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blog upd april 30

PoliticsApril 30, 2021

Live updates, April 30: Brisbane bubble breacher tests positive for Covid-19; Advance NZ reprimanded by Facebook

blog upd april 30

Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for April 30, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day. Get in touch at

3.15pm: Political reaction to Waitangi Tribunal report into state care

Returning to one of the biggest news stories from the day. Earlier – as reported in these live updates and by The Spinoff’s Charlotte Muru-Lanning – the Waitangi Tribunal concluded that the Crown’s care and protection system had breached te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Unsurprisingly, since then, here has been a wave of reaction to the groundbreaking news. Here is some of that, below:

‘Complete overhaul’ – The Māori Party

Co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is calling for a “complete overhaul” of Oranga Tamariki following the Waitangi Tribunal’s report. “The Waitangi Tribunal findings prove that Oranga Tamariki has fundamentally failed to uphold its obligations to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and must be completely overhauled from the ground up,” said Ngarewa-Packer.

“It’s not surprising that the Tribunal has confirmed the need for our proposed by Māori, to Māori, for Māori approach to child protection.”

State care system needs to focus on children not race – Act Party

Act’s children spokesperson Karen Chhour said the Waitangi Tribunal has “missed the point” with its findings. She said that Oranga Tamariki is broken for all children, not just Māori. “I was a Māori child in state care and I can tell you that Māori children aren’t that different, they just need to be loved, fed, educated and not abused by the people who claim to care for them,” said Chhour. “We need to do what’s in the best interest of a child regardless of the colour of their skin.”

Chhour said Oranga Tamariki should be entirely focused on the best interests of the children – and not the Treaty.

Oranga Tamariki ‘beyond repair’ – National Urban Māori Authority

A statement from the Authority said that today’s Waitangi Tribunal report confirms that Oranga Tamariki is “beyond repair”. Chair Lady Tureiti Moxon said her mind was blown by the findings. “Everything we’ve been pushing hard for in terms of ‘by Māori, for Māori’ or mana motuhake and an independent Māori Authority, has been validated,” she said.

State care system must be ‘transformed’ – Children’s Commissioner 

Children’s commissioner Andrew Becroft and assistant Māori commissioner Glenis Philip Barbara both welcomed the Waitangi Tribunal report. “The Tribunal’s comprehensive report is the latest evidence that the state care and protection system is not working for Māori and must be completely transformed,” Becroft said.

“The Tribunal’s findings are an historic acknowledgment of the harmful impact of structural and systemic racism and of the consistent calls from whānau for change since 1925.”

Barbara agreed: “The call for the Crown to ‘step back from further intrusion and allow Māori to reclaim their space’ and take responsibility to lead the transformation is in itself, transformational,” she said.

2.05pm: Journalist Simon Wilson ‘flabbergasted’ after Nigel Cox award win

The Spinoff’s books editor Catherine Woulfe writes:

Congratulations to Auckland journalist and institution Simon Wilson: he has just won the 2021 Nigel Cox Unity Books Award, a prize that recognises “excellence in writing and the importance of an author’s reading life” and assumes the form of a $1000 Unity Books voucher.

Nigel Cox died of cancer in 2006. His business partner at Unity Books, Jo McColl, and his wife, Susanna Andrew, founded this prize four years later. The pair took great delight in blindsiding Wilson with the award, as is tradition, after luring him to the store under the pretence of catching up for coffee.

McColl said: “When I open the paper and see a piece by Simon Wilson I swear I hear a collective readership sigh with pleasure”. Andrew added: “His crusade is for making sure that the city shrugs off the mantle of  ‘Big Smoke’ and gets somewhere closer to the Green Dream”.

Together they wrote a rather wonderful press release which said: “An editor, playwright and journalist, Simon Wilson’s writing conveys a citizen’s street-eye lens, strongly held ethical beliefs and razor-sharp analysis. He attends the meetings so we don’t have to, filling in the details that are so often left out, clarifying what has been obscure (or deliberately obscured); calling out the new highways and byways of bewildering new infrastructures. By looking around, by comparing Auckland to other cities, New Zealand to other countries, he shows how this or that particular problem could better be dealt with. Full of intellectual curiosity he is always intent on mastering meaning in whatever crops up, whether that’s a meditative account of the diagnosis of his prostate cancer or the inexplicable roadblocks to better transport.

