Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for June 15, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day. Get in touch at [email protected]

3.25pm: Walkout at counter-terrorism over ‘imbalanace’

There are reports people walked out of a session at the government’s counter-terrorism hui in Christchurch.

According to National MP Simon Bridges, audience members heckled speaker Juliet Moses from the NZ Jewish Council with “free Palestine”, before walking out. According to Stuff, the heckles were in protest to comments Moses made about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Moses said the “current zeitgeist” was building walls instead of bridges. “It focuses on what divides, more than what unites, and it brings about segregation, not integration.”

Bridges, in a tweet, said: “While it was on a minority, it’s a shame to see at a forum on tolerance.”

Academic Bronwyn Hayward, from Canterbury University, was one of those who left the session. In a tweet, she said there was an imbalance on the panel. “The main concern was that there hasn’t been any speaker from the Muslim community to balance the Jewish council representative,” she said.

2.25pm: 25yo pleads guilty after threatening to kill National MP

A man has pleaded guilty to threatening to kill National MP Simeon Brown.

According to RNZ, 25-year-old Chase Jayden Kimura entered his plea in court today, also losing the right to keep his name suppressed.

Kimura, who is a patched Mongrel Mob member, sent Brown four threatening messages after the MP criticised a gang meeting.

1.45pm: Next year’s Splore already sold out – and in record time

Tickets for next year’s Splore Festival in Auckland have sold out in just eight hours, showing New Zealanders are already yearning for summer (and fennel bongs).

The three day festival will take place at the end of February at its traditional home of Tapapakanga Regional Park.

Festival director John Minty said he was surprised at the rush to buy tickets. “We are stunned by the uptake without announcing a single music or performance act,” he said. “It shows there is real demand for the culture that Splore has created. Splore is a safe environment where diversity is celebrated and our sustainability credentials have added to a culture and vibe that people find very appealing”.

Normally, the final tier of tickets would be put on sale around October but due to the unprecedented demand this year around all tickets sold out on the first day.

New podcasts!

Need a new podcast to listen to? Here are the latest episodes hot off The Spinoff Podcast Network servers:

  • This week on The Fold, Duncan Greive talks to NZ Herald deputy political editor Derek Cheng about juggling his day job in the press gallery with a constant urge to go on big climbing adventures.

  • Cricket podcast The Offspin welcomed special guest Sonia Gray to celebrate the Blackcaps’ first test series win in England since Chris Cairns was at the top of his game and look ahead to the World Test Championship final.

  • Chris Parker and Eli Matthewson caught up with this week’s eliminated queen and recapped the penultimate episode of Drag Race Down Under on The Real Pod.

  • And Dietary Requirements chatted to Chand Sahrawat about the pressure New Zealand hospo owners and staff are under due to labour shortages at the moment.

1.05pm: No new Covid-19 cases in community or MIQ

The total number of Covid-19 cases in the country has dropped down to 23, with no new cases recorded overnight in the community or managed isolation.

Two people remain in Middlemore Hospital being treated for the coronavirus after moving from the Jet Park quarantine facility last week. Both are in a stable condition, the Ministry of Health says, but one is reportedly in intensive care.

Meanwhile, quarantine-free travel with Melbourne remains suspended and will be removed tomorrow. “Anyone who is eligible can continue returning on “green flights”, meaning they will not be required to isolate when they arrive home,” said the ministry. “However, they must provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken within three-days of departure. A PCR test is strongly preferred.”

On The Spinoff

This week on The Spinoff we’re celebrating and scrutinising all things gossip. Here are two pieces we’ve published today for Gossip Week:

11.40am: Senior Aucklanders next in line for Covid vaccine

All Aucklanders over the age of 65 will soon be able to get their Covid-19 vaccination.

Health officials will, according to the Herald, be in touch with residents within the next week to invite them to book in for the jab. More than 110,000 people will be contacted by the end of Friday, officials said.

“We’re really excited to be extending our programme further to keep more of our older population safe,” said Matt Hannant, from the Northern Region Health Coordination Centre. “The vaccines are free and an important part of keeping our community safe and protected from Covid-19”

The PM Jacinda Ardern is set to unveil more details about the general public vaccine roll-out at a stand-up in Auckland this Thursday. Thousands of New Zealanders in group three are still waiting their chance to get the vaccine despite plans for group four to be able to access it from late next month.

11.00am: Counter-terror hui opens in Christchurch

The first counter-terrorism hui has officially opened in Christchurch.

The two day event is being held in response to the 2019 terror attack in the city and was recommended by the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

In her speech opening the hui, Jacinda Ardern said that the government had pledged to follow the advice made by the commission.

“We have accepted the findings of the report and agreed in principle to all the recommendations,” she said. “First, we are continuing to work on issues central to representation and building capability. This hui is part of that.”

The inaugural hui will bring together community, civil society, academia, the private sector and government to help develop plans to prevent terrorism.

“This hui builds on the progress we have made since the March 15 attack and will be an important annual event to help counter terrorism and violent extremism,” said Andrew Little, the minister in charge of the government’s response to the attack.

10.30am: Ardern to open counter-terror hui via Zoom after plane cancelled

Jacinda Ardern will not be appearing in person at a hui centred on counter-terrorism in New Zealander after fog cancelled her flight.

The two day hui in Christchurch was one of the key recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 2019 mosque attacks.

