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blog final may 24

PoliticsMay 24, 2021

Live updates, May 24: Cindy Kiro announced as next governor general

blog final may 24

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for May 24, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day. Get in touch at

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3.45pm: Ardern, Mahuta, call for ‘rule of law’ to be upheld in Sāmoa

The prime minister and foreign minister have both called for the rule of law to be followed in Sāmoa, as the fall out from the recent election continues.

According to local media, the Fast Party – who were given the majority following a Supreme Court ruling – is going ahead with a swearing in ceremony today. That’s despite being physically locked out of parliament.

In a tweet, Nanaia Mahuta said “all parties” in Sāmoa should “show respect for their constitution and democratic processes”.

That’s a message echoed by Jacinda Ardern at today’s post-cabinet press conference.  “We hold a huge amount of trust and faith in the institutions in Sāmoa,” she said.

At this stage, the government has not considered any sanctions. “We are simply not in a position to be playing any interventionist role,” said Ardern.

3.00pm: Cindy Kiro announced as next governor general

Jacinda Ardern has announced that Cindy Kiro (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine) will be the 22nd governor general of New Zealand.

Patsy Reddy’s five year term will end at the end of September this year.

Kiro is a former children’s commissioner and head of the school of public health at Massey University. Currently, she is the chief executive of the Royal Society – Te Apārangi.

“I am delighted Dame Cindy has accepted the role,” Ardern said. “She has a highly distinguished and lengthy career in academic and leadership positions and has made significant contributions across a number of fields and organisations.”

A state farewell for Reddy will be held in September, Ardern confirmed.

Kiro called being the next governor general an “honour” and said she was shocked to have been asked. She is “proudly Māori” and also part British. Her dual ancestry is “a unique marriage” that gives her an “understanding of the foundational basis of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its place in our history”.

She said taking on the role of governor general was an opportunity to serve the country. “This idea about service is a really old fashioned idea, but I think it’s still an important one,” she said. “This notion of service has really gone to the heart of all that I have done… it’s been a career of service mainly for children and young people, and those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Kiro emphasised her “humble” upbringing and said that she knows the importance of hard work.

The governor general’s primary role is to be the Queen’s representative in New Zealand. They also sign into effect any new laws in New Zealand through giving the Royal Assent.

Dame Cindy holds a PhD in social policy and an MBA (Exec) in business administration from the University of Auckland and Massey University. She was the first in her family to achieve a university qualification.

According to Ardern, the Queen said Kiro was “wholly suitable” to taking on the role of governor general. “It was a very enthusiastic ‘wholly suitable’,” Ardern later added.

Kiro said she has not yet spoken to the Queen, but has met her before.

Asked how she felt to be the first Māori woman to hold the role of governor general, Kiro said she hoped young girls could take inspiration from that. “You can reach the very top,” she said. “It truly is incredible to be standing here with this opportunity.”

Dame Cindy Kiro at her investiture ceremony, with Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, in May 2021. Photo: Office of the Governor General

2.30pm: Jacinda Ardern to name next governor general

The prime minister will reveal the next governor general at a 3pm press conference at parliament.

Patsy Reddy’s five year term in the role will end later this year, after she replaced Jerry Mateparae in 2016.

Jacinda Ardern has remained silent on who could take over from Reddy. At this year’s Waitangi Day commemorations she ruled out a former MP moving into Government House, silencing anyone who suggested Winston Peters could be in line for the job.

The Spinoff’s top picks for the new governor general include former chief justice Sian Elias, Winnie Laban, Tureiti Moxon and… Suzanne Paul.

Read more: Who will be the next NZ governor general? We’ve done the odds

2.10pm: Five Countdown stores stop selling cage eggs

Countdown has pulled cage eggs from its shelves – but only in five stores nationwide.

According to Stuff, customers at Countdown’s Milford, Waiheke Island and Grey Lynn stores in Auckland, and Crofton Downs and Newtown stores in Wellington, will only be able to purchase free-range and barn-laid eggs.

