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Nov 30 2023

Coldplay announce record-breaking third Eden Park gig

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Coldplay will become the first musical act to play three nights at Auckland’s Eden Park when they visit the country in a year’s time.

The band has just announced a third and final show at the venue as part of their global and seemingly never-ending Music of the Spheres world tour. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, alongside additional tickets for the first and second shows.

During yesterday’s presale, over 200,000 people were concurrently trying to purchase tickets for the initial dates of the tour. Coldplay has also announced fourth shows in Sydney and Melbourne, rivalling Taylor Swift for the biggest concert event down under in 2024.

Wayne Brown’s plan to make more people use public transport

Mayor Wayne Brown chairs a meeting of the Auckland Council governing body. Photo: Toby Manhire

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has unveiled a proposal he says will encourage more uptake of public transport around the city.

He’d like to see a $50 cap on public transport costs per person per week, which would cover bus, rail and inner harbour ferry services.

“We need to get the most out of what we’ve already got and focus on doing more for less. This is just one example of a practical cost-effective improvement that can make a big difference for Aucklanders,” said Brown.

The new $50 cap would automatically be applied to Hop at an estimated cost of $1.3 million. Next year will also see people able to use their phones to tag on and off public transport.

Kiri Allan court appearance deferred to February

Kiri Allan in January 2023 (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The former justice minister Kiri Allan has revealed she pleaded not guilty to a charge of failing to accompany a police officer in order to test a grey area in the law.

Allan’s case, which related to a political career-ending car crash in July, was set to be heard in the Wellington District Court this week but has now been adjourned until February.

The ex-minister has denied the two charges she’s facing, including careless use of a motor vehicle.

But speaking to the Herald, Allan said her decision to fight the charge of failing to accompany a police officer was “based on the legal principle that all New Zealanders are entitled to consult with a lawyer”.

While Allan admitted she could have pleaded guilty to the charges and dealt with them away from court, she said the police did not allow her access to a lawyer immediately after her arrest.

“The route of taking the matter through the courts will be incredibly exposing, it will be costly, and it will require a personal attendance in the court. This is a significant decision to make and the sole focus in these circumstances is to ensure that both the police and New Zealanders have certainty about when the right to legal counsel is available.”

Read more here

Invercargill Airport to be renamed for Tim Shadbolt

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt (Photo: Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images)

Former Invercargill mayor and national icon Tim Shadbolt will lend his name to the terminal at Invercargill Airport.

The city’s councillors have agreed to pay tribute to Shadbolt’s eight-term tenure as mayor. He was first elected in 1993 and, aside from one term, held the position consistently until 2022.

“Sir Tim’s contribution to Invercargill is undeniable. I’m pleased we were able to honour him in a way that suitably reflects his long-lasting legacy to our community,” said current mayor Nobby Clark.

Shadbolt was a director of the airport during his time as mayor, the council said, and was a “leading proponent in extending Invercargill Airport’s runway to ensure it was suitable for international and larger aircraft”.

Plans had not been finalised, but proposed changes at the airport included signs that read Sir Tim Shadbolt Terminal, as well as storytelling signage detailing Shadbolt’s background and input to both the airport and the city.

Shadbolt may have left politics last year, but he was still on the ballot. Ahead of the 2022 local elections, Shadbolt told The Spinoff it was hard for him to think about not running for mayor. “I guess it’s in your blood, you know… it’s hard to shy away from, but now, I think I’ve done my dash at 30 years,” he said at the time.

Former Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt (Photo: Teaukura Moetaua/Getty Images)

Labour unveils reshuffle, long-serving MPs shunted down

Chris Hipkins and his probable competition (Image: Archi Banal)

Labour leader Chris Hipkins has unveiled a portfolio and list reshuffle as his party readies to hold the new coalition government to account.

The line-up brought ministerial experience that National, Act and NZ First lacked, said Hipkins, and included six women and four men in the top 10.

“I am incredibly proud and humbled to have this team alongside me as we take up the important job of opposition,” said Hipkins.

“The election didn’t go Labour’s way and we have work to do to make sure Kiwis know and feel that Labour backs them. I have absolute confidence our team will work with communities right across the country to build this support back.”

The top three on the list are no surprise. After Hipkins comes deputy Carmel Sepuloni and finance spokesperson Grant Robertson, who has lost his sports portfolio. Megan Woods is number four, while Willie Jackson is now the highest-ranked member of Labour’s Māori caucus at number five.

Kieran McAnulty has moved up the list and becomes shadow leader of the house, while Ginny Andersen is safe within the top 10 despite recent bullying allegations. Hipkins said he had “full confidence” in Andersen and the list ranking reflected that. Jan Tinetti has fallen back slightly, but rounds out the front bench.

