Division over Adrian Orr reappointment

It’s Tuesday, November 8 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Huge thanks to our members. Reach me on

The agenda

  • Adrian Orr will remain governor of the Reserve Bank for a second term of five years.
  • But the opposition isn’t happy, with National’s Nicola Willis “appalled” by the appointment.
  • Journalist David Farrier will take legal action against broadcaster Sean Plunket amidst a legal spat playing out on Twitter.

Division over Adrian Orr reappointment

It’s Tuesday, November 8 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Huge thanks to our members. Reach me on

The agenda

  • Adrian Orr will remain governor of the Reserve Bank for a second term of five years.
  • But the opposition isn’t happy, with National’s Nicola Willis “appalled” by the appointment.
  • Journalist David Farrier will take legal action against broadcaster Sean Plunket amidst a legal spat playing out on Twitter.
Nov 8 2022

‘A blatant attempt to retraumatise Christchurch victims and the nation as a whole’

Al Noor Mosque shooting survivor Wasseim Alsati after the sentencing at the Christchurch High Court (Photo: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

The decision by the man convicted of terrorist mass murder at two Christchurch mosques in 2019 to appeal his convictions and life sentence has been condemned by the Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ. It was an unsurprising “attempt to gain notoriety and in the process milk our justice platforms for hate speech and in an attempt to gain new adherents to their cause of hate”. It followed a similar pattern to Islamophobic terror attacks around the world, said spokesperson Abdur Razzaq in a statement.

“This is rather a blatant and calculated attempt to retraumatise the Christchurch victims specifically and the nation as a whole. This shows that the March 15 terrorist has no remorse. The timing is also no coincidence, given the Coroner’s inquest and other Royal Commission implementation matters,” he said.

“While we abhor and condemn these sinister abuses of our legal process, we nevertheless affirm the right of everyone to have access to the due process of the law. We request the media and social media platforms to be aware of this strategy and not become a platform
for such hatemongers.”

According to the Guardian, which broke the news earlier today, the court is yet to decide whether to allow the appeal to proceed.


Image of the day: Mister Organ premieres


Today’s image of the day comes from last night’s local premiere for Mister Organ.

The David Farrier-directed documentary will officially open in cinemas on Thursday, but its first New Zealand screening was held last night. I took this photo from way up in the back of the Hollywood Avondale during an interesting, at times emotional, Q&A session between Farrier and moderator John Campbell.

The release of Mister Organ has meant things in the Bashford Antiques saga are getting weird again. There are legal threats, Twitter threads – and something about Sean Plunket? Anyway, I’ve attempted to chronologically outline WTF is going on here. 

John Campbell and David Farrier (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

David Seymour says people can disagree with his views, not his ‘Māoriness’

Act’s David Seymour (Image: Getty Images, additional design Tina Tiller)

The leader of the Act Party has defended his views on co-governance and criticised those who question his whakapapa.

David Seymour, who is of Ngāpuhi descent, has been one of the most vocal opponents in parliament to the government’s proposed co-governance plans.

In an interview with Whakaata Māori’s Moana Maniapoto, Seymour said it was a “real shame” that people believed Te Ao Māori was too narrow for his views.

“Now they may think that you can’t be Māori and have those views, or you are a useless Māori, or not an advocate for Māori, but I would say to them that their disagreement is not with my Māoriness but with my views,” he said.

“If they spent more time on my views and not trying to attack my identity of whether I am good or bad, then they might actually learn something.”

Seymour was labelled a “useless Māori” by cabinet minister Willie Jackson. “I consider myself a very useful Māori and that was very mean of Willie,” said Seymour.

Watch: Chris & Eli look at the impact of pornography on our rangatahi


In the second episode of Chris & Eli’s Porn Revolution, the comedians take a cold, hard look at the realities of porn and young people. They meet with Nikki Denholm from the Light Project to discuss the struggles that young people have with pornography, and are left rattled by some of the findings. But after chatting to Kate Whitaker at Te Mana Whakaatu (Classifications Office), who gives advice on how to navigate those awkward chats with young people and “lower the temperature” on the ongoing conversation on young people and porn, the duo feel more certain than ever that they’re doing the right thing.

