NZ takes action against Iran over human rights abuses

It’s the end of October! Thanks for popping by. Get in touch with me on


NZ takes action against Iran over human rights abuses

It’s the end of October! Thanks for popping by. Get in touch with me on

Oct 31 2022

Ardern committed to three waters as mayors launch counter proposal

Wayne Brown meets Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Photo: Auckland Council/Jay Farnworth)

Jacinda Ardern remains committed to the controversial three waters plan, despite a unified front in opposition by mayors from Auckland, Christchurch and Waimakariri.

Wayne Brown, Phil Mauger and Dan Gordon have today put forward a joint proposal that would see aspects of the government’s plan remain, however it would ensure local ownership and control of water assets stayed in place.

“As a nation, we need to find a way move forward in a positive and consensus manner – and stop the ugly and angry Three Waters debate that is dividing our county,” the mayors said.

The response by the mayors instantly drew support from both National and Act. However, Ardern and local government minister Nanaia Mahuta said three waters was still on a trajectory to pass.

“At the heart, we’re all focused on making sure ratepayers don’t experience those large projected increases… then we have common ground,” said Ardern. “The mayors… have a focus in making sure their ratepayers don’t experience a spike in cost of living. We have the same focus.”

Ardern said she would wait and see what recommendations came back from select committee. “We are open to making changes that improve the proposals. But we say that with a complete and utter focus on making sure those changes don’t undermine the fundamental principle which is making sure we don’t see an increase in costs.”

NZ suspends bilateral human rights talks with Iran

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 22: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta talks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 22, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne is on a two-day visit to New Zealand for formal foreign policy discussions with New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta.  It is the first face-to-face Foreign Ministers’ consulations since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

New Zealand has suspended bilateral human rights talks with Iran, the foreign minister has announced.

It comes after the release of two New Zealand travel influencers who had been detained in Iran for 14 weeks, before being released last week. Until now, the government has largely chosen not to condemn the actions of Iranian leaders over fears about what that might mean for the couple in detention.

However, Nanaia Mahuta today said bilateral dialogue between New Zealand and Iran on human rights issues was “no longer tenable”.

“They are denying basic human rights and violently suppressing protests of those who stand up to them,” Mahuta said. “Aotearoa New Zealand continues to be appalled by the use of force by Iranian authorities in response to peaceful demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini last month.”

New Zealand has also signed a joint statement condemning the actions in Iran and calling for an investigation into the use of force by authorities. The prime minister has also signed an open letter coordinated by a global collective of women including Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde and Malala Yousafazi calling on UN Member States to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“New Zealand has repeatedly called on Iran to show restraint and to guarantee and protect the rights of its people. We have in the past sought to raise our concerns over human rights in Iran bilaterally. But for this to be effective and credible it must be accompanied by a willingness to listen and to change,” said Mahuta.

Jacinda Ardern, at a post-cabinet press conference, said Iran was “moving backwards” on human rights. “We have always believed in dialogue and diplomacy… but we also believe in sending clear messages on behalf of those who are least able to.”

The dialogue between New Zealand and Iran will be on hold indefinitely, confirmed Ardern.

Santigold pulls out of Splore: ‘My body is saying no’

Santigold has pulled out of her headlining performance at Auckland’s Splore music festival just days after a frank and raw interview with Rolling Stone in which she called touring unsustainable and said: “Your body tells you when it’s time to stop doing something if you listen … my body is saying no.”

The American performer was a big drawcard for the long-running annual festival, which is due to return to Tapapakanga Regional Park across the weekend of February 24-26 after taking this year’s event off due to Covid. Other headliners include Kae Tempest, Bret McKenzie, Future Islands and Empress Stah.

Splore’s main stage is set on the beach. (Photo: Dane Scott)

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Santigold – known for hits like Disparate Youth, who last performed here at Rhythm & Vines in 2009 – said she’d cancelled all dates for the planned tour in support her latest album Spirituals because it would lose her money and the stress was affecting her mental health.

“I was being asked to do something that was undoable,” she said. “I was like, ‘This is stupid. It makes no sense. And you’ve got to stop before you kill yourself.’”

She’s among a number of artists who have cancelled tours or postponed dates citing their health lately, including Justin Bieber, Arlo Parks and Shawn Mendes. Santigold said she’d return to touring when it made more financial sense. “I love shows, I love my fans, I would love to play shows for them. But I can’t kill myself to do that,” she said. “I just can’t do it right now. It’s zero sense in it.”

A spokesperson for Splore said it would announce more additions to its line-up in November.

Covid-19 latest: Over 20,000 cases in past week, 323 now in hospital

Image: Toby Morris

New Covid-19 cases almost averaged 3,000 every day over the past week, according to the latest Ministry of Health update.

In total there were 20,522 cases over the past week, with the seven-day rolling average of new infections sitting at 2,926.

Hospitalisations have also surged to 323, with eight now in intensive care. That compares with the 243 in hospital just six days ago.

The rolling average of new deaths declined to two every day, with the overall death toll up by 18. That includes 11 cases definitively linked to the virus and the remaining seven so far unconfirmed.

