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Hamilton West candidates confirmed

It’s Wednesday November 9, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. Reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz

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Hamilton West candidates confirmed

It’s Wednesday November 9, I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund. Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. Reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz

Nov 9 2022

Questions over three waters spending dominate question time

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

National has once again pushed back against the government’s spending agenda during a fiery question time today.

Deputy leader Nicola Willis continued to lash out over revelations from last week that the government had dipped into the Covid recovery fund to help pay for three waters. “Can [Grant Robertson] advise the house how spending $21 million of taxpayers money on three waters policy advice… helps the New Zealand economy recover from Covid-19?” asked Willis.

“The Covid response and recovery fund was designed to make sure that New Zealand could respond to Covid and recover from Covid,” replied Robertson. “Part of that is making sure that we stimulate economic recovery in the regions… that includes the three waters programme.”

Improving water infrastructure would ensure job creation, particularly in the regions, added Robertson.

It was reported this morning in the Herald that over $2 million was being spent on a three waters policy office in Auckland. Willis questioned how the “swanky” office would help New Zealand to recover from Covid-19.

“I know that the National Party think that if a difficult problem comes along, the answer is to kick the can down the road [and] not deal with the massive rates increases that New Zealanders will have if we don’t solve three waters,” retorted Robertson.

TV host outraged by Māori Six60 poster won’t apologise

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An Australian broadcaster won’t back down after a bizarre rant about the poster for Six60’s upcoming tour.

The poster is entirely in te reo, apparently outraging Sky News host Rowan Dean who claimed the government was forcing “language compliance” on New Zealanders and was replacing English with te reo.

“It’s all in Māori,” he said. “There’s not a word of English anywhere in there.”

The comments were made during an interview, ironically, purportedly about free speech. Dean’s guest for the segment was the head of the NZ Free Speech Union.

Six60 responded on social media, saying the band was all about “bringing people together, no matter the language”.

Dean has not backed down. “Thanks for your offer but I have already responded to the band and invited them onto my show when they come to Sydney,” Dean told 1News when they asked if he would apologise.

The Black Panther sequel is too long (but quite good)

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I was lucky enough to see the new Black Panther film, Wakanda Forever, at an advance screening last night. I’m pleased to report that it does a pretty good job of following up what is probably the most widely loved Marvel film, 2018’s Black Panther.

Whether it will match the original during awards season remains to be seen, though Angela Bassett makes a pretty compelling case for best supporting actress.

My main issue with Wakanda Forever, and with pretty much all Marvel films, is that it was too long and too cluttered. It’s two hours and 40 minutes! The first hour or so is largely character-driven, but the second and third acts are pretty cramped and includes a shoe horned-in pilot for a future Marvel TV series. I direct you to Alex Casey’s excellent opinion piece: all movies should be 98 minutes long.

Meanwhile, in very unrelated but exciting entertainment news: Apple TV’s excellent dramedy Bad Sisters is getting a second series!

12 candidates confirmed for Hamilton West byelection

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The final list of candidates for the upcoming Hamilton West byelection has been confirmed, revealing 12 people will be running to win the seat.

That includes Gaurav Sharma, who was the MP for Hamilton West until his recent resignation. He’ll be running for his new Momentum NZ party. His biggest competition will come from National’s Tama Potaka, Labour’s Georgie Dansey and Act’s James McDowall, the three most high profile candidates.

Others on the list include candidates from the Hannah Tamaki-founded Vision NZ, the conspiracy-adjacent Outdoors & Freedom Party and someone running on a joint ticket for both the New Conservative and One Party.

The byelection will take place on December 10, with early voting opening on November 28.

Watch: Why not talk about porn around the dinner table? 

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In the third episode of Chris & Eli’s Porn Revolution, the pair call on their funny friends Joe Daymond (Te Āti Awa), Brynley Stent and Alice Canton to share their own experiences and concerns about pornography. How does porn sex differ from real life sex? Do they pay for the porn they watch? And why has one comedian sworn off watching porn altogether? To tackle the topic of porn habits and addiction, they then visit Dr Kris Taylor from the University of Auckland to discuss the changing narratives around men and porn addiction, and why the moral panic and freaky headlines might not be all that they seem. All that, plus the boys have brainwave for their campaign and Eli gets a mysterious phone call that contains crucial information about their hunt for the first gay porn made in New Zealand.

