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LIVE UPDATES

National ahead of Labour in new TVNZ poll

It’s Tuesday, September 27 and welcome back to another week of The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. Anyone else still recovering from daylight saving? Just me? I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • A new poll shows National, with the support of Act, could form a government.
  • Police falsely reported cars as “stolen” in the hunt for the women that sparked a snap Northland lockdown in late 2021.
  • Government lifts worker cap.
  • The number of Covid-attributed deaths in New Zealand has now topped 2,000.
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National ahead of Labour in new TVNZ poll

It’s Tuesday, September 27 and welcome back to another week of The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members. Anyone else still recovering from daylight saving? Just me? I’m Stewart Sowman-Lund, reach me on stewart@thespinoff.co.nz


The agenda

  • A new poll shows National, with the support of Act, could form a government.
  • Police falsely reported cars as “stolen” in the hunt for the women that sparked a snap Northland lockdown in late 2021.
  • Government lifts worker cap.
  • The number of Covid-attributed deaths in New Zealand has now topped 2,000.
Sep 27 2022

New TVNZ poll shows National, with Act, could form a government

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A new poll has the two biggest political parties neck and neck – but National, with the support of Act, could form a government.

The latest TVNZ Kantar Public Poll has National steady on 37%, with Labour up one to 34%, Act and the Greens on 9% and Te Pāti Māori on 2%. New Zealand First is on 3%, but without an electorate seat would not return to parliament on this result.

That would give National 49 seats and with Act’s 12 would be able to form a government. Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori would amass a combined 59 seats – just short of the magic number.

While the result isn’t great for Labour, it’s the first time the party hasn’t dropped in the TVNZ poll since December 2020 when it was riding high post-election on 53%.

This latest poll comes after scandals for both National and Labour, with both the Sam Uffindell bullying report and the claims levelled by rogue former Labour MP Gaurav Sharma. It also follows the death of the Queen and the return of prime minister Jacinda Ardern to the international circuit, with high profile visits to both London and New York.

Other major events over the past seven weeks (since the last TVNZ poll) include the KiwiSaver tax flip flop, major flooding at the tip of the South Island and the scrapping of politically controversial Covid-19 regulations.

“You’ve seen very recently some significant changes that have been made, only a few weeks ago, that I think give cause for optimism in the future,” said Ardern of the end of Covid restrictions. “For instance, the fact we have certainty for the first time in three years coming into summer.”

In the preferred prime minister poll, Jacinda Ardern is ahead on 30% with Christopher Luxon on 21% (down one point from the last poll).

When those surveyed were given the option between just Ardern and Luxon as prime minister, the incumbent PM gained 47% while Luxon was not far behind on 41%.

Boost to seasonal worker scheme announced

Orchard workers in Hawke’s Bay. (Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle)

As hinted at earlier today, the government has confirmed another 3,000 regional seasonal workers will be allowed into the country.

It brings the RSE worker cap up to 19,000, with the ministers in charge of the scheme saying it will provide relief to the pandemic-impacted horticulture and wine sector.

“The additional 3,000 places is a 19% increase on the previous season and acknowledges the industry’s current needs based on  strong growth, and the lower number of working holiday makers onshore right now,” said the immigration minister, Michael Wood.

“We are listening to industry, and worked closely with horticulture and wine sectors to ensure we strike the right balance by incentivising local employment, bringing in further additional workers, and also requiring working conditions to be improved.”

The boost to the RSE scheme won’t mean local workers aren’t hired, according to agriculture minister Damien O’Connor. The cap maintains pressure on employers to recruit New Zealanders “where possible”, he said, and to “improve pay and conditions for workers”.

O’Connor added: “Agriculture exports earned a record $53billion last year, and it’s critical to our recovery that we have the workforce to continue maximising production and earnings.”

In the wake of concerns raised about the treatment of RSE workers, Wood also announced new mandatory sick leave provisions. “That is in addition to the pre-existing minimum wage requirement of $22.10, which we introduced during the pandemic,” said Wood.

Image of the Day: Is that a mushroom on your ceiling?

Beware the ceiling mould (Photo: Supplied)

Our first Rent Week image of the day is bleak. Very, very bleak.

Beware the ceiling mould (Photo: Supplied)

As you’ve probably noticed, it’s Rent Week on The Spinoff where we’re investigating the ups and downs (lots of downs) of life as a renter. It also means our inbox is overflowing with stories and photos, and to be frank, a lot of them are pretty grim. This one is from Michelle who says: “Our landlord refused to fix a leaking shower and it turned into this, mushrooms and all”.

How are you supposed to live here and not get sick?

Local screen producers voice concern over changes to NZ On Air funding

Image: Tina Tiller

In a statement released today, the New Zealand screen producers’ guild (Spada) voiced its concern about changes to the level of funding for NZ On Air and how it will impact the local production sector.

As Duncan Greive noted last week, $84m in government funding that previously sat with NZ On Air will now go directly to the new public media entity, Aotearoa New Zealand Public Media (ANZPM).

