Nov 20 2023

Aotearoa Music Awards return for 2024, nominations open

Benee performs during the 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards 2019 (Photo by Dave Simpson/Getty Images)

Nominations have opened for next year’s Aotearoa Music Awards, which were placed on hiatus in 2022 as a result of a review.

The 2024 ceremony will be staged at Auckland’s Viaduct Events Centre, suggesting a much smaller affair than the once glitzy Spark Arena showcase.

In a statement, Recorded Music NZ chief executive Jo Oliver said the organisation was excited by the return of the awards. “The Aotearoa Music Awards was paused in 2023, as we considered the outcomes of the review we undertook in 2022. It was important to us to engage with artists and the wider music community about the format, purpose and meaning of AMA,” said Oliver.

“We interviewed and surveyed 350+ people who are actively working in music in Aotearoa, the majority of whom are artists and artist managers.”

The review followed a series of incidents linked to the event, including Aaradhna in 2016 refusing her award for Best Urban/Hip-Hop Album.

“The message from the community was clear: the Aotearoa Music Awards is seen as essential, and aspirational for emerging artists. We heard strong support for our continuing commitment to embed te ao Māori and te reo and to reflect the unique cultural identity of Aotearoa,” said Oliver.

“There were, however, some calls to refresh our judging processes, and to communicate them more clearly and transparently. We have taken the time to do that work, and have taken steps to more actively promote diversity and inclusion across the judging process.”

Significant development as Luxon confirms agreements reached with Act, NZ First

David Seymour, Christopher Luxon and Winston Peters (Image: Archi Banal)

There’s been a significant development in ongoing coalition talks with National leader Christopher Luxon revealing policy deals have been reached with both Act and New Zealand First on policy terms.

That doesn’t mean a new government will be formed imminently, however, with ministerial allocations and cabinet positions still to be decided upon.

But 17 days after the special votes were confirmed, it marks the first definitive news from inside the closed door talks between the three coalition partners.

“It has been a major goal of ours,” Luxon told reporters outside Auckland’s Cordis Hotel. “I appreciate it has taken time. I really do appreciate everybody’s patience with the process. But I do believe it will make for a much stronger government.”

Luxon said the parties had gone line by line through the various manifestos and had worked out differences. The leaders of Act and New Zealand First had seen each other’s deal with National and would now look to sign their own agreement.

“Now we want those parties to support each other in that. So we’ve done the policy work first and foremost before we’ve had any conversation around our cabinet positions, and will now kick that off.”

All parties had to make policy trade-offs, admitted Luxon, but there were areas of overlap.

“There is very good intention from all three party leaders to resolve this as quickly as possible,” Luxon said of the continuing talks around ministerial roles.

While the substantive talks have taken place in Auckland, Luxon said that a formal announcement of the next government would be made in Wellington. In short, that means that when Luxon is seen boarding a flight to the capital, we can be hopeful an announcement is incoming.

Speaking moments after Luxon’s bombshell, Winston Peters told reporters it was an “assumption” to say a policy agreement had been reached. As Stuff reports, Peters said: “I’ll tell you why I can’t tell you now, because I should talk to somebody else before I talk to you guys, so that everyone is on the same page.”

More detail will likely come later today, once Peters emerges from his next meeting with Luxon.

Senior National MPs gather at leader’s house

Christopher Luxon readies to

Coalition talks are continuing in Auckland, but have moved away from the inner-city Cordis hotel where they have been taking place for much of the past week.

It’s now been 17 days since the special votes were released, and roughly five weeks since New Zealanders went to the polls.

According to Stuff’s live blog, senior members of National’s caucus have met today at Christopher Luxon’s home. It’s not yet clear whether he will be speaking in person to Winston Peters or David Seymour, though some key issues are holding up the formation of a government.

One of those MPs at Luxon’s house today, Chris Bishop, told Stuff he still wouldn’t put a timeframe on talks wrapping up and instead said “good things take time”.

What might be holding up coalition talks?

Winston Peters, Christopher Luxon and David Seymour meet at an Auckland hotel to discuss forming a government and grab a pic for the socials.

This must be prefaced with the fact that we absolutely don’t know for sure why coalition negotiations are dragging on into week six. Only those in the room know for sure. That being said, we are slowly starting to get a picture of why we still don’t have a government.

Writing for The Post, Anna Whyte has reported on the “complex” issues proving difficult for National, Act and New Zealand First. “The Post understands that while most policies have been nailed down there is still three-way disagreement around Treaty issues,” wrote Whyte.

“It is also understood that there is disagreement around how cabinet will resolve disputes between the parties and how locked in spending commitments will be. The tenor of these tensions revolve around how much power National – the biggest party in government by far – will effectively exercised in cabinet.”

