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Supplied photos of Dan Bidois and Shanan Halbert, both of whom seem to in front of the same bridge.
Supplied photos of Dan Bidois and Shanan Halbert, both of whom seem to in front of the same bridge.

The BulletinApril 16, 2018

The Bulletin: Candidates in for Northcote by-election

Supplied photos of Dan Bidois and Shanan Halbert, both of whom seem to in front of the same bridge.
Supplied photos of Dan Bidois and Shanan Halbert, both of whom seem to in front of the same bridge.

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Candidates have been selected for the Northcote by-election, dark web booming for drug trafficking, and attacks on DOC rangers getting more frequent.

The candidates are in for what should be an intriguing by-election contest in Northcote. Nationals’ Dan Bidois will defend the seat after being the clear favourite of party hierarchy, the team around Simon Bridges, and Northcote members – groups that don’t always have the same views, but pulling together on this one according to Politik. The NBR describes Bidois as a “high school dropout turned Harvard graduate.”

Labour will be represented again by Shanan Halbert, who works at Te Wānanga O Aotearoa, and contested the seat last time around. Halbert beat sitting Auckland Councillor Richard Hills, who is highly regarded but still very early in his political career. One quirk about the two selections picked up by Simon Wilson in the NZ Herald: Both are 35 year old Māori men – also the exact median age of the Northcote electorate. Wilson also believes the early statements from each candidate, and the current political issue of the day, mean transport issues will dominate this campaign.

The Greens have a big decision, on whether to stand and probably wipe out any chance Labour have to claim the seat, or back Labour’s candidate and risk looking irrelevant. No other parties really have a chance of even influencing the contest, but National will be quietly hoping ACT or the Conservatives don’t stand a candidate as a profile raising exercise, just in case.

Use of the dark web for drug trafficking is booming, according to a confidential police intelligence report leaked to Newshub. It’s impossible for Customs or police to check every piece of mail coming into the country. The seizures police are making from these sorts of purchases tend to be relatively low quantities, which might imply they’re being bought more by users, rather than large scale dealers.

On the other hand, business is clearly pretty good for dark web dealers, until they get caught. This story in the NZ Herald, about a teenager who used bitcoin to buy pretty hefty quantities of LSD from the dark net, is an example of that. He was jailed, along with his friend, who let him use his parent’s house as a delivery address.

Attacks on DOC rangers are getting more frequent, reports One News. The attacks, from 1080 activists and freedom campers, can include tampering with vehicles, which could have serious consequences for rangers on rural roads. But Graeme Sawyer, a Coromandel based 1080 protestor, believes it is DOC themselves who are escalating tensions – he was charged with assaulting a DOC security guard but the case was thrown out last year.

The NZ Herald is leading this morning with an article outlining the scale of concerns around human trafficking in New Zealand. The immigration minister Iain Lees-Galloway says modern slavery is hidden in plain sight, and it can be incredibly difficult to detect. Currently at least three major investigations to determine the scale of human trafficking are underway.

TVNZ and Spark have confirmed they’ve got the Rugby World Cup rights for next year, reports the NZ Herald. The story was breaking this morning, but what we do know from Spark’s media release is that viewers will have to pay to stream, either the whole tournament or individual matches, and that TVNZ will have seven games, including the final, live and free to air.

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No, that’s not Godzilla. No, that’s not King Kong. Yes, that is The Rock.

Right now on The Spinoff: Jihee Junn speaks to five small business owners on how and why they pay the living wage. Joel MacManus interviews Robert Sarkies about his cult classic 1999 film Scarfies, which having watched recently I can confirm – it still stands up. And speaking of film, what exactly is Rampage? Alex Casey and Sam Brooks investigate.

As the US escalates its intervention into the conflict in Syria, it is worth reflecting on how other conflicts started in the wake of 9/11 have played out. This piece from the New York Times, written by a former Marine in Afghanistan, captures the surreal, and societally dividing nature of wars that seem without end.

This passage illuminated how America’s political class debates war, in the context of the deaths of four special forces soldiers in the African nation of Niger. Rather than discussing why exactly soldiers were in the country at all, it became an exercise in point-scoring.

“Quickly, Americans shifted from a discussion of policy to a symbolic battle over which side, Democratic or Republican, wasn’t respecting soldiers enough. Had the president disrespected the troops with his comment? Had Democrats disrespected the troops by trying to use a condolence call for political leverage? Someone clearly had run afoul of an odd form of political correctness, “patriotic correctness.” Since, as recent history has shown us, violating the rules of patriotic correctness is a far worse sin in the eyes of the American public than sending soldiers to die uselessly, the political battle became intense, and the White House was forced to respond.”

Another question to be asked of the airstrikes launched by the US against targets in Syria, is what effect they’ll have. The BBC‘s Jonathan Marcus argues they won’t change the situation on the ground, which is that the Assad regime has won the war. As well as that, it won’t bring the conflict to an end any quicker. One area where it may have an impact, is in the use of chemical weapons by the regime – the US is threatening that they have a larger list of targets drawn up in the event of further use of chemical weapons.

The Silver Ferns were horrible over at the Commonwealth Games, and duly returned with nothing, losing to a very composed Jamaica in the bronze medal match. Netball expert at Stuff Dana Johannsen has analysed the coaching failures that led to the Ferns declining so rapidly, and so deeply. At present, coach Janine Southby is staying on.

Meanwhile, the two Sevens teams have both come home with gold. And have a look at this try from Kelly Brazier to win it for the Black Ferns Sevens in extra time. It’s absolutely astonishing. I couldn’t even cheer while watching it because my jaw was hanging so low.

And overseas, Manchester City have officially bought/won the English Premier League.

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.

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, have a great week.

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