Jehan Casinader: Not enough to say 'Yeah, nah' to Muslim ban

Bill English's response to Donald Trump's 'Muslim ban' can be summed up with two classic Kiwi words: 'Yeah, nah'.

While the ban was met with a chorus of criticism from other world leaders, our own Government barely let out a whimper.

The PM is given the chance to join other global leaders in saying he is 'disgusted' by Trump's policy. Source: Breakfast

After staying silent on the issue, the PM eventually said that the ban is "not the New Zealand way" – although it's "not our job to tell [the Americans] how to run their country".

It's the kind of bob-each-way comment made by a seven-year-old who doesn't like the school bully, but is desperate to be invited to his birthday party.

Can you blame Bill? After all, his old boss would have sidestepped this issue in the same way.

John Key had mastered the art of expressing just the right amount of concern to pacify the electorate – but not enough to raise the ire of a foreign power.

He knew how to identify with Kiwis' concerns, while reassuring us that everything was just fine.

Under Mr Key's leadership, the Government avoided making strong statements on race, immigration and foreign affairs.

Remember how the Syrian crisis led to protests and petitions last year? Campaigners urged the Government to increase the refugee quota.

Key was circumspect for many months, before announcing an increase in the quota from 750 to 1000 people a year.

He knew that increasing the refugee quota would not be a big vote-winner for National.

Mr English knows he is not going to win votes by standing up to Mr Trump. In fact, he risks alienating Mr Trump and brassing off his officials.

Just days ago, Mr Trump took an axe to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It could be argued that now, more than ever, New Zealand should just sit down and shut up.

For our mates closer to the United States, that strategy just won't work.

Our Europe Correspondent Emma Keeling is at Downing Street where people are protesting against Donald Trump's pending UK visit. Source: Breakfast

Right now, I'm in London, where thousands are marching outside 10 Downing St, calling for the British Government to clarify the consequences of the Muslim ban for British citizens.

Many of them have dual citizenship. Some have family in the States. They are scared that they will be shut out. They are scared that they will be victimised.

There are also calls for Britain to withdraw its offer of a full state visit for President Trump, who is due to fly to London in the months to come.

Today, I watched as protesters spread onto the road and blocked Whitehall in both directions, bringing Westminster to a standstill at rush hour.

Britain's Prime Minister, like ours, is playing her hand cautiously. Theresa May had a cordial meeting with Mr Trump last week in Washington DC, where she was snapped holding hands with him as they walked down a path.

When Mr Trump meets Bill English, he may have to settle for a firm Southland handshake.

But New Zealand's sentiment is likely to be the same as Britain's: It's better to be in the same room as Mr Trump, rather than listening with a tin can from the other side of the door.

Here's the thing: The New Zealand that Bill English leads is increasingly multicultural. Many young Kiwis have cultural ties to the seven countries on the 'Muslim ban' list.

They deserve a Prime Minister who speaks up for them.

They deserve a Government that will raise its voice in the face of injustice and intolerance, despite the possible political consequences.

They deserve to live in a country in which their rights are protected – not passively, but proactively – by leaders who are willing to engage in difficult conversations on unpopular topics.

Immigration is a thorny issue. However, if there's anything we can learn from the election of Donald Trump, it is that silence is no longer an option.

The issues we ignore are the issues that will eventually come back to bite us.

Saying 'Yeah, nah' to Mr Trump is a start. But a few more words wouldn't go amiss.

Thousands march outside 10 Downing Street in the UK, calling to the British Government to clarify the consequences of Trump's immigration ban for citizens.
Thousands march outside 10 Downing Street in the UK, calling to the British Government to clarify the consequences of Trump's immigration ban for citizens. Source: 1 NEWS

Strawberry needle scandal creating a booming trade for one food safety company

The strawberry scandal’s costing the industry millions of dollars, but it’s created a booming trade for one food safety company.

A&D Australasia provides metal detectors to food production companies, and their sales in the last week - including in New Zealand - have skyrocketed.

Spokesperson for the company Julian Horsley says he’s sold a year’s worth of products in just four days.

“There's an element of panic obviously because customers are saying we can't buy your product until this and this are in line - so that's obviously a commercial panic to them” he said.

Each detector costs around $22,000, but Horsley says growers are viewing them as an investment.

"For these guys it's either put my produce in the rubbish bin, or supply it to the customers.”