Some of the biggest drops appear to be for Kelvin Davis, Damien O’Connor and David Parker who fall at the end of Labour’s shadow cabinet, or top 20.

Hipkins said that Davis had made it clear he wanted to step away from the frontline this term and that rankings in opposition didn’t matter as much as they did in government.

Pair of kiwi chicks first to be born in Wellington wild for 150 years

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Two baby kiwi are the first to be born in the Wellington wild for over 150 years.

The Capital Kiwi Project has, for more than five years, run a 4,600-strong stoat trap in the hills south-west of Wellington. Once predators had been deemed under control, 11 North Island brown kiwi were released into the wild in 2022. Another pair followed in February this year and 50 more were released in May.

With the two chicks, hatched around a week ago, the known population in the area is now 65.

“This is a massive milestone for our goal of building a wild population of kiwi on Wellington’s back doorstep,” said project founder Paul Ward. “It is a wonderful Christmas present for Wellingtonians and the ultimate in thanks for our iwi, landowners and local communities that have supported the project so passionately.

“While this is hugely exciting, it is early days. These chicks now need to fend for themselves in the wild. The coming months are vitally important as they grow and put on weight to the point that they can fend off stoats with their big claws.”

The baby kiwi (Image: Supplied)

Tory Whanau off work with Covid-19

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau (Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau is off work with Covid-19, the day after admitting to an alcohol issue following media questions.

Whanau told RNZ she was seeking “professional help” after reports of drunken behaviour in public, with the Herald reporting that a video “may be” circulating in the public domain.

Today, Whanau confirmed she had contracted Covid-19 for the fourth time and would be spending the week away from council offices.

”I am… looking forward to getting stuck back into the mahi,” Whanau told the Herald, thanking people for their support.

”I hope others who may be struggling with alcohol issues can see that there is support for you out there also. That you can still seek help and still commit to your passions, work, family, friends in a way that is meaningful.”

The Bulletin: The public servants considered to be under the microscope

As the Herald’s Claire Trevett and Thomas Coughlan write (paywalled), “There’s a fair bit of bad blood between some ministers in the new National-Act-NZ First government and a range of other public servants, diplomats and political appointees to public bodies.” As they explain, ministers do not hire or fire government department CEOs. However, some public service roles are appointed on the recommendation of the prime minister or a minister and are considered political appointments.

Trevett and Coughlan list Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr, police commissioner Andrew Coster, Steve Maharey (chair of Pharmac and ACC)Trevor Mallard (ambassador in Ireland) and Phil Goff (high commissioner to London) as those whose positions may be at risk following the change of government. Prime minister Christopher Luxon expressed confidence in Orr after yesterday’s OCR call (paywalled), saying it was “very clear” he and Orr were “united” in their goal of combatting inflation.

Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 39,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.

Whanau’s admission of drinking problem earns mixed response from councillors

Mayor Tory Whanau said the council has spent too much to walk away from the Town Hall.

Wellington’s mayor is facing a mixed response from her own council after revelations of a drinking problem.

As RNZ reported yesterday, Tory Whanau’s “drunken antics” at a Wellington venue were captured on footage two weeks ago. The mayor since confirmed she has sought professional help.

So far, once councillor – Nicola Young – has called for Whanau to resign. “Wellington deserves better,” she told Sean Plunket’s The Platform today. Young urged Whanau to continue seeking help, but believed a byelection was needed.

On Newstalk ZB, Young said that the mayoralty wasn’t a job you could do with “addictive issues” and blamed Whanau’s recent absences from council on her drinking.

”Her behaviour has become an embarrassment for the city,” said Young. ”I’m getting clear feedback that she’s lost the trust and confidence of Wellingtonians.”

Others on council have expressed concern for Whanau, with Rebecca Matthews telling RNZ that she hoped “more people in public life would be a bit honest about the struggles that they face because these are hard jobs and whatever problems you have, they do come to the surface”.

“I have seen her be professional and a decent leader. These are not issues that have come into the workplace that I have seen but none of us is perfect.

Another councillor, Diane Calvert, wouldn’t expressed confidence in the mayor but said she was surprised by the public admission of a drinking problem.

“I hope she’s getting the help she needs and as an organisation we will be supporting her but I think the key thing is that as a mayor you do have quite a specialist role, and in particular if there is an emergency you have certain powers, and so we need to make sure we also keep our city safe going forward.”

Councillor Tony Randle told the Herald that the issue could mean Whanau was unable to carry out her role. “I am sympathetic about Tory’s drinking problem, and it may explain her being increasingly distant from many councillors. But she has a huge job as mayor, especially when our city has so many major challenges,” said Randle.