Good morning and welcome to The Bulletin. Labour’s launched an investigation after reports of sexual harassment and assault at a party run youth camp, glaciers on the Southern Alps are in bad shape, and Lyttelton Port workers have gone on strike.
The Labour Party has launched an investigation after reports of sexual harassment and assault taking place at a youth camp. Newsroom reports an intoxicated man groped four 16 year olds, both male and female, during the second night of the camp in early February. More than a dozen of the 50 attendees at the camp were under 18. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attended, but was not present when the incident took place.
At her post-cabinet press conference, Jacinda Ardern said she had only learned of the incident that afternoon, and the party was launching an investigation, RNZ reports. Labour’s General Secretary Andrew Kirton told Checkpoint he had known about the incident, but not informed the Prime Minister, because as he said, “we wanted to make sure that we would keep the confidentiality of those involved.” Newsroom have not named either the alleged perpetrator or the victims.
On Newstalk ZB, Andrew Kirton insisted the party was not comfortable with underage drinking, and that would be a focus of the investigation. He said those who had been harassed and assaulted had been made aware they could go to Police, and had chosen not to. On Morning Report today, the Prime Minister admitted that a follow up process and offers of support for victims took too long. Newsroom’s Tim Murphy also revealed on the show that a cabinet minister had been made aware of the incident well before the Prime Minister learned about it.
Glaciers on the Southern Alps are in poor health after an unusually warm summer, Stuff reports. NIWA’s annual snowline survey, which tracks the level at which snow survives all year, has found that a record 30 of the 50 representative glaciers have had barely any fresh snow at all. The previous record was 16, set in 2011. Glaciers are considered to be important proxies for the rate of climate change, and Dr Trevor Chinn, who has been involved with the survey for 40 years, says the results are a clear sign of a warming world.
About 200 Lyttelton Port workers have been on strike since midnight, RNZ reports. The 13 day strike is the culmination of a long battle between the Rail and Maritime Transport Union and Lyttelton Port Company, over pay and safety standards.
Calls are being made for more meth addiction services in the regions, after research showed users were finding it incredibly easy to access P, reports the NZ Herald. The study found P users found it easier to get the drug in places like Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Southland, but comparatively harder to get in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The study also found a large majority of cannabis users are finding it very difficult to get their drug of choice.
A regional labour shortage has been declared in Hawke’s Bay, after a drive to find fruit pickers failed, Stuff reports. The Ministry of Social Development has been trying to place workers in the horticulture industry since October, but there are still hundreds of vacant positions. The declaration means people in the country without a work visa will be able to apply for a variation on the visitor visa, allowing them to work for up to six weeks.
Newsroom have revealed the existence of a multi-department government sting on housebuilding sites in Auckland. The results of the investigation largely paint the industry in a poor light, in terms of building and employment regulation compliance. The report was kept secret for more than a year, and found compliance failures were most pronounced among Chinese-owned companies.
Right now on The Spinoff, contributing writer Jess McAllen argues that Stuff’s #metoo campaign is needed because of New Zealand’s endemic and entrenched rape culture.James Dann has laid the recent scandal over spying on Christchurch earthquake survivors at the door of the man who was in charge of the last government’s earthquake response – Gerry Brownlee. And an anonymous mother has begged Māori and Pasifika parents to get involved with their school’s board of trustees.
Changing place names from English to te reo is likely to be a major talking point over the next few weeks. The Hui has reported on an official application to change the name of Poverty Bay, to Tūranganui-ā-Kiwa, saying it’s proven divisive. In related news, the Gisborne Herald (soft paywall) reports that its readers have responded with fury to a proposal to change the name of the district to Tairawhiti.
Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported on Hamilton mayor Andrew King’s proposal to change the name of the city council (rather than Hamilton as a whole) to Kirikiriroa City Council. It hasn’t gone down at all well with councillor Angela O’Leary, who says it’s a waste of time and money. But as Stuff reports, Ngāti Wairere spokesman Wiremu Puke said it could be a chance for the city to re-examine Hamilton’s identity and history. A decision on whether to continue exploring a name change will be made at the Council meeting on Thursday.
In sport, the mighty Black Ferns are finally going to be contracted by NZ Rugby, reports Radio NZ. The top 30 players in the country will get a base salary between $12,500 and $20,000 a year, with other fees and bonuses on top. The day before the announcement, NZ Herald rugby writer Gregor Paul said any moves on pay would be welcome, but it would likely just be a tentative first step. Given top women rugby players will have to hold down jobs around their footy commitments to make ends meet, it seems Gregor Paul has been proven right.
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