Good morning, and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Another leaked MPI report shows more fish dumped, meth testing scam dismissed by top scientist, and Christchurch residents turn to spring water to escape chlorine.
Huge amounts of fish are being wasted and dumped, according to an MPI report leaked to Newshub. Almost 3000 tonnes of Southern Blue Whiting go unreported every year due to wasteful cutting practices, almost 10% of that species of fish that gets landed each year.
If you’re confused and thought this report came out a week ago, you’d be thinking about this one into hoki dumping on Radio NZ. Taken together, they’re adding weight to Greenpeace and Forest and Bird calls for an independent inquiry into the fishing industry. F&B’s Kevin Hague says it shows the need for compliance cameras on boats, something that has long been resisted by the industry.
Important to the context of the dumping is that overfishing is already occurring, argues Scott MacIndoe in this piece on The Spinoff from last year. To put it simply, the world is running out of fish, and wastage of what is caught has long been an issue.
The other thing worth noting – these are all environmental questions. Another good reason for an independent inquiry into fishing would be to look into the human cost of how fish is caught, outlined in this Stuff Circuit investigation into slavery in the fishing industry.
The PM’s chief science advisor’s report into meth testing houses has come back, and has effectively said the threat of meth contamination has been wildly overblown. Stuff reports that there is no risk at all from living in a house in which meth has been smoked, though there could be contamination from houses where it had been cooked.
The backstory to this is of evictions, ruined lives, and the massive waste of money generally. That is outlined in this furious post on Public Address, by Russell Brown who has written extensively about the issue. To quote:
“New Zealand’s years of testing fever have come at a cost not only in dollars, but human well-being. Gluckman observes that in a social housing context, “the risk of being in an unstable housing situation is likely to be far greater than the risk of exposure to low levels of methamphetamine residues.”
And yet, Housing New Zealand threw people out of their homes and sometimes issued triumphant press releases when the Tenancy Tribunal ordered former tenants to pay tens of thousands of dollars in costs for generally unnecessary remediation.”
Not everyone is welcoming Sir Peter Gluckman’s report. First National Real Estate chief executive Bob Brereton told the NZ Herald he questioned the research, the findings, and the science behind it all. Mr Brereton also wondered if the findings were politically motivated, which seems unlikely given Sir Peter Gluckman was appointed to the role by the previous government, and has been utterly dismissed by Newstalk ZB’s Barry Soper in his column this morning.
Christchurch’s water chlorination has proven to be unpopular with the people of the city, who are turning to spring water taps instead, reports Newshub. The chlorination was introduced after a recommendation from the Canterbury medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey. This week, mayor Lianne Dalziel announced the level of chlorination would be reduced after complaints, but it wouldn’t taste different straight away – here’s a report on that from The Press.
DHBs are set to be shaken up in a wide ranging review of the provision of healthcare, reports Stuff. Minister David Clark has said in the past that he would consider reducing the number of DHBs, and in announcing this review he said that the health system is not delivering equally well for all people. Politik reports that the review could mean a more active and interventionist approach from the ministry in DHBs, in particular around how they manage their assets.
Housing minister Phil Twyford has been on a bit of a tear recently, making fair points that might also be politically unwise. The latest one is reported on by the NZ Herald – Mr Twyford said Aucklanders who didn’t want to live near new affordable housing should consider leaving town. In particular, he was taking aim at suburbs like Epsom, where local MP David Seymour has been stoking fears about new Housing NZ properties in the area, and their tenants having “mental health issues” – here’s a report on that from Stuff.
It follows Phil Twyford describing Treasury officials as “kids fresh out of university,” over disagreements on Kiwibuild projections. Newshub reported that he came close to apologising for that, but in a ‘sorry not sorry’ sort of way.
By next year, it’s possible there will be an interim commuter train service between Auckland and Hamilton, reports One News. It’s certainly something the government wants to get in place, but Auckland Council is hesitant about supporting the interim measure because the customer experience probably wouldn’t be great. The documents were provided to One News under the OIA, so there hasn’t been any official announcements on it yet.
Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times, have picked up the Clutha Leader from Stuff. The Leader is one of the many Stuff regional and rural papers being put up for either sale or closure, so Allied’s move will be a welcome result for the region. I saw this tweet from long–time journalist Jeremy Rees, which summed it up really well. He said: “Nice move by Allied Press. The Clutha Leader is a little, overlooked gem; 124 years old, entrenched in Balclutha and with “MJ” Tohill and her dog covering everything in town.”
It follows the purchase last week of the Kaikōura Star by the Greymouth Star, who are themselves part owned by Allied. I wrote about that here.
Thank you so much to everyone who voted for The Bulletin yesterday as the ‘hottest media product’ of 2018. It really was very touching to see your support like that, and I’m extremely grateful. A few people got in touch to say they had a problem with the voting form – you just need to scroll down to the bottom of the category to cast a vote.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed, free daily curated digest of all the most important stories from around New Zealand delivered directly to your inbox each morning.
Right now on The Spinoff: Sam Brooks has reviewed the ‘Delta Goodrem vanity project’ about the life of Olivia Newton John, and it’s fair to say he’s not a fan. Guest writer and novelist Brannavan Gnanalingam has stepped up and reviewed The New Animals, winner of the Acorn Prize and previously unreviewed on our site. And I wrote about the National Party’s search for political allies, and what voters are and aren’t willing to tolerate.
This is an interesting feature on Chinese e–Commerce from Interest, and whether it could end up hurting New Zealand’s exporters and retailers. On the surface, sites like Alibaba are fantastic for getting products into the Chinese market. But Alex Worker argues it could result in a net loss of NZ knowledge about what Chinese consumers want, which in the long run could hurt exporters.
“China is changing so quickly that if we aren’t actually in the market we will struggle to understand the trends driving changing consumer needs.
It will become near impossible to design and innovate according to these needs. For example, there is a big opportunity awaiting New Zealand honey suppliers to come up with new product packaging for squeezable drinking honey – a product aimed at household mothers wanting to buy for their in-laws.
However if we are not spending time in the market, we are left trying to develop strategies from afar and make investment decisions based on guesswork.”
You might recall Jihee Junn, one of our journalists at The Spinoff, went to China to write about Alibaba last month. Her report outlined the ways in which Alibaba is a logistical marvel, and the sheer commercial power it commands.
In sport, I really enjoyed reading this from Radio NZ about Katrina Grant, and the Central Pulse’s strong start in netball’s ANZ Premiership. Grant has been with the team since 2010, and has had to front up as the captain of the Silver Ferns over a dire couple of years. Despite being a standout player on pretty much every court she’s stood on, she’s done her fair share of brutal post–match interviews with dignity and honesty. But the Pulse are four from four, top of the ladder so far, and play the Southern Steel in Porirua tonight. Go watch them if you’re in the area.
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?
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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