Live updates, June 14: Official apology for Dawn Raids to be made by government

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for June 14, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day. Get in touch at stewart@thespinoff.co.nz

3.40pm: I was misled over new biography, says Ardern

A new biography of the prime minister, titled Jacinda Ardern: Leading with Empathy, has been raised at this afternoon’s post-cabinet press conference. The book is in part based on an Ardern interview with co-author Supriya Vani, despite the prime minister having a policy of not participating in biographies. The interview in question, Ardern told reporters, was conducted in 2019, and she was told it was one of many interviews for a book about women and leadership. Was Ardern therefore misled, she was asked. “Clearly I was.”

Ardern was also asked about the proposed film about the response to the March 15 “This is a very raw event for New Zealand. Even more so, of course, for the community that experienced it. I agree there are stories that at some point should be told … But they’re the stories of the Muslim community, they need to be at the centre of that.”

3.35pm: A Polynesian Panther on the impact of the Dawn Raids

Today’s announcement of a formal apology for the Dawn Raids came after years of calls for official recognition from those directly affected by the police actions, and from those in the wider Pacific community. In March this year The Spinoff published a call for an apology from Melani Anae, a member of the Polynesian Panthers, a social justice movement that was formed in 1971 and which rose to prominence in the wake of the Dawn Raids of the 1970s. She wrote:

“Random checks were made by the Auckland Police task force, targeting anybody who was brown, demanding proof of residence or citizenship. Māori were also stopped. The only other place in the world where this was taking place was in apartheid South Africa, under their pass laws.

“This was a traumatic time for Pacific peoples especially those who directly experienced the terror of the Dawn Raids. Their wellbeing was forever compromised. The effects of harm, hurt and feelings of abject shame still persist among many Pacific peoples even after almost 50 years – as do the stories of brokenness of both individuals and families.”

Read the full article here.

3.20pm: Prime minister to be vaccinated this week

Jacinda Ardern is set to get her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this week. The PM has long said she did not want to get the jab too early and cut in line, but also wanted to be a role model for people hesitant to get vaccinated.

Speaking at today’s post-cabinet press conference, Ardern confirmed she will get her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday in Auckland, alongside her chief science advisor, Juliet Gerrard.

Also this week, Ardern will reveal further details around the group four vaccine roll-out. At this stage, the general public won’t be able to get the jab until late next month but the details of how people will be able to book an appointment remain unknown.

3.10pm: Government to issue official apology for Dawn Raids

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has announced plans for a formal government apology for the trauma and harm suffered by Pacific peoples, Māori and other immigrant groups during the era known as the Dawn Raids of the 1970s.

“The Dawn Raids were a defining moment in New Zealand’s history and the emotional harm caused by them remains etched in the living memory of those who were directly impacted,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Communities at the time felt targeted and terrorised and there is clear evidence the raids were discriminatory and have had a lasting negative impact.“An apology can never reverse what happened or undo the damage caused but we can acknowledge it and we can seek to right a wrong,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Minister for Pacific peoples Aupito William Sio said the government apology is an opportunity to promote a reconciliation process for those directly impacted by the Dawn Raids.

“It will also help Pacific youth stand up with confidence and pride about their identity as Pacific Peoples of Aotearoa,” Sio said.

“I am hopeful that the apology will affirm New Zealand as a country where every person irrespective of their colour, gender, sexual orientation or religious beliefs should be treated with dignity and respect.

“The apology will be delivered in a culturally appropriate way and is an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our Pacific communities in Aotearoa and our Pacific neighbours.”

The formal government apology for the Dawn Raids will be held at a commemoration event on the 26th of June in the Auckland Town Hall.

Top stories:

2.05pm: Abuse in care inquiry to hear from Lake Alice survivors

Survivors from the Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital will today share their stories during a hearing of the abuse in care inquiry.

As RNZ reports, young patients of the clinic were subjected to electroconvulsive therapy and large doses of medication during the 1970s.

One of those speaking is Hake Halo, a man of Niuean descent who claimed he received ECT as a punishment during his stay at the facility. He will discuss the psychiatric and emotional consequences of his experience at Lake Alice and the impact on his relationships and ability to work.

