Live updates, June 14: NZ producer on mosque shooting film quits after backlash

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Welcome to The Spinoff’s live updates for June 14, bringing you the latest news updated throughout the day. Get in touch at

12.10pm: NZ producer on mosque shooting film quits after backlash

A New Zealand producer on a controversial film about the Christchurch mosque shooting has quit the production following the backlash.

Philippa Campbell, who initially defended the project, said she has listened to concern from the Muslim community and decided not to work on the film.

“I now agree that the events of March 15, 2019 are too raw for film at this time and do not wish to be involved with a project that is causing such distress,” Campbell said in a statement.

“When I was approached to work on the film I was moved by the filmmakers’ vision to pay respect to the victims, their families, and those who assisted them. This was reinforced by research interviews undertaken by producer Ayman Jamal with members of the Muslim community in Christchurch,” she said.

Campbell said she had hoped that telling the story of “swift gun control action” might resonate in America. “I deeply regret the shock and hurt the announcement of the film has caused throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. The announcement was focused on film business, and did not take enough account of the political and human context of the story in this country.

Jacinda Ardern, who is set to be played by Australian actress Rose Byrne in the film, this morning distanced herself from the project. “While there are many stories that should be told at some point, I don’t consider mine to be one of them. They are community stories and family stories,” she said.

11.25am: Covid-19 patient moved to intensive care

A patient with Covid-19 in Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital has been moved to intensive care.

They’re one of two Covid patients being treated at the hospital, with the other person reportedly in a stable condition.

As the Herald reports, it’s unclear when this patient was moved to the ICU. Yesterday’s media release from the Ministry of Health made no mention that one of the cases had been transferred.

As of yesterday, the total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 27 – all linked to international travel and detected in managed isolation.

11.05am: EV rebate won’t be enough for people to ditch petrol – MTA

The Motor Trade Association doesn’t believe the government’s new electric vehicle rebate scheme will drive a switch from petrol vehicles.

Under the scheme, people will be able to claim up to $8000 back on a new electric vehicle registered after July 1.

The MTA’s chief executive Craig Pomare told RNZ it’s not going to be enough as petrol cars will remain significantly cheaper.

“Even if I take the $8000 subsidy off that, it’s still a $20,000 difference on a new EV in some instances,” he said. “So whilst it’s a great leap forward there’s still a big gap between the price of that new EV and a very, very good model petrol or diesel.”

It was also unlikely that New Zealand would be able to import enough electric vehicles to make a real difference, Pomare claimed.

“But the big manufacturers overseas are saying this side of 2030 it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to produce enough – certainly along the lines of what the government is looking for.”

9.35am: Fiji’s PM rejects calls for lockdown as Covid cluster spirals out of control

More than 150 Covid-19 cases were recorded in Fiji over the weekend, but the country’s prime minister is pushing back against calls for a lockdown.

The nation’s Covid outbreak has grown to more than 1000 cases overall since April, with the opposition calling for a state of emergency.

In his first address to the nation since the outbreak began, Frank Bainimarama said locking down was the wrong move.

“Those who now call for 28 days of lockdown misunderstand the virus and disregard what that order would mean for our people,” he said. “Shutting down completely is a drastic measure; one that we cannot completely guarantee would even work.”

Bainimarama claimed a lockdown would lead to permanent economic damage for Fiji.

“People’s jobs may never return. We’d suffer structural unemployment through the permanent loss of industries. I cannot allow that to happen and I will not.”

Back in May, The Spinoff reported on the spiralling outbreak. Suva resident Vijay told us Covid had not been on the minds of Fijians for months. “We were just going around doing normal things with no problems,” he said. “And then this one case has multiplied like hell.”

7.55am: ‘Very soon’ – PM not involved in mosque attack movie, but won’t sign petition

Jacinda Ardern has once again distanced herself from an upcoming film production about the Christchurch mosque attacks, saying it feels “very soon and very raw”.

But, she won’t be signing a new petition calling for the film to be canned.

Titled “They Are Us”, the undated movie is expected to star Rose Byrne as Ardern and will be set in the aftermath of the tragic 2019 shooting.

Speaking to TVNZ’s Breakfast, Ardern said she had no idea about the film until hours before it was announced. “I have no involvement or no knowledge,” she said. “While there are many stories that should be told at some point, I don’t consider mine to be one of them. They are community stories and family stories.”

During a subsequent appearance on The AM Show, Ardern was asked whether she would sign a petition to stop the film. She said that people would be pretty “outraged” if she started to sign petitions to stop films being made. “I am part of the government I am meant to be the one that hears people on these things. I don’t think it’s my job to tell movie makers what they can and cannot make,” she said.

At this stage, the petition has more than 56,000 signatures.

7.30am: Top stories from The Bulletin

Over the weekend, the government announced a rebate scheme for electric vehicles. As explained by RNZ, the scheme will see people who buy new electric and hybrid vehicles able to claim up to $8625 back from the government. People will be able to claim the rebate from the start of next month, while a levy on higher emitting vehicles – the way the rebate is paid for – will kick in from the start of next year. According to the government, the scheme will help ensure uptake of EVs and lower-emitting vehicles increases. “Our transport emissions are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand so we need to start taking action now if we are going to meet our 2050 targets,” said transport minister Michael Wood.

The Green Party are claiming the announcement as a victory that was only achievable without NZ First in parliament. “As Associate Transport Minister last term, this was one of my highest priorities. Ultimately we were prevented from getting it over the line by NZ First, but not this time,” Julie Anne Genter wrote on Facebook. James Shaw, the climate change minister, says electric vehicles are often unaffordable for people. “As technology develops and more manufacturers decide to stop making petrol and diesel cars, the cost of low emissions vehicles will come down,” he said in a statement. “However at the moment they are still more expensive to buy. [This] announcement helps to address that. It will ensure more families can enjoy the benefits of low emission vehicles and their lower maintenance and running costs.”

But, the Opposition has slammed the scheme and claimed it breaks the government’s promise not to introduce any new taxes. Both National and Act were highly critical of the announcement, with Judith Collins labelling it a “punitive car tax” and accusing the government of prioritising Tesla owners over ute users. The party’s transport spokesperson Michael Woodhouse agrees. “Labour’s car tax policy will unfairly hurt farmers, tradespeople and low-income earners for whom low-emission vehicles will still be too expensive or unsuitable for their lifestyle,” he said in a statement. “We don’t think it’s fair to make tradies pay more for a Hilux so wealthy executives can get a discount on their next electric car.”

According to Act’s David Seymour, the government has brought in a new tax by stealth. “Labour is breaking its promise to not introduce new taxes by slapping new taxes on tradies, farmers and large families,” he said yesterday. “The social justice wing of the Green Party should ask why the party is prepared to tax people who drive cheap, reliable cars, just so the well-off environmental wing can buy a Tesla.”

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