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LIVE UPDATES

Labour MP facing fresh bullying claim

It’s Thursday, September 15 and welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, currently coming to you from Invercargill. You can reach me on email at stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


What you need to know

  • Another workplace bullying allegation has been levelled at Labour Party Anna Lorck.
  • Jacinda Ardern will arrive in the UK today ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II next week.
  • Ban on face-to face visits in prisons still in place.
blog-sept-15.jpeg

Labour MP facing fresh bullying claim

It’s Thursday, September 15 and welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, currently coming to you from Invercargill. You can reach me on email at stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


What you need to know

  • Another workplace bullying allegation has been levelled at Labour Party Anna Lorck.
  • Jacinda Ardern will arrive in the UK today ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II next week.
  • Ban on face-to face visits in prisons still in place.
Sep 15 2022

Tonight: Politics in Pubs, featuring the Wellington mayoral hopefuls

Andy Foster, Tory Whanau and Paul Eagle: the candidates (Image: Tina Tiller)

The countdown is on for tonight’s Wellington mayoral special of Politics in Pubs, presented in partnership with Pirate & Queen. While the guest list is full (and if you’re a Spinoff member who RSVPd we look forward to seeing you soon), you needn’t miss out on watching candidates Paul Eagle, Andy Foster and Tory Whanau go head to head while Spinoff editor-at-large Toby Manhire plays umpire.

Bookmark the livestream now, or check back on The Spinoff homepage in a couple of hours. The debate starts at 5.45pm.

Live from London*, it’s Gone By Lunchtime

On their 18th hour queuing outside Westminster Hall, Gone By Lunchtime‘s Toby Manhire, Annabelle Lee-Mather and Ben Thomas pause to discuss the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the accession of KC3 and what it means for Aotearoa and the national appetite for going republic.

Follow Gone By Lunchtime on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast provider.

* The London of the mind, unfortunately.

Image of the day: Aotearoa from above

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Image of the day today is snapped by our own live updates editor Stewart Sowman-Lund on his way down to cover the thrilling (seriously) local election race in Invercargill this week.

Some days you wake up and read the news and this country feels small and cold and expensive and mean-spirited, but then you look at a shot like this and think “well, at least we’re beautiful”. Mīharo, honestly.

The Southern Alps from Stewart’s Auckland-Invercargill flight.

RNZ Oranga Tamariki reports breached broadcasting standards – BSA

Image: Tina Tiller

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld aspects of seven complaints under the privacy and fairness standards regarding broadcasts by RNZ about a child under the care of Oranga Tamariki.

The child was effectively living in a Waikato hospital because Oranga Tamariki was unable to find them a placement. RNZ’s reports included material stolen from the former Waikato District Health Board and released by hackers on the dark web.

The BSA received seven complaints, from Oranga Tamariki, WDHB, the Privacy Commissioner and the Children’s Rights Alliance, along with three members of the public.

The authority found that features of the child included in a segment on RNZ’s Morning Report caused the child to be identifiable, a breach of the child’s privacy. While there was a legitimate public interest in the story, this did not extend to all the details included in the item.

The Morning Report segment was also found to have breached the privacy of the child’s family, but not of the social worker involved.

The fairness standard was also breached as the broadcasts were unfair to the child and their family.

GDP rebounds with 1.7% quarterly increase

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New Zealand’s gross domestic product – a measure of how well the economy is doing overall – rose by 1.7% in the June 2022 quarter, Stats NZ said today. The rise follows a 0.2% fall in the March 2022 quarter.

The services industries, which make up about two thirds of the economy, were the main contributor to the increase, up 2.7%.

Stats NZ’s Ruvani Ratnayake attributed the rise to border openings and the easing of Covid measures following the move from red to orange in mid April.

“The reopening of borders, easing of both domestic and international travel restrictions, and fewer domestic restrictions under the orange traffic light setting supported growth in industries that had been most affected by the Covid-19 response measures,” Ratnayake said.

“In the June 2022 quarter, households and international visitors spent more on transport, accommodation, eating out, and sports and recreational activities.”

While the GDP numbers are looking brighter, overall household spending declined by 3.2%, driven by lower spending on goods such as used motor vehicles and audio-visual equipment, with a similar fall seen in retail trade activity.

Responding to the news, Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr noted that while the improved GDP numbers meant New Zealand had avoided a technical recession, “the outlook is awkward”.

“So what does it mean for monetary policy? Not much. It simply confirms what we know.

“The RBNZ is not yet done. They’ve made that unambiguously clear. Though the headline came in weaker than they had forecast, the RBNZ is on an inflation fighting path. The end goal is an inflation rate back at target. Doing so requires domestic demand to ease back, restoring balance in the economy. Between weak confidence and deteriorating firm investment intentions, signs of slowing domestic demand are already emerging. But the RBNZ has signalled that further increases in the cash rate are needed.

“We expect the RBNZ to deliver its fifth successive 50bps hike at the monetary policy review in October. And we see the cash rate reaching 4% by the end of the year.”

The Bulletin: Ban on face-to face visits in prisons still in place

A report from Maiki Sherman at 1News last night revealed that the ban remains in place for almost two-thirds of those currently in a New Zealand prison. Restrictions were put in place during Covid outbreaks but haven’t yet been relaxed.

Corrections has defended the restrictions, saying its allowed phone and video calling but defence lawyer Nigel Hampton KC says the issue raises concerns over a breach of human rights. Corrections says it’s in the process of relaxing the restrictions but as Sherman points out, it’s being hampered by workforce shortages. There are currently around 1,600 vacancies across the Department of Corrections – including 533 prison officers.

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.  

Second bullying claim against backbencher Anna Lorck

Labour MP Anna Lorck (Photo: Labour Party of New Zealand)

Another workplace bullying allegation has been levelled at Labour Party Anna Lorck.

It’s the second claim to be made against the backbench MP and comes in the wake of the Gaurav Sharma saga that ultimately resulted in him being expelled from the party caucus.

According to Stuff, a former staffer of Lorck has alleged persistent bullying by the MP including a “public scolding”. That behaviour prompted another MP to check in on the staffer.

“I was always the problem and that was how it was framed,” the staffer said, saying his relationship with Lorck felt “emotionally abusive”.

An earlier complaint against Lorck was laid last month by a senior staffer, though this was largely overshadowed by the allegations made by and against Sharma.

Lorck, speaking about the claims for the first time, told Stuff she was taking leadership coaching as a result of the complaints.

“I was devastated to hear how [the staffer] felt after he finished working for us and I hope he’s doing better now,” said Lorck. “I’ve taken these and other concerns raised on board and I’m currently working with an experienced leadership coach on this.”