Bryce Edwards: Why the Gaurav Sharma drama is important

Bryce Edwards: Why the Gaurav Sharma drama is important

Is the Gaurav Sharma saga finally over? And was all the drama worth it?

After two weeks of extraordinary infighting, the Hamilton West MP has now been expelled from the Labour caucus, and sent to the margins of political life as an Independent in Parliament. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared the matter  “concluded and resolved”. And there’s a general sense from most media coverage and commentary that Sharma is a hapless primadonna with little to show for his rebellion.

There has certainly been an emptiness to the whole affair. There are no discernable political differences between Sharma and his party, and commentators have rightly compared Sharma unfavourably to the likes of Labour dissidents Jim Anderton and Tariana Turia, who left the Labour Party over very sharp ideological and policy differences while in government. A more apt parallel has been made between Sharma and Labour dissident Chris Carter, who was expelled in 2010 for plotting against leader Phil Goff.

Because Sharma doesn’t appear to have any strong political differences with his colleagues, the conflict hasn’t helped increase the contest of ideas in society or fuelled any big debates on how to fix society’s problems.

Yet, the Sharma scandal hasn’t entirely been a beltway scandal devoid of substance. Regardless of the motives various commentators might attribute to Sharma, he has raised important issues about how Government and Parliament operate.

It’s worth reading his original opinion piece in the Herald, especially after the hundreds of subsequent news items about the drama have overshadowed the key issues raised.

In his piece, Sharma suggests Parliament operates in some very unhealthy ways, and there is a rottenness in its official procedures and institutions. For example, he says claims by outgoing Speaker Trevor Mallard that he has been cleaning up the bullying culture are “a PR exercise to placate some of the backlash from the public”. And Sharma correctly highlights that the anti-bullying agenda has failed to focus on bullying between politicians themselves.

Sharma paints the Parliamentary Service, the main organisation that runs all of the resources and staff, as rotten and corrupt. He’s not the first to point this out, especially in arguing that politicians are being allowed to misuse taxpayer resources, but it reiterates that this is something politicians continue to be reluctant to reform or allow outside investigation of.

It seems we need to be constantly reminded that the political parties have voted to exempt the Parliamentary Service and Parliament from the Official Information Act. This means that the public, the media and watchdogs continue to have great difficulty being able to scrutinise what goes on behind the walls of power in Wellington.

Sharma has since raised even more alarming claims about how the current Government attempts to evade transparency rules. None of these revelations should be surprising, but they still do need investigation. This week he claimed that the Beehive held workshops for new MPs to teach them how to evade the Official Information Act (OIA) in their dealings with ministers. Sharma has even claimed that a corporate lobbyist was brought into these meetings as part of coaching the new politicians.

Some evidence has been provided by Sharma, in the form of a screenshot of a minister reminding MPs to be careful in their written communications to ministers involving lobbying over any issues. Again, this isn’t terribly surprising, but does add to the growing suspicions about the abuse of the OIA by the Government.

Although the Government has attempted to swot away such claims, they haven’t been terrible convincing. Sharma’s allegation that some employees in the Beehive have two contracts – one with Ministerial Services (which is subject to the OIA) and one with the Parliamentary Service (which isn’t subject to the OIA) should be investigated. If true, this would be a devious and contemptuous way for Governments to play the “game of hats” in which personnel simply swap hats for different sensitive political issues so that they can avoid open government.

There really are no winners from the Sharma scandal. Certainly not the Labour Party or Sharma himself, who by setting off political grenades has damaged himself and his colleagues. But democracy and the cause of open and transparent government could still be the winner from the bizarre episode. Amidst the claims, counter-claims, and drama, there have actually been some core issues raised that still need investigation.

The Labour Party will hope the whole episode can be filed away as being all about the personality and shortcomings of Gaurav Sharma. But it would now be a shame if it’s all just swept under the carpet. The now-Independent MP may not have convincingly argued his particular case, but he’s raised serious concerns about the way that Parliament operates.