Parliament protest rioter jailed for three years

A man throws a desk onto a fire that rages on the grounds in front of Parliament as police move in to clear protesters in Wellington on March 2, 2022, on day twenty three of demonstrations against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

A man who sprayed police officers with a fire extinguisher before throwing it at them on the final day of the parliamentary occupation has been jailed for over three years.

Stuff has reported that 37-year-old Marcus Carlin was also convicted for the illegal possession of firearms, possession of a taser and for drugs and assault charges.

Judge David Smith told the court that the decision to use the extinguisher on the police officers could have caused serious health harms.

“It’s ironic someone who objected to receiving a vaccine forced people to ingest something that is totally toxic,” said Smith.

Carlin reportedly attended about three quarters of the protest, and blamed his actions on sleep deprivation along with anxiety over vaccine mandates.

No fan zones for Black Ferns final despite demand for tickets

The Black Ferns celebrate a try against France (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Despite the insane demand for tickets to this Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final, there won’t be any public fan zones to accommodate any overflow.

As Stuff’s David Skipwith wrote this morning, the 2011 men’s world cup saw thousands gather in downtown Auckland at the Cloud, while other events were held around the city. None of that will happen this weekend and the Cloud will remain empty.

“We are calling on fans throughout the country to host watch parties in their homes, local rugby clubs and neighbourhood pubs, bars and restaurants,” a spokesperson said.

It’s not just Auckland missing out on additional festivities; nothing is scheduled for Wellington or Christchurch either.

“The main reason there were no events organised for the women’s RWC is because there were no matches in Wellington, there was no obvious demand from fans – and because the matches are being shown free-to-air – especially the final,” Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean told Stuff.

The Bulletin: Offer made to some public service unions

A letter seen by Stuff from the Public Service Commission outlines that an offer had been made to “some” education and public service unions. The offer includes a $6k pay increase over two years. A pay freeze has been place for those in the public service earning over $60k since 2020, amid Covid-related belt-tightening by the government. It’s come under fire after it was revealed earlier this year that over 2000 public sector workers who earn over $100k got a payrise using an “exceptional circumstances” workaround.

Data released in October showed there was a 17.3% turnover in the public service in the 2021/22 year. The average turnover the previous year was 10.5%.

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New fuel sector changes give Commerce Commission power to set prices

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

A suite of new measures targeted at strengthening New Zealand’s fuel sector have been announced this morning by the energy minister.

With the fuel tax discount set to come to a close at the end of January, the government says today’s actions will “pave the way for a more stable, low-emissions fuel supply, greater choices for consumers, and a more competitive wholesale fuel market”.

“We know many households are struggling with the increased cost of living,” said Megan Woods. “So we are pulling back on any potential extra costs on consumers as a result of the biofuels obligation.”

The plan involves allowing the Commerce Commission to jump in and set the price of fuel if it’s too expensive. A terminal gate pricing regime was one of several changes introduced under 2020 legislation to improve competition at the wholesale level and increase the transparency in fuel markets.

“Following consultation with the sector in 2020 we are now pushing through on development of the backstop regime, which would allow for terminal gate prices of one or more wholesale suppliers to be price regulated if excessive terminal gate prices are found to be offered,” said Woods.

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

The government also wants to ensure that New Zealand has sufficient onshore fuel stock. “Fuel importers and wholesalers with bulk storage facilities will be required to hold minimum levels of onshore stocks of petrol, jet fuel, and diesel,” said Woods. “Minimum fuel stockholding levels for them will equate to approximately 28, 24 and 21 days’ worth of petrol, jet fuel and diesel respectively.”

The government has also pushed out the start date for when fuel wholesalers must deploy biofuels into their fuel supply out to April 2024 instead of next year, to allow the sector more time to prepare. “This will allow wholesalers to get the necessary infrastructure in place, and to source high quality feedstocks,” said Woods.