The Bulletin: Pride Board narrowly survives no-confidence vote

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Auckland Pride board survives no confidence vote, Defence Force puts climate change in its sights, and two former parliament speakers weigh in on bias claims against Trevor Mallard.

The Auckland Pride Board have survived a vote of no confidence brought by disgruntled members over the uniformed police ban, reports Express Magazine. It draws a line under what has been an ugly and divisive few weeks for the LGBT community, and means the decision will stand. The vote was carried by a margin of 325-273.

If you need catching up on all of the issues surrounding why the ban was made in the first place, here’s an excellent explainer by journalist Sarah Murphy republished on The Spinoff. At the heart of the matter was the contention that police had done too much harm to the LGBT community and other marginalised people to be allowed to march in uniform, against the argument that they are changing as an organisation and the move would destroy progress made by police.

A reminder here as well – it wasn’t a ban on police marching – the ban was only on the uniform part, and police were offered the option of marching in specially designed T-shirts, explained by Board Chair Cissy Rock in this interview with Express. They didn’t take up the offer.

How will it all be paid for? That’s the big question now, after a raft of corporate sponsors pulled out in solidarity with the police. Some argue that corporates have effectively hijacked Pride parades anyway – for example, these are tensions that have played out in America recently too, as this report from the Guardian shows. For the Auckland one, a Givealittle page was set up to compensate for the loss of support of companies like Fletcher Building, NZME, SkyCity and various banks. It will be interesting to see if any of those sponsors return, now that the Pride Board has had their democratic mandate renewed.

Will these tensions spread to other cities too? The Wellington Pride Festival will be one to watch, as initially the response was to welcome police to march in uniform. But that sentiment is starting to turn, highlighted by an open letter which argued that decision had been made without community consultation, as opposed to the Auckland decision which was repeatedly consulted on. Both parades will be held as part of Pride Festivals in the early months of next year.


The Defence Force have released a major risk assessment report on the looming dangers of climate change, reports Newshub. It goes beyond the obvious environmental issues that will stretch their disaster response capabilities, and takes in the political and social effects as well. The evidence strongly points to increases in food scarcity and forced migration as a result of climate change, and evidence of those effects can already be seen in outbreaks of local-level conflict in the Pacific.

By the way, speaking of climate change, it would be easy to assume from all the targets being set and positive announcements being made that emissions are coming down. But that’s not the case – carbon emissions in 2018 are set to rise on 2017 levels, reports Stuff. This preparation the Defence Force is doing is avoidable if global emissions are cut, but sadly it’s looking more and more likely that they’ll be needed.


Is the Speaker of Parliament biased against National? The question has rumbled away all year, and really erupted earlier this week after Trevor Mallard kicked National leader Simon Bridges out of the house over a comment that crossed his line. Newshub have spoken to two former Speakers for their assessment – both from the National party – and both have expressed confidence in Mr Mallard, saying it’s a tough job and he’s doing about as well as his predecessors.


Destiny Church have protested at Parliament, calling on Corrections to allow them to deliver their Man Up rehabilitation programme in prisons. But as One News reports, they’ve never actually formally applied to Corrections to do so, which, well it lowers their odds a bit. The programme has arguably become Destiny Church’s flagship public-facing effort, with leader Brian Tamaki frequently posting about it on social media.


A bidding war is developing for TradeMe, reports the NBR (paywalled.) The race is on between two circling suitors – one is a UK based private equity firm, and the other is a US private equity firm. It’s pushing TradeMe shares up, which have risen 22% since the first offer was confirmed.


The NZ Herald has had great coverage of Fonterra’s recent moves, in a “bid to get back to basics”, according to their business liftout in this morning’s paper. The dairy co-op is putting Tip Top up for sale, and has also cut the farmgate milk price forecast by another 25c per kg. They want to reduce debt by $800 million by the end of the financial year, which all things considered has been a tough one for them.


