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Chris Hipkins formally sworn in as PM

It’s Wednesday, January 25 and welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund and you can email me on

The agenda

  • Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni have been formally sworn in as New Zealand’s next prime minister and deputy.
  • Jacinda Ardern earlier left parliament to formally hand in her resignation.
  • There will be a post-cabinet press conference at 3.30pm this afternoon.
  • Annual inflation remains at a high, but static, 7.2%, according to the latest Stats NZ figures.

Chris Hipkins formally sworn in as PM

It’s Wednesday, January 25 and welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund and you can email me on

The agenda

  • Chris Hipkins and Carmel Sepuloni have been formally sworn in as New Zealand’s next prime minister and deputy.
  • Jacinda Ardern earlier left parliament to formally hand in her resignation.
  • There will be a post-cabinet press conference at 3.30pm this afternoon.
  • Annual inflation remains at a high, but static, 7.2%, according to the latest Stats NZ figures.
Jan 25 2023

Hipkins reiterates plan to rein in projects – but won’t say what

Chris Hipkins at parliament in 2020. Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty

New prime minister Chris Hipkins has reiterated his plan to rein in some government projects over the coming weeks. But, he would not comment on what projects could be on the chopping block.

Speaking at his first post-cabinet press conference, Hipkins once again said his government would be focused on the “bread and butter” issues that New Zealanders care about the most. His focus would be on leading New Zealanders and their families through difficult times, admitting that household budgets were “being stretched”.

While the government had been doing its bit to bring spending down – referencing today’s latest inflation figures – Hipkins said “there is more to do and the fight must and will continue”.

Tomorrow will mark Hipkins’ first engagement as prime minister, when he will meet with business leaders in Auckland. “I’ll be there to ask questions of them and to listen to accelerate the important relationship between business and the government,” he said. One of the main topics he was expecting to hear about was the global labour shortage.

Any announcements on reining in projects would come in the weeks ahead, said Hipkins, and not before next week’s planned cabinet reshuffle.

Watch: Hipkins to front first post-cabinet press conference

Fresh from being sworn in as our new prime minister, Chris Hipkins will answer questions from media after a cabinet meeting was held this afternoon.

You can tune in below, thanks to RNZ.

Everything Everywhere All At Once leads Oscar nods, shock best actress nomination

Everything Everywhere All at Once leads the pack with 11 nominations

With the biggest news in entertainment that I somehow forgot to include this morning, here is Sam Brooks:

Nominations for the 95th Academy Awards were announced this morning, with indie breakout Everything Everywhere All At Once leading with 11, trailed by both The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front with nine apiece.

The best picture category was rounded out by Avatar: The Way of Water, Elvis, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness and Women Talking. Michelle Yeoh made history by being the first Asian woman nominated for best actress in 87 years, and a record-breaking number of Asian actors received nominations (four, of which three were for the cast of Everything Everywhere All At Once and one for Hong Chau’s work in The Whale).

Everything Everywhere All at Once leads the pack with 11 nominations

The biggest surprise, however, is Andrea Riseborough’s nomination for best actress for the little seen To Leslie. Riseborough’s unorthodox late-breaking campaign has been enough to make eyebrow-raised headlines. In short, To Leslie debuted almost a year ago at the SXSW festival, to kind reviews, and received a very limited release. Over the past few weeks, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron and Edward Norton have been posting on social media about how underseen the film is, and praising Riseborough’s work in it in general.

Few expected Riseborough to actually nab a nomination, and it’s a sobering reminder that even though the Oscars are televised to millions of people across the world, they’re essentially industry awards voted on by industry. As The Wrap pointed out, Riseborough would only need just over 200 #1 placement votes from the acting branch’s 1,300 members to clinch a nomination.

There has also been backlash to the nomination, with many pointing out that Riseborough’s nomination likely came at the expense of either Viola Davis (for The Woman King) or Danielle Deadwyler (for Til), a sign that, well, these are mates voting for their mates or who their mates tell them to vote for – and a lot of the people who make up the Academy are still very, very white.

Overall, it’s a slate of nominees that I doubt many expected at this time last year. For my money, it’s a great litmus test of what people generally liked this year, which is ideally what the Oscars should be, with a few undersung heroes in there – my personal favourites are a surprise best supporting actor nomination for the always excellent Brian Tyree Henry in the really good Causeway (stream on AppleTV+!) and a best costume design nomination for Mrs. Harris in Paris, which is entirely correct.

You can read the full list of nominations here, and watch the Academy Awards broadcast on March 13 (New Zealand time).

Wayne Brown gives two interviews from 108 requests

Mayor Wayne Brown and principal advisor Jenny Marcroft (right) set up the first Auckland Council meeting. (Photo: Jason Dorday/Stuff)

Auckland’s mayor Wayne Brown accepted just two interview requests from media during his first month of office. That’s despite 108 requests made by journalists.

RNZ’s obtained figures showing the total breakdown of requests to Brown’s office, revealing 54 out of the 108 were declined outright, while statements were provided in response to the rest. The two interviews granted were to Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking and 1News’ Katie Bradford, with outlets like RNZ, Today FM and, yes, The Spinoff all being ignored.

The differences between Brown and his predecessor Phil Goff were notable from the very beginning. However, the new mayor’s dislike of the media places him in even stark contrast. Goff was only too keen to get behind the microphone. Guyon Espiner joked on Morning Report today that Goff would probably have given 108 interviews from just two requests.

