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Apr 18 2023

Once again, please stop trying to bring The Game to NZ

Will The Game make it back to New Zealand next year? (Image: Tina Tiller)

The ripped up pieces of paper from his last failed New Zealand tour contract have only just fallen to the floor – and yet someone else is attempting the impossible and trying to bring rapper The Game here to perform again.

This time, the Compton MC is scheduled to perform at Juicy Fest 2024, the four-date old school hip-hop festival touring Aotearoa in January for the second time. Also on the bill are T-Pain, T.I., Ashanti, Trey Songz, Bone Thugz N Harmony, Mario, Fabolous and Keri Hilson.

Will The Game make it? Based on previous events, it seems unlikely. As The Spinoff’s ongoing coverage has reported, The Game has only made it here twice in seven attempts across the past 15 years. Among his no-shows include the hip-hop festival Roc tha Block in 2007, headlining shows at the Powerstation and Logan Campbell Centre, and a notorious mishap at Raggamuffin in 2016 at which he seemed to confuse New Zealand for Australia.

His latest disappearing act was at the Ice Cube and Cypress Hill double-bill in Christchurch and Auckland just a few weeks ago. The Game’s excuse? “Last-minute commitments.”  Local MC Scribe stepped in to replace him at the last minute.

So, to Juicy Fest. “New Zealand … I’m comin’ to the Juicy Fest,” The Game says in this Facebook promo video recorded from the front seat of his car. “It’s goin’ down.” But is it? The Game’s scheduled to perform in Christchurch on January 3, Wellington on January 5, Tauranga on January 6 and Auckland on January 7.

As I wrote back in November, my heartiest best wishes go out to everyone involved.

Extra $25m for post-cyclone business support confirmed

Grant Robertson (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The government’s topped up its financial support for businesses impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

Another $25 million will go to help with the ongoing clean-up from February’s disaster, on top of $50 million provided to businesses in the aftermath of the event.

“The priority has been to get businesses back up and running as quickly as possible from the impact of the cyclone, working through the local agencies on the ground who know their area best,” the cyclone recovery minister Grant Robertson said.

“Demand for grants has been strong, with applications to the local providers managing the funding exceeding the $50 million allocated. Based on the most recent assessment an additional $22 million is required to meet the additional demand, with around 5,800 applications received.”

Some have criticised the government for being too slow to get support out – and for forgetting about victims. And, as The Spinoff’s Tommy de Silva reported this morning, others are still questioning where the millions of dollars donated by the public after the cyclone have gone.

Luxon sets sights on India free trade deal

Christopher Luxon and Chris Hipkins. Image: Tina Tiller

National’s leader Christopher Luxon has set his sights on a free trade deal with India should he become prime minister.

Speaking at the India-NZ summit this morning, Luxon promised to head to India in his first year as PM and said his ministers would be “hustling” to advance New Zealand’s interests.

“India is one of the most important countries in the world and New Zealand, in my view, is the best country in the world, so it makes sense that our two nations deepen their ties and co-operate more.”

Asked why he might be capable of securing a free trade agreement when both John Key and Jacinda Ardern couldn’t, Luxon said it was because we hadn’t been trying hard enough. It wouldn’t be easy, he said, but there was “goodwill” from India to make it happen.

“Australia has just signed a free trade agreement with India and the UK are close to signing one too. Yet foreign affairs minister Nanaia Mahuta has said that a free trade agreement between New Zealand and India is no longer a priority,” Luxon said.

“Well, it might not be for a Labour government, but it will be for a National government that I lead.”

On travel in general, Luxon said he was supportive of the prime minister heading to Nato later this year and would also back a trip to China.

The Bulletin: Teachers grade government’s class size plans

Announced yesterday, teachers spoken to by Stuff say the government plans to reduce the funded teacher to student ratio for years four to eight by one will have little impact. Tim Nelson​, principal at Masterton’s Lakeview School, said any recommendation to cut class sizes was a positive but in this instance the one-student change would make little impact.

Speaking to RNZ’s Checkpoint, Finlayson Park School principal Shirley Maihi described the announcement as “a slap in the face” that “certainly won’t entice people to come into the teaching profession.” Members of the country’s largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, are set to vote on an improved offer from the Ministry of Education. Negotiating team leader Barb Curran welcomed the class size announcement. Newsroom’s Tim Murphy reports on the announcement which was made from an empty Remuera Intermediate during school holidays. Worth a read.

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PM Chris Hipkins confirms plans to attend King’s coronation

PM Chris Hipkins in Waitangi over the weekend (Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

The prime minister will travel to the UK early next month to attend the coronation of King Charles III.

He’ll be joined by a delegation that includes royal honours holders such as Richie McCaw and Willie Apiata, along with opposition leader Christopher Luxon.

It’s one of three overseas trips confirmed by Chris Hipkins this morning, which he said will help advance New Zealand’s interests.

“My focus is on the cost of living and cyclone recovery challenges New Zealand is facing. As such I will only undertake a small number of international engagements this year,” Hipkins said.

Alongside his attendance at the coronation, the prime minister will undertake “trade focused activities” in the UK prior to the coronation, to promote the free trade agreement between our countries.

King Charles (Photo by Tracey Nearmy-Pool/Getty Images)

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, Hipkins said the foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta had been travelling overseas this year but it was important for him to take up some opportunities. He said he his planned travel schedule this year was slimmer than many of his prime ministerial colleagues around the world.

Also on his travel agenda: Australia. The PM will head across the ditch this weekend for a second meeting with his counterpart Anthony Albanese as part of a business delegation.

“My visit will also reinforce the trade and economic benefits and resilience which New Zealand gains from the trans-Tasman relationship, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of closer economic relations.”

Hipkins said he has also accepted an invitation to attend the Nato leaders’ summit in Vilnius Lithuania in July and, though still unscheduled, was continuing to pursue a “trade focused trip” to China later in the year.

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere facing bullying claims: ‘She makes people feel like shit’

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere (Photo: Lynn Grieveson – Newsroom/Newsroom via Getty Images)

Five anonymous sources close to the Green Party have accused current MP Elizabeth Kerekere of bullying, including “mean girl behaviour”, “off-hand comments” – and a particular dislike of caucus colleague Chlöe Swarbrick.

Kerekere is facing an internal inquiry after leaked messages appeared to show her calling Swarbrick a “crybaby”.

RNZ’s Craig McCulloch has reported that one source said Kerekere had a tendancy to call people “racist” if they disagreed with her. “People walk on eggshells around her,” the source said, adding that they had not spoken out before now because they were concerned about backlash from Kerekere and her supporters.

“They don’t want to bear the brunt of her wrath… I absolutely cannot stand bullying and bad behaviour… it needs to be dealt with.”

The Green Party released a statement to RNZ through a spokesperson, saying the new revelations would be taken seriously. However Kerekere declined to comment.

It’s also been alleged that Kerekere has a particularly poor relationship with Swarbrick, going beyond just the crybaby text. “She would often make off-hand comments in front of others that Chlöe was entitled and a drama queen,” a source said.

Another added that Kerekere was not a “team player” and “has been awful to Chlöe… she makes people feel like shit.”

Swarbrick also refused to comment to RNZ.

Read the full report here.

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere (Photo: Lynn Grieveson – Newsroom/Newsroom via Getty Images)