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Te Pāti Māori report another intrusion at candidate’s home

It’s Thursday, October 5 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s election live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. We’re down into the single digits now: there are just nine days until polls close.

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Te Pāti Māori report another intrusion at candidate’s home

It’s Thursday, October 5 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s election live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. We’re down into the single digits now: there are just nine days until polls close.

Get in touch with me on

Learn more about the political parties at

The agenda

Support our election coverage

The Spinoff’s coverage of the 2023 election is powered by the generous support of our members. If you value what we do and believe in the importance of independent and freely accessible journalism – tautoko mai, donate today.

Oct 5 2023

Police say no evidence alleged intrusions at candidate’s home were ‘racially motivated’

Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke. Photo: Supplied

Police are investigating five reports in relation to a Huntly property connected to Te Pāti Māori candidate Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke.

However, while one person has since been issued a trespass notice, police do not believe the incidents “have been racially motivated or coordinated”.

In a statement, detective inspector Darrell Harpur confirmed that a report of an intrusion at the property was received at about 10.20am yesterday morning. “At that time a person entered the property and was subsequently asked to leave by the occupants,” said Harpur. This individual has been formally trespassed.

“Police have established that an election hoarding was stolen from the property on September 25 but note this is in the context of several other hoardings in the area, from a range of political parties, being damaged or defaced,” he said. “This incident has been incorrectly reported as a ram raid – this is more correctly referred to as a theft. At this stage no further line of enquiry is available and this matter has been filed.”

Three other incidents were reported on the same day, but have so far turned up no leads. “Police have followed up on reports of a suspicious vehicle, however at this stage we do not believe this vehicle is linked to any intentions at the property,” Harpur said.

“A report of an alleged burglary and receipt of a threatening note… have been investigated and police have been unable to establish any criminality, although enquiries are ongoing.”

Police have visited the property on “several occasions” to investigate reports. “While we acknowledge that the incidents in which people have come on to the property will have been unsettling, we do not believe these constitute a home-invasion style entry into the house,” he said.

“The key focus for Police over the election period is to maintain law and order and to ensure the right to freedom of expression is protected.”

Te Pāti Māori has labelled the incidents “politically motivated” and attempted to pin blame on “race baiting” from the National and Act parties.

“The police have performed poorly by their failure to take these matters seriously and by refusing to investigate all incidents thoroughly,” said the party’s president John Tamihere last night. “They could have taken criminal proceedings further by laying charges for unlawful entry knowing that Hana and her home has been a target. Instead, they chose not to.”

The daily wrap

In just a few hours time we’ll have the next face-off between the minor party leaders in the TVNZ multi-party debate. Expect to hear more on that from us in the morning.

But for now, here are the day’s top reads.

New 407 square kilometres of marine reserve announced in Otago


Otago is no longer the only region in New Zealand without a marine reserve, after an announcement today heralded a network of six marine reserves along the coast from Waimate to Milton. The reserves are set to come into force mid-next year.

Willow-Jean Prime, minister for conservation, and Rachel Brooking, minister for oceans and fisheries, made the announcement in Dunedin today, joined by Kāi Tahu representatives. Brooking said there was broad support for further protection – 90% of the 4,000 public submissions.

“This spectacular coastline from Oamaru to Southland includes estuarine and tidal lagoons, rocky reefs, offshore canyons, giant kelp forests and deepwater bryozoan or lace coral thickets, and an array of marine life that were under pressure from human activity,” Prime said. She acknowledged the community advocacy which had led to the reserves being created.

Marine reserves have been controversial at times as they limit the taking of kaimoana, which is a vital part of many Māori communities. Prime acknowledged this. “Provisions have been made for Kāi Tahu to continue to access the marine reserve areas for practices that enhance their mātauraka Māori (traditional knowledge) and retrieve koiwi tākata (ancestral remains), artefacts and marine mammal remains.”

Kāi Tahu, who already participate in marine protection around the coast, will help to manage the reserves.

The Green Party welcomed the announcement. “This is a wonderful step forward,” said spokesperson Eugenie Sage, but emphasised that the reserves in Otago still fall short of the 30% of ocean area protected that the government has previously signed up for.

