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Mourners in Christchurch at a vigil for those killed in the mosque attacks, on March 24, 2019 (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)
Mourners in Christchurch at a vigil for those killed in the mosque attacks, on March 24, 2019 (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

The BulletinMarch 29, 2019

The Bulletin: A day for remembrance

Mourners in Christchurch at a vigil for those killed in the mosque attacks, on March 24, 2019 (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)
Mourners in Christchurch at a vigil for those killed in the mosque attacks, on March 24, 2019 (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Remembrance service in Christchurch to be broadcast nationwide, skepticism about social media extremism crackdown, and warnings made before bridge collapsed.

All eyes will turn to Christchurch today once more. A National Remembrance Service will be held to mark two weeks since the mosque attack, which took 50 lives. The service will begin in Hagley Park in Christchurch at 10.00am, and will be jointly led by the government, the city of Christchurch, Ngāi Tahu and the Muslim community. Environment Canterbury is waiving bus fares for the day, so those wanting to go can get there for free.

Across the country, many places will also be broadcasting a live stream. In Auckland, it will be at Eden Park. In Wellington, Waitangi Park. Hamilton, Blenheim, Dunedin and many other places will all have events, among other places – a full list can be found here. Unfortunately, many rural events that had been planned have had to be cancelled, because police resources are too stretched to cover them. Newshub reports that while there is no specific threat, police are on high alert today with the events.

Those who can’t make it to an event but still want to see it can watch live on TVNZ 1 from 10.00am, or will be likely to be able to stream it on all major news websites. There will be music – many New Zealand artists and international guest Yusef Islam/Cat Stevens being among them. The service will run for the rest of the morning.

A person at the centre of it all will also speak, reports Stuff. His name is Farid Ahmed, and his wife Husna Ahmed was killed in the attack, after saving the lives of a group of children, and coming back to try and find Farid. Amid everything that was happening, it was an extraordinary act of heroism, which will likely never be forgotten. The name Husna Ahmed will ring out today, and will become woven into New Zealand’s story, as will the names of everyone else who was killed.

Plenty of skepticism is being expressed about Facebook’s ability and willingness to actually enforce their new ban on white nationalist content. Australian social media researcher Dr Belinda Barnet told Newstalk ZB one problem with it was that it relied on Facebook to self regulate – potentially in a bid to avoid a legislative response. She did note that Facebook had become very good at removing other objectionable and dangerous content, but a lot of that involved the police being notified by Facebook as part of the process.

Meanwhile, what about Youtube? They’ve so far escaped a lot of the spotlight for all of this, despite also showing themselves to be entirely willing to host – and even direct users towards – white supremacist content, reports Stuff. This feature is an excellent dissection of their negligence in moderating their platform’s community.

There were warnings that the Waiho Bridge was in danger before it collapsed in this week’s floods, reports Radio NZ. A local says they warned NZTA, and Westland mayor Bruce Smith says that hazard management should pay more attention to those with local knowledge. Part of the problem is that for years the river bed has been rising, reports Stuff, and it’s also downstream from the retreating Franz Josef glacier, so a lot of debris is being sent downriver as well. Work is already underway to repair the bridge, which is a hugely important piece of regional infrastructure.

Sky TV’s former boss John Fellet has now resigned from the board, in another sign of the massive clean-out going on at the broadcaster, reports the NZ Herald. One of the country’s biggest Sky-watchers (in a business sense) is the Herald’s Chris Keall, who last week reported some dramatic comments from new boss Martin Stewart, who trashed his own company’s FanPass service, and hinted that the company should have done more to keep Rugby World Cup rights. All the while, both the share price and subscriber numbers keep on slipping down.

The Parihaka Trust is distancing itself from Destiny Church, after social media posts implied they had endorsed the group, reports Māori TV. Members of Destiny’s ‘Man Up’ programme turned up to the Pā en masse to watch a speech from Bishop Brian Tamaki, and then posted videos to social media after the fact. Parihaka chairperson Tina Mason said the visit should not be taken to mean any support or endorsement had been made of Destiny. While the church has said they didn’t mean to offend anyone with their actions, the videos are still up on their social media pages.

The MP for Rongotai Paul Eagle is calling for NZ Bus to lose their Wellington contracts, reports Radio NZ. NZ Bus have copped a whopping number of fines for failing to comply with contractual requirements. How many are we talking here? More than 17,000 individual fines, in the space of five months. Now in fairness, NZ Bus says they aren’t getting any credit for the 150,000 completed trips, but it’s pretty astonishing to consider that for people catching the bus, there’s effectively a one in ten chance of something going wrong.

You might have seen ads by or stories about a new group calling themselves the Community Schools Alliances this week. They’ve launched a campaign to fight proposed changes being imposed by the ministry. Unfortunately, as Newsroom’s Laura Walters reports, their campaign has got underway with a fair bit of misinformation and mischaracterisation of what the proposals will mean. It’s a great piece because while it calls out that misinformation, it also acknowledges that there are plenty of valid and truthful reasons for schools to be wary of the plans.

Someone in a small corner of Sandringham appears to be on a cat-stealing spree, reports Radio NZ. Residents of a two-street radius report that five cats have gone missing in the space of six weeks, but the cause is a mystery. Regardless, it’s horrible when pets go missing, and the families are heartbroken.

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Right now on The Spinoff: Civil liberties advocate Thomas Beagle argues that mass surveillance isn’t the answer in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shooting. James Dann explores the deep ties the Muslim community have with the suburb of Cashmere in Christchurch. Tayyaba Khan, founder of the Khadija Leadership Network, speaks about what New Zealand needs to do now to really come together in our communities. And Trish Grant outlines the sweeping changes needed to make the education system truly inclusive for those with special needs.

When it comes to Brexit, I’ve shared the work of Ian Dunt a few times now – he’s the editor of this latest piece, on the subject of PM Theresa May’s offer to resign if her deal gets approved, is an absolute masterclass in plain speaking. The whole process of Brexit has been one characterised by utter, shameless lying and hypocrisy all the way through. That’s undeniable regardless of what your position on it all is. So it’s quite cathartic to see a journalist just absolutely unleash on the people who have made it happen. Here’s an excerpt:

Boris Johnson, who not so long ago said May’s deal “strapped a suicide vest around the UK” and turned it into a “vassal state”, suddenly decided he supported it. Astonishing. Jacob Rees Mogg, who previously said the deal turned the UK into “a slave state” and that it constituted the “greatest vassalage since King John”, also decided he was prepared to back it. Extraordinary. And now here they were, actively promoting our own national slavery on the basis that the prime minister might possibly step down at some unspecified point in the future.

It is the Nazi-Soviet pact of the Brexit debate: a deal so cynical it contains its own gravitational field. May is prepared to offer her resignation in exchange for the deal, on the basis that if it passes she probably won’t have to see it through. The Brexit headbangers are prepared to support the deal in exchange for her resignation, on the basis that they will tear up the deal once she is gone. They are shaking hands with knives held behind their back.

Dreams can come true, as the experience of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shows. The former Manchester United player has just been announced as the new permanent manager of the club, reports the BBC, after taking over halfway through the season and averting disaster. When Jose Mourinho was finally shown the door, United were near the bottom of the Premier League, and looking like losing their status as one of the big beasts of club football. Now they’re back up to fifth in the Premier League, and are about to play Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals. It’s quite a turnaround.

From our partners: Climate change has already affected how electricity gets delivered to customers, and it’s only going to get more challenging. Vector’s Chief Networks Officer Andre Botha outlines what the lines company is doing to respond.

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