Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Probe into appointment of top cop who made Louise Nicholas comments, tolls considered for Transmission Gully, and nurses may be at odds with their union.
There’s going to be an inquiry into how Wally Haumaha came to be appointed Deputy Police Commissioner, after an outcry over his selection, reports the NZ Herald. Haumaha was a strong supporter of police officers who were accused and then found not guilty of raping Louise Nicholas – two of whom were later revealed to be in prison on a seperate conviction of rape. Haumaha said a few days ago that he deeply regrets and apologises for his comments regarding Louise Nicholas’s case.
The inquiry will focus on whether the information was available to the State Services Commission when they made the appointment, and if not, why not. Further terms of reference will be released later this week.
There is also a political angle to the story – Wally Haumaha was briefly a candidate for New Zealand First in 2005, but he never actually stood for them at an election. National leader Simon Bridges told the NZ Herald this means someone other than Internal Affairs minister Tracey Martin – one of NZ First’s most senior MPs – should oversee the inquiry.
But the major point of the story is what it says about police culture, which has long been accused of being sexist and hostile towards women who come forward about being assaulted. In fairness, police are doing a lot to try and address that. They brought in Louise Nicholas herself to be an expert on how they should respond to reports of sexual assault, and they’re trying to recruit more women.
Obviously people can change, and Deputy Commissioner Haumaha says his values have changed. But clearly, having held the views that he once did are still no barrier to promotion, within an organisation in which treatment of women has been a festering sore for decades. That could do a lot of damage, in terms of perceptions of whether or not the police have actually made progress.
Will Transmission Gully be a toll-road? That’s the question the government is considering, reports Stuff, amid fears that driving will become simply too popular through the Kāpiti area if it isn’t. That’s a big shift for Labour, and is being seen as a betrayal by President of the Paremata Residents Association Russell Morrison, who has long advocated in favour of the road being built, and being free to use.
Meanwhile speaking of transport in the area, Air Chathams is bringing flights back to the Kāpiti Coast, reports Newshub. The small airliner has been picking up routes Air New Zealand no longer wants, and also flies to Whakatāne, Whanganui, and the major centres.
There was a really fascinating report on Checkpoint last night from Radio NZ’s Nita Blake-Persen about the likelihood of whether or not nurses will accept the revised offer from DHBs. Blake-Persen has been talking to nurses, and said there was a lot of anger at the union calling off the first strike, and for recommending the offer to members when it wasn’t considered much better than the last, rejected offer. It raises doubts as to whether the new offer will be approved. Voting opens today.
Two bits of late breaking good news, both involving rather more water than many would be comfortable with: The first is that kayaker Scott Donaldson has finished his epic paddle across the Tasman – Stuff reports he’s the first person to do it solo. And the second one – a group of football youths from Thailand have been found alive, after nine days of being trapped in a cave flooded by monsoon rains, reports Radio NZ.
The government has refused to reveal details of four Overseas Investment Office approvals made this year, which the NBR reports is highly unusual. The details were withheld on the grounds of commercial sensitivity. There have been no other such refusals to reveal OIO consent details since 2013.
The chairman of Te Puea Memorial Marae has named and shamed alleged problem lenders in South Auckland, amid a government crackdown, reports the NZ Herald. Hurimoana Dennis says the seven firms named are most frequently who homeless families that seek help at the marae owe money to. The firms all deny that they’ve done anything wrong, and say the only lend responsibly.
Corrections minister Kelvin Davis has done a weird backflip over whether or not he knew the forecast prison population, reports Radio NZ. At the start of the day he told Morning Report he hadn’t seen the forecasts when he made the Waikeria decision. By midday, he was saying he actually had been aware of the forecasts, but that they were based on the previous government’s policies, so were now out of date. Acting PM Winston Peters defended Davis at his post-cabinet presser, saying Davis simply hadn’t understood the question, and he was of course fully briefed.
