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Harness racing has been shaken by police raids into alleged race fixing (Getty Images)
Harness racing has been shaken by police raids into alleged race fixing (Getty Images)

The BulletinSeptember 5, 2018

The Bulletin: Harness racing rocked by raids

Harness racing has been shaken by police raids into alleged race fixing (Getty Images)
Harness racing has been shaken by police raids into alleged race fixing (Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Harness racing rocked by police raids, reporter detained in Nauru, and former Māori Party co-leader deep in debt. 

Multiple properties relating to harness racing have been raided by police, amid a sting action against alleged race fixing, reports Stuff. Police have long been investigation the industry, and following up on allegations of corruption. Some significant figures within harness racing have been caught up in the police action, but those spoken to by Stuff say the allegations are “nonsense.”

For a view from a specialist publication, have a read of this from The Informant, a magazine that reports on racing. They understand that there have been wire taps put on phones for months, and there have been charges laid. Their editor Garrick Knight spoke to Radio Sport about the allegations, calling it a dark day for the industry.

Writing in the NZ Herald, this in-depth analysis from racing journalist Michael Guerin suggests it’s very unlikely to just be as simple as a trainer, or a family member, placing a bet on a race they’re involved in. “Most trainers and drivers/jockeys don’t bet because it is too easy to trace, with bookies openly supplying betting records to authorities.” Guerin also writes that this will be a serious blow to the integrity and reputation of harness racing, particularly among punters. It has even been compared to the early stages of the match fixing investigations that shook cricket.

Racing minister Winston Peters has also spoken out about it, saying he’s deeply disappointed to hear about the allegations, reports Newshub. He’s praising the work of the Racing Integrity Unit, who have been working the case. Other organisations, like Harness Racing NZ, and the NZ Racing Board, have echoed those sentiments.

Reporter Barbara Dreaver has been temporarily detained by Nauru police, reports One News. Dreaver, their Pacific correspondent, was in the middle of interviewing a refugee when police stopped her, and took her away for three hours of questioning. Her Pacific Islands Forum media accreditation has been revoked, however she still has her visa. According to the Nauru government, Barbara Dreaver wasn’t detained at all – she “voluntarily accompanied” police to the station, reports Radio NZ.

Former Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox is reportedly deeply in debt over a failed consultancy business. Newshub reports that her former commercial landlord says she owes him $15,000 in unpaid rent and legal bills, and an earlier report from the NZ Herald indicated that she owed various creditors about $70,000. The Masterton consultancy was meant to be building prefabricated homes for homeless or low-income families, but has now been liquidated. Marama Fox told the Herald she apologised unreservedly.

Government documents have revealed the dangerous financial position tertiary institute Unitec was in, before a $50 million bailout, reports Radio NZ. The polytech was in extreme financial distress, and would’ve gone bust this year without the bailout. The Tertiary Education Commission documents show a high level of confidence in Unitec’s senior management, but poor confidence in the governing council. Even so, between 100-200 jobs are going, and various courses are getting the axe.

There’s a very interesting report on the front page of the NZ Herald this morning, about increasing numbers of young people leaving school early to go straight into work. The job market is buoyant, particularly in the trades, and doing year 13 isn’t essential if you don’t intend to go to university.

A Productivity Commission report has indicated New Zealand will need to vastly increase electricity generation to meet the demand of transitioning to a low-emissions economy. Interest has the details, and the report says renewable energy generation will have to be ramped up significantly if New Zealand is to meet 2050 emissions targets. That will create headaches in terms of ensuring continuity of supply – each type of renewable has some flaw that means it can’t necessarily be a full supplier of the whole country’s energy needs.

The Anglican Church is splintering over same-sex marriages, reports Stuff, a significant step in the ongoing tensions over the issue within Christianity. Worshipers at four parishes have voted to leave, with more considering such a move. For a view from the conservative side of the debate, read this post from former pastor and politician John Stringer on Kiwiblog.

Here’s a fascinating article on the politics behind the recent visit of the Polish President to New Zealand, from Radio NZ. It traces the roots of the now sizable Polish community in New Zealand, in part from the large intake of refugees to Pahiatua during WW2. And some who descend from that group have a very complicated relationship with Poland’s current government, which has taken a hardline stance against immigration, and has been accused of undermining judicial independence.

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Right now on The Spinoff: Leonie Hayden talks to a haka expert about the cultural considerations for performances before sports games. Emily Writes dignifies complaints about the cost of PM Jacinda Ardern’s flight to Nauru with a response. And I spoke to former PM Helen Clark about feminism, factions, and her unfinished business.

Don’t feed the trolls, they say. People who are harassed on the internet – frequently women are the targets – are told this all the time. It’s better to not engage. But what happens if a woman decides she’s had enough of that, and asks the trolls why they’re doing it?

That’s the experiment the author of Everywhereist tries out on twitter, simply to see what comes back. The results, dare I say it, are utterly depressing. A warning – this article contains some rather foul slurs said against the author. Here’s an excerpt:

“One tactic I’ve often seen people take (which I’ve also tried) is to reason with online attackers, to make them acutely aware of the fact that there is a human at the other end of their attacks to whom they are causing pain. This rarely works because, as one study found, individuals who were more likely to engage in “trolling” behaviors were more likely to have psychopathic and sadistic traits. By telling them about the pain they were experiencing, their victims had given the trolls precisely what they wanted.

I realized I had to tread carefully – I needed to not get upset by their words (or if I did, not let it show), and not give them any kind of reaction they might find gratifying. Fighting back, making arguments, disagreeing – all of this would simply feed into their goals or incite their wrath. Instead I found myself almost numbly engaging them, in the way I do with volatile people I’ve encountered in real life. Anyone who argues that online abuse feels different than in-person abuse is kidding themselves.”

The Warriors have literally pumped up the volume at training to prepare themselves for an NRL qualifying playoff against Penrith in Sydney, reports Māori TV. The theory is that given much of the team don’t have post-season experience, they won’t be used to the roar inside ANZ Stadium, and that will make communication more difficult. By contrast, the Panthers have made the playoffs in three out of the last four years.

Also, here’s a correction of sorts that needs to be made. After misreading a reader suggestion, I congratulated Jonelle Price on winning the Badminton Horse Trials. Which she did! Only, she did it in May, and the real recent news event was her husband Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials, so sorry about that, both to Tim and all the misled readers. On the other hand, one wag suggested it might be the first time a man has achieved greatness, and his wife has been given the credit instead. So there’s that.

From our partners, Vector’s Beth Johnson writes that if you get a cheque in the mail, no, it isn’t a scam. It’s just the Loss Rental Rebate system in action.

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