The government is now expecting the cost of combatting mycoplasma bovis to grow

The Bulletin: Government turns focus on bovis

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: PM steps in to cattle disease response, spotlight put on possible worker abuse in strip clubs, and a big win for local game company Grinding Gears.

The bill for combatting cattle disease mycoplasma bovis is expected to grow, according to the Prime Minister. One News reports that the $85 million currently allocated is expected to increase as the disease spreads. Jacinda Ardern remains hopeful that it can be eradicated.

But in this opinion piece from Keith Woodford on NZ Farmerthe argument is made that the government should back off, because the experience of other countries shows eradication is now unlikely to be possible. Woodford says it should simply be left up to farmers to manage the disease.

The situation has become so serious MPI chief operations officer, and head of Biosecurity New Zealand Roger Smith has penned an opinion piece for the NZ Herald, defending the response. The defence is particularly pointed regarding a previous column from farmer turned environmentalist Rachel Stewart, who wrote in the NZ Herald the MPI were engaging in “professional spin and obfuscation,” and had repeatedly bungled biosecurity risks.

Meanwhile farmers are reportedly sceptical about contributing to an EQC–like fund to deal with biosecurity threats, reports Interest. Federated Farmers is concerned that it could be just another tax, and wants to be officially consulted before any decision is made. Finance minister Grant Robertson says such a fund is needed to “get ahead” of biosecurity concerns, rather than scrambling after them.


Strippers say they are being fined heavily for missing work, even when they’re sick, the NZ Herald reports. A mother of a dancer living at a flat provided for workers at Showgirls in Auckland spoke to the Herald, who report that her daughter had been fined for “being late and not being seen to fight back on CCTV footage if a customer touched or groped her during a private dance.” The mother said “it’s not empowerment to be docked $100 for being ten minutes late to work.”

The NZ Prostitutes Collective said such practices were widespread in the industry, and in the context of the report sounded abusive. The story follows similar reports from The Press about Calendar Girls in Christchurch. In that instance, Calendar Girls denied the allegations.


A Chinese internet giant has bought a huge share of local game creators Grinding Gears, reports the NZ Herald. The gaming company says the purchase of an 80% share by Tencent means they’ll be able to expand, and hire more people in Auckland. It was only last year that Grinding Gears really cracked the Chinese market with their wildly popular game Path of Exile – here’s a Te Waha Nui story on that.


Epsom MP David Seymour has been accused of fuelling prejudice against people suffering mental health issues, reports the NZ Herald. He sent a letter to constituents warning of a new Housing MZ development in the electorate. Phil Twyford has accused David Seymour of unfairly stigmatising the mentally ill. Seymour says he’s just “telling it like it is.”


National leader Simon Bridges is promising to scrap the winter energy payment for pensioners and beneficiaries if he wins government, reports Stuff. Bridges says such payments need to be more targeted, as wealthy retirees could be claiming it despite not needing it. But Labour’s Megan Woods says universality is a better approach, as 1600 New Zealanders die every year in part because of cold housing. The payments will kick in onJuly 1.


The Northcote by–election has so far been largely about traffic, but is that the right issues for voters to be focusing on? Newsroom’s Alexia Russell has analysed various other issues in the electorate, and areas where a local MP might actually be able to have an effect. Included in those are housing and homelessness, the spread of kauri dieback, and pay for teachers in the school–heavy electorate.


The Electoral Commission is looking into an ad in a horse racing publication backing New Zealand First at the election, reports Radio NZ. The investigation will look into whether the ad was correctly authorised, as a ‘third party’ advertisement. The party’s leader Winston Peters has long supported the racing industry, and secured some big wins for racing in the Budget, as reported by the ODT.


The Stuff Circuit team have returned, and their latest multimedia feature called Caught, looks into slavery in the fishing industry. Much of the video feature focuses on a group of Indonesian men, who murdered a captain who was physically abusing them and working them for days on end without sleep. Some men on these boats are effectively worked to death. The report also says there is no doubt New Zealand consumers are complicit, eating slave caught fish.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Our business editor Rebecca Stevenson has written a comprehensive profile of the “raw and real” NBR publisher Todd Scott. Madeleine Chapman wants audience questions at literary festival events banned forever. And I went along to an All Blacks squad naming, and chatted to Sonny Bill Williams about keeping rugby in perspective.


This is an important feature from the Southland Times, about the erosion of rural healthcare. It covers long term workforce and funding issues, and looks to the future of care, and how that will affect the region as a whole.

“A defining feature of rural health care is that the boundaries are more fluid between different professions, which makes for a far more sustainable model, with many nurses now undertaking roles that would traditionally have been fulfilled by GPs, Nixon said. However, the need for GPs in communities is still strong, as having good health care in a community made a town more attractive to other professionals.”


The All Blacks are threatening to unleash a new style of rugby on unsuspecting opponents, reports Stuff. Beauden Barrett says opponents are improving their defensive line speed to shut the All Blacks down, and the team needs to address that. Given that the All Blacks already play outrageously adventurous and skilled rugby, perhaps this new style will simply be reverting back to ten man rugby, kicking for territory and pushing for penalties.

And New Zealand are in a prime position to capitalise on possible rule changes in kayaking at the Tokyo Olympics, reports the NZ Herald. Currently countries are limited to one entry per event, but New Zealand have a whole swag of paddlers at the top of the world, led of course by three-time Olympic medallist Lisa Carrington.


From our partners, Vector’s Karl Check analyses Australia’s progress when it comes to shifting away from coal and gas fired power plants and onto renewable energy sources.


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.


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