Students packed out Civic Square in Wellington before heading to parliament for the 24 May climate strike (Ana Tovey, Radio NZ)

The Bulletin: Greens push to lower voting age on climate strike day

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Greens push to lower voting age on climate strike day, latest IPCC report unpacked, and analysis of Fonterra’s tough annual results day.

On a day when many 16 year olds will be out protesting against climate change inaction, the Greens have announced a push to get them the right to vote. As One News reports, the policy is now being pushed because of those strikes – Green party co-leader James Shaw says young people are increasingly engaging with decisions that will affect their future, and should have the right to be able to vote on it. The method for getting it through parliament will be by attaching it to a member’s bill currently being sponsored by Golriz Ghahraman.

It also comes on the back of the increasingly vocal Make it 16 campaign. That got a bit of coverage during the Youth Parliament earlier this year, with spokesperson Oli Morphew writing on The Spinoff that the exercise showed that young people are capable of being civically engaged. And it also speaks to an increasing anger around how young activists are received by decision makers – think about the likes of Greta Thunberg being both seen and heard, but not really listened to. One person quoted in the piece summed up the current trend, of “commending (young people) as inspirational young leaders whilst prohibiting them from voting on these issues that are more relevant to them.”

Speaking of the climate strikes today, we’ve published a guide to what is happening and where. At least 40 events are planned around the country, and so far more than 90 organisations have indicated they’ll be participating in them.


The state of the world’s oceans is the subject of the latest IPCC report. Unsurprisingly, it has found that high emissions are damaging them – but also that they’re currently protecting humankind from the worst effects of climate change. Eloise Gibson at Newsroom has done a thorough unpacking of what is likely in the future for oceans if emissions aren’t curbed.


A tough day for Fonterra yesterday, with their annual results confirming a $605 million loss. The Spinoff’s business editor Maria Slade was there, and has analysed the unsurprising but still painful results. It signals a significant contraction for Fonterra, which is currently on the way back to just being a dairy co-op, rather than the global conglomerate it had previously tried to be.


Students at university halls are speaking out after a death went unnoticed for eight weeks. Stuff reports concerns from other students who say that they’re “completely unsupported” in the halls of residence. In one extremely grim instance, a student said they attempted suicide with the door to their room open, and woke up the next morning with nobody having noticed anything.


Two perspectives on the end of the term for Auckland Council. Penny Hulse, a 27 year veteran, wrapped up her career and spoke to The Spinoff, issuing a call for an end to pettiness. As to why such a call might have been needed – Todd Niall at Stuff has one answer. Much of the term ended up stuck in the mud, partly because of mayor Phil Goff’s leadership style, and partly because a group of councillors with “enough ruffled feathers to fill a duvet” organised to stymie him.


If you’ve got any interest in New Zealand politics, you’ve got to watch this new video series. Radio NZ and the Aotearoa Media Collective have put out Matangireia, in which Morgan Godfery conducts extended interviews with some of the most significant Māori politicians of the last 30 years. I’ve only watched the interview with former Alliance MP Sandra Lee so far, but it’s very insightful and beautifully paced.


The Hamilton City Council wants to turn an iconic Hamilton Gardens lawn into a carpark, reports Radio NZ. It’s fair to say a lot of people aren’t happy about it, as it is one of the premier event spaces in the city. The Hamilton Gardens are a hugely popular tourist attraction, with over a million visitors a year – it is unknown how many of those visitors are motivated by the chance to come and see concrete.


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Right now on The Spinoff: Kera Sherwood-O’Regan meets influential Chadian climate activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, to talk about community involvement in responses to climate change. Israeli-born restauranteur Yael Shochat writes about how the latest changes to immigration rules will hurt the hospitality industry. Hayden Donnell reports on the rather alarming number of election races that will go uncontested this year. Flick’s Nikki Cockburn explains how the national grid works, and how green it is. And wildman Don Rowe has reviewed iconic Queenstown eatery Fergburger.


For a feature today, a fascinating piece about extinction. Not our extinction necessarily, but more about how we culturally conceptualise extinction, and look back on the creatures that are now gone. This piece by Shanti Mathias for Salient starts with the dinosaurs, and this excerpt is about their strange second life in our imaginations.

Dinosaurs are real, but the idea of them was created. “You never see [a picture of] a dinosaur without teeth,” says Gus Mitchell, dinosaur enthusiast and former Salient science columnist. In movies, we see dinosaurs hunting and eating—not lying down for ten days to digest a big meal. Dinosaurs are shaped as prompters of awe and fear, rather than as living animals, because they are known through fossils rather than flesh.

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According to Gus, the appeal of dinosaurs over, say, a Cambrian era sea slug, is partially that they are “terrifying and charismatic” but mostly that they had “a better ad campaign”. From toys to children’s books, then movies like Jurassic Park, there is a cultural idea of dinosaurs as much as a scientific one.


Rachel Priest is in line to make a White Ferns international cricket return, after two years in exile, reports Stuff. The keeper has spent the intervening time plying her trade in professional leagues in Australia and the UK, but was named on the 17-strong central contract list yesterday. At the moment the team is building towards the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia, so it’s a strong sign Priest’s big-hitting ability will be valued there. Among the rest of the contract list, Central Hinds seamer Rosemary Mair and Auckland Hearts batter Lauren Down are both new additions, with Kate Ebrahim and Jess Watkin – the latter of whom was only offered her first contract last year.

And finally, I do hope you haven’t forgotten the name Chunli Li. The table tennis ace is the subject of the latest episode of Scratched. She was the winner of an astonishing four Commonwealth Games medals, and is still involved in the game – in fact, she has still never been beaten in New Zealand. There’s footage of her playing this year, at the age of 57, and her skill is breathtaking.


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