“The writer John Banville once said ‘Civilisation’s greatest single invention is the sentence. In it we can say anything’. Whether writing about national politics, how to make Auckland a better city to live in, or his personal experiences, Simon uses sentences wisely and judiciously and packs them with the right words as though sentence by sentence he can build a place that is fairer, better and more lovely.”

Wilson said he was “flabbergasted” to take out the award. Previous winners include Bill Manhire, Anne Kennedy, Steve Braunias, and Geoff Cochrane.

1.10pm: Brisbane bubble breacher tests positive for Covid-19

A traveller who breached green zone travel restrictions in Brisbane airport has tested positive for Covid-19. 

The arrival, from Papua New Guinea, spent around two hours in an airport cafe with green zone travellers. Nearly 400 people who subsequently travelled to New Zealand have been warned to monitor for any Covid-19 symptoms.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health said it would provide “updated information” as soon as possible.

Australia’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young today declared the international terminal a venue of concern.

“Anyone who was in the terminal between 9.45am and midday on Thursday, 29 April 2021, should monitor their symptoms and get tested immediately if they feel unwell,” Young said. “Staff who came into contact with this case have been placed into quarantine.”

Meanwhile, there are no new community cases – or border case – of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

12.35pm: Advance NZ reprimanded over second Facebook page

Advance NZ – the political party started by former National MP Jami-Lee Ross, which formed an alliance with conspiracy theorist Billy Te Kahika for last year’s election – has had its Facebook page removed, for the second time.

A page belonging to the party was first deleted in October after repeatedly spreading misinformation.

This second page was deleted for breaching Facebook’s “recidivism” policy – effectively, it was removed for being an attempt to replace the original page.

“When we remove pages for violating our policies, we don’t allow them to circumvent this by creating new Facebook pages,” a spokesperson for the social media site told The Spinoff. “We have removed Advance New Zealand Party’s Facebook page for violating this policy.”

JLR and Billy TK
(Image : The Spinoff)

12.00pm: Treaty breaches directly linked to state care failings – Waitangi Tribunal

The Waitangi Tribunal has found the Crown responsible for the significant disparity in Māori and non-Māori brought into state care. 

The inquiry into Oranga Tamariki was ordered in the wake of criticism over child uplifts and concerns around the number of Māori under protection of the state. Today, the report has concluded that stems from a number of breaches of Te Tiriti. 

“It… reflects the Crown’s failure to honour the guarantee to Māori of the right of cultural continuity embodied in the guarantee of tino rangatiratanga over their kāinga,” a statement from the Tribunal said. “The report finds that disparities are a direct consequence of the Crown’s intrusion into the rangatira of Māori over their kāinga.”

The Tribunal’s primary recommendation is that the Crown “steps back from further intrusion into what was reserved to Māori under te Tiriti… and allow Māori to reclaim their space”. The Tribunal has also recommended the establishment of a Māori Transition Authority be established.

Read the full story: Oranga Tamariki has breached Treaty, Waitangi Tribunal finds

10.30am: When the Facts Change: Should property investors be worried?

In the latest episode of When the Facts Change, Bernard Hickey talks to Valocity Global CEO Carmen Vicelich and Kiwibank chief economist Jarrod Kerr about the big decisions being made by the Reserve Bank at the moment.

Subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify or your favourite podcast provider.

10.00am: Despite anti-smacking law, physical discipline still ‘fairly common’ – report

Physical discipline of children is still “fairly common” despite New Zealand’s anti-smacking legislation.

A new study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal looked at how common physical punishment of children has been over the period of 2002 to 2007 – before and after the 2007 law was implemented.

As Stuff’s Georgia Forrester explained, the report showed a downward trend in the number of reported incidents involving smacking, but revealed that almost half of those surveyed still admitted to “minor assaults”.

Smacking on the hand or bottom, shaking a child, or hitting them on the bottom with an object such as a hairbrush, reduced from 77% down to 42%. “Severe assaults” – such as hitting a child with an object on their body somewhere other than the bottom, slapping their face or head, and hitting with a fist – reduced from 12% down to just to 4%. Overall, the number who used “any physical punishment” on their child reduced from 77%  to 42% in 2017.