Online Māori publication E-Tangata is facing severe funding pressure, and has launched a crowdfunding drive through PressPatron. I’ve linked to E-Tangata a few times in The Bulletin, and it would be a real shame if they were to go under. So I’m going to start chucking in a fiver each month. It’s really not much, but if a bunch of people do it, they’ll have a better chance of surviving.
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Right now on The Spinoff: Australia has caged children too – Thalia Kehoe Rowden writes about how you can help them. Hayden Donnell tries to ‘do a google’ and delay when he starts paying tax. And we’ve got a cool announcement to make – we’ve got a Food section now! Check out editor Alice Neville’s introduction.
So, the question from Sir Peter Jackson that was the conversation starter in yesterday’s Bulletin: Does New Zealand want to have a film industry? The question was asked after reports from the NZ Herald, that raised doubts about the value for money of government subsidies for big budget productions.
The first thing to break down is what exactly is meant here. Arran suggested that the question be rephrased as “does NZ want a blockbuster film industry,” because seemingly nobody is arguing that funding for local gems like Waru or Hunt for the Wilderpeople be scrapped. On this point, Josh was dubious about the value of blockbusters being filmed here, but all for local stories.
Ruth reckons those blockbuster production houses come in and treat New Zealanders with contempt. Anne wondered where exactly the money that ends up back in the hands of offshore companies actually goes. And Annie wondered if “a small, home-grown independent film industry would do just as much to raise NZ’s profile.”
But Alastair said the data around the economic value of government spending on the film industry was heavily contested, and might be being hugely under-estimated – “the net economic gains could be anywhere between 70 cents to the dollar to $2.90 to the dollar.” To not invest if the return was as good as that would of course be foolish. And Brian said you just needed to look at the fortunes of businesses in Kumeu when there’s a production in town – they love it. If you hadn’t heard of the Kumeu studios, Newsroom’s Alexia Russell had a look into Auckland Council’s involvement with them.
And then there’s the people who actually do the work at places like Weta – who grind out long weeks doing what for me basically looks like magic. Without these blockbusters, their jobs are at risk. You could of course say the same about any industry that gets government support. But if we want to be a high wage, high tech economy, it would be completely self-defeating to stop supporting an industry which is actually doing that.
So what’s the verdict? There isn’t an easy answer here, but having the debate at all is valuable. There seemed to be a bit of a mania over the last two decades of absolutely caving whenever Hollywood demanded anything of the government, because of course we wanted to be a big deal on the world stage. And it’s true, that without the governmental support, film companies will take their business elsewhere – plenty of other countries are already far more profligate.
This industry matters to New Zealanders and the people who work in it. But film companies will have to be very careful to not look like they’re taking the piss with their demands, because if they do, public sentiment will turn against them very quickly.
By the way, I’m really enjoying putting these question and answer sections into The Bulletin. What can I say – we’ve got a lot of well informed readers!
Sorry, I forgot to include this yesterday. The White Ferns did not win their tri-series final against England, after the middle order crumbled, and the bowlers failed to contain England’s openers. But on the other hand, Amelia Kerr bowled this astonishing googly to suck in Sarah Taylor, who is one of the most accomplished batters in the Women’s game. So who really won? (Still England, but also very much Kerr.)
In basketball, LeBron James has signed for the LA Lakers. This analysis from Bleacher Report has an interesting bit of analysis of why he picked them out of all his suitors – “James was focused on playing for an institution, an organization that has its own basketball Mount Rushmore: Wilt, the Logo, Kareem, Magic, Shaq, Kobe…and now, LeBron.”
Football World Cup results and spoilers
Brazil have cruised through their round of 16 game against Mexico, comfortably beating them 2-0. That sets up a quarterfinal clash with the winner of Belgium and Japan, which is on right now. And that side of the draw is looking astonishingly tough – Uruguay are looking in top form, France are France, and Brazil are Brazil. Meanwhile, England are being talked up as having the easiest run possible to the final, which means they’ll definitely blow it.
From our partners, Vector’s Beth Johnson writes that one of the best reasons for lighting up the Auckland Harbour Bridge, is that it makes diversity impossible to ignore.
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The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.