Mayor Wayne Brown and principal advisor Jenny Marcroft (right) sett up the first Auckland Council meeting. (Photo: Jason Dorday/Stuff)

New Zealand (officially) has its 41st prime minister

Incoming prime minister Chris Hipkins leaves caucus, followed by deputy PM to be Carmel Sepuloni. Photo: Marty Melville/Getty

A smiling Chris Hipkins has officially been sworn in as the 41st prime minister of New Zealand. Carmel Sepuloni becomes the first Pacific person to take on the deputy role.

The ceremony took place at Government House in front of senior government representatives such as Grant Robertson and Kelvin Davis.

The new prime minister will get straight to work, chairing his first cabinet meeting this afternoon and then addressing media for the first time since the ceremony at 3.30pm. It’s not expected that press conference will bring with it any huge revelations, though Hipkins has signalled he will be adjusting the government’s major policy priorities. A cabinet reshuffle will be announced next week.

Annual inflation remains at a high 7.2%

Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images

The consumers price index rose by 7.2% in the year ending December, Stats NZ has reported.

That follows another 7.2% annual increase in the September quarter and an even higher 7.3 point bump in June.

Housing and household utilities was the largest contributor to the December annual inflation rate, Stats NZ said. This was due to rising prices for both constructing and renting housing.

Prices for building a new house increased 14% across 2022, following a 17% increase in the 12 months to September. “Respondents reported more expensive materials and higher labour costs are driving the increase of building a new home,” Stats NZ’s consumer prices senior manager Nicola Growden said.

After housing and household utilities, the next largest contributor to the annual increase was from the food group. “Higher prices for ready-to-eat food, vegetables, and meat and poultry drove the overall increase in food prices,” Growden said.

Meanwhile, quarterly inflation was up 1.4% in December, pushed by rising prices across those same groups: housing and household utilities, food, and recreation and culture.

Jacinda Ardern leaves parliament to hand in resignation

(Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Jacinda Ardern has left parliament for the last time as prime minister, hugging colleagues and waving to hundreds of supporters along the way.

The outgoing prime minister left the Beehive about 10am, heading to Government House for a private audience with the governor general. She was wearing the same dress as on the day she was first announced as prime minister back in 2017.

Reports from parliament show a large turnout of Ardern fans along with her caucus colleagues. Some were visibly emotional. Ardern was pictured embracing her colleagues during an impromptu guard of honour.

Her successor, Chris Hipkins, will head to Government House this afternoon to be formally sworn in.

Jacinda Ardern hugs friends and colleagues (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Bulletin: UK looking to attract more Māori, Pasifika on working holiday visas

Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva talks to British high commissioner Iona Thomas about the United Kingdom’s push to get more Māori and Pasifika people accessing the holiday visa scheme. As part of the free trade deal signed between the UK and New Zealand last year, the bilateral arrangement that gives young people from one country the ability to work in the other for a limited period of time was enhanced.

The age limit for applicants will lift to 35 and the visa duration will extend from two years to three. Josiah Tualamaliʻi, a co-founder of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation Trust, says young Māori and Pasifika could benefit immensely from efforts to reduce barriers to accessing the visas.

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Hipkins to be sworn in as PM: How the day will play out

Carmel Sepuloni and Chris Hipkins (Photo: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty)

It’s a big day in politics with the swearing in of a new prime minister: Chris Hipkins.

But first, the outgoing leader Jacinda Ardern needs to formally hand in her resignation to the governor general. That will take place shortly after 10am, when Ardern will depart parliament for the last time as prime minister. She’s not expected to stop for comments but you can expect a bevy of media will be there to capture her leaving the Beehive.

Then, about an hour later, Hipkins and his new deputy Carmel Sepuloni will travel to Government House for their official swearing in ceremony. That’s set down for 11.20am.

It’s straight to business for the new prime minister who will then front his first caucus meeting and, at 3.30pm, hold his first press conference as the country’s new leader.

We’ll have rolling coverage throughout the day.

Carmel Sepuloni and Chris Hipkins (Photo: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty)

‘Passing of an era’: Tributes flow in for Titewhai Harawira

WAITANGI, NEW ZEALAND – FEBRUARY 05: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sits alongside Titewhai Harawira (L) for the powhiri on the upper marae at Waitangi on February 05, 2019 in Waitangi, New Zealand. The Waitangi Day national holiday celebrates the signing of the treaty of Waitangi on February 6, 1840 by Maori chiefs and the British Crown, that granted the Maori people the rights of British Citizens and ownership of their lands and other properties. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Leading Māori activist Titewhai Harawira has died at the age of 90, prompting a wave of tributes from those who knew her best.

You can read a bit about Harawira’s life in The Bulletin, but for many she will be remembered for her confrontations with various prime ministers, often at Waitangi.

An emotional John Tamihere told TVNZ Breakfast that Harawira was an extraordinarily opinionated person who could polarise people. “But we celebrated her 90th birthday last year… 90 years of relentless pursuit for her people,” he said. “I just wanted to say it’s the passing of an era, never to be replaced.”

Harawira’s legacy, said Tamihere, included her children and grandchildren – both her “boys” and her “fearless daughters”.

“I think the country is much better for her being here, even though she was a polarising figure,” he added.

Speaking to RNZ, close friend Dame Naida Glavish called her a “protector” more than a protester. “She didn’t bow to pressure from anyone, government or otherwise. She was staunch and true to her cause.”

Meanwhile, Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson thanked Harawira for her “lifelong dedication to advancing te ao Māori interests” along with her “feisty, staunch activism”.

Outgoing PM Jacinda Ardern sits alongside Titewhai Harawira in 2019 (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)