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Cold snap slaps the country

It’s (a very chilly) Thursday, October 6 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can get in touch with me on

Top stories

  • Cold weather, snow and rain have slammed much of the country overnight.
  • Finance minister Grant Robertson isn’t ruling out future tax cuts for low, middle income earners.
  • A petition’s been launched calling for TVNZ to pull its upcoming reality show FBOY Island NZ from the schedule.

Cold snap slaps the country

It’s (a very chilly) Thursday, October 6 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can get in touch with me on

Top stories

  • Cold weather, snow and rain have slammed much of the country overnight.
  • Finance minister Grant Robertson isn’t ruling out future tax cuts for low, middle income earners.
  • A petition’s been launched calling for TVNZ to pull its upcoming reality show FBOY Island NZ from the schedule.
Oct 6 2022

National best equipped to tackle priority issues – new survey

Luxon and Willis

The National Party is best equipped to address four out of the five most pressing issues impacting New Zealanders, according to a new survey.

The Ipsos New Zealand Issues poll has found that 58% of people are worried about the cost of living and inflation, the highest level of concern since measurement began in early 2018. Other issues in the top five include housing, crime and the law, along with healthcare which as seen as the only issue that Labour is best placed to address.

It’s a significant change from after the 2020 election, when Labour was seen as the party capable of solving almost all issues in the top 20 – including those traditionally aligned with National, such as the economy.

Meanwhile, the Greens are seen as best suited to dealing with environmental issues such as climate change and pollution and Te Pāti Māori is, unsurprisingly, viewed as best able to address issues facing Māori.

Concerns about crime and the law have risen to their highest since recording began in 2018 as well, now sitting at 31%.

“New Zealanders are feeling the pinch every day, so it’s not surprising that inflation and the cost of living remains the top
issue facing our country,” said Amanda Dudding from Ipsos New Zealand. “It’s the top issue for Australians at the moment too. It doesn’t seem New Zealanders expect it to be solved quickly either, as it is the top issue we expect to be facing over the next five years as well.”

‘Dirty politics’ decried in Nelson as newspaper apologises over attack ad

The top and bottom of the ad.

A couple of days before polls close, a controversy has erupted in Nelson over a full-page attack ad in the independent newspaper The Nelson Weekly. Published in the last edition before the election is complete, the advertisement, placed by the Nelson Citizens Alliance group, targets two mayoral candidates and three people standing for council, stating a number of mistruths about their positions and records. The paper has apologised, removed the ad from its online edition and provided the individuals attacked with an opportunity to respond on its site.

The advertisement “contains disinformation about candidates seeking election to the Nelson City Council”, said the Weekly in an editorial note. “The advert passed through our normal checks and balances to be published, an error which the publisher regrets. The advert contains some statements that are untrue and others that are misleading.”

The top and bottom of the ad.

“It’s a real shame that this group has decided to go down this dishonest and actually quite sinister route,” wrote one of those named, mayoral hopeful Matt Lawrey, on the Weekly site. “It’s definitely the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen in a local government campaign and I think everyone who is on the Alliance ticket needs to be held responsible for it … Not only do these personal attacks put people off voting, they actually put people off standing in future elections. The claims about me are rubbish and not worth responding to.”

Another mayoral candidate, Rohan O’Neill-Stevens, wrote: “This kind of dirty politics puts people off engaging in local democracy at a time when we need to be doing all we can to lift voter turnout and increase involvement … While the claims were an attack against me, they also undermine the significant time, energy and investment the council and hundreds of staff and contractors have put into our infrastructure to provide a foundation for our city’s success.”

The mayoral candidate standing on a Citizens Alliance ticket, sitting councillor Tim Skinner, apologised for the advertisement. “I was very disappointed by the advert,” he said. “Not something I nor the other candidates I am standing along side were aware that NCA organisation who are endorsing us were supportive of. We have communicated an immediate please explain.”

The paper’s publisher said a review would be undertaken on processes for vetting election ads.

Read the Spinoff’s coverage of the Nelson election here.

First visit by Indian foreign minister to NZ in 20 years

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 22: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta talks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 22, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne is on a two-day visit to New Zealand for formal foreign policy discussions with New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta.  It is the first face-to-face Foreign Ministers’ consulations since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

India’s foreign minister has today been in Auckland for talks with his local counterpart Nanaia Mahuta.

