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PM Jacinda Ardern, agriculture minister Damien O’Connor, and industry representatives announcing the plan to eradicate mycoplasma bovis (Radio NZ: Rebekah Parsons–King)
PM Jacinda Ardern, agriculture minister Damien O’Connor, and industry representatives announcing the plan to eradicate mycoplasma bovis (Radio NZ: Rebekah Parsons–King)

The BulletinMay 29, 2018

The Bulletin: Long, costly mycoplasma bovis eradication ahead

PM Jacinda Ardern, agriculture minister Damien O’Connor, and industry representatives announcing the plan to eradicate mycoplasma bovis (Radio NZ: Rebekah Parsons–King)
PM Jacinda Ardern, agriculture minister Damien O’Connor, and industry representatives announcing the plan to eradicate mycoplasma bovis (Radio NZ: Rebekah Parsons–King)

Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Eradication, not containment chosen for m. bovis outbreak, National eyes up new allies, and welfare working group disappoints activists.

The government has decided to press ahead with eradication of cattle disease mycoplasma bovis. Radio NZ reports the eradication plan will cost close to a billion dollars, with the government covering just over two thirds of that, and will be phased over ten years. The PM says there is basically one chance to eradicate the disease, and it needs to be taken now, though MPI says there’s no guarantees it will work. National is also backing the government’s strategy.

Eradication of m. bovis has never actually been achieved anywhere in the world, reports Newsroom. Around 150,000 cows will likely have to be killed, and any farm where it is detected will be depopulated.

The PM was supported in the announcement by representatives from industry groups, including Dairy NZ and Federated Farmers. The likely overall economic impact has been likened to that of a drought by ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley, reports The Country. Farmers who have to kill their cows will be compensated, but will still have to bear loss of production costs.

Finally, an interesting side–note in all of this: Mediawatch this weekend covered the closure or ownership transfer of various rural publications, and speculated on whether reporting on the sector would be diminished as a result. Despite it being front page news on pretty much every paper around the country today, the eradication won’t dominate headlines over the next decade. It will be a long, slow grind, and will need to be scrutinised. But the journalists and publications best qualified to cover that will be the specialists. And speaking of which, this from NZ Farmer is a very tidy explainer.

Another day, another poll, and it has said much the same as the one in yesterday’s Bulletin. In the One News Colmar Brunton poll, Labour are slightly behind National in the party votes, Jacinda Ardern is miles ahead of Simon Bridges as preferred PM, and both NZ First and the Greens are flirting with the 5% threshold of doom. Judith Collins has made an appearance in the preferred PM rankings in this poll too, at 2%.

You know who’s not in the poll? The ACT Party. They’re literally nowhere to be seen. It’s got to the point that National leader Simon Bridges is now “quietly talking to a number of players” about what other potential alliances and parties could be out there, reports One News.

According to the report, Bridges wants a replacement for the now defunct Conservatives. They were ideologically a very different sort of party to ACT, but in terms of voting constituency there’s likely some crossover (if ACT can be said to have a voting constituency at all, that is.) The ACT Party currently exist by the grace of National, and patience for continued failure won’t last forever.

An 11 person welfare working group has been appointed, to broadly review the system, reports Stuff. Made up of “academics, social advocates, economists and business leaders,” the review will look in particular at the sanctions regime placed on beneficiaries. The group will report back in February next year, and recommendations will be non–binding.

That long lag time isn’t being welcomed at all by activist group Auckland Action Against Poverty, who told Newshub that urgent action is necessary and obvious. Spokesperson Ricardo Menendez says while the working group does its thing, the lives of people living in hardship will continue to get worse.

DHBs are still optimistic about averting a nurses strike, reports Newstalk ZB. The decision to strike for two days in July was taken yesterday, contingent on an updated offer, which is being considered by nurses. The updated offer doubles the original offer, and nurses say they will send their analysis to members by Thursday.

A new study has found mothers effectively take a pay cut of more than 4% when they have a child, reports the NZ Herald. The ‘motherhood penalty’ also increases the longer a woman spends out of the workforce. Dr Jess Berentson Shaw has written a comprehensive analysis of the study for The Spinoff, in which she also argues that just because the motherhood penalty is a reality now, it can be changed.

Labour’s Shanan Halbert might actually have a chance in the Northcote by-election, for which voting is now underway. The news comes from Simon Wilson’s NZ Herald series on the by–election, which notes that internal party polling has Halbert closing the gap on National’s Dan Bidois, the highly regarded Harvard graduate who was widely assumed to be the favourite.

There’s no money for an Auckland waterfront stadium in mayor Phil Goff’s ten year plan, which means it could be at least two decades away, reports Stuff. I’m mainly just sharing this story to republish the views of AUT professor of construction management John Tookey, who is talking absolute sense on the issue. He says:

“We need a new harbour crossing. Most of all we need housing, and every aspect of infrastructure for the economic and social needs of an expanding population. But a new stadium? No. I particularly look forward to him (Goff) making the ‘pressing stadium need’ case to a family of four living in a sleepout.”

The NZ Herald’s Phil Taylor has written a defining obituary of champion runner and Auckland councillor Dick Quaxwho has died of cancer, age 70. Quax won a silver medal at both the 1976 Olympics, and 1970 Commonwealth Games, and had represented the Howick ward since 2011.

From our partners, Vector’s Bridget McDonald has looked at the government’s deep dig into the energy sector. What will the review look at, why should there even be one, and does it mean you might pay less for power?

Finally, The Bulletin has been nominated for an award – ‘hottest media product’ for what is being called the ‘Hot List 2018.’ Now, hot isn’t a word that gets thrown around a lot to describe news curation, but it’s always nice to get the word out about The Bulletin. So if you can find a spare couple of seconds to vote for us here, that would be much appreciated!

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Critic editor Joel MacManus (supplied)

Right now on The Spinoff: We’re going to have to do something nice for Sam Brooks, who is distraught at the DWTS departure of Marama Fox. Madeleine Chapman has written a step by step guide for just how to do unfunny and offensive blackface jokes. And Critic editor Joel MacManus looks back at a rather eventful week for the Otago student publication.

The feature today isn’t tied to any sort of news hook, I just thought it was fascinating. It comes from Atlas Obscura, and concerns the dangerous and high pressure working lives of saturation divers, who work deep under the surface of the ocean. It’s a long, minutely detailed and meditative article – here’s an excerpt.

Hovey recalls moments of deep panic. Once, his umbilicals got tangled up in a tool rack that had been lowered down. The movement of the boat above began to jerk him around and he worried the force was about to separate him from his gas supply. “You have to calm down, take some breaths, and say, ‘You are the only one that can help yourself. No one’s going to come down here and help you.’”

Some divers have cheated death, with help from their partners, or through a combination of discipline, training, and luck, but usually when things go wrong, they go wrong very fast, with catastrophic consequences.

The Springboks rugby team have their first ever black African captain. Newspaper The Citizen reports that Stormers loose forward Siya Kolisi will lead the side against England in their upcoming series. Despite the symbolism of a black player leading a team that was a core part of the identity of the apartheid regime, coach Rassie Erasmus is downplaying that aspect, saying Kolisi’s selection was “common sense.” He’s played 28 games for the Springboks, and captained the Stormers since the start of last year.

That’s it for the The Bulletin. If you liked what you read, and know other people who would find it useful, please forward it on and encourage them to sign up here. Thanks for joining us this morning.

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