Joel Little’s Big Fan is opening with a series of intimate shows

Joel Little inside Big Fan, a multi-studio suite and live music hub. Photo: Supplied

Big Fan, the Auckland recording studio set up by big wig Aotearoa music producer Joel Little, is officially opening in November with a string of intimate showcases from local artists. Tickets today go on sale for shows by rap duo Church & AP, There’s a Tuesday, Mermaidens and Leisure.

Based in a renovated industrial space in Morningside, Big Fan is a community-minded project with four studio spaces and a small live music venue. Little and his wife Gemma have spent the past two years making the space over and spent millions on the project. They hope it’s used by young acts starting out in their careers as well as some of the big name artists Little has made music with.

Big Fan/Joel Little
Gemma and Joel upstairs at Kingsland music hub Big Fan. Photo: Supplied

“I’ve had people help me all the way through my career. It feels nice to hopefully be that person for someone else,” Little told The Spinoff during a walkthrough earlier this year. “We just want it to be used as much as possible, by as many people as possible.”

Little began his career in the pop-punk outfit Goodnight Nurse but found fame with his Grammy-winning work with Lorde on her debut album Pure Heroine and the hit single ‘Royals’. He’s gone on to enjoy a lengthy career, working with Khalid, Imagine Dragons, Taylor Swift, Broods and Alessia Cara.

Big Fan’s run of shows includes Church & AP on  November 11, There’s a Tuesday + Rita Mae on November 17, Mermaidens + School Fair on November 18 and Leisure on November 19. A studio open day is being held on November 12.

Along with the opening of Big Fan, Morningside will soon celebrate its first live outdoor concert with Morningside Live Block Party, a one-day event held on February 5 headlined by Fat Freddy’s Drop.

‘Nostalgia’ dominating Trade Me Halloween searches

Image: Radio NZ

Happy Halloween to those who celebrate/are forced to endure.

Research from Trade Me has revealed a surge in “nostalgia” when it comes to costume choices this year. Classic 80s looks have topped the Halloween searches, along with costumes from Netflix series Stranger Things.

“Nostalgia is big this Halloween, with searches for ‘80s costumes’ increasing by a whopping 41 percent since this time last year,” said Trade Me’s spokesperson Millie Silvester. “It seems Kiwi are taking more of a fun approach to their costumes this year and steering clear of scary looks.”

There’s also been an overall 6% rise in sales across the board – though after the pandemic I think people are just desperate for anything that involves leaving the house.

Trade Me has also reported that classics like Spiderman, Buzz Lightyear and Top Gun have made the top five.

The Bulletin: Poll puts NZ First in kingmaker position

Stuff’s Thomas Manch and Anna Whyte look at the government’s record of delivery over the last five years this morning. They zone in on promises to increase the number of police, build houses, lift the minimum wage, lift kids out of poverty,  plant trees and increase spending on medicines.

Manch also has new poll results from Horizon Research that put New Zealand First (NZF) in the position of kingmaker. The poll has support for New Zealand First at 6.75% and was conducted a week after NZF leader Winston Peters launched the party’s 2023 campaign at its annual conference. The margin of error is 3.5%.

The poll placed Labour at 31.37% and National at 28.32%.

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.  

PM shuts down resignation rumours once again

Jacinda Ardern. (Photo by Mark Mitchell-Pool/Getty Images)

I’d still bet on those resignation rumours floating around until next year’s election, but hopefully they’ll be kept exclusively on Twitter. Jacinda Ardern has – once again – shut down rumours she’ll be stepping down before polling day in 2023.

The claims appear to have first emerged in a NBR column by Rachel Smalley, with the broadcaster later adding on her Today FM show that she had no Beehive sources but simply suspected the PM might want to quit. From there, the rumour gained further credibility after making the Herald via commentator Bryce Edwards.

Speaking to RNZ this morning, Ardern said she had “no intention” of changing her position as Labour leader. “If I had a dollar for every rumour… I can also clarify I’m not moving to New Plymouth,” she said (I had not heard this rumour, but Ardern repeated it on Newshub too – did she start it?)

Asked whether she’d subsequently see out the next term if she wins, Ardern added: “When you run for an election you run to win and you run to stay.”

And your Bird of the Year winner is…

The pīwauwau / rock wren. (Photo: CC BY 2.0 Andrew / Flickr)

The pīwauwau/ rock wren has taken out the annual Bird of the Year contest.

It came in ahead of the little blue penguin and the kea.

Campaign leader for the rock wren (a line I never anticipated typing) Stephen Day told RNZ the bird was lesser known than some of its competitors. “Unless you’d spent some time in the mountains, you’d probably never heard of a rock wren until two weeks ago. It’s a true underbird,” he said.

But with two time winner kākāpō off the ballot, it was likely this year would be won by a so-called “underbird” (especially after last year’s bat debacle).

Asked for comment on this year’s champ, prime minister Jacinda Ardern admitted to Newshub she hadn’t voted – but was always loyal to the black petrel.