It’s now time to move beyond personalities. The rogue MP hasn’t provided enough evidence, or gone about things in the right way to get an independent inquiry into issues around his own situation in Parliament. But what he has done, inadvertently or not, is raised enough difficult questions and suspicions that some sort of independent inquiry into open government and parliamentary secrecy is warranted.

Sunlight is still the best disinfectant in politics.


Dr Bryce Edwards is Political Analyst in Residence at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the director of the Democracy Project.

This article can be republished under a Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0  license. Attributions should include a link to the Democracy Project.  


Further reading on the Gaurav Sharma controversy
1News: Public will soon ‘get bored’ of Gaurav Sharma – commentator
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Gaurav Sharma’s expulsion from Labour opens opportunity to speak even more freely
Karl du Fresne: A few thoughts on the Sharma affair
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Gaurav Sharma now finds himself in the lonely netherworld of an expelled, independent MP
Audrey Young (Herald): Why Labour’s ex-MP Gaurav Sharma will become a footnote in history (paywalled)
Jessica Mutch McKay (1News): Parliament set to change for Gaurav Sharma
Gordon Campbell: On saying goodbye to Dr Sharma, and the monarchy
Anna Whyte (1News): Sharma ‘goes off track’ in first Parliament speech since expulsion
RNZ: Gaurav Sharma hijacks Speaker ceremony to accuse Trevor Mallard
RNZ: Timeline of Gaurav Sharma’s allegations and the Labour Party saga
Claire Trevett and Adam Pearse (Herald): MP Adrian Rurawhe elected Speaker, Gaurav Sharma makes new accusations against Trevor Mallard
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): New Speaker-elect Adrian Rurawhe shuts Dr Gaurav Sharma down after rebel MP goes off topic
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Sharma Drama ends in Karma Nirvana
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): MP Kieran McAnulty hopes Gaurav Sharma’s ‘awful and untrue’ allegations will end
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Gaurav Sharma heads to political Siberia after blasting from Labour MPs
Claire Trevett and Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Gaurav Sharma expelled from Labour caucus, Jacinda Ardern pivots to defend use of OIA
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Labour bullying allegations: Expelled MP Gaurav Sharma says he’s on the ‘path of truth’, but unclear where his political career is going
Russell Palmer (RNZ): Labour MPs say Gaurav Sharma has lost their trust
Luke Malpass, Bridie Witton and Glenn McConnell (Stuff): MP Gaurav Sharma faces outright expulsion from Labour Party
Tova O’Brien (Today FM): Goodbye Sharma, thanks for the drama – Continue your crusade on your own dime, not ours
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Why Labour won’t pull the waka-jumping trigger if it expels Gaurav Sharma
RNZ: PM’s Office responds to accusations over Official Information Act
Avina Vidyadharan (Stuff): An MP with no teeth and a ‘big setback’ for Labour: What people in MP Gaurav Sharma’s electorate make of his expulsion
No Right Turn: Laughing at the Ombudsman
Herald Editorial: Does integrity belong in politics and what matters to voters? (paywalled)
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Gaurav Sharma’s dramas: What happens next and why it matters
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Sharma saga shines light on complex employment process
Anna Whyte (1News): Sharma sits at back of House, matter ‘concluded’, says PM
