Democracy (Image: Radio NZ).

The Bulletin: Poll – Labour lower, National no mates

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: A new poll is out, the government is considering public-private partnerships, and rents are rising rapidly.

A new 1 News Colmar Brunton poll shows a drop for Labour, but government parties still comfortably ahead of the National party. It’s being reported by 1 News as the ‘end of the honeymoon’ for Jacinda Ardern, but opposition leader Simon Bridges is also struggling to gain personal traction. If an election were held today, National would have no viable support partners.

It should be noted that it’s only the second 1 News Colmar Brunton poll of the year, and as such it’s pretty difficult to draw conclusions out of it. The polling was conducted between the 7th and 11th of April, which was on the tail end of the government’s major changes to transport policy, or a more generalised perception of a government constantly fire-fighting. But it could also just be statistical noise. The election is two and a half years away.

One area of interest out of the poll is that voters in general are less optimistic about the economy than when National were in power this time last year. Again, drawing big conclusions from one figure is difficult, but it could be that voters have been taking heed of warnings about a stingy budget in May. Or, it could be a similar state of affairs to business confidence surveys, which an analysis from Stuff showed were largely more optimistic under National governments, regardless of actual economic conditions.


The government is considering using public-private partnerships to fund the building of infrastructure, reports the NBR (paywalled) Political reporter Brent Edwards notes that while the government opposes such deals in health, education and corrections, they’re open to it to build roads, public transport projects, and water infrastructure. Interest reports transport minister Phil Twyford is especially keen on private sector cash, particularly for projects like Auckland’s light rail.


Rents are up again, and this time jumping more in a quarter than the whole increase between March 2016 to March 2017, reports Stuff. Property investors say it’s because the cost crunch is coming on landlords because of tighter regulation, but economist Shamubeel Eaqub says other factors, like high demand for rentals, are more credible.


Good news for trades and services suppliers for Fonterra, as the dairy giant is abandoning a delayed payment policy, reports the NZ Herald. The policy, described as a PR disaster, was wildly unpopular in farming towns like Morrinsville, because through a payment chain effect it put pressure on everyone in the community. It’s not just Fonterra who have used this practice either – check out Rebecca Stevenson’s reporting for The Spinoff on which of our large corporates pay their bills late.


New Zealand has picked up support from France for trade negotiations with the European Union to go ahead, reports Radio NZ. In the NZ Herald, Claire Trevett reports that the PM’s visit to Europe is partly an exercise in building relationships with EU nations, now that our closest ally in the group Britain is leaving. Ardern will meet German chancellor Angela Merkel tonight, and then head to London for a Commonwealth meeting.


There’s some cracking front-page stories around the country today. The NZ Herald is leading with a story about angry dads protesting outside the homes of Family Court judges. In Christchurch, the Press reports councillors want Fletchers to be stripped of an $800 million project, which has been plagued by endless delays. And in Wellington, the Dominion Post reports taxpayers are being asked for $25 million from central government for Peter Jackson’s movie museum, to meet ballooning costs.*

*An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Peter Jackson was asking for the $25 million. It was in fact a request from the Wellington City Council. 


With the Commonwealth Games completed, and New Zealand returning home with a huge haul of medals, the question is being asked: Will New Zealand one day soon host another Commonwealth Games? No, says PM Jacinda Ardern. That’s probably the end of the matter for another four years.

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Beyonce at Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Right now on The Spinoff: Economist Eric Crampton describes New Zealand’s foreign house buyer ban as ‘lunacy.’ Guest writer Jogai Bhatt writes the definitive reaction to Beyonce’s awe inspiring Coachella set. And fair warning, this piece may make you cringe – father Adam Mamo explains dad jokes.


Cabinet’s decision on whether to build the so-called ‘mega prison’ – a new $1 billion, 3000 bed facility at Waikeria – will be coming soon. The prison population is increasing (though crime rates are dropping) and Corrections basically needs more space.

There will be lots of pieces written both for and against the mega prison, and about our prison system generally, when the decision is made. In the mean time, this e-Tangata interview with lawyer Julia Whaipooti, about Māori imprisonment and the ‘Māorification’ of prisons, is an absolute must read. It’s a crucial insight when around half the current prison population is Māori. Here’s a sample:

“I’d been to Rimutaka a number of times in my capacity as a lawyer. And I remember this time how it hurt, how it broke my heart, going to the Māori focus unit and having the karanga come from within that unit, and having a pōwhiri from the Māori inmates, as tangata whenua, welcoming us in.

So, it was me, Crown lawyers and judges, being welcomed into the prison by this group — as if they belonged there and as if we were manuhiri visiting. And I felt that Māori do not belong in prison and that the appropriate response isn’t to “Māorify” a prison.”


In sport, FIFA have frozen funding to the Oceania Football Confederation, after ‘irregularities’ were revealed into an audit of an Auckland football facility, reports Stuff. The suspension is temporary, but it also follows the resignation of OFC President David Chung over the audit.

And in Australia, Israel Folau is really digging in over his comments that homosexual people will go to hell, and is now saying he’s ready to quit the Wallabies, reports the NZ Herald. He’s switched codes a few times before, but if I may make a personal observation, the Australian sporting world has changed a lot in the last few years. I saw first hand the way the AFL instituted anti-discrimination policies, and the NRL has also pushed hard in that area. It could mean there would be no choice for Folau but to go overseas if he walked away from the Wallabies, though that would of course mean a sizeable boost in his income.


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. If you’ve got feedback or want to send us a message, send us a message at thebulletin@thespinoff.co.nz. Thanks for joining us this morning.


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