RNZ has confirmed a controversial Facebook page has been republishing articles without permission – and the national broadcaster will be taking action to put a stop to it.
An investigation published this week by The Spinoff revealed concerns about What’s On Invers, a Southland-based Facebook page and self-proclaimed news website. The page, which calls itself the largest media outlet in the far south, has prompted criticism from locals for sharing “racist” cartoons and vaccine-sceptical articles.
However, it has also published news reports – including some it claimed were provided by RNZ under an “arrangement”.
Following The Spinoff’s report, a spokesperson for RNZ confirmed that while it had previously provided content to What’s On Invers, this was no longer the case. “RNZ ceased its content sharing agreement with What’s On Invers in October last year and will be contacting the site administrators,” the spokesperson said.
Articles from RNZ have continued to appear on What’s On Invers since the agreement’s October cut-off. “When the arrangement was in place it was similar to the standard content sharing deal that RNZ has with more than 60 other NZ media outlets,” said the spokesperson. The Spinoff has in the past held an agreement like this with RNZ.
The spokesperson would not comment on the reasons for terminating the arrangement or what specific action would be taken now.
Parts of New Zealand remained in a Covid-19 lockdown in October last year, and it was during this month that What’s On Invers livestreamed from a rally hosted by the conspiracy theorist group Voices for Freedom. The page had already published articles that appeared to question the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine by this point.
In a column for the NBR last month, Dita De Boni criticised RNZ’s “promiscuous” approach to sharing content with other outlets. “This organisation is effectively working as a wire service for the New Zealand media, while its excellent stories are used as a cheap resource for privately held companies,” she wrote.
National’s leader says he was alerted to a conflict of interest about one of his MPs by a “third party”.
It was revealed today that senior MP Barbara Kuriger had resigned from her portfolios over a “significant conflict of interest”. Kuriger, who was the spokesperson for agriculture, biosecurity and food safety, had been involved in a personal dispute with the Ministry of Primary Industries.
Speaking to media, Luxon confirmed his office was first made aware about a week or so ago. “They looked into it [and then] I discussed it in full with Barbara,” he said. “The bottom line there was a conflict of interest that wasn’t well managed.”
While Luxon said it was “highly unlikely” that Kuriger will ever hold agricultural portfolios again, she remained an important part of the team. “I’ve said from the beginning I want to be able to run with a team that has the highest possible standards,” Luxon said.
Tina Tiller gives an insight into ReoAko for the image of the day.
ReoAko took out the gold pin for best digital product. This beautifully simple plug in is here to help incorporate Reo with power and confidence, giving readers like yourself an on-the-page translation for words and phrase’s used in our stories. You’ll see it crop up around The Spinoff from time to time, jump on and get down with the kupu. Let the good people know – language doesn’t have to start in the home. Ok thanks bye.
New Zealand has recorded its first case of the omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 in a person who tested positive for Covid-19. It was also picked up via wastewater samples from Te Waipounamu.
“The list of new subvariants appearing within New Zealand is lengthy and growing,” said the Ministry of Health. “Many of these new subvariants are identified by their mutations, many of which are shared across several subvariants, but it can take weeks or months to determine whether these mutations will allow a subvariant to out-compete others circulating in the community. At the early stage of a new variant being identified in New Zealand, it is difficult to predict whether and when it will become established in the community.”
Early evidence overseas suggests the BQ.1.1 has a growth advantage relative to BA.5, the ministry said. BA.5 is the dominant variant currently circulating in New Zealand. “In recent weeks in the Northern Hemisphere the colder weather, waning immunity, timing of last vaccinations and other behavioural factors, are likely to have contributed to an increase in BQ.1.1 cases.”
US media has reported on the rise of BQ.1.1, along with other omicron subvariants, suggesting it could be responsible for a renewed wave of infections. Forbes described it as having “worrisome immune-evasive properties”.
As the cliche goes: you can never rule out Winston Peters.
That being said, as we head into next year’s election, many have. Latest polling puts New Zealand First below the 5% threshold needed to make it back into parliament (without winning an electorate seat). That being said, last month’s TVNZ Kantar Public poll showed a rise in support for Peters’ party, putting it on 3%.
In a new interview with Newsroom, Peters has once again claimed he’ll be back in parliament come next year’s election. Ahead of a speech at this weekend’s party conference, Peters said: “the biggest policy announcement I’ll make this weekend I can tell you in advance, we’re coming back”.
Writing in his NZ Herald opinion column, political lobbyist Matthew Hooton has similarly described how New Zealand First strategists were confident of a Peters return. “They may only be polling 3%… but they only need another 58,000 or so votes and Peters will get to choose the prime minister once again,” he wrote.
Peters wasn’t convinced the outcome of the local elections, which largely saw a swing to the right, would impact on next year’s election. “It would be wrong to read too much into the result, other than it was a serious rejection of some of the central government oversight and imposition on local government, and the desire for people to be in control of their own lives,” he said.
Professor Anthony Hoete is trying to solve some of the biggest housing problems in Te Ao Māori with new tools and technology. He talks with Bernard Hickey on this week’s episode of When the Facts Change about using NFTs to bring together dispersed iwi land titles and engineered timber to turn iwi forests into homes that are carbon sinks.
Some news from yesterday afternoon that you may have missed: New Zealand has elected its youngest mayor in history.
Ben Bell, aged 23, has scraped in to become the mayor of Gore by just eight votes after final counts were tallied. “Woo hoo! I can’t believe it! I’m so excited,’’ said Bell, as reported by Stuff.
After preliminary votes were counted, Bell was ahead – but it was too close to call. It ultimately came down to 67 special votes, putting Bell on 2,371 and incumbent Tracy Hicks on 2,363.
“I am extremely humbled to be elected mayor of Gore, a vibrant district with so much to offer its locals and those who visit here,” said Bell. “I’m thankful to those who made the time and effort to get to know myself and my team throughout our campaign and especially grateful for everyone who voted for me”.
The previous youngest mayor was newly re-elected Hutt City mayor Campbell Barry, who first won in 2019 at 28 years old.
RNZ’s Katie Scotcher reports that parliament’s Speaker, Adrian Rurawhe has asked independent investigator Debbie Francis to find out if there’s less bullying and harassment in the precinct since her last inquiry. Francis’s first report was published in 2019 and found harmful behaviours to be systemic across the parliamentary workplace. One of the recommendations of the 2019 report was that progress be reviewed every three years.
All parties have promised cooperation on the new review although Act party leader David Seymour was going with “probably participate” at this stage. Seymour called the review “tone deaf” saying the need for officials to come in and check on elected representatives indicated a lack of trust in the public who voted for them.
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