Jacinda Ardern accepting Greenpeace’s petition at Parliament. (Twitter/ David Tong, WWF New Zealand. @Davidxvx)
Jacinda Ardern accepting Greenpeace’s petition at Parliament. (Twitter/ David Tong, WWF New Zealand. @Davidxvx)

The BulletinMarch 20, 2018

The Bulletin: PM walks fine line on oil

Jacinda Ardern accepting Greenpeace’s petition at Parliament. (Twitter/ David Tong, WWF New Zealand. @Davidxvx)
Jacinda Ardern accepting Greenpeace’s petition at Parliament. (Twitter/ David Tong, WWF New Zealand. @Davidxvx)

Good morning and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: PM Jacinda Ardern walks a fine line on oil exploration, nurses are set to strike, and a senior judge speaks out on youth crime.

Greenpeace have delivered a petition to Parliament, calling for a ban on oil exploration, reports Stuff. It was received by PM Jacinda Ardern, who said the government was actively considering the proposal. Journalist Hamish Rutherford wrote the following about Ms Ardern’s speech to the petitioners:

“Although her statement was light on details and Ardern has previously refused to rule out ending offering new exploration blocks, the decision to walk to the front of Parliament was highly symbolic.”

Richard Harman from Politik was less than convinced any significant action would actually be taken by the government, describing Ardern accepting the petition as “political theatre.” The NZ Herald has gone big on their front page with the headline – The End of Oil? The industry is aghast at the possibility, as this interview on Newstalk ZB with industry spokesman Cameron Madgwick shows.

The other consideration on any such proposal is whether it would be likely to pass Parliament. The Greens would obviously support a ban on oil exploration, but New Zealand First are much less likely. This is particularly the case with former Labour MP Shane Jones in their ranks, as this 2013 interview with the Taranaki Daily News shows.

Nurses say they’ll strike if they’re not offered a better deal by District Health Boards, reports Newshub. The offer of a 2% annual salary increase has been met with dismay by some nurses, who say they’re overworked and underpaid. The government is staying out of it, saying the negotiations are for nurses and DHBs to thrash out.

It’s not just pay motivating nurses. Three suffered injuries that put them in the emergency department after being attacked by a patientStuff reported yesterday. It’s not an isolated incident either. Last week the Western Leader reported assaults on hospital staff within the Waitematā DHB had jumped by 9% in a year.

An incredibly interesting IAmA thread was posted on Reddit New Zealand last night, answering questions about what a potential strike could entail. The submitter, u/subtropicalyland, claimed to be a nurse, and has posting history indicating they actually are. The thread contained details about what action the strike might take, and the submitter suggested that for many nurses better staff safety was as much a priority as a pay rise.

In a rare op-ed from a senior member of the NZ judiciary, Principal Youth Court Judge John Walker is arguing against a finger-pointing approach on young offenders. His piece on The Spinoff is worth quoting at length:

“When they are 10 or 11, we see them as “vulnerable” children in need of care and protection. Then their offending behaviour, emerging out of the very same vulnerability, changes the game. Suddenly, it is all their fault.

But whose fault is it when children and young people offend? And how can we apportion blame when we are struggling to understand the complex weave of underlying issues that set children on a collision course with the law? After all, children do not grow up in a vacuum.”

New Zealand has sought an exemption from Donald Trump’s steel and aluminium tariffs, reports Radio NZ. The Prime Minister confirmed a letter had been set at her post-cabinet press conference yesterday. Exemptions have currently been granted to Mexico, Canada and Australia, and PM Jacinda Ardern earlier argued that New Zealand’s steel production was no threat to American industry.

And in news breaking right now out of America, NZ-born Chris Liddell has been named Mr Trump’s deputy chief of staff, reports CNBC.

There will be no on-site drug testing at Homegrown, despite dodgy pills doing the rounds in Wellington, reports Stuff. Testing advocates Know Your Stuff say say they have been able to test at other festivals this summer, but admit it’s illegal for festivals to acknowledge drugs are on site.

Remember Colin Craig? The former Conservative Party leader is back in courtand has forced regular sparring partner Jordan Williams into the ring for a rematch. The NBR (paywalled) reports Mr Craig is suing Mr Williams for $500,000 in a defamation action, after previously losing a defamation action taken against him by Jordan Williams. The judge’s decision has been reserved. Once it comes back we’ll see if either Mr Williams or Mr Craig want to go best out of three.

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Right now on The Spinoff: Emily Writes has spoken to midwives about why there is a crisis in their profession, in a piece titled ‘We have two lives in our hands and we’re paid less than minimum wage’. Don Rowe travelled to Sydney to get an NZ-exclusive sneak peak at the latest iteration of the God of War gaming series. And some news you can use – guest writer Merewyn Groom discusses how women can close the retirement savings gap with men.

In business news, Fonterra’s interim financial results are released tomorrow, and there’s plenty of nervousness about what they might show. The ODT‘s Simon Hartley reports that a flat result is being tipped. The NZ Herald‘s Jamie Grey says the major problems are Fonterra’s connection with troubled Chinese company Beingmate, and a big payout they’ll need to make to French company Danone.

A fascinating feature has delved into media coverage on Fonterra in China, and reveals the company is seen as being cursed. NBR editor Duncan Bridgeman says that’s a much more serious problem than we in New Zealand might think. Tomorrow will be an all round big day for cow enthusiasts, with Synlait also releasing their interim results, and a global dairy auction early in the morning NZ time.

In sport, NZ quick bowler Mitchell McClenaghan has been given an Indian Premier League lifeline, reports ESPN Cricinfo. The Mumbai Indians have brought him in as injury cover on his base price of approximately $156,000 USD. The selection will go some way towards justifying McClenaghan’s decision to reject a New Zealand Cricket central contract, and instead opt to play T20 leagues around the world.

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And in partnership with Vector, a reality check: while EVs are taking over the world, in the same way that cars left the horse and cart floundering in their petrol guzzling wake this will come with unforeseen consequences. Vector’s Steve Heinen discusses why that might be a brilliant, planet-saving, massive headache.

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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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