Charlotte Graham-McLay (Guardian): New Zealand Labour expels MP Gaurav Sharma from caucus
Henry Cooke (Guardian): Jacinda Ardern’s iron grip on New Zealand’s Labour party is slipping … and that means trouble
Chris Trotter (Interest): Politics barren of principle
Jamie Ensor and Molly Swift (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern says Labour MP Dr Gaurav Sharma ‘inaccurately’ described meeting where MPs taught how to handle information
RNZ: Labour MP Gaurav Sharma’s fate: Jacinda Ardern says time to get on with meeting
Rachel Smalley (Today FM): The political machine is working hard to extinguish Sharma’s revelations and Sharma himself
Kerre Woodham (Newstalk): Should there be an inquiry into Sharma’s allegations? I think so
Newshub: Gaurav Sharma reveals fresh details of letter he sent to Prime Minister’s chief of staff
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Gaurav Sharma affair is a mess — ‘reject’ that, Prime Minister(paywalled)
1News: Assurances from PM sought after Sharma’s OIA training claim
Jenna Lynch (Newshub): Ombudsman writes to Jacinda Ardern after Gaurav Sharma’s claims, secretly taped MP says minister dismissed issue of wellbeing
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Gaurav Sharma: Labour MP’s week of bombshells, bullying allegations
Jessica Mutch McKay (1News): Gaurav Sharma set for solo political life
Anna Whyte (1News): Gaurav Sharma: MP launches another broadside against Labour, PM
Ben Leahy (Herald): Ex-Labour candidate backs rogue MP Dr Gaurav Sharma’s claims
Damien Grant (Stuff): Gaurav Sharma highlights why the waka-jumping bill has to go
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Few surprises in Sharma drama
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Herald): Gaurav Sharma – why Labour should have held an inquiry (paywalled)
Victor Billot (Newsroom): An Ode to .. Gaurav Sharma
James Elliott (Newsroom): Yesterdaze: From off-piste to piste off
RNZ: Ombudsman sends PM ‘please explain’ over Dr Gaurav Sharma allegations; rogue MP’s suspension not predetermined, Labour ministers say
No Right Turn: Labour and the “hat game”
Audrey Young (Herald): Meet Parliament’s boss – Rafael Gonzalez-Montero upbeat about changes to workplace (paywalled)
Andrew Geddis (Spinoff): Suspension, expulsion… byelection? Gaurav Sharma’s political future, explained
Adam Gifford (Waatea News): Shama folly not to front up and fight
Anna Whyte (1News): PM unlikely to trigger law to kick Sharma out of Parliament
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Gaurav Sharma’s last chance to be heard at Labour’s caucus as expulsion looms
Herald: Jacinda Ardern responds to Gaurav Sharma’s latest release of internal messages – rules out a by-election
Mike Hosking (Newstalk ZB): Sharma’s allegations are now a full-blown political crisis
Andrew Dickens (Newstalk): How is the Sharma Drama still going this long?
Sharnae Hope (Stuff): Voters likely to get the worst deal if Rebel MP Gaurav Sharma is expelled, say experts
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Gaurav Sharma releases text from senior MP, meeting agenda, but Jacinda Ardern says he’s misrepresenting facts
Mike Hosking (Newstalk): The Govt begins the week in a world of pain
Audrey Young (Herald): Secret meeting forces Ardern to go the long way round on MP Gaurav Sharma (paywalled)
Liz Gordon (Insight Aotearoa): Self-immolation: the loneliest road
Steve Braunias (Herald): The secret diary of Gaurav Sharma (paywalled)
Luke Malpass (Stuff): Govt to round back on supermarkets, launch economic offensive in wake of Gaurav Sharma scandal
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Trevor Mallard about to announce retirement, scuppers nascent National plan to get Gaurav Sharma to speak


