17 Sep 2023

Week in Detail: Winston's return, landlord rules, and big cats

From The Detail, 3:00 pm on 17 September 2023

Every weekday, The Detail makes sense of the big news stories.

This week, Winston Peter's rise, fall, and rise again, when we'll stop celebrating women's 'firsts', the political tussle over landlords' and tenants' rights, the dark twists and turns behind Whangārei's big cat park, and New Zealand's 21-year-old Formula One star.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.

Winston Peters rides again

"To govern a country, you need experience. And this is not our first rodeo." 

A still from a New Zealand First ad. Winston Peters is on a horse, wearing a cowboy hat. He grins at the camera.

A still from New Zealand First's new campaign ad. Photo: Screenshot / YouTube

The ad features Winston Peters. On a horse

Then there's Shane Jones singing on TikTok

New Zealand First can't be accused of blending in to the political landscape – and that's probably the point. 

The party is now polling within a whiff of returning to parliament, having been written off by many as dead and buried after the 2020 election.

To take Tom Kitchin through the stunning highs and crushing lows of New Zealand First, Newsroom political editor Jo Moir and Stuff political reporter Glenn McConnell join the podcast. Newsroom co-editor Tim Murphy tells us the latest update in the party's donation scandal court case.

Gender equality: Are we there yet?

From Alexia Russell: Forty years ago, one of the first stories I wrote for a newspaper was about a woman working on a road crew. 

A woman! Fancy that! 

Stacey Fluhler of New Zealand and Theresa Fitzpatrick of New Zealand celebrate with their winners medals.

Stacey Fluhler of New Zealand and Theresa Fitzpatrick of New Zealand celebrate with their winners medals. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

There were other stories in a similar vein after that. Air New Zealand's first female pilot in 1986, our first female Governor-General in 1990, and, of course, our first woman Prime Minister in 1997.

Since then there's been an avalanche of other firsts, expectations raised by the profiling and publicity, and the continuation of the 'girls can do anything' message. 

Now with the success of three women's world cup hosting jobs behind us, and the whole country's embrace of the action, has New Zealand hit peak equality? Can I stop writing these 'first' stories? 

Landlords versus tenants

Tenants or landlords – who holds the balance of power now? 

Over the last two terms of government there have been plenty of changes, many skewing the market towards tenants' benefits rather than landlords.

Approximately one in three Kiwi households are renters. Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye

"It's actually been huge. Over the last six years, Labour has really changed a lot, in the rental market in particular, and the property market more generally," says NZ Herald deputy political editor Thomas Coughlan.

What kinds of changes have there been? Coughlan and tenancy lawyer Lauren Yates take Tom Kitchin through the big ones.

The dark twists and crazy turns of Whangārei's big cat park

The big cat park is back.

Or, at least, it is this Saturday. 

Lions at Whangārei's revived Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary.

Lions at Whangārei's revived Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Whangārei's Kamo Wildlife Sanctuary, previously known as Zion Wildlife Gardens, is having a public open day on 16 September, where visitors will once again be able to see the park's 13 big cats.

But behind the excitement is the stark reality that the park went into involuntary liquidation in March this year, and it can't seem to shake its murky past: legal battles, criminal convictions, employment investigations, a MPI closure that lasted seven years, changes in ownership and tragically, the death of a zookeeper.

Jessie Chiang takes a closer look.

Liam Lawson's Formula One breakthrough

Liam Lawson. If he's not a household name in Aotearoa yet, he should be.

The 21-year-old from Pukekohe has become the tenth New Zealander to drive in Formula One, and the first to make a real impact in nearly 40 years.

Liam Lawson at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix at Monza

Liam Lawson at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix at Monza Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tom Kitchin talks to Josh Revell, an Auckland-based motorsport YouTuber, about Liam Lawson's rise to fame and why we seem to be going through such a Kiwi motorsport boom.

Long Read: Turning the tide

This is The Detail's Long Read  one in-depth story read by us every weekend.

A gloved hand clutches bright green rat poison pellets from a large sack.

The bait is essentially poisoned Weetbix—centimetre-long cylindrical pellets of wheat dyed an unhealthy-looking bright green. The active ingredient is brodifacoum, a blood thinner. Photo: Richard Robinson/New Zealand Geographic

This week, it's an abridged version of Turning The Tide, written by Kate Evans and published in New Zealand Geographic's September-October issue.

It’s about her trip to Tonga to witness one of New Zealand’s most poorly known export industries in action – conservation.

You can read the full story, including photos by Richard Robinson, on the New Zealand Geographic website.

A team of New Zealanders and Tongans have just carpeted a remote volcanic island in Tonga with poisoned bait, hoping to eradicate rats—and with that one action, restore a vibrant, interconnected ecosystem of seabirds, forest animals, coral reefs and marine life.

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