A Forest and Bird representative said that the announced marine reserves still fell short of New Zealand’s international obligations. ““The six marine reserves will protect only 4.05% of the entire Southeast Marine Protection Forum area,” said regional manager Chelsea McGaw. “Essentially the reserves don’t adequately represent the full range of unique habitats found in southeastern Aotearoa New Zealand – for example, they do not protect the full extent of hoiho yellow-eyed penguin habitat or their foraging area, one of the world’s rarest penguins.”

New Zealand committed to protect 30% of its land and ocean by 2030 at the COP15 biodiversity summit last year. A proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, which would protect 620,000 square kilometres of ocean around the remote Kermadec Islands and was initially announced by John Key in 2015, was rejected by iwi leaders in June who said the proposal did not centre indigenous fishing rights.

a map showing the otago coast with 6 new marine reserve areas
(Image – Supplied)

Luxon forced to defend tax plan: ‘People are really hurting out there’

Christopher Luxon at the National Party campaign launch. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

National’s leader has defended his tax policy and the messaging around it after it emerged that only 3,000 households would receive $250 a fortnight. 

Speaking to reporters, Christopher Luxon said his party had always maintained that people would save “up to” $250 in tax relief and he remained committed to offering it after October 14. “We’re incredibly proud of our policy,” he said.

“We’ve presented a range of scenarios because everyone’s circumstances are incredibly different,” Luxon said. “People are really hurting out there, they want tax relief, and we’re going to deliver it to them.”

As for why his party had labelled Labour’s attacks on the party’s tax plan “gutter politics”, Luxon said that was a reaction to a “link between the Council of Trade Unions and the Labour Party”.

Meanwhile, on potential coalition arrangements, Luxon was asked whether New Zealanders think Winston Peters would be a stable partner in government. Luxon said “no”.

“Only in the last resort… would I pick up the telephone and have a conversation with Mr Peters and New Zealand First.”

Advance voting tops 200k

dogs at polling booths

As of last night, 204,415 people had cast advance votes ahead of the October 14 election. The latest numbers from the Electoral Commission show 74,973 advance votes recorded yesterday, meaning the numbers are tracking ahead of 2017 but a good bit below the 2020 trajectory.

The Electoral Commission has faced criticisms from party leaders over a delay in the dispatch of some EasyVote packs. A reminder: you don’t need that pack to vote.

National promises minister for space in new aerospace policy

Christopher Luxon speaks at the National Party election campaign launch (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

National would create a new “minister for space” as part of its plan to supercharge (astro-charge?) the aerospace sector.

The country’s space agency is currently within the broader Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment.

Speaking from Rocket Lab in Auckland, Christopher Luxon said the industry already employed 12,000 people and contributed $1.7 billion to the economy.

“National is ambitious for New Zealand’s space and advanced aviation industries, which are already delivering benefits through employment, research, international connections and prestige,” he said.

“However, New Zealand faces the real risk of losing its hard-won competitive advantages in aerospace due to excessive bureaucracy and increasing competition from other countries, including Australia.”

The party would also fast track visas for highly-skilled migrants intending to work in the aerospace industry and establish two dedicated testing zones for space and aerospace.

There would also be a new annual prize for the top school student in aerospace-related subjects to “help boost interest in science, technology, engineering and maths education”.

National’s probable coalition partner Act has pledged to cut government spending. Labour leader Chris Hipkins, asked about National’s plan for a new space minister, said he found it hard to imagine how Act would allow for the role to be established.

Nicola Willis confirms only 3,000 households will get full $250 a fortnight tax cut

Grant Robertson and Nicola Willis on Q+A (image: screengrab)

When National launched its tax cut policy in August, the headline for how much an “average” household with children would receive was “up to $250 a fortnight”.

Speaking to RNZ’s Midday report, National’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis confirmed that only 3,000 households will get the full $250 a fortnight tax cut. Willis was pressed on the issue by RNZ’s Charlotte Cook after claims by Labour’s finance spokesperson, Grant Robertson, that the policy was a scam.

Robertson made the scam call after calculations by the Council of Trade Unions suggested just 3,000 households would receive that amount of money.

Willis described Labour’s claims as “a complete beat up”, saying National has been very clear that if New Zealanders want to know what tax relief they are due under the party’s tax plan, it will depend on their individual income and circumstances.

