Signs at the last round of teacher strikes (Photo: Emily Writes)
Signs at the last round of teacher strikes (Photo: Emily Writes)

The BulletinAugust 16, 2018

The Bulletin: Teachers strike, but no resolution on horizon

Signs at the last round of teacher strikes (Photo: Emily Writes)
Signs at the last round of teacher strikes (Photo: Emily Writes)

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: No resolution to teacher pay dispute despite strike, Fonterra gets a new boss for now, and some interesting bits from the NBR Rich List.  

Tens of thousands of teachers went on strike yesterday, and it doesn’t appear to be the end of the matter. Rallies were held in pretty much every major town and city, amid the first primary teacher strike in 24 years. And from the response to a suggestion at the Wellington rallies, reported on by Newstalk ZB, a two day strike is on the cards if the dispute isn’t resolved.

It’s not just more pay that teachers want. Teachers and their union told Radio NZ that the sector is at “crisis point,” and that needs to be addressed with more money across the sector, not just going into teacher pay packets. That includes smaller class sizes, and a better system of special education coordinators. They’re also asking for a 16% payrise over two years, because it will make going into the profession more attractive.

Politically, that’s all going to be hard to deliver. When the teachers arrived at Parliament, one of the (impromptu) speakers was PM Jacinda Ardern – there’s a video of that on Newshub. She pushed a message that the government and teachers could work together – “there is no you and us, there is just us.” Judging by the response in the video, the speech was moderately well received – it wasn’t booed at least. A big cheer came when PM Ardern reminded teachers her government had ditched National Standards, but she also criticised them for striking too early, reports Stuff.

So what happens now? Both parties go back to the negotiating table, in an attempt to thrash out a way forward. If that doesn’t work then a two-day strike before the end of the year seems likely. And there could be more pain on the way for the government – on the AM Show on Tuesday the PPTA President Jack Boyle warned that secondary school teachers weren’t ruling out striking if their negotiations didn’t go well.

Fonterra executive Miles Hurrell has been appointed interim CEO of the dairy co-op, which the NZ Herald reports is a surprising development in their search for new leadership. Mr Hurrell has been with the company for 18 years, and is popular among the farmer shareholders. For the time being, the global search for a permanent CEO has been put on hold.

And what of the guy he’s replacing? Theo Spierings appears to be saying goodbye from a distance, according to this Hamish Rutherford opinion piece on Stuff which notes that he hasn’t been in New Zealand since late June. It’s not clear if he’ll front up in September when the financial results are presented.

The NBR’s Annual Rich List has come out, and there have been some big moves in the world of extravagant wealth. In fact, the NBR reports (paywalled) it’s a record setting rich list, with more money on it than ever before. Our acting business editor Henry Oliver has picked out some of the more interesting details, including, astonishingly, that you can go from rich to extremely rich through owning property.

Speaker Trevor Mallard has launched that threatened investigation into the Simon Bridges expenses leak, reports NewshubIt’s likely to involve a QC, an employment lawyer, and a forensic ITC expert, to get to the bottom of who gave the data to media. Trevor Mallard says there’s no suggestion it came out through hacking, which means someone deliberately or accidentally gave it up.

The foreign buyers ban has passed through its final reading in Parliament, reports One News. The government says it will make home ownership more affordable, but National housing spokesperson Judith Collins told Radio NZ it’s just a cynical exercise in blaming foreigners for problems in the sector. And as Interest reports, the ban has been very unpopular in China, with a spokesperson for property portal Juwai offering this line: house prices have been driven up by “your rich dad and uncle, not rich Chinese”.

Getting a job can be difficult, but is it getting harder than it needs to be? That’s a question investigated by feature writer Naomi Arnold for The Wireless, who has been looking into the many hoops recruits now need to jump through before getting hired. The central thesis is that pre-employment testing is a booming industry, and it’s all legal too, but perhaps in some cases it goes too far.

Women who have been fitted with permanent contraception device Essure say there has been no accountability over the problems it has caused, reports Radio NZ. Dozens of Australian women have joined together for a class action against the maker of the device, but experts say it’s difficult to see how affected New Zealand women could join in on that.

A headline has been going around all the major sites over the last week which needs some unpacking. It goes roughly like this: The climate will be unusually warm until 2022 – for example here’s the NZ Herald, the Radio NZ, and Stuff versions. It’s a classic example of the headline not quite conveying an accurate account of what the story contains. The key words that cause this problem are “until 2022” – thanks to climate change, it’s not exactly going to stop being unusually warm after 2022, which all of these articles make clear in the actual text.

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Right now on The Spinoff: This piece from Danyl McLaughlan, about the MONIAC machine at the Reserve Bank and how people conceptualise the economy, left me lost in thought for an hour after reading it. Alice Neville has been to Beervana and come out of it with an A-Z. Hayden Donnell makes himself even more unpopular with the NIMBYs of Auckland. And over on Facebook, Angella Dravid handed out some gold stars at the teacher strike.

The death of a young boy called Jack Adcock in a British hospital has been huge news there over the last decade, and BBC Panorama has done a remarkable job in forensically cataloging the events that led to it, and the fallout. It resulted in manslaughter charges against a junior doctor, who was then struck off (and recently reinstated) The case also came to be seen as symptomatic of wider failings in the health system, with the junior doctor seen by many as a scapegoat. Here’s an excerpt that gives a snapshot of the style of reporting the piece uses.

“Panorama has spoken to doctors who worked in the paediatric department shortly before Jack’s death. None felt able to go on the record.

They said doctors and nurses at the hospital had been raising concerns about staffing before Jack’s death. They said consultant cover had been patchy and that factional infighting between consultants had caused problems for trainee doctors – it wasn’t something they could speak out about, they had had to keep their head down.

Junior doctors did try to raise their concerns that trainees were being used to plug rota gaps, often at the last minute. The CAU was one of the areas where there was never enough staff, and the hospital recognised that this posed a risk. One doctor said she would pray before she went into work because she was worried something bad would happen.”

Some big names are back for the Silver Ferns, reports Stuff. The national netball team has been in poor form for the last two years, but will be bolstered by the return of Casey Kopua and Laura Langman ahead of the World Cup in July next year. Langman had been barred from selection because she was playing in Australia, but is back in the country now to work for accountancy firm Deloitte in Hamilton.

And the All Blacks first team of the Rugby Championship has been named, but I’m more interested in this Rugby Pass piece from last week that looks at who would make an All Blacks B team. It’s a frightening side, who in a fantasy world where New Zealand could enter two teams into the World Cup would probably have a good chance of making the final. It certainly puts into context why some outstanding footy players go to Europe, thinking they’ll never crack the ABs.

From our partners, Vector’s Chief Networks Officer Andre Botha writes that sometimes looking back on the past can make you glad you’re alive today, particularly when it comes to the safety of lines workers. 

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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