible to all, or just a safe place to go and curl up with a book, and forget about the world?
    Are they seeking to sell the pensioner flats, and lend an uncertain future to the tenants who would simply not be in a position to rent in the private sector? Or the public halls which are utilised by so many community groups? And what about the public toilets, that provide relief for those who are out and about?
    It is community assets like these that make a city what it is as much as anything else. They may be expensive baubles to some people, but they are vital to the well-being of this community, and deliver benefits far greater than those that can be recorded on a balance sheet, and are open to all from the very poor to the very rich, bringing people together, not pulling them apart.
    By all means, the council should be looking at its expenditure, and cutting projects and spending where appropriate, but there are things that we as a city would be worse off without, and I think that those who scream for cuts in council spending need to consider that.

    Mr Brown = Gordon Brown, one time councillor and right wing grumpy columnist
    Mr Houwers = local right winger who wants to start his own Tea Party movement.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Queenslanders have not been happy with the ongoing programme of asset sales “Labor” have been pushing through.

      I mean WTF, “Labor”. Just another political vehicle for the neolibs now.

  9. I’m calling for NZ Prime Minster John Key to RESIGN over his arguably corrupt ‘conflict of interest’ involving Australian open-cast coal mining company Bathurst Resources Ltd.

    Just thrown this political ‘grenade’ into ‘General Debate’ on Kiwiblog……


    “How many Kiwibloggers agree that if it’s good enough for former National Party Minister Nick Smith to have to resign over his ‘perceived’ conflict of interest as former ACC Minister, that Prime Minister John Key should equally have to resign over an arguably far worse conflict of interest involving opencast coal minng company – Bathurst Resources Ltd?

    Bathurst Resources Ltd, at whose Wellington office opening. NZ Prime Minister John Key ‘officiated’?

    To whom is the NZ Prime Minister (and Leader of the NZ National Party) accountable for his arguably corrupt ‘conflict of interest’?

    Who will SACK the NZ Prime Minister John Key?


    24 March 2012

    When it comes to corrupt ‘conflicts of interests’ – what’s your view (Mathew Hooton) on NZ Prime Minister John Key’s ‘perceived’ pecuniary interest in open-cast coal mining on the conservation estate – given that he is a shareholder in the Bank of America, and the Bank of America is a significant shareholder in Bathurst Resources Ltd?

    (As of 24 February 2012, the Bank of America was a substantial holder of shares in Bathurst Resources Ltd:

    “Class of Securities (4) – Ordinary

    Present Notice “Person’s Votes 72,302,308 Voting Power (5) 10.44%

    NZ Prime Minister John Key is a shareholder in the Bank Of America.

    http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/28FF3CC9-5985-4721-B335-776C5EAE81DF/195667/register2011_1.pdf )

    Bathurst Resources Ltd being the Australian mining company, at whose Wellington office opening NZ Prime Minister John Key officiated on 21 March 2012?


    If Nick Smith was forced to resign over his ACC ‘conflict of interest’ – why should John Key not have to resign over an arguably FAR more serious CORRUPT (?) ‘conflict of interest’?

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

    • johnm 10.1

      I agree John Key should resign. I believe he’s certainly more concerned with furthering the interests of business and the 1% than the common well being of all kiwis. He’s also indirectly invested in Bathhurst through BOA. Not least everyone knows neoliberalism is totally discredited ideology which merely makes the rich richer yet, yet he persists on selling of our assets. What NZ needs is a very large redistribution of wealth and income downwards and a reversal of previous tax cuts then overnight we won’t have a deficit or have to throw more money away paying bankers back loans with interest on them.

      When the United States had that regime (Minimal inequality and high tax rates) post WW11 it was the most dynamic optimistic powerhouse of a nation in the World but now the U$$$ is a juiceless shell the 1% have sucked most of it up, now they have it they’re not about to share! In fact they want the poor to pay more to make them even richer!

      link http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/03/23-9

      “All told, Ryan hands out about $4.4 trillion in tax cuts that primarily benefit the very best off, and pays for it with $4.15 trillion in spending cuts to programs that primarily benefit the poor and middle class.”

      Keep up the good work Penny unlike the fat guys in Parliament you don’t get a bean for your efforts, I know that’s tough.

  10. Conflict of interest, John Key has a conflict of interest with the Bathurst mining company
    because he has shares in the bank of america,the bank that bank rolls this company,
    the key govt gave this company the ok to mine on sensitive nz land.
    Interestingly the ceo of Deloitte Dutch arm just resigned because of ‘confilict of interest’
    effective immediatley.
    Deloitte is one of the company’s that key has a preference for in our asset sales along
    with goldman sachs.
    The upshot here is that ‘conflict of interest’ is taken very seriously elsewhere,why
    not here in nz, nz watches the culprates run for cover.

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  • Speech to inaugural Countering Terrorism Hui
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  • Farewelling sports administrator and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar
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  • Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates
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  • Arihia Bennett to chair Royal Commission Ministerial Advisory Group
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  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
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  • Speech to APEC business event
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  • Speech for Predator Free 2050 Conference
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