Other items of interest and importance this week

Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Conspiracy theorists not yet threat to democracy(paywalled)
1News: Brian Tamaki ‘jumped the gun’ – Outdoors and Freedom Party
Morgan Godfery (Guardian): New Zealand’s latest ‘freedom’ protest is a sad farce staged by a doomed cause
No Right Turn: Failing the political hygiene test
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Bishop Tamaki’s Umbrella and the extremism of NZ Politics – can it gain 5%?
Kate Hawkesby (Newstalk): The protest yesterday achieved very little
Herald: Parliament protest: The darker undertones of demonstration’s mock court trial
Herald: Parliament protest: Brian Tamaki announces new umbrella political party ‘Freedoms NZ’
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Brian Tamaki brings fringe political parties into new group Freedoms NZ
1News: Brian Tamaki ‘jumped the gun’ – Outdoors and Freedom Party
1News: Brian Tamaki claims NZ has ‘dysfunctional’ political problem
Adam Gifford (Waatea News): Protest filling information vacuum
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Labour’s two Tuesday trials at Parliament
Linda Hall (Herald): That wasn’t a protest, that was a political rally and a joke (paywalled)
Adam Pearse (Herald): Parliament protest: About 1000 Brian Tamaki-led protesters expected to converge on Beehive
Herald: Parliament protest: Australian conspiracy commentators to attend event, claims NZ influencer
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Mock trials planned for Parliament protest
Blair Jackson and Virginia Fallon (Stuff): Three cars begin ‘nationwide convoy’ headed for Parliament protest
Imogen Wells (Newshub): Brian Tamaki warns voters ‘starting to wake up’ as protest group demands snap election, Govt be tried over ‘crimes against humanity’
1News: Minor parties distance themselves from Tamaki-led alliance
Janet Wilson (Stuff): Dangerous voices looking to fill the vacuum in our democracy
Steven Cowan: Matthew Hooton: The extremism of centrism
Hayden Donnell (RNZ): A conundrum over how to cover the conspiracists
Peter Griffin (Stuff): Ask yourself: Is it your truth or the whole truth?
Colin Peacock (RNZ): Media zero in on candidates from the fringes
Stewart Sowman-Lund (Spinoff): The subjects of Stuff’s Fire and Fury are furious
Oscar Jackson (Today FM): Police need to communicate with protestors sooner says former negotiator

Tim Murphy (Newsroom): Why did the Serious Fraud Office target donations to Labour?
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): SFO raids house, seizes kids’ laptop
Reweti Kohere and Toby Manhire (Spinoff): Deleted obscenities, Zoom shots and kids’ laptops examined in donations case
Catrin Owen (Stuff): Serious Fraud Office seeking to appeal result of NZ First Foundation donations case
RNZ: NZ First Foundation case: Crown appeals not guilty verdict
BusinessDesk: SFO seeks leave to appeal NZ First Foundation decision (paywalled)
Tim Murphy (Newsroom): Political donor offered $30m bail security
Amy Williams (RNZ): Businessman at centre of political donations trial offered record $33m bail security, court hears

Kate MacNamara (Herald): Nanaia Mahuta was associate minister when her husband’s firm was awarded Government contract (paywalled)
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Government spending on polling, surveys and market research doubles to $28m
Peter Dunne: Is Luxon running out of steam?
David Farrar: Not right Neale
Graham Adams (The Platform): Don’t ask us — we just work here
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Why are the Greens enabling private property developers?
Stephen Minto (Daily Blog): Have the Greens become the new Fascists?
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Police say they’ve stopped breaching the OIA – an OIA request shows they haven’t
Jonathan Mitchell (NBR): Lyn Provost named new independent parliament behaviour watchdog (paywalled)
Matthew Hooton (Patreon): Dreams, nightmares, Sharma, Uffindell and Tamaki(paywalled)
Mike Hosking (Herald): The only election question in my mind – how badly will Labour lose? (paywalled)
André Chumko (Stuff): Carmel Sepuloni on the art of politics and the politics of art
David Farrar: Another Labour delivery failure
David Farrar: 40 minutes a month
Hayden Munro (Herald): It’s time for Labour to capitalise on this break in the clouds(paywalled)
Glenn McConnell (Stuff): Parliament’s first conduct commissioner, Lyn Provost, to start in 2023
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): ‘I’m more of an on-the-record sort of a chap’: Chris Finlayson on his life in politics
Mike Munro (Herald): Rocky road to reach next Government (paywalled)
Cloe Willetts (Women’s Weekly): National deputy leader Nicola Willis as you’ve never seen her: ‘We’ll survive anything!’
Rachel Smalley (Today FM): The country needs a prime minister – not a smiling storyteller
Dunne Speaks: Who is going to make the boat go faster?
John MacDonald (Herald): The Zoom call is over but Labour is still on mute
Herald: Beehive Diaries: Shortland Street spoilers … or enough drama in the House?(paywalled)
Phil Smith (RNZ): Shape your own Parliament: The standing orders review
1News: Peters launches judicial review proceedings against Mallard
Graeme Tuckett (Stuff): How Netflix might just inspire you to support lowering our voting age to 16
William Hewett (Newshub): Greens’ James Shaw confident vast majority of party supports him
Catherine Delahunty (E-Tangata): The call for more radical leadership
Mark Quinlivan (Newshub): Christopher Luxon rejects National working with Labour in ‘grand coalition’, refuses to rule out fringe parties
Olivia Shivas (Stuff): ‘We want to work’: National’s ‘brutal’ welfare policy sanctions could harm disabled people
Chris Trotter (BFD): Throwing the fight
Martyn Bradbury (Waatea News): What kind of Queen maker will Māori Party be?
Jo Moir (Newsroom): Secret report won’t help National’s transparency woes

