New Zealand child poverty rate remains static despite Ardern-era push

The then leader had made improving the lives of the poorest children a key plank of her agenda

New Zealand’s child poverty rates have plateaued, despite government efforts and former leader Jacinda Ardern making it a central priority of her prime ministership.

Reducing the country’s stubborn child poverty rates has been a central commitment of the Labour government since Ardern ran on the issue in 2017, creating a new minister for child poverty, introducing legislation to ensure child poverty data was measured and published yearly, and bringing in a series of additional financial support packages for low-income families.

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Former New Zealand soldier killed fighting Russian forces in Ukraine

Kane Te Tai fought with the International Legion and was known for documenting battles and daily life in Ukraine on social media

A former New Zealand soldier who drew an online following with his dispatches from the frontline of the Ukraine war has been killed in fighting there.

The death of Kane Te Tai, 38, was confirmed by New Zealand’s foreign ministry Thursday, citing Ukrainian government sources.

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‘Own the feels’: New Zealand government tries to help teens recover from break-ups

Love Better campaign includes a video that encourages teenagers to delete their exes on social media

“OK, I’m doing it. I’m officially deleting my ex from all my socials,” a young woman says, looking determinedly into her phone screen. She leans closer and whispers: “I’m moving on.”

The footage appears in a New Zealand government video which affirms the universal truth that “break-ups suck”, as part of an unusual new campaign to support young people through their experience of being dumped and suggest healthy ways to process their feelings.

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New Zealand foreign minister to visit counterpart in China

Nanaia Mahuta says she will raise concerns over Ukraine and human rights issues as well as ways the two countries can cooperate

New Zealand’s foreign minister, Nanaia Mahuta, will leave for China on Tuesday in the first visit to Beijing by a New Zealand minister since 2019.

Mahuta, who will meet her counterpart Qin Gang, said she would raise New Zealand’s concerns about key security challenges at the meeting, such as the “illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine”, and advocate for outcomes reflecting New Zealand’s values on human rights issues.

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Coalition creaks as New Zealand Greens watch Labour dump climate policies

Greens co-leader James Shaw says Labour shouldn’t count on its support in upcoming election amid glacial progress on emissions

Speaking to a room full of supporters in downtown Auckland on Sunday, New Zealand climate minister James Shaw’s frustration had reached a steady simmer.

“You’re fed up,” he tells the room. “So am I.”

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New Zealand to ban TikTok from government devices

MPs were informed of the decision, which comes after similar moves by western allies, by parliamentary service on Friday

New Zealand’s parliament will ban TikTok from all parliamentary devices, amid mounting international security concerns surrounding the app.

The country’s MPs were informed by parliamentary service on Friday that the Chinese-owned video-sharing app would be blocked from all parliamentary devices at the end of the month, and were told via email that “the Service has determined that the risks are not acceptable in the current New Zealand parliament environment”.

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New Zealand GDP drops 0.6% in December quarter, worse than expected

Reserve bank had taken steps to engineer a ‘shallow recession’ in response to high inflation but shrinkage arrives early

New Zealand’s economy is shrinking, with gross domestic product down 0.6% last quarter, amid speculation a recession may be approaching.

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.6% in the last three months of 2022, after a 1.7% rise in the September 2022 quarter. The drop at the close of the year was larger than predicted by any of New Zealand’s major banks. Annually, GDP is still growing – up 2.4% year on year, and despite the shrinking economy, unemployment remains close to record lows, at about 3.3%.

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Kia ora e hoa: dozens of New Zealand and Māori words added to Oxford English Dictionary

Newly-added words include koha – a gift or offering – and kōrero, meaning a conversation or chat

New Zealanders will now see the common and casual te reo Māori greeting Kia ora e hoa! – meaning “hi mate” – in their Oxford English Dictionaries, as the institution moves to recognise the “profound and lasting impact” the Indigenous tongue has had on New Zealand’s language.

E hoa, or friend, is one of 47 New Zealand English words or expressions added to the dictionary in its latest update – most of them in te reo Māori, which is an official language of New Zealand. The OED describes itself as the definitive record of the English language.

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Four years after Christchurch massacre, families want to teach world about love

Three mothers who lost sons in the terrorist attacks say working to prevent others suffering the same violence has both helped and frustrated them

So many of their sons loved football. The game meant inclusion and friendship regardless of language or culture; it cemented bonds in their own community and promised a way to forge new ones outside of it. As Noraini Abbas readies team shirts and prepares lunches for an indoor football festival on Wednesday, she recalls years of ferrying her soccer-mad sons to games in Christchurch, New Zealand, on weekend mornings which always seemed freezing, no matter the time of year.

