A climate report to rule them all, but will climate rule the election?
The final IPCC report was unequivocal in its call to reduce emissions immediately but the government has no further news on how agricultural emissions charging will work
Mōrena and welcome to The Bulletin for Wednesday, March 22, by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: record number of New Zealanders have moved off a benefit; the squeeze on seats for Labour MPs in this year’s election; the man leading anti co-governance rallies; but first, the IPCC climate report and its implications for New Zealand
Immediate action to cut emissions required
I included an item on the final Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report yesterday morning. More response has emerged on its relevance to New Zealand and the laser-like focus the report has on emissions reduction. Methane emissions reduction was specifically called out. It really is quite remarkable that the report managed to convey both a sense of being on the brink of catastrophic warming, and also, hope. The catastrophe resides in the fact that the world will push past a dangerous temperature threshold within the next 10 years. The hope resides in the “unless” bit. Economies will need to drastically transform and cut emissions immediately. That framing and the overall findings are very well summarised by RNZ’s Hamish Cardwell.
Unequivocal on human activities causing temperatures to rise
The report is also unequivocal - human activities have caused global surface temperatures to rise. The University of Otago’s Daniel Kingston called the use of that language “remarkable” in comments supplied by the Science Media Centre, noting that scientists usually like to include “many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’”. NASA’s planetary vital signs dashboard is always useful here for a look at both the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the rise in global temperature since 1880.
Government still planning on charge for agricultural emissions
As Stuff’s Glenn McConnell writes, methane accounts for 44% of the country’s emissions. Almost all of New Zealand’s methane comes from agriculture. Cardwell notes that we are one of the largest emitters per capita in the OECD, and our emissions combined with the other smaller countries adds up to about two-thirds of the world's total. Responding to the report, prime minister Chris Hipkins said the government still planned to introduce a charge for agricultural emissions in 2025, but he had not yet made a decision about how to implement that. The last word from Federated Farmers on the timing of the legislation that will enable agricultural emissions pricing was that the government will not have time to pass it before the election. National’s new agriculture spokesman, Todd McClay has said he wants to “kick the tyres” on the party’s climate change policy as it applied to agriculture. All those involved in the IPCC report and its call for immediate action on emissions reduction probably won’t find any of this reassuring.
What do recent polls say about whether this will be the ‘climate change election’?
Finally, with all the catastrophic warnings, unequivocal scientific evidence and severe weather events, Toby Manhire has waded through a range of recent polls on how we feel about climate change, how likely it is to impact our vote at the election and whether we’d like the government to act more urgently on it. This morning, Manhire presents his findings on The Spinoff on whether recent suggestions that this year’s election will be the climate change election hold water.
How Māori TV was rebuilt
The early days of Māori Television were chaotic. After the founding CE was fired and imprisoned for fraud, Dr. Jim Mather was tapped to lead the fledging broadcaster. With no previous media experience, he was an unlikely choice for the role, but ended up leading the channel through some of its greatest years. Mather joins Duncan Greive on The Fold this week to talk about his outstanding career in consultancy and governance, his current position as chair of RNZ, and his goal to help organisations, like podcast sponsor oOh!media, embrace and apply the principles of the Treaty, guiding them to engage with iwi and mana whenua.
Big drop in number of people on benefits
New reports out from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) this morning show that in the year to June 2022, 113,400 people came off a benefit, the highest number since electronic records began in 1996. From early 2020, at the start of the pandemic, there was a large increase in the number of people accessing benefits, many of them with no prior history of doing so before. The change in numbers is largely a result of a reduction in those on the Job Seeker benefit. The report also found that younger people currently receiving a benefit were estimated to receive one for longer in the future compared to the wider youth population. In line with Treasury forecasts, the report notes changing economic conditions and expects the number of those on the benefit to rise from mid-2023. Anti-poverty campaigners have criticised the government for being “woefully slow” after promising to reform the welfare system five years ago. Not one of the 42 “urgent” recommendations it received from the Welfare Expert Advisory Group has been fully implemented. Social development minister Carmel Sepuloni says it is not a “box-tick exercise” and the Government has implemented most recommendations in part.