9.00am: Security company defends photographing children in public

A private Auckland security firm has admitted to photographing children – along with anyone else – involved in any incidents dealt with by its guards.

The admission came after a woman told RNZ she had seen a security guard at Auckland’s Newmarket train station photographing a group of children who were skateboarding.

“I was just shocked that anyone would be so brazen about it. I couldn’t believe that he was so okay with what he was doing and he didn’t think anyone else would have an issue with it. And to do it so clearly and so publicly, that was very shocking to me,” the woman said.

Security company Cityguard have since admitted it is routine to take photographs of the public if an incident is being attended to. Managing director Ian Crawford, in a statement, said the images are deleted after three months.

“It is relatively uncommon for children to be the subject of interventions by our guards, but nonetheless any images are treated in the strictest of confidence and not shared beyond the guard involved and that guard’s direct manager,” he said.

Read the full report here

8.05am: Risk to trans-Tasman bubble after red and green zone travellers mixed in Brisbane

Another threat to the trans-Tasman bubble has been revealed – although the risk to New Zealanders’ health is low.

People arriving in New Zealand from Brisbane have been asked to monitor their health for the next 14 days, after reports a pair of passengers from a Papua New Guinea country spent two hours mingling with green zone passengers.

Just last week, Papua New Guinea was deemed a “very high risk” country by our government.

The reported breach was in Brisbane Airport’s Hudson Cafe where the duo were seated at the same time as green zone passengers.

According to the Ministry of Health, the risk to New Zealanders is deemed “low”. The two passengers had tested negative for Covid-19 before departing their home country, however one has since displayed a “weak positive” result.

Queensland Health said the passengers had been wearing masks, maintained distancing measures and were not symptomatic while in the green zone area.

In a statement reported by RNZ, Brisbane Airport Corporation said the breach was “due to human error”.

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

With no repatriation flights in sight, it could be really difficult for New Zealanders stuck in India to get home. Radio NZ reported yesterday morning that there are just over 100 people currently in India who have managed isolation spots booked, but many are unlikely to make it. Some of them have been waiting since before the travel ban was put in place several weeks ago. PM Jacinda Ardern said that she sympathised with the situation people were in, but said the government couldn’t guarantee assistance in getting home. “We may not be able to go in and rescue people. They need to make sure they take every precaution they can even when they are travelling in desperate circumstances.”

The ban has now been lifted, but making travel plans in practice is extremely challenging right now. Under the new rules, NZ citizens and their immediate families are allowed to come in from the four high risk countries, but nobody else can. Stuff’s Melanie Earley spoke to a few people in that situation, facing both weeks long delays and exorbitant costs to get home, and it just sounds awful. The key route for people to get back to New Zealand from India is through Dubai, in the UAE, and an announcement was made overnight that the UAE has extended a ban on flights arriving from India for another 10 days.

To give a sense of just how tough it is to get out of India right now, even those who would normally have plenty of resources and clout can’t make it happen. Australian paper The Age had a story about leading cricket umpire Paul Reiffel, who is currently working at the IPL in India. He tried to get home several days ago, amid fears that there’ll still be nothing when the tournament ends, but found the way was already shut. As for the wider situation in India, it is still no better, and the horror looks set to continue for weeks or months to come.

The weather is starting to turn colder and damper, and the mould is coming back to Wellington flats. Stuff’s Ethan Te Ora has been doing a couple of stories recently about the state of renting in the capital, and his latest gives a sadly typical view of a set of properties managed by one particular company. Having been a renter in Wellington for a few years about a decade ago, it looks like little has changed.

A couple of useful commentary pieces on a bit of a mood shift from National leader Judith Collins towards carved-out spots for Māori representation. It was sparked by this Radio NZ interview, in which Collins said her party would stand against so-called “racist separatism”, both within National and without. Writing on Politik, Richard Harman argues that she is trying to use the same tactics employed by Don Brash in 2004. But there’s actually a lot of myth-making around the Brash years, and as commentator Ben Thomas writes on Stuff, opposition leaders who try to play this particular card almost never end up winning with it. The topic was also discussed on the latest episode of Gone By Lunchtime, particularly in relation to the issue that sparked it all off – the planned creation of a Māori Health Authority.

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