Across the Ditch: Last Bulletin for 2016 + Big Events of 2016

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Across the Ditch: Australian radio FiveAA.com.au’s Peter Godfrey and EveningReport.nz’s Selwyn Manning deliver their last bulletin for the year and discuss some of the big issues that have impacted on Kiwis in New Zealand throughout 2016.

FIRST UP: Weather comparison + Currency market + News roundup

BIG EVENTS OF 2016:

* Solid Energy (a Government owned company) announced that it will seal the entrance to the Pike River coal mine,Back in November 2010, a series of explosions inside the mine killed 29 miners and contractors. Their bodies still lie inside the mine. Despite mine experts asserting that the mine is now safe to enter and safe enough for the bodies to be retrieved, Solid Energy has insisted that the entrance to the mine be permanently seals. The families of the dead men have kept up a blockage in recent months preventing contractors from being able to seal it off.

* Former leader of the Labour Party, former minister of foreign affairs, minister of trade, minister of defence, Phil Goff winning the Auckland mayoralty.

* The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake was a magnitude 7.8 (Mw) earthquake in the South Island of New Zealand that occurred two minutes after midnight on 14 November 2016. The quake tore apart multiple fault lines and caused devastation both inland and along the coast around Kaikoura – the seabed rose and the coastline remains 1.5 meters higher than it was prior to the quake. State Highway One and the main trunk rail line were destroyed and remain unusable. No one was killed in the quake, but communities were isolated and in some cases destroyed. The cost of the rebuild is a work-in-progress and couple be in excess of $10 billion.

* Other locations were also shaken. Wellington suffered significant damage with buildings rendered unsafe. For example, the New Zealand Defence HQ began to lean, and is now being deconstructed. The Inland Revenue Building was evacuated after stress and cracks were identified.

* Just after two week’s later National Party leader and Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, announced that he would resign as PM in early December and exit politics in 2017. He was Prime Minister of New Zealand for eight years and was for much of that time one of the most popular political leaders in NZ’s history peaking in 2011 when around 60 percent of people polled preferred Key as their prime minister. His popularity sank to to around 36 percent in November this year – perhaps due to the domestic economy showing signs of concerns, homelessness being at its worst ever, the price of housing being well beyond reach for most Kiwis, and a palpable indifference to using his leadership to drive ahead with hands on interventionist solutions to the countries economic and social challenges.

And now, New Zealand now has a new prime minister, Bill English who last week was our finance minister and now finds himself in the hot seat. After numerous National MPs expressed interest in campaigning for the leadership, back room deals and number counting saw English formerly elected uncontested by the Nationals caucus, as was his deputy Paula Bennett. The new cabinet ail be announced next week.

In sport, the All Blacks reached a new world record with the most unbeaten run of international class A tests in the history of the game (18 tests). The All Blacks were beaten by Ireland in a game in November played in Chicago.

New Zealand athletes notched up the most medals ever won at an Olympic Games with 18 medals, including four golds, nine silvers, and five bronze medals.

And our international singing sensation Lorde is expected to release her long awaited second album some time soon!

Across the Ditch is broadcast live weekly on Australia’s radio FiveAA.com.au and webcasts on EveningReport.nz LiveNews.co.nz and ForeignAffairs.co.nz.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 25 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn is former co-founder of 36th Parallel Assessments (36th-Parallel.com) and has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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