Ardern prepared to confront Albanese on deportations
Issues of both foreign and domestic policy will be on the agenda for meetings between Albanese, Ardern, Robertson and Chalmers this week
Mōrena and welcome to The Bulletin for Wednesday, June 8, by Anna Rawhiti-Connell. Presented in partnership with Z Energy.
In today’s edition: Sāmoan prime minister to visit; nurses call for break; why National is winning; but first, the PM in Australia for one night only.
(Photo by: Wendell Teodoro/AFP, Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Ardern, Robertson to meet Aussie counterparts
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern will travel to Sydney on Thursday to meet new Labor* party prime minister Anthony Albanese. Ardern referred to him as Albo at the post-cabinet press conference yesterday. A few people around me are trying to make “Ardo” happen but unless we get word that Albo is calling our PM that, you will not see it here. Grant Robertson is also heading over to meet his counterpart, Australian treasurer Jim Chalmers. Robertson will meet with Costco who are in the process of opening a store in Auckland – with reported plans (paywalled) for another in Christchurch – and green energy company, Fortescue Future Industries.
Ardern prepared to confront deportations with Albanese
On Ardern's last visit to Australia she directly confronted Scott Morrison about the Australian policy of deporting residents with New Zealand citizenship on the grounds of bad character or a criminal record, even if they have lived their entire lives in Australia. Yesterday she said she would absolutely do it again. There was an interesting comment from an expert on gangs in Australia in this piece on Queensland’s gang legislation yesterday. Queensland University of Technology’s Mark Lauchs said "Australia's exported the Comancheros, Rebels and Banditos to New Zealand, and then New Zealand will export them to the Pacific. Unintended consequences of legislation to protect us means we're actually creating international networks for the clubs." New Zealand deported 400 criminals to the Pacific between 2013 to 2018 with one expert saying these deportation policies "are exacerbating crime and addiction within Pacific nations.”
Domestic and foreign policy issues on the agenda
Taking a spin around Australian media yesterday, there will be common ground to discuss on domestic issues too. The reserve bank of Australia lifted the OCR to 0.85% from 0.35% (still a way behind our current rate of 2% but a big jump nonetheless). Liam Dann (paywalled) had a good chat with ANZ Australian chief economist Richard Yetsenga recently about the differences and similarities between the two country’s economies. On the global front, much of what they will discuss has been preempted. Both countries are signatories to the US-initiated Indo-Pacific economic framework (IPEF) and will attend the Pacific Islands forum. There’s been a bit of row among forum members over Micronesian countries feeling excluded which looks to have been sorted. The security pact between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS) will also be discussed, as, I imagine, will China.
Australia working to diversify trade relations
Albanese is currently in Indonesia (also a signatory to IPEF) where he’s been focused on expanding trade relationships with the country. Indonesia is the world’s 16th largest economy but projected to be the fifth largest by 2050. The Sydney Morning Herald’s James Massola writes that the bid to diversify Australia's trade relationships is because of China, though no one will directly say that. Rob Scott is the CEO of Wesfarmers (which owns Bunnings and Kmart) and is on the trip with Albanese, which Massola again puts down to the company wanting to find an alternative to China for production and manufacturing.
*A rare fifth section
I can not be the only one who’s wondered about the missing “u” in Labor. In a very long read on the history of the Australian Labor party, Australian historian Ross McMullin puts it down to “the chap who ended up being in charge of printing the federal conference report”. There was a theory that the American spelling was influenced by American-born Australian politician King O’Malley but the ABC’s language research specialist, Tiger Webb, debunks it here.
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Sāmoan prime minister to make first visit
The world is indeed opening up. Sāmoan prime minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa will make her first bilateral overseas visit to New Zealand. Mataʻafa was elected in extraordinary circumstances last year and is Sāmoa’s first woman prime minister. She will be welcomed on June 14 which marks the 60th anniversary of Sāmoa's independence. Yesterday, the prime minister said she felt some of the commentary around our approach to China’s presence in the Pacific “does a disservice to the Pacific”. Writing on the Spinoff yesterday, former Sāmoan diplomat Leiataua Tuitolova’a Kilifoti Eteuati shares the sentiment. As Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva reports Defence minister Peeni Henare is off to Singapore this weekend to take part in the Shangri-La Dialogue, a meeting of defence ministers and military figures from throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Wellington nurses ask for elective surgery to be put on hold for two weeks
Nurses at Wellington hospital have issued a provisional improvement notice (PIN) which requires an employer to address a health and safety issue before a certain date. They have requested that elective and non-urgent cancer surgeries be put on hold for two weeks, giving official notice to management over unsafe staffing levels asking for staff to have some breathing space. There is a global nursing shortage which the prime minister addressed yesterday following reports that one in three nursing students in New Zealand were dropping out of their studies before qualifying. No word on whether the New South Wales Premier’s announcement about a $4.5b recruitment drive to attract nurses to the state will be covered in Ardern’s meeting with Albanese.
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Why National is winning
Toby Manhire has taken a look at the latest Ipsos Issues Monitor poll results which asks people to select “the three most important issues facing New Zealand today” and which is the party “most capable” of handling a range of issues. A year ago it was 10s across the board for Labour and now, well, it’s looking very different. Unsurprisingly, cost of living/inflation is now the number one concern. Manhire writes that National’s small target strategy, on display in Guyon Espiner’s profile of Christopher Luxon, is paying off, but that it won’t hold forever, especially if they’ve plateaued in the polls. A subscriber asked that I note the margin of error on polls so here it is: Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/-3.5 percentage points.
The Ministry of Health is urging New Zealanders to "look after yourself" to take pressure off the ailing health system. Charlotte Muru-Lanning says that risks adding another barrier to seeking care for people who need it the most. Duncan Greive looks at what Sky buying MediaWorks could mean for both companies. Toby Manhire explains why conspiracy theorists are currently losing their minds over a news clip of Jacinda Ardern in New York. Murdoch Stephens introduces his new novel, a heartfelt toast to teenagers.
The ASB tennis classic is back after a two-year absence
The tournament also has a new director. Nicholas Lamperin is one of the world’s leading tennis agents and takes over from Karl Budge. Stuff’s David Long spoke to Lamperin about the challenges of getting the tournament back up and running saying “Two years in sport is a very long time, players don’t necessarily think about Auckland any more when they think about their schedule.” Lamperin has been on the tennis circuit for 17 years and “knows all the agents” but is managing expectations saying we probably won’t get Rafael Nadal to play here next year “but we could have some good surprises down the road”. The last tournament was held in 2020 and Serena Williams won the women’s title.
What happens when huge talent and potential meets a lot of bad luck
For a feature today I’m recommending the latest episode of Scratched. Ali Afakasi was working his way to a world title when he fought Hector Thompson in 1976 at the Auckland YMCA. Thompson was the Commonwealth champion and had killed two opponents in the ring, but still Afakasi was ahead. Until a head clash and a now-changed TKO ruling put an end to the fight and to Afakasi’s career.