It’s the first visit by an Indian Foreign Minister since 2001.

Mahuta, who welcomed Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, said the reopening of the border provided a good opportunity to re-engage with India.

“We discussed opportunities for expanding the relationship and cooperating on new areas, such as climate change and sustainable agriculture. We aspire to develop opportunities in the economic, cultural, technology and services sectors, and to strengthen people to people links,” said Mahuta.

“For example, we are changing immigration settings to attract high-skilled migrants with a clear pathway to residency for globally hard-to-fill roles. We anticipate there could be opportunities for high-skilled migrants from India through the green list, such as dairy farm managers and ICT roles.”

Today’s meeting was an “important opportunity to continue the momentum in the relationship”, added Mahuta.

Image of the day: Snow on the beach

(Photo: Supplied)
(Photo: Supplied)

As delighted as we’ve been today to see our feeds fill up with images of snow in the south, it’s slightly concerning when you look at the date. Today’s image comes from Shar Mathias, who took it at St Kilda beach this morning. Snow on the beach in spring? Weird times.

We’re hiring! Come join The Spinoff’s commercial team


Keen to work at The Spinoff? We’re on the hunt for a new partnerships manager to join our commercial team! You’ll be an integral part of the team, driving commercial sales and managing multiple client accounts.

For more details and to apply, see our job post here.

Megaland’s first day open was mega-awesome

Megaland (detail) (Photo: Supplied)

Do not wear jeans. If you’re heading out to Mt Smart Stadium this weekend to trial Megaland, the gigantic bouncy castle billed as “one of the largest adult inflatable obstacle courses in the world,” definitely do not wear heavy pants. Shorts are better. Gym gear is great. If it’s raining, togs are perfect.

Megaland is a 300-metre long blow-up obstacle course, designed by Aucklander Corey Ealand during lockdown, that includes 43 separate obstacles and will put you through your paces. You will climb up things and slide down other things and crawl through tunnels and get stitch and probably get smashed in the face by inflatable balls, trees, rugby players and diamond rings.

“I need a drink,” said my daughter (yes, kids are also allowed on this adult obstacle course) after her first run through with her brother by her side during Megaland’s first day open yesterday, which attracted 700-odd punters out to Lilyworld to give it a go. She fanned her face and looked like she might be about to faint after beating her big bro to the final slide by at least a minute.

Megaland’s 300m obstacle course includes a spiky tunnel. Photo: Chris Schulz

She didn’t tell me this at the time, but as soon as you jump onto Megaland, the colours, the buoyancy, the ridiculous obstacles and the hilarious insanity of it all – plus the fact that you’re still in your socks – releases your inner child. It makes you want to complete the course as fast as humanly possible. Most are able to do so in about 10 minutes.

Ealand was inspired to create Megaland after attending a kids’ birthday party with his son. “I wanted to be on there with him,’” Ealand told me, forlornly, about missing out on all the fun. “Adults [don’t get to] go on the bouncy castles.” So he built one for himself, then turned it into a business coming soon to a summer hotspot near you.

Megaland (detail) (Photo: Supplied)

I was desperate to trial, especially after my kids emerged, panting and beaming, at the end. Unfortunately, as soon as I stepped my first foot on the course, it started raining heavily. Fun bouncy stuff to jump on suddenly became slippery things to avoid. Climbing walls became impassable mountains. Slides turned into water features with a pool at the bottom.

My jeans soaked all of this up. By the time I got to the end, I was beyond saturated, weighing twice as much as when I started thanks to all the water content. But I was, like my kids, and my daughter, and everyone else who trialed Megaland yesterday, grinning from ear to ear. “It’s been an awesome day,” Ealand told me. He was grinning as much as I was.

Megaland can be found at Mt Smart Stadium for the next week

Petition calls for TVNZ to pull FBOY Island

FBOY Island launches later this year (Image / TVNZ)

A petition’s been launched calling for TVNZ to pull its upcoming reality show FBOY Island NZ from the schedule.

The show, which features both self-proclaimed “nice guys” and “f boys” vying for the attention of three women, has been marred by controversy after revelations one of its male stars had faced criminal proceedings. Wayde Moore, who has since been axed from the show, was charged with suffocating a young woman. He was ultimately found not guilty.

