- Viv Beck pulls out of Auckland mayoral race.
- It leaves Labour-endorsed Efeso Collins and centre-right candidate Wayne Brown as frontrunners.
- Jacinda Ardern has arrived in London ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.
Rita Ora, who will be performing at the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Auckland, gave her own spin on the Kate Bush classic Running Up That Hill during a concert in Rio.
And that is all the context you need.
As no one was seriously hurt, I think we can take a moment to soak in the surreal miraculous action-movie vibe here. This shot comes from Guardian writer and friend of The Spinoff Tess McClure, and if you don’t know Auckland, that’s the overpass over Newton Gully – very high, very much a motorway underneath. There’s about a thousand ways this could’ve gone so much worse and we’re breathing a huge sigh of relief for everyone involved.
After a week off due to national mourning, the Friday Quiz is back and the same as ever – and in the fresh new time slot of 1pm (as there are no longer any daily Covid-19 updates).
How well have you been following the news this week?
Labour-endorsed Auckland mayoral candidate Efeso Collins has called for Viv Beck’s supporters to get in behind his campaign.
Earlier today, Beck, one of the most prominent candidates in the Auckland contest, dropped out over concerns about splitting the centre-right vote.
In a statement, Collins thanked Beck for “conducting her campaign with such grace” but encouraged her backers to support him.
However, Collins said he was disappointed to learn that Wayne Brown, now the front running candidate on the right, would not be attending tonight’s NZ Herald debate. “Aucklanders deserve better than a candidate trying to run a campaign via a few flashy billboards in just a handful of suburbs while avoiding engaging with voters across our city by missing a key event run by one of Auckland’s main media outlets,” Collins said.
“This is an insult to Aucklanders and an insult to the democratic process.”
He added: “Not only does Auckland have over 30,000 ghost houses, we now have ghost mayoral candidates. But it’s not good enough and Aucklanders deserve better – which is a contest of ideas.”
In this week’s episode of When the Facts Change, Bernard Hickey zooms in on the fate of 150 car parks in Wellington on a particularly important route for enabling mode shift in the capital. The great battle for walkable cities that prioritise cyclists and pedestrians over cars has only just begun. In this battle, Waka Kotahi is a key player in deciding how this battle plays out. Hickey talks to Waka Kotahi’s urban mobile manager Kathryn King to find out how mode shift might be allowed, or made to happen.
Listen below or wherever you get your podcasts.
Auckland mayoral hopeful Wayne Brown said the decision by Viv Beck to drop out of the race made the choices for voters “clear cut”.
In a statement, Brown, a former Northland mayor, said Aucklanders could now choose between the “failing status quo” approach under Efeso Collins or a “tough line” approach to costs under his leadership.
“There is no money lying around waiting to be spent on ‘nice to have’ pet projects. There is an unknown bill for the CRL that Phil Goff and Mr Collins either don’t want us to know or simply don’t care to find out about,” said Brown, who has dubbed himself as the “Fixer”.
“That’s all money that comes directly from ratepayers. I am the only candidate who is prepared to stick up for them, and their right to know what kind of blank cheque Mr Goff and Mr Collins are signing on their behalf.”
On the same day thousands of voting papers have been sent out around the country, one of Auckland’s most prominent candidates has pulled the plug on their campaign.
Viv Beck has confirmed she has withdrawn from the mayoral race, saying she does not want to split the vote. It leaves Labour-endorsed Efeso Collins and centre-right candidate Wayne Brown as the leading pair, along with previous mayoral hopeful Craig Lord.
“My decision comes with a heavy heart but given the strength of concern about issues that need addressing across our region, it is important to avoid splitting the centre-right vote,” said Beck in a statement.
“I am concerned about gross inaccuracies that have been said about me and my campaign and will be reflecting on the impact this type of behaviour has on democracy.”
Beck acknowledged the “hard work and unwavering support” from her team. “I have also been heartened by the support I have received from people keen to see a different style of leadership governing our region and to those people, including C&R, I say a sincere thank you.”
A note at the end of Beck’s statement said that no further comment will be made on the decision to withdraw.
After multiple cancellations due to Covid-19, Auckland’s Others Way festival is set to make its return this Labour Day weekend. It’ll mark the first time in three years that the K Road street party has been held.
Various venues down the Auckland street will be part of the festival, with performers like Anthonie Tonnon, SWIDT, and the Dance Exponents on the line-up.
“We are over the moon about our artist line-up featuring local gems, legends, luminaries and next-big-things,” festival director Matthew Davis said. “We think you’ll be pretty dang happy! After numerous postponements and cancellations these last few years, we can’t wait for the festival’s return this October.”
Tickets are on sale now.
Following a new report of widespread and ongoing contamination at Tiwai Point near Bluff, an environmental group has said clean up at the site could cost almost a billion dollars. The future of Tiwai Point was in jeopardy in 2020 after Rio Tinto announced plans to shut the country’s only aluminium smelter down in 2021, citing electricity costs. In 2021 it announced it had secured a cut-price power deal from power companies to keep it open for another four years.
The Electricity Authority intervened in August, making an urgent amendment to an industry code that means power companies would not be able to strike a new deal to allow the Tiwai Point to stay open beyond the end of 2024, without its approval.
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Jacinda Ardern has arrived in London ahead of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.
Further details of the prime minister’s schedule over the next few days have been revealed, including that she will have two meetings with the new King. As Stuff’s Andrea Vance reported, the meetings take place on Sunday and Monday at Buckingham Palace, with other leaders of the realm and then again at a reception for world leaders.
“It is the first opportunity to see the King face to face,” Ardern told reporters. “I’ll simply share the sorrow that New Zealand has, and pass on our deepest condolences.
“At the end of the day, although this is a period of transition for him, he has also lost his beloved mother. And I think for us and for New Zealand, that’s first and foremost for us.”
Other engagements on the PM’s agenda include a meeting with new UK prime minister Liz Truss and Prince William.
Ardern reflected on Prince William’s visit to New Zealand following the March 15 attack, saying he made an effort to visit us in our time of grief. “So this is a time for us to be there for him, and his family, too,’ the prime minister said.