It’s believed around 300 young people stayed at the facility between 1972 and 1978, but no official records were kept.

1.15pm: Two people still in hospital with Covid-19

Two people remain in Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital with Covid-19, the Ministry of Health has announced.

Both are said to be in a stable condition after they were moved from the Jet Park quarantine facility last week. While the ministry has not acknowledged it in today’s update, it’s understood one of the two patients has been moved into intensive care.

“For privacy reasons, no further details about these patients’ care will be released,” said the ministry.

Meanwhile, there are no new Covid-19 cases in the community with one new case in managed isolation. The total number of active cases in the country is 27.

1.05pm: Apology for dawn raids later this month – reports

The government is set to formally apologise for the dawn raids later this month, according to TVNZ.

It’s understood Jacinda Ardern will outline plans for the apology at today’s post-cabinet press conference.

The dawn raids saw immigration officials targeting the homes of alleged “overstayers” from the Pacific Islands during the 1970s and 80s. Governments have long been pushed to apologise, with that call being bolstered in recent months via a petition, open letter and the Human Rights Commission.

12.10pm: NZ producer on mosque shooting film quits after backlash

A New Zealand producer on a controversial film about the Christchurch mosque shooting has quit the production following the backlash.

Titled “They Are Us”, the film received widespread condemnation following reports it would centre on the political response to the attack by Jacinda Ardern, to be played by Rose Byrne.

Philippa Campbell, a producer who initially defended the project, said she has listened to concern from the Muslim community and decided not to work on the film.

“I now agree that the events of March 15, 2019 are too raw for film at this time and do not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress,” Campbell said in a statement.

“When I was approached to work on the film I was moved by the filmmakers’ vision to pay respect to the victims, their families, and those who assisted them. This was reinforced by research interviews undertaken by producer Ayman Jamal with members of the Muslim community in Christchurch,” she said.

Campbell said she had hoped that telling the story of “swift gun control action” might resonate in America. “I deeply regret the shock and hurt the announcement of the film has caused throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. The announcement was focused on film business, and did not take enough account of the political and human context of the story in this country.”

Jacinda Ardern this morning distanced herself from the project. “While there are many stories that should be told at some point, I don’t consider mine to be one of them. They are community stories and family stories,” she said.

The film is not yet in production and is set to be pitched for funding at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jacinda Ardern’s office have confirmed they have no involvement in the proposed film, which would star Rose Byrne. Photo: Getty

11.25am: Covid-19 patient moved to intensive care

A patient with Covid-19 in Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital has been moved to intensive care.

They’re one of two Covid patients being treated at the hospital, with the other person reportedly in a stable condition.

As the Herald reports, it’s unclear when this patient was moved to the ICU. Yesterday’s media release from the Ministry of Health made no mention that one of the cases had been transferred.

As of yesterday, the total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 27 – all linked to international travel and detected in managed isolation.

11.05am: EV rebate won’t be enough for people to ditch petrol – MTA

The Motor Trade Association doesn’t believe the government’s new electric vehicle rebate scheme will drive a switch from petrol vehicles.

Under the scheme, people will be able to claim up to $8000 back on a new electric vehicle registered after July 1.

The MTA’s chief executive Craig Pomare told RNZ it’s not going to be enough as petrol cars will remain significantly cheaper.

“Even if I take the $8000 subsidy off that, it’s still a $20,000 difference on a new EV in some instances,” he said. “So whilst it’s a great leap forward there’s still a big gap between the price of that new EV and a very, very good model petrol or diesel.”

It was also unlikely that New Zealand would be able to import enough electric vehicles to make a real difference, Pomare claimed.

“But the big manufacturers overseas are saying this side of 2030 it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to produce enough – certainly along the lines of what the government is looking for.”

Electric vehicles charging at a station in Newmarket, Auckland. (supplied)

9.35am: Fiji’s PM rejects calls for lockdown as Covid cluster spirals out of control

More than 150 Covid-19 cases were recorded in Fiji over the weekend, but the country’s prime minister is pushing back against calls for a lockdown.