Diana Clement (Herald): Inflation rises: Kiwi families needing an extra $4000 by Christmas on average
Liam Dann (Herald): Shamubeel Eaqub on ‘stupid’ inflation debate and how he’d fix poverty (paywalled)
Edward Miller (Newsroom): Why does our inflation response punish low-income workers?
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Working two jobs, just scraping by as the cost of living soars
Eric Crampton (Stuff): Remember, age differences account for a portion of inequality
Warren Couillault (BusinessDesk): Inflation: what if we’re targeting the wrong things?(paywalled)
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): Money printing saved the economy – Reserve Bank(paywalled)
Kevin Norquay (Stuff): It’s no laughing matter; poor productivity affects all New Zealanders
RNZ: New Zealand’s productivity gap costing billions in lost gains – study
Liam Hehir (Blue Review): Against unfair pay agreements
1News: Report paints grim picture for NZ children from low-income families
RNZ: Economic system incentivises waste, slows circular economy transition – report
Andy Fyers (BusinessDesk): Unemployment: the forgotten economic foe (paywalled)
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): RBNZ needs to remove money printing from its tool kit(paywalled)
Sharon Brettkelly (RNZ): The Reserve Bank and the war on inflation
Cameron Bagrie (Herald): Why the role of banks deserves a lot more scrutiny(paywalled)
Herald: Biggest ever recorded jump in weekly earnings as median NZ wages rise
Stephen Minto (Daily Blog): Economic misdirection from Labour and National with long term damage to our economy
Marty Sharpe (Stuff): Not a cent of $500,000 fines paid by fishing companies three years on
Bernard Walker (The Conversation): Striking firefighters are calling for systemic change, but are their demands too hot to handle for NZ employment law?
Mike Treen (Daily Blog): Is there a route out of the crisis we are facing?

Luke Malpass (Stuff): Why Trevor Mallard will actually make a good Ambassador to Ireland
William Hewett (Newshub): ACT leader David Seymour slams outgoing Speaker Trevor Mallard, says he shouldn’t have got diplomat role
Adam Pearse (Herald): Who is Adrian Rurawhe, the man replacing Trevor Mallard as Speaker of the House?
Amelia Wade (Newshub): Trevor Mallard hangs up his Speaker wig – what politicians are saying about him
RNZ: Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard to formally step down on Wednesday afternoon
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Trevor Mallard resigns: Speaker informs Governor-General he’s on way out, appointed Ambassador to Ireland

Liam Dann (Herald): Labour and Nats missing the mark on worker shortage (paywalled)
Adam Pearse (Herald): Govt extends working holiday visas amid dire staff shortages
RNZ: Thousands of extra workers to be allowed into New Zealand
Dileepa Fonseka (Stuff): The immigration-inflation conundrum
Richard Harman: The new face of immigration (paywalled)
Keith Lynch (Stuff): The story behind the story of 1 million Kiwis set to leave New Zealand
Matthew Scott (Newsroom): Immigration doubles down on short-term workers

Tina Morrison (Stuff): Government to take full ownership of Kiwibank
Jenée Tibshraeny (Herald): Kiwibank deal: Does NZ need a state-owned bank?(paywalled)
No Right Turn: KiwiBank’s “new” ownership
Gordon Campbell: On why the state buying Kiwibank is no big deal
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): Why the government took Kiwibank back (paywalled)

