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Striking nurses rallying on Queen St in Auckland (Photo: Radio NZ/Dan Cook)
Striking nurses rallying on Queen St in Auckland (Photo: Radio NZ/Dan Cook)

The BulletinJuly 13, 2018

The Bulletin: Where to now for striking nurses?

Striking nurses rallying on Queen St in Auckland (Photo: Radio NZ/Dan Cook)
Striking nurses rallying on Queen St in Auckland (Photo: Radio NZ/Dan Cook)

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Where to now for striking nurses? 1080 dumped in a National Park, and former National MP brought in to justice reform group. 

The nurses strike has come and gone without any serious reported incidents, but it is unclear what will happen from here. Nurses who spoke to Newstalk ZB said they got plenty of street support on the picket lines, as the first nurses strike in 30 years took place. Hospitals were still well-staffed, reports Radio NZ, and strangely enough some hospitals were even better staffed than they normally would be.

But where to from here? Acting PM Winston Peters has stressed that there isn’t any more money available, and that the offer on the table is already much better than what a National government would have put up. But nurses told Checkpoint last night that they know there is a surplus, and that they still feel undervalued relative to the work they do. A few comments from nurses and supporters have drawn a parallel between the government spending more than $2 billion on new Air Force planes, and yet there’s no more for nurses.

DHBs took a very conciliatory tone with nurses last night, with their spokesperson Helen Mason thanking volunteers for coming in, and the NZ Nurses Organisation for facilitating safe staffing levels. But will that continue if there’s another strike? And now that nurses have proven that they are willing to step out and strike, why would they accept an already rejected offer?

The key to solving this issue – and this came out time and again with pretty much every nurse every organisation talked to – is safe staffing levels. The Wanganui Chronicle went out to their local picket and that was repeated again and again. That’s tied in to pay packets for individuals of course – nurses are less likely to look at better opportunities in Australia, for example – but fundamentally nurses are saying their ranks need to be swelled by new recruits.

This one could have pretty serious implications for the Department of Conservation: 1080 poison has been dumped by an independent contractor in a national park on Stewart Island. This Newshub exclusive came about after one of the contractor’s workers blew the whistle on the alleged dumping, and police have been called in to investigate.

It wasn’t the only 1080 story yesterday – the Nelson Mail reports that protestor Rose Renton has been convicted of offensive behaviour, after rubbing rat poison on local MP Nick Smith. Renton was unrepentant over the action, saying it was justified as a protest against the use of 1080.

Former National MP Chester Borrows has a new job, chairing the government’s criminal justice reform advisory group, reports Radio NZ. The group’s job is to make progress on law and order policies, in line with minister Andrew Little’s more rehabilitative approach, and to reduce the number of people in prison. The group notably doesn’t include anyone from the Sensible Sentencing Trust, formerly a powerful hardline lobby group but recently sidelined, but it does include Ruth Money, who split from the group a few years ago.

As for Borrows, he has never really been considered a lock’em up type. In fact, he told Radio Live that good justice policy had been derailed because of politics and media sensationalism. And there was one message he said he’d push until he’s “blue in the face” – that crime rates are actually falling, even though recidivism rates were high.

A mining exploration permit off the Taranaki coast has proven controversial, because it’s inside the sanctuary area for the critically endangered Māui’s Dolphins. The iwi Ngati Ruanui is strongly against it, reports the Taranaki Daily News on their front page this morning, and DOC has also voiced “significant concerns.”

Another week, another potentially questionable allocation of money from Shane Jones’ provincial growth fund. Radio NZ reports that National’s Paul Goldsmith is raising concerns about why a private forestry trust in Northland is getting – by the trust’s own admission – a “far superior” deal. Pita Paraone, a former NZ First MP who is also one of the trustees, said the attack from National was “low” and “appalling,” and he played no part in negotiating or signing the deal.

Here’s a concept that might seem suspicious at first glance – the ‘trickle-up theory’ of wage growth. At least, that’s what Interest journalist Jason Walls suggested calling it on twitter. Basically, ASB is expecting general wage growth to finally start moving again, driven by a combination of new government policies that will raise wages at the lower end. Wages may of course go up anyway, because of low unemployment rates – here’s a Spinoff explainer from a month ago that goes into the details.