The new Action Station petition from Project Gender has claimed that FBOY Island NZ “normalises and champions predatory and dangerous sexual behaviour that harms people, particularly young people” and should not be aired.

“We believe that New Zealand can be a country where all women are safe, seen and celebrated. As a broadcaster, you have a responsibility not to perpetuate stereotypes that have a high likelihood of harming women. It is 2022 and we deserve and demand better.”

As of publication, almost 850 people have signed the petition, which currently has a goal of 1,000.

FBOY Island launches soon (Image / TVNZ)

Weather update: It’s cold

Port Hills, Christchurch. (Photo: RNZ / Nathan Mckinnon)

The top story on most of our news outlets today was about the weather, with the general consensus that it was either cold, wet, snowy or most likely some combination of the three. Here in Auckland, it’s just cold – although nothing compared to what it’s like in the deep south.

According to MetService, it’s a brisk -2.4° in Waiouru today, the country’s low. In Queenstown, it’s a comparatively warm 1°. Here in Auckland, we’re practically boiling at 11°.

A number of weather warnings remain in place. Heavy snow is a hazard parts of central and southern New Zealand, reports MetService, with people are advised to travel with caution. Areas of concern include the Desert Road and Napier-Taupo Road in the central North Island and the Dunedin to Waitati Highway, Crown Range Road and Milford Road in the South.

An orange snow warning remains in place for the most southern areas of New Zealand. “Heavy snow may disrupt travel in affected areas and could damage trees and powerlines. Cold conditions may cause stress for livestock,” said MetService earlier today.

According to the Herald, it’s the first time in over 50 years that there has been October snow in Christchurch. There were also reports of snow in Wellington, though it’s unlikely to compare to the great snowfall of 2011 (so great it has its own Wikipedia entry).

Robertson not ruling out future tax cuts for low, middle income earners

Grant Robertson (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The finance minister’s defending the state of New Zealand’s economy, saying things are improving after the Covid-19 pandemic. And he’s not ruling out tax cuts for low and middle income earners as a result.

Treasury yesterday reported a budget deficit of $9.7 billion, about half of what was forecast during the May budget. But the opposition said this was simply due to a larger than expected tax haul and the government needed to cut back on spending.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Grant Robertson said the economy was heading for a similar level to what it was at the end of the global financial crisis. “What we also know is that it starts to track down from this year and we get down to about 30% of GDP,” he said. “If you took that Covid emergency response out of our expenditure, we’re tracking at about that 30% of GDP level which is pretty consistent for New Zealand.”

The $9 billion deficit was “significantly better” than expected, said Robertson, but that didn’t mean it was time for senseless spending. “I accept the fact we still have a deficit and that’s the reason why we need to be careful about this, it’s not the time to say ‘things are better than expected, let’s do tax cuts for the wealthiest’,” the minister said, a jab at the opposition’s plans to slash the top tax rate if elected in 2023.

Over on RNZ, Robertson would not rule out middle income tax cuts in the future, however. “We’ve got a pathway to surplus mapped out and we want to make sure we keep making progress on that. We haven’t set our tax policy as the Labour Party for the 2023 election, what we have said is during this period of government we’re not going to be instituting major tax reform beyond what we’ve done,” he said.

“I don’t think you absolutely have to be in surplus to make changes to the tax system, but what’s important with any kind of changes to the tax system is they’ve got to be ones that support low and middle income earners.”

Cutting the top tax rate at a time like this was a “completely crazy” suggestion, said Robertson.

The Bulletin: The impact of the OCR rise

Kiwibank economists have described the impact of yesterday’s OCR rise to 3.5% as “profound”. The 3% rise in most interest rates over the last year means repayment costs have risen from $20,000 to $44,000 a year on a $800,000 home loan. The full Kiwibank commentary is here. As the Herald’s Jenee Tibshraeny’s reports (paywalled), many banks are now stress testing potential borrowers using an 8% interest rate. House prices may be falling but’s David Hargreaves notes that the Reserve Bank indicated that the strong funding position of banks to date means that recent wholesale interest rate increases haven’t yet been reflected in retail interest rates. “Bank funding conditions are expected to become less accommodative”.

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