Fuel tax rises, new paid parental leave payments, and new insulation laws are among the changes taking effect today (Getty Images)

The Bulletin: Raft of new laws taking effect today

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Raft of new laws taking effect today, a messy story of inner city homelessness unfolds in Auckland, and secondary school teachers accept offer.

Some news you can use today: we’re going to start with a roundup of some of the bigger July 1 law changes. It’s a standard date for a whole lot of changes take effect, and there’s quite a few things passed by the government which will now be in force. The date is also useful, as it provides a chance to do something of a stocktake of government accomplishments. So without any further ado, here’s what will change today.

Much of the fanfare will be around the banning of single use plastic bans. However, as Stuff reports, there are a range of exemptions in place. They include single use plastic for purposes like wrapping up meat. It applies to more than just supermarkets – fish and chip shops and markets are included as well, for example. By coincidence, it comes right at the start of Plastic Free July, which highlights the fact that there are many more wasteful bits of plastic packaging, over and above the bags.

For landlords who haven’t got their properties properly insulated, the deadline has now passed. We had an explainer on The Spinoff recently about the massive scramble to get insulated – unfortunately many landlords appear to have missed the deadline. For tenants who want the house they live in to be insulated, they are encouraged to approach to Tenancy Tribunal for redress.

New family violence laws are now in effect, with a view to making situations for victims safer. The changes include new definitions of family violence, so that coercion and control is now taken into account, as well as changing Police Safety Orders so they can be delivered at the time of arrest, and are of a longer duration. As well as that, family violence agencies are being encouraged to share more information with each other, so that they can better provide services.

A range of changes at Oranga Tamariki also come into effect today. These include new national standards for caregivers, moving most 17 year old offenders into the youth justice system, and a new service to help transition kids from state care and youth justice into adulthood will be rolled out. As well as that, explicit Treaty obligations will take effect, and a new intensive intervention service will be rolled out, with a corresponding funding boost for service providers.

There will be a small bump in the maximum level of weekly paid parental leave payments. It’ll be $20 a week before tax, taking the top level of payments up to $585.80 per week, also before tax. The extension of paid parental leave to 26 weeks won’t take place until this day next year.

Finally, one for the opposition to sink their teeth into: National are decrying an extra 4c a litre, on top of an increase in road user charges. The NZ Herald reports the increased fuel taxes are expected to cost motorists $45 a year (less if you get the bus to work) and the infrastructure projects they’re paying for are currently underway.


A messy story about homelessness unfolded over the weekend in the heart of the Auckland CBD. Security guards were accused of stealing the blankets and belongings of homeless people outside New World Metro. But on of the guards spoke to the NZ Herald about it, stressing that they were just storing them out of sight temporarily, and that they get returned in the evening – though one homeless woman told the Herald that her belongings were returned to someone else. Rebekah Juang, whose tweet brought attention to the matter, said the important point wasn’t so much whether this incident was resolved, but that the wider issues around people having to sleep rough get addressed.


Secondary school teachers have also accepted their revised pay offer from the government. Radio NZ reports they’re not particularly happy with the workload provisions, but are willing to move forward on the basis of an accord signed with both the ministry, and the NZEI. The pay offer was agreed to by 65% of union members. It brings to an end another long and tense industrial relations struggle for this government, including those with nurses and primary teachers.


Sunday’s Mark Crysell has waded into the ongoing tragedy of the Fox River dump collapse, in a visually arresting piece. There’s both the full video story and a write-off which captures the scale of the job still to do. DOC has taken over responsibility for the cleanup, and are calling for volunteers, with the clean up job being estimated at about 5% complete.


It’s not getting any easier for the senior leadership of the ANZ Bank. The NZ Herald (paywalled) reports there has been a fair bit of shareholder discontent around the recent scandals. Doubt is also being cast on whether acting CEO Antonia Watson should take over full time, given her connections to the sale of a house by the bank to former CEO David Hisco – a sale which just doesn’t seem quite above board, given that it resulted in the bank making a loss on an Auckland mansion despite the market being in a booming state.


