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Live UpdatesJun 10 2022

Ardern-Albanese talks end in no change to 501 policy

It’s Friday June 10, welcome back to The Spinoff’s live updates. I hope you’re staying warm and dry wherever you are around the motu today. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • Jacinda Ardern has met with her Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Sydney.
  • Last night was an informal dinner, but today saw the two leaders hold official bilateral talks. They later confirmed no changes would be made to the controversial Australian 501 deportation policy.
  • National’s not happy with the government’s “vague” plan for turning around school attendance rates.
  • A technical error has meant no update on Covid-related deaths or hospitalisations. Another 6,297 community cases have been confirmed.
blog-june-10.jpg

Ardern-Albanese talks end in no change to 501 policy

It’s Friday June 10, welcome back to The Spinoff’s live updates. I hope you’re staying warm and dry wherever you are around the motu today. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • Jacinda Ardern has met with her Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Sydney.
  • Last night was an informal dinner, but today saw the two leaders hold official bilateral talks. They later confirmed no changes would be made to the controversial Australian 501 deportation policy.
  • National’s not happy with the government’s “vague” plan for turning around school attendance rates.
  • A technical error has meant no update on Covid-related deaths or hospitalisations. Another 6,297 community cases have been confirmed.
Jun 10 2022

Trade minister heads to Europe to push ‘open for business’ message

New Zealand’s global push to attract business back to our country after two years of border closures continues, with trade minister Damien O’Connor heading to Europe today.

O’Connor will attend the World Trade Organisation’s Twelfth Ministerial Conference, where he will meet with counterparts from around the globe. Part of the agenda is to help build on New Zealand’s EU-NZ free trade negotiations, along with discussing bilateral and regional trade and economic issues.

Meeting face-to-face with ministers from around the world was “essential” to making sure New Zealand’s voice gets heard, said O’Connor.

“Our trade agenda has excellent momentum, and is part of the government’s wider plan to help provide economic security for New Zealanders as the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

O’Connor’s visit to Europe has been bumped back slightly after he tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month. He had initially been planning to visit the OECD for meetings as well.

Australian PM pledges to ‘maintain’ controversial 501 deportation policy

Australia’s controversial 501 deportation policy will remain in place, despite pressure from Jacinda Ardern.

Joining Ardern at the podium following a bilateral discussion, Australian PM Anthony Albanese said that there was more work to do on the subject of deportations, but for now the policy would be maintained.

“We’ve heard the very clear message from the prime minister… there can be no argument the prime minister has been very forceful in her views,” said Albanese. “Section 501 will be maintained but if you look at the comments I made as opposition leader, I stand by them… there are concerns that have been raised that need to be taken into consideration as friends.”

Asked whether he personally believed the policy could be amended, Albanese said he would not preempt the proper political process. “PM Ardern has put through, in a strong way, as she has before, her concerns. We’ll work them through,” he said. “If people look at some of the cases, it’s not surprising that the PM would make the strong representations that she has.”

The Australian PM acknowledged that were he in Ardern’s position, he would voice similar views on the issue.

Ardern could be seen nodding in agreement throughout Albanese’s response, though she had previously indicated she wished to make progress on the issue of deportations today.

New Zealand and Australia were strong when working together, Ardern said. “Climate change is a global issue, we are very eager to work alongside our pacific partners on the number one threat in our region.”

PM Ardern and PM Albanese front a press conference in Sydney

In a press release, Ardern said the pair also covered Australia and New Zealand’s common goals on the international stage such as the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Christchurch Call to address violent extremist content online.

The leaders will next meet at the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney in July.

Watch live: Ardern and Albanese to front joint press conference

Fresh from an official bilateral meeting, Jacinda Ardern and Australian PM Anthony Albanese will front a joint press conference for media.

The big question is whether any progress will have been made on the issue of 501 deportees, with an earlier suggestions that Albanese was open to softening the controversial policy.

You can tune into the presser below

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As the editor of our live updates, I truly value that. Without your support, I wouldn’t have been able to travel to Wellington in February to cover the protests outside parliament. That will feasibly be the biggest local news story of the decade and it was critical that we had a reporter on the ground who could tell the stories that needed telling. As we approach local elections and then general elections, the need for news remains more important than ever – and you help make it happen.

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Technical error delays Covid update, 6,297 community cases

A technical error has resulted in the Ministry of Health only publishing details of new Covid-19 cases, but not the latest death toll or hospitalisation rate.

There are 6,297 new cases across the country, with Auckland reporting 1,822 of those. The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers today is 6,075 – last Friday it was 6,850.

An update on any new Covid-related deaths and the number of people currently in hospital and ICU with the virus will be provided later.

Friday Quiz: Have you been paying attention this week?

How much news have you been digesting this week? Test your knowledge in our weekly news quiz.


Watch: Ardern drops by Australian breakfast TV during whirlwind visit

“It’s so nice to be back.”

Jacinda Ardern has made an appearance on Australian breakfast television today, during her 24 hour visit to the country. The prime minister is preparing to meet for official talks with her counterpart Anthony Albanese. The pair first met last night for an informal dinner.

Speaking to The Today Show, Ardern said the last time she was in Australia was just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The last time I was here was February 28, 2020… and we had our first case announced while I was here.”

Topics canvassed with Ardern on the show included those likely to be discussed when she meets Albanese: 501 deportees, China’s influence in the Pacific, and the growing cost of living.

On the subject of China, Ardern rejected the assertion that New Zealand was “interfering” in the Pacific.

“I take the same view that I always have. We are a Pacific nation, our connection into the Pacific runs deep,” she said. “We have large Pacific communities in New Zealand… the relationship for us is not a bilateral relationship, it’s a family relationship. I don’t see our relationship as ever being being able to be described as interference.”