Neither of those sound like issues with a quick fix, and it’s becomingly increasingly apparent we could be waiting several more days for a new government. In addition, wrote Whyte, ministerial positions have still not been decided upon. That’s likely to be the third issue on the agenda (though Luxon has said on various occasions that there is either one, two or three issues still to be resolved).

Meanwhile, political commentator Matthew Hooton told TVNZ he understood the three issues to be the role of attorney-general, the treaty and the foreign buyer’s tax. According to Hooton, who last week wrote an incredibly damning report on Luxon’s negotiating abilities, said he believed NZ First was gunning to have Winston Peters pick up the attorney-general role.

Coldplay returns to NZ for mammoth Eden Park show

Coldplay in Perth (Photo: supplied)

Fresh from playing concerts in Perth over the weekend, British pop-rock group Coldplay has announced a return to New Zealand for the first time in seven years.

The band will play Auckland’s Eden Park in November next year on their seemingly never-ending Music of the Spheres World Tour. Your views on Coldplay’s music aside, it’s pretty undeniable they put on an epic stadium show and their latest looks no different.

Coldplay will also be heading to Sydney and Melbourne on this leg of the tour. Tickets go on sale next Wednesday from Ticketmaster.

The Bulletin: Act and NZ First keen to focus on ‘power of the bench’

Commentary about the political or ideological alignment of the judiciary is something we’re familiar with as part of American politics and media. It is more unusual for it to emerge here. As The Post’s Luke Malpass writes, that looks set to change as Act and NZ First express a desire to look at the “power of the bench – its composition, the sentences it hands down, the precedents and case law it creates”.

Malpass writes both parties seem keen to be much more active in appointing rigorous and black-letter law judges as and when able. Both parties are particularly concerned with emerging case law based on the principles of the Treaty, and the introduction of concepts into the New Zealand common law, such as tikanga. It is, as Malpass writes, one of the reasons Winston Peters is reportedly keen on being attorney-general.

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Labour ‘playing politics’ over call for Gaza ceasefire – National

Gerry Brownlee (Image: Getty Images/Tina Tiller)

The National Party is accusing Labour of “playing politics” over its surprise decision to call for a ceasefire in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

As detailed in The Bulletin, Labour leader Chris Hipkins, who firmly stated he was not speaking as the caretaker prime minister, announced yesterday that his party was demanding a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.

“We are urgently calling for a ceasefire. Israel and Hamas need to immediately ensure the conditions for a ceasefire are met and to commit to a lasting peace in the region,” he said. “I, and the Labour Party, cannot stand by any longer in the face of the horrific scenes we are witnessing without calling for a ceasefire,” Hipkins said.

It was a big call given that Hipkins is also constitutionally still the prime minister and New Zealand’s position on the conflict, agreed to by both Labour and the incoming National administration, has thus far not been so black and white. Hipkins said agreement could not be reached on this statement with National.

As Luke Malpass wrote for The Post, Hipkins’ decision to speak out was likely for two reasons. “First ease some pressure from within the Labour caucus that the party wasn’t denouncing Israel enough and second to ridicule Luxon for taking so long to form government.”

A spokesperson for National hit back and told Newshub that Labour was playing politics. “On Friday afternoon the caretaker government approached National about calling for a ceasefire. In response, National asked to see MFAT advice on the matter – we provided feedback on that advice and indicated we were open to a discussion with Labour on it,” a spokesperson said.

“National was then informed of the Labour leader’s statement four minutes before the press conference commenced.”

Speaking to RNZ this morning, National’s foreign affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said three options had been put forward by the ministry regarding a possible change in New Zealand’s position.

“We liked the first which was that New Zealand moves to join with Australia and Canada in a statement that was essentially calling for a ceasefire but making it clear there were conditions that had to be met,” Brownlee said.

National foreign spokesperson Gerry Brownlee (Image: Getty Images/Tina Tiller)

He said that Hipkins’ call was essentially also for a conditional ceasefire, but the language was different to his party’s view.

“There has to be a whole process to go through and forgiveness on both sides to get to the points where there would be a ceasefire, but stating these conditions is a reasonable position,” he said. “Just calling for a ceasefire is not going to make it happen. We have to have a high degree of diplomacy unfortunately and all around that Israeli and Palestinian people are suffering.”

National wasn’t calling for an absolute ceasefire in the same manner as Labour, said Brownlee, “because there needs to be some degree of desire on both parties in the current conflict to go into that … and both parties [to meet] a number of conditions.”

Christopher Luxon has so far not commented on Hipkins’ move directly. He wasn’t available for the media this morning.