A&D Australasia provides metal detectors to food production companies, and their sales have gone through the roof. Source: 1 NEWS


Jacinda Ardern says refugee quota gives NZ strength ahead of UN summit

Yesterday's refugee quota announcement, paired with the ban on oil and gas exploration announced in April, will give Jacinda Ardern more credibility and a stronger hand while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, she said.

"Of course, doing your part adds to your weight that you're able to bring to the debate," she told 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay in a one-on-one interview today.

Climate change, big interviews and baby Neve were all on the agenda for the pair. Source: 1 NEWS

During what will be her first UN General Assembly meeting, the Prime Minister has been chosen to deliver a number of keynote addresses, including for the opening of UN Climate Week. In devising her strategy for the week, Ms Ardern said she turned to our past.

"Nuclear proliferation is a great example," she said. "New Zealand's always been looked to as an exemplar because we've always taken a firm stance and we've acted on it. On climate change I hope we'll be seen in the same way. But yes, the refugee quote is about us doing our bit in response to a humanitarian crisis."

Ms Ardern announced yesterday that starting in 2020 New Zealand will help resettle 1500 refugees here per year, 500 more than the current amount and double what it will have been just five years earlier. The move has been hailed by the Red Cross and other humanitarian groups.

That's 500 extra people who'll be making New Zealand home annually. Source: 1 NEWS

Also during her week in New York, Ms Ardern will be appearing on the Today Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and will sit down for an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"It's hard for me really to know whether I'm getting any more or any less (attention) than other New Zealand leaders," she said as Mutch McKay pointed out they're pretty "big gigs".

"They are (big) but I'll be doing my best to make sure that they are in the best interest of New Zealanders as well," she said. "That I use those opportunities to promote New Zealand -- in some cases, as a destination, on others just promote our stance in issues of international significance.

"For me, it's about making sure I'm the best representative for New Zealand I can be while abroad."

The government say the move is to cut rising greenhouse emissions. Source: 1 NEWS

This week’s refugee quota announcement should give the PM a stronger hand in NYC, she told 1 NEWS journalist Jessica Mutch McKay. Source: 1 NEWS


Man who beat pensioner to death soon after release from mental health unit jailed at least 13 years

A man who stomped a pensioner to death shortly after being discharged from Auckland City Hospital's mental health unit has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 13 years.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim appeared at the High Court in Auckland today for sentencing for the murder of 69-year-old Michael Mulholland.

Mr Mulholland's daughter told the court that the pain of losing her father was immense.

She said her father was just an old man who enjoyed collecting National Geographic magazines and reading. He treasured gifts and letters from his children like diamonds.

Yad-Elohim had been out of Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera for only three days when he killed Mr Mulholland in September last year.

His lawyers argued he had a disease of the mind, was hearing voices at the time and had no way of telling right from wrong.

The Crown said despite having schizophrenia, he knew right from wrong and killed Mr Mulholland for revenge after losing $200 in a methamphetamine deal.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim at the High Court in Auckland today. (Claire Eastham-Farrelly) Source:

Tax working group suggests two options for capital gains tax, change to tax brackets

Two ways of taxing capital have been proposed by the Tax Working Group, including extending the current income tax regime.

File image of $50 and $100 notes. Source: 1 NEWS

Tax Working Group has released an interim report proposing two options for taxing capital gain.

The group was established by the government to look at whether there should be any changes to the tax system, including a potential capital gains tax - excluding the family home.

The head of the working group, Sir Michael Cullen, has just presented the interim report.

The group has received about 6700 submissions and spoke with business and community groups in roadshows across the country.

The group is proposing two options for taxing capital gain: any gain from the sale of assets taxed at roughly the marginal income tax rate, and the second a regime under which a portion of the value of certain assets would be subject to tax, for example rental properties, to be paid each year.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

However, Sir Michael said neither of these options were actual recommendations.

The report found there was "significant scope" to use tax to "sustain and enhance" New Zealand's "natural capital", including options like a waste disposal levy, "strengthening" the Emissions Trading Scheme, and congestion charges.

It also proposed removing the tax on employer contributions to superannuation schemes for those earning less than $48,000 a year.

The working group made no final recommendations about income tax rates, but suggested a progressive approach would be to reduce rates for the lower threshold tax brackets.

Public feedback will now be sought before the working group releases its final report in February 2019.