News of Zealand

News of Zealand: Greens Make it Into Government for the First Time

While National pledges to be strongest opposition ever. And in other news, a big win for Hera Lindsay Bird and Bush bags Trump.
October 19, 2017, 10:55pm
The Green Party leader James Shaw. Image via Wikimedia Commons

Everything you need to know about the world today, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.


Greens in Government for the First Time in History
Winston Peters' announcement that New Zealand First would go into government with the left-wing bloc means that, for the first time in its history, the Green Party will hold ministerial positions. Under the deal, the Greens will have three ministers outside Cabinet and one under-secretary. Greens leader James Shaw called it a "historic moment" for the party, which has been in Parliament since 1999.
Peters' decision draws a curtain across nine years of National rule, and elevated Labour leader Jacinda Ardern to the prime ministership, making her the youngest prime minister since 1856. The policy agreements between Labour and New Zealand First will be announced next week. Outgoing Prime Minister Bill English hailed Ardern's rise as "remarkable", but warned that the National Party would be the strongest opposition Parliament has ever seen.

Hera Lindsay Bird Wins Big
Wellington-based poet Hera Lindsay Bird has been awarded the Arts Foundation New Generation prize, worth $25,000. The call came as a complete shock to the writer who said it was a "mad idea" for poets to expect to make money from their craft. Lindsay Bird is currently at the Vancouver Writers' Festival and said she would use the money to fund time off work to write.


Northern Iwi Celebrate the New Government
Northern iwi are celebrating the new government, with some calling it the best choice for Māori and for Northland. Pita Tipene, co-chairperson of the hapu alliance Te Kotahitanga, said Winston Peters was focused on the needs of the Northern region, which included rail, forestry, and the expansion of Whangarei's port. He added that the new government could also encourage progress in settling the Ngāpuhi treaty claims that halted under National.

Greenpeace Wants an End to Oil Exploration
Greenpeace has called for an immediate halt on oil exploration in New Zealand. This comes as a new report by the Ministry for the Environment (and Statistics NZ) found New Zealand's net carbon emissions have risen by around two-thirds since 1990. Greenpeace New Zealand's executive director, Russel Norman, told 95bFM News the government should impose a moratorium on oil exploration. "In light of this report which is pointing pretty dramatic consequences for New Zealand from climate change the government should pause on this insane proposition of looking for new oil and actually have a national conversation," he said. The report, Our Atmosphere and Climate 2017, also shows a 78 percent increase in emissions from road transport since 1990.


Brazilian Recycled Food Product
A recycled food product in São Paulo to help combat hunger is being dubbed as 'human pet food'. There is widespread criticism in Brazil's biggest city over a plan to feed poorer citizens and schoolchildren with a flour made from food that is nearly past its sell-by date. The ultra-processed flour is called farinata, and is being used mostly to make bread. Marly Cardosa, a professor of public health and nutrition at the University of São Paulo said, "It's not a food, it's an ultra-processed product, meaning you don't know what's in it." Synergy Platform, the creators of farinata, did not reply to questions about the nutritional composition of the product.

Afghan Military Base Attacked
A military base in the southern province of Kandahar has been destroyed killing at least 43 soldiers and injuring nine. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, in which suicide bombers entered the base in Humvee armoured vehicles. Afghan Defence Ministry spokesperson Dawlat Waziri said there was nothing left inside the camp. It was the fourth major attack on Afghan security forces this week.

George W. Bush Criticises Trump
Former President George W. Bush made headlines in the United States for a speech given yesterday, which was largely critical of President Donald Trump's America. Speaking at a George W. Bush Institute event in New York, Bush didn't mention Trump by name, but took aim at the divisive politics of the current president. The move comes as a steady stream of longstanding Republicans are standing up to condemn Trump.

Spain's Next Move to Combat Catalan Independence
Spain is to invoke an article of their constitution to block Catalan self-governance. Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution says that if a regional government doesn't comply with the obligations of the laws Spain imposes, the Government can ask the Senate to vote on the matter. Joseph Costa, a professor of political science at Barcelona's Pompeu Fabra University said, "The Spanish government really didn't have a plan to proceed with 155, so there's a lot of uncertainty as to what can be done and what can't." The Spanish government believes triggering the article is believed to help restore "legality and order" to madrid.

China's New Political Theory
The Chinese President is being granted his own political theory. "Xi Jinping Thought" is the name of the political theory. Xinhua, a chinese state news agency, characterises the theory as "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era." It's the first time since 1989 that a leader has had their name linked to a political theory. The theory still needs to be approved by the Communist Party before it can be fully incorporated into the party's constitution.

Reporting by Jack Marshall, Ollie Powell, Jean Bell, and Lillian Hanly.