Willis said it was wrong to say that it’s a scam and wrong to say that it’s a lie but when asked by Cook whether the 3,000 household figure put forward by the CTU was correct, she said, “Yes, that’s right” before going on to say that’s why the party had been consistent in its communication in saying that families are eligible for “up to $250”. Willis rejected the suggestion that the party was “pulling the wool” over people’s eyes.

Willis encouraged people to use the party’s tax calculator to find out how much they would receive under National’s policy and said over 250,000 people had visited the calculator.

Police ‘making enquiries’ into reported trespass at Te Pāti Māori candidate’s home


Police in Waikato are “making enquiries” into reports received in relation to a property in Huntly, understood to be the home of Te Pāti Māori candidate Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke.

Overnight, the party claimed that a man had been issued with a trespass notice after unlawfully entering Maipi-Clarke’s home. It followed reports over the weekend of another home invasion.

In a brief statement to The Spinoff, Police said its “key focus” over the election period was “to maintain law and order and ensure the right to freedom of expression is protected”.

Police did not confirm whether or not a trespass notice had already been issued to the alleged intruder, as claimed by Te Pāti Māori.

A further update is expected this afternoon.

Labour promises new anti-scamming unit

Image: Tina Tiller

A Labour government would establish an anti-scamming unit to target fraud, consumer affairs spokesperson Duncan Webb announced today. The unit, made up of 15-20 would operate within the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) regulator, and work with banks, MBIE, the Reserve Bank and Police. Consumer advocates, social media companies and telecommunications firms would also be included in the unit’s work.

Webb highlighted that action on scams needs to go beyond simply educating the public about the existence of scams, a topic The Spinoff has covered in the past. “Prevention through education is only one way we can support those effected. Part of the Unit’s work will be to clarify the steps banks should take to detect and shut down scams, and where liability for compensation should fall,” Webb said.

CERT NZ, the cybersecurity department of MBIE, the FMA and banks have been acting to prevent scams targeting the public, and Webb said that in government, Labour had worked with these organisations to shut down websites and prevent as many people falling victim to scams.

“There is still more to do – scammers are persistent and continue to get more sophisticated and find more victims and we want it stopped,” Webb said.

Image: Tina Tiller

Labour calls National tax plan a ‘scam’ after claims of ‘gutter politics’

Grant Robertson announces cost of living package extension on July 17 (Photo: Getty Images)

The war of words over tax has heated up yet again with Labour labelling National’s tax plan a “scam”.

In a statement, Grant Robertson said “99% of Kiwi households” wouldn’t receive $250 a fortnight under National’s plan, “despite National’s publicity materials claiming that is what ‘an average-income family with children’ would receive”.

“That’s a lie,” Robertson said. “National have been scamming New Zealanders about their number one policy in this election and they’re now exposed.”

The so-called scam comes after calculations by the Council of Trade Unions suggested just 3,000 households would receive that amount of money.

Last night, Chris Bishop, National’s campaign chair and attack dog, said Labour was playing “gutter politics” by using “the CTU to launder their dirty attacks”.

“It seems there is no limit to how low Labour will go with their campaign of misinformation and gutter politics. But why anyone is taking them or the CTU seriously at this point is beyond me,” said Bishop.

Robertson, fronting media this morning, accused Bishop of “playing the man and not the ball” and said the CTU was entitled to employ or contract whoever it wanted. He challenged National to say whether the calculations released by the CTU were correct or not.

Steph Lewis on the mood in Whanganui – and whether it’s ‘time to update polling methods’

Labour’s Steph Lewis (Photo: FB)

Labour’s Whanganui MP says the mood on the ground in her electorate is very different from the state of the nationwide polls.

Steph Lewis entered parliament in 2020 with a 3,000 vote majority – a majority that she’s fighting to maintain on October 14.

But it won’t be easy, with the electorate held by National for 15 years prior. Whanganui has been identified as an electorate that could flip back to blue on election night. If Lewis doesn’t win reelection, she won’t make it back on the party’s list. At number 50, just a handful of places improved on her 2020 placing, Lewis made it into parliament off the back of the “red wave”.

“Maybe it’s time to update polling methods, but that’s a conversation for somebody else,” Lewis told The Spinoff over the phone. “My message to voters is there is a lot at stake this election… I think it’s going to be very close, 2020 was definitely an outlier but I have worked really hard in the last three years.”