If you heard about the CFO of Chinese telco giant Huawei being detained in Canada, here’s a great article on the matter from a local perspective. The NZ Herald has spoken to international relations analyst Paul Buchanan, who noted that “all of the Five Eyes partners are coming into line”, – a reference as well to the recent decision to block Huawei from bidding to build New Zealand’s 5G network. Overnight, China has demanded Meng Wanzhou be released, reports Radio NZ. The charges are unknown, but are believed to be related to Huawei allegedly continuing to do business with Iran, which is under international sanctions.


A bizarre twist in a story about some pōhutukawa trees being poisoned in Arkles Bay, North Auckland – the culprit has come forward to StuffIt came in the form of an anonymous confession note, and $1500 in cash. The note writer said they knew someone in their family had done it, and wanted to apologise. However, for those who think this could be a new revenue stream for media companies, alas, Stuff decided to donate the money to tree planting project.


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Ashen, from NZ developer A44.

Right now on The Spinoff:  Rebekah Jaung writes about the South Korean President visiting New Zealand, and the role we can play in Korean reunification. Lee Hanaghan has an exclusive look at one of the most ambitious games ever made in New Zealand. We’ve got a full guide to all the New Years Eve festivals going on this year. And I’ve been reviewing the TV show Vikings, which is on Lightbox and I’m enjoying it immensely.

And also, you can now watch the first two episodes of the magnificent Get It To Te Papa completely free!. Here’s episode 1, about the quest to find an important artefact in New Zealand’s political history. And episode 2 is all about a unique marketing strategy employed by a supermarket in the 90s. Later episodes are all on Lightbox, which offers a month free trial for new signups.


Best journalism of 2018: Here’s a first in this series: Scott Gilmour got in touch to nominate the entire catalogue for the year of North and South magazine. Well, that’s not quite true, but he did recommend a selection of four articles, saying “I especially like their focus on some of the deeper social issues facing NZ, as well as their stories highlights some of the people and programmes addressing them.”

So I’ll admit it was a bit tough to pick just one, but out of all of them this one by Aaron Smale really stood out. In part it was because it took in the more full arc of a really important story that he’s been covering for a long time. It’s a story about why so many Māori men end up in prison, and what state institutions and societal forces need to change to reverse that. Here’s an excerpt:

“Although these individuals had a lot of expertise, I wanted to talk to those who had first-hand experience; I wanted to talk to someone who had been through the institutions as a child. Through a contact in the Mongrel Mob, I ended up talking to Francis McLaughlin, a member of the Notorious chapter. His brother Jimmy had been through welfare homes. Francis told me how his brother had been picked up for wagging school and then ended up in Ōwairaka Boys’ Home in Auckland. They’d tried to visit him and were told he wasn’t available. As they were walking away, Francis turned around and saw Jimmy in the window and ran towards him. When he got closer, he could see Jimmy’s face was puffed up and his eyes were bruised and swollen.

Later, when Francis was patched, he was living at a Mongrel Mob pad. By then, Jimmy had run away because of the abuse and was living with him. The police arrived one day, kicked the door down and dragged Jimmy out, taking him back to the welfare home.”

So thank you Aaron Smale for writing that piece, thank you North and South for publishing, and thank you Scott for suggesting it. If you’ve got a shout for a fantastic piece of NZ journalism from this year that deserves to be highlighted, send it through – thebulletin@thespinoff.co.nz


Congratulations to Wellington Phoenix goal-machine Roy Krishna, who has just been granted New Zealand citizenship, reports Stuff. He’s been in the country for a decade now, but as a Fijian international will still be ineligible for the All Whites. However cool it is for Roy Krishna from a personal perspective, it’s just as important to the Nix from a footballing perspective, as it frees up another import slot to fill in the January transfer window. With a bit more squad bolstering, they could still force their way into the A-League playoffs.

And it has been a tremendous day of batting from the Black Caps against Pakistan, with Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls combining for a 212 run unbeaten partnership. Here’s a report from Cricinfo that gives a sense of where things stand, and what the tactical options available to New Zealand are with just one day left in the series.


From our partners: Lithium-ion batteries are magnificent feats of engineering and vital for renewable energy. But if we’re not careful with them, they’ll create enormous environmental problems, writes Vector Senior Sustainability Advisor Juhi Shareef.


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