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The Bulletin: Rest home horrors

Good morning and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Reports detail terrible conditions in rest homes, lawyers called in over Plunket money, and Dunedin students are burning fewer couches. 

Rest home patients are suffering from bad care and understaffing. The NZ Herald reports in some instances residents are being strapped to chairs all day, and not moved at all. This report follows an article – also by Nicholas Jones – on Saturday, which says there are problems across the sector, including staff being unresponsive to resident health changes, facilities skimping on food costs, and a lack of staff meaning those working there are running themselves into the ground.

Consumer NZ researcher Jessica Wilson told Newstalk ZB that much more needed to be done by the government on rest home legislation. She also praised the staffing levels at not for profit homes. Speaking about rest homes operated as businesses, she said “just because it’s a flash looking building… doesn’t mean the care your family member will get is top notch.”


Lawyers have been called into the dispute over Plunket fundraising. Stuff reports three of the branches – Culverden, Karori and Khandallah, are seeking legal opinions on whether to take a case to the Charities Commission or Banking Ombudsman, over money raised locally being transferred into head office control. Karori residents in particular concerned by the announced closure of their local Plunket creche, along with losing access to $50,000 earmarked for renovations.


Couch burning in Dunedin is rapidly losing popularity, reports the Otago Daily Times. Figures released under the OIA reveal the number of ‘furniture fire’ incidents has been slashed in just the last five years. Fire and Emergency absolutely hates ‘nuisance fires’ like couch burning, so the figures are good news for them.


Legislation will be introduced today to alter how the Reserve Bank operates. The new governor Adrian Orr will sign Grant Robertson’s policy targets agreement, which require the Reserve Bank to take unemployment into account when setting interest rates. The Dominion Post editorialises this morning that it may be just the first of many changes in how the Reserve Bank operates. Richard Harman at Politik says the changes should also be viewed in terms of a power struggle between the Reserve Bank and Treasury.


Compensation will be paid out to wrongly convicted man Tyson Redman, who spent two and a half years in prison. The NZ Herald reports it’s the first compensation payout to include adjustment for inflation from the outset. That was a major sticking point in Teina Pora’s battle for compensation after his wrongful conviction.


The government will build more than 3000 houses in Mt Albert, as part of the Kiwibuild programme. In and of itself, it’s a significant announcement, but measured against the 100,000 target in Kiwibuild programme, it’s the sort of operation that will need to take place dozens of times over the next decade.

One remarkable aspect of this story – it was broken by Mt Albert Inc, a news website owned by the residents association. It’s a story Bruce Morris has covered for them in depth in recent months. The website is ratepayer funded, and was set up in the middle of last year – here’s a Stuff story on the launch. If you live in the area, check it out.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Sam Brooks has watched the Stan Walker documentary, and he found it raw and confronting. Rebecca Stevenson says farewell to Fonterra’s $8 million dollar man, Theo Spierings, and assesses his tenure in one of the most important jobs in the New Zealand business world. And Samuel Flynn Scott from the Phoenix Foundation got sent along to the Ed Sheeran concert by Radio NZ, and really, really tries to let the performance move him.


The verdict is in on former President Barack Obama’s visit to New Zealandand it’s not great.

Claire Trevett’s column in the NZ Herald was a glorious skewering of the tugging desperation to get a social media shout-out from Barack Obama. Tracey Watkins on Stuff tied the visit to Air New Zealand’s lavish sponsorship, and their week of dealing with the fallout from cutting regional services. ‘He came, he saw, he putted,’ said Finlay MacDonald on Radio NZ. That’s not to mention the various sponsors, who ended up getting precious little of the exposure they were hoping for – a point made by Jonathan Milne on Stuff.

What was it all for? One possible answer comes from Māori TV, who spoke to two of the women who had been at the Wāhini Toa roundtable, who were positive about the experience but didn’t go into detail about what was said.

And if you really did enjoy having Barack Obama in the country and miss him already, don’t worry. Hillary Clinton is coming to New Zealand in May.


In sport, the most bizarre story of the weekend was by far the Australian cricketers being busted ball tampering against South Africa. The sheer audacity of using ‘tape’ which may actually be sandpaper, is being reported by ESPN Cricinfo as being driven by desperation. In the end, Australia collapsed with the bat to lose the test, and captain Steve Smith has been banned for a game. The Australian government even got involved, with the Australian Sports Commissioner saying Smith should be replaced as captain.

And throughout Radio Sport’s commentary of the Black Caps vs England test, the refrain kept coming back: Remember 1981. Remember the underarm ball.

Speaking of the Black Caps test, if you’re in Auckland, have a passing interest in cricket and a few spare hours this evening, go and watch the final day. Give NZ Cricket money, buy an overpriced beer and a replica playing kit to make it clear that day-night test cricket can work. This new format works for the sport, and works especially well for Auckland. And best of all, you might even see a Black Caps win – they need seven wickets to wrap it all up.

And in the NRL, the Warriors have won three in a row, in a remarkable start to the season. A lot of the more fervent fans are going to be wondering if it’s possible to un-burn a jersey.


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.


The Bulletin is brought to you by Vector. If you live in Auckland, they also delivered the power you’re using to read it. And they’re creating a new energy future for all of us, as showcased by the incredible Vector Lights.

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