Take a bite of… February 26th to March 6th

From February 26th to March 6th, take a moment and bite into your favourite current affairs sandwich.

New Zealand

A controversial camp for law students at University of Otago has been axed due to concerns of heavy drinking, games involving stripping, and large amounts of peer pressure on younger students. They allegedly played “team-building” games involving nudity and drinking to excess. You’d think that the majority of people would be happy that the law camp is being axed, but a petition asking to reinstate the law camp on change.org already has over 700 signatures. It is unlikely however, that this will change the minds of professors at the university.

After a failed National Party leadership campaign, MP Steven Joyce has resigned. He is known as the finance spokesperson for National, and was famously hit in the head with a sex toy in 2016 while speaking to media about the implications of the TPPA agreement. He said he had a “wonderful time” as an MP and will now focus on family. Joyce will be replaced with Nicola Willis, the former National Party candidate for Wellington Central.

The census, which happens every five years in New Zealand, was completed on the 6th of March. The survey from Statistics New Zealand collects data on careers, dwellings, and families, to help inform local and national policy. The census was conducted online this year, causing some senior citizens to feel upset as they are less technologically savvy. Statistics New Zealand made it clear that paper copies of the census were available if necessary.

International

March is a month of pride for Australia, and that was especially clear in Sydney this week. The 40th annual Mardi Gras pride event hit the city, with popular singer Cher making an appearance. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also showed up to show his support for the LGBT+ community. It is the first Mardi Gras event to happen in Australia since the legalisation of same-sex marriage and symbolises progress for LGBT+ rights worldwide. The celebration of diversity featured a parade with hundreds of floats from LGBT+ support groups and supporters, who (metaphorically) painted the streets with colour.

In other world news, it has been released that a man who was wrongly jailed for 23 years will not receive compensation. The man was arrested at 17 for a double murder in the United States, even though there was no clear evidence that he committed the crime. There is no law in the state of Kansas, where this occurred, that requires compensation for those who are wrongly charged of crimes.

What’s next?

Nicola Willis and Maureen Pugh will be replacing Bill English and Steven Joyce in Parliament. Joyce announced his resignation on March 6th due to a failed attempt at becoming the new leader. Willis was a candidate in the electorate of Wellington Central, who lost to current Minister of Finance Grant Robertson. Since Simon Bridges, the new leader of the National Party, announced that he will reshuffle the leadership of the party, it could mean that she becomes a spokesperson on a particular issue, however this is not likely. Maureen Pugh was a Member of Parliament before, but placed at a low point on the list and therefore did not make it into Parliament in 2017. When she was previously an MP, she focused on acting as a strong voice for the West Coast.

Statistics New Zealand will compile census data and use it to inform public policy and law. Last time the census occurred, many people wrote that their religion was “Jedi” and skewed data. Something similar may happen in 2018  which could potentially create thousands of outliers.