John Key, image via Wikimedia Commons
Breaking: John Key Resigns
John Key is resigning as Prime Minister of New Zealand. He made the shock announcement at his weekly press conference today. Key told reporters, "This is the hardest decision I've ever made and I don't know what I'll do next."
The New Zealand Herald reported the National Party would hold a caucus on December 12 to decide who the party, and country's, new leader would be. Key said he would vote for deputy prime minister Bill English.
John Key said in a statement that it had been an "enormous privilege" to have served as prime minister for the last eight years. He added he could not commit to a fourth term, should National be successful at next year's election, and was stepping down to spend more time with his wife. "Bronagh has made a significant sacrifice during my time in politics, and now is the right time for me to take a step back in my career and spend more time at home."
Michael Wood celebrates his win. Image via Twitter.
Labour thrash National in the Mt Roskill by-election
Labour candidate Michael Wood took out the Mt Roskill by-election over the weekend by clocking in with more than double the votes of the National Party's Parmjeet Parmar. The final tally, according to RNZ, saw Wood score 11,170 votes, while Parmar ended with 4,652 votes; The People's Party leader Roshan Nauhria came in third with a total of 709 votes. The by-election came about after Phil Goff left the seat he'd held to become the new mayor of Auckland, and Wood used the opportunity to campaign on policies around crime, transport and housing affordability.
The 36-year-old also said that social media and Labour's young campaign team played a big role in the win. "I was the oldest person on our campaign committee," he told NZ Herald. "We put a lot of energy into building up and bringing in new leadership … it was quite deliberate. We decided we wanted to run a modern, forward-looking progressive campaign … we actively promoted younger people in our campaign into leadership roles."
Meanwhile, (former) Prime Minister John Key is downplaying National's loss by telling reporters that the party "never thought we'd win" because of low voter turnout.
New Kaikoura from above. Image via.
Nasa Photos Show Kaikoura's New-Look Coastline
We already knew New Zealand's map needed a do-over since the 7.8 earthquake struck the centre of the country just after midnight on November 14. New satellite photos taken by Nasa show just how much new land has emerged from the sea around Kaikoura Peninsula. The rocky seabed has lifted as much as 5.5 metres in places, leaving crayfish, paua and other marine life stranded above the high tide mark.
Gable Tostee Is Still the Worst, According to his Kiwi Ex
Gold Coast 'playboy' Gable Tostee has been dumped by his Kiwi girlfriend, who says she was left "emotionally starved" by the 30-year-old. Lizzi Evans told The Daily Mail that Tostee is "obsessed" with his "old life" of partying, drinking and girls, and that he's set in his ways and "wants to live like that forever". The news comes only a couple of months since Tostee was found not guilty of both the murder and manslaughter of Warriena Wright, a Lower Hutt woman who was on a Tinder date with him when she died after falling from the 14th floor balcony of his Surfers Paradise apartment. Evans stayed by Tostee's side during the trial and said that they had hoped to begin a new chapter in their life now that it was over, but he was resistant to change. "It was either his way or no way," she said.
Auckland Isn't Building Houses Fast Enough to Address the City's Affordability Problem
A shortage of housing supply is a key driver behind soaring housing unaffordability in our biggest city. In 2013, the government came up with a policy to fast track new builds and boost the number of houses on the market. But latest figures reported by RNZ indicate the Auckland Housing Accord is about to fall short of its three-year goal. Auckland needs about 13,000 homes built each year for the next thirty years. In the past year only 9960 have been consented, and new council data shows fewer than 7000 actually built.
Judge Carolyn Henwood chaired the Confidential Listening and Assistance Panel on child abuse. Image via.
Pressure Ramps Up on the Government to Hold an Inquiry into Child Abuse in State Care
The call for a national inquiry into child abuse in state care is gathering momentum. Judge Carolyn Henwood criticised the government's inaction over the issue last week after Social Development Minister Anne Tolley refused to apologise for historic abuse, saying it wasn't systemic.
Henwood chaired a panel that heard stories of more than 1100 people abused while in state care between the 1950s and 1980s. She told RNZ there is no accountability in the system and was disappointed that the government had so far ignored her recommendation to set up an independent body to discover the extent of the abuse. The Human Rights Commission has come out in support of an independent inquiry.
Human rights lawyer Michael Bott, who has represented several people abused in state care, told RNZ New Zealand needed an inquiry similar to the Royal Commission into child abuse in Australia. "We need to know a, why it happened, and secondly once we know that, to make sure it never happens again."
Buzz Aldrin Is Recovering in Christchurch After Being Airlifted from Antarctica
He's walked on the moon and is the oldest person to make it to the South Pole but Buzz Aldrin is stuck in a Christchurch hospital bed for now, on doctor's orders. The 86-year-old American astronaut was evacuated from Antarctica last week after suffering signs of altitude sickness. He'll be in New Zealand until fluid on his lungs clears and he gets the ok to return home to Florida. In the meantime, he's been catching up on news and tweeting about Kim Kardashian.