Phil Pennington (RNZ): Pressures, profits and patients: Debate rages around ethics of private medical scanning
RNZ: South Auckland’s elective surgery backlog up 251 percent in year
David Farrar: GPs putting fees up
Lucy Xia (RNZ): Questions on absence of Asian New Zealanders in Te Whatu Ora Health’s leadership
Alex Spence (Herald): Great Minds: Mental health crisis – Senior officials admit ‘we’re not where we want to be’ (paywalled)
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Health NZ chairperson warns sector ‘more dysfunctional’ than he thought
RNZ: Government confirms mental health workforce expansion

Alan Johnson (Daily Blog): A transition to nowhere
Michael Rehm (Newsroom): The tide has turned on the housing tsunami
Gareth Vaughan (Interest): Economist Shamubeel Eaqub on what’s going on in the housing market and why he’s now optimistic about housing
Geraden Cann (Stuff): First home buyers in negative equity appearing around the country
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Reserve Bank ‘blaming the public’ for buying pricey houses, economists say
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): Land supply, interest rates ‘key driver’ of overheated housing market
Mohammad Alafeshat (RNZ): Human Rights Commission says freeze on rent increases should return
Philippa Howden-Chapman, Helen Viggers, Caro Fyfe, Michael Keall: Public Health Solutions Series: Where the sun enters, the doctor does not
Jo Cribb (Newsroom): Government officials worsen homelessness, now they must help the people they’ve hurt
Vic Crockford (Newsroom): Home ownership is dead, long live progressive home ownership
Ethan Te Ora (Stuff): Councils should clamp down on mouldy homes, rental advocacy group says

Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): The Oppressors’ Trifecta: Race, Gender, and Class
Connie Buchanan (E-Tangata): He Puapua is a path to unity, not division
Anne Salmond (Newsroom): Injustice is like a whale
Kelvin McDonald (Māori TV): ‘Stop using Māori and race issues for political gain’: King Tuheitia challenges politicians
Te Aorewa Rolleston (Stuff): Māoridom raise calls for unity at marae grounds as Koroneihana hosts Govt officials
Maxine Jacobs (Stuff): A chip off the racism block: How Whittaker’s reo Māori wrapper reveals Aotearoa’s true colours
Damien Grant (Stuff): Are we too quick to pull the racism card?
1News: Luxon receives co-governance lesson at Tūrangawaewae
RNZ: PM at Kīngitanga Turangawaewae: We must embrace working together

Chris Trotter: Shoving democracy around
Alexia Russell (Newsroom): Local elections: What do we know about council candidates?
Andrea Vance (Stuff): The tiny district with conspiracy theorists standing for election
Gabrielle McCulloch (Stuff): Majority of people say they intend to vote in local elections, despite historically low turnout
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): Democracy is a muscle that needs frequent exercise, so please vote
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): 238 people just won local election seats – weeks before the first vote is cast
Herald Editorial: School boards in for a torrid time with blinker-viewed members(paywalled)
Tom Hunt (Stuff): ‘Attractive target’: Foreign interference fears for local body elections
Brigitte Morten (NBR): Roads, rates and rubbish? Not any more (paywalled)
Jarrod Gilbert (Herald): The lessons we can learn from the US as we head into the local elections (paywalled)
1News: Engagement key to addressing racism – council candidate
Georgina Campbell (Herald): Wellington businesses call for amalgamation in pre-election report
Todd Niall (Stuff): Auckland mayoralty: The longest week begins for leading candidates

Russel Norman (Evening Report): Don’t be fooled by NZ greenwashing, the lack of real climate action is dangerous
Dita De Boni (NBR): Ex-Greens leader slams James Shaw’s role in Govt ‘greenwashing’(paywalled)
Rachael Kelly (Newshub): Shaw denies Groundswell NZ’s claims that He Waka Eke Noa is going to be scrapped
Richard Harman: Carr warns the Government and Luxon warns business (paywalled)
Hamish McNicol and Calida Stuart-Menteath (NBR): Sustainability is in, and corporates will tell us (paywalled)
Herald Editorial: Atmospheric river carries threat of more extreme weather (paywalled)
Ian Llewellyn (BusinessDesk): Labour thrown another mining curve ball
Charlie Mitchell (Stuff): Freshwater reforms reveal difficulty in science-driven policy, report says
Christine Rovoi (Stuff): Mahuta outlines how $1.3b will be spent on climate action
Paula Bennett (Herald): When a gift ‘nails it’ for a climate change minister (paywalled)
Nikki Mandow (Newsroom): Tractor protests and hot air: Our greatest emitters put up the biggest fight
Richard Harman: Shaw faces rough farmer politics on how to pay for methane(paywalled)

