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Three launches 2023 slate

It’s the end of another week! Welcome to The Spinoff”s live updates for November 4, made possible by our members. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, reach me on

The agenda

  • Three gives its first look at its 2023 line-up.
  • The first poll of the Hamilton West byelection has revealed the state of play about five weeks out from polling.
  • And have a go at our weekly quiz!

Three launches 2023 slate

It’s the end of another week! Welcome to The Spinoff”s live updates for November 4, made possible by our members. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, reach me on

The agenda

  • Three gives its first look at its 2023 line-up.
  • The first poll of the Hamilton West byelection has revealed the state of play about five weeks out from polling.
  • And have a go at our weekly quiz!
Nov 4 2022

‘Let’s keep going’: Ardern opens Labour conference with salute to Kirk


Jacinda Ardern has launched Labour’s annual conference with an invocation of Norman Kirk, the venerated party leader who became prime minister 50 years ago, in December 1972. She told the conference – which is hosting an exhibition devoted to Kirk, who died after a little over a year in office – that they should draw on his legacy, his “sweat, vision, drive, necessity”.

Ardern urged an audience of around 300 in Manukau, south Auckland to reflect on five years of achievements, to “refresh and rejuvenate for the year ahead, to remember why we are Labour. So after five years of progress, let’s keep going.”

The entertainment continues this evening with a Kirk themed talk by Sir Bob Harvey and karaoke. The three-day conference, which will see the changing of the guard in the party presidency from Claire Szabó to Jill Day, concludes on Sunday afternoon with the leader’s address.

First NZ conviction for ‘sabotage’ – but details of case withheld

The first conviction for sabotage in New Zealand’s legal history has been given out in court today.

Graham Philip, an anti-vaccination campaigner, pleaded guilty to seven charges. As the Herald reported, the details of Philip’s offending – including what he was attempting to sabotage – cannot yet be published.

A sentencing will take place on December 1 and Philip faces a maximum time in prison of 10 years.

Stuff’s Paula Penfold said Philip was planned as a subject of her Fire and Fury documentary centring on the parliamentary occupation. However, due to the court case, his story could not be told.

Chrissy Teigen denies copying NZ baker’s packaging

The Caker’s carrot cake box (Image: The Caker)

American celebrity Chrissy Teigen has rejected claims by a New Zealand baker that she ripped off her products.

Earlier in the week, Jordan Rondel – best known as The Caker – took to social media with allegations her range of cake kits had been copied by Teigen. The pair had previously collaborated together on a cake kit.

“I’ve taken a week to try to process everything and could say a lot more,” Rondel said. “I think you guys are right that this particular situation isn’t chill, especially because we’re just a small sister run business.”

Now, in a statement to Rolling Stone magazine, a spokesperson for Teigen’s Cravings brand has hit back at the claims.

“Images posted on social media by The Caker team compared the front of our box and the back of their own,” they said.

“The front of their packaging is different from the photographic approach we took, with their design trending to be a solid, bold colour, which is actually a sleeve rather than the traditional box style we have used.”

The Caker v Chrissy (Image: Tina Tiller)

QUIZ: Have you been paying attention?

The Friday News Quiz

It’s been a busy week in news – but how much have you been paying attention to it all? Test yourself in our weekly quiz below!

A message from The Spinoff’s founder and publisher, Duncan Greive

Our readers are the bedrock of The Spinoff – you are by far our largest funders, and the only reason we exist at all.

I’m here to ask you for your help again. The cost of living crisis, which we have covered extensively, has hit us and our people too – at the same time as membership income has remained flat post-pandemic. Big tech has taken over the digital advertising market, making us need your donations now more than ever.

I would love it if you would consider donating to help keep our independent, NZ owned and made journalism free for all. Please support The Spinoff today.

Five things to look forward to on Three in 2023

Jaquie Brown as host of reality competition Blow Up NZ (Photo: Supplied)

It seems remarkable that 2023 is already just around the corner, but indeed it is and our telly networks are already hyping up next year’s schedule.

Last night I attended the Warner Bros Discovery upfronts for 2023 for what was an entirely bizarre evening, meaning that I attended alone and was surrounded by people far more important than me. Between glasses of bubbly I attempted to make polite conversation with the likes of Dom Bowden all the while realising I was probably the only person without a plus-one.

Nevertheless, I eventually settled down for an intense 90-minute presentation from a handful of WB Discovery talent and staffers as the network outlined its 2023 slate.

Here are my big takeaways.

(Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

ThreeNow is going to be less shit: Three’s streaming service is widely viewed as the worst. It has a janky interface that often collapses under the pressure of a mere Chromecast and is incompatible with a lot of modern TVs. Those in the room seemed to acknowledge this (I heard someone snigger at the mention of ThreeNow’s existing display). And in 2023, it’s going to improve. Key to that is the introduction of FAST Channels – or Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television. TVNZ+ has already got there, but it’s promised ThreeNow will soon have “exciting new content… and a portfolio of channels that will grow over time”. The interface will also be getting an update, thankfully, and additional investment in content will come too.

Long form current affairs is coming back (kind of): It’s been a while since current affairs was given a regular prime time slot. Documentaries like the Patrick Gower On and Newshub’s Investigates series may have been permitted a mainstream time, but they’re aired irregularly throughout the year. From 2023 that’s going to change: Paddy Gower Has Issues will be a 20-episode current affairs programme set to bring investigate journalism back to primetime. It’ll have content tailored for streaming and social, though slightly worryingly it’s going to have comedians involved (can we just bring back The Vote from 2014?). Gower told me he was incredibly excited for the show, which he called a dream come true.

Newshub’s Patrick Gower

Existing reality TV formats get the axe: Bafflingly, The Block NZ is back for 2023. But there was no mention of The Masked Singer or Dancing with the Stars. Nor was there acknowledgement of Heartbreak Island. Have they collapsed under the weight of TVNZ’s Treasure Island juggernaut?

…But we get new formats: A Jaquie Brown-fronted balloon art show called Blow Up that I was cynical about until I saw the teaser. This is Lego Masters but for balloons and it looks amazing. There’s also Couples Therapy NZ which is promised as more of a docu-series than a Married at First Sight exploit-fest. The Traitors NZ is basically “mafia” but with a big production budget. And for fans of Hunted, we’re getting a more intense-sounding knock-off called Tracked that’s hosted by… English football hardman Vinnie Jones??? Most excitingly for me: Guy Montgomery’s Guy Mont Spelling Bee.

Jaquie Brown, the host of Blow Up (Photo: Supplied)

Double Parked sounds amazing: One of a fairly slim handful of new original scripted content, Double Parked is written by Chris Parker and Alice Snedden and features a young lesbian couple who both end up pregnant after a botched home insemination job. There’s also true crime series Far North (starring Robyn Malcolm and Temuera Morrison), a post-earthquake Kaikōura-set drama called Friends Like Her, and a dramedy about a Whāngerei brothel owner called Madame Mom. A fairly diverse, if slightly slender, slate.

When the Facts Change: Another broken relationship with the Crown

As central and local government battle for asset control, the lack of investment in infrastructure becomes an ever-growing issue. Bernard talks to former Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse in the latest episode of When the Facts Change about the tension between these forms of government and how it can be mended – what has ruptured in these relationships and why does it matter?

Listen below or wherever you get your podcasts

The Bulletin: Renewed calls to ban private use of fireworks

Police have identified a teenager they allege set off fireworks causing a bushfire in North Canterbury that forced 130 people to leave their homes. The incident has prompted renewed calls to ban the private sales of fireworks. Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) incident controller Dave Berry said firefighters felt fireworks should be reserved for controlled, public events, rather than used at home.

FENZ figures show 822 fires were caused by fireworks in the five years to 2021, with more than half happening during the month of November. Private use of fireworks has been banned in the Northland this Guy Fawkes due to the risk of wildfires.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 36,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.  

Very steep uphill battle for Sharma in Hamilton West – poll

Gaurav Sharma in the halls of parliament (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The first poll of the Hamilton West byelection has revealed the state of play about five weeks out from polling.

Commissioned by Act and released to Newshub, the poll needs to be considered for what it is – a very early poll and also one that doesn’t take into account specific candidates. It also included New Zealand First, while the party has since revealed it’s not standing a candidate anyway. 

However, it still provides an interest look at the important upcoming political battle. It shows National has an early lead, though Labour was also performing well. Hamilton West is famously a bellwether seat, meaning it swings between red and blue and often reflects a wider mood.

The results show 44.7% would vote for the National candidate, 36.6% for Labour’s – and just 2.5% for the MP who triggered the byelection, Dr Gaurav Sharma.

Act and the Greens sit somewhere in the middle – on 8.6% and 4.7%.

The candidate for National will be selected this weekend, while Labour’s Georgie Dansey has already faced scrutiny after turning up to a protest against senior Labour minister Andrew Little. Act’s current MP James McDowall will run for the party.