Sep 23 2022

Campaigners in Ōtautahi join nationwide School Strike for Climate protests

Approximately one thousand people, many of them schoolchildren, marched in Christchurch today as part of School Strikes for Climate protests taking place across the country. After some speeches and a musical performance, protesters marched through the central city and to the Christchurch City Council building on Hereford Street chanting “whose future? Our future!” and “votes, not words”.

The campaigners assembled nine candidates running for council or community boards. Candidates, including ecologist Colin Meurck, councillor Mike Davidson, and community board candidate Harrison McEvoy, committed to the School Strike’s 4 demands: to fund light rail for Canterbury, to support and expand cycleways, to promote sustainable development including intensification, and to create opportunities for climate education in schools and community spaces.

Osa encourages people to vote (Image: Shanti Mathias)

“I want it to be safer to bike to school, and that the council should build more cycleways,” said Anna, a student at Cashmere High School.

“I think council candidates should not put a bunch of money into carbon emissions, and make people more aware of climate change,” said Osa, a student at Hagley College in Christchurch, holding a sign encouraging people to vote.

Image of the day: Rangikura, the official best book cover of the year

Last night the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) held the award ceremony for New Zealand’s annual book design awards, so image of the day today is the winner for “Best Cover” – Rangikura, by Tayi Tibble, illustrated and designed by Xoë Hall. Like everything Xoë draws it’s an electric shock of an image, looking more like a rock star’s album cover than a book cover and smashing the traditional, sedate and polite poetry norms. So good. We’ve got a round up of all the winners here if you’re into judging books by covers (like you should be).

Government invests in gender-neutral changing rooms for FIFA Women’s World Cup

New Zealand is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2023, the largest women’s sports tournament in the world. In preparation, the government is investing around $19 million to support upgrades at 30 of the 32 potential sporting facilities earmarked for the tournament, including pitch, lighting and facility enhancements, and gender-neutral changing spaces.

“Hosting an event of this magnitude will generate significant social and economic benefits for Aotearoa New Zealand and leave a lasting legacy for football and women’s sport in this country,” said minister of sport Grant Robertson.

The upgrades will be made to grounds across the motu, with investment from local councils as well as the venues themselves.

The government’s investment includes $5m through Sport New Zealand for gender neutral changing room upgrades at some of these venues.

“This is an excellent example of how government investment in major events can drive positive, long-term change in our communities,” Robertson said.

Four venues will host matches during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: Eden Park, Waikato Stadium, Wellington Regional Stadium and Dunedin Stadium.

For the first time in the tournament’s history, FIFA has also introduced Team Base Camps – headquarters for each team that include accommodation and training facilities. There are currently 21 venues in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Dunedin, Rotorua, Napier, Palmerston North, Tauranga and Christchurch earmarked for Team Base Camps. Of these, 16 will end up being selected and used by teams throughout the tournament, giving cities and towns throughout the country a “local” team to support.

The FIFA World Cup 2023 is taking place from July 20 to August 20, 2023.

Ps. New Zealand is also hosting a Rugby World Cup in two weeks, with opening day on October 8.

The Bulletin: Government will again consider expelling the Russian ambassador

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the government will again consider expelling the Russian ambassador. Mahuta has had quite the week after the Public Services Commission agreed to her request for an investigation into claims around the handling of contracts awarded to her husband Gannin Ormsby. Mahuta was also the chief negotiator for Ngāti Maniapoto for a short stint before Labour came into government. The King Country iwi secured an apology and $177m redress from Crown yesterday.

The foreign minister’s comments about the Russian ambassador come after Russia expanded its war effort against Ukraine. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, walked out of a UN security council meeting this morning. This account of the first day of draft notices being handed out in Russian towns and cities is pretty sobering.

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‘I’ve done my dash’: Tim Shadbolt admits he’s a ‘lost cause’ in mayoral race

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt (Photo: Getty Images, additional design Tina Tiller)

Long-serving Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt has confessed he expects not to be re-elected next month – but won’t throw in the towel.

Shadbolt has been Invercargill mayor since 1993 following a two-term tenure at Waitemata City in the 80s.

Speaking to The Spinoff, Shadbolt said that after nearly 30 years as mayor of Invercargill he had “done his dash” but would leave it up to the voters.  “Well, I guess it’s in your blood, you know,” he said of his decision to stand again. “It’s hard to shy away from.”

A recent mayoral debate in Invercargill featured nine candidates on stage, but Shadbolt – the 10th in the race – chose not to attend. “I’m having a go but I’m not putting that much of an effort into it because people must know by now what I stand for,” he said. Some of his detractors have questioned Shadbolt’s decision not to campaign, calling it a “cop out”.

The last three years have seen Shadbolt face accusations of a “toxic” environment at council, with an official report stating: “Sir Tim has never been a ‘standard’ mayor and he would acknowledge this. He has always seen himself as a promoter for Invercargill, rather than a ‘policy and process’ mayor.”

Shadbolt told The Spinoff that report was “glaringly inaccurate”.

Read more on the local election race in Invercargill here.

Tim Shadbolt with former PM Bill English in 2021 (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)