Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson. Photo: supplied

The Bulletin: Marama’s chance to make her mark

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Green members elect Marama Davidson, Defence Force links with controversial billionaire Peter Thiel revealed, and teacher aide hours are being cut.  

Green party members have elected Marama Davidson to be their co-leader. Davidson beat associate transport minister Julie Anne Genter by a margin of 110-34. She spoke about the need to maintain Green support while in government with the much bigger Labour at her acceptance speech yesterday, reports Radio NZ. Marama Davidson will be doing the circuit of breakfast interviews this morning, so turn on pretty much any TV channel or radio station to see her in action.
What the vote (and the whopping margin of victory) means is unpacked by Stuff journalist Henry Cooke, who has done by far the most in-depth reporting on this slow burning campaign.
“By supporting Davidson so strongly the membership of the Green Party have shown their desire to make the party more than just a junior partner in Government, pushing Labour to the left in the areas its ministers are responsible for.”
On the other hand, the NZ Herald‘s Isaac Davison says members have opted for a leader that appeals more to them, than to a potential wider base of voters.
“Davidson arguably does not have the broad appeal of Genter, who like Shaw is able to communicate with non-Green voters and has a higher profile because of her ministerial role.”
And on Radio NZ, Brigitte Morten says the election of Davidson is effectively the final chapter of the Metiria Turei saga, that left the Greens without a female co-leader for the last eight months.

The NZ Defence Force’s links to controversial citizenship-buying billionaire Peter Thiel’s spy software company have been revealed by NZ Herald journalist Matt Nippert. The NZDF spend more than $1 million a year with Palantir Technologies, but perhaps just as troubling is the obstructionism of the Defence Force in revealing that information. The intelligence agencies of Five Eyes nations, including NZ, have been both investors and clients in Palantir.

Teacher aide hours are being cut after a rise in the minimum wage was not matched by a rise in school funding, reports the Manawatu Standard. It’s being described by Manawatu Principals Federation President Wayne Jenkins as an example of the “gross underfunding” of support staff in education.


A good follow up to one of the big stories of last week from Newshub Nation, who brought together justice minister Andrew Little, and a man who was convicted for homosexuality. The man has fought for decades to clear his convictions, and will be applying for that after a bill to have convictions for such men expunged passed Parliament unanimously. Up to 1000 men still live with convictions for homosexuality.


This frontpager on The Press looks into what went wrong financially for the World Buskers Festival, in Christchurch. A previously confidential staff report noted that a budget error had been spotted on a spreadsheet a month before the event, turning a projected surplus into a hefty loss. There were also serious problems finding enough sponsorship.


And in this frontpager on the NZ Heralda teacher falsely accused of sexually molesting children has accused a Police officer of seriously breaching a suppression order. The teacher can’t be named, but he says an officer named him and declared him guilty at a public meeting. The Independent Police Conduct Authority is investigating.


Something kinda dumb, but in another way quite profoundly insightful, is this flash game (desktop only) made by Newshub political reporter Anna Bracewell-Worrell, about the Kiwibuild programme. You play as minister Phil Twyford, building collecting houses one at a time while trying to avoid Judith Collins. You get to stop when you reach 100,000. It’s a pretty accurate summary of what Twyford’s life is going to be like for the next 9 years.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Former National minister Wayne Mapp says the 2020 election will be decided on whether voters back Jacinda Ardern and Phil Twyford’s zealotry on transport and housing. Sir Michael Cullen gave a detailed interview about the tax working group to absolute tax nerd Duncan Greive. And rugby commentator Scotty Stevenson has drawn the contrasts between a woeful Blues, and the wonderful Warriors.


Over the weekend I read this deeply important feature about Pasifika culture and tokenism within Auckland – typically called the ‘largest Pacific city in the world’. It’s on the Pantograph Punch, and takes to task those who lean on the concept of diversity as a selling point, without making genuine efforts to materially improve the lives of Pasifika people. It is a must read insight for those who live in the predominantly Pākehā parts of town.
“Another, perhaps even more damaging, issue is the way that boasting Auckland’s status as the “largest Polynesian city,” actually implies that the Polynesian parts of our city are looked after and maintained. We know damn well that it’s the complete opposite.”
Sticking with the theme, Pasifika families are not necessarily well served by current social housing plans. Big families and intergenerational living means that 1-3 bedroom houses simply aren’t adequate. That’s the subject of this Insight documentary, on Radio NZ.
“After a period of time living in Auckland, Maria and her family couldn’t afford their private rental anymore and began the arduous task of searching for a new home.  They failed. A family friend took all nine members in before they ended up in the Ōtāhuhu emergency accommodation in April last year.  She has been looking for social housing ever since.”
And in sport, what the hell is happening? The Warriors are now five from five after beating the Cowboys. The Cowboys! That team with Johnathan Thurston and Jason Taumalolo, arguably two of the best players in the world! Let that sink in. Perhaps the more pertinent detail for where the Warriors’ season is going – the NZ Herald reports they sold out Mt Smart Stadium.
 
Two key bits of Commonwealth Games news: The best is shotputter Tom Walsh breaking the Commonwealth Games record with his first qualifying throw. Stuff reports he’s way ahead of the pack ahead of today’s final. And the worst? The Silver Ferns have lost to Malawi. It continues a horror run of results for the Ferns, which stretches back deep into last year. Once considered strong gold medal contenders, they’re now in real danger of not winning a medal at all.
 
And finally, to the very fine journalists, producers, commentators and hosts at Radio Sport, happy 20th birthday. Long may your cricket commentary be the soundtrack to summer, and your board of calls be full.

From our partners, Vector’s new technology engineer Kate Murphy writes about the humble LED, and shines a light on the history and impact little things can make on energy reduction at scale.


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