Jacinda Ardern doing a back to work interview with John Campbell (Radio NZ)

The Bulletin: The return of Ardern

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: The PM returns to work, collapsed construction firm contractors can get tools, and better access for NZers to America announced. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is officially back in action, and has a rather full agenda to be getting on with. Top of the list, reports Stuff, will be addressing economic concerns that have festered over the last six weeks. As well as that, Newshub reports that a new ‘apprenticeship for the dole’ scheme will be rolled out next week, which is likely to be rather expensive, but Ardern argued it’d be worth it anyway.

Was Ardern tempted to give it all away while on maternity leave? Not in the slightest, she told the NZ Herald. There’s a fair few Ardern interviews going around today, and this one with Checkpoint is very good. She returns to Parliament on Monday, and says she has everything she needs in Wellington to make it work. It’s unsurprising that Parliament is well set up to accommodate a screaming baby, after all it houses 120 of them regularly.

The other interesting thing about the return of Ardern – particularly to Wellington – are the restrictions being placed on the press gallery. They won’t be allowed to film or photograph the baby without Ardern’s permission, or else speaker Trevor Mallard will kick them out of Parliament. On Newstalk ZB, Barry Soper argues such a move is unnecessary, because the gallery would’ve respected Neve’s privacy anyway. Soper says families have always been considered off-limits, except of course those that actively seek publicity, like Max Key.

Finally, it will be fascinating to see what the polls do following acting PM Winston Peters’ six week stint. There have been plenty of rumours around internal polling, but given they say contradictory things there isn’t much way of knowing what is accurate. There’s been a serious dearth of reputable public polls this year, for obvious reasons – they’re expensive and there’s no election for two years. But the period might have given plenty of people reason to shift their vote in all sorts of directions, as could the return of Ardern.


Ebert Construction contractors have been able to collect their tools, after initial uncertainty over how long that would take, reports Stuff. The company has collapsed into receivership, leaving 95 staff in the lurch. Owners of bigger equipment such as cranes may still have to wait a while longer, said the receiver John Fisk. Meanwhile, Christchurch construction firm Maven Interiors has also gone into voluntary liquidation, reports Radio NZ, leaving workers redundant and creditors out of pocket.


New Zealanders will now get better access to the USA thanks to a new visa law, reports Newshub. The law makes E1 and E2 visas available, which will let successful applicants enter the country multiple times over a two-year period without having to reapply.


The number of people being placed in motels instead of social housing has risen dramatically over the last three months, reports the NZ Herald. Applications for the emergency housing grant are up by around 3000, and the social housing waiting list continues to rise too. The government says they expected rises here, because they’re trying to encourage people who need help to seek it.


Here’s a meeting that could get rather ugly: Several cabinet ministers are going to meet iwi leaders over freshwater rights, reports Radio NZ. That’s an issue most ministers would happily kick as far down the road as they possibly can, and is contentious even within the government itself. But let’s be honest – as we know from yesterday’s Stuff piece on treaty settlements, this is a controversial issue because of what was taken in the first place.


Union leader Mike Treen has touched back down in Auckland after being arrested and allegedly tasered in Israeli custody, reports the NZ Herald. Mr Treen also accused an unnamed NZ consulate official of “disgraceful and unprofessional” conduct, a charge that MFAT denies.


A super-injunction taken by the Law Society over an alleged sexual harassment case has been revealed, reports Stuff. If you don’t know what a super-injunction is, it’s when the existence of a case can’t be reported on, let alone details of the case. In this instance, many of the case details remain under wraps, but what can be revealed is that the Law Society bungled an investigation into a new case of alleged misconduct in the legal fraternity, by sending details of the case to someone completely unrelated to it.


One final word for the news section – if you’re planning on protesting the two racist Canadians tonight, please keep it peaceful, especially with event attendees. After all, we’ll all still have to live together after these con-artists have finished swindling the public out of ticket money and attention.

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Right now on The Spinoff: Danyl McLaughlan has done his version of the Ardern 1 year on articles, and it’s an interesting and nuanced discussion of celebrity politics. Acclaimed investigative journalist Nicky Hager reviews the memoirs of acclaimed investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. And Samuel Flynn Scott tells Henry Oliver about the Phoenix Foundation turning 20.


The style of this long-read from the New York Times is a bit of a journey in and of itself. Ostensibly, the piece is about Gwyneth Paltrow, and her wellness product empire Goop (yes, that is the real name if you haven’t heard of it) but the way the writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner inserts herself into the narrative gives it a depth and relatability that it wouldn’t otherwise have. Here’s an excerpt of this fascinating yarn.

“The hatred used to feel personal to her, but it doesn’t anymore. Now it feels as if she’s watching a soap opera. She remembers the week that Star Magazine called her the most hated celebrity in the world. “I remember being like: Really? More than, like, Chris Brown? Me? Really? Wow. It was also the same week that I was People’s Most Beautiful Woman. For a minute I was like: Wait, I don’t understand. Am I hated to the bone or am I the world’s most beautiful?”

Anyway, this was an old conversation, she insisted. “I really notice as the business grows, there’s a lot less of that, and I think people are like: Oh, this is real, and I feel like that’s sort of, you know, a nine-months-ago story. You know what I mean?”

I didn’t.”


Joseph Parker’s team DUCO are considering appealing his loss to Dillian Whyte a few days ago, reports Newshub. The basis for the appeal would be a head clash that knocked Parker down, which wasn’t picked up by the referee, meaning Whyte was awarded the round. Had it not have been, the score would have been reversed, and the fight could have been a draw, they say.

And finally, the Christchurch City Council may as well start stockpiling ticker tape now, because the Crusaders are almost certain to win another Super Rugby championship this weekend. They’ve never lost a playoff game at home and the TAB are offering odds of $7.50 for a Lions win. When you read this, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson’s breakdancing will be about 36-40 hours away, mark my words.


From our partners, Vector’s Chief Networks Officer Andre Botha writes that sometimes looking back on the past can make you glad you’re alive today, particularly when it comes to the safety of lines workers.


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