The Bulletin: What will Waikeria Prison be?

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Government will unveil plans for Waikeria Prison, Nicky Hager vindicated after unlawful police raid, and Auckland councillors getting restless about Goff.

The government’s new plans for Waikeria Prison are set to finally be revealed today,reports Radio NZ. There has been endless back and forth on this since the change of government. Prison numbers are already at astonishing highs, and today’s announcement will be about how big the expansion at Waikeria Prison will be. It won’t be the original mega-prison plans, but it will be something. At the very least, it will be a refurbishment – as Jacinda Ardern told Newstalk ZB, Waikeria is pretty run down. (about 4.25 in)

However, a cabinet paper leaked to Newshub suggests that the government will need more prison space if they proceed with plans to put more police officers on the streets. Police minister Stuart Nash doesn’t agree with the analysis, saying in contrast the prison population will drop through more police in the community.

This from Politik is a good comprehensive writeup of the politics of the issues facing Labour, who are now using the wording ‘American style prisons’ a lot to point to what they want to avoid. The decision will also have ramifications for the town of Ōtorohanga, which, unpleasant as it is, would really stand to benefit economically from any expansion at Waikeria. The prison guards union has also been calling on the government to make their mind up for months – this report from the NZ Herald came after the budget in May.

Meanwhile, Winston Peters is now backing Andrew Little reforming approach as justice minister, after conflict over whether the government will repeal the three strikes sentencing law, reports the NZ Herald. Herald journalist Lucy Bennett has compiled a full list of the various statements made and positions taken by members of the government, and it makes for some seriously confusing reading. The three strikes law will not be repealed any time soon, if that’s something you were wondering.


The police have apologised, and made a substantial payout to journalist Nicky Hager, over unlawfully raiding his house and spying on him. The police actions came in search of the identity of the hacker Rawshark, who provided material that formed the basis of Hager’s book Dirty Politics. Law professor Andrew Geddis has provided The Spinoff with a full digest of just how badly police handled their investigation, and why the redress is completely warranted.

Nicky Hager spoke to Newstalk ZB about the apology and compensation, saying he had come to terms with his anger at the police for breaking the law. And if there’s any good news out of this shabby behaviour from the police, it’s that the money awarded to Hager will help fund whatever he chooses to investigate next.


Auckland Councillors are getting restless about the leadership of mayor Phil Goff, reports the NZ Herald. The Herald understands the councillors will release the a letter of no confidence today, which is believed to be about the handling of a report into Auckland’s stadiums, that was kept under wraps by the mayor. Nine councillors are believed to have signed, just short of a majority.


PM Jacinda Ardern can’t say whether or not New Zealand’s deployment to Afghanistan has been a success, despite that deployment being extended by three months, reports Stuff. Given the deployment started in 2001, and Afghanistan remains a political and military mess, the reticence is easy to understand. New Zealand has 11 personnel in Afghanistan as part of the wider United States led mission, but the deployment has previously been far larger.


The waiting list for social housing has surged in the last half year, reports Stuff. More than 8000 households are waiting for a place to live, up from just over 6000 in December, and a recent low of 3352 in the middle of 2015. Housing minister Phil Twyford says it’s evidence of a crisis.


Two world news stories we’ve been keeping an eye on this week: In Singapore, US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un have signed a document. What does that mean? Well, the details are vague but the document does give North Korea a security guarantee, reports CNN. And Trump has pledged to end military drills with South Korea, which are despised in the North.

And in Britain, the Guardian is live blogging a series of parliamentary votes on Brexit amendments. If that sounds more dry than burnt toast, the key fact is this: Parliament will get a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final Brexit deal to leave the EU. That makes it much less likely the Britain will crash out with no deal.


Now, I was told off by a reader yesterday for my choice of language to describe the weather – so apologies for that. But it’s still not great for much of the country – Stuff has a live blog of where the roads are closed, and where the power is out.

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Right now on The Spinoff: Danyl Maclaughlan says it’s getting harder to see the Ardern-led government lasting, because of coalition tensions. John Summers gives his account of the highly coveted Surrey Hotel writing residency. And Joe Nunweek has done something I’ve wanted to see done for years, and eviscerated the lazy use of the word ‘Orwellian’ to describe anything the speaker doesn’t like.

I mean, have the people who say ‘Orwellian’ ever read The Road to Wigan Pier? Or Homage to Catalonia? Or perhaps, his essay about misuse of words, Politics and the English language? I’d recommend they do.


The type of tourism conducted by New Zealand is generating serious debate in one of the country’s hotspots. Queenstown and Wanaka are absolutely inundated with tourists, but the economic benefits aren’t necessarily flowing through the community as well as they could, and should be. Peter Newport explains in this editorial on Lakes District news website Crux:

“The days when we were insecure and anxious about our identity are hopefully long gone. The days when everything had to be “styled in Europe” to be any good.
We now have our own amazing wine, food, art and even technologies. We have grown up.

So why are we so anxious to keep selling our country at bargain basement prices to anyone who wants to come here? Why does tourism have to be a game of growth, growth and more growth – at virtually any cost? It’s ruining our great walks, damaging our smaller towns, diluting our identity, making our roads less safe – all at the expense of the taxpayers and rate payers.”


In sport, Simon Mannering has announced his retirement from international rugby league, after a 45 test career. But as he told Radio Sport, he’s yet to make a decision on whether or not he will continue with the Warriors, the club he has played his entire career at since his debut in 2005.

And in basketball, Stuff has dusted off the hardy annual about Steven Adams not being available to play for the Tall Blacks. A squad to face Hong Kong and China in World Cup qualifiers will be announced on Thursday, and Adams is not expected to feature.

Finally, my apologies, I completely failed to mark the end of the Black Ferns Sevens season. They had their final tournament of the season in Paris over the weekend, and won it, but finished second on the overall standings behind Australia. Still, the Black Ferns Sevens have gold medals from the Commonwealth Games, so who’s the real winner?


From our partners, Vector’s Bridget McDonald has looked at the government’s deep dig into the energy sector. What will the review look at, why should there even be one, and does it mean you might pay less for power?


That’s it for the The Bulletin. If you liked what you read, and know other people who would find it useful, please forward it on and encourage them to sign up here. Thanks for joining us this morning.


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