Ardern reiterated that she would “like to see movement” on the issue of deportation, and said that Albanese had acknowledged that it was only one part of Australia’s policy that New Zealand took issue with.

But perhaps the biggest diplomatic issue discussed on the show was, of course, the record exchange with Albanese. Asked why a similar gifting had never happened when Scott Morrison was prime minister, Ardern said she wouldn’t have been able to pick out suitable albums. “You’re being very diplomatic,” said Today Show host Karl Stefanovic.

Ardern also appeared on 7News.

Where does our fuel come from?

New Zealand’s economy and society is dependent on oil; every day the country uses around 23 million litres. On April 1 New Zealand moved to a 100% refined fuel import model with the closure of the Marsden Point oil refinery. This has changed the way Aotearoa manages its fuel supply security, in order to ensure that supply can withstand disruptions to the market – like the ongoing war in Ukraine. But while we no longer have the capability to refine oil locally, according to Z Energy our fuel supply is now more diversified – and coming from refineries geographically closer than our traditional supply of crude oil.

Read more about where our fuel comes from on The Spinoff. (Sponsored)

Three more sunscreens fail to reach SPF on their label

Another round of sunblock testing by our consumer watchdog has resulted in three more failing to meet the claimed SPF protection.

Consumer NZ said just the Smart365 Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+ reached the standard on its label. In contrast, Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration SPF50+ only achieved an SPF of 29.2, Neutrogena Beach Defence Sunscreen Lotion SPF50 reached SPF 38.5 and Oasis Sun Healthy Family Sunscreen SPF30 tested SPF 25.6.

Researcher Belinda Castles said sunscreen manufacturers need to be held accountable. “Our latest round of sunscreen testing looked at 21 sunscreens, of which only eight met their SPF label claim and the requirements for broad-spectrum protection,” she said.

“With the highest rates of melanoma in the world, New Zealanders deserve to shop with confidence. We’ll be lodging a complaint with the Commerce Commission about our findings.”

The great prime ministerial music exchange 2022

As I wrote this morning, Jacinda Ardern has had her first catch-up with Anthony Albanese since he became leader of Australia last month.

While official talks will kick off today, the pair enjoyed what sounds like a lovely meal at Kirribilli house last night. Fish was on the menu, as was fennel soup, zucchini noodles, and a panna cotta dessert.

But enough about the food: the main event was the exchange of gifts. With the help of deputy PM Grant Robertson, Ardern gifted Albanese four albums by Aldous Harding, The Clean, Reb Fountain and AK79. And in return, Ardern was given records by Midnight Oil, Spiderbait and Powderfinger.

Here is the face of a man chuffed with his gifts, but why were those four chosen? The Spinoff has asked the prime minister’s office for more detail. There is no photo of Ardern holding her records, suspiciously.

Plan to curb school truancy just ‘spin’, says National

National’s not happy with what it’s calling a “vague” plan for turning around school attendance rates.

The government yesterday unveiled its target to have 70% of students in the classroom regularly within three years, up from about 60% currently. Associate education minister Jan Tinetti said “evidence-based solutions” were the basis of the government’s plan, but Erica Stanford, the opposition’s spokesperson for education, said it’s not clear what the plan actually is.

“The Labour government’s strategy document could have been written by a public relations firm,” she said. “It contains 13 vague steps, without any clear actions or direction on how to re-engage students.”

Aiming for 70% attendance wasn’t ambitious enough, said Stanford, and National wanted to see “actual resourcing, actions and policies” rather than a plan that’s “more spin”.

Erica Stanford with former National leader Judith Collins in 2020. (Getty Images)

The Bulletin: Lending rules to be loosened, banks say they’re still too tight

The government confirmed it would loosen rules under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA). The rules were introduced to protect people from predatory lenders but had adverse consequences when applied, resulting in banks needing to go through people’s spending line by line. The rules prompted stories of first time buyers trying to create an appearance of extreme austerity by withdrawing cash from supermarkets so spending wouldn’t turn up on bank statements.

The banks still don’t think the fixes will sort things. New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Roger Beaumont said ​​”Most of the existing requirements remain in place, meaning customers will still have to provide detailed information about their spending, resulting in a more painstaking process and more loan applications being declined than before the December rule change.”

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.  

Ardern set to raise issue of 501s as official talks with Albanese begin

Jacinda Ardern touched down in Sydney last night for her first face-to-face meeting with Anthony Albanese since he was elected Australian prime minister.

While today will see official bilateral talks between the prime ministers – expected to be dominated by the matter of 501 deportees along with Pacific issues – the pair last night met for a more casual dinner at Kirribilli house. Stuff has a full rundown of the lush menu.

There was also a very musically-themed gift exchange: Ardern gave Albanese albums from Aldous Harding, The Clean, Reb Fountain and AK79 – an iconic choice of albums – along with a pair of Flying Nun t-shirts. It was a collaborative effort between her and Grant Robertson.

Ardern described last night as an opportunity to have a “deeper discussion without the formality of a bilateral”. Along with dinner, Albanese showed Ardern around the estate and watched a fireworks display that was taking place over Sydney Harbour.

But now that dinner is out of the way, the tough discussions get under way. Along with the controversial 501 issue, of which Albanese is said to be more open than Scott Morrison to softening, matters on the agenda include China’s influence in the Pacific region, America’s Indo Pacific Economic Framework and the AUKUS alliance.

“New Zealand and Australia work exceptionally well together on the international stage to achieve our common goals and I know we will continue to advocate for a more stable and resilient region, defend and advance the multilateral rules based system, and maintain momentum on our world-leading economic integration,” Ardern said, as RNZ reported.