This story is over 5 years old.

News of Zealand

News of Zealand: A New Deputy Prime Minister and a New Heavyweight Champion

So far there's been more controversy over Joseph Parker's big win than the country's new leadership team.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett and backbencher John Key. Image via Twitter

Paula Bennett is New Zealand's New Deputy Prime Minister

New Zealand's political landscape looks very different today compared to this time last week. John Key officially hands in his resignation at the National Party caucus meeting and toddles off to the backbenches where he'll remain as Helensville MP until next year's election. What could have been the battle of the mustards became a mild affair, with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman pulling out of the race to be Prime Minister, leaving Bill English in charge.

There was a little more heat in the battle over who would be Deputy Prime Minister with next generation politicians, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett both declaring their intentions for the role. But come Saturday, Bridges pulled out of the race, saying "While my numbers where good they weren't good enough, I had about a third of the vote at any given day of the week, but I didn't have half and I could count."


Bennett is National's first female deputy prime minister. "When I was a 17-year-old solo mum holding a baby, I never thought I would be here, let alone Deputy Prime Minister," she told Stuff.

Joseph Parker. Image via Twitter.

Did Joseph Parker deserve to win?

Joseph Parker made history on Saturday night when he became the first New Zealand-born heavyweight boxing champion after winning the WBO title fight against American-Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr. The 24-year-old won in a split points decision—115-113, 115-113 and 114-114—yet it's turned out to be a contentious result for those in the boxing community. Professional Boxing Association president Lance Revill told RNZ that while he's got a lot of time for Parker, he didn't think he deserved to win the belt. "We haven't got a heavyweight champion of the world. Andy Ruiz got ripped off last night big-time, and I feel sick in the guts to be a New Zealander after last night."

Duco director Dean Lonergan, who promoted the fight, didn't hesitate to bite back. "Lance Revill hasn't got a clue, and every time Lance says something the opposite is true. The guy's well past it and, quite frankly, he's an idiot." Ruiz Jr has already called for a rematch, but that doesn't seem likely, either. Instead, Parker looks set to take a short break before jumping back in the ring next year to defend his title against Britain's Hughie Fury, the cousin of former champ Tyson Fury. Now all we need is to get Revill vs. Lonergan in an undercard match.


Image via Flickr user Michael Coghlan.

Youth Justice Age is Raised, But Not Until 2019

The youth justice age has been raised from 17 to 18, addressing what's been called an "enduring stain" on New Zealand's youth justice system. But the change won't come into effect until 2019 and it won't apply to all crimes. Seventeen-year-olds charged with murder, rape and aggravated assault will automatically be treated as adults in the system. Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox welcomed the change but said with 71 percent of youth in prison being Maori, more needed to be done.

Rebecca Reider (right) at Auckland Airport with her medication from the States. Image via Druglawed Facebook.

You Can No Longer Pack Medicinal Cannabis on Your US Trip

The Government has quietly shut down a loophole allowing travellers to bring medicinal cannabis home from the United States. Earlier this year, Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne said there were no plans to close the loophole. But last week a news release appeared on Customs website saying that while cannabis-based products were considered lawful in many US states they were not lawful under federal law and could no longer be carried into the country. Golden Bay woman Rebecca Reider has widely publicised her successful attempts to get medicinal cannabis past Customs. Reider, who takes the drug to treat her chronic pain condition, told Stuff the Government was "wilfully misinterpreting the complexity of US law" and the move was a "barbaric and deliberate attempt to stop sick people in pain from getting their medicine."

Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. Image supplied.

Gerald Hope Meets Scott Watson, the Man Convicted of Killing His 17-Year-Old Daughter

For 19 years convicted double murderer Scott Watson has denied he killed Olivia Hope and her friend Ben Smart, 21. For the same period of time, Olivia's father Gerald has been searching for what really happened to his daughter in the Marlborough Sounds on New Years' Eve 1998. The two men got to go over every aspect of the case when they met face-to-face for the first time last month. It took three years and a legal challenge to convince the Department of Corrections to allow the extraordinary meeting to take place. "We never got the truth," said Hope during the six-hour meeting, which happened at Rolleston Prison over two days in the presence of North and South journalist Mike White. The full report of the meeting is published in the magazine today. White said on the meeting was unique, and took "a lot of bravery from Gerald Hope and lot of openness from Scott Watson". "I don't think it's ever going to solve the debate about what happened to Ben and Olivia, but I hope it does inform it."