Minginui has long been a town that has been symbolic of endemic poverty, and locals have launched a big push to change a major aspect of that. One News’ Yvonne Tahana has been to the town in Te Urewera, where a whānau is in the process of securing funding for research on just how sick people are getting from poor quality housing. That will then inform a new papakāinga – set of communal houses on Māori land – which are now being planned to be much healthier.


With local body elections getting underway soon, expect to see plenty of vandalism stories. The Taranaki Daily News had one over the weekend around signs for council candidate Anneke Carlson, which were put up on her friends property and then ripped down again in the space of just two weeks. They were then thrown in a paddock, which is also a serious concern – if you’re going to indulge in some petty vandalism, you definitely shouldn’t be littering as well.

Speaking of local body elections, you might remember a story last week about how owners of multiple properties sometimes get multiple votes. Julienne Molineaux has unpacked this “strange relic” of the electoral system further, and explores what it represents, in a fascinating piece about how some people have more access to democracy than others.


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“Are you ready to be inspired?”

Right now on The Spinoff: Rugby writer Jamie Wall responds to last week’s piece about Real Men Wear Black, to say that as an impressionable youth he took a very different message from it. Jihee Junn subjected herself to a day of the ‘fail fast’ culture of Unfiltered Live. Toby Morris pays tribute to Beastwars, the beloved metal band that almost literally came back from the dead.

Also, this is a really confronting piece from ‘an environmentalist‘ – someone who has spent 15 years seeing the failure of the environmental movement to accomplish any sort of meaningful progress. Writing under a pseudonym to protect their job, they apologise, and I’m going to quote an excerpt here:

“In all of these jobs, my bosses told me I shouldn’t scare the horses; I shouldn’t tell the full truth of the encroaching horrors I researched all day. Otherwise, people might give up or — in other words — stop sending us money.

I complied. I wanted the money. And I’m sorry. ”


Today’s feature is an excellent interview with one of New Zealand’s most significant thinkers and writers of this generation. E-Tangata have spoken to Oscar Kightley, and his life and work just flow out in a way that underlines why it has been so important, as been both an observer and a driver of pretty dramatic period of cultural change for the country. Here’s an excerpt where he talks about his experience at Rutherford High School in Te Atatū.

Oh man, it was such a buzzy school. It was the first school to have a marae, which I presume was led by June Mariu. And there was Pita Sharples helping the kapa haka group. Rutherford was the first school to get adult students, too.

The foundation principal, Eric Clark, was still there when I started, and I remember him explaining at assembly that the school motto, translated into English, means that we should strive as we’d strive if we were desperately hungry. I really related to that feeling of hunger and I kind of adopted that as my personal motto. Like: “Yeah. I know what it’s like to be hungry.”

So I feel blessed that I was there, and in Aotearoa at a time when there was a renaissance in Māoritanga. I was never part of a kapa haka group, but my best mates were and I watched them. And looking back to my time at the school, I feel lucky that I came under the sway of some really cool influences.


The Football World Cup continues without the Football Ferns, and one of the big stories concerns USA star Megan Rapinoe. She’s basically called a spade a spade about Donald Trump and a visit to the White House if they win, and it has sparked an incredible storm amongst fans. In an excellent post on Sportsfreak, Harbour Heather has outlined why her stance in this case matters, but also puts it in the wider context of US Women’s Soccer, and Rapinoe’s outspoken stances on other issues – for example, she knelt in protest alongside Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

And in the cricket, the Black Caps have batted dreadfully to lose to Australia. We recorded a very bleak edition of The Offspin in the aftermath, but fortunately had Samuel Flynn Scott there to commiserate with us. Overnight, England has beaten India to keep their chances alive, so depending on other results, the Black Caps could face a sudden death match later in the week.

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Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to read 4200 words reliving the 1992 World CupSimon Day has you covered. It was a very emotional time for him, and arguably, he still hasn’t got over it.


From our partners: A two-tier system of energy use is developing, with those on high incomes much more able to reduce their bills than households on lower incomes. Vector’s Chief Risk and Sustainability Officer Kate Beddoe outlines what the company plans to do about that.


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