Good morning and welcome to The Bulletin. The CPTPP trade deal is being signed this morning, electoral spending figures show the Labour Party isn’t broke anymore, and a celebrity atheist pulls out of touring NZ amid sexual misconduct allegations.
Some time in the New Zealand morning, the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership will be signed in Chile, reports Radio NZ. The controversial trade deal, formerly known as merely the TPP, will be inked by Labour’s David Parker. The NZ Herald reports Labour’s parliamentary allies the Greens remain opposed, with Golriz Ghahraman addressing a small protest at Parliament yesterday.
Small protests took place around the country, with Newshub finding some street theatre to film – activists cementing their feet in concrete to symbolise the government being hamstrung by the investor state dispute settlement clause in the CPTPP. The Santiago Times reports protests are also going on in Chile around the signing.
The Labour party were previously against the TPP, and will be desperate to avoid being perceived as insincere in their opposition, or opportunistic in their new position. Politik‘s Richard Harman wrote an excellent piece in February that chronicles how Labour learnt to stop worrying and love the deal.
The NZ Herald reports on election spending returns, which show Labour outspending National for the first time since 2008. However, National managed a slightly better dollar per vote ratio than Labour, in part because Labour wasted about $275,000 on election materials that had Andrew Little as the leader. A handy Herald graphic shows the eye-watering sums some parties had to spend for each party vote tick – for the ACT Party, each individual vote cost more than $50.
Celebrity atheist Lawrence Krauss won’t be touring New Zealand, amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault. The NZ Herald reports Krauss was due to speak alongside Richard Dawkins, but in the wake of the allegations the Auckland University of Technology and LOOP pulled out of supporting the event. Krauss strongly denies the multiple accusations, which cover alleged incidents stretching over more than a decade.
Stuff has a story detailing bizarre behaviour from a sacked academic, who tried to force a Muslim female student to shake his hand, then accused her of sexual discrimination when she refused. A formal investigation into the incident by the University found the staffer knew such contact was culturally inappropriate for Muslim women. Part of an email announcing the sacking was posted by physicist Nicola Gaston on twitter, who applauded the university for confronting the problem head on.
Radio NZ reports on an initiative by Northland’s Te Hiku media to build a te reo version of voice activated Apple assistant Siri. Te Hiku’s Keoni Mahelona says while increasing numbers of young people are speaking te reo in their everyday lives, that isn’t reflected in their electronic devices.
It’s a situation that has some international parallels. A recent Guardian feature covered the ‘digital extinction’ of Icelandic. While Icelandic is still overwhelmingly the mother tongue of the country, young people increasingly live their entire digital lives in English, because few digital services offer Icelandic as an option.
Newshub reports the first official commemorations of the 19th century New Zealand Land Wars will be held this afternoon, starting with a pōwhiri at Te Tii Marae in Waitangi. The commemorations were instituted after a petition was launched by students in Ōtorohanga was signed by thousands of people, calling on the government to mark the events. Different iwi will host official commemorations each year.
Right now on The Spinoff, David Farrier has an update about the mysterious AI software Zach, and a share offering for a product that may or may not be real. Miriama Aoake ponders why, despite the growth of hip hop and electronic music, the Taite finalists are still mostly white people with guitars. And Madeleine Chapman pays tribute to husband, father of three and wine lover Ross Taylor.
International Women’s Day will always provoke a bingo card’s worth of misguided corporate bandwagoning and bad takes. Rather than highlighting them, here are four vital points of view from women about the meaning of the International Women’s Day.
Former PM Helen Clark’s comments were published by Stuff, in which she spoke candidly about how female leadership on the world stage is still overwhelmingly rare, despite how it might look from New Zealand. Also in Stuff, Rosemary McLeod notes that increasingly women are being wheeled out as a public relations strategy to deflect the sins of men, such as in the case of lawyer Pip Greenwood fronting for the scandal-hit firm Russell McVeagh. And journalist Mihingarangi Forbes writes on The Spinoff that the presence of non-white women was almost non-existent at an official IWD event she MC’ed.
Di White, writing for Radio NZ, has a different take altogether. She agrees that the statistics that show gender inequality, such as around violence against women or the pay gap, remain dire. But her view is that this IWD is different from before, because women are increasingly fed up and willing to fire up on all fronts. And while her work is about combatting institutional sexism and discrimination, she notes the importance of action taking place in every facet of life.
“But one of the most important place for the fire is at a personal level. We need to have difficult conversations – the kinds of conversations where we feel uncomfortable: where we challenge our colleagues, our friends and our loved ones, and where we open ourselves to be challenged.”
In sport, this year is going to be the Warriors’ year. Well, going by history probably not really, but either way the NRL season gets underway this weekend. Writing for The Spinoff, James Dann has power ranked every single Warriors season. Relive the misery and occasional moments of ecstasy. Let’s Gone Warriors.
And in partnership with Vector, a reality check: while EVs are taking over the world, in the same way that cars left the horse and cart floundering in their petrol guzzling wake this will come with unforeseen consequences. Vecto
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.