Ardern will still be opening the event but will give her remarks, from 11am this morning, on Zoom.

10.10am: Producers of mosque shooting movie to meet with more victims after backlash

Producers of a controversial film in the works about the Christchurch mosque attack will now meet with more victims following consistent backlash to the project.

Announced on Friday, the film has been lambasted by just about everyone – with the Muslim community angry that Jacinda Ardern will reportedly be placed at the centre of the story.

Now, producers will spend time with more representatives from the Christchurch Muslim community and have opened up an email line for correspondence and suggestions.

“After consultation, the producers have shared the synopsis of the movie and listened to our concerns,” Abdigani Ali, a spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Christchurch, told the Herald. “We have agreed to work closely with the producers to facilitate this process of consultation and any victims of the March 15 terrorist attack.”

One of the film’s producers, Ayman Jamal, said it was never the intention to upset anyone. “We believe we owe a clarification to those families who lost their loved ones, survivors and witnesses regarding the film, its purpose and intention,” they said.

Anyone wanting to share their story with the film producers can email [email protected]

9.00am: Auckland branch of youth climate action group disbands, calls itself ‘racist’

The Auckland branch of youth climate action group School Strike for Climate Change has disbanded, calling itself a “racist” group.

The group organised strikes by school students calling for action against climate change.

But in a post on Facebook, the group has admitted it is a “white-dominated” space and chosen to disband. “Since 2019, SS4C AKL (as well as the wider national group, though we can’t speak on their behalf) has been a racist, white-dominated space,” the post reads. “SS4C AKL has avoided, ignored, and tokenised BIPOC voices and demands, especially those of Pasifika and Māori individuals in the climate activism space.”

The group also claims to have “delayed paying financial reparations for the work BIPOC groups/individuals within and alongside the group have done for this organisation” in the past.

No more strikes will be held by the group, the post said, and members have separated from the national school strike team.

8.05am: Seymour faces pressure over ‘white privilege’ at schools story

For at least a month, Act Party leader David Seymour has been using the example of a Whangārei school that made a student admit their white privilege as a means to criticise the government for its “race-based” approach to education.

But now, the school reportedly at the centre of Seymour’s claim has pushed back and told Northern Advocate they are unaware of such an event taking place.

Seymour originally said the incident took place was a primary school, but since told the Advocate newspaper it was in fact Whangārei Girls’ High School. “I’d love him to be able to put the facts to that,” said the school’s principal Anne Cooper. “I’ve certainly had no complaints about it.”

The specific claim made by Seymour was that a student at the school had been forced to “acknowledge their white privilege that day”, but Cooper said she was unaware of anything like that happening. “Kids talk and we encourage kids to talk. Parents are very good at coming forward. I’d certainly like to know if it is the case,” she said.

Seymour told the Advocate the event in question did happen, but admitted he had only talked to a “source” and not the child allegedly involved.”If they want to say it didn’t [happen], that’s fine. But we’re pretty sure it did,” he said.

“I suspect it was probably some enthusiastic graduate on a mission to put the world to rights. It may not have had an official sanction.”

White privilege, Seymour said, did not exist – although he admitted people with white skin statistically had better outcomes than people of colour. He said people who were taller also enjoyed advantages.

Read the full story here

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

The government will make a formal apology for the “Dawn Raid” policies of the 1970s, which harshly targeted Pasifika people. PM Jacinda Ardern said the apology will be made at a formal event at the Auckland Town Hall on June 26. This Radio NZ story quoted Ardern setting out the specific harms caused during the era, and said “an apology can never reverse what happened or undo the decades of disadvantage experienced as a result, but it can contribute to healing the Pacific peoples in Aotearoa”. Two previous apologies of this nature have been made, to the Chinese community for the racist “poll tax”, and to Sāmoa for injustices during the period of colonial administration by New Zealand.

The human toll of the policy was thrown into sharp relief in this story, by One News. Savelio Ikani Pailate, 93, described being chased from his home by police dogs, and being deported anyway. Pacific People’s Minister Aupito William Sio was emotional during the announcement, saying the raids and associated police and immigration was disrespectful, racist and traumatising. Writing on The Spinoff Dr Melani Anae, who joined the Polynesian Panthers in 1971, covered the anger and action provoked by both the Dawn Raids and wider discrimination. It is not yet known what if any actions will accompany the apology.

Why is an apology necessary? What is the point of it after all these years? I’m open to people sending disagreements in the feedback from whatever perspective, but in my view an apology is warranted, and meaningful because of how it reframes the events in question. Apologies are a significant part of Treaty of Waitangi settlements, because they serve as a direct acknowledgement of Crown wrongdoing against specific iwi – I’d recommend you read E-Tangata on the complexities of that, and why an apology alone isn’t sufficient. But saying sorry for the Dawn Raids would make it clear the state now understands it was morally wrong for the government and police to target an ethnic minority.

SIS chief spy Rebecca Kitteridge has said the public must debate the line between digital privacy and security, in an interview with Stuff’s Thomas Manch. A review of some spying legislation will be taking place later this year, which could result in organisations like the SIS being given more surveillance powers. Kitteridge said at present, the security services are not legally allowed to conduct mass digital surveillance on the public, meaning – according to Kitteridge at least – they are less likely to stop or uncover terror threats before anything happens.

Read more and subscribe to The Bulletin here






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