Wikipedia has an incredibly comprehensive list, that seems to list all of the gates from around the world, including in entertainment (remember Bingate, Great British Bake Off fans?).
Anyway, according to the list there are three local “gates”. Along with Corngate, there is Ponytailgate – need I remind you – and… Grannygate??
It’s a term referring to several rugby-based scandals, including a 2006 event involving the eligibility of several league players. Essentially, it references scandals where players have been disallowed from playing for a particular team based on their residency – which is often linked back to the birthplace of their parent or grandparent.
A study released earlier this week reveals just how harmful air pollution is for New Zealanders.
As RNZ reported, the research concluded about 3,300 people were dying every year because of air pollution – and much of that was because of cars. Thousands more were needing hospital treatment because of respiratory and cardiac illnesses, and many children were ending up with asthma as a result.
Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee chair, Richard Hills, said the results were especially bad in our biggest city. “Auckland has the fifth highest transport emissions per capita in the world, and our cars and light
commercial vehicles are the main source – 70%,” he said.
“Collectively, Aucklanders drive more than 10 billion kms each year, and likely unknown to many, over half of these journeys are under 6km long.”
Hills said Auckland Council remained committed to providing “more equitable and efficient” public transport around the city. “It is my hope that one day soon, our kids can ride or walk their bikes to school without fearing for their safety, as I was lucky enough to do when I was growing up,” he said.
This was the first time vehicle pollution data was included in the Health and Air Pollution NZ study, which has been conducted three times since 2012.
It’s a Friday afternoon so hopefully you can indulge me a second live update on the (mystery) Whittaker’s oat milk chocolate. I think the mystery has been solved.
What we know so far
June 20: The mystery begins
On June 20, a Twitter user noticed an ad for a Whittaker’s oat milk chocolate block on Google. No product existed and no product has since been confirmed.
Also on this day: A photo shared to Facebook in a vegan food group allegedly showed that the oat milk chocolate had already been released in at least one store.
July 7: A new contender hits the market
It’s June 7 and Whittaker’s has still not announced an oat milk block. However, Wellington Chocolate Factory has announced a limited edition run of an oat milk choccie. As The Spinoff’s Alice Neville said in our Slack chat: “take that Whittaker’s!”
July 8: The plot thickens
A Farro Fresh listing for the Whittaker’s oat milk chocolate appeared online and was removed when The Spinoff reached out with questions. “This should not have been on the website yet and has since been removed,” said a customer care spokesperson.
The new developments
Since we reported on the intriguing Farro Fresh link earlier today, The Spinoff has been sent further mysterious clues that suggest the impending arrival of a Whittaker’s oat milk chocolate.
Let’s take a look at the new clues.
Firstly, an eagle-eyed Spinoff reader pointed out that the Whittaker’s website now includes an oat field.
Then there’s this display, from outside Otago University, sent in by another Spinoff reader. If you look closely you’ll notice that the word “totally” is spelt incorrectly. Coincidence? Maybe.
And, finally, we look at Karl Urban’s Instagram. The New Zealand actor is currently starring in an ad campaign for one Whittaker’s chocolate. Look at the caption on this recent snap.
We do have to take this particular clue with a grain of salt, however. Karl Urban has a history of bad spelling on Instagram. A series of recent posts on Instagram show Urban misspelling the name of an episode of a TV show in which he is the main character. (It’s Herogasm).
Nevertheless, the evidence is compelling.
The Spinoff has asked Whittaker’s for comment and awaits either a response or some free oat milk chocolate for cracking the case.
In the meantime, can we get a release date please?
New Zealanders living in Australia will soon have a more streamlined pathway to citizenship, prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
Ardern is wrapping up her week-long visit to Australia today. Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Ardern said Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese had committed to providing options for a citizenship pathway by Anzac Day next year.
“It was great to meet with prime minister Albanese again further cementing the close renewed relationship between Australia and New Zealand,” Ardern said.
“It is important that we are able to continue to communicate freely and coordinate across the full spectrum of domestic and international issues.”
Ardern signalled that this commitment was a “step-change” to the way New Zealanders had been treated under the prior Scott Morrison administration.
Similarly, on the subject of 501 deportations, Ardern said she was pleased to know that Australia would be treating the issue with “common sense” and as a “friend”. Albanese reiterated his commitment to look at the issue and indicated that deportations would be less likely to happen when the person being deported had no connection to New Zealand.
The two leaders also pledged to have closer contact between senior ministers going forward. Annual meetings will now be held between New Zealand and Australia’s ministers for finance, foreign affairs and climate change. Climate change remained, reiterated Ardern, the number one issue impacting the Pacific region.
“New Zealand is a proud pacific nation, and with the Pacific Islands Forum next week, we discussed in detail our shared view that the perspectives and priorities of Pacific island countries need to guide all regional engagement,” said Ardern.
“New Zealand has also reiterated our commitment to support Covid-19 recovery, regional prosperity and security, including through joint support for high-quality, climate-resilient infrastructure, and will be discussing with other pacific countries how we can continue to support the region.”
Quotable Value’s house price index shows average values fell 3.4% in the three months ended June to $1.01 million, compared with the 2.2 percent fall in the May quarter. But annually, the average property value was up 7.2% from a year ago, down from the 10.5% growth last month. For decades we’ve been warned of major slumps that never happened, but the Reserve Bank’s new chief economist Paul Conway says this time, it’s different.
With a history of central bank governors and finance ministers making similar predictions that never came to pass, Bernard Hickey challenges Conway’s view that the housing market’s ever-upward tide may be turning in this week’s episode of When the Facts Change.
It brings the seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today to 8,313.
