Good morning and welcome to The Bulletin. Simon Bridges has put former rivals at the top of his reshuffled caucus, Finance Minister Grant Robertson hints at pay boosts for teachers and nurses, and the tourism industry is struggling to keep track of visitor numbers.
New National leader Simon Bridges has reshuffled his caucus. The NZ Herald has a rundown of who is up and who is down. Intriguingly, three of the top four spots are taken up by contenders in the recent leadership race, with Amy Adams taking finance and Judith Collins taking housing, urban development and planning. Mark Mitchell, who was almost a real leadership challenger, has also risen dramatically into the top 10.
Of course, one problem with bringing in heavyweights is that they might say something different to the leader – a situation that’s unfolded in the last 24 hours. Newshub reports both Adams and Collins have rubbished the concept of a land value capture tax to fund infrastructure, despite Bridges coming out it support.
For Collins, it means she will be taking on Phil Twyford. The two have already had an altercation on Twitter in the wake of the announcement. Claire Trevett wrote about their looming battle in the Herald. On Newstalk ZB, Yvette McCullough quotes Collins as saying National didn’t do as much as it wanted to on housing while in government, and that she’ll be pushing for Resource Management Act reform.
Henry Cooke on Stuff notes backers of Amy Adams haven’t done at all well in the reshuffle. While Nikki Kaye is up two, Chris Bishop has stayed stuck in place, and Maggie Barry and Tim MacIndoe have suffered demotions. And Claire Trevett writes in the Herald that the reshuffle is radical for the normally slow and steady National Party. On RNZ, Brigitte Morton says Bridges has shown he’s capable of bringing in fresh blood, at the expense of the old guard. Stuff‘s Stacey Kirk writes that demotions for the likes of former ministers Gerry Brownlee and Nick Smith are effectively a signal to them that their careers are over.
Teachers and nurses are set to be rewarded after years of stagnant wages. Finance Minister Grant Robertson told TVNZ‘s Q + A both groups had missed out on ‘dividends’ from a growing economy. Both groups are involved in pay negotiations this year. Last year there were widespread reports of frontline public servants, like teachers and police officers, being unable to keep up with the cost of living in Auckland. And an editorial published on Stuff this morning argues that with the huge shortage in teachers at the moment, the profession will take years to recover.
RNZ reports the tourism industry is struggling to keep track of how many visitors are staying where, because of the explosive growth in the use of accomodation providers like AirBnb. West Coast Tourism boss Jim Little says with up to 40% of visitors now in non-traditional accomodation, it leaves a “big information gap” around arrivals and guest nights. It comes amid an ongoing stoush between online accommodation platforms and regional councils like Queenstown over how the market should be regulated – the ODT reports on that battle here.
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has again gone in to bat on behalf of trade with Russia. Newshub Nation had him on this weekend, and host Lisa Owen put recent Russian actions under the spotlight. They’re currently under international sanctions, due to a reported invasion of parts of Ukraine using proxy forces, and the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane by said proxies, killing hundreds.
Against international consensus, Mr Peters said there was no compelling evidence that Russia was involved in shooting down the plane. Politik has picked up on Mr Peters’ comments, and put them in the context of a wider pattern of erratic statements and behaviour.
Sheep farmers are being warned to act now to avoid losing stock to facial exzema. The Country reports facial exzema spores, which can cause a fungal disease, are extremely elevated in the lower North Island. With prices currently high at $130 a ewe, a widespread outbreak of facial exzema could devastate profit margins for affected farmers.
Meanwhile, the ODT‘s Sally Rae met farmers waiting on compensation after slaughtering stock due to bacterial cattle infection mycoplasma bovis, and are under huge financial stress as a result.
Right now on The Spinoff, Jihee Junn meets a company making gender neutral clothes for kids, in an effort to break down stereotypes. Nadine Anne Hura has written a beautiful essay exploring the history of kūpapa Maori during the wars of the 19th century. And Calum Henderson really likes the TV show Australian Spartan.
For features today, the spotlight is going on a few great pieces of commentary and reporting from Stuff’s Canterbury paper The Press.
The first, by Oliver Lewis, discusses measures being taken as Christchurch prepares to chlorinate water. While drinking chlorinated water is safe for the vast majority of people, that’s not the case for people undergoing dialysis. And fish owners are also being warned chlorine probably shouldn’t go through their pets’ gills.
A must read piece of commentary from this morning details the two-tracked recovery from the 2011 earthquake, with the eastern suburbs continuing to suffer. Evan Smith reminds the country that the recovery isn’t even close to completion in suburbs like New Brighton.
“What it boils down to is the woefully inadequate investment by the Crown in Christchurch’s recovery and regeneration. There is a strong sense that the government is pulling out of Christchurch with the job only part done.”
Finally The Press‘s West Coast reporter Joanne Carroll has written a brilliant feature on the boom, bust, and possible rise again of Greymouth. It’s a town unable to capitalise on the tourist boom, coal mining has collapsed, and many of the buildings in the CBD are derelict. This quote comes from the mayor, Tony Kokshoorn.
“I’ve spent my whole life watching the economy go down and down and down. Our biggest export was our kids. People couldn’t get jobs. House prices never went up.”
In sport, hitch yourself up to the bandwagon. The Warriors have had a win to start the season. In pubs and footy clubs around the country, the huddled masses of Warriors fans fear to give voice to their deepest desire – what if this is the year?
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Stuff reports comments from assistant coach Andrew McFadden, who says the team knows one win doesn’t make a season. The Warriors play the terrible Gold Coast Titans next week, and could soon be two from two. So fairweather Warriors fans – giddy up.
The other sporting takeaway of the weekend (no, we’re not touching the cricket) is that it looks like Super Rugby will again be dominated by New Zealand teams. Patrick McKendry writes in the Herald that despite the points tables not showing it yet, NZ teams are likely to pull away from the pack in the coming weeks.
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