But Wednesday’s schedule of friendly matches is different from games before. Abbas is hosting the second annual event in memory of her youngest son, Sayyad Abbas Milne, and 50 other Muslim worshipers who were killed when a white supremacist opened fire at their mosques during Friday prayers, four years ago.

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New Zealand’s Labour coalition sees best poll result in a year after ‘policy bonfire’

Leader Chris Hipkins also surged in preferred prime minister rankings after reorientation towards ‘bread and butter issues’

New Zealand’s governing Labour coalition has pulled ahead in a new poll, putting it closer to staying in government after the upcoming election than it has been in a year.

It is the second poll this month to show strong results for Labour or the Greens, with support for the coalition parties rallying after the government coordinated national disaster responses, grappled with extreme weather events, and announced that it would be abandoning parts of its policy agenda to focus on economic issues.

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Ruthless Chris Hipkins backpedals on climate action as New Zealand elections near | Henry Cooke

Jacinda Ardern called climate change the ‘nuclear-free moment’ of her generation. Her replacement doesn’t seem so sure

Chris Hipkins loves to cycle.

New Zealand’s newish prime minister, who stepped into the job after Jacinda Ardern’s shock resignation earlier this year, has been pedalling the 30km from his home in Upper Hutt to parliament for years. It’s not a particularly safe route, with many sections where Hipkins would be riding right alongside 100kmh traffic. It’s this kind of danger that stops cycle commuting from being particularly mainstream – just 2% commuted by bike at the last census – but this is far from a political priority for Hipkins. He loves to cycle, but the main thing he wants to do is win.

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New Zealand scraps transport emissions reform to fund welfare increase

Clean car upgrade scheme among measures to be cut but PM Chris Hipkins denies government is abandoning climate ambitions

New Zealand’s government is dumping a range of high-profile reforms and emissions reduction measures as part of its promise to refocus on “bread and butter issues”, using the savings to introduce a billion-dollar boost to welfare payments to relieve cost of living pressures.

Chris Hipkins, the prime minister, announced on Monday that the government would roll out increases for retirees, students, unemployed people, and parents, ranging from $19 to $46.20 a week. The government estimates that 1.4 million New Zealanders will benefit.

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My Cyclone Diary: after the flood, the dread that replaces panic

In the second instalment in a series of diaries about Cyclone Gabrielle’s aftermath in New Zealand, Anna Rankin describes the fears, rumours and unexpected effects of a lack of internet in the town of Wairoa

It is difficult to record historical events that will in time determine policy decisions and economic outcomes, and the lives of those affected, while events are still unfolding. There are the quick impressions – men wrestling escaped bees on a roadside deep in flood waters, a flattened cornfield marked by the shape and force of the torrent, a mud-soiled child on a stoop, wide plains transformed into lakes, the eerie chime of a stuck train signal. Then there are the pecuniary matters – the financial loss of a corn yield – and the interviews with the afflicted.

Any large-scale traumatic event, be it a natural disaster or a war will often provoke reminders of previous traumatic episodes; instances that have remained abstract, placeless or locked within the mind. A flood might breach other instances of grief, loss, degradation, violence. It may be the interminable and sour stench of silt and sewage, children’s toys and clothing heaped in brown puddles, humble and cherished items stacked in ruins or the ceaseless clack of helicopters flying low through ashen skies that prompt the return of a painful memory; it could be the sight of broken walls, sagging houses, a wrecked car submerged in mud.

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Cyclone aftermath offers popularity boost to new New Zealand PM Chris Hipkins as poll looms

Disaster has given opportunity to show decisive leadership but issues raised by climate change could be a political landmine

On the lawn of a suburban home in Coromandel, the prime minister’s dress shoes have been scuffed ochre by a softened bed of clay. Chris Hipkins stands in front of the house, perched atop a tide of packed earth. It has been carried about 15 metres downhill by a landslide, walls crunched and bowing. The buckled porch has come to rest halfway across the lawn, flattening a well-tended hibiscus shrub.

“We’ve got a long journey ahead of us,” he says.

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Buried by mud and silt, New Zealand’s farms face ‘10-year recovery’ – picture essay

Livelihoods in tatters after months of relentless rain and extreme weather – and the clean-up is just beginning

Karyn Maddren walks out into the ruins of her stud farm, and stands in front of the waterfall. A month earlier, it was a green hillside. Now, the dirt has fallen away, exposing the golden-ribbed sandstone beneath. Water washes over the rocks, running clear now, carrying the last of the silt downstream.

“That particular slip has transformed into something very, very pretty,” Maddren says.

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