Armed with new and useful porn knowledge, they try pitching a new campaign slogan. But what will their impact producer Anna Dean make of it?

Missed episode one? Catch up here

All this week on The Spinoff we’re talking about porn. Click here for more Porn Week stories

Christchurch mosque terrorist appealing convictions


The man responsible for the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings is attempting to appeal his convictions.

According to The Guardian, the terrorist has filed an application to the Court of Appeal.

He’s seeking to appeal both his life sentence, which came with no chance of parole, and his convictions. The terrorist pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder after killing 51 people and leaving dozens injured. He was later also convicted of being a terrorist.

The court will first consider whether the appeal can proceed because it was filed outside the legislated time frame to do so, reported The Guardian.

‘Resilient… responsible’: Robertson opens up the government’s books

Grant Robertson (Photo by Mark Mitchell – Pool/Getty Images)

The finance minister is happy with the state of the government books, saying they’re broadly in line with expectations and show the economy is “resilient”.

For the three months to the end of September, the Operating Balance before Gains and Losses (OBEGAL) recorded a deficit of $2.6 billion, a little higher than forecast during in year’s Budget. Tax revenue was slightly below expectations, while expenses were slightly above forecast.

“The latest figures are broadly in line with forecasts,” Grant Robertson said in a statement. “They show the resilience of the economy despite the global challenges New Zealand finds itself facing. More people are in paid work which helps to ease cost of living pressures, while the government is there with them and supporting them with the recently announced childcare package along with the extended fuel tax cuts and half price public transport fares.”

New Zealand would continue to be impacted by events unfolding overseas, said Robertson.

Meanwhile, core Crown tax revenue was $133 million below forecast at $26.7 billion and core Crown expenses were $243 million above forecast at $31.2 billion.

“We continue to prioritise our spending and target support to where it is needed most while keeping debt in check and making important investments in New Zealanders security and wellbeing. This is the right and responsible approach in these uncertain times,” Robertson said.

National ‘appalled’ by decision to reselect Adrian Orr

Finance minister Nicola Willis said the ferry upgrade was too expensive, as costs had shot up from initial expectations.  Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

National says it’s “appalled” by the government’s decision to reappoint Adrian Orr as governor of the Reserve Bank.

The party’s finance spokesperson Nicola Willis said it showed no accountability for the ongoing impacts of inflation, which is sitting at record levels.

“We have repeatedly urged the government to conduct an independent review of the Reserve Bank’s performance before endorsing the governor for another five years,” said Willis. “Re-appointing him without first completing such an inquiry is a serious mistake.”

She added: “New Zealanders now suffering through a cost of living crisis are owed some answers. Was a more careful monetary policy approach warranted? Has the bank fulfilled its mandate? Did Orr get it wrong?”

Her Labour counterpart Grant Robertson, who as finance minister for Orr’s reinstatement, called the governor “instrumental” in leading change at the bank.

National Party deputy leader Nicola Willis delivers a post budget address on May 20, 2022. (Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Act’s David Seymour has also hit out at the appointment. “Act has made it clear it has no confidence in Adrian Orr, and with polls showing we are on track to play a big role in the next government, Grant Robertson should not have appointed him for a full term.”

‘Absolutely’: David Farrier to take legal action against Sean Plunket


Journalist and filmmaker David Farrier has confirmed he will “absolutely” take legal action against veteran broadcaster Sean Plunket, after the latter shared numerous legal documents on Twitter.

The tweets included claims that Farrier had been served with a temporary protection order – essentially a type of restraining order. This was later proved to be correct, though it’s worth noting the order was served without notice (meaning Farrier had no opportunity to defend himself).

