Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Second round of gun law changes announced, hundreds with conditions like Down syndrome get early Kiwisaver, and a major refusal to participate in March 15 inquiry.
The second major phase of gun law reform has been announced by the government. Interest reports a gun register will be created, along with tighter rules around licensing of gun owners, a prohibition on visitors buying guns, and increase penalties for gun offences. It follows the first major round of reforms, which were aimed at specific types of weapons, some of which were used in the Christchurch mosque attacks.
The gun register is something the Police Association have long called for. Their major concern is that basically the number and type of guns in circulation is an unknown, for example because one licensed owner could buy and then on-sell many guns to others. Not everyone is on board – writing earlier this year, gun advocate Mike Loder said it would be expensive, overly complicated and ultimately pointless. The cost of the reform package is estimated at $53 million over a decade, and Stuff reports National have indicated they won’t support it, after previously supporting moves to change earlier laws.
There has been some confusion though about whether or not these changes will mean only citizens can own guns, reports Newshub. Police minister Stuart Nash initially said yes, but the government later changed their position, saying instead that it would mean those who have been in the country for at least a year could own guns. The underlying point of all these changes is to try and prevent another terrorist attack like March 15, and ‘fit and proper person’ tests on license applicants will also be strengthened. That would likely prevent, for example, those who have espoused violent views on social media from owning guns.
Hundreds of people with life-shortening conditions like Down syndrome will have the right to access Kiwisaver early, reports the NZ Herald. The person at the centre of their story is a 40 year old guy called Tim Fairhill, who went before a Select Committee last year to ask for the change to be made. He has accumulated savings over 15 years working at Countdown, and is likely to have to retire in about five years due to his joints slowing down at a younger age. Minister Kris Faafoi says it’s only fair that someone who has contributed should get their Kiwisaver when they’re ready to retire.
The former race relations commissioner Joris De Bres will refuse to appear before the Christchurch mosque attacks Royal Commission of inquiry. Writing on The Spinoff, he says he isn’t confident the process will be transparent, or that the victims of the attack and their families will be placed at the centre of it. He also argues consultation with the Muslim community has been lacking.
It would appear Labour and NZ First have come to an agreement on abortion law reform, reports Radio NZ in their morning news bulletins today. Progress had stalled between the two parties earlier this year on the plan to remove abortion from the Crimes Act. Justice minister Andrew Little says there have been constructive discussions with NZ First MP Tracey Martin. There could be more to come after it is discussed by cabinet today.
Amid concerns that wages offered are too low, those at the top of the Kiwifruit vine are netting huge profits, reports Stuff. The article looks into just how big those returns can be, not just for orchard owners but also those in senior management and on the board of Zespri. It also comes amid the declaration of a labour shortage, which allowed growers to bring in hundreds of visa-holders from overseas to pick the crop.
Over the weekend Greater Wellington Regional Council chair Chris Laidlaw ruled out standing again, reports Stuff. He’s had a torrid year since the overhaul of the bus network began, and quickly turned disastrous. Sue Kedgley and Ian McKinnon will also be stepping away from the GWRC, but most of the others councillors have confirmed they’ll be having another run.
Something to think about around electric cars and rural drivers, in this opinion piece from Hawke’s Bay Today. Their writer Peter Shand says while charging infrastructure is still behind where it needs to be in many areas, electric vehicle technology itself is increasingly catching up. And as it does, farmers who move to electric vehicles will find their operating costs get lower in the medium to long term. Feebates will also soon be in place, bringing upfront costs down further.
Timaru’s notoriously inaccurate town clock should soon be running permanently on time again, reports the Timaru Herald. A systems overhaul is underway, which over the course of the next few weeks should result in the right weighting for the pendulum inside it, that controls the timekeeping. The clock often ran too fast, and was also affected by a quake near Methven a few years ago.
Local government officials are concerned candidates might be being put off by increasingly harsh social media abuse from the public, reports Radio NZ. Dunedin mayor Dave Cull says while he accepts criticism will happen, abuse is different.
I’m interested in your thoughts here. My natural instinct is to think they doth protest a bit much – politicians regularly play dirty with each other, so why should it matter if it comes from the public instead? And shouldn’t the public have plenty of latitude to hold their elected representatives to account? On the other hand, I’ve never been a politician, so I probably don’t understand the experience. Give me your views – email@example.com
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed, free daily curated digest of all the most important stories from around New Zealand delivered directly to your inbox each morning.
Right now on The Spinoff: Duncan Greive has done some serious number crunching on the relative decline in public money going towards public broadcasting. Joseph Nunweek was in the audience for a major Jacinda Ardern speech in Melbourne, and came away with more uneasy questions than answers. Alice Webb-Liddall meets the people behind a service that brings showers to homeless people, giving basic needs and dignity. Elle Hunt ponders the social complexities of buying rounds at the pub, as a cultural difference between NZers and the Brits.
Finally, this is a wonderful essay by novelist Ruby Porter, taking an introspective look at her grandmother, and the town of Levin. It’s lyrical and layered, and I really enjoyed it.
Today’s feature is an insightful look into the way a kids TV show shaped the politics of a generation. Writing on the Pantograph Punch, Briony Bennett looks at personal vs collective responsibility for climate change through the lens of Captain Planet. What I love about the argument being made is that it allows for nuance and complexity. Here’s an excerpt:
The Captain Planet cartoons were immensely popular. Recently, I looked up the episode list online. In the very first episode, aired on 15 September 1990, the Planeteers battle against an oil-rig operation that threatens a marine environment. There were over 100 episodes, running into the mid-2000s, covering a broad range of environmental, social and political issues including nuclear waste, gun violence, dynamite fishing, wildlife extinction and indigenous rights. The storylines remain relevant today.
In the theme song, we hear that Captain Planet is “gonna take pollution down to zero”, a catchphrase that genuinely inspires me to this day. Our hero is fighting on the planet’s side, but we as individuals, the children of the 1990s, have a powerful role to play. He calls us all to the fight: “The power is yours.”
There remains really only one big story in the sports world this morning, and that’s the Silver Ferns. The NZ Herald’s Cheree Kinnear has looked at the future of the team, with a string of key players likely to retire following the World Cup triumph. But among the team dominated by a few legends nearing the end of their careers, there are plenty of young players like Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Gina Crampton who have now had the experience of not just winning a World Cup, but winning narrowly against more highly fancied opponents like England and Australia to do it.
Meanwhile, the Silver Ferns won’t officially get any prize money, but yesterday on Newstalk ZB the Netball Players Association Steph Bond hinted heavily that sponsor ANZ should consider ponying up. This report on Radio NZ explains why there isn’t money available, and basically it’s to do with the international governing bodies for different sports having very different profiles and functions.
Finally, this is a fantastic interview from a player who has been there before. Speaking to The Spinoff, former Silver Fern Leana de Bruin is absolutely overflowing with praise for Noeline Taurua, and talks about how a dynamic coach can actually turn around players and teams.
From our partners: A two-tier system of energy use is developing, with those on high incomes much more able to reduce their bills than households on lower incomes. Vector’s Chief Risk and Sustainability Officer Kate Beddoe outlines what the company plans to do about that.
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The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.