The squeeze on seats for Labour MPs in this year’s election
The Herald’s Audrey Young (paywalled) has crunched the numbers on Labour’s caucus ahead of this year's election. Following the “red wave” in 2020, 23 new MPs were brought into the house. Based on current polling, announced retirements and the number of safe seats Labour can probably count on, Young estimates that nine MPs will lose their seats in parliament. As Young writes, most of the safe MPs are in electorate seats or, like Helen White and Omer Ibrahim, have secured the Labour nomination in the safe seats of Mt Albert and Wellington Central. Young thinks the two candidates that weren’t successful in those selections but were thought to be head office favourites, former Labour party president, Claire Szabó, and Camilla Belich, will secure decent list placings.
A message from Toby Manhire, editor-at-large and host of podcast Gone by Lunchtime
Independent journalism is never more important than during an election year and we want to cover Election 2023 with rigour, range and humour. To do that, we need your help. Support our mahi by making a donation today.
The evangelical preacher leading the latest charge against co-governance
Good piece from Newsroom’s Matthew Scott on Julian Batchelor, the man behind the “Stop Co-Governance” rallies. The most recent took place in Orewa and involved confrontation between the rally attendees and members of Ngāti Manuhiri and members of Te Herenga Waka o Ōrewa Marae. Batchelor, an evangelical preacher, has said the co-governance issue sees New Zealand “at war”. He’s held a handful of meetings in Auckland and Northland in the last six months and presses rally attendees to oppose all “race-based legislation”. Scott looks into his background, his beliefs and his claims about media coverage. “All welcome signs” might sit outside the venues he’s hired for the rallies but as Scott writes, “Batchelor is happy for his own flock to be moved by the spirit, but he made it clear that Māori protesters interrupting his Dargaville show were not welcome.”
Click and collect
An interview with finance minister Grant Robertson on the upcoming Budget. He doesn’t see the bread and butter also getting jam.
Feedback on Auckland Council’s budget cuts is mostly from Pākehā over the age of 40 so far
The big supermarkets are beginning to open up wholesale supply to smaller players
New police minister Ginny Andersen put her hand up for the job
Briefings to incoming ministers were released online last week. Among them was one from Te Pūkenga that included an unredacted section requesting $330m in this year’s budget. That version of the briefing has been taken down.
Got some feedback about The Bulletin, or anything in the news? Get in touch with me at email@example.com.
If you liked what you read today, share The Bulletin with friends, family and colleagues.
Shanti Mathias explains Ozempic, the drug that’s gone viral for facilitating weight loss and is now able to be prescribed in New Zealand. B.E. Aster describes a day in the life of a children's librarian. Alex Casey asks why cervical screening isn’t free for everyone. Stewart Sowman-Lund ranks all of Wayne Brown's media appearances since he became mayor.
Not really sure I can call this a snippet but in case you missed it, Mark “Razor” Robinson is the new coach of the All Blacks (once Ian Foster wraps up the job )
Hopefully Foster knows by now. You might wake up to The Bulletin but spare a thought for Foster who probably woke up to news of his replacement last night. He’s currently in Europe and may have been asleep when it was announced here.
Good yarn from Logan Savory who runson his days covering boxing as a sports journalist writing stories about Joseph Parker when no one wanted to read them, until they did.
Forced fun on a packaged holiday in Morocco
“In the WhatsApp group, my aggressive campaign to persuade everyone to stay friends forever was already underway. The vacation was over. I could relax.”
As someone sandwiched between the millenial and Gen X generations (I will receive texts from people arguing the cut-off dates in 3,2,1…), I loved this from Caity Weaver for The New York Times Magazine. Weaver went on a holiday to Morocco with a group-travel company that she describes as a “package trip for lonely millenials”. Weaver describes the whole experience as “exhausting” and unpacks a whole lot about her generation, Type A personalities, the drive to make friends even when you don’t need more, travel, the nature of holidays and forced fun.