Some wonderful weekend reading: How endangered species are giving official rankings and prioritised for protection. The story from Stuff is a two-parter, with the second part coming later today. In the meantime though, read about how and why the obscure New Zealand Fish Guts plant (yes, that’s the real name) came to be ranked as a higher priority than the Kauri tree and the Katipo spider.

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Gareth and Geoff

Right now on The Spinoff: James Mustapic digs up his repressed memories of 2000s era What Now. Former TOP deputy leader Geoff Simmons reflects on the demise of the party. And Hussein Moses assesses the chances of all 20 finalists to win the prestigious Silver Scrolls songwriting prize – there are some absolute tunes on this list. And some that aren’t so great, but hey, music is subjective and all that.

Oh and by the way – watch Spinoff TV on the telly tonight! 9.45 on Three. My personal opinion is that it has been tremendously funny so far, and if I didn’t already see how hard the team all work on it, I’d say it should be on every night. But it’s not, so make the most of it being on tonight.

Are you also concerned about the recycling situation facing New Zealand? Judging by the massive flood of tips that came in yesterday for how to reduce plastic waste, it would appear that the answer for most is an unequivocal yes. Just a quick recap – a few months ago China decided that they would no longer take certain kinds of plastic for recycling, which has meant that it has started to build up around the rest of the world. And that’s not going to be fixed any time soon, so the best option is to reduce how much plastic you use.

But, how? So much of what we buy comes wrapped in a couple of layers of plastic. Keep-cups for coffee and reusable shopping bags are good, but they can only be part of it. So here are some other reader suggestions:

Sky had the suggestion of taking mesh bags for fruit and veges at the supermarket, so you don’t have to get a whole lot more plastic bags to wrap everything up in. Emily made the argument as well that plastic that is already in existence should absolutely be reused – so that means things like Tupperware. If you’ve already got it, don’t go throwing it out to upgrade to metal containers.

Glad wrap is one of those types of packaging that can pile up really easily, but Alice had the suggestion of using beeswax wraps instead, which are durable and reusable. Michaelo also suggested that buying things with glass packaging was better than plastic (so long as the glass was then, of course, recycled)

Maia alerted me to this blog –, which has a lot more handy tips too. Jemma also noted that a lot of places offer soft plastic recycling services – here’s a map – and while that’s not a reduction tip, it’s a lot better than nothing.

Alexandra made the very fair point that not using plastic is a function of privilege – many people around the world and in New Zealand don’t have the luxury of forgoing plastic products, because they are cheaper. But for those of us that do have that privilege, surely we need to use it in a non-judgemental way and look to our own behaviour.

A point a few people made, and perhaps the biggest thing about this – life is probably going to get a bit less convenient, whether we like it or not. But it’ll be worth it if we leave a better environment for future generations. And keep it in mind, that while individual actions will never be enough on their own (law changes and business practice changes will be essential too) those individual actions still add up.

Tennis player Michael Venus is having a good run at Wimbledon, making the final of the Men’s Doubles overnight, reports One News. He and his partner Raven Klaasen will play two American fellows named Jack Sock and Mike Bryan. Venus has carved out a really interesting niche as a doubles master, being part of a pair that won the French Open, and a spot in the Mixed Doubles final at the US Open last year.

Football World Cup results and spoilers:

So, in the end, nobody won the bragging rights sweepstake, but two people were 50% correct. Both Grant Edmonds and Brendan Turney picked France vs England for the final – closest to the outcome, but still no cigar. My pick was further away – I went with Uruguay (what was I thinking?) and Croatia (absolute oracle)

Oh and also, condolences to all the long suffering England fans, don’t worry, it’ll come home next time.

From our partners, Vector’s Chief Networks Officer Andre Botha writes that while making and selling electricity from the comfort of home might sound like some dodgy online scam, it’s not as far-fetched as you might think.

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. Have a great weekend, and remember, it’s Friday the 13th, so avoid offending any black cats if you can.

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