Aaron Smale (Newsroom): Govt ‘bulldozing’ Oranga Tamariki Bill through
Anneke Smith (RNZ): Government forging ahead with Oranga Tamariki changes in face of fierce opposition
David King (Herald): Why the Oranga Tamariki Oversight Bill must be stopped(paywalled)

Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Fearing China’s militarisation of Pacific, NZ MPs set up anti-China group, open door to Taiwan
Stefan Dimitrof (Māori TV): How Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has evolved
Alexander Gillespie (The Conversation): Nukes, allies, weapons and cost: 4 big questions NZ’s defence review must address
Sian Troath (The Conversation): Australia’s pursuit of ‘killer robots’ could put the trans-Tasman alliance with New Zealand on shaky ground
Dita De Boni (NBR): Tonga receives Mahuta while also holding talks with China(paywalled)
Simon Bridges (Newsroom): Bridges on dear old Emfat; On a history of the foreign office
Carolina Panico (Newsroom): No such thing as ‘nuclear responsible’

Susan Botting (Local Democracy Reporter): Government urged to buy 10,000 electric and hydrogen buses for new public transport plan
Grady Connell (Today FM): Waka Kotahi gets an F for Harbour Bridge cycling decision
Matthew Martin (Stuff): Taking the hard road – How did our highways get so bad and how can we fix them?
Aaron Dahmen (Herald): How many Kiwis have cashed in on Government’s clean-car discount scheme
Jeremy Rose (Spinoff): Cheap, green vehicles are taking off overseas. Why are they banned here?
Oliver Lewis (BusinessDesk): Light rail corridor missing from Auckland intensive housing zone changes (paywalled)

Steven Joyce (Herald): School shake-up needed for the sake of our kids (paywalled)
RNZ: Departing head of polytech a ‘scapegoat’ – National
Stephen Ward (Stuff): Senior Te Pūkenga jobs set for cuts, including at Hamilton headquarters
Gabrielle McCulloch (Stuff): Government admits it doesn’t know how many truancy officers are in schools
Nathan Morton (Stuff): What the country’s school truancy crisis could mean for youth crime rates
Rachel Smalley (Today FM): Maybe our new mantra should be #stopthespend
David Farrar: Auckland Grammar decries free NCEA credits
Dubby Henry (Herald): Reading block: NZ’s falling literacy crisis – why our kids can’t read(paywalled)
John Gerritsen (RNZ): Govt cut pay parity funding for ECE teachers to balance books, documents reveal
Alwyn Poole (Kiwiblog): The Evidence is in Two: Data for the School Leavers of Every High-School in NZ

Herald: Should we change laws to fight ram raids?
Alexia Russell (RNZ): How young is too young to be charged with a crime in NZ?
Sasha Borissenko (Herald): ‘Journalism is the court of last resort’ (paywalled)

Jamie Morton (Herald): Covid-19: What will drive NZ’s next wave?
Alwyn Poole (Kiwiblog): Knowing the State of Play: Covid
Mike Hosking (Newstalk): The Covid hangover is still lingering over us
Boyd Swinburn (Herald): Post-Covid child well-being must be a priority (paywalled)

Duncan Greive (Spinoff): Two hours with the secretive rich lister bankrolling Sean Plunket’s The Platform
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Minister gives Google and Meta hurry along to strike deals with media firms
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Government ‘not seeing the NZ stories that we want to see on radio, on TV’
Daniel Dunkley (BusinessDesk): Google pays NZ publishers for news following Showcase launch (paywalled)
Herald: Google launches News Showcase in NZ, will offer free access to selected paywall content (paywalled)