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Live UpdatesJul 26 2022

Shaw’s route back to co-leadership now less bumpy

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 26, bringing you everything you need to know this Tuesday. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere has announced she won’t be seeking the party’s co-leadership.
  • It makes the route for James Shaw a little easier, but he still has to get the backing of Green delegates.
  • National MPs Ian McKelvie and David Bennett are quitting politics at the 2023 election.
  • Covid-19 update: 9,256 new community cases and 822 in hospital.
blog-july-26.jpg

Shaw’s route back to co-leadership now less bumpy

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for July 26, bringing you everything you need to know this Tuesday. I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, you can reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere has announced she won’t be seeking the party’s co-leadership.
  • It makes the route for James Shaw a little easier, but he still has to get the backing of Green delegates.
  • National MPs Ian McKelvie and David Bennett are quitting politics at the 2023 election.
  • Covid-19 update: 9,256 new community cases and 822 in hospital.
Jul 26 2022

Police respond to threats against five North Island schools

Police responded to threats made against five schools in the North Island today. The schools were in Waikato, Thames, and Gisborne.

According to a statement, police do not believe there is any “specific safety risk” and “investigations into the source of the threats are ongoing.”

Police thanked the schools for following their emergency procedures and to the wider school communities for their co-operation.

Grant Robertson to attend Commonwealth Games, visit Paris

Deputy prime minister Grant Robertson is jetting off for Europe tomorrow, with obligations under both his finance and sport portfolios.

He’s heading first to France and then to the UK where he will meet with political, sport and business leaders. On August 2, he’ll be in Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.

“I am thrilled to be able to attend the Commonwealth Games to support all our athletes who have trained hard over the past four years for this event,” said Robertson. “This is especially impressive as they have been contending with disruptions caused by the global pandemic.”‘

Robertson will be back in New Zealand on August 8.

Covid-19 update: 9,256 new community cases, 822 now in hospital

There have been 9,256 new community Covid-19 cases reported overnight, bumping the seven-day rolling average of community cases to 8,335. That’s lower than a week ago when the rolling average was 9,534.

There are now 822 people with Covid-19 in hospital, including 24 in intensive care. Waikato now has the most hospitalisations – 100 – followed by Waitematā – 99.

The Ministry of Health has updated the Covid-19 death toll, which now sits at 1,396 deaths confirmed as attributable to the virus. This includes people who either died from Covid or it was a contributing factor. The seven-day rolling average of the increase in deaths attributable to Covid-19 is now 17.

 

Luxon’s Facebook said he was in Te Puke. Turns out he was in Hawai’i

If you were casting a glance over National leader Christopher Luxon’s social media last week, you’d quite possibly have thought he was in Te Puke.

In reality, he was in Hawai’i (which I don’t think has ever been mentioned in the same sentence as Te Puke before).

A video posted to Luxon’s Facebook page last week said he was visiting “the heart of kiwifruit country” – a visit he had actually made a week earlier. “I love getting out into the regions to explore places like Te Puke,” the accompanying Facebook post read.

(Image: Luxon’s FB)

But speaking to media today, Luxon admitted he was actually holidaying with his family in Hawai’i. “I was on leave last week with my family. I went to Hawaii with my family as I tend to do in July,” Luxon said.

He did not believe his social media post was disingenuous. “The reality was my social media team released what I’m up to over a given week,” Luxon said. “The reality for me is I was here in the middle of a week in recess working really hard as I was up and down the country, and the week before I was overseas in Ireland, Singapore and the UK.”

And, Luxon said, he was not at former prime minister John Key’s Hawai’i house.

Households face highest annual cost of living on record – new stats

New figures confirm households across the board have faced the highest annual increase to the cost of living on record.

The cost of living for the average household increased 7.4% in the June 2022 quarter compared with the June 2021 quarter, according to Stats NZ. The cost of living for the highest-spending households increased 8.1%, while it increased 6.5% for the lowest-spending households and beneficiaries.

That represents the highest annual hike to the cost of living since 2008 when records began.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: we’ve all been hearing a lot in recent months about the cost of living crisis. Inflation also jumped to its highest in more than 30 years earlier this month.

The jump in living costs was mainly due to higher prices for housing and petrol, which impacted all household groups.

