PM Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford, most certainly not pictured at Auckland Hospital (Image: Daniel Leal Olivas/Getty)

The Bulletin: Breaking – Labour PM in labour

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Winston Peters is now officially acting PM, minister signals big policy shift for kids in state care, and David Seymour wants to abolish some public holidays.

In breaking news, PM Jacinda Ardern has gone to hospital to deliver her first child. Deputy PM Winston Peters is now officially acting Prime Minister. The PM’s office says there will be no further official updates until the baby is born, when Ardern and Clarke Gayford will make an announcement.

You know what there’s going to be a lot of with this birth? Breaking news banners and live blogs. Stuff has one. Radio NZ and the NZ Herald have both cracked open the breaking banner. One News had a story yesterday about Clarke Gayford’s social media posts on waiting for the baby. But of course, the live blog to watch is being updated constantly by Hayden Donnell, who has been blogging for three days straight and is slowly being driven mad by the tension.


 

Children’s minister Tracey Martin wants to shift away from putting kids in state care, reports Radio NZ. She says she would rather see more intensive intervention services to keep children in their own homes. There are currently around 6,000 children in state care, 60% of whom are Māori. Tracey Martin says she admits such plans will be controversial.

The comments came during the annual Oranga Tamariki update to the select committee, but an important piece of wider context is the Royal Commission into abuse of children in state care, being led by former governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand. Currently, the terms of reference for the inquiry are being considered. Suffice to say, it is widely known that many children suffered horrendously while they were wards of the state – here’s an NZ Herald story from when the Royal Commission was announced.

More recently, the NZ Herald reported that many children in state care are being bounced around between caregivers, ruining hopes of a stable life. Oranga Tamariki admit that while they try and place kids in stable foster homes, many kids were moving too often. Former wards of the state told the Herald that regular moves would deny children the chance to get an education, and the most likely place they’d end up was prison.


ACT leader David Seymour believes most public holidays should be abolished, reports StuffMr Seymour says it shouldn’t be the business of the government when people go on holiday. His comments came in relation to whether or not there should be a public holiday for Matariki, which he says people should feel welcome to use some of their annual leave on.


The first nurses strike in almost 30 years will take place on the 5th of Julyreports Stuff. It will only be averted if a new offer is made by DHBs between now and then. DHBs say they have contingency plans in place for the strike, and the strikes will not affect people seeking emergency medical care. Mediation between the two parties will take place on Friday.


Green leader James Shaw has enthusiastically welcomed National’s support for a climate change commission, reports the NBR (paywalled) There may, however, be disagreements on whether the commission operated in an advisory role as Mr Bridges prefers, or whether it would have more power than that.


There’s a concerning front page lead on the Dominion Post today, about a report into the costs of Wellington’s social housing stock, and its un-affordability for many tenants. Two thirds of tenants pay more than 35% of their income on rent, and the Council’s affordable rent subsidy is not widely publicised, and therefore many who are eligible for it haven’t taken it up.


Speaking of subsidies and entitlement, various groups are questioning whether the government really wants people to take full advantage of the welfare entitlements available to them, reports Newshub. The government says they want people to claim them, but the cost of that would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Auckland Action Against Poverty says MSD aren’t doing enough to make people who come in aware of what they could claim.


From our partners, Vector’s Beth Johnson writes that one of the best reasons for lighting up the Auckland Harbour Bridge, is that it makes diversity impossible to ignore.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Madeleine Chapman writes about Mike Hosking’s brave battle with cycleway statistics. Jihee Junn writes that you may well have a faulty heater in your house. And MP Golriz Gharaman is calling on New Zealanders to make their voices heard against the literal torture of children taking place in US immigration detention facilities – more on that below.


You will probably have seen the stories about migrant children being separated from their parents, at what are effectively concentration camps in the USA. If not, this story from ProPublica is the best introduction. It carries audio of children crying for their parents, and being mocked by guards at the facility. And yes, it is exactly as bad as it sounds.

You may also think there is nothing that can be done about such a state of affairs. That is not the case. Former Baptist minister and development worker Thalia Kehoe Rowden has outlined a series of practical steps that you can take right now. These gross abuses of human rights don’t have to just be accepted.

There will also be vigils in Auckland and Wellington, reports Newshub. Both will be at5pm on Friday evening. In Auckland, it will take place at the United States Consulate General on Customs St East, and in Wellington at the US Embassy on Fitzherbert Terrace in Thorndon.

Please alert me if other events on this are taking place around the country, and I will include them in Friday’s Bulletin – thebulletin@thespinoff.co.nz.

The very latest on the issue is that Donald Trump has indicated he will sign an executive order prohibiting family separations, which the Washington Post says is a dramatic reversal of his earlier statements. Regardless, the proposed solution still involves children being held in prisons, for long periods of time.


In the ongoing Football Ferns coach trash-fire, NZ Football has confirmed 13 top players have refused to play under coach Andreas Heraf, reports the NZ Herald. That’s more than an entire first team. Heraf himself has been placed on ‘special leave,’ while an investigation into the culture of the team takes place. An important point to note here – Heraf is also the technical director for the whole NZ Football representative structure.

Just for a bit more context about this saga – Stuff writer Andrew Voerman says questions were first put to NZF about Heraf 40 days ago. Voerman says alarm bells should have started ringing then, given Stuff had comments on the record from a concerned Fern.

The White Ferns have done it again, smashing a Women’s T20 International record total of 216, to record a big win over South Africa. Suzie Bates scored the White Ferns’ first ever T20 century, and Sophie Devine chipped in with a chilled out 73 off 48. However, the record was broken just a few hours ago by England, who monstered 250 in their game against South Africa. The matches are taking place as part of a T20 tri-series hosted by England.

Now, I had a polite but firm message from a fellow called Simon yesterday, who said he had to stop reading The Bulletin this week because of Football World Cup spoilers. So, as a compromise, from now on, all World Cup results will have a headline, so they can be avoided.

Football World Cup results and spoilers. 

Russia and Uruguay are the first two teams to qualify for the next round, as both have racked up two wins from two games in their group. Portugal will now be feeling pretty comfortable too, after drawing with Spain and beating Morocco 1-0 overnight. Spain, however, realistically need at least a draw with Iran this morning to feel safe about going through.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal is making a strong claim for the tournament’s golden boot if his side can keep advancing. He’s scored all four of Portugal’s goals so far to lead the tally to date. However, he is still losing the race to ‘own goals,’ of which five have been scored already.


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.


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