Lewis said she was never one to chase a list ranking and was simply committed to being a local MP.

During door knocking sessions and while out in the community, Lewis said she had encountered quite a few undecided voters. There hasn’t been “large numbers” backing the opposition, she claimed. “People appreciate what Labour has done and appreciate that actually we haven’t had a normal three years or even a normal six years.”

Lewis said she’s been accessible as an MP and was confident she had demonstrated to the public that she would work hard and advocate for them down in Wellington.

While 2020 saw National’s Harete Hipango ousted in Whanganui, this time around Lewis is facing first time candidate Carl Bates. The businessman told the Herald he had the skills necessary to represent the electorate.

“My wife Candice and I basically completely rejigged our lives so I would put everything into standing as the Whanganui electorate candidate for National,” he said.

Labour’s Steph Lewis (Photo: FB)

In just nine days, dogs at polling booths is back!

Both Stevie (left) and Tilly (right) believe that voting is Very Important Business, and thus formal attire is appropriate. We entirely agree. Good work, dogs.

This election day, The Spinoff will once again be bringing you nothing but live pupdates until 7pm. In 2020, we showcased big dogs, small dogs, long dogs, short dogs, hairy dogs, happy dogs, nervy dogs, silly dogs, stylish dogs, sleeping dogs, pissing dogs and not-really-dog dogs exercising their democratic right – and we’d be barking mad not to do it all over again.

That’s right, dogs at polling booths is back for another year, so on October 14, we’re asking you to send in your photos of dogs at voting places around the motu (no humans please) to

While we’re focusing on on-the-day dogs, we will consider any particularly fetching advance-voting dogs, especially if they’re voting from abroad.

So please remember to get in touch!

Both Stevie (left) and Tilly (right) believe that voting is Very Important Business, and thus formal attire is appropriate. We entirely agree. Good work, dogs. (2020 election pic)

Brooke van Velden says Bennett pic was ‘just two friends catching up’

Brooke van Velden and Paula Bennett (Photo: Instagram)

Act’s Brooke van Velden won’t say whether her coffee catch-up with the former deputy prime minister Paula Bennett counts as a political endorsement, despite grumblings from National.

On Instagram yesterday, van Velden, who is campaigning to be the next MP for Tāmaki, shared a photo of herself out with Bennett, who was in the National Party for 15 years until 2020.

Speaking to The Spinoff, van Velden said Bennett was a “good friend” whom she first met while working behind the scenes on the End of Life Choice Bill six years ago. “She’s a woman who supports women,” said van Velden.

Asked whether the catch-up (and the Instagram post) represented an endorsement from the once senior MP, van Velden demurred. “You can try and make whatever you like from it but it was just two friends catching up for a cup of coffee,” she said.

“Paula can speak for herself. She wanted to catch up and I thought it would be a great time to catch up with an old friend.”

The pair discussed van Velden’s ongoing bid for Tāmaki along with the importance of keeping energy levels up during a campaign. “It was actually quite nice to be able to talk about campaigning with a seasoned, experienced electorate campaigner,” said van Velden.

Bennett does not live within the Tāmaki electorate so can’t actually vote for van Velden.

The photo prompted National’s current deputy leader Nicola Willis to express dissatisfaction during an interview on Newstalk ZB. “It certainly wasn’t helpful,” she told Heather du Plessis-Allan last night. Latest poll results show van Velden locked in a statistical tie with National’s Simon O’Connor, who has represented the Tāmaki seat for more than a decade.

“I don’t answer for Paula Bennett,” Willis said. “I thought it wasn’t helpful because I think that Simon O’Connor is a hard-working local MP.”

The day ahead

Tonight will see the minor parties face-off once again in the TVNZ multi-party debate. Given the state of the polls, this should be a must watch. We’ll be there and have coverage for you in the morning.

In the meantime, here’s a look at where the main parties are today…

  • Labour’s Carmel Sepuloni is spending the day in Auckland. This morning she’s in Takapuna, before later heading to a Pacific social services provider alongside minister Duncan Webb. The pair will make an announcement and front the media. Also today: Chris Hipkins will log back onto Zoom for a “kids town hall” event this morning. Later, he’ll speak to reporters via the internet.
  • National Party leader Christopher Luxon is also in Auckland today. This morning he’s in Glenfield for a walkabout and will later front media and make an announcement from Rocket Lab.
  • All the minor party leaders will be in Auckland tonight for the TVNZ debate.