The company has previously announced plans to stop selling cage-laid eggs, but that plan won’t be implemented until the end of 2024 in the North Island and 2025 down south.

“Animal welfare is a key concern for our business and our customers, but we’re highly aware that people make purchasing decisions based on a range of factors, including price and what they’re using eggs for,” said Countdown’s spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin​.

“While moving five stores to completely cage-free is a big shift, in these particular stores around 90 per cent of customers are already telling us that cage-free is important to them, so we hope they’ll embrace the change to completely cage-free.”

1.05pm: Two ‘likely’ positive Covid-19 cases in Melbourne

The Ministry of Health is set to provide an update this afternoon after reports of two new “likely” Covid-19 cases in Melbourne.

At this stage, the trans-Tasman bubble is continuing to operate as normal but the new cases – if confirmed – could change that.

Meanwhile, there are no new community cases here in New Zealand with four confirmed in managed isolation.

Two previously reported cases have now recovered. The total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 24.

1.00pm: PM to announce next governor general

We’ll soon know who the next governor general will be.

Patsy Reddy’s five year term in the role will end later this year, after she moved into government house back in 2016.

The governor general is the Queen’s representative in New Zealand, involved in both ceremonial and constitutional matters.

Jacinda Ardern will make the announcement at a 3pm post-cabinet press conference.

The Spinoff’s taken a shot at guessing who could be next in line for the role – take a peek here.

In fact that’s Dame Patsy, but it won’t be for long.

12.20pm: Editorial changes at The Spinoff

Some exciting/major Monday morning editorial news here at The Spinoff.

Toby Manhire will be stepping down as The Spinoff’s editor later this year. He won’t be leaving us, thankfully, and will be taking up a new role within the organisation.

Read more from Toby about the changes here or get the lowdown below:

  • Toby Manhire will be taking up a role as editor-at-large. It will be mostly a writing role (if it’s weighty analysis of issues like the Koru Lounge in political history you’re after, you’re in luck) with a few bits bolted on the side. Toby said he is hoping also to do more podcasting as well, so fans of Gone by Lunchtime – you’re in luck.
  • The new co-editors of The Spinoff will be Alex Casey and Madeleine Chapman. Toby writes: “When I joined the Spinoff in 2015, Alex was already there; Mad joined soon after. Their intelligence, values, sense of humour and nose for a story has defined so much of the spirit and kaupapa of the Spinoff. They’ve consistently set a standard to which the rest of us can aspire.”

11.25am: The Warehouse stops fireworks sales

The Warehouse has announced it will no longer sell fireworks.

According to the Herald, the decision was based on customer research. Half of those surveyed by the company said they preferred to attend public displays rather than have fireworks at home.

“Like any of our product ranges, we assess them and we and make changes accordingly,” said chief product officer Tania Benyon.

“Feedback from our customers shows that while many are supportive of public fireworks displays to mark special events across the year, Guy Fawkes has become less of an occasion, and there are clear concerns about people letting off fireworks at home.”

Last year, firefighters responded to 15 fireworks-related incidents around the country on Guy Fawkes night.

9.55am: Police surround Sāmoa’s parliament over

Another day of political turmoil in Sāmoa as the fallout from the election continues.

The Fast Party – who gained a majority after a recent Supreme Court decision – has moved onto parliament premises along with supporters. However, according to the latest reports from the Sāmoa Observer, police have now surrounded the building.

Fast was expected to declare its majority when parliament met today, putting an end to weeks of disputes over who won the election.

However, the speaker Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi, last night announced that the house would not convene until a new proclamation had been made by the Head of State allowing it.

9.30am: Collins’ travel expenses down after ditching Crown cars

After all but ditching costly Crown cars following the 2020 election, Judith Collins’ transport expenses are well down for the first three months of this year.

According to the Herald, the National leader spent $36,000 on Crown limos during last year’s election campaign. In the new round of expenses, Collins spent just $881 on the taxpayer funded car service, along with $6000 on taxis and $5400 on flights.

Collins stopped using the limos due to the high cost for the taxpayer, with a spokesperson saying she considered it a “burden”.

