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The BulletinJuly 4, 2018

The Bulletin: Teachers’ turn to threaten strikes

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. And to all of our mates in the USA, happy Independence Day. 

In today’s edition: Teachers have voted to go on strike, Kiwibuild eligibility criteria out today, and former PM says not in my backyard to charity concert.

Primary teachers have rejected a pay offer from the ministry of education and will be heading out on strike, reports Newshub. The half-day strike will take place on the 15th of August, a few weeks after the start of the third term. However, that might be extended to a full day, to send a stronger message – that was a suggestion made at a meeting reported on by the Western Leader.

The offer made to teachers was significantly lower, and more drawn out, than what teachers want – a 16% rise over two years. Teachers will also be well aware of the incremental gains in offers being made to nurses, as the date of the strike approaches.

And there’s an interesting parallel here – I was doing an archive search on the topic and came across comments from Sir Bill English about potential education strikes in 2010. The then-finance minister said secondary teachers would have to explain why they’re worth twice as much of a pay rise as nurses, firefighters, police officers, and so on. Nobody in the frontline public services were getting big raises. But now that the nurses have successfully held out for more, the question gets turned around – why exactly are teachers worth less than whatever nurses get?

In terms of the disruption a teacher strike could cause, both parents, and the government, will be fretting. The prospect of longer strikes, particularly as exam season approaches, will likely be giving minister Chris Hipkins nightmares. And for parents, the disruption could be immense. More parents than ever are in the workforce, and plenty of contingency plans will have to be made.

Keep an eye out today for Kiwibuild buyer eligibility criteria being released. Newstalk ZB reports that Phil Twyford will reveal the details at a conference, and isn’t giving anything away yet. The details will be crucial if the scheme is going to be attractive to people on lower incomes, and first home buyers.

Some of the criteria has already been dug up by Stuff – and income testing will be part of the criteria. However, it’s a pretty high bar – couples earning up to $180,000 can be eligible, provided they live in the house for at least three years. That level of income applies to about 92% of the population.

Former PM Helen Clark is saying not in my backyard about a charity concert at Eden Park, just down the road from where she lives. Newsroom reports that she’s made a submission against the show to Auckland Council, on the grounds that it could be a trojan horse for future concerts. The event is in aid of Sir Ray Avery’s charity to provide incubator pods for babies – though as the Eden Park Neighbours’ Association newsletter suggests, the event appears to be fully commercial. Eden Park has been there since about 1903, which is probably slightly longer than any of the current residents of the area.

The High Court has ruled that loans are not income, in a case between a solo mother and the Ministry of Social Development, reports the NZ Herald. The battle between the two lasted more than eight years, and is being seen as a win for beneficiaries who have to borrow to make ends meet. In saying that loans were income, MSD were trying to force the woman to pay back money she had received through the benefit.

This morning, it’s being reported that the decision will “open a can of worms” for MSD, as there are numerous examples of them treating loans as income, reports Radio NZ. Catriona MacLennan argues on The Spinoff that MSD should now halt all debt recovery against beneficiaries in front of the courts, as it is a fundamental misconception of what exactly the organisation’s purpose is.

Business confidence is down again, this time in a survey conducted by the NZIER, reports Radio NZ. However, businesspeople that responded remained fairly confident about their own prospects.

Finance minister Grant Robertson is continuing to say he’s unconcerned by the fall, reports the NZ Herald. And acting PM Winston Peters has made some interesting comments reported by Politik, suggesting that some in the Clark government “lost their nerve” when faced with a similar situation in 2000 – the so-called ‘Winter of Discontent’. Mr Peters insisted the coalition would continue to follow the economic policies it was elected on.

A husband and wife living in Taieri face separation, because the wife could be deported, reports the Otago Daily Times. Harjinder Chander is working as a herd manager on a dairy farm, and he’s allowed to stay. But Pawandeep, a trained nurse, may not be able to stay, because her husband’s employment is classed as lower skilled. Pawandeep now may have to return to India, while she completes the requirements to qualify as a nurse in New Zealand.

Triathlete Terenzo Bozzone is in hospital after being hit by a truck in Kumeu, reports Stuff. The hit and run happened while Bozzone was cycling, and the vehicle was described as a brown logging truck. Bozzone’s support team are asking anyone with information to contact Henderson police.

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Right now on The Spinoff: Michael Smith delves into the various forestry policies and practices that led to slash debris plowing through Tolaga Bay last month. Former MP Wayne Mapp questions whether National has actually worked out the details of their climate change policy. And Simon Day writes about a strange night out, in which he discovered halfway through the evening that he was having dinner with a notorious conman. I tell you what, it’s quite the read.

I really don’t like Formula 1 racing, and the obscene waste of wealth and resources that it represents. But this article from The Verge really changed my perceptions of it. It goes inside the scientific development of both cars and drivers, and the iteration process that allows finely tuned cars to go the tiniest bit faster. And it’s really, really fascinating, especially when it talks about how it is fundamentally a competition between manufacturing teams, rather than drivers. Here’s an excerpt:

“The curious thing about Renault and teams of its ilk is that they know they won’t win the championship even before it starts. Formula 1 is an unfair competition. “Right now,” Renault’s F1 team managing director Cyril Abiteboul told me, “you take the best driver in the world and you give him a lesser car, our car frankly, and he won’t win.” The prevailing factor in deciding the victor of a race is the performance of the car rather than the driver.”

I still don’t like Formula 1 any more after reading it, but I think I understand why people do, and people liking the America’s Cup makes a bit more sense to me now too.

Now apologies for linking to the Daily Mail, but this story is just too funny. Croatian goalkeeper Matej Delač has just finished his long career with English giants Chelsea – in fact, by the time his move to AC Horsens in Denmark, he was Chelsea’s longest serving stalwart. The only problem was, in his eight years at the club, he never once took the field for them. How good would it be to call yourself a Chelsea player, without actually having to play for Chelsea?

Football World Cup results and spoilers

Sweden are through to the quarterfinals after beating Switzerland 1-0. It’s the best progression the Swedes have made since their 3rd place in 1994, and pretty impressive given they didn’t even qualify for the last two World Cups.

And spare a thought for Japan, 2-0 up against Belgium, only to let it all slip away late, eventually losing 3-2 on what was basically the last kick of the game. Heartbreaking stuff.

But right now, it’s time to beat the hype drums. England are playing Colombia, in a clash that will decide once and for all if they’re going to be the greatest football team in history, or lose in utter disgrace (sorry, sorry, I read to much of the Daily Mail above and now I’m thinking like them.)

From our partners, Vector’s Beth Johnson writes that one of the best reasons for lighting up the Auckland Harbour Bridge, is that it makes diversity impossible to ignore.

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