The Bulletin: Reports Wellington council planning to buy land under Reading Cinema

As The Post’s Erin Gourley reports, the purchase of land under the Reading Cinema building was the subject of a closed council meeting in Wellington yesterday afternoon. The council voted 10 to five to exclude the public from the meeting. It’s understood the council plans to purchase the land to fund the required seismic strengthening work and encourage the complex to reopen, with councillors voting to proceed with due diligence on the purchase. Information about the meeting was leaked, prompting mayor Tory Whanau to say it was “getting really boring” that some councillors were talking to the media about confidential meetings.

The Post’s Andrea Vance has an interview with Christopher Luxon about the relationship between local and central government. Luxon is promising to shake up the relationship between local and central government. He cites a model used in England and Australia where control of decisions is shifted away from central government after agreeing priorities and a “growth benchmark”. Overseas, the model returns a share of the windfall tax from the additional economic growth to local communities. But says he’s not Luxon in favour of giving regions a slice of their GDP.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 38,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture. 

Latest poll sees John Key pulled out of retirement

(Dan Cook – Radio NZ)

Last night’s TVNZ Verian poll showed almost every party had stagnated over the past week, with most landing on the same numbers.

While that’s bad news for Labour – it still couldn’t form a government with the Greens and Te Pāti Māori – it’s also bad news for National. It’s choice for a support partner, Act, was the only major party to drop in the poll, down two points. And that means Christopher Luxon would be forced to call Winston Peters and strike up a deal with New Zealand First.

It’s prompted the National Party to drag its old mate John Key out of political retirement, sharing splashy videos of the ex-prime minister on social media.

“The economic situation isn’t dissimilar to 2008 when my government came in,” said Key in the video. “We could only take decisive action because there was a clear result on election night and a strong mandate to get things done.”

Without mentioning New Zealand First specifically, Key said: “To make sure National has the numbers it needs to govern well for you, without lots of moving parts, make sure you party vote National.”

Key told The Post that he felt compelled to help out the party as voters may not understand how close this election will be. “One of my concerns at the moment is there’s a very strong sense that change will take place. But I don’t think people realize under an MMP environment, just how close things are,” he said.

Meanwhile, Newshub’s Amelia Wade described National as “increasingly desperate” and panicky in a report last night. According to the reporter, National has become “spooked” by poll results consistently showing the need for New Zealand First, citing a “conspiratorial” press release the opposition sent out yesterday.

‘Politically motivated’: Man trespassed from home of Te Pāti Māori candidate – report

Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke. Photo: Supplied

A man has been issued with a trespass notice by police after unlawfully entering the home of Te Pāti Māori candidate Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke, the party has claimed.

John Tamihere, the party’s president, called the incident “politically motivated” and alleged the perpetrator was a “well known advocate and campaigner for the National Party”.

Last week, it was reported that Maipi-Clarke was subject to a “home invasion” which the party also claimed was linked to race baiting and fear mongering by “right wing politicians”.

Tamihere’s statement added: “There should be no doubt now in anyone’s mind that National and Act’s race baiting has empowered and emboldened a dangerous type of human being who is hell bent on silencing Māori by targeting who they think is our most vulnerable”.

On RNZ this morning, Tamihere said that the alleged perpetrator fled the scene and returned to a house with “National Party hoardings on it”.

Asked about the reported targeting of National Party supporters, such as by gang members, Tamihere questioned whether there was “evidence” of this. “We’re not defacing other peoples’ property, our party members are running a very energetic campaign but we’re not breaking and entering into peoples’ houses solely because of their political beliefs.”

National said it was unaware of the “very serious allegations” and rejected the claims made by Te Pāti Māori that it held any responsibility.

“Police have not been in touch with us and Te Pāti Māori’s comments are the first time we were made aware of these allegations. National utterly rejects racism and any suggestion that we have engaged in race-baiting,” a spokesperson said.

Police have been approached for comment.

Read more: Election campaigning has never been this dangerous

Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke. Photo: Supplied