Spada president Irene Gardiner said the news of NZ On Air’s funding cut “was not unexpected, but it does highlight what some of the risks to the local production sector might be as we move towards ANZPM.” Gardiner said the changes in broadcasting policy are the biggest “in a generation” and would need to be done right.

“SPADA would like clarity on exactly what funding for local production this leaves with NZ On Air, and what the total amount across both NZ On Air and ANZPM will be. We are hoping there is still room for NZ On Air’s funding to be topped up a little to enable strong local content across all platforms.”

Spada intends to lobby government for both entities to be funded sufficiently to deliver on local production outcomes, including through an oral submission on the ANZPM bill select committee this week. “We have always said that this policy change is only worth doing if it is funded adequately. Both the ANZPM and NZ On Air must be strong and healthy,” said Gardiner.

Covid-19 update: Death toll passes 2,000, nearly 10,000 cases over past week

Image: Toby Morris

The number of Covid-attributed deaths in New Zealand has now topped 2,000.

The Ministry of Health has released its latest weekly update on the state of the pandemic, revealing an additional 54 deaths linked to the virus over the past week. It brings the overall death toll up to 2,030.

Among the latest deaths was a child under 10 and a person in their 30s.

Meanwhile, there have been 9,809 new cases of Covid-19 reported over the past week. On average, the daily total is now 1,398.

In hospital, there are 166 people being treated with Covid-19 and eight now in intensive care.

This is only the second ministry Covid update since the traffic light framework, which included mandatory mask wearing in certain settings, was dumped by the government.

Watch: Alice Snedden’s Bad News on prisons

Photo: Alice Snedden’s Bad News

We’ve been throwing baddies behind bars in Aotearoa since around 1840, but what if there was an alternative to the prison system altogether? And what if we already had one here, but then colonisation stuffed everything up for us? In the latest episode of Alice Snedden’s Bad News, the comedian speaks to Corrections CEO Jeremy Lightfoot, prison abolitionist Emmy Rākete and formerly incarcerated comedian Angella Dravid about the limitations of our current prison system and what we can learn from alternatives around the world (and from our own history).

NZ prepared to deal with financial ‘uncertainty’, says Robertson

Grant Robertson announces cost of living package extension on July 17 (Photo: Getty Images)

The finance minister says New Zealand is prepared to deal with a rocky time for the global economy.

The New Zealand dollar has crashed to one of its lowest results since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

Grant Robertson told RNZ that financial “uncertainty and turbulence” would be difficult – but that New Zealand was well positioned. “We’ve got low unemployment, low public debt, we’ve had reasonable economic growth over the period of Covid and we’re as well positioned as anybody is coming out of there, but it doesn’t stop it being challenging for people,” he said.

“So we’ve got to continue to work with our exporters, our importers, work with New Zealand families and households to get through what is a turbulent time.”

However, Robertson, who has been acting prime minister in recent days, warned that inflation would remain high for a longer period of time. “We’re going to continue to work hard to make sure that we’re supporting both households and businesses with strong economic policy.”

Rejoice, it’s poll day!

Image: Getty Images, additional design by Tina Tiller

Happy poll day to all who celebrate. Tonight, at 6pm, TVNZ will release its latest Kantar Public poll. 

It will take into account a dramatic period for both National and Labour, with the results of the unreleased Sam Uffindell report and the leaks from ousted MP Gaurav Sharma. The last TVNZ poll was released on August 8 and therefore did not include either of the above incidents.

That last poll showed National ahead on 37% to Labour’s 33%. With the Act Party’s support, the poll showed a right wing coalition could be formed on the numbers.

The new poll will also take into account the passing of the Queen and the prime minister’s return to the overseas media circuit in both London and New York.

We’ll bring you the details tonight.

Image: Getty Images, additional design by Tina Tiller

The Bulletin: Government considering lifting number of RSE workers

The government is currently considering whether to lift the number of RSE workers able to come from the islands to New Zealand from 16,000 to 19,000. Green MP Teanau Tuiono says that any increase to the RSE numbers should be stopped while a planned review of the system was brought forward. That review is meant to be taking place next year.

This morning, Stuff’s Kirsty Johnston has details of the conditions RSE workers were living in Rotorua. They were deemed “unacceptable” by the Labour inspectorate and in breach of immigration rules.

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.  

Police falsely listed cars as stolen in search for women linked to Northland lockdown

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Police falsely reported cars as “stolen” in the hunt for the women that sparked a snap Northland lockdown in late 2021.

At the time, it was believed the women may have crossed the locked down Auckland border under false pretense. However, it was later revealed that it was in fact a bungle by government officials that allowed them to leave the super city.

The Herald’s David Fisher has now reported just how the police tried to track down the women once they had reached Northland. It’s now known that police invented a crime, listing cars linked to the women as stolen, in an effort to work out their location. By listing a car as stolen, police gain access to privately held numberplate data from companies that operate a large number of CCTV cameras nationwide.

Using this software, police were able to find the women in Whangārei.

A spokesperson for Police National Headquarters said it was not known whether officers had falsely reported cars as stolen on other occasions so as to access the powerful network of cameras.

“A vehicle should not be entered into a police database as stolen unless circumstances indicate it is stolen.”

Read the full report here.