Speaking to Today FM’s Tova O’Brien, Farrier said he’d love to talk more about the court order but he is legally prevented from doing so. “But Sean Plunket has been on Twitter disseminating documents everywhere,” he said. “For the record, I’ve never been violent towards anyone – it’s been a pretty weird situation being back in New Zealand.”

Farrier said it’s been “odd” being back in New Zealand and even hearing the clips from his new documentary, Mister Organ, gave him “the creeps”.

At an emotional and at times angry Q&A last night, Farrier said he can’t wait to leave New Zealand again so he is away from the film and its subject, Michael Organ. “I wish it had never happened, I wish Michael [Organ] had never happened – but here we are.”

From Bashford Antiques to Sean Plunket: A timeline of David Farrier and Mister Organ

Reserve Bank governor reappointed for second term

With a recession looming, Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr warned of a need to curb consumer spending in the lead-up to Christmas. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr has been reappointed to the role for a second five year term starting in March.

Orr was first appointed back in 2017 by finance minister Grant Robertson, for a term that started the following year. In a statement, Robertson called Orr “instrumental” in leading change at the central bank.

“The Reserve Bank has been undergoing a considerable period of change since Adrian’s appointment,” Robertson said. “The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act came into force in July… and has changed how the bank operates and is governed.”

Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr and finance minister Grant Robertson (Photo: Getty Images)

The announcement comes a day after prime minister Jacinda Ardern took aim at bank’s profits during her post-cabinet press conference. Writing for his Kākā newsletter, financial writer Bernard Hickey said the PM appeared to be laying the groundwork for a windfall profit tax or levy on bank profits.

“Asked in her weekly post-Cabinet news conference about Westpac’s record-high core annual earnings of $1.551b, up 17%, Ardern criticised banks for consistently producing very high profits at a time when others in the community are struggling,” Hickey wrote.

Tenants are staying in rentals for longer, latest data indicates

No matter where refugees are being sponsored, finding appropriate and affordable housing is a major stressor for community groups (Photo: Getty Images; additional design: Tina Tiller)

Latest data suggests security for renters may be improving – but the figures haven’t taken account law changes made in 2020.

According to the Human Rights Commission, between 2006 and 2018 the proportion of people living in their home for less than a year decreased from 24.2% to 19.8%. But that’s as recent as the data goes, meaning the impacts of improvements to the Residential Tenancies Act made in 2020 hasn’t been considered. Neither is the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Aotearoa New Zealand historically has a poor record on tenure security, with few regulations protecting tenants and few opportunities for long-term tenancies,” said chief human rights commissioner Paul Hunt. 

“It is a crucial dimension of the right to a decent home, and so we’re pleased to see improvement in recent years.”

Hunt said that people who can’t access secure housing can end up homeless. “This is particularly concerning given the institutional racism Māori and Pacific renters have experienced,” Hunt said. “Weak security of tenure can also have a terrible impact on children who in some cases have to move school each time they move rental property. This creates stress for children and prevents them from settling in.”

The government gets a “pass” from the commission owing to the improvements that have been made in recent years. However, Hunt said there is a continual obligation on central government to “progressively realise” security for tenants.

The Bulletin: PM speaks on bank profits, National wants an investigation

During the post-cabinet press conference yesterday, the prime minister said banks weren’t demonstrating “social licence” by repeatedly making very high profits. There is no apparent policy solution or supermarket sector-style review on the table. The National Party wants the government to investigate what’s behind the banks’ earnings, specifically whether monetary policy decisions in response to Covid have played a role. Stuff’s Rob Stock has broken down how it is that banks profit while households and businesses struggle.

Debate about bank profits is not new but it really prompts responses based on texts to RNZ’s Checkpoint last night. Some people think the profits are obscene while others equate bank profitability with security and stability (a lot of us probably have some vested interest in the Australian banks via our retirement savings schemes). RNZ’s The Detail did a whole episode on bank profits last week which is worth a listen.

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.