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James Shaw and Marama Davidson arrive at the Green Party election night event. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images; additional design by Tina Tiller)

LIVE UPDATES

Greens call for local elections to be run by the Electoral Commission

It’s Friday September 30 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members.


The agenda

  • The Green Party is calling for local government elections to be run by the Electoral Commission rather than private companies
  • Kelvin Davis apologises to Act MP Karen Chhour over “vanilla lens” comment
  • There’s yet another new streaming service in town
James Shaw and Marama Davidson arrive at the Green Party election night event. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images; additional design by Tina Tiller)

Greens call for local elections to be run by the Electoral Commission

It’s Friday September 30 and welcome along to The Spinoff’s live updates, made possible by our members.


The agenda

  • The Green Party is calling for local government elections to be run by the Electoral Commission rather than private companies
  • Kelvin Davis apologises to Act MP Karen Chhour over “vanilla lens” comment
  • There’s yet another new streaming service in town
Sep 30 2022

Auckland theme park’s official reopening thwarted by rain

At Action Ninja World, there’s a challenge for everyone. Image: Tina Tiller

A ninja-themed action park north of Auckland forced to close for months after a legal scrap with a neighbour has had its grand reopening thwarted by rain.

Action Ninja World, an all-ages theme park based at Matakana Country Park, was supposed to return to action tomorrow, but heavy rain forecasts have seen the park’s reopening delayed by a day. It will now be held on Sunday, October 2.

“Unfortunately, the weather is forecasted to be raining all day on Saturday 1 October and therefore, we’re extremely disappointed to let you know, Action Ninja World will be closed this Saturday,” a note on the park’s official website said.

Action Ninja World
One of the challenges on offer at Action Ninja World. Image: Supplied

The park was forced to close a day after we published 1000 words raving about the park, praising its level of difficulty, sturdy challenges and addictive qualities for kids. The park includes everything from trapeze swings to climbing frames, zorb ball courses and water slides.

The Spinoff later discovered a High Court ruling had quashed the park’s resource consent, previously approved by Auckland Council, over a complaint with a neighbour, who said the park was bigger and generated more noise than originally planned for. The neighbour’s son had suffered a “traumatic brain injury and … is badly affected by the constant noise from the adventure playground”.

Action Ninja World didn’t respond to questions about how this situation has been resolved, but it appears that the park has officially been cleared for a return to business. Asked for comment, my kids responded: “Yay!” They also asked: “When can we go again?”

Image of the Day: Burn, baby, burn

Today’s image of the day is more of an image of the night: this is what a Spinoff staff member woke up to see in the street outside their house at 2am this morning. Sorry to whoever’s car this used to be.

Don’t worry, darlings, Rec Room is back

The Spinoff’s culture and recommendation newsletter is heading back to your inboxes from Monday. Written by deputy editor Catherine McGregor, Rec Room will bring you all the latest in pop culture from here and around the world, as well as curated recommendations from someone who knows what’s what.

Produced in partnership with Panasonic, sign up to Rec Room today and be in to win one of five Technics True Wireless Earbuds (it’s free to subscribe so you’ll win even if you don’t win some earbuds).

When the Facts Change: The build-to-rent solution

Bernard Hickey When the Facts Change season 2

Private rentals owned by “Mum and Dad” landlords are expensive and unstable, making it difficult for tenants and their tamariki to settle into their communities and schools. As renting becomes a long-term reality for more and more of us, is there a better way? In this episode of When the Facts Change, Bernard is joined by Helen O’Sullivan, CEO of Crockers Property Group, to talk about one possible solution, and what policy tweaks the government needs to make to help it grow.

Listen below or wherever you get your podcasts.

Greens call for local elections to be run by the Electoral Commission

Off to sun his navel in Valencia, probably. Illustration: Toby Morris

Non-arriving voting papers and misleading information on voter eligibility point to a need for local body elections to be run by the Electoral Commission, says the Green Party, which is seeking an amendment to the Government Electoral Legislation Bill to shift responsibility from individual councils to the central organisation.

“People’s right to have a say in how their community is run is sacred,” said the Greens’ electoral reform spokesperson, Golriz Ghahraman, in a statement. It is absurd that governments have designed a system that forces councils to contract this most basic of human rights to a private company. The job of running our elections belongs to the Electoral Commission – and never before has that been clearer.”

She said: “I have been horrified by the stories this week about people not getting their voting papers in the mail and others being told incorrectly that they cannot vote. It is one of the effects of previous governments designing a system that has handed over the job of running elections to councils themselves, who more often than not contract the job to private companies … It is absolutely clear that we need local elections run by the independent crown entity the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission have experience running nationwide elections and get out the vote campaigns and are focussed on the public interest and not private profit.”

Parliamentary committee inquiries into both the 2016 and 2019 local elections have called for centralisation, with proponents saying turnout, participation and representation would be enhanced if the Electoral Commission and its key staffer, Orange Guy, were in charge, rather than councils and private companies. Response from both Labour and National has, however, been lukewarm. Read more here.

Surprise! Another TV streaming service has landed in NZ

Not all streaming services will survive the next few years warns one expert. Image: Tina Tiller

If you’re not a savvy switcher yet, now might be the time to become one: American cable giant AMC, the home of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead series, has announced it is launching a new TV streaming service in Aotearoa this weekend.

Subscribers to AMC+ will pay $9.99 a month for access to shows including Moonhaven, Dark Winds, Tales of the Walking Dead and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. AMC+ subscribers will also get access to the streaming services Acorn and Shudder, and access to AMC’s back catalogue, including Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire, Portlandia and Brockmire.

AMC+ joins a plethora of pay TV services already available in the country, including Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, Neon, Amazon Prime Video and Sky Sport Now. Free services include TVNZ+ and Three Now.

AMC+
A scene from Tales of the Walking Dead, available on AMC+.

“AMC+ is a destination for groundbreaking dramas and epic fan-driven franchises,” says general manager Courtney Thomasma. “We are thrilled to bring our slate of critically acclaimed original series directly to audiences in New Zealand for the first time and look forward to kicking off with the global premiere of our newest franchise Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire this Sunday.”

The massively fragmented streaming market looks set to continue with a new HBO streaming service due to launch by 2024, and rumours of the imminent launch of Paramount Plus. Some industry watchdogs point to the recent share valuations of Netflix and Disney as reasons the streaming industry has passed its peak.

The Bulletin: Act MP Karen Chhour accepts apology from Kelvin Davis on ‘vanilla lens’ comment

Māori-Crown relations minister Kelvin Davis (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The minister for children made the comments in the House on Wednesday. Chhour has accepted Davis’s apology saying she thinks it’s genuine but said she felt hurt and that her mana had been diminished. “Growing up I always felt lacking in my identity and I finally found that confidence to stand as a proud Māori woman and it was taken away from me yesterday,” said Chhour. For me, it brought to mind this from Nadine Anne Hura on legitimacy, belonging and identity. Hura writes “The truth is, there is no single legitimate way to be Māori. Or perhaps more accurately, there are many ways to be Māori — just as there are many ways to be Pākehā.”

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