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(File photo: Radio NZ)
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The BulletinSeptember 25, 2019

The Bulletin: How electorates could change after census

(File photo: Radio NZ)
(File photo: Radio NZ)

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: How electorate boundaries could change, plans to bring agriculture into the ETS stall, and another scandal hits state care abuse Royal Commission.

Electorate boundary changes look set to make a few of Labour’s South Island strongholds a little less safe, reports Elena McPhee of the ODT. Both Dunedin North and Dunedin South are likely to include more rural areas, taking from Waitaki and Clutha-Southland respectively, which both lean heavily to National. Dunedin South will also be open, with Clare Curran stepping down.

In the North Island, it’s still too early to say in any detail where the changes are likely to be, however there will be an extra seat. Politik’s Richard Harman reports that it will likely spark a scramble for candidates wanting the National selection, as it is believed the new seat will be around the Northwest – typically a happy hunting ground for the party. The decision that gets made by the Representation Commission, and the way that shuffles the whole map around, could put other seats in the city into play.

There could also be quite a bit of movement around other electorates. Stuff has reported on census figures that show Wellington City has grown more slowly than areas like Kāpiti, Porirua, Horowhenua and the South Wairarapa. However it’s unlikely a new seat would be created, and because the population growth hasn’t put seats out of their 5% variance from population averages, there may not be any shuffles. Around Christchurch, the city’s population is back up after the earthquakes, along with a booming population in nearby Selwyn District. (NOTE – Wellington details corrected from today’s email version of The Bulletin)

As for the Māori electorates, the number will stay at seven, though Te Tai Tokerau now has too many people, and Tāmaki Makaurau too few, so it is possible a section of the former will go to the latter – though the top up could also come from Hauraki Waikato. There are some very useful maps in this Newshub piece which outlines where the population bulges are.

You might recall some politicisation of the census figures, with National questioning whether they should be used at all for redrawing boundaries, because of how badly the collection was botched. Stuff reports they’re still not ruling out a challenge, but will push most of all for minimal changes to be made.

Plans to bring agriculture into the emissions trading scheme have stalled, before they even made it to cabinet, reports Stuff. The sector is the largest emitter in the country, and so the exemption was a controversial one. However, it is also yet another slowdown to this government’s efforts on climate change. It is still expected to make it through eventually, but “eventually muddling through” wasn’t exactly the message of the address PM Jacinda Ardern made at the United Nations this week.

A major story has been developing around the Royal Commission into abuse in state care. A convicted child sex offender attended meetings alongside abuse survivors, as the partner of one of the advisory group members. Minister Tracey Martin has refused to express confidence in the leadership of the inquiry, reports Radio NZ. It is another in a string of mistakes and issues that has flared up in the operation of the inquiry.

An astonishing development in the world over Brexit overnight. Reuters reports Britain’s Supreme Court has handed down a stinging verdict against PM Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament, saying it was unlawful. The opposition is calling on him to resign for misleading the Queen, which Johnson is vehemently refusing to do.

More details have been announced around the scrapping of the school decile system. One News reports it is now expected to be gone by 2022, to be replaced with an Equity Index to better align funding levels with socio-economic disadvantage. While Cabinet has agreed in principle to the changes, it will still need to go through a consultation process.

Christchurch councillor and candidate Deon Swiggs has announced he’ll be taking a break, reports Stuff. He says he’ll be assisting with the investigation into allegations against him, which he continues to deny. His name remains on the ballot papers. Speaking of Christchurch, Hayden Donnell and Josie Adams at The Spinoff have put together a briefing on what the mayoral candidates are running on.

A press release came in yesterday that made me want to give a quick shout out today. 30,000 trees have been planted at Ātiu Creek Regional Park, by a group called Conservation Volunteers New Zealand. The planting season is starting to wrap up for the year, so for everyone around the country who got out and put a few trees in the ground, good on you. Here’s to another good season next year.

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Right now on The Spinoff: There’s heaps and heaps. Tim Muller and Logan Penniket studied how dire youth voting statistics distort our local democracies. Alice Neville meets the people behind an Auckland composting initiative, turning around our terrible food waste habits. I assess the latest developments around the Christchurch Call. Warren Nevill warns young people mulling climate action to not make the same mistakes his generation did, of expecting someone else to fix things. Emily Writes talks about the immense and varied ways pregnancy affects a body, and the lives of those experiencing pregnancy. Alex Casey returns to Celebrity Treasure Island one more time, with a winner being announced.

And finally, people talk about student magazines pushing boundaries all the time, but Critic Magazine actually does it with their covers. We’ve published a selection of their more controversial ones, with current and former staff writing about why they chose to run them.

It would be hard not to be moved by the words of Greta Thunberg at the United Nations. Unfortunately, these sorts of calls have been celebrated before, and then blithely ignored by those in power immediately afterwards. That is proven strong and harsh opinion piece from the Irish Times, which looks back to 1992, when 12-year-old Severn Cullis-Suzuki spoke directly to the conscience of power. Here’s an excerpt:

With the UN summit and global climate strike just around the corner, Cullis-Suzuki’s words ring poignantly true: “At school . . . you teach us how to behave in the world. You teach us to not to fight with others, to work things out, to respect others and to clean up our mess, not to hurt other creatures; to share, not be greedy. Then, why do you go out and do the things you tell us not to do?

“Parents should be able to comfort their children by saying: ‘Everything is going to be all right, it’s not the end of the world, and we are doing the best we can.’ But I don’t think you can say that to us any more. Are we even on your list of priorities?”

The Warriors have another new ownership structure, with Autex Industries taking sole charge, reports the NZ Herald. Carlaw Park Trust have been bought out, after being the previous majority shareholder, and it is understood they sold for less than they originally paid. However, the clubs behind Carlaw Park were much more keen to get out than stay in. A new board will be appointed, and at this stage it looks like the key members of staff will be staying on.

That’s it for The Bulletin. If you liked what you read, and know other people who would find it useful, pass on this signup form to them. And if you want to support the work we do at The Spinoff, please check out our membership programme.

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