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Nov 21 2023

All three parties in agreement over ‘each other’s policy programmes’ – Luxon

Christopher Luxon and David Seymour at Waitangi on February 5, 2023. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Christopher Luxon says his party has signed off policy deals with both Act and New Zealand First and it’s now just a matter of crossing Ts and dotting Is. And, he said, both minor coalition partners had seen and agreed to the deals each has with National.

Discussions are still under way over the shape of the next cabinet, which includes who could take on the role of deputy prime minister. As Toby Manhire writes, that question is not as simple as it may seem – there could be three deputies, maybe, or none at all.

Speaking to reporters outside the Cordis Hotel, Luxon said the only outstanding issues were ministerial responsibilities. “We are in conservations with both party leaders about those positions today and late last night,” he said.

“We have got three parties all agreeing with each other’s policy programmes… and we have now agreed how we are going to operate in cabinet and how we are going to work together.”

Earlier in the day, David Seymour suggested that as the second largest party in government, it would make sense for Act to have more ministerial positions. Luxon wouldn’t say whether Seymour had stepped out of line, but once again invoked “Weet-bix” and suggested the Act leader had been eating too much of it.

The role of deputy prime minister was “largely ceremonial” in New Zealand, said Luxon.

Winston Peters has now arrived at the Cordis and talks with Luxon will be ongoing this afternoon.

Hosking gets slap on the wrist for ‘inaccurate’ comments

hosking

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking, but has opted not to punish him nor his employer.

The complaint was focused on comments Hosking made on his breakfast show when responding to listener feedback about teachers on strike. Hosking said “of course” teachers are paid while on strike, adding “people who go on strike have always been on full pay. They’re supported by the unions'”.

The authority disagreed and found that Hosking’s comments were “materially inaccurate” in the context of the broadcast and that there were no “reasonable efforts” to ensure accuracy.

“While the relevant segments made up a small part of the broadcast overall, we consider stating that striking workers are paid by unions was material in the context of discussing striking teachers and teachers’ unions, and would affect the audience’s understanding of that topic as a whole,” the authority said.

“Recognising that Hosking is in a privileged and influential position as a well-known national broadcaster, we are satisfied that upholding the accuracy complaint in this case does not unreasonably limit the broadcaster’s free speech or prevent Hosking from expressing his views.”

In its decision, the BSA said that publicly calling out Hosking was sufficient as opposed to a penalty. “Publication of our decision is sufficient to publicly notify the breach of the accuracy standard and censure the broadcaster,” the authority stated.

Talks continue at Luxon’s home, ministerial roles now being discussed

Act leader David Seymour (Photo: Getty Images; design: Tina Tiller)

With incoming prime minister Christopher Luxon touting the end of policy discussions between Act and NZ First, the talk has now turned to ministerial roles – and who could be deputy prime minister.

Act’s David Seymour has emerged from a meeting at Luxon’s home, telling reporters it would make sense for his party to have the second largest role within the coalition given it would be providing the second most MPs.

“But having said that, a negotiation’s a negotiation, and you never know your luck,” Seymour said, as reported by RNZ.

Along with the role of deputy, it’s been widely speculated that attorney-general is another position currently up in the air. According to reports, Winston Peters has his eye on it. Writing for the Herald, Audrey Young has suggested National’s Judith Collins, herself a former lawyer, would be the “sensible option” for the coveted position.

Richest 1% generate twice the emissions of two million Pacific Islanders

Different parties have different ideas about how the Emissions Trading Scheme should work Image: Tina Tiller

With the COP28 summit in Dubai a week away, international charity Oxfam has released a new report showing that the carbon impact of the wealthiest New Zealanders is more than the majority of those living in low income communities.

The research shows that the richest 1% cause double the consumption of emissions of all two million people who live in Fiji, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati combined – and more than the 30% of the New Zealand population with the lowest incomes.

The global research also shows that the wealthiest few are responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66%, although the climate emergency is most threatening for those with the least resources to respond. The 1%’s carbon emissions are set to be more than 22 times the amount specified to meet the 1.5°C of catastrophic warming in the Paris Agreement by 2030.

And, the research states, the richest 10% of people are responsible for 50% of emissions. It would take about 1,500 years for someone in the bottom 99% of global wealth to produce as much carbon as the richest billionaires do in a year.

“This report confirms the shocking truth, it is the super-rich who are harming the climate with their extravagant lifestyles and irresponsible investments in dirty industries, not the low-income communities in Aotearoa and the Pacific who are facing the worst of the climate crisis.” said Oxfam Aotearoa climate justice lead Nick Henry.

Oxfam has launched a global petition to “make rich polluters pay”, encouraging governments to tax more wealthy individuals to pay for lowering emissions. The full report can be read here.

The Bulletin: Record number of medical graduates sign up to train as GPs

Some good news in the health sector as a record number of medical graduates have signed up to train as general practitioners from next year. The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners said 239 doctors would start the training programme in January, a 25% increase from previous years. Meanwhile, the Nursing Council estimates between 4-5% of the more than 70,000 nurses with current practising certificates were not working as nurses in New Zealand when they renewed them.

“That’s 3500 nurses, which is nearly as many nurses as would fill the vacancies that we need,” the council said. Nurses Organisation kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said many were just “burned out”, and she knew nurses who had opted to work in supermarkets and one who had joined a roading crew.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 39,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture. 

Was Luxon too quick to say policy deals were completed?

Christopher Luxon at the National Party campaign launch. Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Christopher Luxon may have jumped the gun when he told reporters he had agreed to policy deals with both Act and New Zealand First.

The National leader celebrated a “significant milestone” yesterday afternoon after emerging from Auckland’s Cordis Hotel, saying discussions over ministerial roles were still to be finalised but that policy agreements had been reached.

But that was quickly shot down by both David Seymour and Winston Peters, who signalled that there was still more work to do before a coalition was formed.

“I can understand Chris’s enthusiasm, but I just suspect he’s had one too many Weet-Bix,” Seymour told Stuff. “It’s a bit of over enthusiasm and I can understand it – given the length of time this process has taken.”

Peters similarly suggested there were some more technicalities to tick off. “A few cross-checks to go, and confirmation that the letters and words are right,” he said. Peters was engaged in late night talks with Luxon yesterday.

Newshub’s Jenna Lynch has speculated that the New Zealand First leader could be a “nose” ahead when it comes to the deputy prime minister role. In part, that’s because he has been meeting more often in person with Luxon over recent days. But also because Peters has served as deputy PM in every coalition government he has been part of, while Seymour has routinely reiterated that policy wins are more important than the “baubles of office”.

According to the Herald, Luxon and Peters discussed ministerial posts during their 90-minute talk yesterday, but neither would elaborate.