The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
Dawn Chorus: Call to lower voting age renewed

Dawn Chorus: Call to lower voting age renewed

Few sprinklers in Wellington high-rise social homes; Christchurch surgery wait worsens; Wood accused with Cabinet Manual breach over Airport shares; Singapore chooses homes over horse races
Young climate activists watch a livestream of Jacinda Ardern declaring a climate emergency in December 2020. File photo: Lynn Grieveson / Getty Images

TL;DR: There’s another call this morning to lower the voting age and to lower the threshold for parties to get into Parliament under MMP.

Elsewhere, there’s news:

  • most social homes in Wellington’s high rise apartments don’t have sprinklers;

  • Michael Wood faces accusations he breached the Cabinet Manual because he didn’t disclose ownership of Auckland Airport shares while Transport Minister;

  • Christchurch Hospital surgery waiting lists are worsening because of a lack of anaesthetic technicians; and,

  • Singapore decided to turn its last race course into public housing.

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‘Let’s have another go at this…’

The Independent Electoral Review chaired by Deborah Hart recommended in its interim report this morning that:

  • the voting age be lowered to 16;

  • the threshold for a party to be elected to Parliament be lowered from 5.0% to 3.5%;

  • that the coat-tail provision allowing ‘extras’ to come in with an electorate MP be removed; and,

  • a binding referendum to increase terms of Parliament from three years to four years be held.

Don't get your hopes up. This has been recommended before, but both major parties quite like the status quo.

Few sprinklers in Wellington’s high-rise social housing

It turns out just one block of just one of the many apartment buildings owned and run by the Wellington City Council has sprinklers, leaving hundreds of tenants living in high-rise apartments without the key fire safety measure, The Post-$$$’s Tom Hunt reported this morning, with confirmation by Mayor Tory Whanau.

Yet again, our housing crisis dominates everything and shows how low and poor our social housing stock has been allowed to become because of the government and council drive for low public investment, low debt and low interest rates.

Hospitals in crisis this winter, both in A&E and in surgeries

Surgeries at Christchurch’s hospital remained badly affected by a lack of anaesthesiologists in April, The Press-$$$Kristie Boland reported this morning.

Data released via the the OIA showed 22.4% of surgery lists were cancelled in April, worse than the 15.9% cancelled in March when the hospital introduced a reduced schedule for surgeries due to an ongoing shortage of anaesthetic technicians.

This is what 20 years of underfunding of operational and capital spending does to a system having to deal with real-per-capita spending cuts for years on end, and now having to respond to poaching from Australian hospitals.

‘I own Airport shares? Best I sell them then’

National said this morning that Transport Minister Michael Wood had committed major breaches of the Cabinet Manual because he failed to disclose his ownership of $13,000 worth of Auckland International Airport shares between late 2020 and early 2022 while Transport Minister.

Paul Goldsmith said Wood’s position may be untenable because of conflicts of interest. Wood’s office told the NZ Herald’s Thomas Coughlan the minister planned to sell the shares and had wrongly assumed they were held in a trust, which he had declared. Andrew Geddis told Wood might be hauled before the privileges committee.

This doesn't sound fatal to me, but it will be uncomfortable today for PM Chris Hipkins, who is due to do his regular media interview rounds over the next couple of hours this morning, followed by caucus run through the Press Gallery in Wellington before 10 am, Question Time at 2 pm and a post-Cabinet news conference at 4pm.

Debt deal done; ‘Goldilocks US jobs; Singapore picks homes over horse races

Overseas, US President Joe Biden signed a deal increasing America’s debt ceiling for a couple more years, staving off a default that could have been as early as this week.

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia announced yesterday it would cut oil output by further one million barrels a day in July to stop prices falling. They bounced 1% on the news.

US stocks firmed over the weekend and this morning after a ‘goldilocks’ set of labour market data showed stronger than expected jobs growth with weaker than expected wages growth, leaving most in the markets comfortable with their view the US Federal Reserve will pause hikes next week.

Also, Singapore announced its only horse racing track on 120 hectares of land would close next year to free up land for public housing. Channel News Asia

Coming up, watch for possible RBA rate hike this afternoon

Coming up, about a third of economists think the Reserve Bank of Australia will hike its cash rate by 25 basis points to 4.1% at 4.30 pm today.

I’m also watching out for the resumption of Parliament today at 2pm and a post-Cabinet news conference at 4pm.

Tomorrow, Christchurch City Council has a key vote on the Park Terrace cycleway. Have a listen to Friday’s Hoon for more detail on that from councillor Sara Templeton.

On Thursday, Auckland City Council will have a final set of votes on its budget plan, with the big question being whether $2 billion worth of airport shares will be sold, or the Council instead opts for higher rates increases and/or more borrowing.

What did I miss? What do you want me to cover?

What we’re debating on Chat today

Here’s the most popular Chat thread in The Kākā’s community today.

Quotes of the day

A just transition in Hawkes Bay?

Tangoio Marae trustee Evelyn Ratima describing the shock of being told the Marae’s land was being red-zoned, while a housing development close to the beach was not:

"Like a kick in the guts and a punch in the heart.

"All this land was confiscated from us - this is what the government left us with. They knew it was a flood zone, we knew it was a flood zone - but we lived in it, built in it, and made it our paradise." Tangoio Marae trustee Evelyn Ratima via Alexa Cook’s piece on Newshub last night.

"It smells of inequities, it smells of those that have more money, have more opportunity to stay there and continue to build holiday homes on that part of the land." Ngāti Kahungunu chair Bayden Barber via Alexa Cook’s piece on Newshub last night.

What the exodus to Australia looks like

“When I sold my car to a dealer, the seller asked me the reason why. When I told him, he mentioned that every day he had two to three customers selling their car for the same reason: moving to Australia.” Former Henderson resident Sabrina Rey talking about moving to Australia with her young family after buying a house in west Auckland so they could earn more there to pay the high mortgage costs here, via Geraden Cann’s reporting in Stuff.

Chart of the day

Climate Change Institute of University of Maine analysis of global sea surface temperatures as of June 4.

Map of the day

Climate Change Institute map

Milestones and people moves

Former PM Jacinda Ardern was named a Dame for services to the state in the King’s Birthday honors list.

Business and political journalist and editor Colin James was awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Cartoon of the day

Guy Body in the NZ Herald, via Twitter

Ka kite ano


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The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The latest daily snapshot of the news, detail, insight and analysis on geo-politics, the global economy, business, markets and the local political economy for citizens and decision-makers of Aotearoa-NZ.