Everything you need to know about the world today, curated by 95bFM and VICE NZ.
National Party Reshuffle Sees Women Taking Top Spots
National Party leader Simon Bridges has announced his new party caucus. This follows Bridges' recent promotion to party leader as well as the resignation of senior party member Steven Joyce. Promotions include Amy Adams, who has moved to third place on the party list, and Judith Collins to fourth place. Adams has been given the Finance portfolio while Collins has been given the Housing and Urban Development portfolio. Other notable portfolios are Nikki Kaye for Education and Jami-Lee Ross for Transport.
Continuing Opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
An advocacy group is calling for independent analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Signed last week by trade minister David Parker, the deal has a variety of aims relating to international trade, some of which have proved controversial. A spokesperson for It’s Not Our Future, Oliver Hales, says the group will continue to oppose the deal. “What we really want to do is put pressure on Labour and New Zealand First to undertake the independent cross-benefit analysis of things like employment, economic growth, public health and climate change that they called for when they were opposition. I think that will allow people to see what the different sectoral impacts of this might be.” The deal still needs to be ratified by half of the 11 nations to go through.
Cyclone Hola Expected to Arrive in New Zealand Today
Cyclone Hola is forecast to bring heavy rain and severe winds to the North and East of the North Island this morning. The cyclone has already caused major damage to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Heavy rain warnings are in place this morning for Northland, Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and Gisborne. Metservice meteorologist Ami Roster says the storm should leave the county by Tuesday. NIWA announced last year that this season there is a heightened risk of tropical cyclones close to New Zealand, due to La Nina weather conditions.
Teachers and Nurses Look to be Winners From Government's First Budget
It’s still some way off, but teachers and nurses look to do well under the coalition government's first budget. Finance Minister Grant Robertson told TVNZ 1's Q+A that both groups have not experienced the rewards of New Zealand's growing economy and that this needs to change. The Minister says that this can be done by increasing the pay of thousands of nurses and teachers, and both groups are in conversation with the government. However, with minimum wage being increased Robertson admits that it will be difficult to raise wages in the public sector. The first budget will be announced on May 17
Stopping Vehicle Access on Maungakiekie
Maungakiekie—also known as One Tree Hill—will soon be closed to vehicle access, with work beginning later this month. The decision aims to protect the mountain from damage caused by vehicles as well as general safety concerns due to narrow roads. Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tupuna Maunga Authority told 95bFM reporter Reilly Hodson, that this is a necessary step. “Change will mean showing respect to the Tupuna Maunga, the ancestral mountain for Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau. We think it assists with the care and protection, and also will mean a safer access route for the community up the access road.” The closure is part of the 2016 decision by the Tupuna Maunga Authority to remove vehicles from six of Auckland's mountains.
First Inaugural Remembrance Day for New Zealand Wars
Sunday was the first inaugural commemoration of the New Zealand Wars. The New Zealand Wars were battles in 1845 between colonial troops and local Māori, that resulted in large casualties. A procession was held in the streets of Russell to honour those that died during the battles. Kelvin Davis, Minister of Māori Crown relations and Willie Jackson, Minister of Employment represented the government by speaking at the official pōwhiri. Jackson acknowledged the need for understanding the events that took place in order to understand New Zealand’s history.
Commerce Commission Declines TradeMe Monopoly Bid
The Commerce Commission has refused another company sale citing fears of a powerful monopoly. TradeMe’s bid to acquire company Motorcentral was declined on the grounds of substantially lessening competition in the motor dealing market. Motorcentral writes software used by independent second-hand car dealers, similar to a TradeMe–owned business. Commerce Commission Chairperson says the sale would reduce the ability of car dealers to list on rival websites, making TradeMe a particularly powerful player. In the last year the Commission has also declined mergers of SkyTV and Vodafone as well as NZME and Stuff.
Oranga Tamariki Stands By Gang Home Placement
Oranga Tamariki has stood by a 2016 decision to place a vulnerable young person in the care of a gang associate. Formerly Child Youth and Family, the organisation says they "did their best" in the situation. The youth was only supposed to be placed at the address for a weekend until other arrangements could be made, but remained there for a longer period. This was done without the knowledge of the youth's family. That night, the teenager was part of a crime spree with the gang associate, involving multiple burglaries and a police chase which ended when the car's drunk driver crashed into a power pole. A review obtained by Radio New Zealand under the Official Information Act showed the failure of social workers to further assess the placement for risk. The youth's family was not spoken to as part of the review nor provided a copy of its outcome.
Money Skills Programme to be introduced in New Zealand
A new programme to teach children about money is to be launched in New Zealand schools later this year. The programme, Sorted in Schools, is a Commission for Financial Capability initiative and will focus on Year 9 through to Year 13 students. A survey of students by the Commission found that 82 percent of those surveyed wanted to learn money skills, particularly budgeting and how loans work. Spokesperson Kelly Gay says financial education is something teachers want too. The Commission is currently looking for schools to work with Sorted in Schools.
China’s President Gets Presidency For Life
China's congress has approved the removal of presidential term limits. A few weeks ago, President Xi Jinping proposed amending the constitution to allow Presidents to stay indefinitely in power. The current two-term limit was put in place after the term of Mao who was Chairman from 1949 until 1976. This new constitutional change, voted for by more than 99 percent of delegates, allows Xi Jinping to remain China's President for life. Since his arrival in 2012, Xi enforced a personal rule, imposing without opposition his policies in the world biggest country.
UK Investigates Poisoning of Former Russian Spy
British authorities are gathering evidence after a former Russian spy was poisoned last week in the UK. The former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent last Sunday in Salisbury, and are both now in intensive care in hospital. Officials asked people who spent time in the same places as Skripal to wash clothes to avoid long-term contamination. Hundreds of counter-terrorism police officers are involved in the investigation and are gathering more than 200 witnesses. Russia denies accusations of the assassination of its former agent.
President Trump Moves Tentatively on Gun Control
President Trump will back new age restrictions for the purchase of some firearms and will allow school staff to carry guns. The White House also announced that the president will support a bipartisan bill that will improve background checks for gun buyers. A month after the school shooting in Florida that killed 17, the gun lobby is facing a major national movement for gun control. The NRA is protesting against a new Florida legislation that bans the purchase of guns for those under 21. The restrictions called by the White House are yet to be clarified.
Former Trump Advisor Stokes Nationalism in Europe
Former senior Trump advisor Steve Bannon is touring Europe to ignite nationalist parties around the continent. Bannon, founder of Breitbart News, met with leaders of several nationalist parties, urging them to unite to destroy Europe's establishment. He talked with heads of Alternative for Germany and the Italian League, two parties that had major success in their last elections. Bannon also made a speech at the French National Front rally on Saturday stating, "Let them call you xenophobes, wear it as a badge of honor... History is on our side," he says. The controversial advisor was fired from the White House last August.
Additional reporting by Jemima Huston, Bailley Verry and Ulysse Bellier