There are now 587 people in hospital with Covid-19, about 30 more than yesterday. Waitematā continues to record the highest number of hospitalisations with 128, followed by Waikato with 57.
Nine people are now in intensive care.
Another 23 people with Covid-19 have died, with 18 of those since the start of July. Four others occurred in May and June, while there is one death from January last year now being reported following a cause of death assessment.
“Today’s new cases of Covid-19 show a further rise in case numbers,” said the ministry. “We are continuing to keep our response to the current community outbreak of Covid-19 under review and will adapt it as the outbreak and pandemic evolve, and as part of our resurgence planning.”
The government has so far signalled that it will not be tightening Covid-19 restrictions, with minister Ayesha Verrall saying in recent days that the orange setting provided sufficient protection.
Today is the last Friday of the school term, meaning many families will be travelling around the country over the next fortnight. The ministry said it is normal for children to have “8-10 viral illnesses each year” and has provided some suggestions for keeping tamariki healthy over the break.
Jacinda Ardern has acknowledged the resignation of Boris Johnson as UK prime minister, but refused to comment on the news itself.
In a statement, Ardern said she was aware of the planned transition from Johnson to a new prime minister. “While obviously I won’t comment on the domestic political affairs of another country, Kiwis should be reassured that New Zealand has an exceptionally strong relationship with the United Kingdom,” she said.
“Over the course of our time in office, we’ve worked incredibly well with both Theresa May, and then Boris Johnson, securing an incredibly important free trade agreement with the UK. I fully expect this cooperation to continue.”
Ardern met with Johnson just last week during her visit to Europe, where the pair solidified details of a UK free trade agreement. Almost 10 years ago, in a tweet that goes viral at least once a year, Ardern referred to Johnson as the “gaffe man”.
A listing, with no image, for the mystery chocolate has appeared on the Farro Fresh website. It even says you can add it to your trolley.
The chocolate was first leaked via a New World ad spotted by a Twitter user last month. The advert was quickly pulled from Google, though the mystery of the oat milk choccie lived on. Since then, Whittaker’s has not confirmed nor denied the existence of the chocolate. There is no mention of it anywhere on its website.
As Stuff reported, Whittaker’s has been beaten to the oat milk market by Wellington Chocolate Factory. They’ve launched a very limited edition run of oat milk chocolate bars this week.
The Spinoff has reached out to Farro and Whittaker’s for further comment.
Update: About 30 minutes after this was published, Farro Fresh told me they had removed the oat milk chocolate from their website. “This should not have been on the website yet,” a customer service spokesperson said.
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Jacinda Ardern generally receives a rapturous reception whenever she is on an overseas trip. Generally speaking, her current Australian tour has been no different. However, when appearing on ABC’s 730 programme yesterday, Ardern was confronted about her perceived celebrity status – and how that compared to her popularity at home.
“How does it feel to be more popular abroad than at home?” host Sarah Ferguson asked.
“I don’t think I would describe myself in that way,” replied Ardern. “For me, I will always first and foremost be the prime minister of New Zealand… My total focus is at home. That’s what matters to me.”
On latest polling, next year’s general election is set to be an especially tight competition. While Labour won in a landslide in 2020, buoyed by Covid-19, latest polling shows a possible National-Act coalition could feasibly win next year.
Ardern maintained that popularity abroad was simply a reflection of her role as New Zealand’s ambassador. “If by virtue of just doing that job to the very best of my ability, there is some interest in what New Zealand does and how we do it – then I will always reflect that back to the fact that all I do is magnify the Kiwi spirit,” she said.
You can watch an extract of the interview on the Herald or read more about Ardern’s appearance on the ABC.
For a succinct round-up of Ardern’s Australian trip, check out today’s edition of The Bulletin.
Throughout the very difficult times over the last two years, I always found Keith Lynch’s Covid explainers over on Stuff very comforting and useful. He’s got a new one on why the government is doing (almost) nothing about Covid. It appropriately veers away from explaining the hard science of Covid or the blacks and whites of the rules and regulations we’ve been observing, and charts the trickier water we navigate now.
Lynch suggests the traffic light system “was born in an era of tight suppression, mandates and Auckland boundaries” and that it’s arguably counterproductive now. “Why not instead introduce a much better-defined masking policy without the concept of a ‘Red’ setting hanging over the population?” he asks.
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.
Boris Johnson has confirmed he will step down as British prime minister. But, much to the dissatisfaction of many, including from within his own party, it could take three months for him to leave Downing Street.
A lot happened overnight in British politics, so let’s try and break it down.
At about 8.30pm NZT, speculation reached the British media that Johnson was preparing his resignation speech after being unable to fill vacant cabinet spots caused by the vast number of resignations (well over 40).
Over the next four hours, sources within Downing Street fed the media details of what was taking place. The narrative changed from “Johnson is resigning” to “Johnson could become a caretaker prime minister”. It was speculated on Newshub last night that Johnson wanted to become a caretaker leader as a last ditch effort to hold onto power. October is the month being thrown around, when Conservative MPs meet for a party conference.
Then, sometime after midnight, Johnson finally fronted. In his speech, which notably excluded any apology, the prime minister did not explicitly confirm when he will leave office. “I’ve agreed with Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of our backbench MPs, that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now. The timetable will be announced next week and I’ve today appointed a cabinet to serve, as I will, until a new leader is in place,” he said.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said if Johnson does not leave office immediately, he would call a vote of no confidence. This is unlikely to succeed as it would require a majority of Conservative MPs to vote against their own government.
And remember how many British MPs quit in recent days? This was sent to me on Twitter and it’s… great.
In case you missed it, #Newsnight replaced its end credits tonight with a list of all the ministerial resignations so far set to an acoustic version of Bittersweet Symphony pic.twitter.com/VPztjMc6OE