Meanwhile, prime minister Jacinda Ardern – who cannot opt out of using Crown limos due to security reasons – spent $17,655 in the first three months of the year, along with $6400 on domestic flights.

As the Herald’s report highlights, the cost of election travel is always much higher than normal day-to-day travel expenses.

Ardern’s travel costs for July to September were $42,500 which rose to $46,000 over October to December. Collins spent more than $50,000 on travel over October to December.

8.00am: Act sets its sights on 20 MPs in 2023

It was shocking enough when Act managed to elect 10 MPs in 2020 – now, the party has revealed goals to double that result in 2023.

The Act Party held its annual party gathering yesterday in Auckland, joined by hundreds of party faithful.

Speaking to the crowd, the party’s president Tim Jago dedicated part of his address to the future of the party.

“What does election success in 2023 look like? Let me make it clear, getting our 10 MPs back into parliament in 2023 is not the success measure we are looking for,” he said.

“We need to be big. By big I mean at least doubling our team of MPs,” Jago said.

Party leader David Seymour – who spent six years as the sole Act MP in parliament – told reporters that getting 20 MPs to parliament is not an impossible task.

“You have people who have voted Labour on the back of Covid, but are now saying ‘actually why are you giving money to people for free and nothing for civil servants?'” he said.

“So there’s people from across the political spectrum that I think are interested in coming to Act.”

Seymour said that a lot of Labour voters are now supporting Act, as are a lot of Māori. “They actually have Nicole McKee’s view of who speaks for Māori, not Rawiri Waititi’s view of who speaks for Māori,” Seymour added.

Meanwhile, the party conference also saw plans for extending the parliamentary term to four years along with a performance pay policy for teachers.

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

So, what’s going on? The simplest way of putting it is that there has been a struggle over who has the right to decide whether or not parliament convenes today. The Head of State, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi, and the speaker of parliament say they have the right to suspend parliament. The Supreme Court disagrees. The lead, as it were, has changed hands several times over the weekend. At stake is basically the formation of the next government, because based on the current election results, the opposition FAST party will have a slight lead over the incumbent HRPP, who have governed for many decades. Sina Retzlaff of the Samoa Global News has a piece that captures some of the chaos.

FAST leader Fiame Naomi Mata’afa has gone so far as to call it a “bloodless coup”. Newshub’s Laura Tupou reported last night that the PM-in-waiting suspects that this is being done to protect the 23 year reign of PM Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi. And there have been some seriously worrying developments on that front – in the last week, RNZ Pacific has reported that media were blocked by police from covering proceedings, and that PM Tuila’epa has claimed to have been “appointed by God”, and thus by implication above the law. He has also refused to be sworn in if parliament does convene tomorrow. As said up top, it isn’t remotely clear what happens next, but Radio NZ’s news bulletins this morning included a line about how supporters of both major parties intend to march on parliament today.

An interesting idea about how parliament works that is worth debating: The Act party has proposed that a move to four year terms should be accompanied by reform of the select committee process, so that the opposition has majorities on committees. Party leader David Seymour outlined the idea on Newshub Nation. Electoral law expert Andrew Geddis has some thoughts on both points, and gets into some of the more technical details of the Act proposal.

I’m not that keen on the first part of it, but as a conversation starter, I’ll set out two examples why the second part could work: Firstly, the Epidemic Response Committee chaired by then-leader of National Simon Bridges provided valuable and constructive scrutiny of the government during the emergency phase. And secondly, committees controlled by the Labour majority have occasionally been guilty of taking the piss this term, and wasting everyone’s time in the process. Your thoughts are welcome –

A top martial artist has died in hospital, a week after an alleged unprovoked assault in Auckland. The NZ Herald reports four men have been arrested and charged in relation to the death of Fau Vake, 25, and further charges are likely to be laid against them. Vake was allegedly hit in the head from behind, and the story is likely to lead to debate about whether new laws against such actions are necessary, or whether they can be properly prosecuted under existing legislation. Vake was a father, and a popular member of the City Kickboxing gym, where his loss is being deeply mourned.

Keep going!