National has dropped 3% in a new poll that encompasses the time of the Sam Uffindell saga.
The latest Taxpayers’ Union Curia poll has National on 34%, just below Labour on 35.2%. Both Act and the Greens rose 1% each, up to 11% and 9.5%.
The results mean that Te Pāti Māori, once again, holds the position of kingmaker and would be able to choose which party to enter government with. In effect, that would rule out a National-led government as Te Pāti Māori has said it will not enter into government with the Act Party.
While the latest poll covers the time of the Uffindell affair, it does not include the Gaurav Sharma bullying allegations that have dogged Labour this week. Christopher Luxon’s preferred prime minister rating has slipped as well down 2.9 points to 19.5%, below Jacinda Ardern on 39.5% (down just 0.7%).
Luxon’s net personal favourability is -1%, down from 1.2% in July.
Fletcher Building’s net profit rose by 42% for the year ending June.
As Business Desk reported, the company posted a $432 million profit compared with $305 million the year before.
“Our performance highlighted our ability to deal with a dynamic operating environment while remaining focused on delivering long-term, sustainable growth,” said chief executive Ross Taylor.
Fletcher has come under scrutiny over its involvement in the so-called “Gib crisis”, with the government launching a special taskforce to investigate alternative products. Fletcher controls about 95% of the New Zealand plasterboard market.
The company never repaid the $68 million wage subsidy it claimed in 2020.
Ian Foster will stay on as All Blacks coach, it has been announced.
NZ Rugby CEO Mark Robinson told a press conference this afternoon that Foster has his “full support” following the weekend’s win over South Africa. “We have a huge amount of confidence going forward,” he said of the All Blacks.
Foster will now stay on through to next year’s World Cup.
Former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has been giving an expanded role in the coaching line-up. “Joe Schmidt has been on my radar for a couple of years,” said Foster. “We’ve now decided to move him from the computer room to put him on the park a bit more.”
The All Blacks’ next test is against Argentina in Christchurch on August 27.
Two junior MPs, one new and the other very new, have become the centre of political attention in the last 10 days. Both have been suspended from their party caucus. On this week’s Gone By Lunchtime, Ben Thomas, Annabelle Lee-Mather and Toby Manhire examine the allegations by Labour’s Sharma, the extraordinary way it played out and Jacinda Ardern’s response. And what of National’s Uffindell? Should he be punished for an assault more than 20 years ago, has he atoned and how did Christopher Luxon deal with it? Plus: what do the cases together tell us about the culture in the parties and the strange workplace of parliament?
At exactly this moment one year ago, The Spinoff’s live updates published this headline: “Community Covid-19 case identified in Auckland”.
We knew it would happen eventually, but it was still a shock. This wasn’t just any community case: this was delta.
I remember that day very well because The Spinoff was out of the office at a team building event – in hindsight a poetically perfect way to spend the last day before delta started to spread.
A few hours after the community case was confirmed, the prime minister would take to the podium and announce a nationwide level four lockdown. While most of the country would move to level three quite quickly (remember the alert levels?), Auckland spent months in near total lockdown. At some point, picnics were permitted, and increasingly life went back to “normal” – but it wasn’t until December 3 that the traffic light system was introduced and lockdown ended.
At midnight tonight, it will officially be the one year anniversary of the 107 day Auckland lockdown beginning.
That’s the highest it’s been in seven years and marks the fourth consecutive 0.5% jump. Predictions indicate the OCR will continue to rise through into next year as the Reserve Bank moves to tackle growing inflation and the cost of living crisis.
In a statement, the central bank said it remained appropriate to continue tightening monetary conditions at pace. “Core consumer price inflation remains too high and labour resources remain scarce.”
While spending remained “resilient” and employment was low, the bank said labour shortages and sickness had seen production constrained. “In these circumstances, spending and investment continues to outstrip supply capacity, and wage pressures are heightened. A range of indicators highlight broad-based domestic pricing pressures.”
The cash rate will next be reviewed in early October.
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Health officials are optimistic that New Zealand’s winter wave of Covid-19 has peaked, with cases, hospitalisations and deaths all trending down.
There are 4,489 new cases in the community, with 496 people now in hospital including 13 in intensive care. Another 16 Covid-related deaths have been reported overnight, though these have not yet been directly attributed to Covid-19. It’s likely at least half will have been due to the virus. The Covid-attributed death toll now sits at 1,782.
Speaking from Auckland, deputy director general of health Andrew Old said surveillance testing had confirmed that Covid-19 cases were on the decline. For the fourth week in a row, there has been a decrease in the rolling average of Covid cases, he said, and this also applies when looking at our most vulnerable population.
There has been an 11.1% decrease in overall hospitalisations over the past four week, and numbers have dropped in three out of four main regions. Hospitalisations do tend to lag behind trends in case numbers, said Old, who added: “It remains an incredibly busy time for our hospitals”.
On the death rate, Old said that officials weren’t “quite ready” to definitively say that deaths from Covid had peaked – “but we are hopeful”. On a per capita basis, New Zealand was doing incredibly well. Old said that if New Zealand had the same death rate as the UK we would have lost over 13,000 people to the virus, or 15,000 if we compared ourselves to the US.
Green MP James Shaw has asked party members for support as he campaigns to retain the co-leadership.
Last month, Shaw was forced to reapply for his job after losing the support from Green party delegates at the annual conference. Despite murmurs that he may have faced a leadership contest with one of his own MPs, Shaw emerged unopposed – but could still lose out to Ron (reopen nominations).