“The official cash rate, used by the Reserve Bank to control inflation, increased from 0.25% in June 2021 to 2% in June 2022,” said consumer prices manager Fiona Smillie. “This is reflected in higher costs for interest payments for households with mortgages.”

Read more from Stats NZ here

The Bulletin: Trial of accused in connection with Labour and National Party donations starts

The trial was meant to start yesterday but was adjourned. Three of the accused are seeking continued name suppression, while another three who have been named, are also charged in connection to National Party donations in 2020. Both cases will be heard together in a judge-alone trial.

After questions from the press gallery yesterday about last week’s High Court acquittal of two individuals connected with the NZ First Foundation, prime minister Jacinda Ardern indicated that parliament may seek to close loopholes that breach the “spirit” of the law. Ardern stressed she was speaking in general terms and not about any specific case. Ardern also said there wasn’t enough time to close the loophole before the 2023 election.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 36,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.  

Elizabeth Kerekere ends Green co-leader speculation

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere will not be standing for the co-leadership of the party, paving the way for James Shaw to return to his role.

Kerekere had previously signalled she would consider standing and had not publicly offered her support to Shaw.

In a new statement, issued via the Green Party, Kerekere said she has decided not to run for the top job.

“Like many of my fellow MPs, I received many messages following the AGM asking me to stand and some members asking me to support other candidates,” she said.

“I have taken the time to reflect and discuss with my whānau, party members and Caucus colleagues once we were all in a clearer head space before making any decisions regarding the outcome of recent events.”

Shaw has received few outright endorsements from within his own caucus, but no one has so far said they will stand against him. Marama Davidson and Eugenie Sage were first to say they backed Shaw for the job.

In her statement, Kerekere said the Green Party needed to listen to its members who had signalled “a desire for accountability” from the co-leaders. “I believe this election presents an opportunity for any and all candidates who may run to clearly state the progressive, left-wing values which are the only way to achieve the critical system shifts we need to uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi, address climate change and inequality, and protect biodiversity,” she said.

Read more: Ex-Green MP Gareth Hughes on the leadership tumult

Two National MPs announce they’re quitting politics

National MPs Ian McKelvie and David Bennett have announced they’re quitting politics and will stand down at the 2023 election.

McKelvie is the National MP for Rangitikei and has been in the role since 2011. “In my time, I have had three members’ bills pass through the house which I have been incredibly proud of – ranging from livestock rustling, speeding up court processing for dog control offences, and giving racegoers the option to BYO drinks, if a club holds an appropriate liquor licence,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bennett, a Hamilton-based list MP, has been in parliament since 2005. He said it was an “honour” to serve in the last National government and remained confident that Christopher Luxon will lead the next one. “I will continue to advocate for vital infrastructure and the people of Hamilton until the next election,” he said.

Ian McKelvie and David Bennett (Photo: National Party)

Luxon paid tribute to the two departing MPs. “Both David and Ian have been absolute stalwarts for their local communities, and have worked incredibly hard to give their constituents a voice in Wellington,” he said.

“Thank you both for your commitment and service to the people of New Zealand. You will be missed.”

The two exits mean Luxon will have the opportunity to campaign alongside a pair of new National candidates ahead of the election.

The Green MP not ruling out a run against James Shaw

James Shaw could have a challenger from within his own caucus – and it’s not Chlöe Swarbrick. 

The Green Party co-leader has been forced to reapply for his job after failing to receive the backing of his party’s delegates. Shaw remains the obvious frontrunner, though it’s emerged that one of his own team could throw their hat in the ring against him: Elizabeth Kerekere.

Speaking to media yesterday, Kerekere said she’s heading back to parliament today and will release a statement after a caucus meeting. She did not reject the possibility of running for the co-leadership, telling Newshub she was “still considering” her options.

“An opportunity has come up. It’s a bit messy, let’s be honest. I am saying, is this a good time, or is it not?” she added.

Kerekere certainly has a lower public profile than Swarbrick and possibly is best known for the time she broke Covid-19 restrictions despite being the party’s Covid spokesperson.

However, Kerekere’s name had already been thrown around as a possible leadership contender. It was reported by Claire Trevett over the weekend that Kerekere had already been contemplating a run – and may have had a hand in the move by party delegates to reopen nominations.

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

The Spinoff has asked all Green MPs whether they are considering going up against Shaw. So far, just a spokesperson for Chlöe Swarbrick has responded. They directed us to her Facebook comments on the issue.