Welcome to The Spinoff’s Election Live for September 12, bringing you the latest on election 2020 and other New Zealand news. Find official Covid-19 information here. For all you need to know about the cannabis referendum click here. For the assisted dying referendum click here. Explore the parties’ pledges at Policy. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The day in sum
Two new cases of Covid-19 in the community were announced. Both are linked to the bereavement events sub-cluster that is epidemiologically linked to the Mt Roskill church group.
Labour announced it would reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance for higher-skilled courses if re-elected, as well as increase the amount of money beneficiaries working part-time could earn.
Labour also pledged to pay the living wage to public service contractors which would include cleaners, caterers and security guards.
The Greens announced its agriculture policy which would see $297 million go towards helping farmers decarbonise and transition to a more sustainable future.
The Māori Party announced its Mokopuna Māori Policy which would see a brand new entity for Māori children established independent of Oranga Tamariki.
6.20pm: Thousands attend anti-lockdown rally in Auckland
Over a thousand protesters gathered in Auckland this afternoon for a “freedom rally” alongside Advance NZ party leaders Billy Te Kahika and Jami-Lee Ross, reports Stuff. Many held signs protesting against the Covid-19 lockdown, 5G, vaccines, the government and the TPPA. The protests have been a regular occurrence since alert level three in Auckland with attendance seemingly growing by the week.
Also in attendance was the woman sentenced to jail for 14 days for breaking out of a managed isolation facility, according to RNZ.
6pm: Today on The Spinoff
Michelle Langstone talked to 17-year-old Aigagalefili Fepulea’i-Tapua’i (aka Fili) about poetry, climate change, deep-seated inequality, and so much more.
Justin Giovannetti took a look at the government’s latest move at the border with more workers and immigrants being given the green light to enter New Zealand.
Alice Webb-Liddall explained why Waikato University is being accused of structural racism, talking to one former and one current staff member who say the issue’s been bubbling away for years.
Sam Brooks wrote about his experience taking a trip to the theatre in level 2.5.
Jean Sergent reviewed Sorrow and Bliss, an exceptional new novel about mental illness, labels, and lovability.
And lastly, Michael Andrew picked out some of the most compelling economic ideas from party leaders who gathered yesterday to pitch their ideas in front of Auckland’s business community.
5pm: How to draw Jacinda Ardern
A brief intermission from policy announcements to bring your attention to the latest Side Eye in which cartoonist Toby Morris teaches us how to draw a different New Zealand politician each week in the run-up to the election, starting with Jacinda Ardern. Below are some attempts from Toby’s colleagues, including one from yours truly on the right who accidentally made the prime minister look very, very sad.
3.30pm: Māori Party wants new independent entity to stop uplifting of children
The Māori Party has announced its Mokopuna Māori Policy which would see a brand new entity established independent of Oranga Tamariki.
The new entity would be responsible for the care of all mokopuna Māori in New Zealand with services “provided by Māori, for Māori, to Māori”. Backed by $600 million in public funding, the entity would also establish a partnership network across Māori organisations, hapū and iwi to ensure mokopuna Māori remain connected to their whakapapa.
“We are at a tipping point and the time has come for us take back our rights as tangata whenua” said Mariameno Kapa-Kingi, the Māori Party candidate for Te Taitokerau, who announced the policy today at an event in Whangarei.
“Our babies make up 70% of children in state care and are effectively funded to stay with people to whom they have no whakapapa connection – mokopuna Māori do not belong in generic state care, they belong within whānau, hapū and iwi.”
In June, children’s commissioner Andrew Becroft spoke about the discriminatory treatment of Māori mothers highlighted by his organisation’s recent review of Oranga Tamariki. The Waitangi Tribunal has since conducted an urgent inquiry into Oranga Tamariki. Over the next few months, the tribunal will consider whether the actions of Oranga Tamariki constitute a breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
1.15pm: Labour promises living wage to public service contractors
Labour has promised to pay the living wage to public service contractors if re-elected for a second term. The policy is an extension of its 2018 initiative to pay at least the living wage to all core public service employees.
The extension will start with cleaners, caterers and security guards. The party has also pledged to progressively expand this commitment to cover contracted workers to the wider state service, including through DHBs, as the Covid recovery allows.
Labour says the move could mean almost an extra $100 a week for a contracted worker who is currently on minimum wage. Currently, the living wage is $22.10 an hour.
“Covid-19 has shone a light on the many workers who do important work in our community but who are not well paid for it. We can do a lot better at lifting wages and easing financial stress for hard-working New Zealanders,” said Andrew Little, Labour’s spokesperson for workplace relations and safety.
The policy is expected to $18 million per year for core government-contracted cleaners, caterers and security guards once fully rolled out.
1pm: Two new cases of Covid-19 in the community
There are two new community cases of Covid-19 to report in New Zealand today. Both new cases have an epidemiological link to an existing case and they are both associated with the bereavement events sub-cluster that is epidemiologically linked to the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group.
One of the cases is a student at Sunnyvale School in Henderson. They were not infectious when they last attended school and Auckland Regional Public Health Service has not identified any close contacts among the school community. The school remains open and safe for students and staff to attend.
There remain 33 cases in the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group and there are now 15 cases in the bereavement events group, which includes the cases whose source of infection was the bereavement events.
Leaders of the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship have actively encouraged all members of the congregation to get retested for Covid-19 and comply with other public health advice such as self-isolation. As a result, the Ministry of Health says that laboratories had registered new tests for 98% of the congregation as of 8am today.
There are now 63 people linked to the community cluster who remain in the Auckland quarantine facility, which includes 47 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and their household contacts.
Today there are three people in hospital with Covid-19 – one is in isolation on a ward in Auckland City Hospital. Two are in ICU, at North Shore and Waikato hospitals.
With today’s two new cases and eight additional recovered cases, New Zealand’s total number of active cases is 108. Of those, 38 are imported cases in MIQ facilities, and 70 are community cases.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.