In a new video posted to his Facebook, Shaw called for support from party delegates. “Your voice is powerful and I am asking for your support,” he said.
“Engaging with Green Party members over the past few weeks has reminded me of the energy and the wisdom of our collective voice.”
A recent TVNZ poll showed that despite the public disunity within the Greens, the party had lost little support from the public.
Breaking Bad has long been thought of as one of the, if not the, best series of all time. But I think its spinoff, Better Call Saul, has officially topped it.
The show finished last night (you can watch the whole thing on Neon) after six incredible seasons and, I am relieved to say, it nailed the landing.
Each season was better than the last and much of that came down to the carefully considered writing, the slow burn character development and the fact that any sort of “fan service” for Breaking Bad watchers was spread thinly throughout the run.
It’s honestly just great TV and the finale will stick with me for a while (though the best episode, like with Breaking Bad, came a few episodes earlier this season). Go watch it now, please.
The invitation for prime minister Jacinda Ardern to visit war-ravaged Ukraine still stands, the nation’s president said.
Speaking to Today FM’s Tova O’Brien, Volodymyr Zelensky warned that world leaders should not forget about the suffering in his country.
“This fatigue issue is a challenge,” Zelensky said. “Each country has its own internal matters to settle… if the country is located far away from Ukraine, as is the case with New Zealand, we are grateful for support… but still we are not willing to have this war spread on other territories.”
Zelensky invited both Australia and New Zealand’s prime minister to visit Ukraine earlier this year. Anthony Albanese, who was newly elected, took up that opportunity but scheduling prevented Ardern making the same trip.
“I understand there were some issues preventing the arrival of the prime minister to Ukraine but at the same time, we had a phone call – an absolutely positive phone call. So we exchanged a lot of issues,” said Zelensky, who reiterated the invitation was still on the table.
When the war was over, Zelensky added that he would love to visit New Zealand.
Joining O’Brien this morning on her Today FM show, National’s leader Christopher Luxon said he would also take up the invitation should he become prime minister next year. “It would be helpful to send the message that we support Ukraine and are aligned with their stance against the conflict,” he said.
The government this week committed further support for Ukraine in the form of Defence Force personnel that will help with the training of soldiers.
Listen to Tova O’Brien’s full interview with Volodymyr Zelensky below
New Zealand journalist and documentary maker David Farrier has announced the release of his next film – and it’s based on a saga you might recall.
If you’ve been a Spinoff reader for a while, you’ll probably remember the six-part Bashford Antiques series that began back in 2016, in which Farrier exposed the weird and sometimes aggressive antics of a Ponsonby antique dealership notorious for clamping cars.
The new film, titled Mister Organ, after Bashford Antiques’ owner, will premiere at Fantastic Fest in the US this September before heading to local cinemas in November.
hi – i have a new documentary coming out! it's called MISTER ORGAN and will have its world premier at @fantasticfest in september (see you there, austin!)
it will weave its way to new zealand cinemas in november.
Most economists are picking a 50 basis point rise in the OCR today, taking it to 3%. Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr said, “If the RBNZ wants to get bang for buck, an outsized 75bp move would cause quite the stir in financial markets”. Many economists believe inflation has peaked. You might be hoping for a quick drop in interest rates but as Giles Beckford reports, that is probably premature.
Despite financial markets pricing anticipating the next phase of monetary policy where we may not see further rate hikes, Westpac acting chief economist Michael Gordon said he did not think the Reserve Bank would want to encourage that view. “This is not simply a matter of Old King Cole marching up a hill just to march straight back down again,” he said.
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The report ordered into the past behaviour of National MP Sam Uffindell won’t be released to the public.
Under way this week, the QC-led investigation will take about two weeks to complete. It was triggered by allegations levelled at Uffindell, the Tauranga MP, by a former flatmate from his tenure at Otago University. That had been preceded by a Stuff report that revealed Uffindell had been involved in a violent attack on a younger student while at King’s College.
Speaking to RNZ, Luxon said that due to privacy concerns and to encourage people to come forward, the report won’t be made public. However: “The decision will be very public and a rationale for that decision will be very obvious,” he said.
With both National and Labour facing issues related to backbench MPs, the waka jumping legislation has come back into public discourse. Under the current law, a defecting MP must give up their seat in parliament on the request of their former party leader.
Luxon said National opposed the law and would appeal it if the party entered government next year. “I think it gives the party just way too much power,” he said. “We don’t see any need for it, we think it goes too far. Our position is that we’re opposed to it.”
A damning report into Arise Church has called for the entire board to resign and makes note of rampant racism and sexual harassment from leaders.
First obtained by David Farrier’s Webworm, the independent report was ordered following a series of news stories that detailed widespread complaints against church leaders. Hundreds came forward with their stories for the report, which, according to Farrier, was unlikely to be publicly released in the near future.
The report suggests a commissioner be appointed in place of the church’s board, which it says has lost its “moral mandate” to govern Arise. “There have been significant and systemic failures in governance stretching back over many years including a lack of oversight and proper independence, little transparency in decision making, no recognised feedback channels for people to raise concerns, insufficient financial accountability, and an absence of policies in key areas,” the report states.
On the claims of misconduct, the report singles out one leader – which Farrier names as pastor Brent Cameron – for “ongoing targeted sexual harassment” and that another was allegedly involved in behaviour that could constitute indecent exposure.
There were several complaints by Arise members of racism from senior members, with a reported church outreach focus on “white kids” and “racist remarks” made privately by guest speakers and a former board member.