The nation’s Covid outbreak has grown to more than 1000 cases overall since April, with the opposition calling for a state of emergency.

In his first address to the nation since the outbreak began, Frank Bainimarama said locking down was the wrong move.

“Those who now call for 28 days of lockdown misunderstand the virus and disregard what that order would mean for our people,” he said. “Shutting down completely is a drastic measure; one that we cannot completely guarantee would even work.”

Bainimarama claimed a lockdown would lead to permanent economic damage for Fiji.

“People’s jobs may never return. We’d suffer structural unemployment through the permanent loss of industries. I cannot allow that to happen and I will not.”

Back in May, The Spinoff reported on the spiralling outbreak. Suva resident Vijay told us Covid had not been on the minds of Fijians for months. “We were just going around doing normal things with no problems,” he said. “And then this one case has multiplied like hell.”

7.55am: ‘Very soon’ – PM not involved in mosque attack movie, but won’t sign petition

Jacinda Ardern has once again distanced herself from an upcoming film production about the Christchurch mosque attacks, saying it feels “very soon and very raw”.

But, she won’t be signing a new petition calling for the film to be canned.

Titled “They Are Us”, the undated movie is expected to star Rose Byrne as Ardern and will be set in the aftermath of the tragic 2019 shooting.

Speaking to TVNZ’s Breakfast, Ardern said she had no idea about the film until hours before it was announced. “I have no involvement or no knowledge,” she said. “While there are many stories that should be told at some point, I don’t consider mine to be one of them. They are community stories and family stories.”

During a subsequent appearance on The AM Show, Ardern was asked whether she would sign a petition to stop the film. She said that people would be pretty “outraged” if she started to sign petitions to stop films being made. “I am part of the government I am meant to be the one that hears people on these things. I don’t think it’s my job to tell movie makers what they can and cannot make,” she said.

At this stage, the petition has more than 56,000 signatures.

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

Over the weekend, the government announced a rebate scheme for electric vehicles. As explained by RNZ, the scheme will see people who buy new electric and hybrid vehicles able to claim up to $8625 back from the government. People will be able to claim the rebate from the start of next month, while a levy on higher emitting vehicles – the way the rebate is paid for – will kick in from the start of next year. According to the government, the scheme will help ensure uptake of EVs and lower-emitting vehicles increases. “Our transport emissions are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand so we need to start taking action now if we are going to meet our 2050 targets,” said transport minister Michael Wood.

The Green Party are claiming the announcement as a victory that was only achievable without NZ First in parliament. “As Associate Transport Minister last term, this was one of my highest priorities. Ultimately we were prevented from getting it over the line by NZ First, but not this time,” Julie Anne Genter wrote on Facebook. James Shaw, the climate change minister, says electric vehicles are often unaffordable for people. “As technology develops and more manufacturers decide to stop making petrol and diesel cars, the cost of low emissions vehicles will come down,” he said in a statement. “However at the moment they are still more expensive to buy. [This] announcement helps to address that. It will ensure more families can enjoy the benefits of low emission vehicles and their lower maintenance and running costs.”

But, the Opposition has slammed the scheme and claimed it breaks the government’s promise not to introduce any new taxes. Both National and Act were highly critical of the announcement, with Judith Collins labelling it a “punitive car tax” and accusing the government of prioritising Tesla owners over ute users. The party’s transport spokesperson Michael Woodhouse agrees. “Labour’s car tax policy will unfairly hurt farmers, tradespeople and low-income earners for whom low-emission vehicles will still be too expensive or unsuitable for their lifestyle,” he said in a statement. “We don’t think it’s fair to make tradies pay more for a Hilux so wealthy executives can get a discount on their next electric car.”

According to Act’s David Seymour, the government has brought in a new tax by stealth. “Labour is breaking its promise to not introduce new taxes by slapping new taxes on tradies, farmers and large families,” he said yesterday. “The social justice wing of the Green Party should ask why the party is prepared to tax people who drive cheap, reliable cars, just so the well-off environmental wing can buy a Tesla.”

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